How much should you charge when starting out as a Private Detective?


How much should you charge for your private investigative services when you’re just starting out?

When you’re just starting out you say, “Well, I don’t have a lot of experience…” and you undercharge.

Now, you should know the job pretty well.  Hopefully you’ve got some good training so you can do the job well.     Still… one of your instincts is going to be to charge less than other Detective Agencies and try to pick up clients that way.

I’m completely opposed to that for a variety of reasons.

Think about it in terms of another industry. For example…

If you open a pizza shop you wouldn’t start out selling pies for a quarter each!  You wouldn’t say, “Well I’m new.  I’ve got to establish my business first.  I’m going to sell them for a quarter a pie.  Then, once I’ve been in business for a while, once I’ve been running it for a year, I’m going to raise it to $2 each. The really experienced pizza parlors can charge more but I’m just starting out.  Maybe after five or six years I can start charging five dollars or ten dollars a pie.”  No way!

You would never do that in a million years and I don’t want you to do that in your Private Investigation business. You perform a valuable service.  You have a skill set that not everybody has. What I want you to do is charge what it’s worth!

If you’re providing them a service at $85 an hour but they’re getting $100 an hour, or $500 an hour worth of value out of it, then that’s worth what you’re charging and they will happily pay it.

I’ll give you a real world case study as an example…

The man I was working for, was paying $4,000 a month in spousal support.  How much it is worth to him to stop doing that?  If he paid me $4,000 to work his case just one time and he could stop paying $4,000 each month, That’s Worth It!

If I saved him the next 10 or 15 years is that worth it? Is it worth $4,000? Sure it is!

What if I only worked one day on the case?  Is my time worth $4,000 a day?  It would be to that man because he pays me one time four grand and he never has to pay that out again!  (Just F.Y.I., I actually worked three days at my standard rate.)

You have clients who are hiring you and a lot of times they can put a financial number on why they’re hiring you. If the client needs you to help a repo guy find a car, and they’re $10,000 in the hole with that car,   they’re certainly going to be willing to pay you $550 (my standard fee for that type of case) to have you skip trace and find the vehicle!

So if you get nothing else I’m saying here, I want you to understand…

You need to add value to the people that you’re serving.

I do that with the training materials that I have. They’re not cheap. We all know they’re not cheap but they’re worth it!

The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Process Serving retails at $400 but when you’re serving process you’re going to make that in a month or less!

If I could pay you $400 once and then make $500, $1,000, $1,200 a month over and over again would I do that?  Absolutely!  I would take that deal all day long.  And that’s how you have to look at the investigative services that you offer your clients.

You should be charging enough to make it worth your while to take the time, energy, effort, and your expertise while, at the same time, the client should be getting way more value out of it than what they’re paying for.

That makes for a good business relationship and that’s exactly the way business should be run.

And remember, in each training course is information about marketing and selling to your clients. Very, very valuable information.  A lot of experienced investigators get these materials just for the marketing things that are in them. It’s information that’s going to make you money over and over again.

Committed to your success as a Private Investigator,
Larry Kaye, Private Investigator

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