Call Us

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Private Investigator in Canada?

Posted on

When you’re thinking about hiring a private investigator in Canada, there are a few things you need to ask each agency before choosing a company and an agent. The first question should be regarding their experience level and reputation in the industry. The other question should be focused on their type of services and their rates. Unlike other professions, there is no industry standard when it comes to fees for hiring a private investigator in Canada, so it’s important to understand how each agency sets their rates. 

You can use the information in this article to find out what you need to ask to help you make the best decision when hiring a PI.  

How Rates Are Set

Rates set by private investigators are based on several factors, including the level of experience and the time it will take to complete the job. This means that fees can vary depending on your location, the agency you use, the type of services you need and the complexity of the work. With that said, most private investigators charge by the hour. You might see a base fee for database searches and background checks, but for surveillance work or locating a missing person, an hourly range will be the norm. 

Typical Fees

There are no industry-specific guidelines for private investigators in Canada. So it’s important to find out exactly what you are paying for. Here are some other costs to hire a private investigator in Canada:


Don’t forget to inquire if the PI uses a retainer agreement as part of their fee structure. If so, you will want to know what type of retainer they want you to agree to. If it’s a consumable retainer you would need to pay a fee upfront, which would then be put towards any hours completed on the job. A non-consumable retainer fee, on the other hand, would be paid in advance and any hours worked would be added on top of this fee amount.   


You also want to know if you’re responsible for their expenses such as travel time, hotel fees, or other administration costs. If these fees are not included in the original quote, you should ask for a range, if there is a cap, and when they are billed to you. If you forget to inquire about expenses you could be caught off guard if and when you receive these extra charges. 

At The Smith Investigation Agency, we are always upfront with our customers about our fees during the consultation. Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss your project.