There are many reasons you may be on the hunt for a private investigator, whether it be for assistance in running background checks on new employees or getting to the bottom of your partner’s affair. Whatever the reason, there are many factors you should take into consideration when looking into hiring external help. Hiring a private investigator is critical for closure when determining which private investigator is right for you, it is important to consider the experience level you are hiring, authentic customer reviews and their reputation within the industry and be very careful about fake reviews. If they all read the same language, they are probably fake and self proclaimed reviews.
One of the many questions you should ask a private investigator before deciding to do business with them is how they structure their fees. Any service should be up front with how they bill their clients and be able to answer any questions regarding fees and payment structure. The amount you will pay for a private investigator’s service depends largely on the scale and the details of the request. A good agency like ours would charge $85/hour for private investigators in Toronto, Mississauga or Brampton, fees will likely depend on the type of service required, the complexity of the job at hand, the length of time required, the experience level of the investigative firm and your location. Forensics, for example, is typically more expensive at $200/hour, which does not include travel and disbursements. Other agencies that charge less are desperate for business or don’t have the experience to handle your case properly.
Many private investigators charge by the hour, but other incidental fees (i.e. travel expenses, background checks, reports and administration fees) may be incurred. Get the information up front about any hidden or extra charges. These hourly fees can range anywhere from $75 to over $200 an hour depending on the task at hand. If it is a case that you and your private investigator determine will be a long-term commitment, they may offer a lower rate.
A private investigator should also be fully licensed and have gone through the training and certification required. Licensing will vary depending on the area. In Ontario, they must be registered with the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and carry insurance.
Another important question to ask your private investigator is if they use retainer agreements with their clients. This determines the payment structure; whether you simply pay a fee up front or if you pay for time incurred (hourly fee) in addition to a fee upfront. Also of importance is to ask which incidental fees you will be responsible for if and when you enter into an agreement. Some expenses that may be your responsibility include hotel fees, gas/mileage, travel time, background checks or database searches, etc.. If these expenses are not in the quote provided, make sure you ask for a range so that you are not blindsided with additional fees.
When you are considering a new private investigator service, be sure to ask all of the important questions up front. Finding the right private investigator is like finding your perfect match – it’s worth putting in the work.