The LegalConnect Blog

The Price is Right: How to Set Strategic Pricing for Your Litigation Support Business

How to Set Strategic Pricing for Your Litigation Support Business

Brace yourself: Warren Buffet says it’s pricing power—not extraordinary management—that wields greater influence on business success. Buffet is so bullish on the power of pricing, in fact, that he says it can place a business in one of two camps:

Camp 1
Camp 2

Camp 1
“If you’ve got the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor, you’ve got a very good business.”


Camp 2
“And if you have to have a prayer session before raising the price by 10 percent, then you’ve got a terrible business.”


It’s hard to argue with the Oracle of Omaha about most money matters, and we’re not going to do so here. What we are going to do is examine how to set prices for litigation support services that will help place your business in Camp 1 while also sharing several strategic pricing considerations to get you there.

Let’s start with key factors that help shape pricing: market rate, competition, and value.

Know the Market Rate


Know the Market Rate

The first step to answering any pricing question is to take a deep dive into the market landscape. Knowing the prevailing rates gives you a crucial benchmark against which to gauge your offerings. Take a panoramic view: scrutinize competitors, canvass customer preferences, and discern their priorities—be it quality, expertise, or affordability.

Once you see those factors clearly, you can assess how the value of your service stacks up and set your own prices from an informed position.

Price Against Your Competition


Price Against Your Competition

As a litigation support service business owner or manager, you know better than anyone the value of your brand’s services. Value can be so important that it’s oftentimes found in a company’s mission statement.

Anything that precious demands a personal touch, so it’s your job to evaluate how the value you offer your customers stacks up against the value your competitors offer.

Ask yourself, “Does my product or service provide clearly superior value or lie closer to the middle of the road?”

Do your best to answer objectively. That value will determine whether you set your prices above, below, or the same as your competitors.

Influence of Value on Pricing


Influence of  Value on Pricing

You don’t have to look far to see the effect of value on pricing. Apple and Louis Vuitton have been rather successful creating products whose buyers prize value over price. The same can be said for Salesforce and Slack.

Value has a substantial influence on pricing. However, if you’re pursuing a client that cares only about price, it’s important to realize the value you create may not carry the cachet it deserves.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do business with a price-centric customer, it only means you should do so with eyes wide open: You’ll be selling on price alone and could easily be dropped when a vendor with a lower price comes along.

This Forbes article takes a closer look at the role of value and demystifies value-based pricing.

Set the Right Price for Litigation Support Services


Set the Right Price for Litigation Support Services

Electronic Court Document Filing (eFiling)

Every business has its bread ‘n butter product or service, and for many litigation support service companies that product is court document filing. Physical filing and electronic filing (eFiling) are the mainstays of court document filing, with eFiling now accepted among the majority of California courts.

Electronic filing is primarily offered as a self-service product or staff-assisted service (which may be branded as “Concierge” service or something that suggests personalized, one-to-one service). Here’s a look below the surface at factors that influence both types of eFiling.


Because of eFiling’s simplicity, setting prices for this service is fairly simple. The work is done online by your law firm customer’s user, and the workflow itself is highly automated. Outside of potential customer support contact, labor costs are minimal.


Price considerations for staff-assisted eFiling should include direct labor costs. Offering this service will require the time and direct attention of an operations team member.

In some cases, you may have to pay overtime wages or even hire additional staff, which must be included in the price calculations.

Another potential cost is the time a staff member will spend assisting a customer with an eFiling order rather than performing tasks for other customers. If you don’t charge enough to cover this contingency, you may lose money.

Service of Process

Service of Process

Value can have a substantial impact on service of process pricing. So, before you set your prices for this offering, make sure they reflect the value you offer, which may include:

  • How often you attempt a serve.
  • Thoroughness of your declaration of diligence reporting.
  • Quality of your communication with the law firm.

If you can demonstrate that what you deliver is a cut above, you may be able to charge a higher price to customers willing to pay for superior quality.

Regardless of where your services rank on the value continuum, it’s critical to know for sure that your prices are profitable. As you set your prices consider all the hard and soft costs associated with serving court documents. They include:

Hard costs:

      • Pay a field agent to serve process for you.
      • Providing proof of service.
      • Software to run your business.

Soft costs:

      • Number of attempts made to complete a service of process.
      • Number of document serves you must complete in a day to be profitable.
      • Service in rural and hard-to-serve areas.

Pricing service of process must also consider urgency. For example, a collections company may not be especially concerned with how quickly service of process is performed. In that case, you may consider reducing the price you charge them.

Finally, consider that pricing sensitivity will vary according to the type of law firm customer.

For example, firms that focus on collections and landlord-tenant matters tend to purchase a high volume of service of process orders. This means they generally are accustomed to paying less for service of process than a defense firm, which would have a smaller volume of service of process work.

Physical Court Document Filing

Physical Court Document Filing

One rule of thumb for pricing physical filing is to approach it similarly to pricing for service of process. Both services have some overlapping costs, such as the use of fulfillment personnel.

In recent years pricing for physical court document filing has become more complex because physical filing volume is shrinking dramatically.

This decrease is being driven by the falling number of physical filing providers and an increase in the distance between courts where physical court document filings are made. Both factors are driving up costs.

When setting your business’s prices for physical court document filing, clearly understand the fulfillment prices and be aware those prices are likely to escalate.

Expert Review

Expert Review

Pricing for this staff-provided service may be approached similarly to staff-assisted eFiling (i.e., “Concierge” service). There is, however, a non-negotiable prerequisite for this service that must be factored into its price: Qualified expert review staff.

Team members who provide expert review must be:

  • Thoroughly trained.
  • Work from a standardized checklist.
  • Understand the documents, courts, and rules.

It’s also important that expert review tasks are a regular part of a team member’s job, since anyone who fills this critical role will need an ongoing familiarity with changes that frequently occur in the courts, documents, and rules.

Don’t undersell yourself


Don’t undersell yourself

Pricing is a journey, not a destination. Along the way there may be temptations to slash your business’s prices, but should you?

The answer is, “Probably not.”

A race to the bottom may be another business’s vision of success but could be a nightmare for you. It’s a move that typically attracts clients who expect low-priced services, and, in most cases, price-only customers can easily walk away from your service in favor of any vendor who offers a cheaper price.

And, at some point, prices that appear too cheap may cause prospects and customers to question your quality.

Clearly, setting prices is no easy task, but getting it right provides the guardrails you’ll need to keep your business healthy over the long haul.


Price check

Have you been thinking about updating pricing for your litigation support service business? If so, it’s time to contact a LegalConnect expert.

Our industry-leading platform is equipped with robust tools designed to keep costs down by streamlining, coordinating, and connecting the work of your employees, vendors, customers, and courts. We’ve also got deep industry knowledge and technology expertise to help you find and add value to the services you offer to keep them profitable and priced right.

Find out how we can help now. Call (800) 909-6859 for a demo or contact for more information!