Do you do "No Find, No Fee"?

I regret we don’t do No Find No Fee because such inquiries don’t just involve our time and written report, we often have costs from using subscription databases to which the public don’t have access. Whilst we cannot give guarantees to find someone, our Testimonials speak for themselves, especially one of our earliest articles entitled: Relatives Found With Only A Few Clues.  The vast majority of our Missing Person cases are solved within two business days.

Do I call the Police or Pathfinder?

If you suspect that a missing person (misper) is in imminent danger of suffering or causing death or serious injury to themselves or others and they are not responding to attempts to contact them, then please call the Police on 000. For example:

  • They have gone hiking, rock-climbing, fishing or flying a light aircraft and have not returned on time
  • They are in an area subject to inclement conditions eg floods, cyclones, bushfires or extreme heat
  • They have a medical condition such as diabetes, angina, epilepsy, asthma or Alzheimer’s
  • There is a history of causing or suffering domestic violence
  • They have recently been seriously threatened by someone eg loan shark, drug dealer or jealous husband/wife
  • There is reason to suspect that they may have been abducted or assaulted by drug dealers, sex offenders or loan sharks
  • They use street drugs e.g. crystal meth or marijuana, etc.
  • They have a recent history of attempting to commit suicide or have expressed a desire to do so
  • They have mental health condition such as paranoid schizophrenia
  • They have made serious threats of injury to another person
  • They are a Registered Sex Offender
  • They are currently on bail for a serious offence and you have reason to believe that they may harm a witness or flee the country
  • They are a child under 10 years.
  • They are a child under 18 years or a vulnerable adult at risk of Sexual Exploitation.

If you have concerns that someone is at risk as above, but you are not quite sure, then call the Police on 131 444.

There is no need to wait 24 hours before making the call, that’s a Hollywood myth!

Examples Where Pathfinder Investigations Can Help

  • My brother went missing in 2006. The Police did an investigation, but we still have lots of questions about what happened to him. Pathfinder Investigations have persuaded the Police to release their Missing Person Report so that we can cross check the details. The Police have agreed in principal to re-open the investigation if we establish new lines of inquiry. This cold case investigation is currently ongoing. Please see our Missing Person Appeals
  • We live in England and we lost touch with a relative who emigrated to Australia and has now become a beneficiary of a Will. How do we go about finding them, please? Pathfinder Investigations tracked the relative from England to Perth to a rural location in WA, visited them in person to explain the situation and persuaded them to phone home. They have now come into a small inheritance and have resumed a relationship with the client. Please see “Healing from Family Rifts” in our Recommended Books/Films
  • I had a teenage pregnancy which ended in my giving birth to a son, who is now an adult. The Father had left me during the pregnancy and my son has never met him. I would like to find the Father so as my son can meet his other family. I do have some information regarding the Father….Can you help me? Yes, Pathfinder Investigations may be able to trace the father dependent on how much information is available. We can also discreetly approach the father and ask him if he would like to meet his son as a stepping stone to forming a relationship. If the father has any doubts about his paternity, we can also provide him with a DNA test.

How do I start a Missing Person investigation with Pathfinder?

Don’t know where to start? Don’t know which direction to go in? We can help you to find your loved one.

To receive a quote, please answer the questions on our Contact page.

Why should I choose Pathfinder?

Jan Ross served almost 20 years loyal and exemplary service in the West Yorkshire Police in the UK. She specialised in tracing missing persons and, by instigating and teaching UK national policy on how to find Missing Persons, she had a 100% success rate in solving current cases over her last five years of service.

Jan was praised for her multi-agency work in preventing young people from going missing on a regular basis and becoming at risk of child sexual exploitation by Richard Bryan, who was the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers lead on Missing People.

In addition, Jan was awarded a Divisional Commander’s Commendation for her “tenacity, enthusiasm and commitment” in solving multiple crimes, traits which have carried over into her role as a private investigator.

Since migrating to Australia in 2010, she has acquired several Australian qualifications including Advanced Skip Tracing from the Private Investigators College of Australia in Brisbane.

How does Pathfinder differ from its Process Serving competitors?

  • When using our own agents in the Greater Perth Area of Yanchep to Bunbury, or Geraldton or Esperance or Broome; and our inquiries reveal that the Defendant/Respondent resides at another local address, we do not charge a separate service fee, though we do charge an excess travel fee if the allowance of 100km is exceeded.
  • When using our own agents in the above areas, we do not limit the number of attempts to the industry standard of three, though we do charge an excess travel fee if the allowance of 100km is exceeded. Depending on where our nearest available agent resides, we can sometimes make 4 or 5 or even 6 attempts without extra cost.
  • When using our own agents in rural areas, our service fee covers two attempts at least one hour apart. In the meantime, we make inquiries in the local community, e.g. with neighbours, at IGA, the servo, the cafe, the pubs, the Police Station, as well as trying to contact the Defendant/Respondent via phone, email and Facebook. This method has a very high success rate.
  • When using our own agents, if we are required to serve two parties, e.g. husband and wife, at the same address, and we are able to serve them both at the first attempt, then rather than charging two full service fees, we give a 25% discount on the second party.
  • We ask all our clients to answer our detailed “Questions Prior to Service”. This was originally designed for Family Law matters, but we find it is useful in all cases. For example, if it is known that the Defendant/Respondent is an office worker, it would be a complete waste of our time and effort, and potentially the client’s money, for us to attend at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon. It’s about working smarter, not harder. We also ask for a photograph of the subject, especially in divorce matters in case they refuse to sign the Acknowledgement of Service.
  • Once a Respondent has been served with Divorce Papers, we provide a cover letter to the Applicant explaining their next steps together with either a pre-typed Affidavit of Proof of Signature or Affidavit of Proof of Identity, as appropriate.
  • Our own agents are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. We have not only serve someone on Christmas Day (only because he had previously evaded service), we have served someone else on Christmas Island!
  • The first 50 pages of printing are free.
  • In Family Law matters, the client does not need to send us the brochures, just the names of those that apply in their particular matter. They do not need to send us the Service Kit containing the Acknowledgement of Service and Affidavit of Service, as we attend to those. In all other cases, with very few exceptions (e.g. an overseas matter), we prepare the Affidavit of Service at no extra cost.
  • If a Defendant/Respondent tries to evade service after a couple of visits and phone calls, we send them a formal Letter Requesting Appointment via MMS, email and Facebook explaining who we are and why we are trying to contact them. For example, if it is regarding a debt matter, we explaining that we are not Registered Debt Collectors so we will not be making any demands for money, but the sooner they receive the documents, the sooner they can decide to seek legal and/or debt counselling advice. Similarly, when serving Divorce Papers, we explain that they do not need to attend Court and that Financial and Parenting matters are dealt with separately from divorces. Also, if they choose to ignore our polite request, they may incur additional legal costs. Invariably, we get a positive response within the hour.
  • We are experienced at supplying Affidavits in Support of Substituted Service to demonstrate to the Court that we have made all reasonable efforts to serve the Defendant/Respondent in person first, and then contact them via phone, email and Facebook in order to make arrangements meet by appointment, but that they have failed to co-operate. Our annexures include timestamped photographs at the given address(es) and screenshots of communications. The Courts listen to our professional opinion about the best way to successfully effect service.
  • Where we are asked to find an address for a spouse in order to serve Divorce Papers but, in very exceptional circumstances, are unable to do so (e.g. because they have emigrated), we are experienced in supplying Affidavits in Support of Dispensation of Service. Our annexures include screenshots of subscription database searches and communications, plus a document entitled “Reasons Why People Cannot Be Found”. The Family Courts are satisfied that we make all reasonable attempts to find spouses and have granted Dispensation in the past.

Terms & Conditions

Adopted Children

We may be able to help you find your child provided you can give us the name of the Adoption Agency and formal permission to contact them. Whilst we cannot provide a mediation service ourselves, we recommend a book entitled “Healing from Family Rifts” available through our Recommended Books/Films page prior to starting this process.

Appeal For Information

Some clients have been looking for their loved ones for a long time before they come to Pathfinder Investigations for help, and complex cases can be particularly challenging. At any time in the investigation, clients may opt to put out an Appeal For Information. We offer to write a summary of the circumstances together with photographs of the Missing Person and put the Appeal on our Missing Person Appeals page as well as our Facebook page free of charge. Our appeals remain on our sites until you ask us to take them down.

Area Covered

We are based in Perth and Geraldton for investigations and cover all of Western Australia for process serving. We belong to a National Network of Private Investigators and Process Servers across Australia and have over 600 contacts in 216 countries, so Contact Us for a quote today.

Attempted Service

Just like any other process serving company, our fees are not refundable if we are unable to effect service, after all, we have still spent the time and motoring costs in order to make diligent inquiries on your behalf, and while ever we are making such inquiries, we cannot provide a service for another client.

Australian Medic Alert Foundation

An excellent idea in line with UK national policy that I instigated back in 1998 for finding Missing Persons when I was a Police Officer. We didn’t have the same technology back then, but now that we have, we should definitely use it. This device could also be used be used by parents of autistic and other vulnerable children; or by relatives of those with conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and angina.

Cancellation Fee

If a process serving task is cancelled between receipt of documents and the agent making his/her first attempt at service, then a Cancellation Fee may apply to cover the cost of checking the availability of the nearest agent and, in the case of a Same Day Service, putting him/her on standby, which means he/she cannot attend to other matters; setting up the job on our project management computer system; conducting research to ascertain we have the latest contact information; preparing proof of service documents; emailing instructions to the agent, and the agent printing off the documents for service. If the service is cancelled mid-journey, then a travel fee will also apply. These costs are published in our brochure, which is subject to change.

Cheating Partners

We can serve Divorce and Custody papers for you – see Process Serving, but we no longer conduct surveillance because the Family Law Act 1975 established the principle of no-fault divorce in Australian Law. When granting a divorce the Court does not consider why the marriage ended. The only grounds for divorce are that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the parties have been separated for at least one year.


With the exception of Adopted Children and Cold Case Reviews, all cases of missing children should be dealt with by the Police. No private investigator can access any database containing records of children for obvious reasons.

Christmas Island

In the event that inquiries or process serving are required on the island, the following additional costs will apply: airport transfers and parking; return air fares, taxi fares or car hire, and several days accommodation and subsistence since their are no daily flights.

Code of Conduct

WA Security Industry Code of Conduct

Cold Case Reviews

Where the Police have conducted an initial investigation but made no progress for some time, Pathfinder Investigations will review the case for you, though this will be dependent on how much information is forthcoming from the current investigating officer. New leads can sometimes open up, for example, a witness who was in a relationship at the time of the disappearance may now be prepared to divulge information, or new databases may become available to us. Please be aware it may take some time to get the file from the Police.

Concessions Cards 

Since we are a private company rather than a Government Department, we regret that we cannot give any discounts to concession card holders. In exceptional circumstances where time permits, we may allow you to pay by installments, however, it must be noted that the results of our work will not be released to you until payment is received in full. Alternatively, as stated in our Payment Methods & Terms below, you can pay via credit card.


Pathfinder Investigations adheres to Australian Privacy Principles . Inquiries will be conducted with sensitivity according to the situation. They will also be conducted in an honest manner by declaring at the outset who we are and on whose behalf we are making inquiries, as it is against the WA Security Industry Code of Conduct to give false or misleading information. If we receive information from someone who does not wish to be identified, then we will respect their wishes and endeavour to find corroborative evidence by some other means. The information collated by Pathfinder will be stored securely. It will be divulged only to the client, unless information comes to light which gives us reasonable grounds to believe that the MisPer is at risk of causing  significant harm to themselves or others, or of committing a serious crime, in which case the  investigation will cease and a copy of the report will be passed to the Police. In such circumstances, the client will still be liable for costs up to the point where the case is handed over to the Police.

Where we are asked to serve Family Court documents which include a Form 4 Notice of Child Abuse Family Violence or Risk, and there is compelling evidence that the Respondent may kill or significantly harm the Applicant or their children, then Pathfinder Investigations reserve the right to submit a copy of that document to CrimeStoppers so that, in the event of the Police being called an incident involving these parties, they are aware of the allegations. Whilst we respect confidentiality, health and safety (to the parties and the Police) must come first, and we must all play our part in combating Domestic Violence in all its forms.

Corroborative Evidence

Where we receive anonymous or unsure information from one source, it will be double-checked through a different source to ensure this information is as accurate as possible.


We understand that waiting for news about your Loved One is very stressful, and that lack of closure can be as devastating as bereavement itself. Similarly, when a person who has deliberately distanced themselves from their family is found, or a biological parent or adopted child does not want the same kind of relationship as the client, this can be very upsetting.

Debt Collection

Pathfinder Investigations is not a Registered Debt Collector so we cannot collect money or repossess goods. However, we can serve a General Procedure Claim, Minor Case Claim, Consumer Trader Claim, Means Inquiry Summons, Default Inquiry Summons, Default Judgment in a Mortgage Action, Creditor’s Statutory Demand for Payment of Debt, Writ of Summons or a Bankruptcy Notice for you. Please see Process Serving for more information.


Official documents such as Certificates of Title, Tenancy Reports, ASIC reports*, etc. incur fees which are covered in our Minimum Fee for finding Missing Persons and Beneficiaries. Additional fees apply for a nationwide property ownership search. ASIC reports required for service of Subpoenas or Writ of Summons upon a Pty Ltd company incur an additional fee.

Dispensation of Service

Very rarely, there may be times when we cannot find a Respondent in order to serve them with Divorce Papers, for example, they may have gone overseas. The Family Court explains the procedure here:

and we would supply you with an Affidavit in Support of Dispensation of Service annexing  screenshots of the subscription databases, to which the public do not have access, and details of all the inquiries we have made to trace your spouse. There is a list of the type of information we require prior to the commencement of a trace at the foot of our Contact page. The Court may then decide to hear the case in the spouse’s absence.

Due Diligence Field Calls

It is so easy for people and businesses to present themselves in a fraudulent manner online. Let us put your mind at rest by conducting inquiries with them in person on your behalf. This service is especially valuable to clients in the eastern states or overseas. Please contact us for a quote.

Factual Investigations

We investigate motor vehicle accidents; workplace injuries; Probate matters (regards a questionable Will or someone dying without a Will); trademark infringements (where someone has used a business name or logo without permission e.g. a fake designer handbag); and minesite inspections to determine why there is a delay in production and how it can be overcome efficiently and effectively.


Feedback about our service is always welcomed. If there is any aspect which is less than satisfactory, please inform us immediately so that any remedial action can be taken as a matter of urgency. If you are delighted with our service, then please feel free to provide us with a Testimonial and mention your experience to your friends, because we pride ourselves on word-of-mouth referrals.

Field Call

A visit to a specific address or area where inquiries can be made in person eg making house-to-house inquiries regards a Missing Person case. A Field Call regards a debt will only be carried out when our agent also happens to be a Registered Debt Collector. Please also see Due Diligence Field Calls and Travel Costs.

Free Consultation

We can provide you with a free 20 minute consultation via phone, or respond by email, so that we can discuss the background to your in detail and answer any questions you may have.


Goods and Services Tax is calculated at 10%.


The industry standard for finding Missing Persons is 60-80%. Our investigators were trained by a company which has a success rate of 80-100%. However, Pathfinder Investigations Pty Ltd cannot give any guarantees that they will find the person you are seeking because, for example, they may have left the country. All we can promise is to use our investigative skills and experience to the very best of our ability.

Similarly, we cannot guarantee to serve Court documents on someone within a deadline, for example, because their FIFO roster keeps them away from home. However, we do have strategies for dealing with situations like that.

Think of it this way, a lawyer cannot give you a cast-iron guarantee that you will win a Court case, but time and effort is still made on your behalf to try and bring about the desired outcome; and we do the same.


Please see Cheating Partners.

Inquiry Agent

Jan Ross, Managing Director of Pathfinder Investigations Pty Ltd, holds an Inquiry Agent licence in her married name of Janine Smeulders issued by WAPOL ensuring that we understand our obligations under the Security & Related Activities (Control) Act 1996 and the Security & Related Activities (Control) Regulations 1997. Such licences are regularly reviewed by law.


A person who has passed Certificate III in Investigative Services and/or Certificate IV Government (Fraud Control), who is licensed by the Western Australian Police to conduct inquiries. Criminal history checks here in Australia and, if necessary, in the investigator’s country of origin, are conducted as part of the vetting process.

Legal Advice

Clients are advised to seek independent professional legal advice in all Court matters. For Western Australia clients, we can supply you with contact details of a community legal centre in your area. For those who cannot afford a lawyer, please see “How to Run Your Own Court Case” on our Recommended Books/Films page.


A missing person.

Multiple Defendants

Where two or more Defendants or Respondents are served at the same place at the same time on the first visit, the first will be charged at the full price while any others are charged at 25% discount. If repeated visits to the address(es) are necessary, these will all be charged at full price. Please note that our competitors will charge full price come what may.

Payment Methods & Terms

Please pay your invoice by EFT (our preferred method) via the bank details shown on your invoice and be sure to quote your invoice number rather than the name of the other party.  Alternatively, you can click on a link on the invoice to pay via PayPal or debit or credit card. Our apologies, we no longer accept cheques, Money Orders or cash. All private and overseas clients are asked to pay before work commences. Corporate clients may be granted 7 day terms. Please note that in the event that an account is not paid within 30 days, we reserve the right to impose an administration fee of $20 and, therefore, respectfully request that invoices are paid promptly. We believe prompt service deserves prompt payment.

Perth Mail Handling Centre

The vast majority of our work is distributed via email, because that is the most efficient way of Process Serving in such a vast country, often needing to meet tight deadlines for Court. Our Perth address is at Osborne Park Business Centre, and when mail arrives it can either be emailed to me for action, or forwarded directly to one of my agents via post or courier, or collected in person by an authorised agent. Some clients may not have scanning and email facilities (these are free at your local library), so they could deliver their documents in person to this address for onward distribution, however, if they require a consultation about their case, they would need to Contact Us by phone or email  because neither I nor my agents are present on these premises, which are run by a third party. We do have a physical address in Geraldton at 32 Pitchford Crest, White Peak, WA 6532.


Photographs of MisPers, Respondents and Defendants need to be recent, or at least be a good likeness, in focus, and preferably in jpg format. Ideally, at least one head and shoulders view, and in the case of a MisPer, one head to toe view, but if you have any others showing distinctive features such as tattoos, scars, birthmarks etc., then please include those as well. If you don’t have any photos, perhaps you know what name they use on Facebook? Photos can be sent via email to or via MMS to 0488 184 459.

If you would like us to take photographs of persons, buildings, vehicles or other property, for example, to prove identity or extent of damage, these will be supplied free of charge.

Pre-Employment Background Check

All Background Checks are to be conducted with the written consent of the subject.

Priority Service Fee

If your deadline for service of Court documents is within the next 7 days, then a Priority Service Fee will be payable.


Pathfinder Investigations adheres to Australian Privacy Principles.

Process Serving

We serve Court documents on Defendants and Respondents regards all types of civil matters dealt with by the Federal, Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia, Supreme, District, Magistrates and Family Court of Western Australia.

This involves sourcing the nearest available agent and dispatching instructions to them which include the documents for service and proof of service (including a photo) and, hopefully, information which will help the agent to decide the best time to visit the premises. Some of this information is provided by the client, and sometimes it is found by us, such as searching online for photos, phone numbers, and opening times of workplaces. The agent then prints off the documents and visits the premises. About 70% of the time, the agent will serve on the first occasion, but sometimes the person may be out shopping or socialising, and sometimes they actively evade service. Sometimes it may take 3, 4 or even 5 attempts. The agent then completes the Affidavit of Service and needs to swear this in the presence of a Justice of the Peace. Sometimes finding an available JP is harder than finding the Defendant/Respondent, especially in this COVID era. The agent will then scan the documents so that I can forward them to you by email, before the agent posts the original direct to you.

How long does all this take? We have managed to serve two subpoenas and email the sworn Affidavit of Service back to the client within 3 hours of the initial call. Generally, our turnaround is within a few days, but please bear in mind we can get quite busy, so if your deadline for service is within 7 days (e.g. divorce papers must be served not less than 28 days prior to the Court date) then it would be best to opt for Priority Service. There are occasions when it is not possible to serve the Defendant/Respondent within your timeframe because they are FIFO workers on site, or overseas, in which case, you would need to ask for a new Court date. See also Substituted Service.

Where we are asked to serve Family Court documents which include a Form 4 Notice of Child Abuse Family Violence or Risk, and there is compelling evidence that the Respondent may kill or significantly harm the Applicant or their children, then Pathfinder Investigations reserve the right to submit a copy of that document to CrimeStoppers so that, in the event of the Police being called an incident involving these parties, they are aware of the allegations. Whilst we respect confidentiality, health and safety (to the parties and the Police) must come first, and we must all play our part in combating Domestic Violence in all its forms.

Progress Report

We will provide you with Progress Reports so that you can see that we are conducting inquiries diligently and expeditiously for you. You are free to decide whether to stop, suspend or ask us to speed up inquiries as circumstances unfold.

Refund Policy

Just like any other process serving company, our fees are not refundable if we are unable to effect service, after all, we have still spent the time and motoring costs in order to make diligent inquiries on your behalf, and while ever we are making such inquiries, we cannot provide a service for another client. See also: Cancellation Fee.

Rottnest Island

In the event that inquiries or process serving are required on the island, return ferry charges will apply.

Skip Tracing

This means finding people e.g. tenants, businesses or individuals, who have “skipped town” and usually means they owe you money or goods in kind. We are not Registered Debt Collectors, though we can serve Court documents relating to debts for you – please see Process Serving. There is a list of the type of information we require prior to the commencement of a trace at the foot of our Contact page.

Substituted Service

Rarely, Defendants/Respondents either evade service or are away from home for an extended period of time. In such circumstances, we will supply you with an Affidavit in Support of Substituted Service detailing all our efforts to serve the person in the normal manner, including trying to contact them by phone, text, email and letter requesting an appointment to effect service. You will then be able to apply to the Court for permission for us the serve the documents in another way, for example, by serving them on a relative or employer. However, we cannot simply do this from the start because there are very strict rules on how we can serve documents, and every Court in every State and Territory has different rules and different templates for their Affidavits! So, we must do all that we can to prove to the Court that we have taken all reasonable steps first.


Unless you otherwise advise us in writing, you agree that any written feedback given in emails or letters may be quoted on our Testimonials page on this website and any others in our name at our discretion. We welcome feedback and suggestions because we constantly strive to give you the best service. To provide a Testimonial please visit this website.

Travel Costs 

Please discuss travel costs with us at the Free Consultation, especially if inquiries are required outside the Perth Metro area, although we will always seek your approval for such costs as circumstances arise. For process serving, the first 100Km are free. If it becomes necessary to book  flights, hotels or car hire, we select economy options and ask you to pay these in advance after we have supplied you with a written quote.

Why people go missing