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How Much Does A Private Investigator Cost?

One of the first questions someone asks themselves when deciding if they need a private investigator is "how much does it cost?" There are several different factors that can affect the cost of hiring a PI. Depending on the nature of your case it may make sense to hire a private detective on an hourly basis or on retainer. If you need help determining if you need a private investigator and what they can do to help, you can read our article here.

Hourly Cost


Hiring a private investigator on an hourly basis makes sense if you are an individual and are not interested in establishing a long-term relationship or long-term investigation. The national average hourly rate for a private investigator is between $50-$250 per hour. Certain factors can affect this hourly rate. For example, the complexity of the investigations, the number of investigators needed for the investigation, the number of hours required, etc. There are also typically hourly minimums for a private investigator. These can be 6, 8, or even 10-hour minimums.


For a surveillance-based investigation, at Roanoke Investigations we recommend starting with no less than 4 hours of surveillance. This makes sure the private detective can adequately meet your expectations and gather as much information as possible in that time frame.



Retainer Cost


Having a private investigator on retainer is advantageous for a person who is looking to have consistent, long-term access to a private investigator. Having a PI on retainer is often financially wise because it reduces the hourly rate of the private investigator.


Possible Additional Expenses


Along with either the hourly rate or a retainer, there are times when additional expenses could be incurred during an investigation. If an investigation requires a hotel stay the cost of the stay could be billed to the client. This would also apply for an investigation requiring a flight. There are typically mileage limits to an investigation as well. If an investigation tallies up over 100 miles worth of driving there is a fee (usually the federal mileage rate) for each mile over 100 miles.


It is extremely important that a private investigation firm is transparent with their pricing and the client knows exactly what they're agreeing to. That's why working with a Roanoke private investigator we offer a free initial consultation that outlines an exact game plan for your investigation so there are no surprises. To schedule a free initial consultation you can click here and we will be in touch shortly.

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