Antoine SENEX

The question of the salary of a private detective comes up extremely often from students or curious people. That is why we have decided to address this sensitive issue. We interviewed many detectives and consulted various sources to obtain a fairly objective view of the subject.

How much does a private investigator make in France ?

private detective salary franceThe issue of money is rather taboo in France and it is therefore difficult to address the subject.

The subject of the private detective’s salary is all the more difficult to analyse as few investigative firms publish their financial statements. So you have to be well-introduced to deal with it.

On the other hand, it is clear that the average income of an investigator varies according to various criteria:

  • the geographical area in which it operates
  • his experience and expertise
  • its areas of expertise

Thus, it is important to compare the figures given with the cost of living of each region. It is obvious that the cost of living in Paris is not the same as in the depths of a village in the Creuse.

Salary of a private investigator

First of all, let’s look at the conditions of practice of the private detective profession.

The activity of private research officer is a liberal profession as indicated in article L621-1 of the code of internal security, like other professions such as lawyer, architect or health professions.

Private Detective PaymentThe vast majority of private survey professionals in France are self-employed and work as such in their own name (in particular self entrepreneurs) or in the form of a small commercial company (EURL or SASU).

It is therefore difficult to talk about salary because detectives in France are generally not employees but independent professionals. The most appropriate term would be average monthly earnings.

Concerning the average monthly income of a private detective, it should be noted that many detectives across France are struggling to make ends meet and are therefore forced to leave the profession for lack of sufficient income.

Regardless of the training organisation, out of a class of 25 pupils, almost two-thirds do not finally enter the profession, and more than half of the remaining half give up after a few years at most because they cannot make a living from their activity.

Out of 25 newly graduated students, only 4 will manage to make a living from their profession, under conditions of very variable wages.

Frankly, it is not possible to make a fortune in the investigation and it is difficult to live well. Most private investigators in France earn less than 2,000 euros net monthly.

Some detectives manage to earn between 3000 and 5000 euros net but they are very few in France (about 5% of the total staff).

The difference between net salary and turnover

Few investigative firms file their annual financial statements without a confidentiality clause. The published annual turnover ranges from 750,000 euros to a few thousand euros for the most modest.

There are therefore no large private detective firms in France generating millions of euros in turnover. No high-priced shareholders and rave reviews.

No connection with large law firms or accounting offices with thousands of employees in France alone.

It is also important to distinguish between the turnover of a detective agency and the revenue a detective will be able to earn.

In fact, when an agency bills a client €1,000 on a file, it must deduct from that sum all the costs related to the file and part of its fixed charges.

Also, let’s say that 700 euros remain after deduction of these expenses. This remaining amount does not go directly into the pocket of the detective as salary because the latter will have to pay the tax and social charges.

Thus, after deduction, he will receive about half of this amount as income, or 350 euros.

In short, the profession is not remunerative and the average salary of a private detective rarely exceeds 2000 euros.

It is a profession that we do not embrace for money but for vocation, for passion for investigation and for serving others.

For more information, do not hesitate to consult the CIDJ’s private detective file and to ask your questions in a comment.



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