You may think that it would not be too hard to find a process server when Process servers you need your legal documents served. You just need somebody to take a piece of paper to another person, right? Anybody can do that.
On the surface, that sounds all right. But when you look closer, you realize that if you don’t get the right person to serve your court documents, it will end up costing you and your clients a whole lot more time and money.
The unfortunate truth
In Oklahoma, only about 25 percent of process servers do the work full-time. The other 75 percent are serving people on nights and weekends. That doesn’t work, mostly because not everybody can be reached on nights and weekends only. And if you need a quick update or status report, you don’t want to have to wait until after 5 p.m. to get the information you need at 10 a.m.
Some process servers may not return phone calls, or they don’t let the client know soon enough that they were unable to serve the papers. If that happens, then the client, lawyer and judge all show up in court, only to find out the “other party” has not been served. It’s a waste of everybody’s time and the client’s money, all because a process server didn’t do their job.
Choosing a process server isn’t as easy as grabbing somebody and asking them to deliver the court documents for you. If you want to get the most for your money, here are a few tips for finding a good process server.
Make sure they’re licensed
In the state of Oklahoma alone, only 10 percent of process servers are members of a national organization. Look for a process server who’s a member of a national association. Most national associations have strict policies for becoming member, which may include two years of experience and three recommendations from lawyers, judges and other professional process servers who are already members. They have bylaws that members must follow, as well as rules of ethical conduct.
Make sure they can do skip tracing
You may have an old address for the person you’re trying to serve, or maybe they’re in hiding to avoid getting their papers. Whatever the case, if your process server can’t do skip tracing, they can’t track down the person you need them to serve.
If they can do skip tracing, then they have a much broader ability and better resources to find the person you need and ensure the court documents are served in a timely manner.
Make sure they go the extra mile
Some process servers might give you a handwritten note about their progress. Others may not even get in touch with you after you initially contact them to serve the court documents.
Look for a process server who will update you on a regular basis with easily documented emails that detail when and were the papers were served, and to whom. It’s even better if a process server has a database where you can track the status of the cases you’ve hired them for. That way, you’ll always know exactly where your case stands.
Make sure they’re up front
You don’t want a process server that’s a one-man operation, or one who hides extra costs in their initial pricing. They may say they can serve the papers for $35-$40, but when you get the bill, there’s an extra $40 or $50 tacked on for gas and mileage.
Find somebody who works with a team and who lets you know up front what the cost includes. That way you’ll know if you’re getting what you pay for, and there won’t be any nasty surprises when the bill comes.
It is possible to find an honest, ethical process server to deliver the documents you need. Just do your research first and make sure that you’re getting a professional. That way, you won’t waste your time or your money.