If you have legal documents that need to be served to someone, there are Process server usually two ways to go about it. You can either let the local sheriff’s department take care of it, or you can hire a process server. While the sheriff won’t charge you for the service, it will also probably take a lot longer, and almost always have a lower success rate than a process server does. So whenever it’s something important, and especially if time matters, you’re going to want to spend a little extra to make sure it’s done right.
But how do you go about choosing the process server that’s going to work hard for you and get you the most for your money? Well there are a few basic things to keep in mind when you start calling around. Like any business, service of process is competitive, so you don’t necessarily have to take the first one you find. Do a little research at the beginning, and you could be saving yourself a headache later on.
Being Licensed Isn’t Always Necessary, but You Should Check
Some states don’t require process servers to be licensed, but most of them do. Be sure to ask the company you’re calling if they are licensed to operate in your state. If the person being served the papers is in a different state, this can cause further complications, so if you have any knowledge of their location bring that up as well. A knowledgeable professional should be able to answer all of your questions with no problems. If they don’t sound like they know what they’re talking about, it might be time to go elsewhere.
How Much Is This Really Going to Cost Me?
Almost everyone would think to ask about the price, so this might seem like a no brainer. But if you want to avoid hidden charges, you might want to have a few follow-up questions for the process server. In addition to the base charge for the service of process, ask if they charge for mileage as well. Depending on how far they’re going, this could change your final bill dramatically. Also see if they charge more for additional documents all going to the same place. Again, ask these questions now to avoid surprises later.
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Will You Try, Try Again?
Sometimes people just aren’t home, and it can be a little tricky catching them when they’re available. If your process server is only going to make one attempt, then you probably wasted your time even hiring them. On average, you should expect them to make three to five attempts before they mark the papers as unserviceable or start charging you any extra money.
You’re also going to need to ask when they’ll be making their first attempt. If you wanted to let the papers sit around on a desk for a week or more, then you could have just let the sheriff serve them in the first place. Remember, a process server is there to work for you, so do your research and ask questions in order to get the service you need!