Each month, thousands of people come to this website wanting to know how to become a process server, and the second most popular question is, “How much money can you make as a process server?”

But the answer’s not so simple.

It’s a diverse field, and some process servers earn as little as minimum wage while others make a six-figure living.

Instead of asking how much money can you make as a process server, you should be asking which type of process server to become.

Let’s break it down:

In the first category, you have process servers who work as independent contractors for existing agencies.

The gigs are easy to get, the turnover is high, and the pay is low.

In the second category, you have those process servers who work for sheriff’s departments or other government agencies.

The pay is better, and full-time positions often come with a steady paycheck and government benefits.

In the third category are the process servers who work for themselves, running one-person operations or small businesses with their families.

While there’s no guarantee any business will be successful, and it can take time to build a client list, self-employed process servers are not limited to a salary or meager pay.

So How Much Money Can You Make as a Process Server?

Process server jobs outside of the government sector typically pay as low as $12-$15 per serve, and that’s not including your gas and transportation.

There’s a reason they’re always advertising on places like Craigslist.

The turnover is high.

People get frustrated when they’re not making any money and move on.

In the government sector, I’ve seen full-time, 40 hours a week positions ranging from about $16-$24 per hour.

But if you want to make real money as a process server, you’re going to have to go into business for yourself.

Here’s why:

Assume you’re paid $15 per serve working for an agency who keeps the lion’s share of the profits.

To make $200 per day you’d have to serve at least 14 papers a day.

Now imagine working for yourself and billing the client $50 per serve.

You’d only need to serve 4 papers a day to make the same amount of money.

And your expenses will be lower since you’re not driving so much.

Invest the time and effort to build a big client list, and you could even end up hiring people to work for you.

And if you’re in a big market, there’s really no upper limit.

In fact, I know one process server in New York who charges $150 per serve, and regularly clears $1,000 a day.

Now before you dream of riches, remember that starting a business takes dedication and effort.

Some people just aren’t cut out for it.

But if you’re ready to take the next step, grab a copy of my book Process Server 101: How to Become a Process Server from Amazon, and you’ll learn how to start a process server business you can be proud to call your own.