Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice –

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – Control Panel

August 20, 2014

If movie reviews get one to four stars, why not notary reviews?

My comedy writer came up with blog entry ideas. He is a very funny guy. He will think in deep concentration for twenty minutes crafting the exact wording of a joke. So, he came up with the idea of giving notaries stars in their reviews.

If you don’t have reviews… How to get reviews…
In my opinion, if a notary doesn’t have any reviews after being on for a year, perhaps they are not the best notary in the world. What I learned, is if you don’t ask for reviews, you won’t get any, unless you are really amazing. So, how do you distinguish between notaries who get reviews organically, and those who pester everyone in site for a review? You can’t.

Imagine if 123notary gave stars for notary reviews.
If a reviewer really likes a notary, they could award the notary several stars. Once again, in my opinion if you have five or more reviews, you are in the top 1% of notaries on, and that speaks for itself. But, what if you have a legitimate review from a Title company? It is hard as hell to get a Title review! In fact, for every twenty reviews on, there is less than one Title review. Title companies are bombarded with requests for reviews, and they will only write one if they love you or hate you. Believe me they have to love you more than the other three hundred notaries who pestered them recently!

What would notaries think?
In real life, if certain notaries got stars, and others didn’t, there would be rivalry and jealousy. A notary has a lot of control as to whether or not they have our certification, but how much control do they have.

“How come Carol got four stars, but I only got three?”
I can just hear it now. Another nightmare that would make the SPW drama seem like a walk in the park!

The truth is, if the reviewer doesn’t think you are worth three or four stars, they probably wouldn’t be writing the review for you in the first place! So, if you have a review, it is worth four stars in my book. After all, what is someone going to do, write a review about you saying that you were just okay, adequate — “She did her job well, but it was nothing special?” If you are that dull, not so many people will write a review about you.

Ending tip:
If you want reviews, go out of your way to be the most educated and pleasant notary in your state. Arrive on time, dress well, smell good, be pleasant, don’t discuss politics (unless you are bar tender notary) and study up so you can give informative answers to any questions that they might have (not including legal questions which should be referred to an attorney.) Good luck!

(1) Imagine if 123notary make it possible for those writing reviews to give you three or four stars?
(2) If you have five or more reviews on your notary profile, you are in the top 1% of notaries in terms of quality!
(3) Another drama that would make the SPW drama seem like a walk in the park!
(4) If you want reviews: arrive on time, dress well, smell good, be pleasant, answer questions thoroughly, and for god’s sake don’t discuss politics!

You might also like:

5 or 6 reviews doubles your business on 123notary!

Are all reviews created equal?


August 18, 2014

Grow your business first, and THEN do the official stuff?

This was a reply to my post about getting a business license. It is illegal to operate a business without a business license. If you claim a business name without having it registered, you could get into legal trouble (gulp.)

But, should you see if your business “takes” before investing in formalities? That is what many of us small potatoes do. I started several businesses without registering them. I started in business when I was a 14 year old kid doing landscaping for my neighbors.

If you are committed to doing business, invest in supplies, commissions, etc., then you are committed enough to obey the law and get a business license. The total costs are less than $100 including the newspaper fees for publishing your business name officially.

As they say in the sneaker industry — just do it!

(1) should you see if your business “takes” before investing in formalities like getting a biz license?

You might also like:

Choosing a name for your business license

Registering your business license


August 17, 2014

Why do new notaries go to “sites” to get answers to questions?

I have been reading some of the various sites lately like Linkedin, etc and it just amazes me how many new notaries go to these sites to ask other folks notary questions from people that may or may not be in their state, or my not even be seasoned enough to give an acurate answer. Why not try reading your notary handbook or calling your Secretary of State. After all they are in most cases the folks that issue the commissions and make the rules that you need to follow.

Then there are questions about what to ‘look for’ in a trust signing, POA, etc. People remember you are there not to interpret or read documents. You are there to verify signature and identity. And the following will apply: The person must have current government issued identification Make sure there is no duress or influences from others for a person to sign. They must not be on any mind altering medication, and there should be no blank spaces. And naturally, they should have ability to pay you if you are charging a fee. Remember, don’t analyze just notarize. We notarize signatures on documents not the documents themselves.

People remember, in most cases the best place to get your questions answered is from the source….the people that hired you!

Until next time, be safe ~Carmen

(1) Don’t analyze: Notarize; We notarize signatures, not the documents themselves!
(2) Don’t visit private agency websites for answers to notary questions. Go to your Secretary of State!

You might also like:

Industry standards in the notary business

A Notary was accused of tricking the borrowers


August 16, 2014

Double Check in Reverse

Filed under: Ken's Blog — Tags: , — admin @ 7:12 am

Double Check in Reverse
For about a quarter of this century I worked for a large brokerage house, the one with the pet bull; btw: its name is Native Texan (not commonly known). I installed and maintained large networks. Seriously large amounts of money transversed those networks. One key component was the Routing Table which decided what transactions go where. It had to be perfect.

But, to look at it was, in a word dull. Actually mind numbing; scores of very similar entries with slight differences. But each was essential to proper routing. It was there I learned the secret to proper checking of my maintenance work. I learned to read, and double check my work, backwards. Numbers were verified from right to left, never left to right.

I apply the same concept to reviewing a loose ack. I start from the bottom right of the form and work my way left to the margin. Then up a line and repeat the procedure. Why? Your eyes may be different, but mine tend to want to glide along from left to right, the way you are now reading this blog entry. But when proofreads, I always go in reverse.

Reverse processing slows you down, it’s more difficult for the eye to find the next field to be examined. You have to “jump over” the item you just inspected, a built in extra look. As your eye moves right to left, then up from the bottom; you are forced to go much slower. There is no chance for the smooth “scan” as in normal reading. You force yourself to find details that a normal read might miss. Yes, it’s tedious and takes more time. Speaking of time….

An additional technique is to look at your watch when you start to proofread. After you have used this technique a few times you will have a feel for how long it should take to do a very thorough proofreading. Make a mental note of your start time. When you are done, determine how many minutes you spent proofreading. If you estimated ten minutes and finished in four; chances are that you did a poor job, and glossed over some aspects of the work. As a rule of thumb it takes about 25% of the time to verify (because you are not writing) compared to making the actual entries on the pages.

Initially you will find this procedure strange, awkward and uncomfortable. Remember when you were learning to drive a standard transmission car? Brake, shifter, clutch, gas petal, steering wheel, all had to be operated almost concurrently and smoothly. Stick with it – it will become second nature and the skills mastered will serve you well as you check items other than notary work.
A true verification master takes the concept one step further. They verify the package from back to front! It actually makes a lot of sense. For example: you first see the notarization on the last page; so you know the names, subsequently you look for the initials of the persons notarized. A world class “checker” will operate in both forward and reverse; for both the details and the entire package!

It’s strange and new to process in reverse. Don’t give up too quickly. Force yourself after your normal checking to try finding an “oops” using the reverse technique. Scan each line left to right looking for that middle of the page, almost hidden initial block. If it’s there reverse will find it!

(1) Use the reverse checking technique to double check your loan packages!


August 16, 2014

Signing Co Saturday: Select gossip of the week

Filed under: Signing Companies — admin @ 12:01 am

Here is some interesting gossip about signing companies that should be fun to read.

Select Signings
The notary was informed verbally that would be no fax backs. But, the written instructions stated that all documents were to be faxed back. The next problem was that the borrower was assigned responsibility for paying for the signing. That is a very bad sign right there.

Accurate National Signing Service
There is a vibrant discussion here about how one notary is going to be filing papers with the DA’s office. Several notaries claim they are owed money by an individual who is allegedly associated with this company.

WFG National Title Insurance Company
The signings were all over 200 pages. Each time, the notary was assured they would get extra compensation because of the size of the package. The notary claimed that he needed to wait for a response about extra fee from a higher up, but that they kept you waiting until right before the signing to get that confirmation of extra fees. The notary tried calling, but couldn’t get through. The only thought that runs through my head is, what would Ken do? Have them paypal the funds in advance?

Global Notary
A notary was informed that there would be a 20 page fax back. However, upon arrival of the documents, the fax back was nearly fifty pages and 374 pages for all of the printing involved. Maybe it is time to have written agreements. I charge $75 for up to 150 pages per package for two package, and will include 20 pages of fax backs. If there are more fax backs required, I charge an extra $1 per page paid in advance!
The documents never came. But, several text messages came stating that the notary’s fees would be docked if they didn’t get the borrower to sign!

Speedy Closings
This notary charges 1% extra for each day after 31 days not paid and charges a $2 paypal fee as well. “Don’t be nice about it, you should get your check.”

C Viana & Associates
Docs will be there within 15 minutes and payment within 30 days. That is what was promised, but it took over an hour for the docs, and as time went on, payment got later and later according to one of the notaries on our forum.

You might also like:

The flip side (of your business card)

Witnessing intake forms for Notary Heaven

Welcome to the Notary Hotel

Notarizing a girl’s phone number at a bar!


August 15, 2014

What does the Owl icon mean?

Filed under: General Tips — Tags: — admin @ 9:35 am

Many people on 123notary don’t understand our icons. They think that the 24 hour icon means that they close up shop at 7pm, but that you can contact them 24 hours a day, providing that it is before 7pm. That is not how we look at it. We have people with hours from 8am to 7pm who ask for the 24 hour notary icon. Seriously people, are you even maintaining your listings? We don’t like people whose hours are “open” or “flexible” or who are available “anytime,” because those words mean something different to everyone. Some people are open anytime, but close up shop at 5pm nightly, while others who are “flexible” are open until 9pm. We want the hard data. When do you start being available for annoying phone calls and when do you stop — in general, in numerical form.

If you are willing to receive phone calls at 3am, then you merit the 24 hour icon, if not, then you don’t. But, what about the owl icon? Who, or should I say, “hoo” merits that?

Here are our liberal qualifications for meriting the owl icon on

(1) Being available for phone calls until at least 10:30pm nightly and
(2) Saying “hoo” frequently
(3) Feathers (optional)

(1) Having the OWL icon on 123notary means you take phone calls until 10:30pm or later & say “Hoo” regularly!
(2) If you are kind of 24 hours, but not exactly, consider getting the owl icon on & say “Hoo”

You might also like:

Vampire Notaries: 24 hour service!

A 2am signing

Find a notary who provides 24 hour service!


August 14, 2014

Notary Obituaries

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:43 am

Death of a Notary

A 6am funeral
He was a good notary, he never backdated.
He did nothing but excellent work right until his notary commission expiration date.
He wanted to be buried with his notary seal — he was so dedicated to his work!
Attendees are asked to sign our registry and add commentary about Frank (optional)
He wanted all of his past due signing fees (some signing companies were more than 90 days past due) to be given to his loving wife Myrtle.
Melvin asked if Frank would be able to notarize in the afterlife.

Sal: “Poor Frank, He expired before his notary commission did.”
Henry: “What’s the deal with Frank’s tombstone. I heard there would an embossed impression of his notary seal on it?”
Sal: “Can’t say that I know”
Henry: “May Frank and his Notary Seal rest in peace…”

Sal: “And Henry, how do you feel about Frank’s funeral?”
Henry: “Sorry, I’m not a mourning person.”

(1) Frank requested that he be buried with his Notary Seal.
(2) Poor Frank, he expired before his notary commission did.

You might also like:

Do not resuscitate!

Death and the Notary


August 13, 2014

Notary Nook — a fast food restaurant for notaries

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:37 am

Drive-Thru Notary

The signer drives up to the drive-thru window at Notary Nook, where there is a giant hand with a menu and a microphone in the middle.

Welcome to Notary Nook
Girl: “Welcome to Notary Nook, may I take your order?”
Signer: “Yes, I’d like large acknowledgement.”
Girl: “You have a lovely voice!”
Signer: “No, not that type of acknowledgment!”
Girl: “One large acknowledgment coming up, would you like veri-fries with that?”
Signer: “Can you verify what a veri-fry is please?”
Girl: “Sorry, I can’t hear you, can you speak louder?”

Talk to the hand…
Girl: “Can you please back your car up. You are very far from the microphone. Talk to the hand!”
Signer: “Can you verify what that is?”
Girl: “A veri-fry is a fry that has been authenticated by one of our Apostilles”
Signer: “Oh, I thought an Apostille was a type of authentication.”
Girl: “In real life it is, but at our place, we call an authenticator an Apostille.
Signer: “Can I also get a small order of certi-fries from the value menu?”
Girl: “That’s a lot of fries! We need you to swear under Oath that you’re really hungry.”
Signer: “I swear it, so help me god! (belch)”
Girl: “I heard a belch, it sounds like you already had something to drink and perhaps eat. It looks like you just committed what we call Drive-Thru Notary Perjury!”
Signer: “Actually, I just had a beer, and now I need some solid food in me!”

Please sign the journal
Girl: “Please drive up to the window and sign the journal.”
Signer: “Okay, I’ll sign right here.”
Girl: “Can you let me see the document that you are acknowledging?”
Signer: “Can you promise me you won’t acknowledge this document with a huge grease stain?”
Girl: “You’re safer with an electronic signature. If you get a digital signature, we only use digital grease!”
Signer: “I’ll stick with a paper signature & acknowledgment. Let’s do the notary work first, and get my document back in the folder before you hand over the certi-fries and veri-fries.
Girl: “All ready. Here is your Acknowledgment. Would you like to get two blue pens for an additional 25 cents?”
Signer: “I swear I don’t. By the way, your dumpster is infested with JuRats!”
Girl: “Here are your fries sir. Please visit our other restaurants. We have a New England seafood restaurant called The Rusty Embosser. We have a fondue restaurant called, The Leaky Seal. And for Notorial fried chicken, try Journal Sanders.”

(1) Notary fast food items: Veri-fries, Certi-fries, Notorial friend chicken at Journal Sanders!
(2) Notary Value Menu: Veri-fries $1 — authenticated by one of our in-house Apostilles!
(3) Welcome to Notary Nook, may I take your order?

You might also like:

Welcome to the Notary Hotel

A date leads to a Notary restaurant called Le Jurat!


August 12, 2014

The Joy of Repeat Clients

Filed under: Ken's Blog — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:09 am

The Joy of Repeat Clients
It’s 11pm and I’m going to see the Veterinarian, also a mobile service provider. She had a busy day and it’s only when she returns home for some sleep that I can witness her signature. She has been a constant source of business. As with many new clients, I first insisted on PayPal, but after getting to know her, a check is welcome; and avoids the PayPal fees. I know exactly the best way to get to her building, I even know the doorman by name; who receives the completed work.

It’s so much nicer to work for a repeat client. You know them, are sure they will have their ID, and can proceed on the basis of mutual trust. A different blog covered the subject of doing a bit extra, without cost; one example is offering to notarize an extra copy. Additionally, I distribute a small premium to my clients. It’s a useful device that everyone seems to appreciate. I take care to not have my phone number, etc., printed on it. They have my card, that’s enough. Many dislike carrying “advertising”; it’s also a bit offensive to me.

There is also a downside to repeat clients. Some, occasionally, will want you to “bend the rules” a bit. “I have to leave right away, I’ll leave the document with my secretary for you to notarize, and I’m making your payment right now”. This, and similar requests; can strain the relationship. Your best defense it to stress during initial contacts how “by the book” you conduct your professional activities. Yes, they are “personally known” but requiring their ID every time goes a long way to showing how strictly you follow the rules. Money can be a powerful motivating force; and some rich clients are used to deploying cash to “grease the wheels”. Be flexible and creative. I tell my client that can meet them where they are going and, in just a moment, complete the transaction legally.

Speaking of “legally”; when pressed to “cross the line” you can gently mention that attempting to induce a public official to perform an illegal action is; in itself, a crime. I have had several conversations with foreigners who seem used to the need for bribing public officials to do what they need. I assume they are misunderstanding my insistence for personal appearance to be a solicitation for some extra cash. Telling them you can understand their lack of knowledge about notary laws is forgivable; but persisting boarders on the crime of conspiracy; asking someone else to commit a crime. Rarely will it be necessary to mention “conspiracy” with a regular; but some cold callers want it “their way” and refuse to accept that you can’t notarize an incoming FAX.

In additional to your skills and knowledge, your image as a professional is what keeps the client calling back. Notarization is a small aspect of their project. But, a flawed job can have major consequences that they wish to avoid. The fact that your prior work “sailed thru” the legal processing, without challenge or rejection, remains strongly in their mind. They are expecting the same perfection in everything that you do. Take care to do your “due diligence” both before and after the assignment; or you will lose them. Schedule carefully, check for misspellings vs the ID on each document, clean that stamp often and have the pad properly inked. Really do that double check, the client is familiar but the documents are, of course, new to you.

The lady veterinarian will have scheduling priority for tomorrow morning. A new offer will not bounce her to later processing. Unseen and unspoken loyalty can be sensed by your clients.


August 11, 2014

What is your MONTHLY notary marketing plan?

What is your marketing plan? Do you have one? Many people are helter-skelter in their approach to notary marketing. Here are some things to consider:

(1) Market to local title companies, nationwide, and signing companies that have reasonable reputations
(2) Market on a regular basis. If you are starting out, you will spend more time marketing and less time working. But, as you gain regular clients, you will have less time to market. Marketing is a dish best served hot, and best done while business is slow, which generally means in the beginning of the month.
(3) Marketing means gaining new contacts and getting on their database, but also means giving a call every two months to companies who have you on their database that didn’t call you recently.
(4) Making your listing all that it can be helps a lot too. That is passive marketing as opposed to points one, two and three which are active marketing (pounding on doors or phones as the case may be.) A good listing should have 123notary certification, a unique and informative notes section (ask for help,) and reviews from satisfied clients.
(5) Marketing plans should be based on monthly tasks that you are going to do to market yourself. Decide ahead of time how many companies you will contact every month, how many touching base calls you will make, and how many minutes to spend on your listings.

Remember, my most important point about marketing is that it needs to be regular. As newbies, it is easy to think that you do your marketing once, and then you are done. It is easy to think that you get in 200 company databases, create a handful of internet directory listings and you are done. Not true. You have to keep getting on new databases of signing/Title companies, refresh existing relationships with courtesy calls, and keep refining your listing.

People think that their listing is “good enough.” This complacency leads to mediocre results. Take a look at your notes section every few months. I bet there are more unique and interesting things you can say about yourself. Most people cannot think of anything unique to say. So, keep going back to your listing. Writing a notes section is like Twitter in more ways than you think. If you post something blah on Twitter, people will not notice it because they see hundreds of tweets per day. To gain their attention and get them to favorite or retweet your tweet, you have to stand out, and in a positive way. Your notes section should “pop,” and grab people’s attention. It should have facts, but also be unique and have pizzazz. That is not easy to do, so keep working on it.

You are never done with marketing. Marketing is something you need a MONTHLY schedule and plan to tackle. What is your monthly marketing plan?

(1) Notary Marketing efforts need to be continuing. You don’t just market for a month and then expect results.
(2) Notary Marketing needs to be something done every month. It never ends as you always need new clients!

You might also like:

How do you let people know you are a notary?

Which tasks can you do which are worth $1000 per minute?

Older Posts »