California Investigator Price List


It’s common for clients to “window shop” for the best private investigator rates in town, but there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re looking for the best rate, rather than the best service, we can’t help you. Everyone familiar with the legal community understands most proper investigations are not cheap and the client should be prepared to spend as necessary to accomplish the task.  

Let’s consider the following. An unlicensed private investigator (or licensed private investigator) can offer you a rate of $25.00/hour for a total of 40 hours equaling $1,000.00. On the other side, a private investigator working the same case that knows what he’s doing might charge $150.00/hour. And because he’s experienced, it’ll only take him 7 hours to complete for a grand total of $750.00. Also ask yourself, why is the private investigator offering such a cheap rate? Sometimes the investigator is hurting for money—scary thought isn’t it?

Hiring an unlicensed private investigator or one without insurance is another scary thought. When you hire an unlicensed private investigator, both you and the “investigator” break the California Private Investigator Act (Business and Professions Code §7523 [b]). The penalty is up to a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. If you plan on using evidence gathered by the unlicensed investigator in a court of law, the judge may throw out the evidence.  

Hiring an investigator without insurance is just as costly. When things go wrong, you have no useful remedies. Suing someone with no professional liability insurance (or no assets) is a no-win situation.  Click here to find out if your investigator is licensed. If you’re checking up on us, type in “Sundahl” in the business name box or under “business owners, principals or qualified managers” and our license will appear. You can also feel free to request a copy of our insurance policy.

Although we would like to, we don’t accept all cases. We don’t accept all cases, because we don’t want to give our clients false expectations if factors work against our favor.  Before a case is accepted, we’ll screen your case for solvability factors.  In other words, we’ll ask “What are the chances of us doing what you ask of us?”

There’s no charge to screen your case. We’ll provide a free consultation. If we accept your case, our billing rate for 2015 is $95.00/hour and .57 per mile. You would be responsible for any additional expenses incurred as a result of your investigation. Each assignment requires a minimum of 5 hours. For each assignment, we require a deposit. The deposit covers the estimated number of hours needed to do the job.  Most assignments require between a $700-$3,500 deposit.

A $500-$3,500 deposit, isn’t too bad considering how much you can save when you hire us. Just consider the savings in the following scenario. A client hires us to locate an employer or significant other for a spousal support case. The defendant or plaintiff claims she can’t gain find a job or she has not financial support. Sooner or later, we find a new live-in “friend” or a new employer. In the end, the client will save money by paying less in alimony/child support (of course, results vary).

Why hire us?

Our principal, Shaun Sundahl, has a lot at stake. First, Shaun is an off-duty and full-time police officer.  His success in his law enforcement career depends on how he treat his clients. Considering education, Shaun has a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He’s a professional writer and get paid to write (Read his book The California Private Investigator). Shaun is married (11+ years and has children. That means he’s able to understand any familial matters, especially divorce, infidelity, spousal support and child custody issues (not saying he had these issues).

Shaun and his company’s experience and reputation is easily verifiable by clicking any of the following hyperlinks. Shaun’s business has over 19 positive reviews with Trust Link, a Better Business Bureau affiliate. He’s also a member of Yelp! Shaun has a personal and business Facebook and Linkedin account. Shaun is the founder and moderator of the Linkedin Group called the California Legal Investigators Network. Shaun’s Private Investigator license can be verified by clicking here. And last, Shaun uses PayPal for payment transactions. By using Paypal, you can dispute any transactions he/she feels are fraudulent.

Court Testimony Inclusion

If your case may require us to appear in court or a deposition as a witness, you’ll be responsible for an additional payment of $800.00 to cover eight billable hours. If your case is adjudicated or dismissed without us arriving at the courthouse or deposition, we’ll promptly refund you the hours that weren’t used. Please note that some cases can take several years to adjudicate. Cases that usually require our testimony are civil and family law cases.

You’ll be billed for any waiting time or time we spend actually testifying. Every court appearance requires a non-refundable, four-hour minimum payment whether we testify or not, whether we testify for one minute or four hours, or whether we’re dismissed early as a witness.  Mileage of .57 per mile to and from court or the deposition is also your responsibility.

Witness Statement Rate

If you are an attorney or  someone who needs a verbal or written statement (statement, affidavit, or declaration) AND you know where the witness is located AND the witness or declarant will be cooperative, we offer a flat rate of $380. If you need a bilingual investigator, the fee is $480.00. When the witness is not cooperative or needs to be located, our flat rate may apply including our hourly rate of $95.00/hour and mileage and other expenses. Of course, every case differs.

Spot Check Rate

A spot check occurs when we travel to a pre-planned location, we proceed to take photos or video (if requested), and leave immediately. Other than checking the premises, no investigation is performed. No testimony would be provided at any future court hearings. We’ll also spend no more than five minutes at the location.

Spot checks are great for infidelity investigations, some child custody investigations, property occupancy verifications, or for cases that don’t require a complete investigation. Keep in mind, this service is meant for the person who knows a vehicle, a person, or thing has a high probability of being at a location during a predictable time frame.

Our flat rate for a spot check including any applicable video or photos is $250 per spot check. Spot checks between 8:00 pm and 12:00 a.m. are $300 and 12:01 and 7:00 am are $400. All spot checks require a round trip to be paid at .57/mile.

A-La-Carte Services

Comprehensive Database Search (CDS)

This is not your typical search you get from the internet for $10.00 or even $50.00. Our vendors require a private investigator license. Although not displayed in every CDS report, many of our CDS reports include real estate ownership records, social media sites, phone numbers, associated neighbors and family members, professional licenses, corporation or limited liability company ownership, possible current addresses and former addresses, criminal records, civil lawsuit records, liens, and bankruptcies. Before we begin most of our investigations, we will order a CDS from our vendor, however, you can order a CDS without retaining our services for a complete investigation. A disclosure and waiver statement must be signed. The price for the CDS is $50 per person searched.

Automated License Plate Reader Data (ALPR)

If your case involves fraud or you’re attempting to locate a debtor, we have access to ALPR. ALPR technology is amazing. Each hour, repossession vehicles all across our country scan hundreds of license plates. The ALPR scanner records dates/times, takes photos, and records maps of the GPS coordinates of vehicle. On average, we’re able to locate at least two ALPR hits per client.  Multiple hits in an apartment complex or high density housing area, are usually consistent with the person residing or frequenting near those GPS coordinates. Also, just imagine the value of having a picture of one’s vehicle with a date/time stamp and the GPS coordinates!

Below, is an example of an ALPR report (results may vary):

ALPR data is available for $150.00 per license plate search. Our ALPR data is a hit/no hit fee. That means if we can’t locate ANY ALPR data, you will receive a 100% refund.

Cell Phone or Landline Reversal

Our cell phone or landline reversal searches are not the same as the type the general public has access to (i.e. White Pages, Intelius, etc…). We contract with other investigators who have access to this type of proprietary data. If your cases involves witness locate, fraud, child support, criminal investigation, or similar, we can provide this information to you. The price will vary between $100-$300 per phone number.

Subcontract Rates

We accept most subcontract assignments at 50% off our regular client rate and .57 a mile. There is a four-hour minimum. Unless we’ve done good business in the past, all cases require a 50% deposit. Any update, evidence, or report will be turned over once the remaining 50% is paid. Subcontract rates only apply to those who are licensed private investigators or legitimate operators from other states not requiring a license.  These rates do not apply to law offices.

Paralegals’ and Attorneys’ Rates

Paralegals or attorneys who contract us directly, receive a reduced rate of $75.00/hour and .57 a mile. There is a four-hour minimum and a 50% deposit for any anticipated hours. Unless we’ve done business in the past, the deposit is due before we begin our assignment. Any update, evidence, or report will be turned over once the remaining 50% is paid. 

All unrepresented clients are encouraged to hire a licensed attorney and have their attorney contract with us.  Through the Attorney-Client privilege in California Evidence Code § 954, confidential communication we obtain as a result of our investigation can be held confidential even in court proceedings.

Areas we cover

Although our license covers anywhere in California, we usually cover Chino Hills, Inland Empire, Palm Springs, Indio, El Centro, Calexico, and the Imperial County.

Thank you for viewing our page on California private investigator prices. We hope we can serve you in Palm Springs, Chino Hills, Imperial Valley, Imperial County, El Centro, Calexico, Indio, Palm Desert, Inland Empire, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles county, West Covina, and surrounding counties.


Contact Information:

Qualified Manager, Shaun Sundahl
Sundahl & Associates, Detective Agency, PI 26810
Direct Number (909) 525-8925
Text messages/emails are encouraged

Mailing Address:
4195 Chino Hills Pkwy #76
Chino Hills, CA 91709

*Many times we are contacted for infidelity investigations. Nearly 99.9% of our clients are nervous, because this is the first time they had to talk to a private investigator.  Rest assure, your case is confidential. The only time our conversations are disclosed are with a court order, which is rare and hasn’t happened to us. Don’t feel embarrassed, it’s perfectly normal to feel like this. You’re just trying to confirm or dispel some suspicions you have.

If this is an infidelity investigation and we don’t answer, please leave a message indicating your full name, the number you will be calling from, you’re calling about a “domestic investigation,” and the time you plan on calling again.  We follow this procedure because many times our client doesn’t want the suspected person to know he/she is contacting a private investigator for advice. If you don’t mind a return call, then please state so. 

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