Category: Development

Make Sure to Notarize as You Go

Sometimes we all need a reminder, but make sure you notarize as you go.

Make sure you have all of your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed before you go to a signing.

Stamp on Site

Remember, as they always say the customer comes first, but in reality, the law comes first. Not having everything you need for a signing can make you afoul of the law.

We’ve been made aware of too many notaries who are not notarizing on the go.

You cannot wait until you get home to stamp a document!

Not only is this just plainly unprofessional, it leads to a host of problems for the notary, including the fact it is illegal.

Additional Issues Arise for Those Who Don’t Notarize as They Go

Time and money. Two of the things most of us cherish.

But, if we don’t notarize as we go, we lose both.

Not only do we lose the time of having to go back to make the signing legal, we also have to waste the time of our signers, who are probably not going to be happy about it. And they will and do complain about it.

Time is money you could have used to perform another signing or a myriad of other things that are more important to you than fixing a signing.

And that same time is money as well, for our signers.

Error Rate Rises

To be the best, you have to do the best while making your signers feel comfortable and happy.

We’ve talked about how to be a go to notary before, and getting our signings right the first time is a big step in the right direction.

Let’s face it. If your error rate goes up, the confidence your clients have in you wanes. Whether they are private clients, or a signing service such as ourselves, it moves you down the list of notaries they want to use.

Bad signings reflect badly on you, and will make your partners less likely to work with you in the future.

The Deadly Trifecta

Some things we never want:

  • Wasted Time
  • Wasted Money
  • Wasted Effort
  • Increased Error Rate
  • A Lack of Faith from our Clients

So, please, don’t wait until you get home. Get your signings right and notarize on the go.

The New Notary Rules

We stand again in a revolution, but what are the new notary rules?

  • Are we in the new wild west?
  • Are the bars set today going to be the bars of tomorrow?
  • Will the laws be consistent, or are we going to need to pull our hair out figuring every minute change?

It’s Time to Be Flexible

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Online Notaries will Need to Be Flexible

While in the long term rules will probably be standardized, that is not the case as of this moment. At this time we have:

  • Temporary Rules
  • States with Competing Specifications
  • Differing takes on the Hybrid Model
  • Specific signings that still must be done in person
  • Questions over whether and which signings will stay legal across state lines

The one closest to being hashed out completely are accepting legal signings in one state to cross state lines. But, there are still a few hang ups in the new notary rules.

Complicating the process are signings that must be done in person. The prevalent thought is that some things like wills or specific trusts must be done in person to truly verify the signer is not doing so under duress. But, to us, that raises a bigger question. If we have to be in person to verify a will, might things like signing off on your home fall in the same boat.

Should there be an age limit? How do we know if someone is fit to sign? Sure, we may face these issues now, but doing so over a webcam is a different ball game.

Are We Playing Follow the Leader?

Who do we depend on for our information, and are we just playing catch up as an online notary?

Most of us would probably agree we don’t want to follow the leader, we want to be the leader. But, as new notary rules blossom and the name of the game changes, that will be difficult for all of us.

It is easy to create a page or a spreadsheet to help navigate the online regulations, but keeping it updated in a timely manner is a different beast entirely. And, unfortunately, most of us are not lawyers and don’t have all fifty states sending us updates as they occur.

So, maybe the leader will be the one who can see what is coming, or at least can find new information the quickest.

Stay on Your Toes Until the New Notary Rules Stabilize

It’s time to get in the game, or to prepare for it. We’ve already spoken about a new mobile office, but how else can you prepare?

Take some time to think about it:

  • Acquire the equipment you need
  • Register in your state if you can do so
  • Practice using the technology. Even if it is not the exact one you will use in the end, understanding the process will help you adapt quickly to any new technology or software you end up using.
  • To go beyond that, understand the technology. You may end up using different platforms for different signings. But, if you understand the process and the mechanics behind it you’ll be an online notary that companies will want to go to.
  • Make sure your clients or signing services you do business with know that you are online and on time.

We may know the general direction the ship is sailing, but we need to be ready to arrive at any of its possible destinations.

The New Mobile Office

As times change and mobile notaries look towards a new hybrid model, what does the new mobile office look like? Mobile notaries already know how to do business on the go, so what is needed to maximize efficiency in the online era?

How do we do so under the new notary model?

Much Stays the Same

The more things change, them more things stay the same.

Alphonse Karr – French Novelist

We still want to do business on the go, if possible. We all want to maximize our business efficiency, as well as profit. And we all would like to do so with the least amount of hassle.

So where do we start?

We all want to still maximize our gas efficiency by taking several simple steps. And we’d like to keep some semblance of a mobile office.

What’s in the New Mobile Office?

You may not have much of a change at all.

Most of us already have our laptops. Some of us already have vehicles with internet, though you don’t have to have a vehicle with internet as long as you have a recent smart phone. The fact is, most of us already have everything we need.

If your vehicle does not have wi-fi (mine does not), you can set your phone up as a mobile hot spot and connect directly to it. Of course, if it does, you can just connect directly to it.

Keep it Quiet

The biggest issue we may run into if we want to do a remote signing on the go is noise. It won’t do you any good if you are drowned out by traffic, trains, parades or just loud areas.

So the big question will be how you track down quiet areas within the route(s) you would normally take for your business. Hopefully a quiet place you won’t get interrupted in during your signing, be it a security guard or anyone else.

This may even be a place that is only quiet part of the day, but we may be looking at places like:

  • Parks where you have an out of the way area.
  • A quiet portion of a large parking lot, or maybe one at night where security won’t be there to interrupt.
  • A rest area.
  • Where your current mobile signing is. People are used to contractors doing computer work before or after a job.
  • A friend or family’s home.
  • Or anywhere else you can find that is nice and quiet.

New Equipment

With any new venture comes new equipment. A mobile office for online signings may not require much, but there are a few things you may want to look at.

  1. Drop Cloth or Background – If we are in a vehicle, we may not want to advertise it. So we may want to use a drop cloth, or maybe a background that is a little prettier, behind us. Make it look like we are in a closed office, or maybe a beach in Hawaii.
  2. New Light – If you end up doing a signing in the evening, or you surround yourself with a drop cloth, you are probably going to want to look into a light. Vehicle or laptop lights are great, but they tend to not provide that nice bright and even light you would have in an office. With LEDs, lights don’t use up much energy, so you can easily get one or two that will make the mobile office look like a static one.
  3. Noise Cancelling Microphone or Headset – Let’s face it. This goes beyond mobile. Have we ever met any kind of office that is perfectly quiet all the time? Client communication is key. Ideally, we’d like them to understand us, and vice versa, just as well as if we were in person. Even a face to face at Starbucks. So a noise cancelling microphone or headset may be the best way to keep out unwanted noise. Just realize if you are twenty feet from the train tracks it won’t do much help.

Recently we were asked if we really should go mobile for online signings. And the answer was simple.

I may prefer to do a signing in the office, but I prefer money more than that.

The New Notary Model

The world changes, we change with it. So, how does the notary create a new model for their business?

The Remote Revolution?

As a notary, and a small business owner, a large change in the landscape requires a change in business model.

Fortunately, as of now, it appears we have some time. Industry forecasts are now predicting remote notarizations to double by 2025, from 2020 numbers. That is not exactly the revolution many were expecting.

Make no mistake, it is coming. But, there will be bumps in the road. Webcams aren’t eyes, and it is bound to cause problems.

IDs can be tough enough. There may be a real push to require RealID for remote transactions. Originally intended for airline flights and sensitive government facilities, the requirements for it are already expanding.

The Mobile Revolution

Don’t forget, you’ve already been part of one revolution!

Mobile Notarization transformed an industry that had been static for hundreds of years. It completely changed the game. No longer did you have to travel to the notary, the notary traveled to you!

This not only allowed greater flexibility for those needing documents notarized, but opened a flood gate for a new generation of notaries. Notaries who now had the opportunity to make more money than their predecessors.

It even saved businesses that needed notaries money, as they were now able to streamline their process and increase their productivity.

What seemed at first glance to some to be a hassle ended up being a win win for everyone.

Remote Opportunities

It is easy to look at a situation and find negatives. It is another entirely to find the positives.

When many of us look at our industry, we think of mortgages. And rightfully so. It is the main source of income for not only notaries, but also notary services such as ourselves.

And it is easy to find ways the remote revolution may cost us. From full virtual closings to things like hybrid signings, it is normal to have some qualms.

But, so did notaries during the mobile revolution. And in the end, the reservations held were let go as the industry blossomed into a new era. One of both freedom for the notary, as well as the customer.

Those of us ready to re-tool our belt will find ways to thrive in a growing marketplace.

New Opportunities Mean New Income

Diversification Makes Notaries Strong

Right now there are still a lot of signings that are static. And even more that never happen, as people just cross their fingers and hope it will all be well.

But, with the proper marketing and business development, the ease of online signings will bring new signing opportunities to the fold.

More competitive pricing will continue to squeeze static notaries, who are bound to onerous fees they can charge in most states. This is a big reason the mobile notary revolution happened and it helped notaries make more money.

Individuals commonly forego getting documents notarized that they should. From simple hold harmless agreements, private loans or IOUs among family members, and even simple agreements between neighbors for things like easement access.

And too often these people get bitten in the rear. Because they find the current process either too onerous or too expensive.

But, remote signings will make this both easier and price competitive.

Diversification Protects You

We say it all the time. Diversify, diversify, diversify.

We can’t tell you how many comments we’ve received over the years about us accepting more types of signings than mortgages. More types of signings than our competitors.

Why would you do that? It is stupid to accept signings that pay less then others. Why waste my time?

But, that is a large part of what made Sunshine Signing into who we are today. Diversification has allowed us to grow stronger even when an industry wanes.

While others floundered during the real estate crash in 2007, we ended up thriving because our business was not solely reliant on new mortgages and refinances. And while others faltered, when the market rebounded, we were able to acquire more business in that sector.

As the old adage says, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”.

Remote Notarization is Diversification

Even after the mobile revolution, static notaries still stand. And even after the remote revolution occurs, mobile notaries will do the same.

So, the question we need to ask ourselves is this?

How do I add robust online services to my existing mobile notary business?

  • How do I capitalize on the slate of new signings?
  • How do I make myself mobile and online at the same time?
  • How do I turn this into an opportunity to make more money?

These are just a few questions we need to ask before we prepare our business for a new world.

And we will talk more about these topics in upcoming articles.

For example, what does the new mobile office look like?

Covid and the Notary Gig

The work landscape is changing due to Covid and many are looking at a notary gig.

As more people look at returning to the workplace, many have realized they don’t want to go back. They’ve found the flexibility of working from home (probably why they are wanted back in the workplace) and found they prefer it.

Why People are Looking at Side Gigs or Home Businesses

Why is the desire to run one’s own business increasing?

For most, it’s not about the power. Most are not entrepreneurs. Or maybe they’ve had an itch for a long time and think now is the time to actually get their feet wet.

They have found the flexibility of not being in the office, or maybe being in the office with challenges less onerous.

Are They Serious Competition?

For most, probably not.

If your main motivation for starting a home business is that you just found out it might make parts of life easier, you really have not thought it through.

People who think that taking care of their children, grocery shopping and running other errands is the reason to start a home business, are probably in for a rude awakening.

Are those perks for some of us? Yes, at least sometimes. But, is it our main motivation? Most likely not.

We’ve recognized the challenges, planned around them, and found a way to fit our schedule across our daily/nightly routine. We may not know when our next signing will be. But, we do know we need to be there, whether we planned to go shopping or not.

In short, if we want to be successful, we still take work when it is available.

Why a Notary Side Gig?

In the wake of Covid not only are many looking for a new hustle, they are trying to replicate a work from home experience into a new avenue of work, one of which is a notary gig.

And if the above linked articles don’t tell you enough, many news outlets are helping people ponder the idea and telling them what they can try to do.

But, there is a huge difference from driving an Uber a few hours a week, versus starting our own business as a notary public. Using an app, versus running a full fledged business.

A Look From Our Side

In our time doing business we have done business with great notaries who are both experienced and professional. We’ve also run into people who are not so much.

Guess who we choose to do our business with?

We want to work with highly motivated and highly professional notaries. We love experience, but we do also understand we all have to start somewhere.

But does the motivation behind it mean much?

Are they looking for a professional notary career and business? Or just for a notary gig they read was easy in a news article?

It’s More Than Signing Docs

Being a notary is about more than a stamp.

  • It is about legitimacy.
  • It is about integrity.
  • It is about making sure someone’s important life documents will stand up in court if they have to.
  • It’s about all of the little things that go along with the job, and understanding each one of them is just as important as a stamp.
  • It is about all of the tools you need to run your own business.

These things are not done out of convenience. They are done out of a commitment to excellence.

Some of us may already do this as a notary side gig. And we applaud those who have done it well.

But, the fact remains that most of the network of notaries we work with do not.

So, prepare, new blood is coming, even if it is not until late 2021 or 2022. But, if they don’t have your commitment and professionalism it won’t make much of a difference.