Article first published in PROServerCENTER.com 1-11-2021
Is it possible to start a process service business with no money? It is not easy, but for certain type of businesses like process service, the answer is yes, and here is how it is done.
Process service is one of these service businesses where in most cases, you spend money only when you make money. What it means is that if you have organized your business frugally (you have not rented an outside office and have not hired an office assistant before you have even served one process), then you spend money only when a client hires you to deliver legal documents. The "secret" to launching your process service business with little or no money is to get creative and be determined. Contrary to the cliché, it does not always "take money to make money." There are plenty of process service business owners who started their businesses with little or no cash.
Here are 11 strategies that work to start a process service business without capital:
1. Recognize and Use the Assets You Have as a Process Server
If you are reading this article, chances are you have little or no cash to invest in a business. But you do have assets and abilities that you can use to get a process service business started. Most likely you already have skills and knowledge that would help you launch your process service business. Perhaps you are a retired law enforcement officer, a former military, have worked as a courier or even a delivery guy. Many skills you have developed while working other jobs could be applied and used as assets when starting your process service business. Using those skills and assets - in other words, using what you already have – is the key to getting your process service business started when you have little or no money.
Begin by making a list of things you already know how to do, are good at doing and like doing that are related to process service. Do not limit this initial list. List even the simplest tasks like delivering pizza or mail, as well as more difficult or skilled things like analyzing financial data or creating software.
Next, think about the physical things and money you do have that could be used in your process service business. For instance, if you are reading this page on a computer or a mobile device that you own, you already have a piece of equipment that you can use to get your process service business started. You can use your word processor (or other software if you have it) to keep track of your services or prepare affidavits of service or even write up promotional materials and distribute them by email to paralegals or attorneys who want information about your services. If you have an inkjet or laser printer, you can print some of your initial promotional materials in very small quantities. Once you know what works and want to print, say 100 copies, it may be cheaper to have a local UPS or Staples or an online printer run them off for you. Your smartphone can be used to create snapshots or videos to publicize your process service business to people you know on Instagram or other social media platforms. And if you own a reliable vehicle, then you already have one of the most important physical assets to launch your process service business, particularly if you do not live in a metropolitan area with regular and reliable public transportation.
2. Make Money by Saving Time While Launching Your Process Service Startup
To increase your chances of success with your business, consider getting proper process server training through online or in-person programs. Your investment in such programs ensures that you have the right skills and knowledge to serve legal documents in the most efficient way and cut time spent per service. Why do things the hard way, particularly if you have little or no money to invest in your process service business? Wasting time while attempting to serve a respondent or getting affidavits ready translates into wasting money. The better equipped you are, the more efficient you become and the more money you will make as a process server. Learning and acquiring process service know-how teaches you to pay attention and minimize spending. It also helps you keep business costs down once you get your process service business going.
3. Work as a Process Server from Home
Many process servers complain that they are struggling to make ends meet, even though they have clients and they regularly serve legal documents. While the reasons behind this could be many, one key expense may be pulling you down and preventing you from seeing that profit. Renting office or retail space for your process service business is expensive and most times unnecessary. It is something you may want or need to do once you grow the business in the future and have solid savings in your business account. But when you are just starting out as a process server, find a way to work from home. If you work from home as a process server, your business will not need money for rent, utilities, and office furniture.
4. Conserve Your Cash as a Process Server
Yes, a faster computer might be nice. Or a new desk, a better camera, an expensive software package or cloud service. But make do with what you have and look for the lowest cost options for anything you need to acquire until you start bringing in paying customers for your process service business. Conserve cash by organizing your day better and being more efficient when setting your routine. Most legal documents need service attempts during the day if the address given is a business, or early in the morning or later in the evening if the address is a residence. In addition to making attempts to deliver the documents, process servers also need to dedicate time to prepare affidavits, to update their clients on the status of the services, to market themselves and in general, to run their business. Many process servers start making attempts early in the morning and work on their office work in the evenings. Such repetitive routine leads to deadlines being missed, affidavits and invoices being delayed, and ultimately leads to poor business outcomes. Instead, consider alternating your daily routine, where you work on your office and business duties in the morning, then begin attempts toward service at noon. Follow that with attempts early in the morning and office work in the afternoon the next day. Alternating your daily routine increases your due diligence toward service, maximizes your chances to catch a respondent home while it ensures that your office, marketing and business duties will not be neglected.
5. Use Free and Low-Cost Marketing Techniques
There are dozens of free and low-cost ways to market your process service business. Learn them and implement them before you start spending money on paid advertising via Google or any other search engines. Using free promotional strategies at first will help you gauge your marketing goals better, and it will help you start to understand what attracts or what motivates your customers to try your process services. Consider joining state and nationwide process service organizations and directories like PROServer list where competition for your local area is low due to its exclusivity which allows only three process servers to be included in each county served.
6. Do All the Process Service Work Yourself at First
Rely on your own sweat equity to start a process service business with no money. Expect long days and the need to learn how to do things you have not done before, such as marketing, selling, accounting or even building a website. You can learn how to do some of these tasks for free by searching the web or YouTube for “How to…” followed by the skill you need help with. Consider serving all legal documents yourself and hold off on hiring another process server until you have a good amount saved in your business account. Doing all these tasks yourself at first saves you money and will also help you understand what type of skills each activity requires when the business is making enough profit to hire office or process service help.
7. Start Simple
Your dream might include a pretty big process service business offering a wide variety of products and services and serving large-volume accounts, but for now, keep it simple. Focus on serving process and take excellent care of each and every client who trusts you with their legal documents. Build your customer base and later branch out into other products and services. One of the most expensive parts of running a process service business is acquiring customers. If you gain their trust with one service now, selling another one or attracting a new customer will become much easy.
8. Work for Somebody Else
Although they may not admit it, most process service business owners became entrepreneurs thinking they knew more than what they did. In fact, many process servers fail because the person was ill-equipped to build a successful business. Before you start your own process service business, make sure to complete what we call the 2 Factor Success Tools: know-how and field training. Know-how training builds your skills and knowledge necessary to build an efficient and successful process service business. Field training involves practical training of your know-how skills while attempting to serve legal documents. Working for someone else allows you to practice your process service skills while continuing to learn from other process servers' past experience. As a process server working for an agency, you will also gain insider knowledge of the industry that is valuable to the success of your own process service business.
9. Use Free Services
The Internet is full of high quality services you can use for free while launching and growing your process service business. Mailchimp is a powerful e-mail marketing platform that is free for the first 2,000 e-mail addresses. Wufoo allows you to make online forms, and although Facebook and other social media platforms will not put your ad in front of large amounts of people unless you pay, you can still gain some traction by telling people about your process service business or by joining Facebook groups and communities. There are also freelance platforms like Fiverr, Elance, and Upwork that have quality freelancers willing to help with logo and web design, and another service for cheap. You could get a logo made for $5!
Finally, go into your process service business endeavor with a hustling mindset. Be ready to do anything legal and ethical to get your business off the ground. Do not like cold calling? Do it anyway! Not a graphic designer? You can find templates online for just about anything. Do not want to do any free work? It might be worth it to get your name out there. If you do not have the money to pay for services, you have to do them yourself or find somebody who can and will do it for free.
Do not let a lack of funds discourage you from starting your process service business. You may have to work harder than someone with more financial resources, and it may take longer. But resourcefulness, creativity, hustle, and determination are often better predictors of success than money!
© ASSOCIATED SERVICES
EXCELLENCE in LEGAL SERVICES for OVER 30 YEARS
Associated Services Partners with the Process Server Center (PSC) To Set a Standard for the Process Service Industry
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY – Associated Services, a nationwide process service management company, today announced that the company is partnering with the Process Server Center (PSC). PSC is a legal professional organization that has successfully developed the first program to self-regulate the process service industry throughout the United States.
Through this partnership, Associated Services and PSC aims to:
· Implement nationwide certification for process servers in order to upgrade the professional quality of services provided
· Encourage the continuous training and education among process servers to support the orderly administration of justice
· Facilitate the administration of the Process Server Exclusive Directory to enhance confidence in the integrity of services provided by process servers
· Provide a hassle-free solution for legal departments of government agencies, law firms and pro se clients to find professional and reliable process servers
The process service industry has a huge market of process servers who constantly come and leave this industry. Process Servers are drawn by the ease of entry to this profession and the excitement to build their own business, all for less than 100 dollars. Self-regulation through certification, feedback incentives and a constantly updated directory of process servers is critical to ensure the consistent quality of service of process and eliminate hassles from improper service of process. PSC survey has proved that legal departments at government agencies, law firms and pro se clients will greatly benefit from advancing the training of process servers and utilizing a database that is constantly being updated to reflect the education, experience and real-time feedback for the quality of work and performance of process servers.
“We are excited to support PSC in the much needed regulation of the process service industry”, says Brani, Andreev, CEO of Associated Services. “Providing the Know-How and Pre-screening of certified process servers in order to provide legal professionals the fast and reliable access to qualified, certified, pre-screened process servers is the most exciting opportunity the process service industry has seen in a long time.”
Ultimately, Associated Services aspires to enable process servers to distinguish themselves from other process servers while providing clients with a reliable source of hiring the best process servers in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently about 15,000 to 20,000 process servers in the United States. Only 9 states now require initial statewide licensing for process servers and the responsibility to obtain sufficient education and training falls on each individual process server.
"Both national and state associations, like the National Association for Professional Process Servers (NAPPS) require some proof of affiliation with the process service industry for one year in order to become a member”, says Richard Farrell, Program Director at PSC. “Aimed to solve problems in service of process and upgrade the quality of process servers’ directories, we are thrilled to partner with Associated Services to bring to the industry a results-driven approach to ensure the consistent high quality of service of process. PSC Exclusive Process Servers Directory incorporates both entrance and continuous education and training requirements to maintain membership. The Exclusive Directory further differentiates between certified and pre-screened process servers in order to encourage members to get relevant education and also to implement the 4Ps™ Management Model in order to sustain service of process quality in the long run”
About Associated Services
Associated Services is a Nationwide Process Service Management Company. What ensures the consistent delivery of service of process is the management approach the company has developed and implemented based on more than 30 years of experience. Associated Services selects, trains, and oversees process servers throughout the country in order to streamline the process and save you time and valuable resources. Brani Andreev, CEO of Associated Services, has created this breakthrough management model that provides the framework that every process server must follow to ensure proper service of process every time. The 4Ps™ Model is based on relevant experience actively managing process servers and represents a breakthrough know-how for the process service industry. Associated Services is headquartered in Syracuse, NY.
For information, visit www.Associated.Legal
About the Process Server Center (PSC)
PSC is a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a standard for the process service industry in the United States. The organization’s approach provides specific, actionable solutions to process servers and legal departments the development of relevant training solutions for process servers and the administration of the first and only Exclusive Director for Certified and Pre-Screened Process Server. The Process Server Center Team has 20+ years of experience in working with individual process servers, process service agencies, government agencies and law firms. PSC helps process servers build and maintain successful process service business while ensuring proper service of process and highest quality is provided to legal professionals. PSC is headquartered in Boston, MA.
For information, visit www.TheProcessServerCenter.com
Brani Andreev, Associated Services
Richard Farrell, PSC
Across our society, we are witnessing economic and technological changes at an unprecedented rate. These changes will continue to influence the way we live, work and perceive the world around us. Lawyers are exploring opportunities to innovate in ways that benefit their clients and to reshape the legal services sector. Innovation in the legal sector is quickly becoming a key differentiating factor and a competitive advantage.
So how can lawyers adapt and get ready for a future of technological disruption in the legal industry? According to the Law Society, developing a strategy for innovation should start with a clear understanding and articulation of the law firm’s business objectives. How can a lawyer or a law firm create value for its clients? How to capture a share of the value that innovation might create? How can law firms improve the quality of the services they provide and differentiate themselves from others?
With Professor Andrew Perlman at the helm, Suffolk University Law School in Boston recently created the Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation. Its purpose: To “study how technology is revolutionizing the practice of law.” The future holds a great deal of uncertainty for lawyers. In a recent roundtable discussion at Law Practice Today, a panel of legal professionals offered their insights about the future of law practice and shared their advice about how lawyers can best prepare and prosper. From harnessing new technologies, to minimizing costs through alternate workspace arrangements and law firm structures, and expanding a firm’s online presence through social media and other avenues of client engagement and management, the practice of law is rapidly changing and as the pace of technological innovation accelerates the legal world will have to continue evolving to keep up. What does the future look like for the practice of law?
Do you know that according to the National Center for State Courts, process service is one of the top challenges confronting the justice system? Consistent with fundamental notions of due process and fairness, a person must receive proper notice of any judicial action in which he/she is made a party of. Yet process service is often a neglected step in a judicial proceeding. Proper service on a party and a correct affidavit of service filed with the court ensure that the parties to the action have been notified as prescribed by the court system. Failure to complete this process may result in a delay, breach of duty or termination of an otherwise successful trial. It could become costly.
Legal market analysis conducted by Associated Services shows that process service is often associated with headaches - you or your legal team spend valuable time chasing process servers to check on the status of legal documents being served or to obtain a completed affidavit on time for a court hearing. And even when filed with the court, a defendant may still appear and challenge the sufficiency of the service or the veracity of the return. The headaches from improper service of process are mounting and your legal team spends valuable time to ensure compliance and due diligence. Acknowledging the challenges law firms face with service of process, the question then becomes what can we do to eliminate headaches from improperly served papers and ensure proper service of process the very first time?
At Associated Services, over the years, we have gathered and tested different practices in serving legal papers both in state and nationwide in order to identify and implement management techniques to ensure the quality of service of process, to streamline the process itself and avoid costly mistakes. Based on 30 years of experience, we have differentiated 4 components in serving legal papers that can help your legal team and ultimately save you time and money.
Informational Pieces Selected for You