I get it.
When you’re a new business just starting out, even a one-person process server business, it’s easy to feel a little desperate.
You’ve spent money and valuable time to create something that you own and want to share with the world.
Maybe you’re out of work and the bills are piling up.
I’ve been there.
It’s hard not to get a little desperate, and search for “easy” money in all the wrong places.
I see new process servers do this all the time.
They decide they’ll give away their services to prospective clients or work with the one guy in town nobody wants to work with.
But in the end it costs them.
Because nobody respects the free offer, especially not lawyers.
I’m reminded of the last time I was in Las Vegas, walking down the sidewalk with a good friend.
If you’ve ever been to Vegas than you know how crowded the sidewalks are with all manner of hustlers, club promoters, and street marketers.
So one of them asks me if I want a free cruise, and of course I say no and keep walking.
Think about it… a free cruise.
And I didn’t even blink when I said no.
If the cruise is so great, why are they giving it away?
Meanwhile, the luxury hotel and casino across the street, who you can bet isn’t giving anything away, is charging $300 a night at full capacity.
Lawyers and clients think the same way.
If you lose respect for yourself and your time, they’ll do the same.
Let’s take it one step further and imagine you’re a new process server walking into a law office to offer your services.
You’re desperate and it shows. When they seem uninterested you throw out an offer to work for free, and a moment later they kindly shuffle you out the door.
And why wouldn’t they?
Legal work is important. A lawyer isn’t about to trust something like service of process to a desperate person. There’s simply too much at stake to take risks.
Now let’s reverse the scenario.
You’re confident. You introduce your services, give a few distinct reasons why you’re the best for the job, and offer strong but fair-market rates.
Who would you hire?
Okay, I’ve rambled long enough, but it’s important not to devalue yourself in business by taking bad gambles and cheap shortcuts.
That’s exactly why I recommend new process servers start part-time whenever possible, just like I did.
Work the business around your schedule, keep your primary source of income until you’re ready, and avoid the desperation trap.
Because nothing will kill your business faster.