What is the average cost of a Private Investigation?
This is a very common question with not so easy answers. The rate of a private investigation can typically range from $ 50.00 per hour up to $ 250.00 per hour depending on the investigation and the location of the investigation itself. An investigator out of Orlando Florida, for example, may have to charge more than one located in Reddick Florida simply because the cost of doing business in a larger city can be substantially higher than the cost to work out of a small town. The taxes, surcharges and fees are usually higher in the bigger cities. The cost of renting or owning an office are usually higher in larger cities too. The typical agency will then charge so much per mile traveled and this can range from .29 and go up to as high as $ 1.50 per mile. Some agencies charge for pictures and video that are obtained as the result of an investigation. When you look at these expenses, you can see that a private investigation cost can be substantial. The cost of an investigation pays for a lot more than just an investigator and we will get into some of those costs in a future blog.
When you are considering a private investigation, you need to figure out exactly what you want the investigation to accomplish. Then together with your investigator, you can figure out the best and most cost effective way to proceed. Would the use of a GPS tracker help lower the cost of an investigation? What about the legality of keystroke loggers and voice recorders? These issues and more may need to be addressed. The laws concerning the use of these tool can vary from state to state and there are also federal law that may come into play too.
Once that game plan is set up and agreed upon, the decision needs to be made about the best times to do the investigation (particularly investigations involving surveillance) so that the likelihood of success is increased. This can cut down on the time needed and subsequently the overall cost. We have had cases where the evidence is obtained quickly and the whole investigation only costs a few hundred dollars and we have had other cases where it took weeks of surveillance to get the result that we were all after. It is up to the client to decide how much she or he wants to spend and it is up to the private investigator to explain the reality of short term investigations so that everyone understands the possible outcomes.