When I first got started in this industry I had no inside contacts, no experience, and no idea how to become a process server.
I was a senior in college and needed a flexible income that would work around my class schedule. Less than one month later, I landed a large government client and a business was born.
But rather than tell you my story, let’s take a closer look at how you can become a self-employed process server.
Steps to Become a Process Server:
- Check the legal requirements for becoming a process server in your state or local jurisdiction.
- Start a flexible, low-overhead business with little more than your smartphone.
- Promote your process server business with a website and popular apps such as Google Maps.
- Introduce yourself to law firms using inexpensive marketing letters.
- Stay focused on finding clients and growing your business.
Step #1: Check Process Server Legal Requirements
Most people are surprised to learn the majority of states don’t regulate process servers and any legal adult may serve civil process.
My home state of Colorado is one of them, and I was able to start my process server business without much hassle.
Not sure about your state’s requirements?
Check my growing index of process server laws.
If you happen to live in a state that regulates process servers, don’t despair. The requirements are often minimal and can be completed in a few weeks. For example, California requires only a background check and a simple bond.
While you’re waiting to finish up the requirements, research your local competition and prepare to launch your business the moment your process server license is awarded.
Step #2: Start a Flexible, Low-Overhead Business
Process servers have a big advantage over other small businesses because we don’t need a commercial office space or expensive inventory.
Most of us work from the road, and you can start your business with little more than a cell phone and a stack of business cards.
You don’t have to quit your day job or risk your savings to become a process server.
Instead, grow your business part-time around your schedule and go full-time when you’re ready.
Let’s take a look at the startup expenses:
- A professional website (about $10/month if you do it yourself).
- A stack of business cards ($20).
- 100 marketing letters printed at a local copy shop ($7).
In total, you should spend less than $100 to bootstrap your process server business (minus state or local licensing expenses—if required) and expand only when you’re making a profit. In fact, I specifically recommend against investing a lot of money in gear or expensive equipment until you’ve made at least a few serves.
You’re much much better off investing in promotion and marketing your services to potential clients.
Step #3: Promote Your Process Server Business with a Website
The easiest way to attract clients and boost your professional image is to build a website.
The good news? It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and you don’t need a professional designer. Do-it-yourself platforms like Site123 make it easier than ever to launch a professional website, even if you have zero technical ability.
I recommend building your website before you print up business cards and letters. Featuring your website address prominently on your marketing materials helps build trust and shows potential clients you’re a true professional.
Professional Tip: List your website on Google Business to get found in search engine results and apps like Google Maps.
Step #4: Introduce Yourself to Law Firms
Once you have a website and you’re ready to start taking clients, it’s time to introduce yourself to law firms in the area.
Don’t think of it like selling.
It’s enough to say hello, let them know you’re accepting new clients, and leave a business card and your process server marketing letter (download a sample marketing letter template here).
Bradley, one of my readers from Arizona, used this strategy and was surprised when one of the law firms he visited gave him 13 papers to serve right on the spot. It was a big case and they were looking for a good process server when Bradley dropped in to introduce himself.
The key is to get your first client and then ask for referrals to grow your business.
Besides law firms, other places to market your services include auto dealerships, landlords, property management companies, and anyone else who might generate a steady stream of papers to be served.
Step #5: Stay Focused on Finding Clients
If I could only leave you with only one piece of advice about becoming a process server it’s not to get sidetracked by the small stuff. Too many new process servers waste their precious time and energy on things that don’t matter, or they think they need to memorize every single law and requirement before starting their business.
Figure things out as you go, tune out the white noise, and stay focused on finding your next client.
If you can do that, you’ll build a real business that will outlast the trends, and provide for you and your family for years to come.
A Few More Things to Consider About Becoming a Process Server
- If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick opportunity, look elsewhere. Process serving is a real business, and an integral part of the legal system in the United States. Unlike trendy scams and fly-by-night schemes, the process server profession isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, and offers real financial security for those willing to do the work.
- It’s important to maintain realistic expectations when you’re first getting started. Set realistic goals and commit to achieving them within a realistic timeframe (for example, building your business website this weekend or finding your first client in the next thirty days).
- While professional organizations can be a great way to network, most require at least a year of experience before you can join. Remember, you don’t need experience to become a process server! Fancy membership certificates look great hanging on a wall, but in the end your success and failure in isn’t determined by who you know, but by the effort you make.