Private investigators usually offer discrete investigations services to individuals as well as corporate entities. Law firms, corporate companies, insurance companies and individuals all require the services of private investigators from time to time. Before hiring a private investigations company it is best to familiarize yourself with their billing practices so as to have an idea of the total costs to be incurred. It would be of no value to hire the services of a private investigator only to have them to hold back the final report due to unpaid fees. Below we will look at how private investigators calculate the final charge for their services.

Fixed Charge

Private investigators usually use different pricing policies depending on the assignment at hand. One of the most common ways of charging clients is using fixed charges. A fixed charge is usually used to charge clients for services that are usually done from a desk or within a known period of time. These include background checking services, vehicle tracking and checking registration, bug sweeps among others.

Hourly Charge

In most cases, private investigators usually charge their clients on an hourly basis. This is because most cases usually require the investigator to work irregular hours. This is especially the case for cases that involve the collection of evidence through surveillance. The hourly charge also works well for cases that require input from a number of investigators in part. The hourly charge usually differs from place to place.

Other Costs

Investigators usually bill all additional costs incurred during the investigation operations. This includes various travel costs including mileage and fares. Note that these costs are not usually included in the hourly or daily cost but are billed separately from other charges.


In most cases, private investigators usually ask for a retainer before they take up any case. The retainer is usually the estimated cost of conducting the entire investigation as estimated by our experienced investigators. The retainer is used to fund the operations of the investigation until it is complete or the retainer is exhausted. Where the retainer is exhausted before the investigation is over, the investigator will bill the client on a fixed daily or monthly charge until the work is completed. However, if the retainer remains, the investigator will refund the client. This system eliminates any surprises at the end of the investigation with regard to the cost incurred.

Clients who want to ascertain the entire cost of an investigation can ask for a detailed report of the entire cost breakdown. The investigator would then create list of all cost items and assign values to each. Getting a detailed report on all the hours worked is also necessary when trying to ascertain the total cost of the investigation.