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September 24, 2011

Erica’s Mobile Office Story

Erica’s Mobile Office Story
 
Erica has been a full time mobile notary for 17 years in California’s central coast.  She enjoyed driving her BMW to signings, and the gas mileage was not that bad.  But going all the way up to Northern San Luis Obispo county and all the way down to Santa Barbara Couny, and then all the way up and down and up and down for e-document signings got to be ridiculous.  She said to herself, “I’ve been doing this business for a long time, and there must be a better way to do this”. 
 
A few years ago she decided that a mobile office was the way to do business.  That would eliminate all of the traveling back home each time she needed to print documents.  She could print on the road while driving and multi-task which would make her time work even more efficiently.  There was a particular vehicle that she had had her eye on for a long time — the Chevy HHR.  It was a cross between a SUV and a Hatchback.  But, its main feature was that it’s battery was in the BACK, making it easy to add an inverter and power strip.  This would allow her to have printers, computers and other equipment in the back receiving enough power to all function at once!!! 
 
Long distance travel
Although her BMW got better gas mileage than her new “truck”, she didn’t have to go all the way back home each time she printed docs using the truck!  Erica’s range was 120 miles up and down the coast, and many times she would have to go up and down multiple times per day when business was faster (in the old days).
 
The inverter
Initially, she wanted to get a generator, but thought it would be too loud for night signings.  But, then after she bought her more powerful vehicle, the generator was no longer necessary.  She started out getting an inverter on ebay for $79, but it didn’t have enough Hertz.  Then, she got serious and made a pilgimmage to Oxnard, California to get a heavy duty 2000 watt inverter for $129 which did the trick.    This inverter had enough power for all of her equipment.
 
Her equipment
Erica’s arsenal of equipment includes: (1) a netbook, (2) a three-in-one scanner, printer, and fax (3) HP Laserjet 2430dtn printer that prints a whopping 35 pages per minute! Wow! That’s the fastest I’ve ever heard about.  She has SIX of these and gets them for pennies on ebay, but they might cost up to $1000 in a store.  She get’s her toner for $20 on ebay which costs over $100 in stores.  The other things she stocks in her “truck” include extra legal paper, letter paper, toners for each weapon, staplers, tape, rubber bands, shipping supplies, post-it notes, and dozens of pens.  She also keeps an extra journal in her car just in case!
 
The warranty
Erica is a seasoned electronics customer and gets a square trade warranty whenever she buys something online.  Personally, I would go with the triangular one (to keep things simple), but the square one seems to be the industry standard.
 
More work capacity
The bottom line of this story is how Erica refined her operation to have maximum efficiency.  She can now accept last minute assignments.  And, by eliminating the back and forth, she can now do nine signings per day, when the maximum she was able to do in the old days was five.

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1 Comment »

  1. I have found this to be a very practical way to do business. I’ve been doing Closings since 2004. I hate wasting my time & gas. I used to have to decline because I couldn’t get back to the office and print in and get out to the closing, in time. (And, of course, it was exactly where I had just come from…) putting a printer in my trunk, along with extra supplies, has really helped me to be available to take on more signings over the years!

    Comment by Kandy Maxim-Morales — April 13, 2015 @ 11:35 am

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