The cost of a private investigator depends on the services required. here is no easy answer as to how much a private investigator will cost you. Each case is different and there are different rates depending on the services required. The fee to have documents retrieved from a court house will be different than the fee to take measurements on the roadway at the scene of a fatal car crash.

Private investigators charge hourly rates and flat fee rates. An investigator may charge an hourly rate for his services. Or, the investigator may charge a flat fee for certain services. Flat fees are generally used for specific, straightforward services, such as process serving or background checks.

There may be expenses relating to a private investigation. There may be expenses involved in addition to an hourly rate. The most common expense charged is for mileage. This is to reimburse the investigator for the use of his or her vehicle to drive to scenes, witness locations or other areas to perform services for you.

Retainers are usually required to hire a private investigator. Professional private investigators usually require a retainer, or deposit, before starting any work on your case. The retainer is an upfront amount you pay to the investigator. The investigator then works off that retainer, subtracting the hourly rate and other expenses as he or she works on your case.

Review the contract before hiring a private investigator. You should always have a contract with the investigator. The contract should spell out the scope of the services to be performed and the fees for the services provided.

Understand the payment options when hiring a private investigator. Whether you are paying a flat fee or a retainer, a professional private investigator will accept your check, money order or cash. Credit card payments should also be accepted, to assist in your budgeting.

If you are considering hiring a private investigator, read How can I hire a private investigator? on our website

Contact Shinkowsky Investigations at 1-800-276-0202 to discuss your case. There is never a charge for the initial consultation.