How much does a private detective cost?

As a regulated liberal profession, subject to a CNAPS authorization to practice, private detective agencies are free to set their fees, like other liberal professions such as lawyers or chartered accountants. Prices will therefore vary according to a number of factors, such as the technical nature of the case, the level of expertise required, the reliability of the information provided by the client and, to a lesser extent, the prestige of the firm. So, based on all these factors, how much does a private detective cost?

In-field investigation prices

How much does an in-field investigation by a private detective cost? Examples of in-field investigations include surveillance, tailing, gathering of witness statements and neighbourhood surveys. These investigations are usually charged at a flat rate based on the time spent on the case. Depending on the objectives set and the resources used (number of agents/vehicles), Groupe Indicia private detectives will provide you with a detailed fixed-price quotation indicating the exact amount of fees, including VAT, and above all specifying the number of hours/days of work, the resources used, the number of agents involved, travel expenses, etc.

For informational purposes, the rates encountered across the profession for provision of an agent range between €60 and €120 an hour, including taxes, with the higher end of this bracket being mostly found in Ile-de-France. A minimum fee is generally charged for each intervention, and a sliding scale of charges may be applied, for example for the provision of a second agent, or depending on the price of the total hourly rate agreed when the assignment contract is signed.

Administrative investigation prices

How much does an administrative investigation by a private detective cost? Requiring little to no travel on-site, these investigations are generally invoiced at a flat rate and, in part, based on results. In this case, a minimum deposit is paid by the customer to cover the initial costs of the investigation, with the balance to be paid on completion of the investigation when results are achieved. Based on the information provided by our client and its reliability, Groupe Indicia private detectives will provide you with a fixed price, taking account of the difficulty of the investigations and the time required.

These investigations include, for example, determining a professional situation, researching a property portfolio or locating a debtor’s address. By way of illustration only, fees can vary from €500 incl. VAT for a simple investigation to €3,000 incl. VAT for a much more complex financial investigation with multiple aspects, for example.

Assignment fees and travel expenses

According to requirements, assignment fees and travel expenses may be charged in addition, on provision of supporting documents to the client. These fees and expenses may include hotel accommodation, train tickets, administrative documents and tolls. Usually, the detective is able to anticipate all or part of such expenses and will include them in the quote.

For tailing assignments, travel expenses are generally billed to the client on a price-per-kilometer basis. As a guide, the rate can vary between €0.5 and €1.00/km. Here again, this expense can be estimated in advance, and it’s not uncommon for detective agencies to offer a package that includes travel costs.


All services provided by a private detective must be billed on an invoice that includes all mandatory legal information (identification of the service provider and client, date, etc.), and indicates the amount of VAT (20%) , if required by the agency’s legal form and tax regime.

Please note: the CNAPS tax (0.4%) has been abolished! Article 52 of French Finance Act no. 2011-900 of 29 July 2011 introduced a contribution on private security activities, codified in Article 1609 quintricies of the French General Tax Code (CGI), payable by private investigation agencies beneficiaries of the Conseil National des Activités Privées de Sécurité (CNAPS). This contribution, which has now been abolished, was used to fund the CNAPS, a legal entity under public law responsible for administrative policing, disciplinary matters and providing advice and assistance to the profession.

In conclusion, each case is unique and requires a detailed analysis of the information you provide us with in order to define the objectives of the assignment, set out a coherent investigation strategy and determine the cost of the investigation to be carried out. Following an initial over-the-phone or face-to-face meeting, Groupe Indicia detectives are able to send you a detailed quote specifying the exact nature of the services to be carried out, the amount of fees to be expected and, to answer the first question: How much does a private detective cost?

How much does a private detective cost?

Do not hesitate to contact the Groupe Indicia private detectives for more information or a free quote. Find our private detective agencies in Paris, Montpellier, Rennes, Lyon, Nîmes, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Aix-en-Provence, Vannes, Annecy and Geneva.