Whether you’re completely new to the industry, or a seasoned process server in search of more clients, this step-by-step guide will teach you how to become a more successful process server and find paying clients for your business.
What you’ll learn:
- The Basics
What makes a good process server? Which types of backgrounds do they come from? What can you do now to get started?
- Check Process Server Legal Requirements
Most states don’t license process servers. Check the legal requirements in your state.
- Start a Flexible, Low-Overhead Business
Limit your expenses and start your business on a budget.
- Promote Your Process Server Business with a Website
Build a simple website to generate leads and promote your process server business 24/7.
- Introduce Yourself to Law Firms
Be proactive and let local law firms know you’re in business.
- Stay Focused on Finding Clients
Build your client list, outlast the trends, and grow a stable income for the future.
- A Few More Things to Consider
Maintain realistic expectations and ignore negative distractions.
Are you the type of person who stays calm in stressful situations? Do you think on your feet? If so, you might make a good process server.
But why would anyone subject themselves to the odd hours and on-the-road life of a process server?
It’s simple. Process servers like independence. They don’t want a boss looking over their shoulder. Most often, they like the challenges that come with such a unique career choice.
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.
The process servers I’ve met in the years that followed all came from diverse backgrounds. Some had been law enforcement or security officers. Some had been carpenters and teachers.
It doesn’t matter what background you come from. All that matters is a desire to learn and a commitment to growing your business.
- Study the process server market in your area. How much are they billing clients? How do they advertise their services? What can you learn from them?
- Educate yourself about the laws and regulations regarding process servers in your state.
- Build a website to market your business.
- Proactively introduce yourself to potential clients.
- Stay on top of the latest technology for process servers.
Check Process Server Legal Requirements
You might be surprised to learn the majority of states don’t regulate process servers. In these states, 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 legal requirements, focus on researching your local competition and prepare to launch your business the moment your process server license is awarded.
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 smartphone 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 (under $20/month for a high-quality website).
- A stack of business cards ($20).
- 100 marketing letters printed at a local copy shop ($7).
In total, I recommend spending no more than $500 to bootstrap your process server business (including state or local licensing expenses—if required).
Resist the urge to outspend your budget on needless expenses until you’re taking a profit. Even better, reinvest your profits on marketing and expanding your base of potential clients.
Promote Your Process Server Business with a Website
A high-quality website boosts your professional image and works to promote your business even when you’re not working.
The good news? It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, and you don’t need to hire 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. Adding contact forms, custom email accounts, and your own domain name is as easy as clicking a few buttons.
I recommend building your website before you print up any business cards or marketing letters. Featuring your website address on your marketing materials helps build trust.
Professional Tip: List your website on Google Business to get found in search engine results and apps like Google Maps.
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 along with your process server marketing letter (download a sample marketing letter template here).
Bradley from Arizona used this strategy and was surprised when one of the law firms he visited gave him 13 papers to serve. It was a big case and they were looking for a good process server when Bradley dropped by to introduce himself.
When you do get a client, overdeliver. Law firms are always on the lookout for a good process server, and they network with each other. One client raving about your service could lead to many more.
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.
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 noise, and stay focused on finding your first few clients.
One client leads to the next.
If you can do that, you’ll be on your way to building 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.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
It’s important to maintain realistic expectations when you’re first getting started. Set practical goals and commit to achieving them within a specified 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.
Fancy membership certificates look great hanging on a wall, but in the end your success or failure in isn’t determined by who you know, but by your efforts.
These days, you can pretty much run this business from a smartphone. But new technology isn’t just making our lives easier, it’s also changing the way we serve.
Did you know the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was served over the popular social messaging platform WhatsApp?
As the world becomes increasingly mobile and interconnected, successful process servers will need to adapt and embrace the change as it comes.
Maybe someday we’ll even be serving papers on Mars.