When you take legal action against another party, you need a process server to officially notify the other party. You can’t do this yourself; service of process must be served by an individual who is not a party to the case. The process server provides the person with a set of documents that describe the legal action. These documents can include summonses, complaints, subpoenas, writs and other court documents. Costs to hire a process server vary, depending on a number of factors such as how quickly you want the service done and where the service will take place. Generally, the more difficult it is for the professional to serve the papers, the more it will cost.
Costs of process serving vary across the nation. Your cost will depend on typical prices in your area.
Individual or corporation
Fees may vary based on whether you are serving an individual or a company. "Drop services" to companies are typically less expensive.
You can pay extra to have the process served on the same day or as a three-day rush rather than the routine five to seven days. For example, S&M Process Serving of Winter Haven, Florida, charges $35 for routine (standard) service, $65 for rush service and $75 for same-day service.
The process server may charge extra based on the mileage required to travel and serve the papers. For example, Flashpoint Investigations of Brooklyn, New York, charges 95 cents per mile.
If the person you are serving needs to be located, the process server will charge an extra hourly or flat fee for "skip trace" services.
Number of attempts
Most process servers will attempt to serve papers only a set number of times. Ask the server how many attempts to serve are included in the cost and how much it would cost for additional attempts over that amount. For example, CheckMate Process Serving of Newcastle, California, charges $75 to serve a subpoena to a person, with two attempts included in the fee.
Type of document
Process servers may charge different rates depending on the type of court document to be served.
Although many process servers include notary service in their flat rates, others may charge a nominal fee such as $15.
Return of service
Some process servers will file proof of service (also called "return of service") at the court for an additional fee.
Only use same-day or rush service if absolutely necessary. A local sheriff can doing process serving, which is another way to save money; however, sheriffs can be less effective and less persistent than professional process servers. Consult a number of different process servers in your area to compare costs, turnaround time and number of attempts.