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A Mobile Notary Must: Picking The Right Cell Phone Plan

Smartphones are a daily constant in most of our lives, but for many Notaries they are critical for business success. They keep you connected to clients and business associates; facilitate transactions; guide you to appointments; and help you solve problems on the spot rather than waiting to get back to the office.

Pick the right cell phone plan for your mobile Notary business

Whether you're an Android, iPhone or Blackberry fan, finding the right device is only part of the solution to the communication needs of your Notary business. A smartphone is only as good as the data plan you use, and the wrong plan can be costly. Here are some points to ponder:

Data Plans: Unlimited or Specific?

Unlimited data plans may make you less nervous about the length of conversations and number of texts you need to send to your clients.  Michael Bremmer, CEO of, a Southern California technology consulting firm, says a good unlimited plan should include unlimited talk, text and data — an especially important factor for Notaries who handle loan-signing assignments.

"Watch out for false claims of unlimited," says Ryan Burr, CEO of One Stop Tek in Las Vegas, which offers consultations for small business, advice on IT security and other services. Read the terms of service closely. "Some plans say unlimited data, but after a certain amount of data is used it will slow down your speed." For those types of plans, the terms may say something akin to, “The speed will slow if the network is overloaded.”

In lieu of unlimited, you could get a specific data plan, Burr says, and then have a secondary device, such as an inexpensive tablet (about $100 online), and use the free Google voice platform to text or talk.

Or get a limited data plan that you can tether with another device, such as a tablet, Bremmer says.

Teresa Burrell, an Orlando mobile Notary with 20 years of experience who launched her mobile business over 12 years ago, has an unlimited data plan and can tether to Wi-Fi-enabled devices that become their own password-protected hotspot.  "If I am dealing with an online closing, for instance, I would access their site through this hub," she says.

Smarter Shopping

Try to find a plan with a month-to-month arrangement instead of a long-term contract, Bremmer says. "Month-to-month is the industry trend."

What about phone insurance? "You generally don't need insurance," Bremmer says, unless you are completely clumsy about dropping your phone into bodies of water. Be aware, he says, that some carriers are tying insurance into the lease plan. "See if you can opt out," he says.

Do some homework on pricing so you can negotiate. Simply Google ''best cell phone plans" and a fountain of information (some from specific carriers, of course) will pop up. Often the search will turn up well-researched articles from financial and technology magazines. Armed with this knowledge, you can try to negotiate a better deal with the carrier you want, Bremmer says.

Other Cell Phone Purchasing Tips For Notaries

--- Ask fellow Notaries or other business people in your area which carriers they prefer, says Ricky Salmon, owner of Good to Go Notary in the Bronx. If a carrier is known for dropped calls, you'll hear about that first from friends and colleagues. “I believe you have to be able to connect to a network your phone is on pretty much from anywhere,” Salmon says. Some carriers just have better connectivity, he finds.

--- Test customer service. “Call the carrier you are thinking about to see how easy it is to get a human being on the line,” Salmon says. “I value customer service.” Burrell says she has been with the same carrier since 2003, and a major reason is good customer service.

--- Shop around. “I’m always on the lookout to see if I can get a better deal,” Salmon says. About once a year, he will check out other options, he says, “'just to see what is out there.” As some carriers roll out new plans, he finds, it forces the others to be competitive.

--- Keep up with client communication patterns. “I find I am texting a lot more,” Burrell says. When she calls to confirm an appointment or to get other information, she finds that many clients don't check voicemail in a timely manner, but they are likely to respond to a text promptly.

--- Think about your range. Consider the area you cover for your clients, and then check carriers’ coverage area maps to see if coverage is good in the areas you most often travel to.

Kathleen Doheny is a Los Angeles-based journalist and business writer who specializes in cars, travel and healthcare journalism.


Add your comment

Richard Parker

27 Jul 2015

One very important and critical issue not even mentioned here is security. As a notary, your phone carries not only your personal information but the personal and financial information of others. Do not use public WiFi under any circumstance. And you at need to consider the security of your phone. BlackBerry, although widely disregarded by consumers, is the first brand to receive the latest DOD approval and is still regarded by many government as the most secure mobile system out there.

27 Jul 2015

I'd like to read this article but it's totally covered by a white screen you've put in.....!!!! Not amusing!!!

National Notary Association

04 Aug 2015

Hello. We have sent you a message to see if we can help you resolve the issue.

Cecelia Moyer

30 Jul 2015

Would like to find out what will be best?

Ryan Burr

28 Aug 2015

I'm Ryan Burr Quoted in the article. @Richard Parker, You are correct while I explained this to her when interviewing about the WIFI. I didn't mention Blackberry because they are starting to use the android OS and that is not DOD approved. So other than device encryption and secure WiFi their is not a lot of high level security options out there affordable for the small business owners whiles it's important to do the two things I've listed that is all that would be required in most states to be in compliance.

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