(Article by Laura Biewer, founder of Notary Symposium, owner of At Your Service Mobile Notary, and NNA Training Instructor).
What is “General Notary Work”? It’s notary work that doesn’t involve real estate, such as what Notary Signing Agents handle. Really importantly, if you are an NSA, why should you consider getting into General Notary Work at all? Because there are no documents to wait for, no documents to print (no paper, ink or printer hard costs either), no documents to fax back or ship. Sure some people only need 1 or 2 notarizations, but ask for a fair travel fee, and you should be fine when it comes to calculating net profit. Besides, in most cases, you can take a mileage deduction for the miles you rack up.
So, with that being said, I would like to share tips for those of you who are trying to handle more general notary work, particularly at facilities like hospitals (or skilled nursing facilities). I have read many posts on notary forums that have the same pattern of approach that results in no success. I would like to share a different approach that may get you past the gatekeeper and on the referral list and if you are really good, how to be the preferred notary.
Introduce your purpose differently
You might lead off with something like: “I will be coming here to notarize documents for patients and want to discuss the best way to ensure I help my client while observing special needs of this facility. Who would be best to discuss…..
I am offering complementary in-services for Social workers and nurses about how to help patients get their important documents like Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive notarized. Who would be best to discuss………
Ask the right questions
Your purpose is investigating what their needs are:
What times are best not to set appointments? (Think of shift change over when it is most busy, meal times, doctor rounds)
Check in suggestions? – Nurses station before seeing the client (maybe the client is not a good candidate for notarization).
Ombudsman requirement? Some Long-term facilities have both skilled and non-skilled areas.
Isolation requirements? (are you prepared to do what is needed to meet these requirements)
Are there any special requests/requirements for outside services coming into the facility?
Questions like these are all about the Facility and patient needs rather than yours. Demonstrate your knowledge of special needs for facilities and your commitment to protecting their clients. Present yourself as the solution for the need of notary services in their facility.
Do your homework
Know what an Ombudsman is and what is required by law when notarizing an Advanced Health Care Directive in a long-term care facility. Invest in additional tools that may be helpful in a facility. Make sure your notary skills for lesser used procedures are current such as Credible Witness and Signature by Mark. Research the facility before you go so you know something about who they are, how long they have served the community, etc. Seek out a coach or mentor about entering the facility market place, and the special skills needed in that environment to provide mobile notary services.
Building a skill set for different specialties expands our ability to gain assignments from many sources. Think of being a notary as a basket that can hold many services. In the notary world, we can specialize in loan signings work, facilities, trusts, and add other work that complements what we already do, for instance LiveScan services. But unlike NSA work, there is no standard training, or an easy way of finding out which equipment would work best in a mobile environment, or if you should have an office, and how do you get the work? That is why we started the Notary Symposium. We are bringing together experienced and successful business owners who are willing to share what they did to expand their current business or add other services.