Safe Meeting Places are Essential
One of the best ways to ensure your safety as a mobile notary is by controlling your meeting locations. Now granted with COVID, it does throw a wrench into things! During the onset of COVID, outside in the cold seemed to be the only option. I travelled with a folding table, flashlights and chairs (I should have brought a heater). I have done signings in open garages, driveways, parking lots and parks. We do what it takes!
Nowadays, with vaccines, things have opened up, and folks are more comfortable with meetings. Your safest option is to be in as open and visible a space as possible. I have found coffee shops, mall atriums and libraries to be the most convenient for availability and seating. I especially like libraries because many have the option to reserve a room for privacy if needed, and it’s free.
Craigs list app even has a ‘Safe Meeting Places’ feature.
While you want to be accommodating and provide the best service to your client, you have every right to suggest somewhere more public if you are not comfortable with the proposed meeting location. Your comfort and safety regarding the meeting location is key.
Being a mobile notary comes with a degree of risk. We need to act quickly; accommodating a signing while maintaining awareness of meeting a stranger, sometimes at an unfamiliar location. Be smart, be safe, and aware of your surroundings.
Once you’ve decided on a location, I would encourage you to make another person aware of your meeting. You should check in and check out with this person before and after meeting with a new client. I have a trusted friend that lives in town and works from home who has access to my whereabouts.
I have a share location feature on my phone that I turn on so my friend knows where I am. If I am off course, it will indicate that something could be wrong and prompt a call to check in.
I leave details of who I am meeting, their contact information, where I will be going and how long I expect the appointment to take. I also avoid late-night meetings. If I take a late-night appointment, I will have someone come with me and wait in the car.
Here are some essential things to be mindful of when meeting clients for signings.
- Keep your phone fully charged. It is your lifeline. Never turn it off. Instead, turn it vibrate or silent to eliminate disruptions. You want quick accessibility of your phone at all times.
- Look around you and know where your exits are—Park in a well-lit and visible area.
- Don’t immediately return to your home. Make it a point to run an errand or two after your appointment.
- Trust your instincts. If you are not comfortable, don’t go. Remember that your safety comes first.
- Call your client and be transparent that you would like to reschedule at a different location. I always try to Google map my appointment address to get familiar with the area ahead of time.
The probability of something wrong happening is low, but taking the proper precautions and going to an appointment with awareness will be critical if you encounter something unexpected.
Remember that you may encounter potentially untrustworthy individuals, and as unsettling as it seems, always act with caution. Having best practices in place and minimizing any risks is good for you and good for your business.
We certainly hope you enjoyed this article. For more reading on working as a notary, check out our article on Handling difficult clients.
Reprinted with permission from Notary Jane.