How much does it cost to hire a private investigator in the UK?
When looking for a private investigator, many people will want to know how much it is likely to cost before they engage someone, which is perfectly understandable. Unlike an off the shelf product, there is no such thing as a “typical” investigation, so most Investigators can’t charge a flat fee for services.
The final cost, of course, will depend on what type of investigation you have requested.
What does a private investigator do?
A private investigator or private detective is an individual or group of individuals hired to carry out an investigation and gather information about a situation or problem. An experienced private investigator uses a wide range of observational and research techniques to gather intelligence for their client, typically working discretely to achieve results.
Typical Services offered by a private investigator include, but are not limited to
- Background Checks
- Tracing Enquiries
- ON-Line Dating Fraud
- Vehicle and Asset Tracing
- Relationship Investigations
- Investigating an unfaithful partner
- Employee Theft Investigations
- Employee Absenteeism & Misconduct
- Due Diligence Investigations
How much does a private investigator cost?
One of the most common questions asked about hiring a private investigate is ‘How much will it cost me?
Prices are influenced by several factors such as the type of service, how long the service is needed for and the resources an investigation requires.
Before starting work, a private investigator will consult with you to understand exactly what is expected of them before providing a quote and advise an appropriate payment option.
An initial consultation is usually free.
In terms of billing, a private investigator usually charges an hourly rate on the understanding each piece of work must be tailored to a client’s needs and will use different resources.
Many Investigation Agencies will offer a set fee for a set number of hours required to bring a successful outcome to an investigation.
It is worth asking in advance how you will be invoiced, highlighting any preferences you have.
“A telephone consultation with one of Insights investigators will guide you straight to the most cost effective option tailored to your needs”
How will I be charged for a private investigator’s services?
Private investigators often charge a ‘flat fee’ which will be discussed during an initial consultation. Some ask for that method to pay for all their services.
However, a majority prefer to charge by the hour for jobs, in most circumstances quoting a fee for an agreed number of hours to achieve the desired results.
Prices per hour range from £30 to £85 per hour, with an average hourly rate typically £50 to £55 per hour.
As experienced investigators they understand that no task is the same as another and tailor what they charge accordingly. A location for the investigation may also be a factor.
An hourly rate might seem like a high cost to commit to, especially if there is no certainty on how long an investigation will take. As a result, it may be tempting to hire a cheaper, less experienced investigator to save on expenses.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that they might take longer to complete a job than an experienced professional. That risks costing more money overall if you’re paying by the hour. It could also lead to results that don’t meet the standard of proof required if a case goes to court for civil or criminal proceedings.
There are examples of sloppy, rushed, half-hearted or illegal practices ruining the chances of a successful outcome.
Hiring a professional and reputable private investigator will save you money, time and worry. Speak to one, and you’ll quickly understand the potential benefits.
Here at Insight we are fully transparent with our charges, with no hidden extras.
What other costs should I expect to pay?
In addition to the services they carry out, some private investigators charge for other costs incurred while doing their work. That could include travel expenses, both time spent and mileage covered, client reporting, set-up fees and any other challenges faced.
A reputable and professional investigator will not hide extra costs and should be transparent by agreeing them with a client at the start of an investigation. It is recommended that you ask during an initial consultation, so you aren’t surprised by unexpected charges.
Be wary of hidden costs that can cause an investigation to spiral.
Like lawyers, private investigators often ask for a retainer or payment in advance before they take on a job. That usually reflects the nature of the service requested and will be deducted from any fees incurred.
Investigators accept all major credit or debit cards. Be wary of any that insist on being paid in cash or by bank transfer for what they do. While taking cash isn’t a problem, the Private Investigation sector itself, isn’t currently regulated in the UK and, unfortunately, contains a share of rogue traders.
It is also always wise to ensure that your investigator is a member of one of the industry association, that adhere to a strict code of conduct.
Hiring a private investigator
Although it is important to consider costs when hiring an investigator, the most important factor should always be finding the right solution to a sensitive or difficult problem and delivering a satisfactory outcome for clients. Getting it wrong can have repercussions.
It should be comforting to know every avenue is being explored and that a private investigator is doing their best to achieve the results you want as quickly as possible.
Call Insight to discuss your situation with us. It may work out less expensive than you thought, to get to the truth.