Author: Carin Guertin

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A Day in My Mobile Notary Life – I Cover It All

Nice Doggie – Dealing with Pets at Notary Signing Appointments

The Cali Notary

February 13, 2024

Nice Doggie(?) Dealing with Pets at Notary Appointments

The Cali Notary

You arrive at your signing appointment and there is a lot of barking behind the door. What could go wrong?

Mobile notaries visit not only offices but homes on a daily basis. Going to the customer where it is most convenient for their schedule is high priority in this business.

For many people, pets are members of the family and also tend to function as a secondary doorbell or gate keeper. It can be a little unnerving when a pet comes to greet you along with your client or customer. 

Should pets on the loose during your signing appointment concern you?

Most notaries public don’t walk into a signing appointment expecting to defend their lives from ferocious creatures. With more people having pet companions both at home and at the office, this is a scenario that will continue. But how should you handle yourself and your notary supplies from potentially being ripped to shreds? This depends on your comfort level and your professionalism. If you feel potentially threatened by a pet at an appointment, be sure to communicate your concern to your client. You can remind the client that in order for the appointment to stay on time that distractions should be removed. Or share honestly if you have an allergy or even fear of the animal itself. Once a pet is secured then everyone can get back to business and your appointment can get back on track.   

What if a client or customer insists their pet is friendly and harmless?

Most clients and customers have requested the notary appointment to fit into their schedule. If the notary public cannot complete the appointment, this leaves the customer in a bad spot. If the customer insists that their pet will not disrupt your appointment, then firmly suggest to the client that you move to a space where the pet cannot be literally underfoot. In my experience, I have had two situations where I did not insist on moving to a pet free space and I paid the price. During a lengthy loan signing appointment, the client’s cat insisted on sitting in the chair just next to me. Since the cat seemed to mind himself and not get into the papers or supplies for the signing appointment, I didn’t protest the cat’s presence. But my severe cat allergies were really setting in by about the 30 minute mark and I finished the appointment with watering eyes and a running nose. Not a very professional look.  The second experience was when a client’s small dog just would not leave my side while seated at the signing table. This was another lengthy signing appointment and even though the clients were very nice people, their dog showed me that I was no longer welcome by biting me on my ankle. I was not injured but the clients were embarrassed and apologetic. Now in the name of safety for all, I always request that my clients and customers secure their pets for signings.

Minding Time

The Cali Notary – A DAY IN THE LIFE

That phone ringing could be a new client! Grab a pen!

Scheduling notary appointments to meet with clients is very exciting. Having an organized scheduling system is crucial so that your day doesn’t turn into a circus act.

Over the course of my 20-year notary career, I can tell you that the availability of notaries is something that most people take for granted. Most “on staff” notaries public can be called up to serve the client with barely any hesitation. But mobile notaries are running (and I mean literally running) their own business out of their car and/or home. Not having an organized and realistic schedule can cost you business big time. If you don’t already use a calendar or personal scheduler, either digital or paper, you need to get on the ball. Depending on the documents that are presented for notarization, signers and notaries might need to meet anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or more. 

Why are signing details so important?

When those important and lucrative requests for notary appointments are made, the more details you get from the client during your initial conversation can help you determine how long the signing appointment will really take. Many clients have asked me to “come in for a quick notarization”. But when I get there, many times something always needs a little clarification, signers’ identification is misplaced, more signers need to be rounded up, etc. But a notary public needs to be ever mindful of their time so that their schedule can be as realistic and profitable as possible. It can be a little daunting to ask the client for details on the content of their documents like how many signers and how many signatures are taking place. Sometimes you will be speaking to the assistant or the spouse of the signer. If that is the case, they might not have all the details that you are looking for. When you can’t get all the details in advance, pad your time wisely. Booking clients back to back to back with little time for unexpected delays is not only juggling, now you are juggling flaming torches! And showing up late is never professional.  

How long should I schedule a notary appointment?

Not every client needs a full hour of your notary time. But having more details will help you build that realistic timeframe. And most of this comes from experience. Don’t go anywhere without your trusty schedule. If that scheduler is digital, remember that if you are driving in our Golden State, you cannot use that cell phone or similar electronic communication device while holding it in your hand. You can only use it in a hands-free manner, with speaker phone or voice commands; never while holding it. Having some cards with a little script to remind you to ask those all important “who, what, when, where, how many” questions can secure those details for your schedule. Keep script cards in the car, in your preferred notarial satchel or tote, paper clipped into your personal calendar for the week or month, or as a note in your digital device. Being mindful of your time will help set you up for success.    

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