I am an attorney who got his start as a process server. I am actually still authorized to serve in the State of Texas and do serve papers for other attorneys - on rare occasions - when I need extra cash. There may be privacy issues with electric and utility companies, but there is a little known provision in the rules of civil procedure which states that the discovery period in a case - including third party discovery - begins the moment that a case is filed. This means that the attorney who hired you can use his subpoena power to get information about where the subject can be served. I routinely do this in my practice, and I do pay my process servers extra to serve the subpoena (although the servers I have a working relationship generally "comp" me those serves)
I try to give my servers as much info as possible. On the address, check the appraisal district to see if the last name of the owner of record for the property matches the address. An process server may also send requests to the US Postal Service under 39 C.F.R. 265.6(d)(5)(ii) to obtain forwarding address information if one address comes back bad. If I only have a telephone number, I use www.whitepages.com to get a free "reverse look-up" search.
A process server does not have subpoena power; but the hiring attorney does. Documents pertaining to the address of a subject can be subpoenaed from a number of different sources.
As for public record searches, ask your hiring attorney to run an "AccurInt" on subjects and provide it to you. If you see a car in front of a house, pull a VIN and/or a tag and run that through PublicData.com. PublicData will also give you Driver's License information if you have a good name and date of birth.
I hope this helps.
Jason L. Van Dyke
Attorney & Counselor at Law