Private Investigator Salary in South Africa


Private investigators have several responsibilities. Their jobs are quite attractive, especially when you read about them in novels or watch movies about them. However, it is not that easy and it goes beyond the fanfare we are used to.

Private investigators may work independently or work with law enforcement agencies. They help to solve crimes, find missing people, and discover hidden or confidential information. In this post, we will tell you how much private investigators earn in South Africa. We will also show several other key aspects of becoming a private investigator.

Private Investigator Salary in South Africa

Career description, common tasks, and duties

Private investigators are very similar to detectives in the dispatch of their duties. The only difference is that detectives work for the State while private detectives are not on the payroll of the government. People usually hire the services of private investigators for several purposes most of which revolve around finding hidden information and missing people.

Private investigators are also known as Private Detectives, Private Eyes, Investigators for Hire, or detectives for Hire. The duties of a private investigator are usually related to the field of investigation they choose to specialize in.

Sometimes they have to visit crime scenes, run background checks, report to law enforcement agencies, and even testify in court. Many companies seek the expertise of private investigators to unravel hidden mysteries and do a lot of undercover work. This is required when they need to hire certain personnel to fill specific roles.

It is also part of their responsibility to make use of technology to find hidden pieces of information. For example, they may need to recover deleted emails or messages from mobile phones. They also conduct specialized surveillance on certain individuals and properties when the need arises.

It is very important that private investigators are assertive in carrying out their duties. They cannot be afraid of confrontation and they must possess very strong communication skills. It is part of their responsibility to be able to carry out interrogations and be tech-savvy. They need to pay attention to detail in whatever case they are working on.

Becoming a Private Investigator

In most quarters, there is really no formal education for private investigators. Regardless of this, it is wise for a person who wants to be a private investigator to have a degree in criminal justice. As a matter of fact, for a private investigator to even get hired, it is important that you get a bachelor’s degree.

Having a diploma or some equivalent is also not a bad idea. It is not scarce to see former law enforcement officers become private investigators. They are usually suited for this job seeing that they have gained a lot of experience in the previous job.

In most parts of the world, it is also important that as a private investigator, you obtain some form of license. This license gives you the leeway to practice your trade. There are several requirements that must be met before you can be issued such a license. It is also important that you must be at least 18-years-old, in fact, in some countries, you have to be 21-years-old or more.

One requirement that cuts across different locations is that to become a private investigator, you must not have a criminal record. Other key requirements include:

  1. Attain a bachelor’s degree as well as some form of experience in a field related to private investigation.
  2. Acquire a license from the State that allows you to practice your trade as a private investigator.
  3. Obtain a license to carry concealed weapons.
  4. Become a member of a private investigation agency. This means that you have to attend an interview with your chosen agency first. After passing this interview, you can now become part of the agency which improves your stake in the market.
  5. Provide background information and the required fingerprint to your chosen agency.
  6. Become hired by the agency.
  7. Acquire the needed training to get better on the job.

Required skills

Below are some of the skills that you are required to possess as a private investigator:

  1. Excellent communication skills. This requires you to perform interviews that lead to uncovering information. It also helps you to become familiar with falsehood during interrogation and being able to lead people in giving up answers.
  2. Analytical skills.
  3. Strong organizational skills and the ability to multitask. You should also be able to write reports on the investigations you have carried out.
  4. Efficient computer skills. You should be able to process and transcribe information from interviews. It is also important that you can research using a computer and the internet.
  5. Excellent problem-solving skills. It is important as a private investigator that you are able to assess situations accurately and promptly. While doing this, you should be able to remain calm and focused regardless of how chaotic the situation is.
  6. Levels of morality, integrity, responsibility, and honesty must be outstanding. You must be able to handle sensitive information and keep it confidential.

Different fields of private investigation

There are different fields of private investigation. Some of them include:

  • Accident / Reconstruction
  • Arson / Fire
  • Asset Search
  • Background Checks
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Cell Phone Records
  • Child Support / Custody
  • Civil
  • Computer Forensics / Cyber Crime
  • Corporate
  • Crime Scene
  • Electronic Data Discovery
  • Electronic Surveillance
  • Executive Protection
  • Financial
  • Forensic
  • Fraud
  • Infidelity / Cheating Spouse
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Internet Dating Investigation
  • Judgment Recovery
  • Missing Persons
  • Mystery Shopper
  • Social Media
  • Surveillance
  • Trial Preparation
  • Video Surveillance / Photo Surveillance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Wrongful Death

How much do private investigators earn in South Africa?

This is a very important question and is probably why you are reading this post in the first place. The average salary of private investigators in South Africa is R240,000. At entry-level, it could revolve around R180,000 while those in their prime could earn up to R300,000.

Several factors will determine how much a private investigator will earn. The two most important factors are qualification and pedigree.


Now you know what it entails to become a private investigator and how much they earn in South Africa. Will you still like to be one? It is a very interesting profession but it requires a lot of tact and intelligence.