What does a private investigator cost?

Thumbtack Editors
Answered

Private investigation isn’t just for blockbuster action movies. Hiring a private investigator can help in all kinds of situations ranging from finding a birth parent to improving personal security. Nationally, the average price range for private investigation is $70-$210, although pricing often hovers between $40 and $100 depending on the complexity of the services you need. Where you live in the country will affect your costs for private investigation; larger cities have higher business overhead and a higher cost of living, which in turn means higher service rates. The complexity of your case can also affect cost. A basic background check may have a flat rate, while hiring a private investigator to help with your child custody case may require more legwork and research, and therefore cost more. Some private investigators work on retainer. A retainer is essentially a nonrefundable deposit you pay to the professional — meaning you have retained their services — who then works against that amount. Here are some examples of average private investigation costs:

  • Hourly rate: $60-$70; costs can vary based on current fuel prices.
  • Flat rate: $100 for comprehensive background investigation services.
  • Retainer: $1,500 minimum retainer required by some pros before starting work.