What should I expect the hourly rate to be?

There is no real standard hourly rate for Private Investigator services, as this can differ within a small geographic location. Rates will also differ wildly based on city and state. For example, you are likely not going to pay in Iowa what you should expect to pay in New York City. The rates may also differ depending upon the type of case. If you are looking for a criminal defense investigator or one who specializes in a forensics field, expect to pay much more than what you would for static surveillance. Typically, you should expect to pay around $70 - $140 per hour. Many agencies offer military, medical, or other types of hourly discounts so it will never hurt to ask.

The low end - If your investigator is quoting you an extremely low hourly rate (at or below $55/hour) you should be very skeptical. There is usually a reason for this, and it will unlikely end in your favor.

This is well below industry standard even for a brand-new investigator working for a small agency and is typically in the sub-contracting range.