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 Please call for an exact quote on your specific case. Our Retainer fees depend on the complexity of your case and hours needed.

How Much Does a Private Investigator Cost?

Q: How much does a Private Investigator charge?

A: The cost of a private investigator depends on the service needed and the investigator.  Prices for private investigators are usually measure by the hour.  FREE QUOTE FORM  . Please call for your special rate and retainer amount. The retainer will depend on complexity of your case but the hourly rate is very competitive. While calling around to get a quote please not that it is crucial to make sure you hire a qualified and experienced private investigator not the cheapest and inexperience one.  We are reasonably priced for our high level of experience and the quality of service that you will receive.

Hourly Fees

Hiring a private investigator is like hiring any other professional service contractor like attorneys and any other specialty professional. Our rates are very reasonable and helping you is our main goal. Our PI's get paid from an agreed-upon hourly rate for the hours worked and will be within your budget, no surprises.

We will deduct the hourly fee and any out of pocket expenses, if this applies, (hotels, airfare at cost, search fees, etc.) from your retainer- if this applies to your case which will be discussed before we begin. There are never any hidden or surprise fees that you may find with other companies, everything is laid out in the contract. We always bill from a retainer (money provided up front) and we will never exceed that retainer amount. When we run out, it will be up to you if you want or need additional work, and at that time another retainer may be provided as we will not continue without your approval first. 


The retainer that is required will be deducted from the hours worked,  therefore you are paying for the work being performed up front on your case and not the outcome. Of course, we will work hard and the goal still remains as a successful outcome regardless. Even if you find a cheaper “deal” at another agency this doesn't mean that you will get the best, most thorough results and may even be throwing your money away and further compromising your case and future successful results. 


Contingency Fees

We have been approached with this question many times before. The simple answer is that some other companies in other fields may be able to work on a contingency basis, but we cannot do so, not in the State of Colorado, as that is not allowed.


After all, they just drive a few miles back and forth.

Ruben Roel

Before Thumbtack and Angie’s List, there was Craigslist, and before that there was Yahoo Groups. Today, we have a few online services promising consumers a low-cost investigation. Mainly, these services pop up because most private investigators charge an average of $85/Hour.

To stay competitive, a lot of private investigators are moving into home offices in order to reduce their operational costs. As a consumer, hourly rates are important – but I think it’s prudent to understand why private investigators charge $85 per hour in the first place.

I’m not going to break down the fees per hour – that’s a topic for a different discussion – but they include: Computer and camera equipment, video processing software, licensing fees, continuing education fees, liability insurance, errors and emissions insurance, travel time, gas and lodging, DVD shipping fees, case management software, taxes, government fees, database access fees, the list goes on… and on.

Being a private investigator is not cheap. No one is able to offer investigation services at “minimal” costs. While there are a few overhead costs that can be cut to offer a cheaper service, are they really worth it for you as a client? – smaller investigative teams, cheaper databases,  no office locations, cheap cameras, old vehicles.

I think private investigators, and their clients, need to be reminded that when you hire a private investigator, you’re hiring more than a person with a video camera. I understand that most people simply want to run a background check on a nanny, or want video proof that infidelity is taking place. But in order to get that service, private investigators have to commit their time, family affairs, resources, life, and much more.

When you hire a private investigator to find a solution to your problem – you go home with peace of mind in knowing a professional is now on your team looking out for your best interests. Your problems just became their problems. While you go home to rest, a private investigator will be driving to an unknown location (often times in the middle of the night) while at the same time be processing the case in their heads to prepare for the investigation.

While you spend time with your family, a private investigator will sleep in hotel rooms hundreds of miles away from their family. I was a full time investigator for long enough to miss anniversary dates, birthdays, funerals, important life events, and many dates with my wife. The times we were together, we talked about cases and try to find solutions – even when my wife was not an investigator – she was there to listen to me while we were out on dinner dates. Private investigators don’t “clock out” at 5:00 pm.

While you sit in an office, a private investigator will sit in a hot car risking their health and life to try and solve a client’s problem. They will drive 90,000 miles per year. They will increase their chances of being involved in an accident 10 fold. For you.

Private investigators are expensive because you’re not just hiring a person with a video camera. You are hiring a person who is going to abandon their life to give you – the client – a person you can count on. When you sign that retainer agreement, you are signing on a confidant, an investigator, a consultant, and a person who will make your problems, theirs.

If you want a low-cost investigation, you would have to give up the expectations that are guaranteed by a private investigator. At the end of the day, you just have to figure out how much peace of mind is worth to you.  How much is having a person that keeps your best interest in mind is worth you?

If you want a low-cost investigation, what you really are looking for is for a person that does not respect their profession and will fundamentally change the meaning of what it means for a private investigator to represent you and your problems.


These agreements specify a scope of work and expected (but not guaranteed) results. 

Note: Investigators Do NOT work on Contingency Fees.

It is always good to know that like most things, you will find a wide cost range with investigators based on location, specialty or the complexity. However, beware of comparing one provider with another on the basis of fees alone. The lowest hourly fees may not indicate the best value; an inexperienced professional may take twice as long to complete a project as an experienced one will and you may not get the results you are looking for.   A thorough, comprehensive, realistic, ethical investigation is what you should be looking for; not a cheap, partial or illegal one.

While utilizing our experience and knowledge of private investigations, we can usually bring our cases to a close much faster than our competition, saving you money in the long run. 

What is Your Budget?

One of the first questions we are going to ask you is “what is your budget.” It tends to make people nervous, but it’s really meant to get a sense of what type of solutions that are within your range. If you have a complex matter or you are trying to find someone you haven’t seen in 42 years and only have a budget for a few hundred dollars, that’s okay. But it’s better to be up front and honest with you that you are probably not going to get where you need to be. That doesn’t help either of us.


For more information and to speak to someone directly, Please fill out our Contact Form and we will get back to you, or feel free to call us at (303)522-4898.


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