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Private Investigator Cost & Rates

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Private Investigator Cost: 2024 Update

As is true with most things in life, “you get what you pay for,” and the same rings true when hiring a private investigation agency. The cost of hiring a private investigator in Toronto can vary significantly amongst agencies as does the quality of work.

If you need surveillance servicescheating spouse investigationscorporate fraud investigationsWSIB workplace investigationslocating a person, or any other investigation services, it’s crucial to hire a reputable agency with a history of excellence, rather than going for the cheapest option. Lower fees often mean cutting corners, or that the investigators lack experience and qualifications.

For example, conducting a corporate fraud investigation is complex and requires specific skills, qualifications, and experience. Many agencies offer these services without the necessary expertise, which can lead to costly mistakes. Similarly, surveillance involves more than simply following someone; it requires skilled and qualified investigators to execute the assignment properly and effectively.

Private investigator rates and fees in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario vary widely. Most agencies require an upfront retainer and then charge an hourly rate or offer all-inclusive packages. It’s essential to read the fine print on all-inclusive packages to ensure you get exactly what’s promised. Hourly rates for reputable agencies typically range from $85 to $150 for surveillance services, with different rates for other specialized investigations. Always get a written agreement detailing what you’re paying for, and ensure the investigation agency can provide an itemized breakdown of expenses with evidence to justify the hours billed. Reputable agencies will always have evidence to demonstrate the hours worked.

The bottom line is, if you need to hire a private investigator, make sure you choose a reputable agency that provides clear, detailed, and transparent billing to ensure you receive the service you’re paying for.

Private Investigator Rates

As mentioned above, there is no standard cost for private investigators in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, or the entire GTA. Fees and payment terms vary depending on several factors, including the investigator’s experience, the complexity of the case, the time required, the profile of the person being followed, and incidental expenses like travel. Typically, private investigators charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $85 to $150. Some may offer a lower rate for extensive investigations, so discuss this detail beforehand. Ensure the investigator is part of a fully licensed agency registered with the Community Safety and Correctional Services of Ontario and is insured and bonded. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Paying Retainers

Most private investigation agencies require a retainer fee, which can be either consumable or non-consumable. A non-consumable retainer is a fee paid for taking on the project, with additional hourly rates applied thereafter. A consumable retainer is used to cover the hours spent on the investigation. Retainer fees typically range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Private Investigator Expenses

Beyond hourly rates and retainer fees, private investigators may charge for additional expenses such as travel time, airfare, court appearances, hotel stays, and administrative costs. Some of these expenses are billed upfront, while others may be invoiced later. Make sure to clarify all these details, before hiring anyone.

Hiring a Private Investigator is an Investment

The information obtained from a reputable private investigator can often lead to victims, whether individuals or corporations, saving thousands of dollars from fraud, but with many successful investigations, the peace of mind and the power that knowledge brings can make it a worthwhile investment alone. The more you know, the better decisions you can make regarding your situation.

In Conclusion

Do your homework on who you are thinking about hiring. Ask them their backgrounds, meet with them at one of their offices, ask to see their license to get a good feel of their professionalism and go from there. At Haywood Hunt and Associates we pride ourselves on being subject matter experts within certain areas and employ some of the nation’s most reputable and qualified Investigators. All of our Investigative rates and packages are very competitive and within industry standards and we strongly stand by our professionalism and superior work ethic. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In order to hire a Private Investigator you need to ensure they are representing or attached to a Licensed Private Investigation Agency and not just have a Private Investigator licence. Any reputable Private investigator will have the knowledge to carry out many types of investigative undertakings. Surveillance is one of the most requested services in our industry many Private Investigation Agencies offer this service , but only a handful really have the experience and know-how to execute properly and effectively. A reputable Private Investigator will always have a solid investigative work history. Being Licensed is one thing, but knowing how to attend to most investigation is a craft and can have huge legal recourse if not handled accordingly. Make sure who ever you hire can back up their resume. Just because someone is a licensed investigator does not mean they know how to investigate. 

NOTE: A google review is a great indicator, but make sure you always look a little deeper and at times read between the lines on some of these. A knowledgeable and respected Private Investigator will know how to shepherd any investigation accordingly in search of providing their clients clarity to unknown answers or a conclusion to any quandary they may be experiencing. Do your homework before you engage any Private Investigator – Investigation Agency as there are good ones, great ones and the ones you should be running the other way from.

As the saying goes “cheaper is not always better”, and that statement holds true within the Investigative industry. As you probably have noticed, there are a lot of Private Investigation Agencies within Toronto and throughout the GTA and Province of Ontario. When it comes to cost, it varies greatly.

The main question is “what are you paying for?” Is it Surveillance Services, Corporate Fraud Investigation, locating a person or persons, undercover operations? Whatever the service request, it is imperative that you make sure you hire a reputable agency and not just the cheapest entity out there. In this industry, when you pay a cheap fee for anything it is usually because corners have been cut or that they are inexperienced and not as qualified as they put themselves out to be.

For example, conducting a Fraud Investigation is not as simple as some may think. It is important to note that there are a handful of Private Investigation Agencies offering this type of service that do not possess the necessary skill set, qualifications or experience to do so. The same plays out for Surveillance Services, simply following someone does not make you a qualified or skilled Surveillance Investigator. There is a lot more that goes in to a Surveillance Investigation.

Do your homework on who you are thinking about hiring. Ask them their backgrounds, meet with them at one of their offices, ask to see their license to get a good feel of their professionalism and go from there. At Haywood Hunt and Associates we pride ourselves on being subject matter experts within certain areas and employ some of the nations most reputable and qualified Investigators. All of our Investigative rates and packages are very competitive and within industry standards.

To work as a Private Investigator in Ontario and throughout Canada, you must have a valid licence and be attached to a valid licensed agency to work as a Private Investigator. Ask who ever you hire to present you with the appropriate Identification and also ensure they are representing a Licensed Agency. Attend the office and the licence should be visible for your review and inspection.

Yes. A private investigator can legally follow someone within the normal confines of the law. A skilled and properly trained private investigator will know where to draw the line and where not to tread. Make sure you hire a qualified expert and not someone posing as one. Our team of surveillance investigators are experts with several decades of surveillance experience both in the public and private sectors.

The key word is legal. If you hire a qualified team of knowledgable, professional investigators like those employed with our agency you should never encounter anything that would be deemed as illegal or unethical.

Because of privacy restrictions in place that protects those who are living in or visiting Canada, it is not legal for private investigators to seek out or obtain cell phone records. Haywood Hunt & Associates, Inc. complies to all rules set by the Canadian government and respects every individual’s right to privacy. What we can do is to use other legal methods to obtain information that can be useful for the case. These methods may involve surveillance services or fraud investigations.

At times, Private Investigators may be called upon to present evidence obtained throughout the course of their investigation. It is imperative they keep detailed notes and utilize legal and ethical methods to obtain any and all evidence. Our team of investigators have presented evidence many times throughout their decorated careers; you are in good hands with us.

All Private investigators must work within the legal perimeters of our Canadian Privacy Laws such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act “PIPEDA”. This act governs the use, collection, and disclosure of client data. Private investigators that are working for a reputable Private Investigation Agency will be professional, discreet, and respectful of this act as well as other rights of private individuals. Be very cautious who you hire and always ensure that they are reputable and are safeguarding your information and any and all information obtained through out the coarse of the investigation accordingly.

Any ethical and professional Private Investigation Agency you hire is not at liberty to share any of your information to anyone without your full consent. However, there are at times, very rare circumstances that can arise in which a court order can request that the investigation agency forward investigation details. Make sure you obtain as much clarity of certain possibilities like this one.

Even though there is no law against purchasing a GPS device or for owning a GPS device, it is important to note that there are a number of very serious laws regarding the utilization of  them. If a GPS device is used inappropriately, or if you cannot prove that it was not used inappropriately, it is very possible that you may be subject to the same laws, fines, and penalties as any common criminal. We do not ever rent out our GPS devices to the general public as you can simply purchase your own for a very reasonable cost and save some money. We also only utilize them under lawful circumstances and on very select investigation files.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General regulates Ontario’s Private Security Industry, which includes all Private Investigators and Agencies, all Security Guards and registry employees that directly employ in-house security staff. Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc. is a fully licensed Ontario Private Investigation Agency through the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

At Haywood Hunt and Associates we take great pride in offering a free initial consultation. We invite you to attend our Head Office in order to meet and discuss in private, your situation.
 
We understand how hard it can be and our empathetic and caring team has helped thousands of people or businesses just like you. We will draft out a solid plan of action and discuss costs and optics associated to your specific situation. We will do our very best to work with your budget and all of our fees and investigative packages are clearly mapped out so, you won’t get any surprises, just clear, honest and above all, transparency; that is the Haywood Hunt approach.
 
If you choose to retain our agency, you will receive everything in writing, no tricks or misleading scenarios happen here, we guarantee you that.  Our office is equipped with a comfortable, professional and most importantly, private boardroom in which we offer complimentary coffee, juice, pop and water. 
 
We also welcome you to bring along a friend, work colleague or a family member for additional support. If you have children, we invite you to bring them too as our Head Office has a large and colourful fish tank, which can provide some fun and entertainment as they wait. We also provide iPads that are equipped with several puzzle and gaming apps for their enjoyment. We want you to always feel welcome, safe and comfortable when you meet with our team and do note that we always assure you the very strictest of confidentiality. 
 
Note: We are not a Law Firm and can not offer legal advice, but we can definitely provide investigative feedback and steer you in the right direction of a good lawyer if that is what we collectively feel is needed rather then the services of a Private Investigator – Investigation Agency.
 
Our team looks forward to meeting with you.

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