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For traveling small business owners, staying mobile just got significantly more expensive

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 18:08:12-05

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — Gas prices at or above record highs will undoubtedly be a drain on the budgets of families and small businesses alike. For small business owners, a difficult mix of rising gas prices and inflation has made the situation even more serious.

Record gas prices have arrived as many people are finalizing plans for summer road trips and vacations as well as those returning to the office full time after two years of working from home. The national average price for a gallon of gas hit $4.17 this week, beating the previous record high of $4.11 a gallon set back in 2008.

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For small business owners like traveling notary signing agent, Daphne White, the owner of Significant Signing Services, every increase in the price of gas is a concern.

“With the gas prices nowadays, it’s really, really hard. It’s like a catch-22,” White said. “I work directly with companies so they understand though. They will raise some of their fees to compensate you but then there are some that will not. That’s the hard part of it.”

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As part of her day-to-day business activities, White will travel from location to location — homes, businesses, libraries, hospitals — in order to bring important documents that must be signed in the presence of a notary. She also provides notary services as real estate transactions are closed. On any given day, she’ll spend between three to five hours in the car.

With gas eclipsing $4 a gallon, however, she was faced with a few unappealing options: raise prices, lower her profit margin or limit her coverage area, which limits her revenue potential.

“Instead of me going far out, I’m staying central because of the gas prices. It’s affecting my business along with other businesses, I’m sure,” White said. “I’m going to stay local. I can’t afford it really. It’s too high.”