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When Process Servers and Investigators Should Hire

Find out if you should hire new process servers or investigators to achieve your goals

If you have a process serving or private investigation business, chances are you are running your business on your own or with a very small staff. Recent polls in the and Yahoo Groups yield the following statistics:

  • 44% of PI’s are sole practitioners
  • 15% of PI’s have a partner
  • 40% of Process Servers are sole practitioners
  • 18% of Process Servers have a partner

Based on this, most of you don’t have time get the day-to-day tasks done, let alone think about hiring a new employee. If this describes your business, its time for you to make the time to make decisions that are critical to your long-term success.

Keeping an eye on where you and your workforce spends its time is a must. You don’t want to create a situation in which you or your employees are overworked. Look for these red flag signs that its time to consider hiring employees for your process serving and investigation business:

1) There aren’t enough hours in the day for you to get all your work done.

“I knew it was time to hire when I began to offer more than just process service. After several days of having multiple copy jobs, 10 to 15 record retrieval/mobile notary jobs and a string of shredding accounts I realized I was in over my head,” said Philip Bart, president of Gulf Coast Process.

If you are having trouble keeping up with your workload, new employees can ensure that you deliver quality results and that you don’t have to turn away potential customers. If you’re not sure whether a sudden upsurge in work will be permanent, consider hiring a temporary or contract employee to help you get back on track. If you find added value, you can consider making the relationship permanent or you can consider hiring a full-time worker.

2) Growth is stalled because you spend your time on operational activities.

If your goal is to increase sales and revenue, and no one in the organization is focused on growth-related activities, its time to look at where the bulk of your time is being spent. While operational tasks such as billing, payroll, and other administrative duties are critical to your success they are tasks that can and should be delegated if you want to grow your business. If you want to get more process serving and investigation cases, your time, or someone else’s, should be spent on sales, marketing, and customer service. You may have to hire more servers or investigators to take on more business or you may have to hire experienced sales and marketing staff to help grow the business.

3) You are getting complaints or losing customers.

If your customers are not satisfied with the quality of work you provide or are unhappy because your business is making mistakes or missing orders, something is amiss and that something is affecting the way your business is being perceived. You either need to replace employees who are not doing their job correctly, or you need to hire additional staff so that your employees are not overwhelmed.

4) You pay quite a bit of overtime to your current employees.

During times that are busier than usual, you will most likely have to pay overtime or ask your employees to work longer hours. This is normal, but if it lasts a few months, its a sign you should hire someone new. Its possible that adding another employee may actually cut costs, take the burden off your current staff and increase productivity.

“The impact [from hiring] was immediate, it reduced the workload placed on the staff already in place,” said Bruce Samuelson, senior vice-president of Pro-Serv Process Serving, Inc. “We have a lot of competitors who think we spoil our servers because we pay them half of the serve price. Their time and expenses have to be paid for too.”

Hiring Someone New

The decision to hire someone new should never be taken lightly. You should analyze the benefits and the costs of hiring someone new. The goal of hiring a new employee should be to maximize efficiency and revenue. In other words, create positions that will bring in more money than you are spending on that new worker. Before you hire ask yourself:

  • Is bringing someone else on going to free me up to do what I do best?
  • Is a new employee going to offer a new revenue stream?
  • Is a new employee going to allow me to take on more cases or clients?
  • Can I achieve my goals with my current staff – or do I need new help?
  • What kind of person would be a good “fit” for me and/or my company?

Carefully weigh these questions before making a hiring decision. If you think they will add value to your company, you should think about growing your business.

More food for thought from those in the industry.

The following quotes are hiring tips from your fellow process servers and private investigators.

  •  “Hire people who are mature, patient and realistic. Beware of gung-ho “wanna be” cops. Find someone who is content to sit in a car for hours on surveillance. If an applicant is looking for an action-filled, Magnum P.I.-type career, they are barking up the wrong tree,” Randy Tuer of Charles Tuer Investigations.
  • “There is no way to really know a person from one or two interviews, always hire on a trial basis, verify references, and make sure (and you would think one would have this as a process server applying for a job) they have a reliable vehicle,” Philip Bart of Gulf Coast Process.
  • “I work on instinct when hiring. I tend to be a little leery of people because I feel that people have the wrong idea about process serving. They think that it is just easy money and that we just pass out papers,” Georgette Brooks of Amber One Process Service.
  • “Remember that you get what you pay for,” Bruce Samuelson of Pro-Serv Process Serving, Inc.

Hiring new team members should be a reaction to current and future needs or a step to achieve your goals. The creation of every new position should be carefully considered. Employees will be your biggest expense, but can also be your strongest asset if you are willing to take the time to find, train and delegate responsibility to them.

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