AKA: How to be a more profitable notary
Nothing is more frustrating than arriving at the signing table only to discover that the signer has a discrepancy. What will you do in this situation? You will have to reschedule the signing or push it back while you get a new set of documents. There may also be additional time delays while the signer resolves whatever issues were presented in your first attempt. This will likely mean traveling back to your home office to print new documents – only to return to the original location for the rescheduled appointment.
Why choose notary appointments near your home base? The return on investment (ROI) in your mobile notary business is the first reason that comes to my mind and the multiple ways you can actualize that ROI. Choosing appointments that are near your home base can maximize your income and minimize stress.
Reduce travel expenses and re-invest in your business
Saving time, money and the general cost of doing business (example: gas and advertising) is often at the forefront of my mind when thinking of ways to maintain and grow my mobile notary business.
Traveling no more than 15 minutes from your base location will minimize the time spent on each appointment. This is not only a time saver, but also a way to cut down on overall expenses (example: gas and vehicle maintenance). Taking appointments closer to your base also allows you to increase your volume of appointments due to less travel time overall.
Saving money on expenses and increasing your ROI on each appointment, provides more profit. More profit comes with the great benefit of enabling you to choose where to spend that money in an effort to grow your business. Being able to invest in the necessary supplies to run your business effectively is key:
- Perhaps you want to buy a new office machine that will save you time and improve scanning capabilities.
- You might want to expand your advertising budget to attract more business opportunities.
- Or purchase a membership to a notary directory like Notary Jane, to increase your exposure online.
Plan for hiccups and minimize anxiety
As a mobile signing agent, there is nothing more valuable than your precious time. How much time will actually be spent on an appointment is how we should determine our fees. The unfortunate thing is that you can only charge so much before your competition will out price you. Even if you are traveling well outside your home base area, there is a limit on what your client will find acceptable and is willing to pay. And often, it just doesn’t make sense when you consider your time.
When setting and negotiating my prices, I like to keep a couple of additional factors in the back of my mind. The first one is traffic. Consider exactly where you’ll be going and the time of day. Sometimes traffic can create more problems than appointments well outside of your area. Traveling during low traffic means little to no stress.
The other thing I consider is “Murphy’s Law”. I ask myself if something were to go wrong with the signing, would it make sense for me to have to go back out to meet with the signer again. I try to think like a business person…does this singing make sense for my overall business model? Am I going to make money on this signing?
Can you stay close to home?
With all that said, I realize that there are 2 big factors that can greatly affect your ability to stay close to home.
- Where you live. If you live in a very rural area, you will need to travel more. But even with that, be smart about how you group appointments. Try and schedule multiple appointments in the same area (when possible) to maximize your drive. Take the time to investigate what other notaries in your area are charging when they travel so you can be assured that your prices are within range.
- How mature is your business. When you’re first starting out, you will need to be more flexible so you can show clients that you are an excellent notary who deserves their business. This means that you may have to jump through a few hoops to earn their business.
Maximize your time and profit
I have tested this out over the years and I truly feel that my best ROI as a mobile notary is to stay close to home. It can be very tempting to take every appointment that comes your way. I used to do this and many days I felt like I was running around in circles. If I can lower my overall expenses (less driving) and maximize my time (ability to take more appointments), I make more money. It is truly that simple for me. If you’re someone who takes long distance appointments and often feels frustrated, try to stay close to home for a couple months and see how you feel.
By Michelle Norfleet, the Magnificent Notary