How can local officials select benchmarking partners whose best practices have the most potential for applicability and success in improving service performance? This study suggests the process for selecting the most appropriate benchmarking partners and for making fair performance comparisons will be advanced if local officials initially address the issue of what level of input service quality level is desired or can be provided. Using data collected from a national survey, the study presents a framework for measuring service quality for municipal solid waste recycling programs. It examines the connection between input service quality and service outcomes and describes the results of analyses of the contextual factors and best practices that distinguish the top recycling performers and potential benchmarking partners in each service-quality class. The study suggests a model for how local officials can use this type of information to select an appropriate benchmarking partner. The study shows that a quality-of-service framework for municipal services can advance local decision making about what citizens and stakeholders expect and will support in terms of input service quality. It also can help local officials identify benchmarking partners that provide a service at the desired level of quality.