It’s not easy to say what process servers make, because the range varies from minimum wage to six figures. For starters, not all process server jobs are created equal. Most aren’t even “jobs” at all, but independent contractor positions that pay you for every serve you complete.

Take it from an insider, these jobs suck. You’ve got to pay for your own vehicle and gas, and spend all your time running around town while the agency you work for keeps the lion’s share of the profits. The job turnover is high, because most people give up after a few weeks or months. Process servers in this category, even the really busy ones, often average less than $10 per hour.

If you get lucky and find a government position that offers regular pay and benefits, go for it! These jobs are few and far between but often pay between $16-$24 per hour.

For the greatest income potential and flexibility, it’s best to work as a self-employed process server. That’s the route I chose, building my own client list and working via cell phone.

The start-up expenses are low, you can get going part-time, and you keep all of the fees you charge instead of splitting them up with the middleman.

Self-employed process servers can bill from $35 for a basic serve to more than $100 for rush jobs and special cases.

Sure, it takes some work in the beginning to go out and find your own clients, but the payoff in the long run is worth it. Besides, who doesn’t want the freedom that comes from working for yourself, setting your own schedule, and charging your own rates?

And there’s no limit to what process servers can make when they work for themselves. Build your reputation, expand your client list, and you may find yourself bringing on extra help. Now you’re the middleman, making a profit for every serve your employees go out and make. See how that works?

In my case, I chose to keep it small, deal with select clients, and run things out of my home office. But that’s what’s so great about working for yourself, the path you pursue is entirely up to you.