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February 15, 2018

Scanning bar codes on an ID in Washington State?

This is the first I have ever heard of this. There is an app where a person can scan an ID and see if it is legit. If you are a Notary, your worst nightmare is a fake ID (or an unattractive client who has the hots for you, not necessarily in that order.) Well, now you can scan their ID and see if their ID is real.

Keep in mind that even someone with a real ID can be an imposter because there are often many people with the same name. I ran into a Pamela Anderson who was not the one on babe watch… I mean Bay Watch. Imagine how many John Smith’s there are. Sometimes I think the guy on Taxi had a point when he changed his name to Ignatowski. That is more unique than Smith.

Why don’t you Notaries look into this app, as it could be a life saver for Notaries and a life ender for frauds!

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 — Identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

Identification requirements for being Notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

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December 23, 2017

But, I’m not comfortable answering questions over the phone

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:04 am

People get upset with me all the time because I ask them questions over the phone. I think it is the perfect way to ask questions in this business for the following reason.

In the Mobile Notary business signing and title companies assign work by phone normally. Snapdocs uses mostly texts, but 123notary channels work that is mainly dispatched by phone. So, what does this mean?

If you either don’t answer your phone, don’t want to talk when you answer your phone, or don’t like answering questions over the phone, then you are completely useless!

Bottom line — if you are free enough to answer your phone then you are free enough to talk for a few minutes without protesting.

I get so many excuses why someone can’t talk, yet they have time to answer the phone. I can’t talk because:

Semi-legitimate excuses:
I’m at a signing
I died
I’m sound asleep

Unacceptable excuses:
I’m cooking
I’m eating
I’m at a birthday party
I’m at a barbecue
I’m on my way to church
I just got out of church
It’s 8:30pm for crying out loud
I’m in the hospital
I’m just going to bed
I’m in the shower
I’m driving
I’m just about to get to a signing
I have to leave to go to a signing
I am just between signings

Very illegitimate excuses:
I’m at church (shouldn’t be answering in the first place)
It’s Sunday

If someone offering you money called you and you did not want to talk for any of these reasons, they would call someone else and dump you unless they thought you were the best signer in town. Blowing people off is not a good business decision.

The only semi-legitimate excuse not to talk is because you are at a signing.

If you are on your way to a signing and you answer your phone while driving, then you have a few minutes to talk otherwise why even answer. What business do you have answering the phone during church unless it is Jesus on the other end of the line? If you are in the shower why would you answer a call and then say you can’t talk? Why interrupt a birthday party to answer a call only to tell the other person you can’t talk.

Honestly people, this is BS, and very unprofessional. You are telling the other person that you do not value them when you behave like this. It is insulting, stupid, and will lose you a lot of jobs. What is worse, is that I need to quiz all of the people on 123notary, and if I can’t get a result from you, I have to mark you as failing which I don’t want to do unless you really failed.

So, if you are a Mobile Notary and someone calls you. If you decide to answer the call then offer them at least two minutes as a courtesy. And if you don’t answer, then respond to their message as soon as you have a chance.

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December 20, 2017

Winging it as a Notary

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:02 am

Many Notaries get into the signing agent profession as a way to make some quick cash or at least make a supplemental income. What they don’t get is that being a signing agent is mostly about being a Notary Public. If you don’t know how to be a good Notary you might run into situations as a signing agent you might not know how to handle or even situations that can get you into legal trouble.

Carmen always tells me that most Notaries are just “winging it” and don’t bother to study to be experts in their field because they don’t think they need to. Being a signing agent requires no specific skill. Just sign as the names are typed in the document and initial where it says to initial, get the docs fedexed back on time and you are done. There might be some faxing or scannning too, but it is not a high skill profession unless…

Unless you want to really know what you are doing. But, what is there to know?

1. Basic Notary Procedure.
Most Notaries think that being a Notary involves stamping forms, but there is a lot more.

(a) There is correct journal filling outing procedure (your only evidenece in course and 15% of full-time signers end up in court at least once,) as well as…
(b) Knowing when to say yes or no to a request which requires knowing something about Notary law and prudency.
(c) Administering Oaths
(d) Knowing the difference between the various Notary acts
(e) Identifying people in prudent ways. Perhaps that should be #1 as it is the most important.
(f) Taking thumbprints as a backup just in case the ID was fake.

2. Introducing the Documents
Knowing how to introduce the loan documents is very different from knowing how to answer FAQ’s about the documents. You can memorize two sentences about each document to introduce the documents to borrowers.

3. Answering FAQ’s
If borrowers want to know which information is where, you had better know, otherwise you are not a signing agent, but only a point and sign Notary. There are many FAQ’s that people might ask. Do you write them down so you can master answering these questions or do you just wing it and hope for the best. What makes a professional is being prepared which is something few Notaries comprehend.

4. Dealing with snags in signings.
There are various things that can go wrong in a signing.
(a) The borrower has a question and the Lender doesn’t answer.
(b) The eDocuments don’t come on time.
(c) There is a cancellation while you are en route.
(d) The borrower doesn’t want to sign either because they don’t understand something or don’t like one of the terms.
(e) You have a package with an unsigned document and don’t know whether or not to drop it because nobody is answering your calls at Title or at the signing company.
(f) The borrower is upset because they are asked to sign John Emanual Smith when they never sign that way.
(g) The borrower hits the roof (and builds a sleeping area attached to the roof) because they find out they are in a flood zone.
(h) At the last minute the borrower finds out they need a cashier’s check.
(i) The borrower won’t swear under Oath because they are an Athiest.
(j) You are notarizing for John and Sally, but Sally is not able to arrive, but the Acknowledgment has John and Sally pretyped in there.

There are many snags, situations, and times when you need knowledge and experience as a signing agent. And then there are the “soft skills” like knowing how to dress and deal with people which matter equally as much if not more. If you go through your career trying to know as little as possible and respond adversely when people ask you questions or have demands of you, you will not do well in this job. Try to be agreeable, responsible, communicate well, and know your stuff. They you are giving yourself a chance and will make our lives easier as well.

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November 22, 2017

Notaries who have gone down hill

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 3:47 am

I am full of sadness writing this article. I had many elite certified Notaries who have gone downhill. The reasons for their demise very. We had a few who got cancer and lost much of their thinking skills. And these used to be our very best Notaries on the site. I almost wanted to cry after testing some of these people who are Elite Certified yet cannot fill out a journal correctly. I guess they are good with complicated documents, but not good at simple procedures.

This is why my testing is more comprehensive these days. I have to test on basics which I previously assumed that everyone would know. Boy, was I wrong.

Then, there were people who sounded like they were on drugs whose communication was a combination of babbling and incoherent nonsense. A few others just got old and senile.

It is sad that a person’s mental condition can go from good to horrible so quickly. The truth is that the human brain does degenerate, and the energy levels and neurological connections in different parts of the brain can grow or shrink. The secret is walking an hour every day and having brain foods.

Grape Juice
Grape Seed Extract
Wine
Walnuts
Fish
Ginko Biloba

Whether young or old, work daily to maintain your brain and heart. I don’t want to see others go down hill like a few names that resonate in my head. I don’t want to cry anymore that my former best Notaries have become flunkers.

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August 15, 2017

Which Dual Tray Printer do Notaries like? And what does 123notary say?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:47 am

There was a conversation about Dual Tray Printers on the NNA Linked In page.

Nobody had a twin brother, but someone bought an older brother. That solves my problem of being an only child — buy a sibling. Available at Walmart and Amazon.

Recommendations by Notaries

Brother MFC-9970CDW. It’s a workhorse!

Brother MFC-8710DW. I’m happy with it.

Brother multifunction model is 8850

Brother 5200. and it’s AWESOME

Brother HL-L5200DW

Brother HL-L8350CDW and like it. It allows you to purchase the second tray separately (as an addition)

brother HL6180-dw I have tried many different ones this has been the best I ordered on Amazon

HP Laser Jet 4350 DUAL tray 10,000 per cartridge black only same as my Bank uses, it is a work Horse

Warning:
One Notary says that Brother printers aren’t easy to set up with a Mac.

123notary recommends
When starting out, a less expensive, but reliable printer might do the trick. But, if you get good business you should consider having two printers. A fast one for home and a small one with a good power source for your vehicle so you can print on the road which saves tons of time going home to print. Here is what we think you should look for:

1. A reliable brand.
Notaries in the business seem to like Brother best with HP as a second choice. Model numbers that experienced Notaries like are above.

2. Dual tray
means that the printer has two trays. You can use one tray for legal and the other for letter sized paper. Title companies prefer dual tray. It is more professional and means that you don’t need to use special software to sort out the different sizes of paper using a single tray.

3. Speed of printing.
You will be printing a lot if you do loan signing. If you do four packages a day that are 100 pages per package, and all need borrowers copies, that is 800 pages. If you have a printer that prints 45 pages per minute, your job will be done fast. Otherwise you will be sitting and watching for a very long time while your assignments print.

4. Replacement ink or toner
I do not use dual tray printers myself and have been out of the signing game for a long time. If you have a printer that uses ink, make sure you have a few good sources to get replacement ink, order in bulk, and have it in your pantry ready to go. Make sure it is affordable too, otherwise your yearly ink bill will be a tax deduction that is a little too good. If your printer has a toner cartridge, research replacement parts and their costs and how many pages it covers to estimate your costs over the life of the printer.

5. Repair
If you buy from a well-known brand, it will be easier to find places to repair your product. Hopefully, you will never need a repair. You might have a back up printer too just in case you have to leave your printer in the shop for a few days.

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July 17, 2017

How long should you WAIT to get paid?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:45 am

Different companies have different payment schedules. Whether a company pays in a timely manner or not, the critical thing is for the Notary to be aware of how long it takes companies to pay. If you read forum complaints, you will see if other Notaries have had a problem with a particular company. If you keep a database on paper or on a computer, and keep records of how long each company has taken to pay others, you will have a track record for each company. Most Notaries unfortunately do not do their homework and that is why bad signing companies exist and also why newer Notaries get screwed. Do your homework; Don’t get screwed!

It is standard for companies to pay in 30 days. Most companies have a monthly billing cycle. It might take 30-59 days to get paid if they do their payments on a particular day of the month. If they pay on the 15th and you complete a job on the 16th, what if they pay you on the 15th of the month on the second month after you do the job? Hmm.

Then, there are companies that are always short on cash who string Notaries along. This is just unprofessional and not respectable. You should pay for what you get, otherwise don’t ask people to do anything for you. The Notaries who are the least valuable to the signing company, or who they have a weaker relationship with, or who are the least pushy are thes ones who get strung along. If you allow them credit for two jobs and they ask for a third without paying for the other two first they will be forced to pay you if they want your work. For a Notary who is really good, they might conform to your terms. But, if you are an unskilled whiner — good luck!

Some companies just don’t pay, or make you wait forever and go through the run around. This is just a waste of time and those companies should be put out of business.

What do I recommend?

(1) If a company is reliable about paying, then I recommend accepting anything within 60 days providing you don’t have to bill multiple times or micromanage them to get paid. 10-60 days with one bill is acceptable. The minute you have to invest extra time billing a company, you should consider charging in advance, or raising their rate by at least $20 extra.

(2) If you prefer to get paid fast, you weed out a vast quantity of your market share by demanding payment in 30 days.

(3) You can offer better terms and/or better pricing to companies that offer faster pay. You can offer them more work, volume discounts, and more attentive service to reward them for making your life easier. That way you can still get jobs from the slow-but-sure paying companies, but less of them. This is called using an algorithm — something Jeremy likes.

(4) If you adopt the Ken Edelstein philosophy and require payment up front, you will not have a problem worrying about getting paid. But, Ken is the best Notary in the business, and everyone knows it. So, that is why companies pay him more and by Paypal.com in advance to do Notary work for them while other Notaries might have trouble getting paid in advance. Ken is in the Notary business, not the money lending without collateral business. Think about it.

(5) You can apply to more Title companies. Many pay within 10-15 days. You can research them on the forums, or just try them out to see how much they pay. If they pay you fast, you can offer to do more work for them farther away to give them an incentive to use you more. You are advised to give them extra special service as well so they will continue to use you and use you frequently.

For those Notaries who are inexperienced, not well educated in signing topics, and very picky as well. I recommend swallowing your pride. You have to pay your dues in this business to do well. I suggest having 2000 signings under your belt before you begin to get picky. The real professionals who get paid well most of the time have at least 7000 signings. When I was at 4000 signings I got paid well by only about 40% of my jobs which should give you an idea. It is not fast and easy to make it to the top in this profession. Swallow your pride and work for any reasonable conditions for any company that is honest and decent even if they make you wait 60 days.

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May 23, 2017

How to negotiate signing fees like a pro!

There are several ground rules when it comes to negotiations.

1. The first offer rule
The person who makes the first offer will never get an optimal price. If you start the bidding first with a high price, you might just get declined without being given a chance. If you ask too little, you will miss out on more pay. If you let the other person make the offer, you will end up with more on average.

2. Whining ruins your image
Notaries are notorious for whining. “You only pay $70….. OHHHHHHH, why can’t you pay more?” Who needs this behavior? If you are such a great notary, you would have plenty of people offering you $125 to $150, and you would just hang up on these low-balling fools. But, if you whine like a baby, nobody will want to work with you even if you accept their pathetic offer. Most notaries are so bad, they are probably not even worth what the low-ballers offer them. Most notaries refuse to study to become fastidious professionals.

3. Take it or leave it
Sure, nobody likes fax backs, but don’t complain. You either accept the job or you don’t. If the signing has 300 pages per set of documents, don’t complain. You either say yes or no. When I do my billing, people always ask me, “What did I pay last year?”. My comment is that it doesn’t matter because last year is over, and that doesn’t effect what this year’s price will be. They want to waste my time looking something up for their emotional gratification which affects nothing. What a time waster. Don’t behave like this. If someone makes you an offer, you take it, leave it, or negotiate. If someone wants to politely negotiate with me instead of whining, they will get a lot farther. First of all I will value them more as a long term client. Second, I will know that they will behave professionally with the people who use my site — and I value that much more than how they treat me. Third, it is not a headache to deal with them. If I ask for $200, and you want to offer a polite counter offer, then go ahead. $100 would be rude because it is out of the ballpark. But, what about $150? Try it. I will probably say no, since my prices were computer generated using six inter-connected formulas. But, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

4. Getting companies to up their fee by $35 is possible
But, I know some very fancy notaries who are at the top of their game who get $50 companies to pay $85. These smooth operators get close-by jobs for $85 that are only a few minutes away. They have fast printers that print 45 pages per minute, so the double set of documents takes less than 10 minutes. They buy their toner or ink wholesale. They don’t whine — they PLAN, and they negotiate! So, in a little more than one hour, these seasoned Ninja Notaries get the call, print the documents, go to the job, get it signed, and get back home, and send the invoice. After expenses they probably made almost $70 per hour. Not bad! So, how do they do it?

5. How to impress the client
A seasoned notary will explain calmly how they are famous for doing clean-up jobs after notaries who didn’t know what they were doing ruined a loan. Why not start with a pro and get it done right the first time? How much did you say you offered again? $60? I understand that you are on a tight budget, but my minimum is $100. I can help you out for $85 today though, since I have a little more extra time than I normally do. Wouldn’t it be worth it to you to hire someone who has signed 4000 loans, and who is meticulous? I have state of the art machinery such as an HP 250,000 printer with quadruple trays, and I can explain all of the documents. Would you like to drill me and ask me a sampling of your hardest loan signing questions to see if I am up to your highest standards?

6. Ask them to ask you their toughest question
Most signing companies don’t ask notaries questions. They should. If you ask notaries questions, 90% fall on their face because they don’t have a clue what they are doing. So, if you do know what you are doing, tell the signing company to shop around, but to ask each of the notaries they talk to how they would explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse. If you don’t get a good answer after 45 minutes, then call me back! No notary with fewer than 5000 signings can do a graceful job of answering this question even though it is ridiculously simple. It requires study, and most notaries are opposed to that idea!

7. Don’t say anything that sounds phony
Please notice that all of the points I made sound real. None of this, “I’m professional and accurate and do error-free signings.” That sounds phony. Make real selling points because you are selling yourself to people who have been in this business for years and have dealt with thousands of notaries — most of them bad ones at that. Figure out what to say that proves that you are the logical choice to hire, even at an inflated rate. After all, the extra pay translates into less aggravation after the fact. How much aggravation and potential re-drawing fees is the $20 savings worth to you anyway, you tell me?

8. Having a pricing formula sounds impressive
If you don’t like to negotiate, but like to use pricing formulas, that will make you look good. People who understand distances, time involved and other expenses are true professionals who know their business inside out. You might not always get the highest possible fee with formulas, but you will get respect and repeat business.

9. Negotiation points summarized:
I do clean-ups for other notaries who make mistakes; 5000 loans signed; ask me your hardest loan signing question and then ask the other notaries who you are calling; I have an HP (name) printer that prints 45 pages per minute. I have a mobile office — beat that. I’m ready now — let’s do this! All work guaranteed or your money back!

A comprehensive guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16504

Can you negotiate prices with SnapDocs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16236

Negotiating with aggressive callers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16278

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March 26, 2017

Is it better to write off mileage or actual expenses?

Filed under: Business Tips — Tags: , — admin @ 9:50 pm

The Federal mileage deduction rate changes each year and is 54 cents a mile for tax year 2016. You can deduct your actual expenses such as gas, oil changes, tires, brakes, transmission and other repairs as a percentage of miles driven. Or you can deduct straight miles. If you own an economy car, you will get a better benefit from deducting using the standardized mileage rate which is in my case about triple what my actual expenses are since I drive a Toyota.

However, if you drive an inefficient car which has expensive parts, guzzles gas, and depreciates a lot every year, then consider both options.

As a Mobile Notary, you need to keep your mileage book updated every time you get in your car — what a pain. But, the deduction can wipe out perhaps 70% of your income leaving you owing hardly any tax! Additionally, you do not have to pay self-employment tax on Notary income (ask for the advice of an accountant and read the SE section of your tax book.) Unfortunately, there are no instructions for how to fill out the forms.

I was asked to fill out two schedule-C documents. One for the portion of my income that was notary income and the rest for mobile fee income which I did pay self-employment tax on.

This is complicated, no accountant will understand what to do, and the IRS will probably misguide you, so good luck and look forward to being audited. But, as a mobile notary, between the mileage deduction and no self-employment tax on notary income, you will owe less than half of what you would normally owe on the same income.

As a Notary, you can determine that in a signing of ten signatures — if your state allows $5 per signature you could arbitrarily decide that $50 of the income from the signing was for signatures and the rest for travel fee. In California with $15 per signature you could say that in many cases the whole signing was travel fees. Or just go through your notary journals at the end of the year and count up your various signatures and see how many there are. Do the math your way just as long as you do it correctly!

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February 19, 2017

Need an NNA Alternative?

NNA is a very reliable and quality organization that has been helping Notaries with education, supplies, background checking, and a world-class technical hotline for years. We at 123notary recommend them highly. However, their fees can be a bit high for some budgets, and you are probably thinking of alternatives for your Notary needs. Some claim that NNA has gotten too big, and is no longer the optimal source for Notaries to rely on. I refrain from having a personal opinion on this matter, although I would say that you should analyze your various Notary needs, and find the ideal source for each need rather than relying on one-stop shopping unless you feel that one-stop shopping makes more sense. So, here are the alternatives.

Signing Agent Education
(1) 123notary offers good loan signing combos with solid marketing advice and the convenience of take home course in printable, online, or take home book.
(2) We recommend Notary2Pro if you want thorough training and hand holding. they train their Notaries better than anyone else. Their courses are not as affordable as 123notary’s and do not have the marketing expertise that 123notary does, but they excel at nuts and bolts technical training.

Background Checks
NNA and Sterling are the two acceptable names for background checks. So, if you want an alternative to NNA, try Sterling.

Directories
SigningAgent.com used to deliver more jobs to Notaries than it does now. Over the last six years it has gone down hill from what I’ve heard.
(1) 123notary is a good source for high paying notary work
(2) SnapDocs is a good source for low-ball signing work for beginners
(3) NotaryRotary is the runner up for a mix of signing agent work ranging from top-notch to low-ball.

E&O Insurance
Notary Rotary and other organizations also sell Notary E&O insurance. Not sure who has better prices, but you can shop around.

Supplies
There are various companies around the nation that offer supplies, Notary Rotary being one of them. Personally, I always relied on NNA as my sole destination for thumbprinters, acknowledgment pads, carry-all bags, and anything else I needed.

Summary
NNA seems to be the best destination for one-stop Notary shopping. However, the alternatives might offer better prices and in some cases better quality especially for signing agent education, background screening, and directory marketing. However, for E&O and supplies they would be my first choice. I am not here to make your decision for where you should go for what. But, compare the competition for each type of items or services that you need, perhaps try each option out, and then optimize your decision making skills!

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You might also like:

For Background Checks, NNA & Sterling come highly recommended
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18835

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17088

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October 18, 2016

FASS has a brand new app

FASS has a new Faxing App you can download. This app is so important since so much faxing is required. I don’t know how the app is used since I don’t do faxing anymore. But, the following banks below require fax backs on many of their documents. See the list.

Ditech Financial, LLC Investment, Second-Home, and Non-Rescindable properties or when notated in special Instructions, 100% of the entire package MUST BE scanned/faxed back immediately and you would need to plan your schedule accordingly.

Freedom Mortgage- certain critical documents on all Freedom signings must be scanned/faxed back immediately.

Bank of America- certain documents on all Bank of America signings must be scanned/faxed back immediately and you would need to plan your schedule accordingly.

Wells Fargo- CRITICAL DOCS on all Wells Fargo signings MUST be scanned/faxed back immediately and you would need to plan your schedule accordingly.

All other lenders: Some lenders might require critical or all documents to be faxed back on case by case bases.
***Please be sure to review the Signing Agent Checklist for faxback requirements. Documents should be scanned/faxed back within 4hrs of completion of signing.
*** You must upload all documents to the order prior to closing/completing out order. If you complete the order prior to uploading the documents, the upload feature will not be available and a traditional faxback would be required at that time. (Quality issues will not be voided.

Will this app change your life? Has anyone used it?

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You might also like?

Apps that Notaries have never heard of that could change your life!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16311

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