5 Tips to Become a Better Process Server
1) Get as much information as you can before attempting the service
What is the defendant’s schedule? Do they work normal hours? T Process Servers his information will help you make a plan for the defendant to deliver on their first attempt. There is no use trying to service an empty house. This information is also crucial so that you do not waste time guarding a home at times when the defendant is unlikely to enter or leave.
What type of vehicle does the defendant drive? I cannot count how many times I was able to catch a person trying to hide inside their house based on this information. If the defendant’s car is in the driveway, you know there is a better chance that the defendant is at home. He sits on the hood of the car Process Servers before knocking on the door. Is it warm? That means the car was recently driven, which may indicate a higher likelihood that the defendant is there. Having this information allows you to focus and find out if they are at home and in hiding.
What does the accused look like? Ideally, your client will provide a photo of the defendant, but even if you don’t have one, get a description of the person he’s serving. If you know that your defendant weighs 6’4 “and 300 pounds, you may play your hand differently if a short, skinny guy opens the door. Why blow your cover if you know the person you meet doesn’t know? Does it fit the description you have been given? Also, having an idea of what your defendant looks like is incredibly helpful when you come across a person who fits the description and who tries to lie about their identity. Be confident in asking a person questions. the person who thinks he is the defendant helps to break his lies so that he can complete the serve.
2) Do your research before leaving the office.
This is advice that I cannot stress enough. Doing a little research online before trying the service will save you time, money, and sanity.
Determine what type of property you have been hired to visit. Attempting service to a business is obviously very different from attempting service to a private address. You need to know what to expect at the address before you arrive.
Is there anything worse than coming to the address you were hired for and finding an apartment complex with dozens of individually numbered apartments and they didn’t give you the unit number? Are you going to knock on dozens of doors trying to find out where your defendant lives?
Sign up for an account with FASTWeb to get a property profile before leaving the office. With this tool, you can find out if a property is residential or commercial Process Servers if it is a house, condo, or apartment building, and who owns the property. This information can often indicate whether a residential address is a rental unit or a family home so that you can design your service plan accordingly.
If you are hired to serve a business, search online for information about the business. Who is the owner of the company? Do they have different locations than the one your customer provided? Corporations registered in the state of California must provide a registered agent for service of process.
Please visit this site to search for the corporation you serve. If the registered agent is a person Process Servers , you now know who to ask when attempting the service. Perhaps the agent is an attorney with a different office address than the business. If your business is not a corporation, knowing who the owners or directors are can go a long way toward focusing your plan of attack like a laser beam.
3) Observe the location before knocking on the door
When Process Servers servicing a residential address, knowing the terrain is crucial to its success. Before approaching the property, you should look for signs of occupancy, signs of recent activity, and how the property is laid out.
Are there lights inside? Can you see in any of the windows even on the side or rear of the property? Many times I have seen shadows of people walking inside even through closed curtains. If you are lucky, you can identify your defendant inside before knocking on the door, which may allow you to deliver the papers whether the defendant wants to open the door or not.
Is there a lockbox on the front door handle or a front door to the property? You know, those little boxes that real estate agents or property managers will leave on a property that contains the keys to the place? While not a sure sign of vacancy, many times a lockbox at the front door will indicate that the unit is empty and that it is being renovated or worked before it is rented out to a new tenant. You don’t want to waste your time knocking on empty residence doors.
Are there garbage cans on the sidewalk? This is a good one to look for. Once a trash can is placed on a public street, you are not breaking the law by lifting the lid and looking inside. You will be surprised how many times simply lifting the lid of a trash can on the street will reveal mail dropped by an occupant. Now you know if your defendant is receiving mail at the address that helps refine his service plan. All information helps.
4) Listen to the activity inside
Once you approach the door, listen for a few seconds before ringing the bell. Do you listen to television or radio indoors? Can you hear people talking? This is valuable information that can change the way you approach the service.
Process Servers Listen carefully when the bell rings. Do you hear the doorbell inside? I guess almost half of the bells I ring don’t work. Don’t waste time pressing the button if nothing happens. Tap, tap, and call again. When you ring the bell, does a dog bark inside? I always like to hear a dog inside when I call or call because it indicates that the place is not empty and the dog owners will probably be home at some point to at least take care of the dog inside.
Keep an eye on the peephole. Most entry doors have a round peephole that can be a very useful indicator of whether someone is hiding inside. Before calling or calling, position yourself so that you can see the pinpoint of light in the middle of the peephole. Keep this position after calling or calling and look for the light point to darken. I have caught so many people with this trick that it is insane. Is that how it works:
I see the point of light in the peephole. I ring the bell. The point of light disappears, which means that someone on the other side of the door is looking through the peephole. I smile and point to the peephole so that the person inside knows that I know they are there. If they don’t open the door, I knock or knock again and announce myself. “Hello, I have a delivery for John Doe. Hello?” This alone causes people to open the door many times, especially if you have the papers in your back pocket and show that you are empty-handed.
If your defendant is stubborn and his observation leads you to believe that your defendant is inside, try, “Hi So-and-so, I know he’s inside. I am a process server hired to serve notice of a lawsuit filed against you. There is no point in not taking the papers. “
Adding something like “If you’re not John Doe, let me know so I don’t have to keep bothering you.” This can cause your defendant to open the door and try to lie to you, which you can see through if you have been given a photo of the defendant or if you verbally mock the defendant. With experience, your gut will tell you if you are being lied to or if the person who opens the door is not really the defendant or does not know the defendant at all. The instant reaction of the person who opens the door says it all once you are tuned in to the signals.
5) be too polite
Sure, you’re giving someone bad news. Sure, Process Servers trial servers are sometimes portrayed as idiots who aggressively confront defendants. However, I think being very polite puts people off and will give you better information about the person who opens the door. Many times, the reaction of the person who opens the door tells him everything he needs to know about what is happening.
If I knock on someone’s door after dark, I’ll smile and say, “Hi! Sorry to bother you so late, but I have a delivery for So-and-so.” Do you serve early in the morning? Try this: “Hi, I’m sorry to wake you up, but I’m trying to get through to John Doe.” This approach discourages the person from opening the door and may instinctively make them more likely to cooperate.
Once you know that you have contacted the defendant or someone else whom you can legally serve on behalf of the defendant, politely explain that you are reporting a legal matter and be as helpful as possible. Provide the court date or phone number of the plaintiff or law office that filed the complaint. You cannot provide legal advice, but you can provide general Process Servers information about how the court process works for the particular type of documents you are serving. I have reversed highly conflictive and unpleasant situations by politely answering questions that I can answer and providing basic information to a defendant. I have even been thanked by the defendants who were quite angry with me at first because I was courteous and explained what was going on.
We hope these tips help you become a better and more efficient process server. If you can go one step further and eliminate the need to return to an address for additional service attempts, you are saving time and maximizing profits.
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