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June 22, 2017

Jeremy takes his own cert test and got tricked

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 9:05 am

I put a few trick questions in the cert test. I created this years ago and is it hard to follow as there is no spacing between the questions and LONG answers with multiple choice. I got the hard ones right. But, you will never guess which one I got wrong.

How many days does a borrower have to cancel a refinances.

I put 3 days not including Sundays and Holidays. WRONG!!! The correct answer was 3 days not including Sundays and FEDERAL Holidays! Gotcha. I guess I got myself. But, I passed the test in three and a half minutes with only one wrong which is still better than almost all of you guys!

So, the moral of the story is to know your stuff well so you don’t fall for trick questions and so you have time to review your answers.

If you haven’t taken our test yet, arrange time in your calendar to study. You will need several days of an hour or two per day to study. Also, make sure you have a test password. Email us if you don’t have one.

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June 8, 2017

Meritocracy, the enemy of mediocrity

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:37 am

123notary is a meritocracy. The Notaries who do their homework, have vast experience, get the certifications they need, get background screened, and get reviews get exponentially more business.

123notary puts several hundred new Notaries on our site each month. The problem is that those new Notaries rarely have much experience, and won’t spend much time writing a good notes section. These new Notaries don’t need to study more because they already know it all. But, they won’t do well on 123notary unless they put a little more into it.

Unfortunately, 75% of the Notaries on our site have settled for mediocrity. They refuse to pass our test. Many of them have tried multiple times and just can’t. This is your profession. To study a few hours to take a simple quiz is easy stuff. It won’t kill you. The fact that you can’t get through it means you lack study discipline.

To earn merit on 123notary isn’t that hard. You don’t have to go through law school. You don’t have to serve in the military and come back with PTSD. You just study a little, and write a few paragraphs, not to mention get your beloved clients to write reviews about you.

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May 31, 2017

Are Signing Agents more than babysitters with stamps?

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — admin @ 9:49 pm

The world doesn’t seem to respect Notaries or Signing Agents. We are just a formality, and a lowly paid worker who can be kept waiting, neglected, or in some cases not paid. Many Notaries who do loan signings go to the signing only to be kept waiting forever while the borrower reads every page and makes long calls to the Lender.

It is the Lender’s fault that borrowers don’t get the documents until the last minute. Borrowers could read the documents and find questions and errors ahead of time if they had 48 hours notice before the Notary shows up. If we lived in an ideal world, borrowers would be able to see their documents online and check them for issues. The Notary always arrives with a limited time frame and the borrower has to get through a package of 80 to 150 pages in an hour or so. They have never seen the documents and are under a lot of stress. It seems like a big con game where the Notary is the one whose feelings are not considered.

It is our job to babysit people while they read documents? What a waste of our time. If our signing agent profession was taken seriously, we wouldn’t be kept waiting while people read documents. Are $400 per hour Attorneys kept hostage while their client reads their briefs? Perhaps reading with a question and answer session, but not endless waiting time.

The basic problem is that it is too easy to become a Signing Agent, and therefor there are too many people doing it — and mostly people who don’t know what they are doing. That is why we are taken for granted and paid $50 while the Notary fee on the Closing Disclosure says $400. SnapDocs probably makes $15 on it too, which is 30% of what the Notary makes. What is the world coming to?

Just make sure the borrowers get to bed on time, and if there is an emergency, the numbers for the police, fire department and poison control are next to the phone taped to the wall. Oh, and feel free to have orange juice — it’s in the fridge!

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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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May 18, 2017

10 ways Female Notaries can protect themselves

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 10:40 pm

Life as a signing agent is generally very safe. I was a signing agent for seven years without incident. The worst thing that happened to me was being barked at by a little dog whose owners were a bunch of jerks. But, in the history of 123notary.com, there have been some creepy and dangerous things that have happened.

A list of dangerous things that have happened to Notaries:

1. One Notary was pushed down a short flight of stairs by an angry borrower that didn’t like his rate.
2. Another Notary got locked in a house while a borrower was taking a shower.
3. One Notary did a signing for a guy who had a room full of mannequins.
4. On another occasion a signer said, “You will be all alone with me.”
5. One guy had was a hoarder and had no place to sit other than a disconnected toilet in the middle of the room.
6. One signer came out of the house with a gun — however, he was not after the Notary, he was after a pit bull running around the neighborhood.
7. There are borrowers with AK-47’s in their house and weapons of all sorts.
8. Additionally, there are homes that just aren’t safe to go into due to mice, hoarding, bacteria, etc.
9. One of our New York Notaries went to a tenement building in the South Bronx where low-lifes were hanging around and making inappropriate comments to the Notary.
10. Sometimes a signer will get to a signing in the middle of an ice-storm, hurricane, or other bad weather.
11. One signer was invited into a guy’s bedroom to see a picture.

So, as you can see, being a Notary can be hazardous to your health. One was physically injured, but, nobody has been killed. Only two Notaries we have heard of have been sued: one by the Massachusetts Bar Association for doing signings without being an Attorney. The other one got sued because the Lender screwed up and the borrower was suing everybody. The most common problem Notaries face is not getting paid by signing companies. So, research who you work for before you do anything!

So, how can lady Notaries protect themselves in this dangerous world we live in. Here are some ideas!

1. An escape route
When you enter someone’s house. Sit in a place where you have a view of the door and who is coming. Also sit in a place where you have an escape route where you cannot be cornered.

2. Text your address to your hubby
Let your significant other know where you are going to be. Text him/her the address and schedule so they can call the police if you don’t get out of there alive. Keeping in contact with the signing company can also be a way to protect yourself assuming you have a close relationship with their reps. If they are generally unresponsive, then they would not constitute a security feature!

3. No hood after dark
Know your territories and don’t go to bad areas at night. Taking precautions is the most effective form of self-defence!

4. Bad weather is a lot more likely to harm you than bad people. Think twice before going out in an ice storm, or in other really inclement weather as you could get stranded, or in a very dangerous crash. You need to know how to distinguish between unpleasant and dangerous weather.

5. Going to remote areas where you could get lost on long dirt roads or mile long dirt driveways at night is not a great idea. There are rarely street lights in these areas as well. Seasoned Notaries refuse to go to these types of places at night.

6. Learn self-defence.
Women need to know how to get out of choke holds, and how to defend themselves from people who grab them. Do you know how to stomp on someone’s foot who is holding you from behind? Do you know how to elbow someone hard? You probably will never need these skills, but what if you do?

7. Carry a taser.
If you want to temporarily disable a person without harming them too badly, a taser can be the way to go.

8. Carry mace.
You are much more in danger from dogs than from humans. But, in either case, if anyone messes with you, they get a face full of mace!

9. Distress button
Some people have a little button on their person that they can press for distress. This is more something that spies or military would use, but it might be possible to get one. The question is, who will hear the distress signal?

10. Carry a loaded gun.
You can keep it in your car or take it in with you to the signing. But, if you shoot someone, you’ll be in court for a very long time, face jail time, and be in huge trouble. So, think about whether it is worth it or not ahead of time. If you don’t know how to use a gun, you might get yourself in even more danger. Knowing how to shoot is half the battle. Knowing how to get your gun out of your bag or glove compartment before the bad guys get you is the bigger half.

You might also like:

Lady Notaries need to show caution
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17469

I’d rather stop being a Notary than carry a gun
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15896

Notary pushed off stairs by borrower
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1097

Notarizing a child who was abducted
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3239

.

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May 17, 2017

How much pay do you merit as a signing agent?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 10:26 pm

Notaries are on the boards all day long complaining about low-paying signing companies, not getting paid, and fax backs. These are legitimate complaints. My complaint is that most Notaries are so anti-education that they don’t want to pay for our loan signing course, but won’t even study from the materials if they are free! We have lots of free educational materials on our blog that very few people read. So, my question is, how much pay do you merit?

Too many signing agents = low pay
Being a signing agent doesn’t cost much. It is an easy profession to get into. You don’t need to be a citizen, and you don’t need a college degree or even a high-school degree although that would help. You just need to be a resident of your state or in some cases a resident of a neighboring state who doesn’t have a felony conviction. Most states don’t even have a Notary exam. In my opinion there are too many signing agents simply because it is too easy to get into this line of work. If it were harder to get in, those inside would get paid more.

The majority of signing agents aren’t trained well
You don’t need to be an expert to be good as a signing agent. But, you do need to know your basics. Most Notaries do not know signing agent principles, don’t know their documents that well and don’t even understand the basics of Notary law and identifying signers. I don’t see too many Notaries brushing up on their Notary knowledge either. There are a few Notaries who take being at the top of their game seriously, who know their stuff and who are always reading or studying. In my opinion those are the ones who merit high pay, not the rest of the Notaries.

So, what do Notaries merit being paid?

NNA Certified
Only 20% of NNA Certified signers can pass the 123notary exam. So, passing their test doesn’t prove anything to me.

Not 123notary Certified
$50 per signing
$70 with eDocuments
Fax backs are not a bad idea, because an untrained Notary will undoubtedly screw up costing the borrower and lender thousands if they don’t make sure everything got signed correctly. Additionally, since 75-90% of the signing agents in the industry haven’t or can’t pass our certification exam, that constitutes a huge excess of Notaries in the market who have poor skills and therefore do not merit much pay. If the supply of untrained Notaries in proportion to the total were less, then they were merit more due to the rules of supply and demand.

123notary Certified
$80 for a signing
$105 with eDocuments
123notary certified signers represent 25% of the Notaries on 123notary and perhaps only 10% of the Notaries who advertise online in total. Since you are higher skills and there are fewer of you out there, you merit more pay and the time you invest in eDocuments is worth more as well.

Notary2Pro Certified
Notary2Pro’s certification is excellent and we usually recognize it. Since they specialize in training Notaries, they put a little extra care into the whole educational process than other agencies.

123notary Elite Certified
$100+ for a signing
$125-$150 for a signing with eDocuments
Only 2% to 3% of 123notary members are Elite Certified. They represent the cream of the crop in terms of knowledge and study habits. They took a very complicated course from us and passed a demanding exam. Unfortunately, since many companies have developed an assembly line system for dealing with inexperienced signers, the demand for seasoned pros is lower these days. However, for those people who want the best, the best are worth paying for.

What do 123notary signers make in real life?
Putting aside what I feel people should make, a recent poll of our signing agents revealed some interesting information. The respondents to the poll were mostly experienced, so the information they gave me does not represent what beginners are making.

Beginners — $60 to $90 per signing
Not 123notary Certified — $100 average per signing (edocs or not)
123notary Certified — $108 average per signing
123notary Elite Certified — $114 average per signing

Other Factors
How much you make as a signer depends on your connections and how well you present yourself. Notary education represents a big part of how much you get paid. But, how good your communication and business skills are represent an even bigger part. It is hard to put a finger on what good business skills are. But, answering your phone, dressing well, negotiating well, showing up on time and making sure your work gets done correctly are components of basic business skills. Sometimes people with a Real Estate or business background do better in this business than others. Having reviews on your profile, a great notes section, and a company name help your presentation a lot as well.

To sum it up, I cannot say what your work is intrinsically worth. But, if you haven’t proven yourself educationally, have no reviews, refuse to crack a book, and then complain all day about how low your pay is, perhaps you should think about improving yourself so that you merit more pay a few months down the road!

You might also like:

Minimum Wage for Signing Agents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16276

A Notary Union — how would that work?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18878

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May 9, 2017

When do you cut clients?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 7:35 am

Most Notaries either want to get more clients, or don’t want to bother with marketing because they have “enough” clients. Some Notaries have too much work and don’t have time to sleep. All three scenarios are classic cases of mismanagement. Being a Mobile Notary is like having a hotel. Hotels have rooms, you have hours. Both are in limited supply and you never know what type of last minute requests will come in.

Discounts for early booking.
If you have a pricing formula (few Notaries have formulas, but all should) you might consider charging less for people who book in advance and don’t cancel. That way you can plan your day effectively. Waiting for last minute calls is hectic and unpredictable which means you would make less average money in a 24 hour period.

When to cut clients?
If you don’t have enough clients, you are stuck with whomever hires you. If you don’t have enough experience, reviews, or didn’t pass the critical certification exams that people want you to, you won’t get as much business. It is your fault if your business is slow due to your own deficiencies, so do something about it. Cutting clients comes when you are at 80-100% of capacity. A Notary or hotel cannot book at over 100% capacity. If you work 60 hours a week, then your 100% is having all 60 hours booked (and having your notary conference hour/room booked.)

Who to cut?
Instead of refusing service to particular companies, it usually makes more sense to raise their rate. That way you make it worth your while to put up with their nonsense. Companies that are:

1. Inconsiderate — jack their rate up 10%
2. Pay Late — make them pay in advance with paypal (weeds many out)
3. Cancel more than 20% — jack up their rate 20% or have them paypal a non-refundable deposit for part of the costs.
4. Have really long packages — jack up their rate 10%; Long won’t kill you as much as the other problems.
5. Didn’t explain the loan to the borrower enough — jack up 25% (results in long phone calls while you twiddle your thumbs.)
6. Don’t pay enough — jack up according to your formula
7. Fax Backs — charge based on time and resources spent.

Ideally, to have a happy mobile notary service, you need to develop a large enough clientele that you can pick and choose. That way you can get rid of the annoying clients and still have enough left over. Most business these days is low-ball. However, experienced Notaries have been telling me that they have more than enough business paying a reasonable amount.

To have your cake and eat it too, having high paying, easy to work with companies, you need to be the best. So, I encourage you to pay your dues, get more experience, get reviews, certifications, have an amazing notes section, and you will do better. The most important bottom line is that advertising is the seed of business. Once you have developed loyal clients over the years, you will rely less on advertising and more on connections. It takes time and quality work to develop connections who rely on you. So, be patient and keep giving this business your all.

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April 25, 2017

Brush up on your skills and fill in the blanks

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:08 am

Most of you already know how to do loan signing. You know what you are doing or at least you think you do. You must know what you are doing because you’ve been doing this for twenty years. Unfortunately, number of years in business is not proportional to your knowledge.

There are people who read up on all of the blogs, who study their manuals and took many loan signing courses. Some of these people even review their knowledge. Others talk regularly to Escrow and Title workers to brush up on their knowledge. On 123notary, 2% of our members are Elite 123notary Certified. Those are the members who really know their stuff. In fact, their knowledge is so deep, that they know more than five times as much about the business as those who are not 123notary certified.

People who have been “doing this for ten years” usually don’t do too well when I ask them simple notary and signing agent questions. This is why I suggest a brush up course. I know you have already paid for a course. But, brush up anyway.

You can study from our 30 point course at no cost.
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

Then, you can pay us for a password to take our test at anytime. Studying makes for more knowledge than mere experience!

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April 20, 2017

Vague communication is unacceptable

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:16 am

If you are on the phone with someone and you answer their questions in a vague way, that will not make you popular.

1. How many loans have you signed?
Bad Answer: A lot
Wishy-Washy Answer: I’ve been doing this for years
Silly Answer: Oh Gosh
Involved Answer: Let’s see, five years doing oh, about twenty-three loans a month… hmm, about 1500 or so, I guess.
Good Answer: 1543

2. What are your hours of availability?
Bad Answer: I’m flexible
Wishy-Washy Answer: It depends or “Whenever”
Incomplete Answer: I’m available after work
Good Answer: I’m available 10am to 8pm Monday through Friday and from 11am to 6pm on the Weekends.

3. What types of loans do you know how to sign?
Bad Answer: All of them
Rambling Answer: I do Refinances and I did a line of credit yesterday, and I was going to do a Reverse Mortgage but they cancelled. Why do people cancel? And I think I might have done a Sellers, but I’m not really sure.
Good Answer: I have done Refinances, Purchases, Modifications, Reverse Mortgages, Structured Settlements and many other types of loans.

4. Could you describe yourself as a Notary?
Bad Answer: I’m professional, reliable and dependable.
Good Answer: I have been doing Notary work full time for a year. Before that I worked in an animal hospital with very frightened animals. I know how it feels to be in a strange place with strange people and sign strange paperwork. The humans had to sign medical power of attorneys for their pets.

5. What is your radius?
Good Answer: I travel fifty miles for my basic fees and charge $2 per mile radius extra for every additional mile.
Bad Answer: It depends on what you pay? Where is the signing?

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April 19, 2017

Our $7 sale on certification led to very few sales

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:09 am

Notaries complain all day long about how high prices are. Listings are expensive, courses are expensive, and if they’ve taken the NNA course, why should they pay more to take ours?

Well, we had a $7 certification sale and only 15 people made a purchase. It seems that no matter how inexpensive education is, people don’t want it. 123notary certification helps people get a lot more business from 123notary — in fact, more than double. So, why would you resist doing a little studying and paying a little bit to double your incoming calls from our directory?

For those of you who want a free loan signing course, our 30 point course on our blog is free and open to the public without passwords. So, enjoy it!

http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

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