The first question most people ask before instructing a private investigator is “How much will it cost?”

Initially this may seem a sensible question, but unfortunately it is pointless. What should be asked is whether a private investigator will be cost effective!

To know whether an investigation will be cost effective requires a set of questions to be addressed:

What is the hourly rate for general investigation work?
How many hours do you estimate will be needed?
What are the chances of a successful outcome?

Generally a professional investigator will be charging anything from £35 per hour plus expenses, all the way into £100s per hour. However, like the saying goes, if you think the professionals are expensive, wait until you use an amateur!

The hours needed will vary from case to case, but a good professional investigator will be able to advise a course of action, and the hours involved. Quite often the agencies that charge less attempt to make money by bulking up the hours needed.

If a suspected cheating partner disappears for 2-3 hours every Wednesday after work, then a reputable firm should initially look to conduct surveillance on that period to discover what is happening. However, all too often, unscrupulous cowboys come along and convince a worried, upset and emotionally vulnerable person that 24/7 surveillance is needed starting Monday a.m. If the suspects movements are known up to Wednesday, the client has a bill for £100’s to be told what they already know. And sadly, by the time the critical point in time arrives, the rogue detective will probably have had his cover blown. Any extended surveillance should be conducted by a team, not 1 man charging minimum wage!

Whilst it is impossible to give an exact number of hours to solve a case, a private detective with years of experience should be able to have an estimated timeframe in place.. Good case management should allow for regular updates and evaluations of the work done, as well as honest advice to clients on whether they should continue, or stop the investigation.

Lastly, the outcome should be considered. Spending £1000 to trace an individual who owes you £50 and is likely to hold no assets is futile. Spending 5x that to trace an individual who owes £100,000 and is likely to be asset rich, is going to be worthwhile.

Having run EJM Investigations for over 10 years, Edmund has the experience and knowledge to assist clients in deciding if a private investigation is the way forward for them.. He deals with nearly all clients on a personal level, assessing the clients means, needs, and likely end result when advising how he can best help. If he feels the client has options which are cheaper he will tell them so. For free advice on what EJM Investigations can do for you, call them now on 01772 334700.

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