How much does a Private Investigator Cost?


How much does a Private Investigator Cost?

How Much Does a Private Investigator Cost?

How much does a private investigator cost? Well, that is an excellent question. Private investigation in Australia is a fairly small industry sector, although it is still a competitive one. There are a number of small operators giving the impression that they are larger than they actually are, and a few unscrupulous operators as well. All private detectives are required to be licensed in their states of operation and this can be confirmed with a simple check of the licensing authority in the state of operation. When you finish with this post please make sure you go to our home page and check out our media videos by clicking on this link

So how much does a private investigator cost ??…….. There are a variety of diverse services we offer and each product can vary in cost depending on the number of hours, and expertise required. And to make things more unknown, most investigations don’t come with a fixed charge because we don’t know how long it will take to get the answers required……. think about it logically – it makes total sense. This is especially true for related investigations.

Relationship Investigations

Nearly all spousal and relationship investigations today are solved by carrying out visual surveillance (following the subject) because this is one of the few legal directions we now have. Surveillance is charged at an hourly rate – not ‘per investigation’. It is a time-based exercise until the results come your way, although some customers do have a precise time frame that they need a private detective so they can work out what it will cost. For example, the partner may be going to a work Christmas party on a certain night or will be getting off a flight at a precise time. So the client will often know the exact venue and times they want their partner watched – they can pretty much lock in the cost because it is a one-off event and they will know the hours required. Of course, a private investigation can go the other side altogether with hours and days difficult to predict in the beginning.

How much does a private investigator cost as a guide?

Surveillance is charged at an hourly rate of $125 per operative used on the job. Some investigations need two or even more operatives and the costs rise consequently.

It can be difficult to calculate the typical outlay for a surveillance assignment but we would advise that somewhere in the vicinity of $1500 and $3000 would be quite standard. Many assignments come in at a lesser charge, and some can go way over this average as well.

We have solved problems for as little as $500, and some customers have spent well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Our surveillance rate of $125 per hour is different from many agencies insomuch as it is a flat rate with everything included. One of our competitors advertises a rate of $80 per hour for his services, but a ‘4-hour package’ costs $550 once all the added costs are included.

A 4-hour surveillance investigation with Lipstick Investigations comes in cheaper at $500 because it is all-inclusive. We have done our best in this short article to tell you how much private investigator costs.

Other Methods of Investigation

Occasionally there may be another way to solve a personal relationship problem including background checks, general database inquiries, and computer, and mobile phone forensics. In these situations, we really have to discuss the circumstances of the issue and then we can work out how much it may cost to investigate these alternate directions. You may be pleasantly surprised that many matters may be cheaper than you would have imagined. Call us at any time on 1300 LIPSTICK and we are only too happy to tell you how much private investigator costs. That’s what we are here for.

As a general guide, an investigation such as locating someone like a debtor, a long-lost family member, or a business associate is usually solved for under $1000. Background checks vary depending on what you are trying to achieve, but an average cost comes in around $1650.

We also get all sorts of weird and wonderful inquiries which we can often help with and these sorts of private investigations can only be priced once we hear what is required, and what information you have to get us started. We do many simple assignments such as database research on persons, businesses, or property, and you may be surprised how cheap these types of investigation services can be  – we are talking hundreds, not thousands.

Should you wish to contact us here at private investigator Sydney or Lipstick Investigations in Sydney or Brisbane, Gold Coast, or Tweed, please feel free to call us on 1300LIPSTICK, mobile on 0411 853 111 or email us directly at And remember, head to our home page to check out our media videos.

  • Linda
    Posted at 02:22h, 25 June Reply

    How much do u charge to find someone workplace, I gave u her home address

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 03:52h, 25 June Reply

      Linda, we would most likely do this by following the person from home to work. If all went well we should have your answer within the 4 hour minimum charge (or $500). If you have any further questions could you please email us directly at

  • Katrina Matthews
    Posted at 07:47h, 29 June Reply

    I need to find my ex husband to get him served with divorce papers. I know the town but that is all. Is this a service you could provide? If so how much would i be looking at approx?
    Thank you

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 03:05h, 07 July Reply

      Hi there,

      It is hard to put an exact cost on a service like this. The cost to locate a person depends on the actual circumstances. For example, someone trying to remain hidden is a lot harder to find than someone just going about their business. Typically though we charge an upfront fee of $400 to take on a locate job – this fee is non-refundable. If we can’t locate the subject there is nothing further to pay. If we do locate the person we charge an additional $400 as a success fee and then provide you with the address – this makes the end fee a total of $800. We don’t find everyone we set out to, and sometimes the direction of investigation can change half way through, but nothing extra is done without consulting you first. I would say our success rate is about 80% A circumstance such as yours I would imagine to be quite straightforward if your information is accurate.

      • Abdullah
        Posted at 20:31h, 16 August Reply

        Hi I need to to find some information about a relative

        • lipstickinvestigation
          Posted at 12:00h, 17 August Reply

          Hi there,

          Private investigation is a very broad field and it is impossible to respond to an inquiry without some detailed information. A private investigator has emailed you directly to try and find out some more about what you are trying to achieve.

          The Lipstick Team

  • Stephen
    Posted at 03:47h, 31 July Reply

    Hi: just enquire about could you find out someone’s personal details from the mobile number. and how is charge? Thanks

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 06:25h, 15 August Reply

      Hi Stephen,

      We don’t get access to the phone companies of course, so it isn’t as simple as that. We have a variety of other databases and methods that may achieve a result for you. typically we charge you $250 to take the job on. We then do everything we can to try and get the details that are required. If we can’t get the result, there is nothing further to pay. If we do come up with a name and address, an additional $500 is payable.

  • daughter
    Posted at 13:09h, 16 August Reply

    I need to find out if my father is cheating on my mother with another woman but he’s Korean and surrounds himself within the society in Sydney. How much would this cost?

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 00:55h, 19 August Reply

      This would come down to surveillance – have him followed and observed and see where he goes, who he meets, and what he gets up to. This is just costed at an hourly rate of $125, but how many hours are required is anyone’s guess. Give us a call on 1300LIPSTICK and have a chat to David – he will be able to sort something out for you.

  • Emma
    Posted at 12:47h, 18 August Reply

    Hey I’m looking into finding my father. I found his abn online but nothing else. I was wondering how much would it cost to track him down?

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 00:57h, 19 August Reply

      Typically re require an upfront payment of $400 to commence a location investigation. From this point we go away and do all our searches. If we can’t find your father we do not charge you anything further. If we do locate a current address, we charge an additional fee of $400 as a success fee (making the total $800). If you have any other questions just call David on 1300LIPSTICK and he can help you out. Alternatively email him at

  • anne antoniou
    Posted at 11:28h, 26 August Reply

    hi. needing to find out if someone has left the country or is still here. had an accident where it was the other persons fault and cant find him to serve him . we have a lawyer and been to court several times but it keeps getting adjouned as the other lawyer says driver been deported. I don’t believe this at all. the owner of the car was served but were told we must chase the driver who happens to be her fiancé or now husband. was told to call immigration but they tell me must go through police. call cops and they say ask lawyer. tell lawyer he says he cant call immigration. vicious cycle getting nowhere. what do you suggest in finding this moron driver? have his details. can we use you guys. how much please? thank you.

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 00:58h, 27 August Reply

      Hi Anne,

      I’m afraid that private investigators do not get access to information such as travel records, flight info, or immigration and customs details – all this is protected by privacy laws. There are other things we could do for you, but it is a matter of cost vs benefit. To locate a person we charge an upfront, non-refundable fee of $400. If we can’t find him then there is nothing further to pay, but we do keep the fee to cover and time and costs. If we are successful we charge a ‘success fee’ of an additional $400. This would be for a guaranteed address. If you would like to proceed, or if you have any further questions please email us directly at

  • Denis Scanlon
    Posted at 15:12h, 27 August Reply

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have a friend who lives in the Dandenong area of Melbourne. He loaned money to a person to allow this person to educate her daughter. The money was lent on a signed contractual basis, the person received the money and agreed to return the money (approximately $30K) . Those person/s borrowing the money are a woman and her daughter (both Asian born) .

    My understanding is the person providing the funding has very little hope of receiving his money back via normal channels.

    Although the borrower avoids returning the money there may be a way of convincing these people to return the funds rather than taking court action. As in doing so may lead to exposure.

    Is there a way of obtaining some indication of the current financial position of this person?
    Are they citizens of Australia.
    What papers do the hold ?
    Centre Link Benefits if any.

    Can you indicate what advice you can offer at solving his needs. Can a private investigator help in the circumstance and can you advise a cost (approximately)

    My name is Denis Scanlon Mobile 0412 342 192

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:31h, 27 August Reply

      Hi Denis,

      Licensed private investigators must work within the Australian privacy laws and for that matter do not get access to things like Centrelink, Immigration or bank accounts. What we can do here is do some asset searches which will concentrate on property holdings and major shareholdings – with the view being trying to establish if they have enough assets to make the costs of a court claim viable. An asset search such as this is usually around $500-600 but could be cheaper if we only target property ownership in one or two states (as opposed to Australia wide). This is one of those cases where the system works in favour of the scammer.

      If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at any time at

  • Carol
    Posted at 09:03h, 28 August Reply

    Hi, I think my ex is letting his girl to be the owner of the business and he claimed that he was getting minimum wages. He can minimise the child support in this case. Can I find out how much he is getting from the business? Or prove he was underpay on purpose? They are living together, can I find out the financial arrangement between them? Basically I want to find out anything that they are not doing it legally. How much will these costs me roughly?

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 01:06h, 29 August Reply


      This is a very difficult situation to prove. We do not get access to information such as bank accounts and the private finances of individuals. Typically the only way to prove that he is working is by carrying out surveillance (and possibly do some searches on the business ownership which might give some clues). Surveillance always gives a true indication of what is actually going on, but it can get quite costly at an hourly rate of $95. CSA normally needs you to prove the fact before they will act, and this could involve 40-60 hours (or more) of surveillance.

      There is no short cut for you in this predicament. If you have any further questions just email us directly at

  • Jay
    Posted at 08:11h, 06 September Reply

    My mum never told me who my dad was. Could you find that out?!

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 01:51h, 07 September Reply

      We would need some information to get us started. We do not get access to historical medical records, so we can’t do it that way. Often the father isn’t listed anyway. If your Mum is the only person that knows the answer to this question, she will be the only source of information. If you come back to us with a name we will have more of a starting point.

  • Steventhackray
    Posted at 06:18h, 16 September Reply

    Hi I’m steven. I was wondering if it’s possible to find my biological father. Only info I have is either one of 2 names, I believe I know the type of car and color he was driving around time of my birth, I believe he had a daughter 2 yes older than myself. Is this enough information to work with?

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:12h, 24 September Reply

      Hi Steven, I assume you will have an area or location that this all happened? If so we are definitely a chance. Email us directly at and send us exactly what information you have. We can then assess it for you and advise if there is direction.

  • Noime
    Posted at 04:44h, 06 October Reply

    Hi I’m Noime. How much does it cost if I ask you to take photos of the 2 person who’s making out together outside work? I need a good proof so they can get fired I need a good proof that they are dating outside work after work and etc..

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:09h, 06 October Reply

      Noime, this is just charged at an hourly rate of $125. There is a 4 hour minimum charge each period, so perhaps you should consider watching them each afternoon after work until we see them together. We would expect that if they catch up regularly that it should only take a few days work. If you have any further questions please email us direct at

  • lisa
    Posted at 07:14h, 10 October Reply

    Hi my name is Lisa I am worried my girls are not in a safe invirment when they are go to there dad’s for visiting my youngest don’t like going there as he always yells at them and I am sure he dose drugs still but got no profe that he isn’t as good as he says what can I do and can I use the evidence uses get be used in Court

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:23h, 10 October Reply

      We can probably only solve this by carrying out a surveillance operation. However you have to realise that we won’t be able to film or record what is going on behind closed doors – we can only film what happens outside. So if we see any mistreatment outside of the home we can certainly use that in court. It is impossible to provide an end cost to something like this – all we can quote you is the hourly rate of $95. We would only have to watch him when he has the child so you can work out a surveillance schedule based on on those times.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 23:46h, 18 October Reply

    I have her name, age, phone no could you locate her home & work address, photos of her. Also can a phone that has been bent in half be repaired & any messages still visible / readable

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 19:00h, 20 October Reply

      This is a multi-directional investigation. firstly we have to locate the address which is done using database searches. costs vary depending on the initial information you provide but usually we charge an upfront fee of $400 to take the job on, followed by an additional $400 charged as a success fee when we find her.

      Once we have the home address, we can then change over to surveillance. we would then follow her to work to ascertain the place of employment. at the same time we would be able to get photographs. Surveillance is charged at an hourly rate of $125.

      As far as the bent phone is concerned, we would have to see the phone and hook it up to the equipment to find out. There is a fee of $250 to do this, and an additional $400 to proceed with the extraction. Additional costs apply if the extraction is successful. If the phone doesn’t power up I would suggest that we probably couldn’t get into it (we need it to be turned on to extract the information).

      If you have any further questions please email us directly at

  • vicki morris
    Posted at 19:31h, 21 October Reply

    Hi there , trying to find out if my sons father has been made redundant as claimed , he had made threats he wasn’t paying anymore because he just bought a house and then coincidentally he was apparently made redundant .CSA accepted this statement off him with no documentation. I know his mobile, address , parents address and he is on facebook.
    they have told me I need to find the company he is actually working for which is the mines and not sure if he stays there when working….Is this going to be costly??? not in a huge financial position 🙁 Help

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:28h, 21 October Reply

      Hi Vicki,

      Ascertaining if someone is working away in the mining industry can be difficult. Normally we would just follow the person to work and get an answer fairly quickly. But if he is in the mines then they work on a rotating roster and it could be long and drawn out process to get this information via surveillance. It may be possible to get the information by contacting him under some sort of pretext and having him tell us where he is working (without realising). This only costs a couple of hundred dollars to try – and if we are successful we charge a couple of hundred dollars more as a ‘success fee’. If this is something you may be interested in please email us directly at

  • lisa
    Posted at 08:59h, 08 November Reply

    Hi im trying to find my biological father stephen james jordan born 1954.. I have an address from like 20yrs ago. I have his 2 brothers and nephews but no one has seen my father in like 20+ yrs.. how much would it cost to find him.

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:16h, 09 November Reply

      Typically re require an upfront payment of $400 to commence a location investigation. From this point we go away and do all our searches. If we can’t find your father we do not charge you anything further. If we do locate a current address, we charge an additional fee of $400 as a success fee (making the total $800). If you have any other questions just call David on 1300LIPSTICK and he can help you out. Alternatively email him at

  • Olivia
    Posted at 13:16h, 01 December Reply

    Hi I think my boyfriends married

    Can you find out the address linked to his car registration plate? If that is linked to his work can you find out his home address?

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 23:53h, 01 December Reply

      No, we do not get access to the car registration of driver licence database. That is not an available direction of investigation. There are many other ways we can locate a residential address – send us some more detail to and we will see what we can do for you.

  • lipstickadmin
    Posted at 01:51h, 03 January Reply

    This probably falls into our regular costing category of an upfront charge of $400 to commence the searches, followed by an additional $400 if and when we are successful (80% success rate). However, if the name you provide us is very common, and you don’t have any other detail at all we may struggle. For example, looking for JOHN SMITH with no other detail will be next to impossible because we will have too many results come up and we won’t be able to ascertain which result is the correct JOHN SMITH. Assuming the name is less common we should be ok. Most clients have SOME additional information such as a birthdate, or a middle name, or a last known address. This helps us cross a lot of names of the list, and hopefully leaving just the person you are after. If you would like to proceed with this investigation just email us directly at

  • Lorna
    Posted at 19:05h, 22 January Reply

    Hi I was just wondering if you can locate and get details of someone with just an abn number. The last place I knew they were was is Hamilton Island. I know their date of birth and full name other than that I have no other info.

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 00:27h, 23 January Reply

      Hi there. We won’t be able to locate an address from the ABN as that sort of information is kept within the tax office which we do not have access to – but if you have the name and date of birth as you say, then we should be able to do it using a number of other methods. This will fall into our regular costing category of an upfront payment of $400 to commence the job, and then an additional $400 becomes payable if and when we locate the person. If you would like to proceed or if you have any other questions, just email us directly at

  • Raylee
    Posted at 13:03h, 13 February Reply

    My partner has a history of cheating.
    Several of the times/places/activities he tells me about don’t add up. He knows I’m grilling him like I’m a detective & that I question anything that doesnt sit with me. I feel like I’ve played all my cards & shown my hand instead of keeping quite about things I’ve figured out. (Because I’m not a good lier for one and secondly because I just want to know once and for all if he’s changed.)
    He had begun to cover his tracks more now that he knows I’m onto him but I still don’t have enough proof to convince myself to stay or leave. He’s very cluey and observant & possibly even suspicious which might make things hard. I don’t drive or perhaps I could do this myself.
    I’m wondering what a PI would get done in an hour & if you need to just sit & wait for someone if the clock just keeps ticking? (Which I assume it would.)
    Also can a PI be called on spec when behavior is suspicious rather then waiting around for something to happen.
    Thanks for your time and assisting with my peace of mind.

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 01:26h, 14 February Reply

      We have responded to this inquiry directly by the supplied email.

  • Worried
    Posted at 01:02h, 24 February Reply


    I am trying to find out if my husband is cheating whilst he is on his fly out swing. He works in Karratha – WA – can you please advise if this would be extra costs to the $125/hr or alternatively check his deleted messages on his phone

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 01:12h, 24 February Reply

      I will talk to you at length via direct email, but basically an outpost such as Karratha is still the same hourly rate for investigation, but the client has to cover costs such as travel and accommodation. Usually our surveillance charges are all inclusive of mileage, travel time, video and report, but only if in our regularly services areas such as Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast. We have other affiliates around Australia that can assist on many investigations but we do not have someone already in Karratha.

  • susie
    Posted at 03:43h, 23 March Reply

    hi, I am suspicious that my husband is having an affair outside .. how much is the cost to get his pictures with the mistress …I want him busted…thanks

    • lipstickadmin
      Posted at 04:03h, 23 March Reply

      Surveillance is charged at $125 per hour and there is a 4 hour minimum each time we leave the office. We charge a little more per hour than some other companies but our charges are ALL INCLUSIVE of GST, mileage, travel time to and from the start of the job, video, pictures, report and regular updates – so it is a flat rate per hour with no hidden charges at the end of the surveillance period/s. Basically, you give us a schedule of hours you want observations carried out and we do the rest. It is impossible to predict how long a job will take which is why we charge you by the hour. Email us directly at if you have any firther questions.

      Payment is required in advance and can be done easily with a credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express), bank transfer, cheque or even Western Union. For example, if you book 4 hours we require a pre-payment of $500, 10 hours we need $1250 and 40 hours we will need $5,000.

  • kitty
    Posted at 11:28h, 01 April Reply

    Hi is it possible to do a person history check in details?