Private investigators, just like other service professionals and attorneys charge a fee for their services and for any products they provide to their customers. This is how they stay in business and earn a living for themselves. Some charge more than others and so a valid question to ask is, “How much for a private investigator?”
Well the answer to that question depends on the following factors:
- Are they licensed?
- How much experience do they have in your situation?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have any references?
- How responsive are they to your requests for information?
- Do they sound experienced and able to offer suggestions to you?
The above 6 questions can be further broken down as follows:
Private investigators are licensed by either the State Police or the Secretary of State in most states in the USA. Florida is an exception as the private investigators there are governed by the Department of Agriculture.
Any private investigator you wish to hire should be immediately able to show you their license. An example of an easy to find license is shown here. When you have the information about their license you should then check with the licensing division to see whether they have any complaints or sanctions filed against them.
This is an important question to ask a private investigator. Not only should they be able to give you actual experience from cases, they should also be able to refer you to someone who can back up their claims. Usually, an attorney or past client would be the best referral source. You can see what kinds of references a private investigator should have here.
This will sometimes dictate how much you’ll be paying because newer, less experienced private investigators will usually charge less. You’re taking a gamble when you hire a cheap private investigator because usually their prices are low because they don’t have enough business or cases and they’re scrambling for any case they can find. You can also check with the licensing board to see how long an agency has been licensed.
This goes along with the question regarding the references. You should be able to ask a private investigator for a list of their clients. You can see a sample of a private investigator’s clients here. Clients should be easily contactable, or reachable and not be in the form “J.W” or “law firm from chicago”. Those kinds of testimonials or client lists are worthless.
If the private investigator you’re looking to hire is slow to respond to you prior to the investigation you can expect they will be slow to respond to you DURING the investigation. This is not an ideal situation. You want the private investigator to be responsive and in a timely manner.
When you talk to a private investigator they should sound like they know what they’re talking about. There should be no “maybe” language from them. If they tell you something that sounds unreal, you should hang up and move to the next one. They’re probably winging it. They should also be able to offer you suggestions on things you hadn’t thought about. If they’re experienced, they should have new ideas for you and suggestions that you hadn’t considered.
If you are looking for an affordable licensed private investigator, with 20 years of experience assisting individuals, attorneys and corporations feel free to contact us here. You can also view a portion of our extensive client list here, and see what actual clients say about us here.