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  • Peter Sandru

Private Investigator Salary?

Updated: 6 days ago

There are many different fields a Private Investigator can work in, all with different salaries. Most PIs work as employees of agencies, but Investigators can even work for themselves. For simplicity’s sake, we will discuss the most common field a PI would work in: surveillance. A salary for a new Private Investigator is typically $50 000 per year. This can go up $100 000 for an experienced Private Investigator who is known for accomplishing objectives on a constant basis. However, a salary is not commonly used for surveillance operatives, an hourly rate is.

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An hourly rate for a rookie Private Investigator is usually around $20 per hours. This would equal a salary of approximately $40 000 per year; however, PIs get paid travel time, mileage, and report writing time. This supplementary payment can increase the $40k salary to more around $50k. This supplementary payment holds true for experienced Private Investigators as well.


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Being a new PI does not necessarily mean that you need a lot of experience to obtain $100 000 per year, you just need to obtain constant positive results. This will show employers that you are valuable, even without a lot of experience. This is where Private Investigator education and training courses come in to play. PI education will help new PIs obtain positive results gaining them more revenue in a much shorter time.


Private Investigators can eventually earn a seven-figure income after they start working for themselves. This is done when a Private Investigator manages multiple investigations, each being worked by other PIs/ employees. However, a Private Investigator can still earn high revenue without employees. If a PI works their own files, they can make around $250 000 per year. So anyway you look at it, this career is very lucrative.

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