How Much Does a Process Server Cost?
The job of a process server involves serving legal documents such as summonses, subpoenas, and complaints to an individual or organization involved in a court case. In order for the task to be effective, the process server should be someone who is not personally or legally involved in the case. Getting the right process server to serve the papers is important in order for a legal proceeding to continue.
How much does it cost?
- Depending on the type of service required, plan on spending anywhere from as little as $20 to as much as $150 for a process server.
- At ServeNow, a resource for finding pre-screened local process servers, the cost of hiring a process server for routine services ranges from $20 to $100, with the national average cost being $45 to $75. Same day or rush serves cost higher.
- At Direct Access Legal Services, a provider of legal services based in Mesa, Arizona, the cost of serving a person or organization is $50 in the Metro Phoenix area. The price includes 6 attempts, which usually starts the same day they receive the papers. The average cost of the service in the outlying areas of the Pinal County is $65, which covers the additional time and distance required to reach the area. In other Arizona counties and other states, the service costs between $100 and $140 (including handling fee).
What is going to be included?
- Process serving has three types of service: routine service (first attempt to serve the papers within 5 to 7 days of receiving the papers), rush service (first attempt typically within 3 days), and same-day service. Turnaround time can vary from one process server to another.
- A process server will be able to deliver legal documents to those who are involved in a court case. Aside from serving, they can also file the papers with the court and can even retrieve documents for an additional fee mentioned below.
What are the extra costs?
- Process servers require additional fees to locate people (skip tracing), with some charging $30 or an additional hourly or flat fee. Others charge $75 for a skip/trace. Added charges also follow for additional attempts made in the same day, with some process servers charging $30 each attempt. Time and mileage rates also call for additional fees, which can cost $45; stakeout hourly rates can cost $50 to $75 per hour.
- Some process servers charge separately for the cost of a notary, which can range from $10 to $25. Process servers may also file a proof of service, also referred to as return of service, at the court for an additional fee.
Tips to know:
- Once a process server quotes a price, be sure to ask the process server what the turnaround time is and how many attempts are included for the quoted price.
- Skip tracing is usually done by a process server when the person who needs to be served cannot be found. Most process servers do their own investigations and use available resources to find the individual. Since this process can be labor and time-intensive, most process servers bill it separately.
- Getting the services of a process server is important in order for a court case to proceed. Process servers should be knowledgeable and informed when it comes to the process serving legislation in the area in which he or she is serving. Most counties and states have regulations and requirements pertaining to the serving of legal documents.
- In certain states, a process server is required to hold a license. Even if the individual is not licensed, he or she should be experienced in serving legal documents in an efficient manner . Court cases are often hindered from proceeding or result to dismissal when process serving is not performed in accordance with the law.
Questions to ask:
- Do I need to know the address of the individual or business I wish to serve?
- What is your turnaround time for serving the papers?
- How many times do you attempt to serve the papers?
- What if you are unable to serve the papers?
- Do I get a guarantee or a refund in the event that papers are not served?
- How do I get proof that the papers were served?
- Do you file a proof of service with the court and how soon?
How can I save money?
- Conduct an online search for various process serving service providers. Compare the rates they offer, including the type of services they offer as well as other charges they require when you hire them. Choose a process server who offers services at a reasonable rate.
- Many times, private individual process servers will charge less than one that works for a law firm or corporation.