Improve Your Image

Improve your Image

Your Brand Improve your Image!

You have spent all this time trying to build your brand. However, you seriously need to improve your image first!  

You have everything you need, the will to succeed with a “Go get’em” attitude.   But you’re not making money yet and your already out upwards of $700 dollars on licensing and fees.  How could anyone in their right mind suggest you spend more money?
No questions asked, spend that money up front and it will pay you back quickly by making you stand out in the crowd.

Please remember when you read this, I have tried to get affiliate programs set up before I posted this and could not quick enough.  That is actually a good thing for you as my opinions stated here are NOT influenced by an affiliate program.

First things first!

  • Get a domain

Do this as soon as you find your business name to improve your image.  I suggest doing this first because it may influence your choice of business names.  If you are wanting to name your business “Example” search www.example.com and if it is available grab the domain and name your business.  If www.example.com is taken, you might look for www.OKExample.com and name your business Oklahoma Example.  You will want these two to match as close as possible so it is easy for people to remember.

There are plenty of options for domains.  I started out using WordPress.com their prices have gone up now and are around $8.25 at time of posting for a .com domain.   This will get you up and running quick and is a great idea if you’re not real computer savvy.

If you are a little more computer savvy and can handle basic setup I have been using GoDaddy.com  it is currently $11.99 per Year for a domain name.

Even if you’re not going to use it, I can not stress enough GET IT. And one last thing on GoDaddy, don’t fall for the up sales such as email YET.

  • Email

Email is the main reason I said get your domain first!   I want to put you in your clients shoes for a second. If you see someone posing as a “Professional” in the field and their email says serverjeff@gmail.com and the next person has an email that says Jeff@ServerJeff.com which would you view as more professional?  It really is a rhetorical question, when someone emails me from a yahoo.com, gmail.com or suddenlink.com email address I always view this as a personal account.  When someone emails me from a business domain (ie. jeff@serverjeff.com ) I view them as someone representing a business.

Now I know you are thinking in your head “why didn’t I get the email option from GoDaddy up sale?”  The answer is simple, your already out money so why would you want to spend more than you have to?

At this point of improving your image, if you’re not a tech nerd and didn’t go ahead and jump on the Web Hosting packages at GoDaddy (I did) head on over to ZOHO.  ZOHO offers FREE business email with up to 25 different separate users.  I know 25 sounds like a lot of users but you will thank me later down the road. Follow through their tutorial and setup your domain to work with Zoho mail.

At this time, you are ready to present yourself as a professional. After your are done with this article visit my other post Improving your Business Presence for ideas on how to use these new tools.

Side Notes and Conclusions

Let me leave you with a quick recap.  Most importantly, get a domain name.  This will secure your business name and prepare you for future growth while limiting your potential for problems down the road with a miss matched business name and domain.

Get email setup before you start contacting clients, this will allow you to look professional out the gate and will give you a foot up against the people who are competing against you in business.

Don’t stress about getting a website up front.  With that being said, don’t wait too long to act on this even if it is just a quick single welcome page that lists your email! 

And yes, if you get stuck I will help you!  Catch me on here, Gotchaserved.com or Twitter ProcessServerOK

Other things you should be considering at this stage are:

  • Separate phone number just for the business  (Did you know you can also get this without getting a separate phone and it is FREE?)
  • Serve or Paperwork manager (you will get the pun if you have read other posts or later on in a follow-up post.)
  • Fully functional Website to help Marketing yourself
  • Social Media interaction

Improving Business Presence

Better Business Presence Before you focus on these issues, visit my other post Improve Your Image
There are many Process Servers who have come to me asking the best way to improve their business presence.  I will try to expand ways to improve your business presence and give you examples of how I improved my business.

So, a bit of background here.  I began serving around 2009, with no idea what I was doing or how I was going to do it.  I had one attorney in town that told me if I got my license, he would use me – The only problem with that was he was a Criminal Defense attorney and didn’t get a lot of work for me.

So I had to do much trial and error on things that would work to build my business.  First lets look at some of the most common ideas people have and my opinion on how they work.

  • Post Cards

Post cards are a great idea.  I used VistaPrint.com I ordered 50 of them for under $10 and they were personalized with my photo and design.  I included a Call to Order and a quick catch phrase to bring attention and make it memorable!

In Oklahoma, we have a website that allows us to see every case filed and we are able to view attorneys connected to the case, I began with an Excel database and started going back a year logging every attorney and this allowed me to determine which ones did more of the court scene vs. the client advisory. I then picked the top 50 and researched their address.  Once I had their address, I simply mailed them a postcard.

How well did this work and WHY?

This was VERY effective. At the time I did not know or understand why, however once I had a good relationship with a few of the legal secretaries they were able to explain why it was more effective. You will have to wait till the conclusion of the next bullet point to see the full why!

  • Phone Call 

Since I had already completed all the research from the Postcard tactic, I also wrote down phone numbers of these attorneys.  I began calling these attorneys and attempting to talk to them.  As it turns out, most of the attorneys are not as accessible as you would think for this type of thing.  Imagine this conversation:
“Thank you for calling Attorney and Attorney. How can I help you?”
“Can I please speak to Sally Attorney?”
“Can I ask who is calling?”
“Sure, my name is Jeffrey Worth.”
“Thank you Mr. Worth, can I tell him what this is in reference to?”
“I am a Process Server, and i would like to visit with her about my services that may be of use to her.”
“Okay, Mr. Worth, Mrs. Attorney is not in the office (or available or with a client) at this time, but I have taken a message and will pass it to her when she is available.” 
“Thank you, can I speak to Mr. Other Attorney In Office?”  
“Mr. Other Attorney In Office is not in the office (or available or with a client) at this time.”

Now that we have the idea of almost every phone call I tried, I only made about five phone calls before I gave up on this tactic.

How well did this work and WHY?

I would say the phone call Tactic DID NOT WORK at all for me.  Most of the receptionist were great at Attorney Blocking anyone who is trying to sell anything, even if it would be super beneficial for the attorney.  See the next bullet point for the Most effective method I have found.

  • Business Cards

While your ordering those Postcards from above at VistaPrint.com I would also suggest getting you 100 to 200 business cards.  Now these business cards would do you good to have similar images as your Postcards, simply because the more a person sees a similar image, the more likely they are to remember where they saw it at and make that connection quicker.

Business cards come in very handy and you should ALWAYS have a few on you at all times!  You seriously never know when you are going to over hear a conversation between two (maybe not attorneys, how about landlords) mentioning a civil law suite.  Surprising as it may be, there are a lot of people who are pro se and missing an opportunity like this can be devastating and embarrassing when you have to write your name and phone number down on a piece of paper or worse a napkin.

Once you have completed the mailing of post cards, wait about a week after suspected delivery and this is the time you want to pull the mailing list back out.  This time it is going to take you a little longer and more effort but it paid off 100 fold for me.

Clean yourself up, grab your big boy or girl clothes (professional… but maybe one step below a tie) and start visiting these addresses.

Now, when you walk in don’t ask for the Attorney.  Simply because you may never speak to the attorney, especially if it is a larger firm.  The person you want to speak to believe it or not is the receptionist or a legal assistant to the attorney.  The attorney went to Law School to advise and direct, however most attorneys have someone who handles the logistics of the business and that is who you want to impress!

Get to visiting with that receptionist and give them your sells pitch, but have something to pitch. Remember, your new and it may be hard to say “You should go with the best!”  What makes you better than the one they are using?  But, that is reserved for a later blog which I will link to here when it is available. Be sure to enter your email on the right so you get notifications of the blog!

 How well did this work and WHY?

This works extremely well! While the Attorney is in charge and the receptionist or secretary may have to consult with the attorney before giving you a go, if you have them on your side and they like you attitude, the “meat and potatoes” you offered them as reasons to try your services will be better received by that Attorney.  It may also surprise you when you hand them your business card and they pull your post card from their drawer (it never made it to the attorney) because they remembered the matching design!

Additional Resources

There are additional resources available!  If you email me and ask a question I will probably answer you, however think about something first.  If you have a question, you probably are not the only person with that question!  Go over to GotchaServed.Com register a free account and ask away in the forums, this way others with the same questions can have instant answers.  They also have a FREE DIRECTORY there for your business to help you get found on the search engines.

 

Process Serving Business Closing

 

Process Service Business is Closing

Closing TimeWOW, 6 years has flown by so quickly and now we are closing.

We have finally made the decision to close the door on the Process Serving business.

Recently I have accepted a job transfer that is taking us out of Oklahoma, so we will no longer will be able to serve process.

Little background here, when I first started I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, all I knew was what I read online. I had one attorney and a property management company in Enid that gave me a shot even with no experience, to this day they are still my clients. Since that time, my wife has gotten involved and is has been able to locate almost anyone with her skills. When the time came and I had to get a “real job.” Amy then took over the business, and has grown it into the business it has become.

It has been a wild learning experience for us and we loved it, we have met a lot of awesome people (Process Servers and Clients a like) and have learned so much from them.

We may no longer have the business, however we are not leaving the business completely.

I am going to continue operating the GotchaServed.com, a Free Directory and Web Forum for process servers to post their business and have open conversations with each other.

I will also remain Oklahoma Sooner Private Process Server Association webmaster.

If you need us, our numbers will not change and you can still email me jeff@serverjeff.com
and we will help the best we can.

 

Becoming a Process Server

Many people don’t understand the ins and outs of Process Serving, I hear all the time “That’s such a cool job.” or how can I get involved and become a Process Server?

License Required

In a series of posts, I am going to attempt to explore “Behind the Scene at a Process Serving Office.”   I am going to give tips and hints about what has worked for us and invite comments from anyone on tricks that have worked for them or ideas of things that would work better.

 

SO, you want to be a Process Server,  sounds like fun and easy money right?  I mean, all you have to do is get a license (in some states –I can only speak for Oklahoma) and then start handing out papers.

Slow down a bit and think this through, getting the license is the easy part, simply pay some fees and get the waiting period completed and you’re in the group.  But what about getting those papers, where do they come from and how do you get them?  Many people I have talked to think when the court clerk issues a summons or subpoena they will “pick” a process server to give it to.  This is not the case, if the court, court clerk or DA issues a summons or subpoena they give those to the Sheriff Department to complete a service.  So in order to actually get papers to serve, you must begin with a marketing plan and a starting place.

For me personally, my mother worked in an office building and knew a few Attorneys and Real estate rental companies.  Once I got my license, I picked up my first client right away.

I remember my first day, the attorney asked me “are you ready for this?” and then handed me 8 papers to serve, to say the least I was STRESSED! But I was able to get them all completed by the next day and returned to him.

I then visited with the Property Rental agency in the same building.  He was happy with the current Process Server and didn’t really want to change servers.  Basically once a firm finds a server they stick with them, they form a bond between the office and the server and both know what to expect with each other, thus making it very difficult to get your “shoe in.”  However, one day came along and their current server was unavailable for an emergency serve and I got the phone call!   Sticking to my mission statement “Strive to make every client feel like the ONLY client!” I was there within five minutes to retrieve the papers from him.  I then went and served the papers immediately and had the return to him the same day.   That was truly the turning point in my business, he was so satisfied, he began splitting the serves between the other server and myself evenly.  And as the years went along, he found I was getting more completed, affidavit completed AND filed with the court much quicker than the other server and I now have 100% of their business.

Word Of Mouth

After doing this for so long, I have tried everything to get more clients.  Business cards have been handed to every possible client (always hearing the same thing, “We have a server.”) I have spent money on websites, postcards, web advertising and web directories.
And I have found that very little advertisements work in this NARROW and SPECIFIC field.   I currently rely heavily on this website which gets approximately 45 to 60 hits per day and WORD OF MOUTH.   It is VERY refreshing to hear a new client call and tell me “So and So recommended you.”

So, I think I have rambled long enough.  Allow me to share my closing summary.

  • It truly does “take money to make money.”
  • Don’t expect papers to be dropped in your lap, without any prior hard work.
  • Don’t expect people to “jump on board with your NEW company.”
  • Word of Mouth is the BEST advertisement.
  • Have your OWN domain name on the Internet!
    • Your email should be yourname@YOURCOMPANY.com ( .net, .org or whatever )  — Please do not use yourcompany@yahoo.com or @gmail.com
      a little money here will make your company stand out and have a much more professional look!
  • Treat all your clients like you want to be treated and remember to them,  their serve is more important than any other server you might have to get done!

Behind the Scene at the Office – The Cloud

Many people don’t understand the ins and outs of Process Serving, I hear all the time “That’s such a cool job.” or how can I get involved and become a Process Server?

Cloud ComputingIn a series of posts, I am going to attempt to explore “Behind the Scene at a Process Serving Office.”   I am going to give tips and hints of what has worked for us and invite comments from anyone on tricks that have worked for them or ideas of things that would work better.

I want to start the Series with the storage solution I have found that best fits our business and the reason behind it.

Many years ago, if you were to walk into a Process Serving company one of the most common things you might see would be a filing cabinet or seven or eight!  Process Servers need to maintain records in the event one of their serves is ever challenged in a court of law.  This challenge could be months or even years down the road.

If you were to visit my office,  you would find 4 computers a laser copier/printer and internet router (okay, I do have one file cabinet, but it is a small one and holds my blank paper and Misc office supplies — NO FILES!)

Something I want to point out is you need to keep in mind, I am a little OCD on file backups, knowing this will assist you in understanding the computer setup I have.

When I first started, I did create a file for each company and keep everything separated, then one day I began to think, what happens if there is ever a fire and I lose these files, there has to be a better way to maintain my files and prevent anything from happening.  This is when I purchased a file server.  This was like a “perfect solution, I was able to run my SMTP (email) server from it so I could easily control it and many other things that I thought were cool at the time.

SO, when I receive document I will scan it and save it to my laptop and then it will auto sync to my file server. Problem solved right? Wrong.   The day AT&T failed me and the internet was down, so was ALL of my email. Not to forget the file server and laptop would still have the same fate as paper files in the event of a disaster in the office!

That is when I decided to move everything to the cloud.

I started by moving my email to Google Business, at the time they were offering 50 free accounts per domain.  This brought me to a point where I could access my email from my phone at any time, effectively upgrading my customer service by allowing me to minimize delay in replies to clients and potential clients.  Step one complete.

The second step came when I began thinking about that file server and laptops possible demise, I also realized by using Google Business (now Google Apps) I had what is now called “Google Drive.”  So I began to sync my laptop to my file server and the file server to my Google Drive account.  This effectively gave me 3 digital copies of all documents! But I still had one problem, all of my attempts and affidavit were still hand written and susceptible to the elements.

The third step came a bit later when I finally found a company that dramatically improved my customer service ability.  I signed on to ServeManager.com (a Serve-Now.com Company. Give them a try here)  As I receive a document I scanned it to PDF, and create a case with ServeManager this saves another copy of the documents on ServeManager.  ServeManager also saves all of my attempts, and Affidavits in PDF format.

How has this dramatically affected my business here is a list:

  • Email anytime, anywhere!   (Office internet down? That’s fine I can still access from another location or my phone!)
  • Access to all my business files anytime, anywhere (office internet down? That’s fine, I can still access from another location or my phone!)
  • Client need a copy of an Affidavit anytime, anywhere (Office internet down? That’s fine, I can still access from another location or my phone!)
  • The client need a list of attempts I can email it to them or they can access it using their FREE ServeManager account anytime, anywhere  (Office internet down? That’s fine … You get the point … )

As you can see, since Process Serving has progressed, I find myself needing to be in the office very little!  I am able to access all my documents instantly, no matter where I am at or what I am doing.  This has dramatically improved my customer service and allows me to get the job done without being tied to a computer!

Need Invoice and Expenses? Yes, there is a cloud app I use for that too!

I hope this has not been too long-winded, and maybe a bit informative.  Please comment and leave your suggestion on ways you have found to streamline your Process Serving business.

We have Expanded

I understand I have been really hyping this announcement these last few weeks.  I am really exited to bring you the news today.

Our mission statement is simple:

Strive to make every client feel like the ONLY client!

This expansion I am referring to, I honestly hope none of our clients will even notice.  I say that with the hope our current customer service has truly made each of our clients feel like they are the ONLY client and if that is the case –as I feel it is–  this expansion will further allow us to maintain that mission statement, while allowing us to continue to expand our business and client base.

So, Here it is.

Effective TODAY, we have added Amy Worth as Private Process Server in the State of Oklahoma.

Amy is not new to the Process Serving world!  She has been with our business since the beginning, acting as the Skip Trace queen. Amy has also been called “Sherlock” by some of the clients.

With this announcement I hope to reassure our current clients and all future clients that we plan on and will be around for years to come.

New features to better serve for you!

For years now,  Jeffrey Worth – Process Server has been in the lead in Northern Oklahoma on the technology front.  We offer Email documents, updates via email, online billing and many more services that are online.

By being online and available to you the client 24 hours a day, you can keep updated on status information as well as communicate with our office on your time.    This also allows us to not tie up your phone lines communicating non-essential information and allows you to miss less client calls.

One of the things we have stressed in the past is the ability for our company to offer online near live updates.  When I say near live, at the end of the day we would data enter all the serves completed for that day and you could check on the status at that time.

Jeffrey Worth – Process Server has been using ServeManager since the beginning.  We have watched this company expand their services to be one of the best Process Serving Document Management options available.   The #1 reason for our choice of this company is simply because, we never know where we will be when we will need to access your document information in a hurry. The other options offered by other companies, most require separate software to be installed on each computer to operate properly.

I am here to share some exciting news with everyone.  Jeffrey Worth – Process Server now offers LIVE STATUS UPDATES! That’s right, we have teamed up with ServeManager’s technical team and began beta testing the mobile app.  This new app saves us office time and allows you the client to know almost instantly when a serve has been completed!  PLUS, when you log into your client side of ServeManager you will be able to view GPS coordinates of the address attempts.  With this new option, you can continue to put all of your trust in Jeffrey Worth – Process Server.  We are taking this step to benefit you and reassure you that you’re getting the best possible service any provider offers.

A letter to NAPPS; Gotchaserved.com

To: All NAPPS Committee Members

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jeffrey Worth and I am a Process Server in the state of Oklahoma.  I have been in this industry going on three years now, which compared too many I am still a new boot.

Over the last three years, I have been the whole book route; trying to read my way into success in this profession. I have gained a lot of knowledge using the printed books I have purchased, but there was something missing! I was missing the personal interaction with other process servers, which as you know is absolutely necessary to have in order to succeed in almost any profession.

In the state of Oklahoma, there is no such thing as “Process Serving Classes.” Once someone decides to be a process server, they visit the court-house pay the fee and wait for a background check and their license.  This in its self leaves a lot of room for error on the part of the newly licensed process server.

When all the books had failed to completely answer my questions, I personally turned to the members of Gotchaserved.com.  I was able to ask questions and get near real-time answers to these questions. Not all answers were useful or practical in my case and state all the time, but with the amount of people helping people on this site I was able to grow and mature quickly in this field.

When someone contacts me about wanting to become a process server the first thing I tell them is visit Gotchaserved.com and make a profile.  Then I tell them to read, read and read some more.

I would like to encourage NAPPS to return the support Gotchaserved.com has extended by place links to this site and sharing with members the valuable resource to this industry that already exists and is running strong.

The dedication of James Finney and Kathleen Chute to this website and the process serving industry is immeasurable since 2009.  And since joining their passion in 2010, I have seen many people achieve their higher goals using Gotchaserved.com

In closing I would like to extend my appreciation to all NAPPS Committee Members for their work in this field and request that at the next board meeting, there is a unanimous YES vote on allowing Gotchaserved.com to be listed on the NAPPS web site as a valued resource for the profession!

 

Sincerely;

 

 

 

Jeffrey Worth – Process Server
Jeffrey Worth

(580) 554-7502
http://www.serverjeff.com

Serving the Process Server

I have seen a few questions run across the forums I follow and though I would address this here.   The questions have been, “would you serve another Process Server?”

Process Serving is a profession in which most people work independently for themselves, some may work for a forwarding company but each individual is licensed privately with the courts.  When someone files a claim in civil court they are in most cases not filing on the process server in his position as a server, it is more likely filing on a personal level.

The wheels of justice must keep turning.  Knowing this fact it comes down to separating your personal life with your professional life.  When you hold a position where emotions can run high you must be able to separate the two, this may include other professions like Law Enforcement, Loss Prevention or simply any Manager of people.

You can make friends in this profession, but if my friend serves me papers saying I am being sued in court how can I remain being his friend?  Simple enough, I obviously have someone who thinks I did them wrong and they are trying to be compensated for my wrong doing.  It does not matter if I am guilty or innocent, the person giving me the papers is in no way attached to the case other than telling the courts “Yes, he was notified in person.”

When looking at it in prospective how does this come between friends?   It should never come between friends, if my process server friend served me papers my thought and feeling would be simple.  Hey he’s doing his or her job, someone is going to do this why not it be my friend making the money!

SO, in order to answer this question straight forward and easily.

YES, I would serve another process server and NO it would not affect our personal or professional relationship.
YES, I would and HAVE served my friends.  At first some were upset with me then realized, I am not the one accusing them of wrong doing.  I am simply notifying them of their day to defend their actions in court.   I have also had friends that knew in advance they were going to be served court papers and asked me if I could be the one to bring it to them, thus one less person in town would be in their business.

Remember, just because your being served court papers does not mean it is the end of the road!  Keep your head up and deal with the situation.   The quicker you get personal notification and have your day in court, the quicker you can get this all behind you!

Who pays the Process Server

I have not been getting as many questions on Email as I was so I have been a little slower to post here.   However today I was looking through my site stats and notice people (more than 1) were searching for “Who pays process server.”

I may have already answered this in a previous post, but what the heck, I’ll dedicate a topic to it!

The Process Server is paid in a few different ways.  I can only speak on general and my company specific.

I take payments by Invoice and Payment with Documents.

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