I believe that having the sheriff give notice is covered by the fee waiver. See Judicial Counsel form FW-001-INFO, section 1. If you win or settle for more than $10,000.00 the court is etitled to recover the costs waived.
You could also ask a friend to do the service for you. You do not have to use the sheriff or a professional server. Any competent person over 18, who is not a party to the action, can serve a summons and complaint.