Some really good points are coming out of this topic regarding what we
each individually charge for our investigative services and why we
I hope that even the quiet P.I.s are taking notes, reading, and
discussing these posts amongst the people they trust. Our industry is
"hurting" because people are WILLINGLY working for low rates, and by
doing so they are giving off the impression that our work is not
important enough to have a professional price tag placed on it, in my
individual and personal opinion.
Look at what the people in our industry do. They save insurance
companies MILLIONS of dollars, they save consumers millions of dollars
each year, they help defend the innocent, they help protect our
children, they help bring those to justice that might victimize our
society. Think about the importance of the things we do, and ask
yourself if that type of work is worth a professional price tag?
Look at our investment into our chosen profession. Most of what we do
relies on some type of technology, a voice recorder, a video camera, a
computer, etc., etc., these things are not cheap. Right now I KNOW I
have over $50,000.00 in computer technology sitting within 15 feet of
me. Why shouldn't we charge for having to invest, maintain, and keep
this equipment so we can do our work? What's so wrong with trying to
make a profit after having spent so much money out of our pocket on
the tools to do your job with? I can NOT charge less $125.00/Hr. and
maintain all of my equipment and make a profit, consistently. I charge
more than that, but my point here is that if most of you looked at
what we do strictly from a financial angle, you'd see that you might
be taking more of a loss than you think with what you are charging.
I have talked with many people about this, and I think possibly helped
a few to make more money in the P.I. Business, and the number one fear
that I hear is "I am going to lose clients if I raise my rates".
That's probably true, you just may. But, if you continue to market
your company to other professionals, you are going to gain BETTER
clients, that expect professional work, and expect to pay professional
fees for it.
One small and sadistic part of me often enjoys knowing that some of my
competition is willing to "break their backs" for 80% to 95% less
money than I am willing to even meet with an attorney for. But the
more intelligent side of me knows that this has an effect on our
industry as a whole. The people that are doing this are sending a
message out about our industry that I don't believe is very
flattering, in my personal and individual opinion. So, I am always
available to offer my personal and individual opinion on this subject
if another P.I. wants to talk to me about it.
Think of how much easier life would be if you could double your
salary, practically overnight. In our profession, you have the ability
to do that; if you go about it intelligently. I honestly can't see any
reason that any P.I. would work for under $100.00/Hr., with the
exception of new P.I.s that are not confident in what they are doing
and want to gain that confidence before they charge more.
I consult to Bail Bondsmen too, on recovery issues. I don't do a lot
of that anymore, but I do pick and choose a few cases to work
occasionally. Most of my Bail Bonding Clients will always start off
with me when we talk about fees and charges telling me that the
industry standard is 10% of the bond. And I tell them that the "10%
standard" has been around for years and years, and so have I. And I
also tell them that I changed my "standard" with the economy, if they
want me to find their "skip" they will pay me a processing fee for
just looking at the file, a retainer for accepting the case, and a
minimum of 30% for causing them to be exonerated from the bond. With
me, it is "take it or leave it". Most Bail Bondsman take it, because
they know they are getting someone that knows how to keep them from
having to pay that bond, and paying me up to 50% beats paying the
courts 100%. There are literally hundreds of people that will work in
this industry for the "10% standard", but I don't see any of them stay
in business very long. It takes more than just being good at what you
do, that is only one part of the equation. It also takes being smart
about how you conduct the business of what you do, in other words you
also have to be an intelligent business person. I give my buddies and
fellow P.I.s breaks on pricing, and even do some work for free in some
cases. But I am allowed to pick and choose who I want to do this for,
since it is MY company; and I can afford to do this because of the
rates that I DO charge.
This has actually been one of the most helpful threads that a person
in our industry could read.
Thank you all for your input and opinions. There are P.I.s here that
would do well to print this thread off and read it occasionally.
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