We wanted to know about the coronavirus impact on business for notaries, so we asked:
As a mobile notary, how are you coping with COVID-19? What have you done differently or are planning to do differently?
Taking a break and preparing for the future
“I work as an Notary Signing Agent on a part-time basis. My full time job requires me to work with the elderly, as well as young children. When the stay-at-home order was implemented in our state (Wisconsin), I made the difficult decision to halt all signings until non-essential businesses were deemed safe to resume business.
As RON (Remote Online Notarizations) have become increasingly available, including in states where it previously wasn’t allowed, I’ve tried to spend my free time researching certification in that area until I feel comfortable with in-person signings again.”
Coronavirus impact on business: Re-evaluating business goals
“This has been a real eye-opener for my mobile notary business. In New York, when the state-of-emergency was announced and subsequent stay at home order implemented, I was concerned if my business was being shut down as well. Many of my fellow mobile notaries had the same concern. Are we considered essential or not? The answer finally was a resounding, YES! At first hearing this news, I was a bit in shock. Then the concerns about my personal health and the health of my family hit me. I asked myself, what am I going to do?
Governor Cuomo enacted an Executive Order, allowing notaries to have the option to provide appearance by webcam first and then use electronic submission of documents and then mail the originals—all while protecting us as notaries and the public we serve.
My family and I have been spending more time together. As a mobile notary, I was on the road quite a bit, so I am actually enjoying the extra time with them. At the moment, I am attending to tasks at home that I previously did not have time for. I feel good about this, and I also feel like I am getting caught up!
I had a few days where I was upset about the current business and personal bills I still had outstanding. It was stressful because all of a sudden, the notary requests came to a screeching halt. But as this pandemic has been evolving daily, so have my actions in response to it. I am happy to report that I am now getting requests again and doing both webcam and in-person appearances. It is starting to pick up again!
So for the last 3 weeks, I have taken some time to reevaluate my business goals, fine-tune my website, learn the rules about this new webcam notary option, and decide how to run my business going forward. I have done a few webcam notarizations and not only have I enjoyed them, but so have the clients I served. I have saved money on gas and travel time, so I can still keep my fees reasonable or even lower depending on the order. I have studied and also worked on other services to supplement my notary business.
I have learned to never put all your eggs in one basket, as I fine-tuned my backup plan for my notary business. As long as this order remains in effect, I have an alternative option (webcam) to provide my services. I’ve also made sure I was on Pavaso and other electronic notary platforms to do e-notary services. I feel like RON is just around the corner for New York state. I am now taking the time to update my listings to include this notary option.“
Christa J. Centolella
Safety first with Remote Online Notarizations
“As a mobile notary, my greatest challenge has been the continuation of providing mobile services in the client’s physical residence. Due to the pandemic, I stopped providing services face-to-face soon after my state (New York) mandated social distancing and “stay at home” orders. Instead, I have temporarily transitioned to performing remote online notarizations, aka RONs.
NYS previously was not a state mandated to perform RONs, but thanks to Governor Cuomo’s recently passed executive order, NYS notaries have been approved to perform them temporarily. I’ve completed several RONs in the last couple of days successfully while remaining as safe as possible.”
Kim Jones, Owner of Roc City Notary Services
For more information on how COVID-19 has affected businesses, I would suggest this interesting article on Corporate Social Responsibility: Business Responses to Cononavirus Pandemi, and for more great articles from Notary Jane, check out our blog!