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December 3, 2016

A Notary Union — how would that work?

One Notary wanted a Notary Union. But, would a union help? What would happen? He wanted rates fixed at $150 per signing. It’s not legal to fix rates and $150 is too high.

Contracts
Signing companies would have to sign a contract with the union if they wanted to get some of the better veteran signing agents. Most or many veterans would join the union. The companies that hired union Notaries would only be able to hire union Notaries, and with a long term contract at ridiculous prices. Meanwhile the non-union signing companies would be able to hire anyone who wasn’t a union Notary. The problem here is that Title companies are only willing to pay so much. And if the union had a meeting where they were going to raise their rate to $160 per signing, they would virtually put the signing company out of business.

This is similar to what happened with car manufacturers and manufacturing in the Midwest which moved permanently to China leaving the union guys without a job at all. Unions helped certain Midwesterners and people in other parts of the country make extra money for about two or three decades by artificially controlling market conditions — and then the mother companies discovered a place called Asia and the party was over which led to mass unemployment.

Union Fees
Notaries would have to pay union fees, and go to union meetings. Very few Notaries make it to the NNA annual conference, so how will they make it to meetings? Notaries have so little money already, how will they pay fees? Most are not even full-time?

Corruption
Unions basically give privelege to a few of the workers, but do not help workers as a whole. In Boston in the 1980’s, certain more established classes of workers gained privelege to union jobs while Blacks and Puerto Ricans were generally left out until affirmative action became more prevelant. There is also a lot of power politics going in within unions for control. To me, unions are mafia-like power grabbing organizations which force companies to pay an elite group of workers above market level wages. This leaves those without social favor out of the picture and bankrupts companies in the long run. In the long run unions lead to unemployment, unfairness and misery.

The Solution
So, what is the solution to unfair wages? Markets! Fair and open markets solve all wage related problems. With open markets you get paid what you are worth. The problems the Notaries are facing these days is that there are lots of unskilled people who can do Notary work. They might not do a good job, but they can function with guidance. The skills of highly skilled Notaries are no longer valued like in the old days, and that is why the market hires too many unskilled Notaries and doesn’t pay the worthwhile Notaries enough — at least until signing companies come to their senses.

The Cause of the Problem
Part of the reason this is the case is because there are SO FEW highly skilled and reliable Notaries, that you can’t base your business model on only hiring the best. You might get a few “best” notaries, and the rest will be slouches! That is not a consistent business model. Most Notaries on 123notary just don’t know their documents, don’t know what information is where, and don’t know what to do if there is trouble. Most of our Notaries make a lot of claims of how good they are, but really only 250 Elite Certified Notaries on 123notary are hot stuff in my opinion. Those ultra-experienced and highly educated stampers are worth $150 per signing in most cases. The “regular” 123notary certified Notaries are worth about $100 per signing (in my opinion) and the un-123notary certified Notaries are worth $50. If you don’t know anything and have hardly any experience, why should you be paid much more than minimum wage?

My issue is NOT that Notaries are not paid a decent wage. My issue is that the 250 Elite Certified Notaries on our site who merit a better wage are not usually getting it. As for the uncertified majority, the fact that you get work at all is a miracle. I personally would not hire someone who couldn’t pass my test. My test doesn’t guarantee that you are a great Notary — however, it determines that you are at least worth trying and have potential and know your basics.

If it were up to me, anyone who didn’t pass our elite test wouldn’t be allowed to do any signing agent work. After all, this is a serious profession where you routinely handle half million dollar loans. Why hire someone who is any less than highly qualified for such critical work?

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November 28, 2016

Strategies for efficiency in the Mobile Notary Business

For those of you who are mobile Notaries who want to get ahead, being efficient is half of the game. Here are some strategies that can help you use the most of your time, so you can make more money.

1. Take jobs that are close.
If you are running all the way to the other side of the county to make a lousy $75, you won’t have time to take job offers for closer jobs. Try to manage your distance and charge for it. Time wasted in labor-intensive work takes away from your availability which has a value.

2. Advanced payment
Tired of chasing down your fees? Are you tired of wasting time faxing invoices again and again? You will save a lot of time and grief if you require companies to pay up front. You migth not require all companies to pay up front, but at least ones with spotty track records should. Additionally, companies that use you a lot that you did several jobs for and haven’t gotten paid yet since it has only been a few weeks — you might have a credit limit for them and make them pay up front if they want more than three or four jobs done before you receive payment.

3. Fuel efficient cars
If you drive a car that guzzles your gas, that will eat into your profits. If you think that’s a problem now, think about ten years from now. Gas is more likely to be more expensive than less, unless China and India disappear from the face of the earth. With the rate of cancer in China, they just might disappear, but don’t hold your breath on that one.

4. Faster printers
Do you waste time waiting for your cheap printer to print stacks of documents? Perhaps you should invest in a really fast printer if you are committed to this industry. If you can print a set of documents in three or four minutes, that is fast. Each time you print two sets, you might save ten minutes. That adds up.

5. Faster eDocs
If you work for companies that send documents fast and don’t keep you waiting, you will save big amounts of time. The slow companies need to be charged extra, and unknown companies need to build a track record with you before you trust them. Not having to wait three hours for edocuments is actually a big deal. Waiting cuts into your time you will need for other customers, many of which will call at the last minute.

6. Know thy Fedex stations
If you know where all the Fedex stations are in your general area, you’ll know the fastest route to the nearest Fedex no matter where you are.

7. Mobile Printing
Instead of having to come all the way home to print, why not print on the road? Imagine all the time you’ll save. We’ve written several articles on mobile offices over the years. See if you can find those articles (good luck — they’re buried deep.)

8. Confirm the signing
Lots of time is wasted when you go to a Notary job only to find that people aren’t ready, don’t have proper ID, or didn’t ask their wife to come too. If you confirm and make sure everybody’s wife and ID are in order, your appointment will go more smoothly and you won’t have too many evenings ruined by a lack of preparation.

9. Shorter packages
If you know which banks have shorter packages, you can charge less for those. That way you get in and out of appointments fast.

10. Pray to the signing Gods
If you pray that your signers will sign fast, you’ll get in and out of appointments quickly. I said a similar prayer, but in a very different circumstance. I had to go meditate at a place that closed their gardens at 5pm. I prayed that they would not kick me out at 5pm. My prayer came true — and this was the only time I’ve been there out of dozens of times they let me stay so late. Unfortunatley, I got locked in and had to beg the nuns to let me go. If they hadn’t come so quickly, I would have had to pray to the nun Gods that the nuns would come. Prayer is tiring work!

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November 27, 2016

The Notary and the Paypal Hold

Filed under: General Articles,Popular on Facebook (A little),Popular on Linked In — Tags: — admin @ 11:13 pm

Most of our customers make orders using 123epayment.com or talk to Carmen. Whenever people order through Carmen, we never have trouble with those orders. Carmen talks people through the transactions and tell them every detail about what they need to be aware about. The problem is when people order from Paypal.

We have been accepting Paypal transactions for over ten years now. Most transactions go through just fine. But, there are issues that pop up every month or two.

1. Vacation — If I’m on vacation and a stranger orders a course via Paypal, I will only be informed if I check my email. When I’m on vacation, I check my orders at 123epayment.com at least once in four days. But, I sometimes don’t go into my gmail for security reasons. I don’t want to get hacked by using a public computer. Sometimes people will create a claim or a dispute on their Paypal order because I am behind schedule processing their transaction.

2. Missing information — Most people who order from Paypal have a company name on the transaction and not a personal name. I look people up in my system by personal names. I can often track the email to their account, but not always if they use a different email. I often have to ask people what they purchased and what their n# is. Paypal has a NOTES section where you can write who you are, what you purchased, the name of the ecourse, the level of the position, etc. Most people choose not to inform me and make me guess or ask what they purchased. If everybody did this we would have to rename them PayNpal as they would be a Payn in the butt to use as a result of their clients (Not Paypal’s fault.)

3. Immediate Response Required — Somebody ordered a renewal from me on Paypal. I processed the renewal right away. The next day they sent me an email. I took more than 24 hours to respond to the email, so they filed a hold on the Paypal transaction. What a pain! I told the person that I answer emails daily, but I don’t sit 24 hours a day by my email in case someone emails me. I have many tasks to do, and their task is not the only task I have to do all day. Some customers think they are the only customer in the world. I take care of people as fast as I can, but conflicting tasks and limited time makes it hard. Even when I’m in town, I do not answer all emails within 24 hours, only most.

4. Not asking questions first — Some people buy something when they don’t know what they are buying. They also don’t tell me in the Paypal notes what they are buying. This results in a long email discussion going back and forth creating a long string. It is easier if people just talk to Carmen before buying something. She is an expert and can help.

Summary
The bottom line is — if you order from us via Paypal, we prefer that you are an existing customer. It is better that you are renewing something existing rather than doing a new purchase. It is excellent if you source your n#, name, and level of listing that you are renewing or the name of the ecourse. That way I know what you are getting and we have it in writing the first time. Also, it is better if you email me and ask for instructions for what to put in the Paypal transaction. That way we get it right the first time.

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November 26, 2016

I felt like I was being used (Snapdocs assignment)

Another Notary worked for Snapdocs and had an emotional reaction after the fact. She got one of those low-ball assignments, took it, and then complained she felt like she was being used. If you don’t like working for below market rates, nobody is putting a gun to your head! This new signer was concerned about wear and tear on her car, ink, paper, gas, etc. The bottom line here is that anyone who uses you is using you no matter the price. You sell your services for money. The question is, do you know the value of your time and do you know the itemization of your expenses for various types of jobs?

There is no set value on your time, so you have to create your own value. If you don’t know your value, how will you accept or reject jobs. For newbies, the value of getting work under your belt is much more than the value of your dignity. An inexperienced Notary in my book is not worth much. If you have less than 1000 signings and no certifications, I personally wouldn’t use you for anything. If you have 5000 signings and three certifications, then you become valuable as long as you have a good track record.

SIGNING CO: Would you do this modification for $100?

NOTARY: I will not – I have morals

SIGNING CO: How about $1,000,000?

NOTARY: Well, okay…

SIGNING CO: How about $150

NOTARY: What kind of Notary do you think I am?

SIGNING CO: We’ve already determined that, we’re just haggling over the price.

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Do you compare yourself with others on the 123notary search results
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What is a high spot on 123notary worth?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16720

The state of Notary advertising in 2016
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16738

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November 15, 2016

How to spot fake ID at a notarization

Most Notaries study Notary law. But, do we keep handbooks that are up to date about spotting fake ID’s? Perhaps we should . Our primary task as a Notary is not to make people feel good, and is not to get the job done either. It is to identify signers and make sure that fraud doesn’t take place. It is better to say “no” rather than to get a Notary job done wrong — hence the name “no”–tary. Otherwise we would be yestaries and the world would go down the tubes.

ID Handbooks
The NNA and other vendors have books going over every state’s identification documents. They can tell you about distinguishing features, new watermarks, and other telltale signs that the ID is genuine.

Jeremy’s Solution — an online ID database
Personally, I think there should be a computer system to let the Notary look you up on a Federal or state database — but, that’s just me.

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Things to look for one the ID

(1) Physical Description
Sometimes the physical description doesn’t match the signer. With ladies changing their hairstyle frequently, it is hard to tell their identity.

(2) Mispellings
Then, there could be misspellings in the name or a wrong name variation.

(3) Tampering
Obvious signs of tampering are almost a guarantee of a fake ID. I saw one of those once and only once.

(4) Watermarks
Finally watermarks are used in identification documents and currency to prove authenticity. It is possible, but hard for a fraud to replicate an authentic watermark. In China I’m sure they’ll figure it out as faking things is their specialty. But, for the rest of us it would not be so easy.

(5) Lack of raised lettering
Many of the newer ID’s have raised lettering. However, without a guidebook, you won’t know which states and which identification years of issue have raised letters.

(6) What’s your sign?
Ask the signer their sign. If they are using a fake ID with wrong DOB it will be very difficult for them to immediately recite their sign. You can also ask for their zip code to spot a fraud.

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Most Notaries do not inspect ID’s carefully. They just record the information in their journal. Unless something fake is jumping out at them, they will not notice that something is wrong. It pays to get a handbook and become and expert. After all, the whole point of being a Notary is to deter fraud. In my opinion, each state’s Notary division should require all Notaries to be experts at spotting fake ID’s in addition to other critical related skills. Maybe one day technology and training will improve.

Smokey bear says — say no to forest fires. Notary Jer says — say no to fake notary identifications — if you can spot them.

You might also like:

Seven error free ways to identify a signer
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15288

Notarized document expired identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8294

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November 7, 2016

Which is more important? Doing a notary job or…

Most Notaries are creatures of habit. They do what they are accustomed to doing without thinking about what is more important. Those who get ahead in life have priorities and do the most important thing as fast as they can whether its customary or not.

Which is more important?
Notary Training
Doing a Notary Job
Getting a review
Taking jobs from individuals
Getting Paid
Facebook

In real life we have to do all of these things, but in what proportion? As far as your Notary career goes, the most amount of time will be spent doing actual jobs. However, man cannot live by notary jobs alone. You also need to fit in other things.

Study before you practice
At the beginning of your Notary career, many Notaries want to study as little as possible and jump into work. Sounds like me when I was 14, but I’ve grown up since then and believe in the art of knowing what you are doing and mastering my trade. Have you grown up? I did over 30 hours of study to become a notary and another 30 hours of study to become a loan signing agent. Compared to the time I spent in college it was nothing. But, being diligent about learning is important as the Notary profession requires a certain amount of knowledge and due diligence.

Too busy to get a review?
Getting reviews is something that most Notaries overlook because they are “too busy.” Asking for a review is worth roughly $83 per minute of your time. If you are “too busy.” Ask yourself what the value per minute of the tasks you are doing that make you too busy are. You will find that the work you are doing is worth 40 cents per minute that you are doing at the expense of $83. Which would you rather have after four minutes of work, $1.60 or $333? Most Notaries choose the $1.60 which is why they were born poor and will die poor if they get paid at all. The fact is that the value of reviews is like a goose that lives for three years and lays golden eggs. Every review you get will be read by hundreds of people, will affect their hiring decisions, and will make you popular for three years. You need new reviews as the older ones lose their impact on the buyers hiring decision.

A great strategy
Taking jobs from individuals when you normally take only Title company work is a very important strategy. Title companies are stingy about writing reviews. However, if you do a great job working for individuals, they will be a lot easier to get a review from. It is worth it from a strategical point of view to take jobs from individuals needing an Affidavit or Contract notarized just for the possibility of getting a review.

Don’t forget to send bills
Getting paid is also critical. Most Notaries don’t understand that being a Notary is not only about doing Notary work. It is about background screening companies before you take work from them to make sure they are reputable. That extra two minutes you spend background screening could save you from a nightmare down the road. So, why not spend two minutes background screening a company, spend more time writing threatening letters for payment, and spend a few minutes getting reviews.

Facebook & blogs
Facebook is a great way to read articles about the Notary profession, and to make yourself visible as a Notary if you attract local people. Reading blogs is a great way to augment your knowledge as well. It is not the same as formal study, but you can learn a lot and get a few laughs too.

Summary
If you are a Notary who spends 100% of your professional time doing Notary work, you will fail miserably. Instead, spend 3% of your time banging on the doors of title companies, signing companies, hospitals, and attorneys letting them know you are there. Spend 1% of your time asking for reviews. That 1% will get you 100% more business. Lose the 1%, lose the 100% — the math is simple. Allowing more time to send bills and threatening letters to signing companies who are late paying you will pay off too. That extra one hour per month or 1% of your timecould get you a few hundred back. Background screening companies a few minutes per company could save you from endless nightmares not getting paid or being jerked around. Working for individuals is the best way to get reviews and get paid cash — so, why would you not go out of your way to do this as a business strategy. Finally, those who keep in touch with what’s going on in the industry via Facebook, or blogs stay more informed, appear more knowledgeable and feel like more of a part of the industry. So, spend only 90% of your time doing actual Notary work and use the other 10% for activities that have exponential value!

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You might also like:

You lose $37.50 each time you don’t answer the phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16562

Signing companies hire you based on how good you are, NOT how good you claim to be
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16556

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October 25, 2016

Do you feel disenchanted with the Notary signing agent profession?

Are you feeling let down, disenchanted, hopeless, or broken hearted about the signing agent profession? Are the big Notary agencies not supporting you in what you feel you need to stay afloat and do well? To be truthful, the industry has changed, and there are more Notaries, less jobs, and lower pay. But, the basic skills you need as a signing agent have not changed. You need a good knowledge of your documents, Notary law, and basic scheduling and business skills.

Don’t depend on one Notary agency for all of your knowledge or support. Rather, create a resource pool. Choose several companies to be your support system. One might have a good hotline while the other might be better at email support. You might like one or two of the forums out there to research signing company reviews. You might like the courses from a particular agency, or perhaps you might want to take two or three signing agent courses to become solid in your knowledge (recommended.)

Here are our recommendations for the best Notary resources

123notary
FORUM — Look up signing company reviews while you are talking to them on your iphone using 123notary.com/s
Advertising — 123notary is the premiere spot for notary advertising, especially for highly experienced Notaries.
Courses — 123notary has easy to understand and afforable signing agent courses
Resources — visit our resource page to find our demand letter from hell which will get you paid — almost guaranteed.

NNA
Excellent for supplies
Great technical hotline
Highly Recommended Background Checks
more…

Notary2Pro
Their signing agent course produces very respectable results as the knowledge level of their graduates is excellent.

SnapDocs
Great for beginners. The average knowledge level on this site is low and so is the pay. But, if you are a beginner, this set up is suitable for you in the mean time.

NotaryRotary
Advertising — this is a great site to advertise your Notary services for new and experienced signing agents alike.
Forum — their forum has more cumulative data than any other, although the volume slowed down last year
Supplies — E&O insurance and Notary Suppies are also offered by NotaryRotary

That’s all for now. So, use the resources available to you and I think you’ll find it’s more than enough to keep you in great shape!

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The Notary industry is getting more professional
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15987

My interpretation of how the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

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October 24, 2016

3 reasons you need a Notary website

As Notaries, people are always looking for ways to get more work. Unfortunately, some of those ways are time consuming, expensive or demeaning. As a Notary, you don’t actually need a website. However, a well designed and informative web site will make you look good, and will get you more work. There are several ways how it will get you more work.

1. If you link your website to directory listings on 123notary, NotaryRotary, Snapdocs, etc., people browsing for Notaries will compare you to the other Notaries and will fancy you if you have a nice looking site. That makes you look more serious than the competition — unless you have a horrible looking webpage (not web site) that hasn’t been updated in nine years in which case it might make you look worse.

2. If your website is optimized for local keywords such as Pasadena Notary, Notary Pasadena, Notary in Pasadena, etc., you might attract a lot of traffic from the web.

3. You can put your website link on your business card and get some traffic. That way people will be able to get an impression about you and your service before calling you.

However, websites are very expensive to create, host and maintain. So, unless you are married to the Notary profession, I recommend against a website.

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Do you appear more professional if you have a website?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16710

Websites from some of our best Notaries!
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October 22, 2016

2016 Companies That Will Hire New Signing Agents

Here are some companies that typically hire new notaries. We published a similar list a few years ago and removed companies that have slowed down and added SnapDocs as they are a source of revenue to newer Notaries. As a new notary, your primary responsibility to yourself is to get some experience under your belt. Don’t be too picky about how much you pay or how pleasant it is to work for some of these companies. The outfits that typically will hire newbies low-ball, require fax-backs, and micromanage you to the point of exasperation. But, tolerate this, because that is how you pay your dues and get your experience. Once you have 1000 signings under your belt, the higher paying Title companies will start to take you more seriously.

Companies that hire new signing agents:

Countrywide
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=155&Countrywide+Home+Loans+%2F+Full+Spectrum

Express Notary
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1066&Express+Notary

FASS
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=725&First+American+Signature+Services

Global Notary
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=762&Global+Notary

Loan-Closers.com
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2293

Mortgage Connect
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=814&Mortgage+Connect

Nations Direct
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=101&Nations+Direct

Notary Direct
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=113&Notary+Direct

SnapDocs — a directory specializing in new signing agents
https://www.snapdocs.com/

Skye Closings
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=798&Skye+Closings

The Closer, LLC
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=973&The+Closer%2C+LLC

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October 20, 2016

Lady Notaries need to show caution

I just talked to one female Notary. Several signers have asked her to go to the bedroom with them. She doesn’t understand this because she is in her fifties. She always sits in a 45 degree angle when presenting the paperwork. You can see who’s coming and who is not that way. You can’t predict what’s in someone’s head. You can also present your paperwork in order that way. This lady carries a gun wherever she goes.

I walked in. We sat there at the table, saw his ID, and proceeded. The documents were about fifty sheets. We finished the signing. He was acting a little strange. The guy wanted me to look at his pictures on the wall. It took 20 minutes just to get to the signing. He showed a picture of a pretty Indian girl. Then he wanted to show me a bigger picture in his bedroom. We talked into the hallway, and he was a big man.

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I’d rather stop being a Notary than carry a gun
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Can I bring my 12 year old to a signing?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15885

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