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2022 business prospects look strong as Notaries find new ways to serve customers

Many Notaries reported high demand for mobile services in the past year, continuing the record increase in demand for Notary services started in 2020. As the new year begins, Notaries predict 2022 will be even stronger thanks to new business strategies that led to success last year.

As the coronavirus pandemic evolved, Notaries have found innovative ways to adjust and thrive, including the following:

  1. Meeting the growing demand for mobile and online Notary services
  2. Finding new ways to accommodate customers, such as flexible appointment locations and electronic payment options
  3. Offering remote notarization services to customers.

Demand for mobile Notary services is on the rise

One of the biggest takeaways from 2021 is that customer demand for mobile and online Notary services is increasing. Many traditional venues for Notary services — like banks — are less available due to COVID restrictions, but that's meant more opportunities for mobile Notaries.

"For the first half of last year there was a lot more work because many people were getting their estates in order," said California Notary Robin Fishman, who works part-time for several estate attorneys. "The lawyers and I were going to these clients' homes in times of fear and the unknown so we would make sure nothing was left off the table for them to be uncertain about.

"I had an amazing year in 2021 despite spending a month in the hospital with COVID. I became a Notary in 2003, so that experience has helped me guide my business to where it's at today. When I started, about 98 percent of my work was signings, now about 90 percent is general Notary work," said Daniel Lewis of Carmel, Indiana. "I discovered there's a big need for general Notary work in communities. Schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even car dealerships are requesting notarizations. That can keep you busy and fill up your week. People are getting more comfortable doing a lot of their life online, but many people still like someone coming to their house to settle their legal matters."

Fishman agrees. "I like the simplicity of doing general Notary work. I really enjoy it. I'm not doing this to earn a living and with my elderly signers I often lower my fees or don't charge for travel. It feels like I'm giving back a bit. For me, I'd like to do that more often in 2022."

To succeed in 2022, Notaries changed the way they do business

While the pandemic taught all of us how to adapt to life-threatening circumstances, Notaries learned to adapt their business practices as well. To be successful in 2022, Notaries are offering customers more flexible choices when it comes to appointment locations and payment options.

I like the simplicity of doing general Notary work. I really enjoy it … For me, I'd like to do that more often in 2022.

Robin Fishman, California

For example, Florida Notary Lee Dike says he now always discusses and plans for possible COVID issues with customers prior to notarization appointments.

"I think folks are starting to get comfortable with the idea that this virus is going to be around for a long time. I always tell them I'm willing to notarize outside if it makes them feel more comfortable. Before accepting a job I always ask if they've traveled out of the country, been exposed to someone with COVID or if they have a fever or other flu-like symptoms. I also volunteer that I'm vaccinated to make them more comfortable," Dike said.

And thanks to COVID concerns about physical contact, check writing is becoming a thing of the past and fewer people carry cash these days. So how are Notaries getting paid? For many Notaries, the solution is electronic and online payment options in order to minimize physical contact with customers and the risk of spreading germs.

"These days, it's getting more convenient to collect your fees electronically or through phone apps. More and more Notaries are able to take payments in a variety of ways, like taking credit cards or apps like Venmo," Lewis said.

South Carolina Notary Sonita Leak agrees. "Even before the pandemic hit hard, I'd already implemented electronic purchasing, seamless web to end-user operation. Besides meeting in person, my payment and communication processes have been conducive to 'least amount of contact' as possible."

Diversifying the services Notaries offer is also important to staying successful in an ever-changing work environment, said Pennsylvania Notary Judith Lawrence.

"I think it's important to diversify, diversify, diversify. If you only focus on loan signings and that isn't working for you or the rest of the country, then you're not going to have work. You need to be able to pivot to something else. I believe you should keep training as much as you can. Every time you train, you learn something, and in the process, you become a better Notary," Lawrence said.

Opportunities and challenges in remote notarizations

Another way Notaries have been diversifying their business is through the growing technology of remote online notarization (RON). RON is now available in some form in nearly 40 states. Many Notaries have become certified to perform RON because it gives them increased flexibility when offering Notary services, allows them to serve customers in other states or even other countries, and provides a safe alternative to face-to-face contact with signers at risk from health issues.

Texas Notary Jacqueline Clinton is a mobile Notary with 20 years of experience and performs remote notarizations. She said RON has helped her maintain her Notary business while giving her the flexibility to take care of family matters at the same time. "I have to make this work for me because I need the flexibility I wouldn't get in corporate America. I need to be able to be there for my elderly parents when they need me," she said.

I think 2022 is going to get better. I believe there are bigger and better things coming as far as Notary business is concerned.

Jaqueline Clinton, Texas

But remote notarization is still very new despite its widespread adoption by many states, and some Notaries are still struggling to learn and master this new process.

Ohio Notary Amy Seitz, who runs the RON platform CyberizeIt, said start-up costs and platform fees can be pricey when Notaries start conducting online notarizations. Added to that, it's often a complicated process that's different in every state. "When people join RON, it's new and techy, so we're getting a lot of Notaries just starting out. I see a lot of people struggle because they don't have the experience behind them in the same way as pen-and-paper notarial acts," she said.

Looking ahead to 2022

Notaries found surprising success last year — and are optimistic as we start the new year.

"I think 2022 is going to get better. I believe there are bigger and better things coming. As far as business is concerned, more and more people will allow people in their homes. Since there are less people working in offices, banks and mortgage companies will need more people going to people's homes," Clinton said. "I plan on advertising more and getting certified for apostilles and as a process server and learn how to do Live Scan fingerprinting so there are several streams of income coming in."

Leak predicts she will see an increase in wedding ceremonies as it becomes safer for people to gather. And with more people getting vaccinated, Notaries will soon be allowed back in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.

At the same time, Lawrence predicts that remote notarization will continue to grow in popularity and allow more Notaries to work from home: "Five years from today, my belief is that we won't need a brick-and-mortar office because we'll be doing everything online," she said.

8 Comments

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lejitmade@gmail.com

10 Jan 2022

I ain't misleead

dana bybee

10 Jan 2022

commissioned for enotarization in Washington State.

dee

13 Jan 2022

ok seems like this fail short, but specifically can you all provide a projection for the signing agent business

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2022

Hello. Is this the information you are looking for? https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2021/06/how-much-can-i-earn-as-mobile-notary-or-signing-agent

Leigh-Anne Cobb

17 Jan 2022

I am a notary in NJ . Can you suggest training opportunities to offer services remotely?

National Notary Association

20 Jan 2022

Hello. Please see here for more information about performing remote notarizations in New Jersey: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/remote-online-notary/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary/new-jersey

amyjc31@gmail.com

09 May 2022

I am a notary in NC and have recently joined, how do I get started with jobs? Thank you

National Notary Association

11 May 2022

Hello. This article and video have tips that you may find helpful: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/08/building-a-successful-notary-business

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