How to find a notary service that works for your business

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Looking for a notary near you? Find out how remote online notarization (RON) can save you time and money.

If you are looking for reliable and convenient notary services near you, you’ve probably noticed that there is no shortage of options. While many claim to offer the best solutions for your needs, Remote Online Notarization (RON) can help you effortlessly save time and money.

To get a better sense of these benefits, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the considerations you will want to keep in mind when determining which notary service is right for you.

  1. When do you need a notary?
  2. Where to begin your search
  3. Choosing a notary service that works for your business
  4. The 3 types of notarization services
  5. The advantages of Remote Online Notarization
  6. How COVID-19 affected access to notarization services

1. When do you need a notary?

Any time you sign a self-authorizing legal document, you will need a notary to witness the signing. Notaries primarily serve to ensure the signee is who they say they are and signing of their own free will. 

In other words, a notary is there to ensure your transaction or agreement is both legally binding and protected against fraud or identity theft. Not all important documents will need to be notarized, but some that generally do include:

  • Affidavits: A written way of swearing under oath to tell the truth, as you would in a courtroom.
  • Construction and loan agreements: A written, detailed agreement of the terms you may enter into.
  • Wills and trusts: Legal documents which detail the intended distribution of assets from an estate.
  • Advance medical directive: These are pre-determined treatment preferences and designation of a surrogate.
  • Property deeds: Documents that are used to transfer ownership of real property from seller to buyer. 
  • Custody and guardianship agreements: Forms that detail one’s custody rights over a child, as determined by a court.
  • Executorships: This is a way to determine who will execute one’s will/ trust once they are deceased. 
  • Court documents: Documents and other materials filed in relation to a legal case.

Notarization is essential when signing many documents because it helps protect all involved parties against unnecessary risk and fraud. While some documents require notarization, it is good practice to consider notarizing anytime you need to ensure the integrity of your transaction.

Finding a notary should be a straightforward task. Back in the days when all you had to do was crack open a phone book, it indeed was. These days, even a cursory Google search may not be as simple as it seems unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. 

Proximity plays a significant role in determining how to find a notary near you. If you only find yourself occasionally needing document notarization, the more traditional options like walk-in and traveling notaries may suffice. If you require frequent notarization, as businesses often do, a remote online notary could likely save you a lot of effort and money.

3. Choosing a notary service that works for your business

For many, choosing a notary comes down to three simple factors: price, convenience and speed, meeting as many of their requirements with these factors as possible. 

To find a notary, you usually face the dilemma of deciding which factors to prioritize most. Let’s say, for instance, that you are in a rush and need a same-day notary. You could probably find a local service, but you will likely pay a premium fee for the quick turnaround time. On top of that, there’s no guarantee the notary service will be close enough to be considered convenient or even reasonable.

This kind of compromise may not be a big deal to you if you only require occasional notarization. On the other hand, if you’re running a business or otherwise need frequent notarization, this can be a massive drawback. 

When choosing a notary service that is right for you, knowing where you cannot compromise is critical. Other than that, a simple understanding of how each of the three types of notarization services works can help you narrow it down pretty quickly.

Let’s take a brief look at how their services operate and how they may affect your needs.

4. The 3 types of notarization services

Walk-in notary

When we talk about walk-in notaries, we are talking about the traditional notary experience that many people are familiar with. These usually are not notary-specific storefronts or businesses. Instead, most of the time, notarization is a service that is offered as an extension of other services a company offers. 

Pros: 

  • They are commonly found in businesses such as banks, courthouses, law offices, shipping stores, etc.
  • You can walk in and request a notary service when you are ready to.

Cons: 

  • You will have to do some research to find what businesses offer notarization.
  • You are limited to their business hours.
  • Many places require you to be an existing customer or member of their institution to use their notarization services.
  • COVID-19 has resulted in many businesses cutting back on non-essential services and business hours. This has resulted in fewer available options and potentially puts you at risk of exposure to the virus.
  • Shifting COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines may interfere with in-person notarization appointments.   

Traveling and mobile notary

Since a traveling notary (often referred to interchangeably as a “mobile” notary) comes to you, you can bet you will likely pay for the convenience. Even though a mobile notary can save you the time and hassle of traveling to get your documents notarized, you are still at several key disadvantages. 

Pros: 

  • You can have your documents notarized at your own convenience and from the comfort of your own home or office. 

Cons: 

  • Appointments must be scheduled in advance, which limits the potential for rush notarization. 
  • You are at the mercy of the traveling notaries availability
  • You pay a premium fee for the convenience of them coming to you.
  • Mobile notaries may not always be available near you. 
  • This is the slowest type of notarization service.
  • Shifting COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines may interfere with in-person notarization appointments. 

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

You may have noticed by this point that not only is Remote Online Notarization simple and easy to use, but it also solves many of the issues associated with traditional notarization methods. We already know that the right notary is the one that forces you to compromise as little as possible. For many individuals and businesses, RON eliminates the necessity for compromise altogether. 

Pros: 

  • Enjoy increased transaction security thanks to multi-factor identity verification.
  • You avoid paying for any excessive fees or services
  • You can get your documents notarized at any time, within minutes. 
  • Detailed records of your notarization will be stored, should you ever need them. 
  • You won’t have to worry about meeting in-person or COVID-19 restrictions. It’s 100% online

5. The advantages of Remote Online Notarization

When you evaluate the pros and cons of the different types of notary services, the benefits of using a remote online notary far outweigh any cons. At PandaDoc Notary, we are proud to provide a convenient, reliable and secure platform to connect with clients.

When you work with us, you can ensure that our nationwide network of experienced commissioned notaries provides their clients with 24/7 access to our full range of notary services and support. We cater to a range of professions and guarantee that we can help you get your documents signed as painlessly as possible. 

To learn more about how PandaDoc Notary can help you, request a demo today.

6. How COVID-19 affected access to notarization services

While COVID-19 seemingly brought the world to a halt, the need for notarization services did not cease. In fact, in 2020, demand for notary services increased a whopping 1,750%! Even as folks were staying home, low-interest rates and fluctuating financial situations of all kinds overwhelmed notaries for a period of time.

While many walk-in, traveling and mobile notary services struggled to keep up pace due to restricted in-person interactions, remote online notarization services were able to step in and fill the gap. Not only did the pandemic expose the limitations of in-person notarization, but it also highlighted how effective and convenient RON could be.  

Before the pandemic, people in need of notarization services were either unaware or unsure of using a remote online notary. Since then, many have discovered how easy and secure RON can be when compared with in-person notarization.

Before deciding which of these notary service options will work best for you, you should be aware of the advantages and limitations associated with each.

Guy Pearson has been a commissioned notary for more than seven years. He also runs one of the most established Facebook groups for Remote Online Notarization (RON), with more than 7000 members nationwide. Guy is the co-founder and product leader of PandaDoc Notary. His team drives product initiatives in key verticals, such as Legal, Financial, and Real Estate.

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