The value of the information that a private investigator can give you may or may not be equal to the cost of hiring a private investigator. However, getting the right information and having peace of mind is surely worth the investment. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better the decisions you can make concerning your person of interest.
There is no standard cost for private investigators The fees and payment terms are dependent on each one’s discretion which are based on several factors. The level of experience, the complexity of the job, the time needed to complete the job, who the person to be followed is, and incidental expenses (such as travel expenses) are all factors to be considered.
Most private investigators charge by the hour. Fees can range from $50 to over $150 an hour which can be changed to a lower rate if the investigation will involve a large number of hours. Always make sure that any private investigator you hire is part of a fully licensed agency (not just a licensed private investigator) that is registered accordingly with the Community Safety and Correctional Services of Ontario, and is insured and bonded. As with much in life, you get what you pay for.
Some private investigators charge a retainer fee which can be consumable towards the job or not. A non-consumable retainer fee is when a fee is paid just for the private eye to take on the project and separate hourly rates will be charged after. Paying a consumable retainer fee is when the amount paid for the retainer fee is used to pay for the hours used towards the completion of the job. Retainer fees can range from $1,000 to $5,000.
Aside from the hourly rate and the retainer fee, private investigators will usually charge for the money they spend on additional expenses such as drive time/travel time, airline fare, court appearances, hotel fees, administrative costs and more. Some of these fees will be billed to you before the private investigator follows your person of interest and some will be billed at a later date.
When you ask a private investigator to follow someone, you should know that there are limits to the places they can go to and how near or far they can be from the person being followed. For example, a private investigator cannot break into a house just to follow someone but the same private eye can look into accessible information such as who owns the house and garner information regarding what your person of interest is doing inside.