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February 20, 2021

How dangerous is it to be a mobile notary?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 4:14 am

How dangerous is it to be a mobile notary? We have written other blog articles on the topic. The answer is — not very dangerous. But, there are some dangers and the trick is to know how to safeguard yourself.

1. Neighborhoods
If you go to a bad area at night, that is mildly dangerous. You are more likely to get hit by a truck than have a problem in a bad neighborhood, but you know how people feel. Speaking of which, I actually got bumped by an 18 wheeler. No damage was done because the angels were protecting me — thanks angels! It was on a highway in stop and go traffic. I was stopped, but he took his foot off the brakes as he was daydreaming and bumped me at half a mile per hour.

2. Crazy people
The only serious issue we had with a notary was the one who was pushed down a short flight of stairs because the borrower didn’t like his APR. That was one Notary out of 65,000 we have listed in our history. So, the risk level is low, unless… someone doesn’t like their APR. Go over the stats by phone before you get to the signing. Also, if at a signing, make sure you either know your escape route, or make sure you are bigger than the other people there — or both.

3. Animals
You are more in danger from animals. Humans who can’t behave are already generally in prison. But, someone could have a crazy pet who bites you or chews on your clothing, or pees on your leg. It it happened to you, it would not be the first time. There was another story about a pit bull running wild in a neighborhood and a borrower came out of his house with his gun drawn when the notary came. He had to explain what happened to the notary who was going to protect himself by brandishing his embossing seal.

4. Accidents
Accidents are a fact of life, flat tires, breakdowns. People can die in accidents. We haven’t had any notaries die of accidents or anything other than cancer or old age, but it could happen.

5. Court Cases
Notaries don’t discuss this much on forums, but 1 in 7 long term notaries who is active has had to appear before a judge because of a notarization they did. There were two notaries in Oklahoma who lost their commission because they failed to administer an obligatory Oath to their clients for an Affidavit they notarized. They are lucky they didn’t get locked up. One notary in Sacramento committed identity fraud and got locked up. In total we have had two criminal Notaries who engaged in purposeful fraud and got locked up. Two out of 65,000 is not that bad, not to mention another who allegedly stole OxyCodene from a signer and was not arrested.

6. Covid19
No Notary has died of Covid19, or even gotten sick on the job as far as we know. They went overboard taking ridiculously over-kill type precautions that ruin the fun of notarizing. Many notarized outside or wearing suffocation inducing N-95 masks to be “safe.” How safe are you being if you can’t breathe? Others sat 10 feet away from the others or did notarizations on their trunk or in their car. Such insanity is just plain insane, but nobody got sick to our knowledge. In fact, only a handful of Notaries reported having been sick with Covid19 to us and they got better after a few weeks and didn’t have any serious symptoms other than losing their sense of taste. In those interior states, the food is so bland that losing your sense of taste won’t affect you that much.

7. Notaritus
I just made up this disease, it is not as bad as “Stamp Elbow” but is the next worst thing. It is an infectious disease that only Notaries get. I’m not sure what the symptoms are as this is an imaginary disease. I’ll think about it.

8. Getting sued for using someone’s business name
This almost happened to a client. But, the person who trademarked the name came after my server company which created a huge headache. I have no problem removing a business name from our site, but do you have to call in the national guard over such a small issue?

SUMMARY
So, what is the most dangerous of all the things that can happen to a Notary? I would say that the legal risks are a huge risk. Although if you are very cautious about how you do your work and avoid hospital signings you will lower your risk. Crazy people would be next as we have a serious injury recorded. I would then say that animals are the next most dangerous although they normally don’t kill you. Many Notaries feel “safe” because they are wearing an N-95 mask, but that only protects you 50% from a disease that hasn’t killed any Notaries known to us so far. But, it will not make you safe from court cases, animals, or crazy humans. So, let’s focus on real dangers and not ones that you have been brainwashed into believing are the only threats to your existence.

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February 16, 2021

1 Million E&O vs. 25,000. How does that affect your popularity?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 4:08 am

I analyzed click averages of many listings and found that if you have a lot of Errors and Omissions insurance, that will raise your click average. I only analyzed a few dozen listings, but found that those with 100K get about 5% more clicks than those with 25K E&O, and those with 1 Million get more, but there were too few to analyze and give a clear assessment of what the improvement was.

Some of the big title companies want a lot of insurance, but what they want is different from company to company and changes over time. It is kind of like me trying to explain to you what a cumulous cloud looks like in my area. By the time I describe it to you, it will have morphed again.

E&O is not really important, and is more of a fashion statement. I have never heard of anyone actually filing a claim on it. But, people hiring Notaries think you are more serious when you have more of it. So, if you are serious, or want to look serious, or at least act serious, or play someone serious on TV, then consider calling the NNA and upping your insurance.

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February 10, 2021

Covid-19 vs. ID: which is more important to ask about?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 12:19 am

When you confirm a signing, assuming that you actually take the time to do so, you can ask all types of questions. My suggestion is to have a standardized list of things you need to ask about. However, you might want to arrange your list in order of what is the most critical to ask about.

I asked one lady if she thought it was more important to ask about the signer’s ID or Covid. She though Covid-19 as she had had four clients in the last 300 signings who previously had Covid a few weeks ago although they tested negative. So, 1.25% of her clients were an ambiguous risk of Covid19 yet she did not consider how many people were a risk of having unacceptable ID.

In my experience, roughly 5% of people have an ID that doesn’t prove their name on the document. And if you go to a signing where you can’t identify the signer, you either get a credible witness if your state allows this, or the signing might be over. It represents a potential deal breaking situation.

So, which is more serious, the Covid-19 issue or the ID issue? Covid-19 affects people more emotionally. People get all paranoid because of the media brainwashing. I sat with someone who had had Covid a month early. I was a bit apprehensive to share a meal with him and my other friends, but I did it, and everything was fine, and I lived to tell about it several months later. Someone who used to have Covid might strike some emotional buttons, but if they are testing negative NOW, they don’t pose much of a risk.

So, which is more important to ask about? Covid Covid, Oh my God Covid, or ID, ID, oh my God, ID? In my opinion objectively ID is more important, but if you are a vulnerable person, you probably should not be around other people whether they think they have Covid19, had it but got rid of it, or are asymptomatic and untested. If you are healthy enough to go to a signing, the way the name reads on the ID is the most important thing to ask about from my point of view which is based on science…. Okay, it’s not based on the science, but based on “the logic.”

On the other hand, it is impossible to judge the risk of someone who had Covid but is over it. If that is a deal breaker for you, then perhaps it is more important than an ID in your case. My question is so subjective. Perhaps the question is more about whether you can maintain objectivity in the event of a pandemic of emotional imbalance.

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December 27, 2020

New Year’s Resolutions for Notaries for 2021

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 4:06 am

Every year I come back to this topic. Sometimes I address it in a humorous way, and other times in a serious way. Notaries often procrastinate some of their responsibilities. Your business will do better if you are a little more proactive in certain ways. Here are my tips for 2021.

Supplies
Stock up on supplies like paper, toner, ink, get that new GPS system if it will help you, pens, stamps, Fedex envelopes, and whatever else you need.

Snacks
Notaries have to eat on the road and that is not always healthy unless you live near a Whole Foods or a Jamba Juice. But, you can have packages of nuts and dried fruits in the car, and then bring fresh fruit on a daily basis. Dried fruits have a lot of nutrition. Apricots, dates, plums, dried mangos, raisins, and other dried fruits are packed with many micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, iron, and more!

Education
The newer Notaries seem to take education a lot more seriously. I noticed a change in collective attitude about six months ago. It seems that Mark Wills at LSS is a force of motivation and enthusiasm to be reckoned with. His students seem to be popular on our site too. His course seems to be oriented towards practical issues like dealing with some of the types of signings that became popular in the last few years (that were not popular during my day sonny.)

123notary has a paid certification course with a hard test. Our testing standards are the hardest in the industry and those who use our site are aware of that. We also have a very interesting FREE course on the blog which people love called Notary Public 101 and we test people who completed that test and sometimes certify them. Most people don’t study enough, but you can make that your New Year’s resolution and it will benefit you for the rest of your career.

Notes
Your Notary profile has a notes section. I just reviewed several hundred of our most prominent notes sections on the site. I am sorry to say that few did a bang up job writing about themselves. I think that putting in a lot of effort to try and figure out what to say about yourself will really pay off. Those who use our site want to read what you have to say about yourself, so if you say very little, they are less likely to call you first. It might take a few hours to read our section on the blog called, “Your notes section” while taking notes. It might take a few more hours to write a great notes section. But, that is what successful notaries so, so if you want to be successful, invest some time in it, especially during the holidays.

Reviews
It is the same suggestion every year. Our notaries seem to have less reviews than a few years ago. The very experienced Notaries got old or died off. Most of our Notaries are new which is refreshing, but they need to have reviews too. Anyone who compliments you on your work – ask them for a review and send them a link to your review page. The link is above your name on your profile.

Company Names
It pays off to have a good company name and register it with your county. We have written many articles on the topic. Please read those articles. It takes hours of brainstorming and conversations with others to pick a great name for your company. It is worth the effort in the long run.

Review your state notary laws
Some people look to Notary agencies for advice, but to know your local laws, please refer to your notary division’s website. Most states have a notary division under their Secretary of State, but some have it under another state office. Review those laws, because you might have a quandry one day if you are not rock solid on Notary laws and procedures.

Summary
I think I better think up my resolutions for this year. I want to be better at time management, lose lots of weight and learn Chinese better. Never mind becoming a millionaire — I’ll save that for 2022.

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November 21, 2020

What are dangerous places for a Notary to be?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 8:25 am

Female Notaries think a lot more about safety than males do. But, even big strong guys can get into danger. If someone is crazy, they might attack anyone, even a big strong guy with a military background.

People’s houses at night.
Going to people’s houses sounds scary. But, in real life, if they have been screened for a Mortgage, they do not stand much of a chance of being dangerous, at least in my experience. However, their neighborhood might not be good at night.

On the other hand, going to a house for a single document might be dangerous. You don’t know who these people are, they have not been screened, and you might be going there at night.

Realistically, the danger is more than you will get into a car accident or bitten by a dog than have an incident with a crazy human being. In my twenty years in this industry I have heard of one Notary getting pushed down some stairs. That is out of 60,000 Notaries on hundreds of millions of assignments.

You might be okay at the house but run into gangs at the local gas station – it happened to me, and we covered it. I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.

You might be at a tenement building and some rowdy intoxicated people might be outside. I have heard of this happening once in The Bronx. You could also get harassed by hoodlums on your way back to your car. It might be time to have the appointment at a Starbucks in a better neighborhood. But, it’s up to you.

Nursing homes
If you notarize at nursing homes, your chance of ending up in court is high. That is another type of danger.

Cafes
Some Notaries might notarize at a cafe late at night. Our local taco place is notorious for having crazy people, arguments, and police. The problem is that the police don’t seem to be there at the same time as the crazy people. Just because you are at a “safe” neutral location doesn’t mean a meth addict won’t walk in and start trouble. Being afraid of your clients is a legitimate fear, but the real danger is more likely from a drug addict, bad driver, or inclement weather.

Jails
Many Notaries are afraid to notarize at a jail. That is the safest place to notarize because the bad guys are on the OTHER side of the bars and there is tight security and check points.

The Street
If you notarize on your trunk on the street, you could get hit by a car. I had to park illegally and made the signer come out to sign on my trunk. They complained. I said that this is the only way I could do it otherwise I would have to leave as there was no place to park.

General Tips
It is generally a good idea to be aware of high risk individuals. Those who seem intoxicated or who are acting unusually. People might seem agitated, angry, or afraid for example. Additionally, people might get upset if you refuse to do an illegal notarization and that could trigger a situation. Other people might get upset that their rate is higher than expected. You need to know what to say and how to handle these types of situations. Personally, I have been to about 6000 total signings two thirds of which were loans. I have never been in a dangerous situation. The only disconcerting situations I have had involved animals and gang bangers who were “around” when I went to bad areas to do signings. But, these dogs and gangsters didn’t actually actively do anything to threaten me — I just felt threatened by their presence. Maybe I am worried about nothing. Maybe I overreact to certain things because I am not from that type of neighborhood and because I don’t like dogs.

As a rule, use your senses, and if you feel something is not right, step out. Also, make sure you know your escape route, because there is a small possibility you might need to use it.

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November 18, 2020

What do successful Notaries do that you don’t?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 6:00 am

Originally published in 2019

We all want to be successful and we all think that we are experts at our job. But, are we really? Here are some things successful Notaries do that the others don’t do.

1. Keep your profile managed regularly.
What does this mean? You have to login, make sure your hours, counties, notes, and reviews are as current and thorough as they can be.

2. Keep your knowledge up and keep reading.
Serious Notaries read the various blogs and forums. They also take courses and get certified by more than one agency. Instead of claiming to be so great, they get a reputed third party such as the NNA, 123notary, Notary Rotary, etc., who has an impartial test, passes the test and then has credibility. Serious Notaries keep reading and have a never ending thirst for knowledge.

3. Knowing who to extend credit to
This is one of the hardest aspects of being a Notary. The tendency is to get as many jobs as possible. But, smart Notaries say no to bad jobs, jobs from companies that have payment issues, or jobs that pay too little. As a Notary it behooves you to have standards, but try to keep the standards reasonable as well, especially if you are new or if business is slow.. Don’t let companies rack up a huge bill. If they owe you more than $300, then ask them to pay up before you do more jobs, or Paypal you for future jobs.

4. Setting terms and having contracts
This is for the very advanced Notaries but some people do have a contract for others to sign. This is taking the upper hand and others might not be willing to sign your contract unless you are a top notch Notary — after all, why should they if you are a slouch?

5. Scheduling
Successful Notaries know how to schedule their day and get rid of packages fast so that they are not late.

6. Equipment
Good Notaries have top notch equipment and fix it fast if it breaks. They know how to download anything, anytime and anywhere and don’t make excuses. A good dual tray laser printer is a good place to start although you need good scanning and faxing equipment as well

7. Watching your email
Jobs can be dispatched through apps, email and by phone. So, a good Notary keeps a constant watch of all of these mediums.

8. Other sources of income.
Relying on Notary work when times are slow doesn’t make sense. Smart Notaries realize they need to diversify. We have a handful of full-timers who make a full living at this job. But, the majority cannot, so try to be realistic and have multiple streams of income.

You might also like:

How to become a successful mobile notary from scratch
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13340

Beginner’s Notary 103 Reading List (Resources)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21120

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

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November 10, 2020

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

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

Originally posted in 2018

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.

You might also like:

Split PDFs into Letter & Legal separate PDFs

Split PDFs into Letter & Legal Separate PDFs

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November 7, 2020

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

Originally published in 2016

Are you a Notary? Do you want to join some Notary organizations? There are many of them out there. Some help educate Notaries while others have helplines or hotlines. Some sell Notary supplies while others help Notaries advertise their services.

123notary.com
http://www.123notary.com/
123notary.com has been around since 1999 and helps Notaries advertise their Mobile Notary services online. Title, Escrow, Signing Companies, Attorneys and individuals love using 123notary to find some of the best trained and most experienced Notaries anywhere. 123notary also sells loan signing courses and has a very entertaining and informative blog. Check out their list of signing companies with reviews to see who you should and shouldn’t be working for.

National Notary Association
https://www.nationalnotary.org/
The NNA has been around since 1957 as a California Notary Association to help Notaries with educational resources and tools. In 1964 it became a National Association. NNA sells Notary supplies, errors & omissions insurance, education to help pass the Notary exam and become a signing agent, andmore… Advertise your signing agent services on signingagent.com

Notary Rotary
http://www.notaryrotary.com
Notary Rotary has been around for decades and offers a very potent way for Notaries to advertise their services. They also sell seals, and E&O insurance. Signing Agents can place an add and get found based on how close they are to the zip code being searched for.

SnapDocs
http://www.snapdocs.com/
This organization makes it easy to find newer Notaries who work for cheap as well as providing a system for downloading documents. More seasoned Notaries are complaining that SnapDocs is contributing to the lowering of fees in the industry. We recommend this organization for newer Notaries who want to get their foot in the door.

American Society of Notaries
http://www.notaries.org/
ASN offers a phoneline for technical support just in case Notaries have a question while on the job. They also sell Notary supplies and more.

American Association of Notaries
http://www.notarypublicstamps.com
Buy your stamps from the AAN!

Notary Café
https://notarycafe.com/
Notary Cafe is a smaller directory of Notaries that seems to specialize in the more serious Notaries. We do not have records to show how popular their directory has been in the last few years, but they have been popular for a long time.

Pennsylvania Association of Notaries
https://www.notary.org/
Need help becoming a Notary in Pennsylvania? Try this organization.

California Association of Notaries
http://www.calnotaries.com/
This is yet another Notary directory.

.

You might also like:

Snapdocs — see our feed for posts about this company
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

The Towles Booth (pronounced Tolls)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9456

Why the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

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October 30, 2020

I dropped the documents!

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:14 pm

Anybody who is a loan signing Notary knows that they need to drop documents. We have written articles on this topic before, but it is a loaded topic.

You can claim that you dropped the documents. But, some Notaries are liars, and how can title know that you aren’t? Should they just take your word for it?

If you drop documents in a drop box, there is a small chance that it will get picked up late, or not at all. The courier assigned to pick up from that box might quit and a new person might take the job not knowing that they are to pick up from that box. People do screw up in real life. Your package could be sitting in that drop box for a week while FedEx figures it out although that is rare. But, it happened to me once! Once contents of a drop box got stolen according to a story from one of our Notaries. I only heard of that once. There is a 1 in 1000 chance that your drop box might not get picked up. If you do a lot of signings, that could cost you a client or get you in big trouble. Additionally there is no proof that you dropped it in a particular box and you might not even remember what box you dropped it in.

If you drop at a manned station, that is a better idea. The box in their office will always get picked up, and often at a slightly later time than the drop boxes on the road.

I highly recommend you get paperwork from FedEx stating that you dropped the package at a particular time and place. You might need that evidence if you get in trouble.

The bottom line is be prepared, think ahead, and have as much evidence for what you did correctly. It is just like keeping your journal correctly. It is rare that your journal will be checked, but when it happens (roughly 1 in 2000 jobs gets checked, so it will happen eventually to you.) you need to be prepared or you get in a lot of trouble. You could even get arrested.

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October 27, 2020

Best kept Notary secrets

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 5:54 am

Every profession has secrets, but what are the best secrets a Notary could know?

1. Getting reviews on your listing will more than double your new calls.

2. If the ID has a shorter name variation than the docs do, you can put that same shorter name variation on the Acknowledgment and notarize.

3. If you are notarizing John and Sally and the acknowledgment is prefilled, but Sally can’t make it — pick a new loose acknowledgment from your back and start over.

4. You can get free courses on the 123notary.com blog. Email us if you can’t find them.

5. Carmen knows how to make $200 in less than an hour doing Notary work. Can you figure out how she does it?

6. Answering questions the way they were asked instead of trying to bombard the caller with unwanted self-promotion gives a good impression.

7. Check your email, phone and texts all the time or you will get left behind in this ADD millennial culture.

8. If you can print in your car you will save so much time driving back home.

9. Don’t offer credit to companies who are not reputable and limit credit to those who are trustworthy or you will eventually get strung along.

10. Don’t hate the portal – hate the game!

You might also like:

Do you take control at a signing?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21104

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20770

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