How To Start A Private Investigator Business (With Pictures)

By Kari Andrews

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private investigating

Do you enjoy solving problems and digging for facts more than anything?

Can you see yourself every day working in a job that involves having good eyes to spot things, makes use of your ability to solve issues, and listen well?

How about being able to set your own times that you work and having more control of how much you get paid for your work?

If it sounds like a challenging, yet rewarding task to handle, then you are cracked up to be a private investigator, and not just any private investigator — one that has complete reign by opening a business.

private investigator

How Big is the Private Investigator Business Industry?

Billions of dollars are spent in the private investigator industry, namely in regards to security purposes.

As big as it already is, it is expected to grow another 5% from 2014 through 2024.

The private investigator business is an industry that will always be here so long as there is something that needs to be resolved and corrected (this pretty much means it is a business that is here to stay).

Why Starting A Private Investigator Business Now Is A  Good Idea

Everybody wants to know everybody’s business when there are certain things that are left unknown, especially when it concerns crimes.

On a somewhat (kind of) lighter area, there are people that need help breaking in to the secret lives of someone else, see if a lover is cheating, finding lost people, thwarting stealers, and getting hard evidence for cases.

If you are tech savvy you can start even quicker as there are plenty of cases you can take on such as computer crimes.

These are situations that go on each day and people are willing to fork up big bucks if you can help them when they fell short.

Private Investigator Business Facts

Private Investigator Business Startup Costs:

There are a few basics you must have if you plan on being a private investigator so at minimum you should expect to have $2,000-$3,000 — up to $15,000 if you can afford a higher budget.

How Much Do Private Investigators Make?

Earnings will vary depending on several factors, but private investigators can earn anywhere between $25,000-$90,000 or about $13-$40 per hour.

How Much Do Private Investigators Charge?

The price you will charge your customers will also depend which area of expertise you specialize in and how many services you offer.

The complexity of the work, material that must be used, location, and possible distance traveled must also be taken into account.

Generally, a majority of the fees you will charge your clients should be by the hour and you can ask for $40 or as much as $100.

surveillance camera

What Do I Need to Start a Private Investigator Business?

Can I start from home?: Yes

Average startup cost: $2,000 – $10,000

How many people work in the industry (US): One Million

Average earnings: $45,000

What skills are required?: Having excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to problem solve    

How do Private Investigators find customers?: The type of people you want to attract will depend on the branch you decide to specialize in. Do you want to handle civil or criminal cases, missing people, background checks for employers, PC forensics, defense, apartments, online activities, businesses like insurance companies, infidelity, or general private parties? You can find these people via brochures and sales letters, advertising, and marketing.

private investigation business

Detailed Startup Costs

PC, Fax and Printer: $900 – $3,000

Office (optional) and Office Supplies: $300 – $2,500

Camera/Video Camera, DVD & Tape Recorder: $400 – $2,000

Insurance: $200 – $700 (annually)

UPS Box (personal mail box): $75 – $300

PI (private investigator) License: $2,075 – $9,000

Total: $3,950 – $17,500

Private Investigator Business Ideas

The icing on the cake for your business will be your customers so it will help you the most to know what marketing ideas to go for to get your name out there.

Want to know the true “secret” in a private investigator’s success?

It is all in the contacts.

It would help you tremendously to work on your people skills, go out there, and converse with attorneys, partake in professional associations or Chamber of Commerce in your area, meet with stock brokers, fraud managers, supermarkets, large retailers and department stores, or insurance companies.

You should keep in touch with your former clients, hop on social media, and try mini giveaways.

Using modern devices will be an advantage!

private investigating

Private Investigator Business Names

  • Smith’s Investigative Group
  • You See, I see PI Services
  • Top Quality Investigative Services
  • Omega Skip Trace Services
  • iSpy PI
  • Incognito Investigations inc
  • Secret Private Eye PI
  • Eyes Like a Hawk PI
  • Barnes and Associates Private Investigating
  • Regal Missing Persons Investigations
  • Global Risk Management Services
  • Get the Sleuth PI
  • ProSpecs PI
  • Discreet PI LLC
  • Know the Facts Investigator Services
  • Fraud Specialist InvestiGator
  • Absolute Stealth Investigator

Youtube Videos 


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