Cost of Private Investigator: Flat Rate versus Hourly Rate
You have found a private investigator that is qualified, has a good feedback from his or her clients and fits into your budget perfectly. He has no criminal record and understands exactly what you need. After the initial consultations and investigating your private investigator, you are back in his or her office to discuss the details of the contract and the cost of private investigator. The investigator has given you a quotation for a flat rate package as well as one that is an hourly package. The big question in your mind is should you take the flat rate or the hourly rate? Before you make your decision on which to choose, I will try to quickly outline when one package is more preferable than the other. This will help you make an informed decision depending on your situation. It is important to note that each and every investigation is different and has unique factors and circumstances surrounding it. The investigator will have considered all these factors and circumstances to come up with a price quotation. The type of investigation to be carried out will be a key factor. I will try to elaborate on this rate debate in a simple manner as possible.
The factors that a private investigator uses in determining the overall cost of the investigation includes: complexity of the case, the resources that will be required in successfully concluding the investigation, the amount of travel required as well as other operational costs. The urgency of the needed results and the risks associated with conducting the investigation also has an influence on the cost of private investigator. This will also play a role on whether the hourly rate will be higher than the flat rate. Flat rate packages are best when you require simple investigative services like doing a background check, tracing phone numbers, bug sweeps at place of residence or work place, vehicle registration check as well as criminal records check. These services simply require a private investigator to sit behind his or her desk and sent out emails and make phone calls. Rarely do these aforementioned services require fieldwork. The only service that will require the private investigator to get from behind his or her desk is conducting the bug sweep! If you require any of these abovementioned services, it is advisable that you take the flat rate services. This will reduce your expenses and you will still get value for funds spent.
An hourly rate package is best suited for investigation services that will require surveillance and field work as well as undercover work if need be. The services that are best served under the hourly rate package include: criminal cases, legal cases where the investigator may be required to testify, monitoring the movements of an individual or a commodity, insurance and fraud cases as well as tracking down witnesses and interviewing them for potential critical information. There is usually a minimum amount you have to pay for each day the private investigator is on the clock. The beauty of an hourly rate package is that it gives you enough wiggle room for negotiations and coming up with the ceiling of the number of hours a detective can work per day. The downside of the hourly rate is that the private investigator may also add additional charges like mileage fee and accommodation costs on your tab. So you should not only be clearly on how many hours is being catered for under the contract but also all the other expenses that may arise during the conducting of the investigation. The retainer fees may also drive up the cost of private investigator. All in all, it is up to you as an individual to compare the overall cost of the investigation being conducted under both the hourly and flat rate package and making an informed decision on what suits your needs best.