I Need a Process Server in NYC, But Where Do I begin?

How does one go about choosing a process server?  Or more precisely, "How does one go about choosing the right process service firm for a particular service?"  The strategy employed by most people reminds me of how the average person (I admit to falling into this trap in the past) chooses a bottle of wine by searching for an aesthetically pleasing label that "just catches our eye." That method may work well enough for wine because the worst case scenario is wasting $10 and suffering a slightly unpleasant taste that will soon fade. But with a legal matter,  the problems can be very costly and they do not fade so quickly. 
"In fact, the proper service of legal papers is often foundational to a successful legal outcome and any problems in this phase just seem to compound along the way."

At newyorkcityprocessservice.com, our attitude is, "there are no insignificant legal matters - each one has serious implications that effect real peoples lives."
Lets be honest, an inexperienced process server can sabotage your best efforts. Just like a bad captain can sink an unsinkable ship (as history has shown) a less-than-expert process server can cost you months of meticulous legal work, hours or days spent in court repairing a case and possibly cost you a positive legal outcome.

What NOT To Do

What I'm about to say is not necessarily scandalous, but I state it with some reservation because I do not wish ill feelings towards anyone in the process service industry. That being said, my number one piece of advice would be, choose a firm that will actually perform the work. By that I mean, be cautious of third party agencies that are in essence "referral services."  Why?  It just makes more sense to deal directly with the firm that will serve your papers.  Part of the fee that you pay goes to the referral service either directly or indirectly by paying for the advertising. 
"In my humble estimation it's best to cut out the middleman to ensure that the firm serving YOUR papers is fully incentivized to put their best efforts forward."

And let me be clear! I am fully consistent with that advise when I utilize another firms services. At newyorkcityprocessservice.com, there are many instances when we use process service firms outside of NYC. Now to be fair, just like great doctors know other great doctors, we also are fortunate to have developed relationships with most of the premier process service firms from around the country and beyond. However, if I had to serve a paper in a geographical area that I did not have a contact, I would certainly make sure that I was dealing directly with the firm that was going to serve my papers.

Let me now offer by way of comparison a few simple guidelines that may prove useful in selecting a reputable process serving firm. Allow me to contrast the decision making process of an experienced attorney with the "wine label choosing method" I outlined above. I know many attorneys. At their best they are smart, logical, risk averse decision makers. They certainly do not leave things "to chance", nor do they make foolish assumptions. They do their due diligence and plan for multiple contingencies. Let me share what one of the most successful attorneys I know has confided to me with respect to choosing a process server firm:

Two Important Guidelines 

1- "The true cost of service is different than its price" We've all heard "Cheap is often expensive" When he first started out as an attorney he quickly landed his first big negligence case and was expecting the fee to help him expand his practice. When he started the case the statute of limitations was already close to expiring so he employed a process server whom he thought was competent and had quoted him "a good price".   It turns out that the services were upon various corporate entities and individuals throughout NYC. Cut to the chase-three of the five services were more complex than he realized and service was eventually ruled to be improper and incomplete. Luckily he was able to have them reserved properly by a competent firm (NYCPS) and he told me it was then that he remembered the old adage, 
"The least expensive service is the one done right the first time."

2- "A reputable process service firm is an investment" In other words, "If you have a six figure case, isn't it worth a $$ investment to protect it?"  He realized that he almost lost a huge case trying to save a relatively small amount of money.  Choose a firm with impeccable credentials and vast experience over any other factor

There you have it! Ultimately it's about a cost-effective solution that produces a positive outcome. And one doesn't have to be an attorney to take this advise. It could be a one time lawsuit that you find yourself in. Possibly it's a Civil Court case because someone owes you money, did damage to you vehicle, or it's a Family Court petition for support or a Divorce . Whatever the case may be, the service of the legal papers are the foundation of your case. Make sure you choose a firm that is highly experienced and will be the one that does the actual work. 

"This is what I have distilled from over 50,000 services within the always magnificent but sometimes messy confines of NYC. It's a proven method that I teach to newyorkcityprocessservice.com servers and has served us well."  Steve - NYCPS


  1. What are the requirements to serve process in NY?

    1. The requirements have become complex Brad. In addition to the fee of $340., there is now a test, $10,000 bond requirement as well as strict record keeping. Follow this link for NYC DCA requirements: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/businesses/license-checklist-process-server-individual.page

  2. How do I find a competent process server in New York City? Are there any?


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