November 2015 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

November 26, 2015

The Stolen Loan Package

Very rarely do we hear of loan packages getting stolen, but it does happen. One of my assistants was on the phone with a client who told her a horror story. Normally, we think that Fedex drop boxes are for dropping packages. However, if you read our blog article entitled, “Don’t Put the Fedex in the Drop Box” you will know better. Aparantly, the Notary put several packages in various drop boxes. Two made it where they were supposed to go while one got stolen. Someone got into one of the Fedex boxes and stole the contents. We heard that the combination for the drop boxes was the same for drop boxes in particular areas. I heard that after the theft happened, that unique combinations were created for all drop boxes on the same routes, etc. I cannot guarantee that I have my facts correct as this is all one big story I heard from someone — but, it’s an interesting and dramatic story.

Take your Fedexes to staffed locations if you value your career!

You might also like:

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

Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2831

Share
>

November 17, 2015

Filing out your journal before the appointment?

One notary on Linked In wrote about filling in their journal before the appointment. Honestly, there is nothing illegal about this. However, if one of the parties doesn’t show up for the signing, you might have to do a lot of crossing out in your journal which might not look good if you ever get audited. I have not heard of notaries getting audited, but your state could raise its standards any time, so behave as it if could happen.

If you have limited time at a signing, you might be tempted to pre-fill the Acknowledgment forms and journal entries. It is illegal to stamp the certificates before the signer has signed your Notary journal and the document. However, putting the wording in is okay. The problem is that last minute changes do happen regularly. Signings can be postponed until the next day, and if you put the date in, or there is a last minute name variation change, you will not be able to use that form.

Personally, I feel that you should not fill in forms before or after the appointment. It is easier to make career-ruining mistakes if you divide these tasks into two sessions. You are more present at the signing (at least I am) and you should fill in the forms with the signer in front of you. As a Notary, saving a few minutes at the signing is not an important goal. Filling out these Notary certificate forms is generally very quick if you have experience. The main goal for signing agents should be to develop good practices which keep your error rate near zero.

So, my advice is — avoid the possibility of messy situations. Don’t preword your forms or journals. Do it at the time of the notarization. Be safe! You could call this a “Best Practice” or the avoidance of a “Non-Best Practice”

You might also like:

Notary Journals from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8348

Everything you need to know about Notary Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=70

What defines what a signature is?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

Can a notary sign on a different day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22084

Share
>

November 16, 2015

Should travel fees be flat?

Should anything be flat in the world of pricing?

Any notary who has a flat travel fee doesn’t understand that their time is not for free. Sure it is easier to have a flat notary travel fee, but what if a job is scheduled during rush hour, or is far away? You’ll spend all day long for a small travel fee. Keep in mind that most notaries on 123notary are loan signing agents and don’t do non-loan mobile notary work. However, if you want to do regular mobile notary work, there is cash to be made. No waiting for companies to send you checks, no invoicing, no fax backs, and no excuses!

It is easier when you have a flat travel fee for the first 20 miles, or some type of a radius. You could shorten the distance during rush hour to be more fair to yourself if you like. Or just keep it simple. I used to charge $35 travel fee and people would pay it. I learned that others would charge $50 and get it. Customers were desperate and would pay anything if you would just get there and do the job right away.

But, for longer commutes, many notaries don’t have a formula. Some have a mileage rate they stick to. Others just don’t have a plan. Mileage rates are good for highway driving, but not for in-town jobs. 30 miles in an urban area can easily take over an hour and wear down your brakes, while 50 miles on the highway can go by quickly.

In my opinion it’s easier to charge based on estimated time. Your formula will be complicated if you have separate rates based on how many miles, and then compensate if they are in a metro or on the highway, and then another adjustment if it is during rush hour. It is easier to say that the driving will take 75 minutes total for the round trip and that you will charge $50 for that. Your rates are up to you, but this is my suggestion.

Charge a fixed fee for the first 45 minutes of travel for your round trip.
Then charge extra for every additional estimated minute.
If you estimate wrong, then as my mechanic friends say, “eat it” meaning take the loss gracefully.

You might also like:

Best excuses why the signing company didn’t pay their Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1922

How do you push for payment terms?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22590

Share
>

November 13, 2015

Best Virtual Notary Comedy Compilation

Here are some of our more popular comedy themes other than sit-coms which is on another post!

Welcome to the Notary Hotel
Some Notaries stay here their entire commission!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8822

New Notary Apps for the iPhone 7 you’ve never dreamed of!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10977

Affiant – a social media site for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6410

Notary Suicide Hotline
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6995

Tony Soprano Gets Notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14897

Vampire Notaries — 24 hour service
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4094

Notary Ambulance
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15103

Notary Hell — Yeah, but it’s a dry heat!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13196

Notary Hotel 2 – the Sequel
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9887

The Towles Booth
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9456

NotaryMatch.com
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8706

.

Share
>

November 5, 2015

Have you ever been tempted not to go into a borrower’s house?

We are all under pressure to make a living and please our clients. But, sometimes you have to use common sense as well. Notaries are called to do signings regularly. You don’t know the condition of the house or neighborhood until you get there.

If George Carlin were a Notary, he would say that going to notary jobs in decrepid homes makes you feel good twice. When you accept the notary job you say, “I’m making money.” When you open the front door and run for your life you get to feel good a second time and say, “I’m saving my life!”

By the way, how’d you like to be a leftover? If they were taking people out to be shot I wouldn’t mind. I might even volunteer! Sorry, my childhood memories of Carlin’s tape stuck in my brain I guess.

Anyway, we have a story about a notary who knew Carmen. This took place years ago. She went into a house that was so filthy, she contracted a serious bacterial infection and had to be quarantined in the hospital. It was like having Ebola. It was called Legionaire’s disease and it was life threatening.

Other times, the house has rats, or other unclean animals running around. Sometimes it is the humans who give you the creeps. Carmen did a job years ago for some guy with long toe nails. Every time he walked around you would hear the click click click of his toenails.

Don’t feel bad by refusing to go into a house. You might be saving your life, sanity, or well-being. Just Google your nearest Starbucks and request that the signing is done there.

.

You might also like:

The lady and the handwritten will (her house was a complete mess)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3609

Borrowers and their filthy homes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2214

Share
>

November 3, 2015

When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door

Many Notaries just don’t learn to be business-like. You have to get burned a dozen or more times to snap out of it. If you do notarizations at a hospital or for the elderly, they rarely have a current ID. If they do, then they can’t find it. In general, when you do notarizations, you need to verify that the signer has ID. Unfortunately, if you do hospital jobs, the daughter will insist that mom has her ID. When you ask for them to read the ID number to you over the phone they quickly discover that they have no IDea where the ID is. Hmmm. Have them call you back with the serial number and most important — the expiration date. If the expiration date is from 1964 you will not be able to notarize — sorry!

Then, there are the hospital visits that end prematurely because the signer was just drugged by the nurse. It is not legal to notarize someone who doesn’t know which end is up. So, if you notarize for folks in hospitals, tell them that you will cancel the notarization if the signer is drugged or not able to communicate in an intelligent way (or hold a pen.) However, the party involved might not want to pay you after your 45 minute drive since you “didn’t do anything!” But, I drove here you exclaim!

Get your travel fees at the door. Explain when you book the appointment for a hospital, office or jail that you need your travel fee at the door and waiting time. People in Law Offices are never ready on time. They will hold you hostage for two hours without a second thought. They value their own time and not anyone else’s. In fact , their entire business model is based on making everyone else wait for them. So, make them pay for your time.

$40 to $80 travel fee at the door in cash. Sorry, but nine states have restrictions on travel fees which is not constitutional.
Jail and hospital jobs take longer by definition and should have a higher travel fee. Office and home visits are normally fast unless you are dealing with Attorneys who make you wait.
$20 waiting time the minute twenty minutes elapse, and every twenty minutes after before the signatures and ID’s are ready.
$? per signature depending on what your state allows.

So, you walk in the door. Before you see the signer, or any hospital rooms or jail cells you get your $40. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, rather, collect your $40 before you even go in the building. Then, you proceed to wherever you are lead. In a jail, you might have to fill out forms and wait in the waiting room. In a hospital you go up to the room and then there will be a twenty minute conversation about, “How are you feeling, and do you think you are up to sitting up?” The conversation always lasts for at least ten minutes before the topic of the Notary being there and please sit up and sign something starts. The Notary’s time is taken for granted at 90% of hospital Notary jobs which is why you charge a waiting fee. At $1 per minute people will either not hire you, or treat your time (and possibly you) with respect.

In the event that your prison inmate has been transferred, escaped, or is in lock down, you will be happy you got your $40 travel fee. For jails, I recommend charging $80 to $120 travel fee. You might get stood up, and there is a lot that can go wrong. Please read our blog’s other articles on jail signings to be a pro at dealing with cons!

.

You might also like:

Fees at the door misunderstood on Facebook
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2597

Share
>