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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!

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:43 pm

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?

Filed under: Business Tips — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 9:53 pm

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

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October 10, 2016

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

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.

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

The State of Notary Advertising in 2015
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13625

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 4, 2016

SnapDocs has a new feature for bank auto pay within 30 days

Tired of not getting paid on time? SnapDocs (our competitor) has a new feature which we think is helpful. I’m not sure how the feature is used, but you can arrange that companies will auto-pay you within 30 days. Most Notaries are tired of waiting, and not knowing when they will be paid. To be guaranteed payment, and not even have to deal with checks sounds like a wonderful arrangement. Ken has an even better arrangement which is getting paid Paypal up front.

I wonder how you guys would feel if 123notary had a system where slow paying companies would be denied our future search algorithms? That would eliminate a lot of the bad traffic from 123notary and give you only the best. I’m not sure that would help our site, or help you guys that much, but it would make your lives safer and perhaps more pleasant.

Let me know what you think

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SnapDocs — all articles (string)
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

You want to get paid well as a Notary, but do you merit a good rate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16687

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August 2, 2016

How to find a Notary mentor

Many new Notaries want to set up shop and get going. The problem is that they don’t know how. They haven’t mastered their Notary skills and have no idea how to complete a signing or even get a signing. They need a mentor — and fast! But, how do you find a mentor? Actually, there are various types of mentors, and that is something more critical to understand than anything else.

You can get an actual human being who lives near you who can be your mentor. If you are lucky, they will let you tag along at signings and explain things to you. You could also find someone far away who can coach you. The problem is that most Notaries who are good at Notary work might not be good at teaching Notary work, and even if they are, they might not care about teaching you.

Those who are too close to you might see you as competition. We’ve had many stories on 123notary about how a mentor trained someone new out of the goodness of their heart. The next thing you know, that new Notary steals all (or a good portion) of their mentor’s clients and puts their mentor out of business. It has happened many times.

So, what type of mentors should you be looking for? We suggest finding many sources of knowledge and help, as you cannot depend fully on any particular source.

.

1. Hotlines
NNA has an amazing hotline. They are great at helping out with technical questions about ID’s, credible witnesses, out of state forms, international issues, and more. 123notary does not have a hotline, but people routinely email us asking us questions and we are happy to help. Some people call Carmen at 123notary, and she is very seasoned in all aspects of the Notary and Signing Agent process.

2. Local Mentors
Get one in the next county over so you are not in direct competition with them. Mentors know that you might cut into their market share, so they will be unlikely to help you if you are within 30 miles. To be safe, you can consider 50 miles. If you can go out on a few signings with them, that might really help out as you will have hands on experience with the documents and procedure. Just make sure you do your studying first before you go out on an assignment, so you’ll have some knowledge about the documents. Seeing the documents a lot is different from having a solid knowledge about what the salient features of the documents. So, don’t fool yourself into a false sense of confidence.

3. Far away mentors
If you can find someone who is great at answering questions over the phone, but is too far away to actually visit. 123notary has many Elite Certified Notaries throughout the nation who are excellent. I think that NNA used to have an official list of mentors that was nationwide. I am not able to find that list on the web anymore. But, if you want to mentor, just post a reply to this article.

4. Courses
Many Notaries want a mentor when they haven’t actually studied. There is no substitute for book knowledge. It is hard to find a good mentor unless they like you. But, it is easy to find a book. 123notary offers loan signing courses that will get you started in about two weeks. You can take our online test and be officially 123notary certified which counts for a lot when advertising on our site. You will learn all the pertinent terms, all about the basic documents, signing procedures, marketing, and more.

5. Blogs
Many Notaries have caught on to the idea that they can get free knowledge and advice by reading blogs. NNA and 123notary have excellent blogs with great technical and marketing information in addition to entertaining stories, and more. To use the 123notary blog effectively, it is better that you understand how the categories work. Here are a few categories we recommend:

The 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

Loan Signing 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=2053

Hospital & Jail Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3251

How to get work & Who is getting work
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3264

Best Humorous Posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3241

Technical & Legal
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3244

We also have many subcategories under Marketing, Humor, Popular Posts, types of documents, and more.

6. Companies that micromanage
I learned more about loan signing from Nation’s Direct than from anywhere else. They taught me the ropes and were there on the phone to get me through my first 100 signings. They don’t pay that much, and Notaries complain that they micromanage, but they are a great place for newbies to get started in my experience. We have a list of companies that hire beginners. Those companies might tell you more about loan signing than any “mentor.”

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Companies that hire NEW signing agents!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7059

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July 19, 2016

What types of loans do you know how to sign?

Please don’t say, “I sign them all.” Few Notaries really sign them all, so saying you sign them all makes it sound like you don’t know the names of all of the types of loans. If you are dressing up your Notary profile, it is recommended that you clearly state a list of the types of loans and/or documents that you are familiar with.

Loans
Refinances (1sts, 2nds, Piggy Backs, FHA, VA), Conventional, Commercial, Residential, Modifications, Debt Consolidations, Debt Settlements, Purchases, Cash Sales & Purchases, Reverse Mortgages, Applications, Annuities, Helocs, eSignings, Time Shares, and more… There might be more that I forgot to include, but those are the main ones.

Documents
Many other Notaries do I-9’s, Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Affidavits, Auto Titles, Boat Titles, Permission for Minors to Travel, Contracts, and more.

The worst thing you can do is to claim that you have a good knowledge of the docs. That says nothing and sounds like baseless bragging. So, don’t be vague, and state the facts. Other facts about your service are helpful in you notes section.

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POA — Proceed on Alert
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14661

Can a Notary notarize a Will or Living Will?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7088

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July 14, 2016

The UPS Quandry

QUESTION
You were given an airbill for UPS. There is a UPS box near you but no UPS station. However, there is a Fedex station nearby that you could use if you paid for the package. The loan is critical and won’t fund if the paperwork doesn’t arrive on time. It None of the contact people on your list are available for an inquiry. Should you use the UPS airbill as instructed, use the Fedex Station or wait until the next day to ask for further instructions?

I liked the venue question. That is a great example of how a wrong instruction could ruin the loan. When to be insubordinate!

ANSWER
NEVER add your own money for shipping; we are not in the favor or money lending business; they will appreciate but it becomes nearly impossible to be repaid.
“The loan is critical” – that is OPP (Other Peoples Problems); we work with what we are given.
As the UPS will not go out that evening it can be sent the next day; wait till next day – converse – and probably earn an additional scanning fee.

The scenario need the following assumptions added:

The UPS station is 30 miles away, it’s late in the day – you might make it and you might not.
The UPS box shows the daily pickup has already been made.
Your client is a new one, that you did not work with before, thus no trust relationship.

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Should you send the Fedex right away?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16166

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