As a beginner Notary, there is a lot you need to know. Many things that experienced Notaries take for granted might take you a year or two to find out. Here are some quick pointers that might be valuable.
1. Your Listing’s Performance.
Listings on 123notary for new Notaries can give you miracle performance. However, no matter how much you pay for a listing on 123notary, the listing will not perform well unless you have a good notes section, reviews, and it helps a lot if you are 123notary certified (especially for newer Notaries.)
2. Your Profile’s Notes Section
Listings that lack a good notes section typically get ignored as that is the first piece of information that companies look for when they are hiring. If your notes are blank, short, or incomplete, your incoming phone log from companies will be equally blank. People want to get a sense of who you are, your professional background, and your skills before they invest in a phone call. Additionally, notes sections with spelling or grammar mistakes will be a huge issue for title companies who will bypass you if they have any cause for concern. 123notary’s blog has an entire section on how to write a great notes section with dozens of unique articles.
3. Notary Reviews
Reviews are your ticket to success. Never mind how great you say you are, talk is cheap if you are complimenting yourself. But, what your customers, especially title companies say about you really matters to those thinking of hiring you. 123notary has many articles about how to get reviews, so I suggest becoming an expert on the topic.
4. Reading Suggestions
Notaries should ideally read Notary blogs, forums, visit the NNA & 123notary Facebook groups (but not the private groups), newsletters, courses, handbooks, and anything else that could be considered helpful. Getting Notary advice from semi-unemployed Notaries who frequent Facebook is a very poor idea. Get your official Notary advice only from your state Notary division and no other source otherwise you might be very sorry.
Smart Notaries and dumb notaries alike realize that they need to spend time reading to keep up. Smart Notaries get courses from helpful companies and improve their skill sets. Smart Notaries also read what other Notaries say about various signing companies as some signing companies are not the best bet to work for. Dumb Notaries spend their time gossiping with other disgruntled Notaries on various private Facebook groups that generally engage in a lot of complaining and bashing. These dumb Notaries are also dumb enough to get Notary advice from Notaries on these groups who don’t know what they are doing. It is a perfect example of what Jesus said about the blind leading the blind. Get your notary advice from your state notary division. If you get any notary advice from any other source, cross check it with your state. We teach general notary concepts here at 123notary, but we cannot say with any certainty of our principles apply to your state.
5. Experience Counts
Signing and especially Title companies typically do not want to hire someone with less than two years of experience unless they are confident about that person’s knowledge. If you have an escrow background or are certified by 123notary, that will help compensate for your lack of experience. Knowing your documents inside out will help as well which would be a side effect of our certification.
6. Low-Ball Signing Companies
Companies that hire newer signing agents are generally not fun to work for. They require fax backs, micromanage, pay poorly and might nag you a lot. They have to, otherwise they would not be able to hire beginners and provide a high level of accuracy to their clients. So, expect to be treated like a child. Once you get some experience under your belt, you might be able to start accumulating title company clients little by little. On our blog we publish a list of companies that will hire beginners. You should talk to every company on that list.
7. Getting Title Company Work
Migrating from signing companies to working for title companies (who usually pay more, but how much more depends on how the industry is doing) is something people do as they gain experience, knowledge and skill. However, most Notaries cannot work purely for title companies after two years. It sometimes takes many more years before all of your clients are high paying wonderful clients who you love working for. So, there will be a lot of paying your dues.
8. Notary Etiquette
Most Notaries do not have good phone answering skills, nor do they have good communication skills. Having good Notary etiquette and good business skills can help you succeed. If your business skills are not completely up to par, it might be good to read our articles about etiquette and brush up. Answering the phone stating your name is a first. Answering questions the way they were asked without rambling on and on matters too. Accepting instruction from others and not engaging in bragging or whining matters a lot as well. Good etiquette will make you popular with all parties.
9. Notary Education
All Notaries need to study up and be experts at their state’s notary laws. But, knowing how to handle situations, and knowing your documents matters just as much. Reading blogs is a good way to keep informed, but there is no substitute for taking actual classes. For newer Notaries, passing our certification test is a great way to gain credibility as well.
10. Risks and Liability
It is risky being a Notary. 15% of our long term full-time Notaries have been to court at least once generally as a witness. A few Notaries even get sued or end up in legal trouble that can cost them big bucks. It behooves you to keep good records and follow Notary law to a T. Understanding Notary law is not enough. You need to know how to explain to clients what you can and cannot do as well as explain to a judge why you did what you did in a particular situation. One lady turned down a Notarization on correct grounds, got sued and lost because she could not communicate clearly to the judge what her reason was for declining the notarization. You also need to have direct communication with all signers and make sure people are aware of what they are signing, particularly if they are elderly. The Notary does not need to understand the documents, but the signers do, otherwise you might end up in court.
11. Your Attitude
Most Notaries have the attitude that they already know it all and there is nothing more that they need to know. Those who are NNA certified think of themselves as blessings to the industry. The fact is that those who have passed NNA’s test typically get very poor grades on our test. There is always more to learn in this business. It is best to stay open, assume that you do not know everything, and accept criticism from those in hiring capacities or those who run Notary agencies (like me.) You will be more popular with all parties involved if you are open to suggestion and take guidance from those who are a lot more experienced and knowledgeable than you are.
12. Advertising on 123notary.
Companies that pay well love 123notary. However, they typically only hire from the top of the list. If you are not in the top three or top five, you will probably only hear from companies that don’t pay that well. Top spots are not always available, so what should you do? Get the best spot you can, and then try to pass our certification, write a good notes section, and keep getting reviews. That way if a better spot opens up, I will be likely to give it to you rather than someone else. I give open spots to the most qualified member downline, so while you are waiting, try to work on your merit, so that you get the promotion!
13. Marketing Plan
Do you have a marketing plan? Many Notaries just wing it. That is not advisable. We suggest having a definitive, well thought out written plan. You can discuss that plan with others too for suggestions.
14. 123notary is here to help.
Smart Notaries come to us with questions, or ask for help with their notes section. We are here as a resource and much of our help is completely free. Dumb Notaries complain that we scrutinize them to maintain our standards, but smart Notaries take advantage of our free assistance. In the long run, which type of Notary do you think gets ahead?
15. Researching Signing Companies
Not all signing companies are good bets to work for. Read about them in the various forums to get more info. Additionally, Notary Rotary has something called Signing Central where you can look up ratings for the various signing companies. 123notary has a list of signing companies with reviews.
Good luck, and I hope you enjoy this short course.