Sometimes, the very first question a client will ask is “What are your rates?”. It’s a fair question, it’s an important question, but it should not be the first question asked.
When hiring a private investigator, it is important to know if they are the right choice for you. Not every situation needs a PI, and not every PI is right for your case.
When a client calls and the first thing they ask is “What are your rates?”, we will ask some questions about the nature of the case, if the client has a lawyer, and what deadlines the client is facing — for example a court date, or deadline to close a business deal.
Our next questions will be some basic background information. For a locate or background investigation, we will ask for the subject’s date of birth, last known address or employer, and what steps the client has taken themselves or if they had hired a private investigator previously.
We will also ask about budget: this is not a trick question to get clients to pay more, it is about finding the right approach to our investigation. We offer both flat-rate and retainer-based investigations and each serves a different need. We don’t believe in selling our customers more investigation than they need, nor do we believe in selling a lower-priced service if we don’t think it will be helpful just to make a sale.
We also ask about budget to set client expectations. This is particularly true in locate investigations. Sometimes a client will want to find a person on very short notice, or after a very long period without contact and limited information and expect to pay $100. This is largely due to a misconception about what private investigators do. We don’t have access to police databases (and any PI who offers to use “police contacts” to get confidential information is putting themselves and the client in legal jeopardy), we can’t get banking or telephone records without a court order, and if finding a person or doing a comprehensive background investigation was as simple as a Google search, you wouldn’t need to hire a private investigator in the first place.
Our pricing is inclusive. We factor our investigative costs in to your budget, and with both our flat-rate and retainer-based investigations you won’t receive an unexpected bill for expenses or disbursements. We seek client approval before working beyond the initial retainer, or before paying unusual or unexpected expenses.
Curious about our rates? Contact us today.