Guest Bloggers Archives - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

December 30, 2020

Stand Out From the Notary Crowd

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:52 pm

Landing New Clients
Surprise, you have a lot of competition. Some of them are willing to accept lowball offers that actually cost money to process – what are they thinking (possibly unable to do math?). So, to “break thru” you need to be noticed. Many of the most basic items are covered already; your business name, a well written profile (with an “eye catcher” first line), BBB accreditation, and some positive reviews from past clients. But, there is so much more that you can do to stand out.

Do you stand on the shore and mumble “here fish, fish, fish; come to me”? Of course not, to catch a fish you have to go where they are and have proper gear and great bait. Well, your prospective clients are not fish, nor to you plan to “bait & catch” them. But, you certainly want those soon to be clients to call. Go to them; give them a look see of you, and a business card. Of course you cannot visit the world, so Advertise. Being high up on directories is a great start, with some well written bio information (not self praise). Write as if you were talking to a friend, not to a want to be employer. It doesn’t hurt to add as “bait” an uncommon offer. “I process a duplicate copy of your document at no additional charge because that gives you backup in case the one you ship never arrives”. Or, “On my first visit you will receive a 25% off coupon valid for my next two visits”. Feeling brave? “If I am over 15 minutes late the fee is half of agreement”.

Your Interaction with Prospective and Prior Clients
Read the articles on proper phone answering! Stop saying “Hello”. Better is “Good Morning, your name, how can I help you? Then, listen, really listen. If you know something relevant, that the caller is unlikely to know – offer that information – even if it causes you, on this call; to lose the assignment. It’s (in the long run) a better strategy to be helpful rather than deceitful. They will remember you for honesty and being a source of accurate and relevant information. Be sure to get the what, when and where information prior to any fee discussion. Don’t waste much time if a minnow is calling offering a low ball.

You have a great chance to make a positive impression with the written word. Do you include a .vcf file so they can add you to their electronic database? One of my “secrets” is to often include an appropriate image with emails. Not something extolling me – rather something with a bit of humor or informative. I have a large collection of graphics. A few lawyer cartoons, a rose, an elaborate thank you graphic; build up a collection. Humor is always an appreciated break from the routine. Many are the replies: “Thank You, I need a laugh”. Unsaid: “I will remember you”.

Keep the Clients you have Happy
Be real. Don’t be afraid to actually ask a favor. Perhaps 2PM would be a tight schedule; “can we make that 3PM – so I can be sure to be on time”? Giving someone a dollar on departure, as a gift would certainly be insulting. However, a little research will find many useful items that, in bulk, cost about a dollar. Buy some, and “on your way out” present a “thank you” item. I present tiny, add to keychain flashlights; some admit to calling me back just to get an additional one!

Share
>

December 28, 2020

Money and the Notary

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:49 pm

Background
In my youth, quite some time ago; I met with Ben Franklin at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan in the colony of New York. He told me that the phrase ‘A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned’ means that it is as useful to save money that you already have as it is to earn more. I found this inspirational, and was causative to this blog entry.

Pennies Saved
Saving money is a double edged situation. Of course you get to keep the cash by not spending it and add to your personal wealth. Naturally this assumes those who you trusted to make a payment to you actually do. Personally, I follow mom’s advice to not trust strangers and most often require PayPal in advance. But I digress. It’s nice to accumulate wealth for needs unanticipated; as well as the anticipation of becoming “elderly”, sick or disabled. Thus Ben was quite correct, simply put: it’s nice to keep those pennies.

However there is the other edge: wise spending. We enjoy choices, many choices vie for our pennies. A quality smart phone that can run wayz (a cell phone based GPS navigation aid) will save fuel and often travel time. Hoarding all income is impractical, if not impossible. The pennies not saved; in effect invested, can yield many more pennies. Mobile Notaries with quality equipment; and, of course the skills to deploy them often prosper. Misers rarely flourish.

Pennies Earned
Pardon the repetition; earning money is also double edged. Multiple dichotomies exist. One can do ten jobs for twenty five dollars each, or five jobs for fifty dollars each. Sure that is an over simplification of the lowballer. However the concept is a valid one. Similarly, the complex and lengthy to process tasks are generally the most lucrative. To get them you need a lot of skill, advanced education; and a reputation of excellence. Notaries compete rather than cooperate. There are many chasing the same few assignments. What to do? The simplest, albeit harshest solution; would be for the near failing, to seek other employment.

John Houseman for Smith Barney, said, “They make money the old fashioned way… they earn it,” Do you really do everything in your power to, in every case; do all that you can to earn your fee? Some do, but many do not. Most of us have probably received a “clean up” assignment. That is one where our employer stresses the need for accuracy and that they probably would “lose their client” if the job was re-botched.

A Closing saved is a Closing earned
A perfect error free package is a joy to receive. All the right boxes were checked and the fill in information was properly entered. Of course the signatures, initials and notarizations were a joy to behold. No need to call anyone, it was done, and done completely right the first time. They are not going to call Ghost Busters Notary for the next job – they call the provider of perfection.

Share
>

December 26, 2020

Squirrel Becomes Notary Public?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:47 pm

Not really, but in the “second time” redo of failed to fund packages; affiants have more than once told me a squirrel could have done a better job. Why is this? It’s not that the notaries don’t know how to notarize; they have problems with related responsibilities. By analogy, becoming a parent involves a relatively simple procedure. Being a good parent is much more complicated.

[She] / He who has imagination without learning, has wings and no feet. — Joseph Joubert
Substitute “Notary Commission” for “imagination” – that describes the situation for many. It’s not difficult to deliver perfection. It does take dedication and an intense desire for the “self gratification” that comes from delivering personal best. When you complete that assignment does it make you feel really good? It should. Knowing that no one, yes, no one could have done a better job should give the Notary a feeling of Pride, and “inner glow” of self satisfaction.

Learning can’t replace experience; but the reverse is also true. In addition to the basic Notary functions (ID check, Jurat/Acknowledgement, Oath, Stamp, Emboss) there is much knowledge to be acquired. Many simply don’t know how to communicate efficiently; neither giving nor receiving accurate and appropriate information succinctly. If you answer the phone with an all too often “hello”; the caller needs to ask “who is this”. Better would be “Good Afternoon, my name is Sally; how may I help you”. Do you need to send 3 emails because you did not ask all the questions in your first? Rest assured the “other side” is forming the “klutz” image of you.

You should have business cards, they are cheap enough. It’s a good practice to “sign your work” by placing your card at the top of the pile. Affix it with a binder clip, never just shove loose pages into a shipping envelope. Then, if someone has a question it’s easy for them to reach you. And, they have your “advertisement” so they know how to reach you for the next assignment. Try to always use stiff cardboard shipping envelopes, not the floppy ones.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. My assignment tomorrow is for a loan package with both husband and wife signing. She is bedridden – they will make the process very slow. I will bring a clipboard for husband to bring pages; one at a time, to wife for her signatures and initials. Not knowing for sure the ailment; I will keep away, but be sure to actually witness the fact that she did indeed sign where necessary. It will probably take quite some time as she is a co-borrower and signs almost all pages. Some are easy, some are hard. Last week I had a 9 page job for my standard fee; it took 5 minutes. It averages out. Don’t develop an attitude when things go slowly – like the classic sign in the coffee shop: Don’t complain about the coffee, someday you too will be old and weak. With an eye to self preservation by avoiding sickness – we can and should do everything possible to accommodate those “less fit” than ourselves.

Lastly, be of good cheer. Nobody likes to work with a sourpuss. A smile and a few kind words will help the process go smoothly, for all concerned. Most people will “reflect” the way you act in their behavior to you, so be pleasant in the face of difficult situations. When you handle that “tough” one – detail what you did when asking for a review; you will often receiving a glowing one!

Share
>

December 24, 2020

A Job to Lose Money

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:44 pm

As notaries we often do poorly on assignments that we accept without getting the full specifications prior to quoting s fee. Sometimes things are slow and we accept a job that is just barely worth doing. Especially when factoring in expenses and putting a reasonable valuation to our time. But, this job was different; it was structured for me to actually lose money.

Hi Ken, old pal; I need all of your expertise for this job. Hmmm, the name was unfamiliar as was the company “whatever document services”. My BS antenna goes up. I just knew that this one would be going nowhere. When strangers start with “old pal” it never works out.

The processing of this edoc will be a bit unusual. That was an understatement. What we need you to do is to print and deliver a set of documents but you do not need to notarize them. However, we require you to sign a form that you did deliver the documents. I’m starting to think they want me as a process server; often a punch on the nose is incurred. But, that was not the end of the assignment. After you deliver the documents we need you to “arrange” for a notary to go to the same location to do the notarizations. After that, pick them up and ship to us. For this assignment we are willing to pay fifty dollars. It was to be about 30 pages and in midtown Manhattan where parking is always illegal / expensive. After the documents have been notarized you can return them to us using the prepaid airbill which we will supply. Let me see if I understand you. You want me to print, deliver, sign a process server form, arrange for a notary to visit, pick up the notarized documents and ship them to you, right?

Exactly, I just knew you were the right person for the job; and you don’t have to notarize a thing! Well, I can print and deliver; that would not be a problem. I would charge you double what you are offering and would be unable to sign any form or arrange a notary or return to pickup and ship. It sounds to me that you want a process server. Why did you ask me if I was a notary when the tasks you describe don’t require me to notarize?

Well, some notaries resent being “called” process servers; so we just describe the work. Also, notaries are familiar with printing letter and legal paper. Don’t worry about the little form that you sign – it is truthful – you did deliver the documents to the right person; notaries always check ID. And, there is a spot on the form for you to record what ID you were presented; that makes what you do documented and “legal”.

Do you pay my fee in advance, or do I have to pay the notary that I find, (must be same day); out of my own pocket? And, you are probably aware that a rush notary would probably charge over what you are offering. All that we can pay you is $50, we suggest you find a 20$ notary so you can keep “most” of what we pay to you. Thoughts of profanity, but resisted; it was not easy!

Well, the way I see it the job is: printing, delivering, a hostile or violent reception, frantic calls to find a cheepo notary, return trip to pick up (was it notarized properly), a trip to drop off – and lastly a few weeks wait while you inspect the documents and possibly send me a check during the next solar eclipse. Thank you but NO, please put me on your “do not call” list. Good Bye.

Share
>

December 22, 2020

A Virus in your email inbox

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:41 pm

A Virus in your email Inbox
What to look for

We hear the sound of incoming email and hope it’s an assignment that will produce some revenue. Before you click a link – take a look. There are some very obvious signs that the click might result in real trouble. Ransomware asks for payment to unlock your newly encrypted hard drive. Many other virus types take your personal information and sell to eager identity thieves. And there are the ones that just delete everything – perhaps sent by a competitor?

I have strong defenses, but why test them? So, I look for some of the tell tale signs that the email is one that should not be clicked on. Some bad signs are: Lack of any phone number to ask a question in the email. Any use of a shortened link, typically a bit.ly/dh345 – there are several others. You do not know where that will go – shortened links are translated to ultimate web addresses after you click them. There is no valid reason for an edoc package to be accessed via a shortened link. One other sign is the total lack of any information about what, when or where (so the same shell can be sent to many). Often a high dollar fee is mentioned, but nothing else. Also, rather than a link, sometimes just a PDF is attached.

What not to do, and what to do
Don’t click any link in a suspect email, no matter what the text says. The destination of the link is often not what you see. I usually respond (not being sure if it’s real) with two words. Call me. Nothing more. If there is someone who really wants you they will call. Today I had 2 of this type of email and neither responded. I waited half an hour then deleted them. As the shortened links are formulated as URL addresses; you can carefully copy the address – and enter it into the URL area on virustotal.com – they can virus scan the file. You can also submit the PDF to virus total and it will be checked, by many anti-virus engines for contamination.

Sometimes the PDF or link will yield yet another display with yet another click bait. Playing with suspect emails at this level is very dangerous. But if you are truly determined to follow the path to see what it goes to – don’t use your own PC, Access your email from a rented PC. When you rent a PC you have a very low security clearance – and that machine is probably protected in many other ways.

You can unscramble the link
There are many services that reverse the scramble to show you where the compressed link will go. Google – shortened URL decoder – there are many. But are they safe? Perhaps, but I choose to simply reply “call me” and wait half an hour to simply delete the suspicious ones.

Shields UP
Keep your anti-virus up to date. Check it. Does it update frequently? I use F-protect as my antivirus program (among many other barriers). It often updates several times a day. Sure, I know it’s up to date – but I would be a fool to process a ringer as if it came from a known source.

Share
>

December 18, 2020

Why are the fees offered to us so low you ask?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Facebook (A little) — admin @ 3:15 am

Why are the fees offered to us so low?
….because many of you keep taking them. Some folks are new to the profession and don’t know any better. They want to get experience at any cost. Others know better but take them because they are desperate and can’t seem to find better paying work. Whatever camp you fall in you should not be taking low fees. Why? Because it hurts all of us!

Let me give you some history on our profession. Years ago, it use to matter to signing services/companies who they used. There use to be oral and/or written tests given before they would hire you. And with the exception of a few they paid better and more timely. But those days are behind us. Most of them don’t seem really to care. They are looking for the most green, inexperienced notary so they can maximize THEIR profits. Most title and escrow pay anywhere from 150 to 300 per signing and the signing services know this even if you don’t. The money is allocated from borrowers closing fees and the (title/escrow) typically aren’t paying it out of their title/escrow fees, they are charging it the borrowers. So signings don’t cost them anything for the most part. (there are exceptions to this but no need to get into that now, that’s for another blog). 🙂

Many of you ask me why they use signing services in the first place. Bottom line is they use them for convenience. It is easier to just give the service the assignment and let them find a notary. It frees them up and saves them an enormous amount of time to follow lender instructions and make sure all conditions are met so they can close. But over the years as things have slowed up and due to many notary errors many have abandoned signing services altogether. So contrary to what many folks think many of them do still use notaries directly. But the notary signing professions is still over run with companies that are just out to maximize their profits. And this is our fault.

I had a notary just call in the other day and told me that she was offered a sellers package from a signing service for 20.00. (you know they were receiving WAY more than that) 20.00 dollars people! Unbelievable. Just take a moment and let that sink in. That paltry fee is not even worth starting your car up for. Here in Callie we get 15.00 per signature and then if you have to print (god only knows how many pages) and then take them to FedEx or UPS to ship them back, it is just not worth the time, energy or paper.

Now the saddest and worst part about this situation is probably not the ridiculously low fee of 20.00 being offered, it is the fact that although the notary speaking with me refused, we know somebody will/or did accept it. For those of you that have followed my blogs and or spoken with me, I predicted long ago that as long as there are notaries that take low fees, they would persist and they would eventually get lower and lower. That day has come. I too was just recently offered 65.00 to go to a place that is about 40 minutes from me. There were 2 copies needed to be printed, signed and dropped all at FedEx or UPS all for for 65.00. I would never accept such an assignment, even if I were desperate.

I know that a lot of folks don’t really understand this business and the learning curve is quite high. I also know that other notaries once they start to figure things out they don’t share information on pricing/fees. But we need to work together. We need to educate each other that fees need to be fair and reasonable. We are all in this to make a profit. And you can’t make a profit if others are making/taking the majority of the money (signing services) and you are undercutting one another just to say you had some work.

Remember, the goal is to work direct! Marketing and advertising is key to your success in reaching those title and escrow that have had it with signing services. It is time to works smart not hard. Know your worth.

Just some food for thought…

You might also like:

Travel fees if nothing gets signed
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

What are mobile notary fees?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

Notary Marketing 102 – negotiating fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

Share
>

November 19, 2020

Double dipping

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 9:16 am

Recently, I got a disdtubing call from a title company. They had previously wanted my services but I was unavailable so I referred her to a couple of others in the area on 123notary.com. She used one of them I rhad ecommended and emailed her the information and documents for printing. I assumed all was well. But unfortunately, a subsequent call a few days later provided otherwise. It seems that this notary I referred had doubled dipped in th e cookie jar. She had invoiced tille and when the signer/borrower offered to pay her on the spot sat the table she accepted a check then as well. Needless to say, title was not happy in the least. The borrower noticed after the fact. SO this notary was paid twice fo the same job. 400.00 to be exact. Title waswas very upset and told me not to EVER refer this notary to anyone in the future. She said she was not a truthful honest person. I am shocked to say the least. I know this person and I was very disappointed with them.

To make it even worse title wanted me NOT to say anything to the notary, I was like “ Why in the world not she unquestionable needs to be reprimanded”. I have got to say something” but she swore me to secretary. She didnt want a big confrontation with the notary, themselves or their borrower. So to this day I have not said a word. I do think if the notary in question read this blog they know who they are. This was nothing short of being shameful. Her behavior says allot about this persons character. We are supposed to be above reproach, trustworthy and honest. This should just come with the territory of being a notary public, You are after all a sworn government official. She needs to act like it. I know it has been slow at times but come on. This is stealing. Plain and simple.

One day after some time has passed I WILL mention it. I need to. This person made me and 123notary look very bad. Thankfully this title company still uses me.

Share
>

November 17, 2020

“Oh, just shut up and do you job!”

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:37 am

Originally published in 2019

As a notary public myself, I can not tell you how many times I have heard, “Just shut up and do your job”. Other notaries over the years have expressed hearing the same. Usually, this will come form an uninformed loan officer or realtor. Or just someone that wants you to break the rules for them with little regard of the consequences for the notary. But what is more disheartening is when one notary says it to another.

I recently got a call from a notary friend who had such an experience. This notary was asked by a lender to notarize a document in a spousal state that the other spouse was instructed by the lender that they didn’t need to sign. My notary friend knew this was not legal and since she was aware of the law she refused to complete the assignment. The notary then reached out to one of her other notary friends, who told her to just ‘shut up’ and notarize the documents and also added for good measure; “Who do you think you are?”, ‘“You are just a notary?”. This upset my friend greatly, hence the call to me. I let her know immediately IMHO as far as I am concerned she had done the right thing.

Listen, we are government officials and IMHO, if we know something to be illegal (or unethical) you cannot in good conscience continue with the process of notarizing. We are supposed to be protecting the public. Not aiding and abedding folks trying to pull a fast one. And sadly, we eventually all come to realize, the mortgage industry is riddled with deceit and fraud. So, my rule of thumb is to think about how would I answer and defend my actions, if I were ever called to court and had to get on the stand and a judge asked me, if i knew something to be illegal, or unethical, how would I defend my actions?

And for another notary to insult another because they did what she/he thought or felt was right IMO was not fair. We are all responsible for our own actions. We all have to do what we feel is right and must be able to defend our actions if comes down to that. And for me the bottom line will be if I can live with what I have done and can I sleep at night.

I would love to hear with some of the rest of you feel about this.

You might also like:

Carmen’s guide to the Signature Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22541

Show me the money
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22537

Share
>

October 29, 2020

What documents can I notarize?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:52 am

What documents should I NOT notarize? (better idea for a title)

This is written about frequently but it does require repetition given the penalties associated with it and the # of requests received for unauthorized notarizations.

WILLS – Unless prepared or directed by an attorney, wills are generally witnessed by two disinterested independent third parties.

VITAL DOCUMENTS – Birth and Death Certificates and Marriage Certificates. The Secretary of State has specific laws preventing public Notaries from notarizing vital documents primarily because the Notary cannot verify the validity or authenticity of such a document. In cases such as this, the Notary needs to refer the client over to the agency who issued the document which in many cases is the County Recorder.

INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS – A notary should not complete any documents that are fully completed at the time of notarization.

DOCUMENTS WHERE NOTARY IS AWARE THERE IS FALSE INFORMATION IN THE DOCUMENT – If you overhear conversation between people talking about the false information contained in the document they are signing, don’t notarize it. If you suspect that the person signing appears to be overly nervous or if it looks like someone else with a beneficial interest is forcing the person to sign the document, don’t notarize it. Always remember that the signer must sign the document willingly and present proper identification and must be able to communicate with the notary.

PERSON SIGNING CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH THE NOTARY IS SPEAKING. You cannot use an interpreter because you don’t know what is being translated and if the translator has an interest in the transaction. Do not confuse this with notarizing a document in a Foreign Language. You can always notarize a foreign language document and don’t need to speak that language as long as the person signing can communicate with you in English or another common language in which both the notary and the signer can communicate.

Share
>

October 25, 2020

10 things Notaries can do to screw up a notarization

Originally published Nov 18, 2016.

1. When walking into a house where the borrower’s have large dogs, remember to not wear a suit of meat, as you will most likely get mauled ferociously

2. Always remember to have a small spare small container of vicks vapor rub, use just a little bit when entering the domicile of a hoarder or, of the special person who hasn’t figured out how to connect their ostomy bag

3. Under no circumstance should you ever bring your 175 lb ferocious rottweiler to a mobile appointment and let them attack your customer.

4. If you’re trying to conserve paper and think it is prudent to duplex (print on both sides), please don’t use that copy for the borrower’s to sign.

5. It’s common sense that if you don’t have your own solution, to print docs as in your own printer, don’t go into the borrower’s home and ask to use their printer to print their docs, and even more especially so, if they happen to be the respective secretary of state in your jurisdiction… remember to swear them in.

6. Body modification is great, and it is completely fine if you want to be an individual…. but if you look like you just bought the hardware section at home depot and affixed it to your face, maybe that isn’t the best way to impress a perspective client….

7. Always remember, the set of documents that the borrower’s signed, is the one you’re supposed to send back to the title company, If you have sent back the blank copy to the title company, you might not get away with stating you used invisible ink.

8. Always be prepared for almost every scenario, make sure you have extra stamp pads for when the ink starts to fade, blue or black pens depending on your jurisdiction, a writing or signature guide for the nearly blind or elderly goes a long way and you can be certain they’ll sign in the right spot. if you have a mobile printer, extra toner and always have extra paper.

9. If you plan on adding a piece of new technology to your equipment list, make sure to test it, find the faults, search the solutions, before you bring it out on the street. Also, before you go out for the day that your devices have a full charge. It’s great if you have a mobile scanner, but if something goes wrong, as things do… its even better if you have a solution or back up plan in place.

10. There is no ten. (sorry) I guess we screwed up!

.

You might also like:

10 risks to being a mobile notary public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

Family guy – Peter joins ISIS by mistake & needs a notarized conversion
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10507

Share
>
Older Posts »