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March 20, 2017

Are those other things you’re doing worth $1000 per hour?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:13 am

Passing the 123notary certification test can reasonably make you an additional $30,000 over the next 10 years. You might need a few hours to study and some wait time if you need to email me for a password to take the test when I’m busy. But, your total hours invested might be 30 hours maximum if you were the most thorough Notary in the history of Notary-Kind. So, you invest 30 hours and get $30,000 in delayed gratification. That is $1000 per hour.

$30,000 extra in a decade — it’s like winning the lottery!
If you get half a job extra per week because of that certification that is $50 extra per week, and $2500 extra per year which is $25,000 in ten years which is close to my figure. So, let’s assume that you get (.6) more jobs per week to round the number up to $30,000. I’m being reasonable, right?

But, I’m so busy?
I get this all the time. I can’t find time to do the certification test because I’m so busy. The problem is not that you are busy, but that you failed at mastering the art of organizing your time. If you have thirty tasks to do, but only have time for ten, you assign a priority to each task from one to thirty, and do the most time sensitive or critical task first, and then do the other critical tasks after, and neglect the tasks that are less critical.

Are those other tasks worth $1000 per hour?
Is doing your laundry worth $1000 per hour like studying for our certification test? Probably not. Is taking that Notary job for $75 with faxbacks going to get you ahead in the long run? That’s three hours out of your day right there. Is going to Kim’s birthday party all that? That all depends on what Kim is wearing! Is cleaning your house a priority? Be a slob until you pass that test. Your test should come first and everything else should come after. If it takes you a month to pass that test, put it on the front burner and make everything and everyone else wait until you pass that test.

Let the laundry stack up
My laundry stacks up when I’m working on a project. I do my laundry in a bucket to save myself the time of going downstairs to the public laundry machines which need to be watched. I focus on the priority at hand when I want to get something done. I find more efficient ways of doing all of the tasks that I do. You need to schedule some time and make sure that you get that certification test done. The minute you don’t make it a priority, you’ll forget about it until I call you months after the fact and you’ll say — oh yeah.

Get it done!
The fact is that many people get many extra jobs per week or per day as a result of passing that test, and many people pass the test with only three or four hours of study. The rewards might be up to $200,000 for a busy Notary in increased jobs over the next ten years. Many of you will be Notaries for twenty years. So, neglecting to pass my test is not only stupid, it’s insane. Buckle down and get it done!

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March 1, 2017

If Jeremy ran the Sec of State’s Notary Division (gasp)

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 7:41 am

If I ran the Secretary of State’s Notary division, things would be different… very different. How different? First of all, there are too many Notaries out there who don’t know what they are doing. Second of all, the Notaries that do know what they are doing (or think they do) deserve to get paid more. This is a serious profession that deserves respect. You are signing half million dollar loans on a regular basis and dealing with people’s financially sensitive information. This job requires a lot more attention than what most Notaries give.

Being a Notary is not a highly intellectual job. It requires being meticulous, careful, and an insistance on saying “no” when necessary. Basically, an anal-retentive attitude about law enforcement is the main requirement, not intelligence, although intelligence doesn’t hurt when it comes to passing tests.

So, here is what I would do differently and why.

1. There would be fewer Notaries

2. Notaries would have minimum fees in addition to maximum fees to make sure they got paid well. The first two signatures would be $15 a pop, and then $5 for each additional. There would also be a required waiting fee paid in cash up front if mobile service was given.

3. In addition to a comprehensive Notary course, Notaries would get hands on training with pretend Notary clients. Special attention would be given to filling in the additional information section in the journal. Extensive Oath wording training would be given too as most Notaries are not proficient in this ancient art. Additionally, only the top Notaries would be picked to get commissioned. There would be a weeding down process starting with the Notary test which would require 94% to pass and with hard questions.

4. There would be a course for detecting false ID’s. There are handbooks on the topic, but nobody has offered a course where you get hands on training. Most Notaries are not paying close attention to ID’s and a fake ID might blow right past them.

5. There would be fewer Notary laws than in places like California. Notary law should be as simple as possible so that there are less confusions.

6. After the Notary gets commissioned, there would be fake customers who would make requests of the Notary. If the Notary did not handle their requests in a legal way, they would be decommissioned! The Notary would not be informed that these customers were fake. Their job is to try to trick the Notary into committing fraud so the Notary could be weeded out.

7. The selection process for being a Notary would be as follows.
(a) Take the course
(b) Pass the exam
(c) Do several drills with fake customers.
(d) Pass the identification course.
(e) Only 40 Notaries per 100,000 residents in a particular county can be commissioned to guarantee top performing Notaries.
(f) After commissioning, if complaints about the Notary arise or they do something illegal with an imposter customer, then they could have their commission revoked if the offense was serious enough.

8. Notary forms would be more comprehensive with mandatory thumbprints, number of pages in the document, document date, document name, the capacities of the signers, etc.

9. ID would be valid for seven years from the issue date regardless of the expiration date on a Drivers License or twelve years for a passport.

10. Credible witness signings encourage name variation fraud. The witnesses do not know the signer that well in modern times (laws were created 200 years ago when people knew each other a whole lot better BTW) and can claim that the signer is Donald Duck. If credible witnesses are used, they must prove that they know the signer intimately like a family member, boyfriend, girlfriend, or long term friend. A neighbor who barely knows the signer would not be an acceptable witness. Additionally, thumbprints would be required for all CW signings.

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February 26, 2017

123notary will accept Notary2Pro Certification

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 9:58 pm

Email us if you are Notary2Pro certified. We respect their training program and will give you our certification if you forward us your paperwork from the Notary2Pro certification program.

123notary wants a higher percentage of our Notaries to have the certification icon. Unfortunately, we make them earn it which means most of them can’t because they fall on their face when they take our test.

Email
info@123notary.com
if you passed the Notary2Pro certification

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February 22, 2017

Notary study skills are poor. But, raising rates would attract better blood

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 7:27 am

The Notary industry needs new blood. But, people who are good at school normally have better options unless they want to slow down and enjoy a life with more freedom. The fact is that only 25% of our Notaries on board have passed our very easy certification test which only involves a few hours of study.

People who are Notaries today do not have the best study skills and do not realize how critical their tasks are. The Secretary of State Notary Divisions also don’t get it. To attract professional people, you need to offer higher rates, and perhaps higher minimum rates. You need to prevent sloppy people from getting into this industry to begin with. 123notary’s Elite Certified members are more studious as a bunch, but they represent only 2.5% of the total. California just raised its maximum rate for an Acknowledged signature to $15, but there is no minimum which makes it possible to get a Notary to work for peanuts as there are several hundred thousand others who can do the same job.

I am normally against the idea of minimum wage. But, there is so much exploitation and sloppy service in this business that I believe the solution is to put more money on the table and attract a better crowd. I can’t guarantee that paying more would attract more people. It might attract the worst quality Attorneys out there who can’t make a living doing Attorney work. Some of them answer Notary and signing questions so poorly that the average Non-Attorney notary could out-do them without even trying.

Maybe it would be better to have a minimum wage as an experiment to see if a higher quantity of more educated people would sign up, especially if the industry players decided to have higher standards. On the other hand, it might require fees of up to $300 per signing to attract motivated people rather than desperate people. I guess we’ll never find out!

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February 20, 2017

A Notary told us our Certification was approved by 1st American

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:36 am

I was calling Notaries up to inform them of the merits of our certification program when one tole me that our certification has finally been approved in the real world. He told me that 1st American Title is now accepting NNA or 123notary.com certification. Personally, I feel that our test is harder than NNA’s, so why accept anything else?

Let us know if you come across companies that like our certification. The people who use our site give double the business to those who passed our test and have our icon which is proof of the pudding so to speak although proof is off my diet — but, pudding isn’t!

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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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January 25, 2017

Can you think under pressure?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — Tags: — admin @ 7:00 am

Many Notaries live on the edge from time to time. Sometimes there is no work and Notaries feel bored. But, other times they are at a job and the phone is ringing off the hook — the pressure builds. They key here is handling pressure well. What are the types of things that can go wrong when you are under time pressure.

1. Phone calls come in when you’re busy
If you are at a signing or driving to a signing and someone offers you a job, many Notaries will say, “Sorry, can’t talk now I’m at a signing.” or “Sorry, can’t talk because I’m on my way to a signing.” If you can’t think or function when you’re on your way to an appointment or at an appointment, that means that four hours per day are off limits to those who want to call you. It is rude to answer your phone only to tell someone you can’t talk. Then, when someone calls you back in two hours they get, “Sorry, now is not a good time because I’m eating dinner with my family.” It’s NEVER a good time for you — face it. I keep records of every time someone refuses to talk to me. If you don’t want to talk, just don’t answer your phone for anyone other than the Lender. And if you don’t know who is calling, give them 90 seconds as a courtesy before telling them you can’t talk — it’s just plain manners.

2. Jobs come in when you’re busy
If you get a job while you are busy doing something else, you still need to background screen the company. They background screen you, so why shouldn’t you return the favor? If you are in too much of a hurry to take a job from God knows who doing God knows what, you will probably end up working for a company that doesn’t pay you.

The key here is to practice being polite and handling business when you are busy. Juggling is not only for clowns, but for Notary. And Notary who can’t handle juggling is making a circus out of this industry if you ask me!

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January 22, 2017

How long does it take to get through a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — admin @ 11:52 pm

Most Notaries allow around an hour for a signing. But, for a HELOC, Reverse Mortgage, or other longer packages, the timing can be unpredictable.

I did a huge construction loan for someone. I was in and out in 20 minutes with a 180 page package. He was a business professional and knew the drill. He didn’t read. He just signed. There are others who read all day at your expense.

One Notary claimed her average signing is 45 minutes. But, it depends on the lender and the type of package, type of borrower, number of pages, etc. Another Notary on Linked In claimed 45 minutes to an hour. A third Notary claimed 45 minutes as well. A forth Notary kept track of her signings over the course of a year and came up with the figure or 45-75 minutes unless there are multiple signers in which case it might take 15 or more minutes longer.

Older clients (the kind that leave their left blinker on for half an hour in Florida) might need 90 minutes for a signing. They can barely see their pen, so how can they possibly know what they are signing?

Summary
The considerations for how long a package will take to complete should be thought about in this order.

Age
Age determines how long a package will take to complete more than any other factor. Elderly people cannot see well, can’t hold a pen well sometimes, and get very tired. Allow a lot of extra time for Reverse Mortgages, Hospital signings, etc.

Experience
Professional businessmen can get in and out of a signing quickly, unless they make you wait for their busy partner to arrive which might take an additional ninety minutes without waiting time unless you negotiate well.

# of Signers
If you have five signers, you might be there for a while. They will have more bathroom breaks, more showing up late, and if even one doesn’t have proper ID, that throws the whole game off.

# of Pages
A fast signer can get through a long package quickly. But, a “reader” will take forever. The type of sign(er) is more important than the type of sign(ing) as a professional signer can whip through a 300 page loan faster than a nit-picky suspicious “reader” can get through an 80 page signing, especially if they have to call their lender.

Prepared Lender
If the Lender on the loan prepares his borrowers well, the signing will go fast. But, what if you get a Lender who waits until the last minute to fill in the blanks. You will be at the signing over an hour with a Lender like that. I had a best client who never prepared his borrowers well. The money was not bad, but they really took advantage of my time. Most Lenders have a few screws loose, and the Notary is the one who pays for that.

# of Notarizations
I was a fast Notary and could do 11 notarizations for two people = 22 notarizations in less than half an hour. But, it is a lot faster to do one notarization especially if the signer whips out their ID quickly (use a stopwatch for measuring that.)

Ending Joke
Here is a Maine joke for you guys.

TEXAS NOTARY: I once had a signing so big it took me three hours to complete

MAINE NOTARY: A-yup, I once had a printer like that

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January 11, 2017

Interest rates went up 1/4% and will go up twice more.

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:14 am

As of Dec 14th, 2016 Interest rates went up a quarter of a percent. Business is already bad for Notaries and Trump is making it worst by giving Americans the idea that he will make America great again. That means that businesses will be borrowing more and rates will go up. That translates into less Refinances. But, it will get worse twice more in 2017. We might not see fast business for another few years if Trump is successful.

The Notary business does well when others do poorly. When everyone is unemployed and looking for work, more people become Notaries. On the other hand, when things are good and people see a Notary doing a signing at their house, they want to become a Notary too. When the economy is good and interest rates rise, the Notary business does poorly. But, when the economy is bad, then interest rates fall and people can afford a refinance.

On a brighter note, if the economy picks up, then home values will go shooting up and people will have more equity to borrow on.

I remember one New Yorker comic strip where the client is at a marina with his broker looking at the broker’s yacht and asks where his clients’ yachts are. I wonder when we will see the day when Notaries have yachts. Not in 2017, although I might be pleasantly wrong.

I do not try to put much faith in my ability to predict the future. The fact remains that our industry has its ups and downs and you have to be prepared for whatever the market does. This means making sure you are at the top of your game at all times, having multiple certifications, reviews, etc.

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December 31, 2016

Industry slow on all sites

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 1:35 am

I checked web stats in September and October. I thought that 123notary was going downhill. But, our competitors are also going downhill. Everybody’s stats were down about 15-20% in September and October. Then, during the holidays it is normally slow. I’m just hoping that we have a good next year. But, my stock broker told me that interest rates are probably going up based on the rumors that he is hearing.

If interest rates go up, that means less refinances. On the other hand, if rates go up, then if they come down, you will get a rush of refinances all at once which will keep you busy. In the last few years, Notaries have had to do more reverse mortgages and purchases as there are less refinances to go around.

Let’s hope that 2017 is a better year as 2016 was sluggish for 123notary. On a brighter note, all of the new reviews that Notaries are getting is going to have a very positive effect on the popularity of the site, so there is hope!

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