How much does it cost to hire a private investigator? Here is an estimate.
The services of private investigators have witnessed a steady demand over the years. This has helped solve a lot of mysteries involving relationships, crimes, cybersecurity, and crimes in addition to surveillance.
The services offered by private investigators are highly relevant in light of rising crime rates, but what is the cost angle?
This article will be focusing on the cost implications of hiring a private investigator. By the end, you should have a pretty good idea of what the cost factors are.
Who’s A Private Investigator?
Before we go any further, it will be necessary to establish who a private investigator is. A private investigator (or PI) provides surveillance and research services to clients. Generally, such clients don’t have the resources or know-how to dig out such information. A private investigator is trained and experienced.
Such skills are required in law enforcement and court cases among others. Private investigators can either be hired by private or corporate clients. So, what does a private investigator do? We’ve briefly made mention of the job description of private investigators. It is necessary to add some flesh to our definition.
What A Private Investigator Does
People hire private investigators for specific tasks. These range from finding a long-lost contact or family member, finding a stolen property, crime investigation, case research, investigating an individual, carrying out background checks and surveillance.
i. Finding A Long-Lost Contact
Private investigators have different specializations. Some specialize in tracking long lost friends, relatives or just about anyone you wish to find. You only need to inform your PI about what you need. The fees can be negotiated too (we’ll get to cost soon enough).
ii. Finding Stolen Property
People lose their valuables due to theft. A lot of times, your best shot at finding such stolen or lost property is through the help of a PI.
iii. Crime Investigation
When investigating crime, regular channels may fail. This isn’t to downplay the vital role played by law enforcement (police). However, the services of a private investigator can prove invaluable too.
iv. Case Research
To build a case, attorneys will need to get as much information as they can lay their hands on. This is where private investigators come in. They are paid to help attorneys get to the root of such cases.
v. Investigating An Individual
A lot of times, suspicions may arise between partners or spouses. One party may suspect the other of cheating. Under such circumstances, a PI is hired to help find out if such suspicions are true.
vi. Background Checks
Before people are hired, little is known about them apart from the information presented. A PI will get further details to help the interested employer find out further details about them.
Cost Of Hiring A Private Investigator
All the above-mentioned services provided by private investigators come at a cost. There are no flat fees apart from the most basic services. In most cases, the cost is determined by the job conditions, location of the job (in other words, certain persons may want to hire a reputable PI from another state). Plane tickets will add to costs.
A PI who has built a reputation over the years will cost more than one who’s fairly new in the field. However, that doesn’t always guarantee or translate to a better job when compared to the rookie. The cost can also be charge per hour. The average cost for the services of a private investigator ranges between $30 to $600 per hour.
This can be significantly higher when accommodation and other living expenses (for the time duration) are involved. Tools or equipment might add to cost. This only gives you the general look of things when hiring a private investigator.
What You Should Look Out For
Private investigators provide an important service but you cannot be certain you’ll get the job especially when caution isn’t applied. In other words, there are certain things you must look out for to avoid wasting your time and resources. There are PI’s who aren’t qualified and reliable. The following tips should help you get only the best.
See If They Are Licensed
A licensed PI removes helps remove doubts or fears about their capabilities. Most states have licensing requirements before PI’s are allowed to practice. The only exceptions are Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, and Mississippi. Don’t be worried if you live in any of these states as the other precautionary measures listed here will suffice.
Whenever you hire a private investigator, you’re bringing them into your life. This requires detailed background checks. One method that has proven quite reliable and still does is a referral from friends or relatives. Of course, you won’t be asking for referrals from the person you wish to have investigated.
Prepare For The Outcome
Some outcomes from private investigations can be explosive. These can alter your life especially when trust is involved. A professional PI should be able to counsel you appropriately. This demonstrates how professional they are.
Back Out When You Feel Uncomfortable
Private investigators should have excellent communication skills. When you feel uncomfortable with the way such an investigator is handling a case, you can decide to terminate the contract and seek help elsewhere.
Confidentiality Is Of The Utmost Importance
Professional PI’s are very careful with the circulation of information. Investigators should be able to earn your trust and confidence in the way they handle your business. This takes us to the next point;
Experience Is Vital
To gain the trust and confidence of a client, a PI should have an acceptable level of experience. You have to ask. Don’t hold back when asking your PI questions relating to their experience.
Sign A Contract
After consulting with a PI, you get to determine if they are the right fit for the job or not. If they are, have them sign a contract agreement. This contains the terms of service. The contract document is important and shouldn’t be a problem to a professional.
We’ve seen how much it costs to hire a private investigator. Also, we have discussed the functions performed as well as precautionary measures to take when hiring one. This piece of information should help you have a clear picture of what it takes to begin.