How much does it cost for a private investigator? 6 things to consider
You’ve got a nagging problem and you don’t know what to do about it. You’ve tried some ideas yourself and you just don’t have any answers coming your way. You’re at the point where you feel you need some outside professional assistance and you know that will probably cost you some money. So, you ask yourself, “How much does it cost for a private investigator?”
Well, like most questions with answers there’s a few different aspects to this answer. Here are 6 things you should consider with determining the cost for a private investigator:
- Does the private investigator require a retainer? A retainer is an amount you pay upfront to ensure the private investigator is available to you when you need them. Most private investigators are very busy and you pay a retainer to make sure you have their attention when you most need it.
- Do they work only using hourly rates? Some private investigators don’t charge retainers but will simply “charge as they go”. This can be a convenient way to keep costs under control.
- Will the private investigator accept any assignments on a flat fee arrangement? Many tasks a private investigator completes are repetitive and there may be a way to negotiate a flat fee agreement for these tasks. Indeed, the private investigator may offer YOU the flat fee arrangement. Flat fee agreements are good because the hourly rate does not apply.
- Do they charge extra for court testimony? Some court cases require quite a bit of preparation and planning and this takes time. A private investigator gets paid for their time and there may be some preparation time necessary for your case. Make sure you know this upfront.
- Do they charge a rush fee? If your case requires the investigator to be “ready at all times” there may be a rush fee. A rush fee is usually charged when a client requests services the same day. This means the private investigator has to drop whatever they’re doing to go work on your case. Make sure you check for this prior to taking on any private investigator.
- Do they charge for phone calls or text messages? Some private investigators will charge you for the time spent on the phone during case work, or sometimes outside of case work. This can add up if you’re the “chatty” type. Just be sure to know what’s charged before you hire the private investigator.
As you can see, there are many areas to do look at when determining how much does it cost for a private investigator. Each private investigator will have different rates and plans and it pays to know all this prior to hiring them. Usually, this is spelled out in a formal contract.
Having a formal contract in place with a private investigator is the best security for you and your money. All possible charges should be outlined in the contract and so when you get your bill or your invoice, it should be easy to reference the bill with the contract. A contract usually means there’s no surprises for you.
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.