Process serving you get what you pay for

Outsourcing service of process to the lowest bidder can be irresistible for law firms looking to save a buck, but there are potential consequences associated with low-end pricing that can risk delays or scuttle a legal matter completely.

If you find yourself tempted to cut corners on service of process vendors, here are the best reasons to reconsider your decision before it turns one of your cases into a cautionary tale.

They don’t know the court's local rules

They don’t know the local rules

Nothing destroys a bargain like rookie mistakes or ignorance that costs you time and money. These mistakes range from substitute-service on an underage individual or non-occupant, to posting a 3-day notice without following up with a mailing copy or accepting an invitation from a witness to come into their home.

Sound bad? That’s just the beginning. Substituted service can also trip up process servers because the rules for substituted service aren’t always the “same” – “in” some instances they differ by jurisdiction. For example, an inexperienced or unskilled server may errantly perform a substituted service before local rules allow for it.

Likewise, inexperienced servers may not know that service is effected based on the laws and rules of the state from which the process originates. So, when serving New York documents in California, the process server better know the New York state rules.

Takeaway: Process serving laws differ from state to state. Before you consider a bargain process serve, make sure they have the expertise and experience to correctly serve court documents for you anywhere in the United States.

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

Where’s the sense of urgency?

One of the most important things a process server can do is comply with deadlines, so make sure the server you select isn’t asleep at the wheel.

A low-cost, inattentive process server may miss strict deadlines that apply to non-court filed documents (e.g. subpoenas) and court dated documents (e.g. applications and orders for appearance and examination).

If these documents aren’t served within a prescribed period of time prior to a hearing or deposition the witness or debtor may not comply; and the court would be loath to issue a bench warrant to make them do so.

Takeaway: Minimize the risk for fumbled deadlines by hiring an experienced process server who has in-depth knowledge of the applicable statutes for the particular document(s) they are serving.

Will they stick with the job?

Will they stick with the job?

Some process servers find it easier to throw in the towel than work diligently to make a successful serve as quickly as possible. If you’re wondering whether you’ll get champagne performance at Kool-Aid prices, ask yourself:

  • Does the process server make attempts at the right time of day or night?
  • Does the server “mix it up” and vary their attempt times if necessary?
  • Will the server proactively ask neighbors and friends for clues?
  • Does the process server pay attention to certain signals that may indicate when a subject is at an address but refusing to answer the door?

Some process servers may prematurely suggest a stake out instead of doing a bit more homework. That type of service destroys value and does nothing to elevate your own law firm.

Takeaway: There’s no substitute for commitment and competence; backed up by a satisfaction guarantee. Invest your process serving dollars in a vendor who is accountable and works in your best interest.

Where do good process servers come from?

The Ultimate Guide for Process Serving takes you inside the process server’s world and shows you which ones can be a law firm’s strategic partner.

What you should be getting

What you should be getting

If you want to swim with the big fish, you’ll need real value from the process serving company.

What does real value look like?

When it comes to getting service of process that keeps your legal matter moving, real value looks like this:

    • 80-90% serve success rate for documents that can be served.
    • Flexible service levels that include:
      • On-demand, immediate response.
      • Next day.
      • Standard. (Within 5 days of receiving a service of process order.)
    • 2-3 day turnaround for a Proof of Service on a standard level of service.
    • Up to 5-day turnaround for a Proof of Service on an out-of-state service of process.

Takeaway: Don’t compromise process serving effectiveness to save the price of a cup of coffee. A process server that operates with urgency pays for itself.

No more blind spots

No more blind spots

It’s a big country and service of process for rural or hard-to-serve locations can be pricey. If you don’t know where you’re spending the most money for service of process, then you may have a blind spot that is draining valuable revenue from your law firm.

Your vendor can help you eliminate blind spots by providing reports that show:

    • Service of process orders by pricing zone
    • Orders by type
    • Service level distribution
    • Service of process performance

Find out more about what these reports reveal and how they can help protect your law firm’s bottom line in Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using.

Takeaway: Detailed business intelligence that improves your bottom line may not be something the lowest bidder can provide. Get a process serving company that has the technology, real-life experience, and statutory knowledge to give you the best insights and performance nationwide.

Is your process server fumbling your legal documents?
Is your process server fumbling your legal documents?

The one right tool for the job

Do you bounce between a laundry list of low-budget vendors each day to manage your litigation support services?

Instead of juggling a variety of dashboards to access a handful of bargain-priced providers, get a vendor whose technology provides a single online portal for you to create, modify, and monitor multiple orders in one session.

By directing your orders from one point you’ll save time and money on services such as:

    • Service of process
    • eFiling
    • Physical filing
    • Expert document review
    • Courtesy copies
    • Document retrieval
    • Secretary of state filings
    • Skip tracing
    • and more

Takeaway: Your law firm doesn’t pay for just of one kind of service. Look at how well the vendor serves the overall needs of your law firm to gauge whether you’re getting what you pay for.

Third-party confirmation and referrals

Third-party confirmation and referrals

If you’ve ever purchased a Louis Vuitton bag at a swap meet only to watch it disintegrate as you walk to the parking lot, then you know the value of trust. And you know why people are willing to pay for trust.

Worrying about every order you place kills productivity. So, if you’re uncertain about whether you can trust a warehouse-priced process server, here are four signs to look for:

    • A guarantee
    • A track record
    • Testimonials
    • Transparent pricing

Price transparency is particularly important. Be sure you get a reliable estimate up front about how many days are needed to complete the serve and receive the Proof of Service.

Takeaway: Find a process serving company that offers a price and deadline calculator.

When customer service couldn’t care less

When customer service couldn’t care less

Dirt-cheap pricing won’t seem like such a deal when an order goes sideways and no one “cares” — “except” you. That’s why personalized assistance is invaluable when you’re in a tough spot. It’s also critical to get support in the way that best fits your work style: chat, phone support, or email.

Takeaway: If the big firms consider world-class customer service a good investment, maybe you should, too.

Want the Ultimate in Customer Support?

Rapid Legal’s Concierge Service has you covered with expert document specialists who review your documents and place your order for you.

Try Concierge Service Now!

Let’s make a deal

Let’s make a deal

Everyone wants a bargain but paying rock bottom prices for services that don’t provide value may be no bargain at all. Especially if those discounted services make your job more difficult instead of easier.

If you’re still grappling with whether your economy-fare process server is providing a good return for your dollar, ask yourself four simple questions:

  • Is their service good?
  • Is it convenient?
  • Is it done right?
  • If it’s done wrong, how do they make it right?

Service of process is not a commodity. It requires vendor personnel who have agile minds and persistence as well as technology that provides communication and accountability. Invest your spend on a vendor who will do it right, be there for you in a crunch, and whose performance raises your own.

Because excellence is never on sale, and you always get what you pay for.