Many of us are only familiar with process servers from television and movies. They’re those glamorous characters that show up with roses and divorce papers and say “You’ve been served.” In the real world, process servers provide a useful function for our legal system, ensuring that defendants have notice of actions filed against them. Professional process servers have flexible hours and make good money, creating a niche for parents of small children, retired civil servants and anybody else that’s sharp, creative and seeking an offbeat way to make a living. Doreen Gadow from Spring Hill, Florida, has a college education and success in more than one profession. She started working as a process server when her son was in college when she was looking for a way to re-enter the workforce. She gives you a taste of what it’s like to be a process server in this illuminating interview.How did you get started as a process server?
My husband is a process server, and after many years working in several different careers, I decided to join him in the profession. I have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and some graduate work in Marriage and Family Counseling. The first ten years of my career were spent doing a rewarding, but challenging job as a behavior therapist for children and adults with developmental disabilities. I left this employment to work full-time with my son as his homeschool teacher, a job I found very fulfilling. In order to keep teaching my son through high school, I pursued a Florida Teacher Certification in Mathematics. This also helped me serve the homeschool community as a math tutor during my son’s high school years. A couple of years after my son left to attend college, I decided to work with my husband as a process server.
What legal requirements are there to work as a process server?
Here in Florida, process servers must complete a certification course, pass the final exam and update their certification every year. Other requirements include a background check, fingerprinting and posting a bond. Every state has different requirements, and you must meet the requirements for any state you work in.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
In addition to working with my husband of 21 years, my favorite part of the job is how much money I make for the time and effort I put in! The second best part is the flexibility that allows me to spend more time doing non-work things I love. This is a great gig economy job whether you’re working for a process service firm, self-employed or form a process service business that employs others.
Is there any technology you find helpful?
The best technology for process servers is the ABC Legal App. This useful app saves me a great deal of time and energy because it can take pictures, get GPS readings and submit them for each of my attempts at service. In the rare situations where I am in a rural area without cell service, I need to document the attempts manually.
What safety precautions can you suggest?
I always do some research on the address I’m serving, including whether it’s a high crime rate area. If it is, I will make my first attempts during the day. Being a 2nd-degree black belt gives me confidence, but I still don’t take unnecessary chances. Adequate lighting is very important for safety. I’ve had people slam the door in my face after I served them, followed by intentionally turning off their outside lights. That’s why I always carry a flashlight.
How has the Pandemic changed process serving?
Last Spring there was no work at all. It’s been coming back, but it took a while for people to feel comfortable opening their doors, even when I had on a mask and stood ten feet away from the door. In some cases it was a valid concern for the virus, in others it was obviously just an attempt to avoid service. Some people get very angry at me these days for serving them with collection actions, so I try to be as kind as possible.
What are some tips for people getting started as a process server?
The more you size up a situation, the faster and easier it will usually be to achieve service. For example, consider your subject’s age. If they are over 65, it’s more likely they will be home during the day. If they are 30-45, you might be likely to find them in their driveway in the morning getting ready to take kids to school. Homes with playgrounds and tricycles usually house parents, and they are likely to be home after dinner. The most important thing to remember is that kindness will get you much farther than harshness.
About ABC Legal Services
ABC Legal is the nation’s leading service of process and court filing company and is the official process server to the U.S. Department of Justice. Docketly is a subsidiary of ABC Legal, providing appearance counsel on a digital, custom-built platform that smoothly integrates with our applications and services. ABC Legal’s applications are cloud-based and compatible for use on desktop, browser and smartphones. Our solutions and digital approach ensure process server partners, law firm customers and their clients save valuable time and resources when serving legal notices safely and with maximum compliance, control and transparency. ABC Legal is based in Seattle, WA, with more than 2,000 process servers throughout the U.S., as well as internationally in more than 75 countries. To learn more about ABC Legal, our solutions and subsidiary company Docketly visit www.abclegal.com.