Private investigator cost – is hiring a private investigator expensive?

There are many myths surrounding the job of private investigators: that they sneak around dark alleyways to spy on cheating spouses, wear black mysterious trench coats and broad rimmed hats or that their days are action packed trying to unveil shocking family secrets. However, by far the most widespread and unjustified myth refers to the private investigator cost. Many people assume that hiring an investigator is tremendously expensive, that their clients are only affluent individuals who live an exclusive lifestyle, when in fact many private detectives nowadays have affordable rates. They offer flexible pricing plans depending on the service you need and hiring them does not cost you your monthly pay check. Their services are for everyone who wants to conduct a background check, catch a cheating partner, trace and asset or sweep a device bug.

How is the private investigator cost established?

Private investigators can assist their clients in many situations and no case is the same. Some are quite straightforward and require only a couple of hours of work. Others are more complex and require days of careful surveillance and research. Thus, the private investigator cost is never a fixed fee. Most of the time, it is calculated on an hourly basis, after a discussion with the client regarding the case details. The more the investigators know about the case, the more accurate their quote will be. In general, the total cost of a private investigation is established based on details such as:


  • Type of service provided: investigation, background check, device bug sweeping, honey trapping etc
  • Number of hours required to complete the investigation or check
  • Number of private investigators needed to provide the service
  • Complexity of the case
  • Location of the case: investigations that must be carried out abroad require a higher cost
  • Equipment needed for the investigation
  • Amount of associated documentation

Pricing traps of inexperienced companies

While seeking affordable private investigator services is understandable, clients should avoid suspiciously cheap prices. After all, the quality of the service is reflected in the private investigator cost and saying yes to the best bargain could do more harm than good. A company that offers next to nothing rates may not have the high-end equipment needed to carry out an investigation or their staff could be unprepared. This would affect the accuracy of the investigation and you could take decisions based on false data. In worse cases, these small prices hide a scam; the company may have hidden fees for extra services they did not tell you about. To avoid such unpleasant surprises, always make sure your team of private investigators has a transparent pricing policy and check their reviews online.

Comparing private investigator costs effectively

When comparing two or more private investigator companies who ask for similar rates, ask about the diversity of their payment methods. Ideally, the company should accept cash, direct bank transfers, checks and credit card payments. Last, but not least, choose a company with flexible means of communication who respects your privacy and can handle sensitive scenarios.