Just like people, not every process service is the same. Some people are harder to hand papers off to than others. Many defendants believe that avoiding a process server means their legal troubles go away (this is false). This myth leads some people to hide from the person trying to serve the court documents by relocating temporarily to a friend’s house, changing the color of their hair, coming home and leaving work at different times of day, parking their car 2 blocks away and always looking over their back. In our industry, this person is known as “cagey.” If you struggle to make contact with the defendant for a case, try out the steps below to improve your chances of perfecting service.
1. Get All the Info Before Leaving the Office
Make your life easier by doing as much research as you can before leaving your office. No matter if that is your office or on the road, get it done before you arrive at the subjects address. With the research done, you can plan out the encounter and be ready if things change. See if you can find out the following from the client and or sell a skip trace to locate this information for the client ahead of service, especially if the person to be served has already alluded other process servers and/or the Sheriff.
- What is the individual’s personal and work schedule? – Attempting service of process is always best at the opportune time of day. Getting this information ahead betters your chances of getting the document served promptly, and saves a significant amount of mileage and gas.
- What kind of car do they have? - Knowing their vehicle, make, model, color, and tag number also help to know when they are at the property given. If you see the vehicle, it is highly probable they are there. Also, if they try to run for it, you proactively have the opportunity to chase them down for service. Keep an eye out while knocking on the door, the subject’s vehicle could be coming home while you are there, see you knocking, and drive right passed and wait for you to leave. Be ready ahead of driving to the location, as they could be leaving the neighborhood when you drive in. Always be ready ahead of driving up to the property being served.
- What do they look like? – Ask for a recent photo first. Knowing their general appearance, Sex, Height, Weight, Skin Color, Age, or whether they wear glasses or have tattoos is crucial. Clients have a tendency to provide old photos, wedding photos, and/or photoshopped photos. The majority of people being served do not have a smile on their faces when being served and typically look very different with a straight face. Look for things that stand out in the photo, mole on the face, cleft chin, crazy eyebrows, etc., anything that would make them stand out from the average person. The person you are going to serve could be getting on the elevator with you while heading to their office or residential address. Always be ready walking up to the property being served.
- Do they have Social Media? - Ask the client for any social media accounts they have access to and the URL. This helps to know a person’s immediate location, especially if they are active online. Of course, Social Media helps you narrow down what the subject currently looks like too. You can also search for these accounts yourself while at the subject’s property if not provided by the client, especially if you believe the person you just spoke to at the property is the subject and lied to you. Searching Social Media is also a great technique to try before approaching the subject who is expected to evade service and has already alluded others.
2. Use the Person’s Name and Chat with Neighbors
People respond to their names. It is like a magic word for each individual. Plus, they will figure you know them if you know their name. Random people or salespeople would not typically know their names. If you get the wrong house, a neighbor can point you in the right direction. Asking by the first name first is always best, especially with a neighbor. Most people do not say hello by saying their first and last name upfront and most neighbors will find it odd if you ask if “John Doe” lives next door, causing the neighbor to question your reason for being there. Say their first name and if you get a positive response, ask, “John Doe, yes?”
Trick: Go to the neighbors first and ask for John. They may just correct you and verify he lives next door (The proper address to be served) without having a suspicion as to your reason for you being there. The neighbor just may provide more information than you would expect, i.e. John lives next door, and that is his car and he normally is home by this time of day. You would be amazed at how much info a neighbor will provide without too much effort on your part. Just let them talk, do not keep pushing with questions. Unless of course, you have a tight deadline and need it served immediately.
3. Use Pre-Text Props in Your Delivery
Make sure to check out your state’s laws in regards to props and pretext. Remember, you can never impersonate a law enforcement officer, USPS, FEDEX, UPS, or government employee. Even wearing a disguise can go against the rules. In most states’ props are legal and can help you make contact. You could try holding a pizza or actually ordering one to handoff. Or try baked goods, flowers, or anything else that could be delivered.
4. Call their Home Number Publicly Listed or Skip Traced
After not getting an answer to your knock, try stepping away, and calling. If you can hear the ring inside the residence or suite, you might be able to make contact with the person, and also by hearing a ring inside the unit verifies you are at the proper location to be served.
5. The Right Company to Get Your Process Serving Jobs
A process server’s job combines organization, creativity, and not giving up. Don’t be afraid to try something new to get the results you want, just make sure to do so within the confines of the law. Get a full schedule of the process to serve when you work for an established brand like Same Day Process Service. Our team has been in the business for 15+ years and knows how to get the work done. We are known for Serving the Impossible!
Give the staff at Same Day Process Service a call today at (844) 737-8331 to start your work serving processes.