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June 18, 2015

Do you carry a portable scanner?

Some of the more committed Notaries have mobile offices. They have a computer, printer, scanner, and other equipment in their car. Mobile printing allows you to print on the road instead of having to go all the way home just to wait two hours for documents that never come! But, what about scanning?

These days, Notaries sometimes need to scan identification documents. You might need to email or print out these documents. So, having a portable scanner and printer is a really good idea. These days you can get really small electronics equipment that can get the job done. Just purchase reliable products from good stores that offer customer service just in case. I was tempted to say reliable brands, but sometimes a particular manufacturer might be better at one product and then lose quality a few years later. The electronics industry is a tricky one!

If you use your car as a power source for electronic equipment, consider getting an inverter. Electronic equipment may also drain your battery more than you think, so consult an expert before you do anything. Make sure your vehicle can handle the load.

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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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March 3, 2011

Mobile Offices from A to Z

Mobile offices and their advantages
 
One of our notaries in Maryland commands higher prices for his loan signing services due to his expertise in signings and also because he has a mobile office which facilitates last minute notary jobs and last minute quick changes to documents.  This notary has state-of-the-art equipment that comprises his mobile office in his pickup truck.  He has a scanner, regular sized printer, laptop, extra toner, paper, a special inverter, cables, a powerful alternator, and extra heavy duty fuses.  His internet connection is courtesy of Verizon Wireless Broadband.  Additionally, he considers it really important to have a really powerful battery because the equipment puts a heavy load on the battery.  Another interesting fact is that he uses a police squad laptop holder so he can work comfortably while in the drivers seat.   He prints by putting the printer in the back seat.  His wires are directly wired to the car’s electrical system instead of using a plug in that would go in the cigarette lighter.
 
What are the technical issues of a mobile office?
This notary started his mobile office in 2004.  He has lots of experience with mobile offices and the issues related to them.  He claims that someone with a regular car might not have enough battery or alternator power to handle the load of a laser printer.   He used to blow fuses to do overload, but learned that buying top of the line heavy-duty fuses and having a state of the art alternator he could handle the demands of the job.  Our Maryland notary public learned that it was not technically feasable to run a printer and laptop simultaneously using his mobile office.  So, what he does is to put the laptop on battery only while printing documents
 
Printing
With a mobile office, a signing agent can download documents while you are driving.  Imagine the time you can save multi-tasking.  Our Maryland Notary Public uses a regular sized printer without any issues.  However, the printer gets hot, so a firewall is necessary.  He uses wood covered by velcro to make sure that no fires are created when he places the printer on a seat or on the floor. 
 
How does this help his business?
You can get more money for signings having a mobile office because you can do last minute quick prints of last minute documents.  Imagine that the lender has a quick change to the Settlement Statement or other critical document.  No problem, it can be reprinted at the signing.  What if there is a quick name variation change, or change for a critical figure in the loan.  Again, this is easy to printout at the last minute.  Many loans have to be completely rescheduled due to the notary’s lack of equipment, but not if you have a mobile office!
 
What does it cost?
You could spend $2000-$3000 for a mobile office.  The inverter is about $100 and thats critical for good electrical flow.  Scanners and printers a few hundred each.  The biggest expense is the laptop, and those can run anywhere from $500 to $2000 per unit.

Tweets:
(1) One of our notaries commands a higher fee simply because he has a sophisticated mobile office!
(2) Having a mobile office is perfect in the “unlikely” event that a lender sends you docs late when ur on the road.
(3) You could spend up to $3000 for a really good mobile office. Don’t forget to start w/an inverter!
 
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Erica’s mobile office story

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