Many clients will get tunnel vision when it comes to the hourly fee of the investigator and they use this factor as the only one in picking an investigator. This, of course can be a major mistake. You are not shopping for a shirt; you are shopping for a PROFESSIONAL service; one which requires skill, experience, and knowledge. A client should always look at the case as if it will go to court, even if it never does. It is very difficult to compare ‘apples to apples’ in picking an investigator. More appropriate questions that clients can ask in reference to cost are: Can the client set a cap on the fees and expenses of the case? Can the investigator/agency give an estimate of the cost of completing the case?
Investigators have different fees depending on the case. The fees can include travel time, vehicle rental, mileage charges, toll charges, hotel/meal reimbursements, report fees, court copy/document retrieval fees, court preparation and testifying fees, video/audio copy fees, telephone calls, etc. The investigator should also give updates or progress reports. Keep in mind, however, that with all other charges being equal, if, for example a $70/hour surveillance investigator can give the same results in 5 hours versus a $50/hour investigator can give in 10 hours, which is the better deal?