Initial Notary Contact Check List
Ring, Ring, Ring – does the sound foretell revenue, or will the caller merely function to “busy” your cell phone? Most of us are Mobile Notaries, we do not maintain a “walk in” location, and we go to our clients to earn a “travel” fee. Many callers gloss over this fact; they see the word Notary and want to go to your location. Sometimes they just ring the bell; usually to find that the Notary is “out”. More often they call, now the challenge is to determine their expectations.
Moving the Bottom Line to the Top Line – A quick way to separate the “tire kickers” from the buyers is to quickly state your minimum notary fee, prior to getting into the gory details. “My minimum Mobile Notary fee is $XX. Responses vary from “WOW, that’s a Lot” to “no problem”.
Get the data needed to formulate a Quote – The basic information is What, When and Where – there is more that you need to know; but those three are a good start. When and where are obvious – usually. I’ve been “sucker punched” with an address that sounded routine, but turned out to be the United Nations building; with very time consuming security procedures. Also be careful about the when, if it’s not soon; check for holiday traffic and stormy weather!
Ahhh, the What – There are other aspects, but the two that you really must nail are Exactly what is to be notarized, and how many notarizations are required. I ask “how many notarizations are required?” and they respond “one”. They often are responding about “how many people are being notarized” not how many notarizations are required. So, I have modified my question. I now ask “how many signatures will be notarized?”. If I have to ID 37 affiants to a single contract, to me that is 37 notarizations; even if I stamp and sign only once. Also, it’s vital to determine exactly what document is to be processed. I can’t do Wills, or copies of NY Birth Certs, and many other vital records.
By now you should have a good idea that the task is doable. They agreed to the fee, and it probably is more than the “minimum” initially mentioned. Also, you know what, when and where. So far it’s a go, but will it be a pleasant session for the notary?
More that you must find out – Are you the person I will be notarizing? Often a relative or clerical is assigned the task of “arranging” the notary. If you are not speaking to the affiant how do you know that they speak English, or some other language you are fluent with? Ask! And, of course you need to find out what the affiant has for ID. Going to a large office building? You need the company name, what floor they are on, and perhaps the room number. Want to wait in the lobby for clearance? Probably not, so ask for a pass to be called down to the lobby to be there prior to your arrival. Did you get a contact cell number that will be answered while you are in route to the appointment? You might get stuck behind a fire truck, can you reach them?
A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade, said President Lincoln. I value my time too. It’s not unreasonable to ask if the affiant will be able to meet with you as scheduled. “You want me there at 4PM, will you (or the affiant) be able to meet with me at that time? It’s a fine line between being perceived as “pushy” and sitting for an hour for a base fee. I’ve told admin assistants that I cannot be late for a subsequent appointment and must leave in half an hour.>