What It Takes to Be a Process Server

There’s a lot of bullshit on the Internet about what it takes to be a process server, so let’s take a few minutes to clear the air. I’m not a big guy. In fact, I’m pretty slender. I don’t have a black belt and I certainly don’t carry a gun. The image of the process server as some kind of tough guy is complete garbage. If you want to be in this business to pump up your ego or act like Rambo, I suggest you find another line of work.

Wannabe cops—you know, the guys harassing skateboarders at the local mall—make crappy process servers. They inevitably end up being the guys who get sued for sewer service, the practice of faking serves to get paid and cheating on the paperwork.

So there—that’s my rant—but while we’re on the topic of what it takes to be a process server, let’s highlight some of the positive qualities you’ll need.

First, a good process server is focused on running an efficient business, adding new clients, and making clean serves. It’s not hard, and it’s even a lot of fun, but it’s not without effort and concentration.

A lot of new servers go wrong here, investing their time in petty details like what they should wear or what kind of equipment they should buy.

Don’t worry about that stuff too much in the beginning. As long as you’re following the law, you can make your serves however you like, even develop your own style. The important thing, especially when you’re new, is to focus on clients. Without a client, why worry about the right equipment?

Process serving is something you can learn as you go, but it requires momentum. Fall behind and things go stale.

My final rant on what it takes to be a process server

Okay, here it is: You gotta be flexible, ya dig? Problems will arise. A client’s check will bounce. A defendant won’t answer the damn door (a chance to flex your creativity). Things will not always go according to plans.

The folks who have what it takes to be a process server understand this. They roll with the punches. Go with the flow.

I’ll leave you with a little story…

There was this guy in my old building named Ray. Anyway, one day Ray was asking me about what it takes to be a process server. Turns out, he was looking to break into the business.

So I tell him, “You don’t need a license in Colorado. Print up some business cards and get started.”

Ray says, “It can’t be that simple.”

“It’s simple,” I say, “but you gotta do the work.”

“Oh, I’m not afraid of the work,” he says, “but how do I find my first client?”

“Call ’em up, or go knock on some doors. There’s a ton of shitty process servers out there. Law firms are always on the lookout for a better option.”

“They won’t work with me,” he says, “because I’m new.”

“I was new,” I say, “but I kept going and I made it work. One or two clients is all you need to get things rolling.”

Ray says, “I don’t know. I don’t think it’ll work for me.”

No matter what I said to the poor guy, he just kept shooting it down. And you know what? Ray’s still living in that same old building, working at the same old job (supermarket butcher).

The point is, Ray wasn’t flexible. His thinking was limited. He boxed himself in with nowhere to go.

Ray didn’t have what it takes to be a process server.

Don’t be Ray.