Let’s speak plainly about why you should, or in some cases, shouldn’t pursue becoming a process server.
Of course, these are only my opinions and you’re free to take them or leave them. But if you’ve been looking for some honest insight, here’s my breakdown of the pros and cons:
Pros of Becoming a Process Server
I’ve written a lot about how cheap it is to start a process server business and where to find clients.
There are a few more hidden advantages most people might not consider:
- No alarm clock — I’m a night owl, and waking up five days a week to an alarm clock is like my own personal vision of hell. But hey, if you like early mornings you can do that, too.
- Work/life balance — Sometimes we work weird hours, but that also means we can be there for the important people and events in our life.
- The only way to fail is to quit — This is not a get-rich-quick business, and it takes real effort to get things moving. But with low overhead and a flexible schedule, the only way your business can truly fail is if you walk away. Invest the time and the results will come.
- Stability — Most people think working for yourself means instability. They’re wrong. What stability do you have when a corporation or boss can fire you at a moment’s notice? And unlike trendy businesses, process serving is built-in to the legal system in the United States. While the industry is advancing with the times, process servers aren’t going anywhere.
Cons of Becoming a Process Server
The pros sound pretty good, right?
Don’t forget about the cons:
- You’ll spend a lot of time in the car — Process servers live in our cars. We do business in our cars, eat in our cars, and even sleep in our cars. If you don’t mind driving around listening to music, or stopping in somewhere for coffee whenever the mood strikes, this could easily be a pro rather than a con (I hesitated when placing it on the list).
- Nasty people — Nobody wants to get served, and for many people it could even be a scary experience. The majority of people I’ve encountered were quiet, if not polite, but occasionally they want to rant and yell like I’m the one suing them in court. Yes, it’s annoying. I’ve learned to walk away and stay focused on my work. Any threats or acts of violence should be reported to the police (I’ve had mixed results with police support, but it’s important to document threats against process servers).
- It’s old-school — A lot of the old-timers like to dress up in suits and start industry organizations that don’t admit new process servers (and when they do, there’s a membership fee). While I have nothing against professional organizations, I’ve never joined one and you don’t need them to find your own clients.
I realize that last one might be unpopular, and will probably get me called out on a few forums, but I don’t care. I’m only interested in results.
And assuming we have limited time to devote to our businesses, is it better to attend meetings and network or achieve practical goals like introducing yourself to law firms and building a website?
Besides, many of these organizations (I’m looking at you NAPPS) require at least a year of experience before you can apply for membership.
So if you’re new and need clients, what good will they do you?
The Bottom Line
Nothing I’ve written is meant to discourage you from becoming a process server. It’s a great business and doesn’t cost much to get started.
But it’s not for everyone.
If this is something you want to do, set realistic goals and expectations, take it one thing at a time, and stay mentally prepared for a few setbacks.
The good news is that it’s all achievable if you choose to do the work.