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What does a Private Investigator Cost?

Feb. 7, 2019 

Many of us may find ourselves in a situation where we feel the services of a private investigator would be helpful.  If you find yourself in this situation, chances are the first question you will have is “What will a private investigator cost?” The answer is not as straight-forward as one might think.  There are many factors that affect what your case may cost, but a reputable licensed private investigator should follow some basic steps to determine what your total cost may be.

Three Basic Steps to Answer “What will a private investigator cost?”

  1. When you first contact a private investigator, they should ask what your concerns are and what you are hoping they can help you with.  They may ask you questions about certain details and may suggest investigation techniques you hadn’t thought of.
  2. After you and the investigator discuss your case, they should tell you a little bit about what services you may need for your particular case. They should also lay out a clear expectation for whether they can help or not and in what timeframe.
  3. Once all of this is established, they will be able to give you an educated answer to what your private investigator cost will be. They will give you a dollar amount for your retainer to them based on what services you will be needing and what your goals are.  They should also let you know whether to expect that your retainer will cover your entire case or if you should expect more costs as your case proceeds.

Considering the Specifics of Your Case

The important thing to remember is that most cases require a lot of groundwork up-front and the amount of information you are able to provide in the beginning will often affect what your overall private investigator cost will be.  Included in the estimate you will receive are many different factors. Some services such as background checks, bank account searches, electronic imaging and the like will have a preset cost already determined. Variable costs are most commonly surveillance (which breaks down into an hourly rate plus mileage) but may also include other expenditures for the investigator.  If your needs are for surveillance services, you may just need a few hours of a private investigator’s time, but you may need to secure their services for several months. All of this can be determined during your initial consultation.

In Conclusion

The answer to the question “what will a private investigator cost” is not an easy one to answer due to the unique and varied services a reputable investigator provides.  At the end of the day, most people seeking investigation services need help resolving serious financial, business, or family/marital issues. The information an experienced investigator can provide for you can be priceless, saving thousands of dollars or years of heartache depending on what your situation is. If you are looking at a legal issue, they can also save you time, stress and money in court and attorneys fees, making their services well worth the investment.  

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