Process Servers: You Get What You Pay For

Outsourcing service of process to the cheapest process server can be a tempting proposition for many law firms looking to cut costs and save money. While the allure of a cheap and affordable service may seem like a great deal, the potential consequences associated with low-end pricing can be significant and may ultimately risk delaying or scuttling an entire legal matter. Thus, it’s important to carefully consider all the potential risks and downsides before opting for a bargain service of process vendor. Here are some additional reasons to consider:

  • Lack of knowledge about the court’s local rules: One of the main risks associated with hiring a low-cost vendor is that they may not be fully knowledgeable about the court’s local rules. Such mistakes can range from substitute service on an underage individual or non-occupant, to posting a 3-day notice without following up with a mailing copy or accepting an invitation from a witness to come into their home. This can cost valuable time and money, and inexperienced servers may not know that service is effected based on the laws and rules of the state from which the process originates.

  • Lack of urgency: Another key reason to think twice before hiring a low-cost service of process vendor is their potential lack of urgency. A low-cost, inattentive process server may miss strict deadlines that apply to non-court filed documents (e.g. subpoenas) and court dated documents (e.g. applications and orders for appearance and examination). To minimize the risk of fumbled deadlines, it’s best to hire an experienced process server who has in-depth knowledge of the applicable statutes for the particular document(s) they are serving.

  • Lack of commitment and competence: Some process servers find it easier to throw in the towel than work diligently to make a successful serve as quickly as possible. This destroys value and does nothing to elevate your own law firm. Thus, it’s important to invest your process serving dollars in a vendor who is accountable and works in your best interest. Here are some questions to consider before selecting a process server: Does the process server make attempts at the right time of day or night? Does the server “mix it up” and vary their attempt times if necessary? Will the server proactively ask neighbors and friends for clues? Does the process server pay attention to certain signals that may indicate when a subject is at an address but refusing to answer the door?

  • Finally, a fourth reason to be cautious about hiring a low-cost service of process vendor is the potential for unprofessional conduct. Process servers are often the face of your law firm, and their actions can reflect on your reputation. An unprofessional process server who behaves rudely or aggressively can damage your firm’s image and potentially harm your client’s case. This is especially important in cases where a sensitive matter is involved, such as a divorce or child custody case. Thus, it’s important to choose a process server who is not only competent but also professional and courteous.

In conclusion, outsourcing service of process to the lowest bidder may seem like an attractive option for cutting costs, but the potential risks and downsides associated with hiring a low-cost vendor should not be underestimated. It’s essential to consider the potential consequences and thoroughly evaluate vendors before making a decision. Opting for a bargain-basement service of process vendor may lead to mistakes, missed deadlines, and an overall lack of commitment and competence, which can ultimately jeopardize your legal matter. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest your process serving dollars in a vendor with the necessary expertise and experience, a strong commitment to compliance with deadlines, and a track record of reliability and accountability. By doing so, you can rest assured that your legal matter is in good hands and minimize the risk of potential negative outcomes.

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