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Vendor Networks: Expectations and Management

While many process servers are one man mom-and-pop shops, many will choose to take on forwarding work for larger companies. In an effort to better serve their clients' needs, larger companies are always looking to expand their vendor network by partnering with other process serving companies.

In Randy Mucha's presentation at ServeCon, we learned more about managing a vendor network and how vendor selection works from Firefly Legal's own Vendor Relations manager.

Special Clip from "Forwarding: Building, Managing and Being a Part of a Vendor Network"

Learn more about vendor management, contracts, expectations, and what a company like Firefly Legal looks for from its vendors in the below clip from Randy Mucha's ServeCon presentation.

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Rent or Purchase the Full ServeCon Presentation

This is an abbreviated version of Randy's "Forwarding: Building, Managing and Being Part of a Vendor Network" presentation at ServeCon 2015. You can rent the full presentation or purchase all videos from ServeCon by clicking the button below.

Some process serving firms have vendor requirements imposed by their clients. What does this mean for your network of servers? What does this mean for you as an individual or smaller firms that receive forwarding work?

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Why Forward Work?

Randy explains that Firefly Legal partners with 3rd party vendors to serve papers and provide legal support services in other states "because we do need to serve our client's defendants wherever they may need to be located, and we can't have an office in every state."

In short, work is forwarded and partnerships are formed so that process servers can better serve the needs of their clients.

Firefly has about 2,000 vendors in its database that it has used and will use as needed. In the past year, they have used just under 500 of those vendors.

Where Are 3rd Party Vendors Found

Randy explains that when he can't find someone within his existing network, he turns to other sources to find vendors to work with.

Those sources include:

  • ServeNow
  • The NAPPS directory
  • State association websites

"I like to look there first because membership in professional organizations is a pretty good indicator to me that that member treats its business as a profession," Randy says on why he turns to these sources first. This indicates to Randy that the potential vendor treats their business as more than a job, that they are committed to having a presence and getting the job done.

If, for some reason, he is unable to find a qualified vendor or enough information, Randy will sometimes turn to LinkedIn or Google.

How Are 3rd Party Vendors Selected?

When it comes to selecting a 3rd party vendor, Randy says experience and professionalism are key. "I'm always looking for the more experienced servers if I can get them," he says. "What I'm looking for is someone who can hit the ground running."

Randy says that their compliance team reviews and very closely monitors the work of new vendors.

Contracts and Agreements

In lieu of a hard contract, Firefly Legal asks vendors to sign a few documents, including a Notice of Vendor Expectations, which asks that vendors have procedures in place to preserve the integrity, especially due to the fact that process service is a highly scrutinized industry.

"We really don't request anything that a professional server doesn't already do, but it does serve as documented should we get audited on our end, and it serves as a reminder to vendors that we do expect them to conduct their business ethically and within the law," Randy says.

Firefly also has 3rd party vendors sign a Confidentiality and Compliance agreement, which addresses the importance of confidentiality and what documents and information are considered confidential.

Electronic Documents and Technology

The preferred scenario at Firefly is to share documents electronically whenever possible, simply because it is faster and more efficient.

What to Look for in a Partnership

Randy advises that "the key to a really solid partnership is that the relationship not be one-sided, but that it be mutually beneficial."

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