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Private Investigator Salary Survey


How much do Private Investigators make annually? Is it as glamorous as it looks on tv and movies? Maybe, maybe not.


Private Investigator Salary Survey

Information on a Private Investigator Salary Survey shows that P.I.'s don't make the money that most people think.  Images of solving that big crime and scoring a huge payday are usually only in the movies. How much do private investigators make?

In the United states hourly rates for private investigators range anywhere from $20-$200/hour.  It really depends on the type of case you have, if it's being outsourced or if there is danger involved.  Sometimes a simple record search is a flat fee of $300-$600.  The Investigator can make 10%-100% of the profits on this.

When determining the salary of a Private Investigator makes, it makes a big difference if they work for themselves or if they work for a company.  If they work for themselves they are able to make all the profits, but they also are responsible for all the costs that are involved.  This can include office space, camera and video gear along with things like furniture and other basic necessities. When working for a company there is a lot less overhead, but because of this, there is also less risk which equates to less pay.

What starting salary could I expect?

There is a lot of things to factor in when figuring out what an investigator makes as a salary. A recent survey says it is between $25k - 100K depending on how established he or she is.  Companies that have been in business for forty years, like ourselves, have investigators at the top of the pay scale.  A firm just starting out needs to build clients and generate new business.  They are at the bottom of the pay scale.

Being a Private Investigator is a great job but you have to take the good with the bad.  Most love the job so much that they don't care what they make.  It can be difficult in this business to get by with even enough to pay your basic bills.  It is recommended to not join this profession for the money but for the love of it. 

What Next

If you are done training and want to get into this business, please fill out our online form at Private Investigator Jobs and we will contact you right away.

  • We are accepting reports of salary survey data from our contact form.
  • We will also take reports via jobs@icsworld.com, or calls into our office.
  • Data is compiled from several sources and is only a compilation of data, requests can be made to ICS president Michael Rabern via mail.

Public Resource: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm



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The ICS private investigator network can manage your case locally or across multiple jurisdictions. Your case will be worked by qualified and licensed private investigators where applicable. Through the innovative ICS Licensee Program, we are able to provide local private investigators in several states. Not all services are available in all areas. All private investigators can be identified upon request according to State law. Find a local Private Investigator:

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