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Private Investigator Fees

Private Investigator Fees

Private investigator fees are based on quite a few factors, like the nature of the case, the investigator's affiliation with an agency, and so on. In case you want to get your figures right for hiring a private detective, you have hit the right link. Scroll down to know more...
CareerStint Staff
Do you wish to hire a private investigator? Let me guess. You are wondering how big a hole this is going to burn in your pockets, right? Okay, so let's get you out of this dilemma and tell you how much these investigators charge. So, here is everything you want to know about private investigator fees, unlike fiction, where you hardly see or read the mention of the poor fella being paid. But hey, the questions do not end at how much do they charge. There are quite a few questions and doubts that can crop up, about the fees of a private investigator. Check out if you had the same queries in your mind.
How much does it cost to investigate someone?
It depends upon the area you are living in. You need to check your local private eye listings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of private detectives and investigators was $42,870 in May, 2010. The mean hourly wage stood at $20.61, during the same time. This will obviously vary according to the risk involved, gravity of the case, and the time taken for the completion of investigation. If the charges of the investigator is higher than normal, it means that he is excellent at his job, has great contacts, or is just trying to swindle those who are affluent.
Is a retainer required? What are the retainer charges?
Normally, retainers are required by private investigators as a kind of guarantee, prior to the commencement of investigation. It could be anything from around $50 an hour to a lump sum ranging from $90 to $1000, again, depending on the case. Some might charge less as well.
Does a private investigator attached to a detective agency charge more than one working independently?
There is a considerable difference between the two. Obviously enough, if you are with an agency and it is a renowned one with constant flow of clients, the investigator is going to earn a minimum salary of $2,000 per month. The average private investigator salary can even go up to around $60,000 or more per year. If the investigator puts in 10 hours a day, he can even earn up to $5,000 for a month. The clients pay in those proportions. On the other hand, an independent investigator might not earn that much, due to the sheer lack of backing of network, contacts, and credibility. However, it is not necessary that fees to hire a private investigator will be less than the fees for hiring an investigator through an agency.
For every surveillance, is there a stipulated charge which needs to be paid?
Curiously enough, private investigators (at least some of them) might charge a minimum amount for every surveillance operation. The charges are for every four hours of surveillance. You will have to negotiate the fees to some extent in these cases.
Do they give clients the benefits of a refund or a payback? For instance, if they get around $300 from a client and the mission is accomplished with around $100 to spare, what is the norm? Will the client get the remaining money back?
Private investigator costs are generally not refundable. Still, you might want to confirm this with the investigator you are hiring or the detective agency through which you are going to hire one.
Above was, of course, a general outline of their fees and related issues. There can be some other impromptu factors which come up or the specific nature of the case, which can determine the fees.