Today in the Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf” an article was posted about the fall of revenue of Notaries/Solicitors of 30 to 40%. “A big war” is going on between Notary offices who lower their rates in order to keep up with the competition. Or in other words… in order to survive. “200 notaries united to fight the battle because the market enforced the prices going down!” “The New Stamp” will put an end to lower prices. Anyone who charges lower prices will be friendly asked not to do so. AMAZING. Mmm… do Notaries wear sunglasses? Are they too blind to see what their clients really want?
But where have we seen strong decrease in revenue before? CD-sales? In the music industry? Where established firms like e.g Warner was outperformed by newcomers with new business models like Sellaband? In the car industry? In the airline industry where Ryanair and Easyjet rule the market nowadays?
What should Notaries do nowadays… ? I think they should understand that they can not change the market but rather themselves should adjust to the changes. Why? Clients do not see the added value of their services as contracts are available on the Internet. Their services are not transparent. Why paying € 1.400 for setting up a company? Or € 1.200 for wedding papers? Can Notaries do something about it? YES they CAN! Take off their sunglasses and do BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION!
Take a look at the practices in the other regions, Estonia for example. Looking at Estonia would not be your first thought. However, we can learn a lot from them. The idea is to facilitate the entrepreneur in boosting the economy (not the Notaries bank account). For setting up a business you have 2 options: 1) through the Internet (if no notary is required) and option 2: at Notary office. And do you know what the second option costs you? Depending on the number of parties involved and the transaction volume you pay for a BV (Dutch Limited Company) only € 70!
Being served by an Estonian Notary feels like flying Easyjet. A different model. No over the top offices, no staff overload, no Notary with Mont Blanc pencils but just a beautiful designed office where you can shop for a Notary signature in only 20 minutes. By the way in the public computer corner you can pay your bill online. Pick up and delivery of papers on the next day. Wow Dutch Notaries… what about that?