Monday, May 21, 2018
How Legal Support Firms Pay their Servers
As a process server, you are managing clients, legal paperwork, incoming calls, marketing, status updates, inquiries, and more. Every aspect of running a process service firm creates a complicated and myriad system to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Another task that adds to the growing list of to-dos is paying your contractors, employees, or other process serving companies. Paying servers is not as straightforward as one would hope. Mileage, percentages, employee status, and various other factors contribute to a challenging task to accurately deliver paychecks.
ServeNow and ServeManager recently surveyed 50 process servers to get to the bottom of server pay – and created a solution to help simplify the payment process!
What best describes your servers?
Between contractors, salaried employees, lone process servers, and collaborative efforts between process serving companies, there are many ways to get papers served. Our data shows that most process servers use some form of support to serve all their papers. A popular choice is outsourcing jobs to contractors, with 47% benefiting from this type of outreach. Providing payments to other process servers are a regular occurrence within the legal support service industry as only 22% of servers serve the majority of papers themselves.
How do you pay your servers?
There are several categories of process server payments:
- Salaried – on payroll
- Flat fee per job
- Flat fee per attempt
- A percentage per job
72% of participants stated that they pay their servers with a flat fee per job. This option is popular most likely due to its simplicity. A flat fee per job is the most straightforward and effortless way to process payment as it is clear if it is handled correctly or not. Process servers receiving payment may also prefer a flat fee so they know initially what amount they will collect. It is evident if they are not paid what was initially agreed upon. Additionally, there are fewer math equations and variables in which to factor.
Do you pay your servers for mileage?
Mileage is another aspect that complicates the payment process. Miles traveled per specific job and the mileage reimbursement rate can lead to detailed and confusing spreadsheets to determine the exact money owed.
Luckily, mileage appears to have little impact on process server payments with only 4% of servers steadily accounting for mileage. 28% sometimes pay for mileage while the overwhelming majority (68%) do not factor mileage into invoices.
If you use contractors, do they invoice you?
Contractors are an important part of process service businesses as they allow for service even in remote areas. The ease of contractors allows managers to allocate jobs as necessary, reducing overhead costs and improving efficiency. Only 6% of servers responded that they do not use contractors to help serve papers. Of the remaining servers, 36% keep track of the money owed and send payments to their contractors. Conversely, 58% receive invoices from their contractors stating the amounts owed.
What tools do you currently use to manage server payment?
While the majority of process servers who participated in our survey have similar responses for types of servers, payments, and mileage, the ways they track compensation varies. Some process servers use programs like Quickbooks to make disbursement of payments easier. However, our data illustrates that it entails manual input through either spreadsheets, emails, or notes.
Repetitive manual data entry opens up the possibility for mistakes and kills productive time better spent actually serving papers. Our developers at ServeNow and ServeManager thought that they could improve how process servers pay each other.
Progress for Server Pay
After analysis, it is obvious that paying process servers can be streamlined. ServeManager (ServeNow’s sister company and process service software) released Server Pay to help achieve this goal. Our pro-series webinar explains this feature.
ServeManager’s new feature Server Pay tracks payments to servers and contractors. You are now able to set default rates for both servers and contractors, as well as set individual rates in jobs. These new features also allow you to switch servers and choose the rate of pay for each server listed on a job. ServeManager records this information in an easy-to-use screen to pair alongside your payroll distributor. ServeManager’s Server Payments makes it easier to track what you owe your servers! Interested? Log into your ServeManager account and turn on the Server Pay feature in your account settings.
How do you pay your fellow process servers? Tell us your best practices to successfully complete invoices and any ideas to enhance payment systems in the comments!