7 Ways to Stay Safe as a Mobile Notary
Mobile notaries often travel alone to meet complete strangers in unknown places. While this may be a necessary part of your job, staying safe while doing so is essential. You never want to be in a situation where you fear for your safety because you encounter hostile conditions. It’s important to have a plan in place to mitigate the situation.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe as a mobile notary.
1. Meet in Public, Whenever Possible
If you are able to meet with the signers in a public place, this is the best option. With others around, there is always less chance of encountering issues. Also, if they do choose to do something unsavory, then there is an audience to witness and step in if needed.
2. Make Sure Someone Always Knows Where You Are
It is important to always make sure that someone you trust knows where you are going. Call or text them with the address, update your calendar with all of the specifics for the meeting, and let them know when you complete the signing.
If you want to go the extra mile, set up a certain time for this person to “check-in”. You can have a code word if something is wrong, and the phone call can serve as a legitimate reason to excuse yourself from a situation. You can also set-up “panic buttons” on your phone or a separate device that can contact 911 and provide a GPS location when activated.
3. Keep Your Phone Charged
It may seem like an obvious step, but all too often I’ve been caught with an “almost-dead” phone. Although my phone comes with a fast-charging charger, I’ve also purchased a car charger to ensure that I’m never caught without a way to contact someone. Another great way to make sure your phone stays charged is by investing in a phone charging case. I’ve tried both the Mophie and iPhone brands and have been thrilled with the quality of both.
As a mobile notary, you may not only meet unsavory customers, but also unsavory weather or road conditions. Having your phone charged, and any safety numbers handy (such as your insurance, tow truck, etc.) is key to staying safe.
4. Keep Your Private Life Private
Try to avoid mentioning details regarding your personal life. This includes information about your family, friends, and social media. Especially avoid information about where you’ll be traveling to after the signing is finished. Not only do they not need to know, but it puts you in danger of being followed and finding yourself in a potentially vulnerable situation. You can still remain very friendly and personable without mentioning personal details.
5. Protect Yourself
Never worry about offending someone. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, voice your concern and remove yourself from the situation. If a client ever starts to get upset, leave. Excuse yourself kindly, say, “I need to make a private phone call,” and then gather your things and leave.
If you are meeting at their home and feel unsafe as you approach the house, call the signer and have them meet you outside. Do whatever you need to do to feel safe. It is always better to be safe now, than sorry later.
6. Pack Your Car with Safety Equipment
Make sure your car is serviced regularly and in excellent working order. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have plenty of gas for a full day’s work. The last thing you want is to encounter car issues in the event you need to leave quickly.
Furthermore, consider packing emergency supplies in your car, such as a first aid kit, jump cables and tire repair kits for common car issues, and whatever else that would come in handy in ensure your safety. Also, keep roadside service phone numbers handy. This may be a service offered through your insurance provider such as AAA, Allstate, Nationwide, or StateFarm, but it’s important that you know who you can call in an emergency, and how you can get a hold of them.
7. Consider Not Accepting Night Time Jobs
If going out at night makes you feel uncomfortable, then consider not accepting any night time jobs. Darkness itself makes traveling to signings more dangerous, and it can also mean less light and visibility at the signing location. You should especially consider this if you have had evening jobs in the past that have made you feel uncomfortable. Ultimately, your safety is more important than the payment you’d receive from an assignment. Keep that in mind as you accept your notary jobs.
Although being a mobile notary can add additional opportunities and income streams to your business, it doesn’t come without risks. What else do you do to keep yourself safe? We’d love to hear in the comments below. Furthermore, if you have ever experienced a scary situation while on a mobile notary assignment and would like to share it, please reach out to us (email@example.com). We’d love to share your story, and the lessons you’ve learned with our community of notaries.
NPN Staff Writer – July 4, 2018View all Blog posts ►