Office administrators and other legal professionals know there are strict rules for serving court papers. So, when they hire a process server for their law firm or corporate legal department, they expect the proper procedural requirements to be followed in a timely and accurate manner, otherwise, their client’s hearings could be delayed, or worse, their cases could be jeopardized. Chances are, you have had a bad experience or two with a process server in the past.

How do you make sure to partner with the right one?

Here are some important factors to evaluate when selecting the right process serving partner. Some might even surprise you.

 

What is a ‘Serve Success Rate’?

The serve success rate is a performance metric in process serving that demonstrates how effective a process server is at successfully serving parties to a case, by the requested service level.

 

SERVE SUCCESS RATES

Have you ever asked a process serving company what its ‘serve success rate’ is?

A high serve success rate indicates a process server is consistently successful in serving case participants, so it is important to ask them.

If a process server fails to indicate their serve success rate — or refrains from sharing this information with you upon asking — that is a red flag. This metric is central to a process server’s effectiveness, and you should want to know what it is. Anything above 90% is good.

BONUS TIP: Any quality process server is accustomed to working day and night, weekdays, and weekends, to track down parties and successfully serve them. If a person is evading service, your process server should be able to skip trace a party that has moved or cannot be located at the address provided, to increase their odds of a successful serve. You should ask your process server if they provide this service, or how they handle evasive parties.

 

SPEED OF SERVICE

In addition to discovering the serve success rate, it is also important to understand the speed of service. Speed of service by a process server encompasses, not only how quickly they can get someone served, but also how quickly they can deliver the Proof of Service to you. For example, it could take 10 days to get someone served, and another 3 days to complete and provide the Proof of Service to your firm – you should understand the average length of time required for both of those efforts for an accurate estimation of speed of service.

Another consideration that will impact speed of service is the service level that is chosen for a process serving order.

Process serving companies typically offer different service levels depending on the urgency and/or timing needed for a service of process to be completed. For example, Rapid Legal offers the following service levels:

Standard (1st attempt within 5 days)

Priority (1st attempt within 1 day)

Urgent (Same Day Attempt, if received by deadline)

Customers can also select Rapid Legal’s On-Demand option which will allow their order to receive immediate processing upon submission. A quality process server will provide fast speed of service and offer different service levels to accommodate the time-sensitive matters of legal professionals.

BONUS TIP: Timely communication from a process server is crucial. A superior process server will keep you in the loop throughout the lifecycle of your process serving order – from when the order was received, to when it was first attempted, to any special notes, and when it was served, as well as when a Proof of Service will be delivered and more. Be sure to ask the process serving company how they ensure timely communication with their customers.

 

SERVICE OF PROCESS PRICING

According to the National Association of Professional Process Servers, most process serving prices fall somewhere between $20 – $100 for a standard level of service (1st attempt within 5 days). Urgent or rush jobs could cost up to 3x more. Process serving costs vary depending on the location of the party being served, number of addresses required to locate the party, service level selected, and more.

While doing your research, it is important to ask the process serving company for a clear price estimate or fee schedule based on your firm’s needs. Let it know if your firm typically needs rush-serves or same-day serves and ask it how many serve attempts it will make at the quoted price. It would also be good to inquire about additional services such as skip traces or stakeouts, and their costs.

As you compare costs for process serving companies, you will likely find some disparity in pricing based on the size and sophistication of the firm. Asking a process server for their serve success rates, speed of service, service levels provided, and other features outlined in this article, will help you decipher which one is right for your organization.

BONUS TIP: Most process serving firms offer bulk pricing for high volumes. If you have a need for 20 serves or more per month, you can likely negotiate a discounted rate for your process serves. The same holds true if you add on other litigation support services.

 

CLIENT SATISFACTION

Process serving companies that take client satisfaction seriously measure and manage it. They regularly survey their customers to gauge how well they are meeting their customer’s needs and engage in ongoing customer service or operational training with their employees. You should ask a process serving company how important customer satisfaction is to them, how they track it (and if they can show proof of satisfaction scores or reports), and what they do when customers are not satisfied.

BONUS TIP: Read online reviews and client testimonials for the process serving companies you are interested in. Ask colleagues or business associates if they are familiar with any of the firms you are evaluating, and if so, what their feedback is for those firms. You can even ask the process serving company for customer referrals to speak with as part of your due diligence process for a selecting a vendor.

 

HOW RAPID LEGAL CAN HELP

Since 1994, Rapid Legal has been redefining the litigation support service industry. Place a process serving order with Rapid Legal and have your documents served anywhere in the U.S. using our nationwide network of process servers. Our people and technology work together to maximize court filing acceptance and return court-stamped documents and proofs fast, and reliably. Learn more about how Rapid Legal delivers unmatched process serving and more here.