March 2016 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

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March 27, 2016

You know you’re a notary when…

You know you’re a Notary Public when…

(1) You go to a bar and ID the bartender before he has a chance to ID you.
(2) You ID every girl you date even when their high school yearbook is over 18
(3) You like Oreo cookies because they’re embossed.
(4) Your favorite ice cream is from Jen & Sherry’s, Rescinded Rum Raisin
(5) You background screen your golf buddies before going out into the course with them
(6) You have a bumper sticker that says “I’d rather be signing”
(7) You spend so much time with your GPS that you make Siri sign a prenup.
(8) You spend so much time with your GPS that you know all of its most intimate pieces of information such as favorite foods, birthdays, favorite roads, and mother’s maiden name.
(9) You become famous, people ask for your autograph and you’d rather have theirs
(10) Your mailbox and inbox are cluttered by twelve different notary organizations.
(11) Your Jewish son meets a nice Jewish girl and you ask, “Is she a notary?”
(12) Your favorite seafood is squid because it never needs an ink refill.
(13) When you get your parking validated, you rip the stamp out of the person’s hands so you can stamp it yourself.
(14) You comment, “Gee, your hairstyle doesn’t match your ID,” when you meet someone at a bar.
(15) You compliment people on their signatures — “Gee, that’s a lovely cursive.”
(16) You take pawprints of the animals in the neighborhood just in case they get lost.
(17) You spend your spare time last weekend writing a letter to the State of Nevada criticizing them for allowing drivers licenses to be valid for 20 years.
(18) When you go to court (for whatever reason) you correct the bailiff’s Oath wording.
(19) You wear a T-shirt saying, “I’m not your husband’s mistress, I’m the Notary!”
(20) You have an NNA towel that you take to the beach (if such a thing exists)
(21) All guests entering your house must personally appear before you and sign the journal, put a date and time, plus reason for entry.
(22) Your favorite California wine is the Notary Public Cabernet – You’d swear under oath it’s the best vino there is if you weren’t busy slurring your notary verbiage
(23) When your friend asked you, “Can I turn left here?” You respond, “I am not an Attorney and may not answer legal questions or perform loan signings in the state of Georgia. I am just a Notary.”
(24) When you go to cocktail parties and people ask what you do you respond, “Next question.”
(25) When you go to a bar, you always order their signature drinks.
(26) When someone asks how old your young children are, instead of measuring their age in weeks or months, you measure it in fractions of a commission. Oh this one? Judy? Yeah, we got her during my 2nd commission. But, Fred over here we’ve had since before I was commissioned at all. He must be getting old now.
(27) You ask your Jewish friends if they need their kid’s Bar-Mitzvahs Notarized.
(28) If your friend invites you to a party and then calls you to change the venue, you offer to initial the change.
(29) You have a bumper sticker saying — Warning, I brake for Mortgage Brokers.
(30) You have another bumper sticker saying — Notary on Board
(31) You have a happy hour menu with special prices for Jurats.
(32) Your favorite Chinese restaurant has fortune cookies that read — He who backdate live long life, but have short commission.
(33) You have a special credit card that gives double miles if you stay at The Notary Hotel
(34) When you see a girl with a nice tan, you comment that she must have used a lot of toner to get that look.
(35) When you go out for steak you only get certified Angus steak.
(36) When charitable organizations send you 500 labels with your home address on it, you throw them out as you prefer to use a customized stamp.
(36) Your favorite movie was — Honey, I Notarized the Kids.


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March 26, 2016

Signing Companies that hire New Notaries — repost

Filed under: Popular Signing Co. Lists — Tags: , — admin @ 9:04 pm

We posted this in 2013 and then it got buried. So, for all of you new signing agents who don’t know which way to turn. Read this article and then you’ll know! These companies specialize in hiring brand new Notaries, and one of them trained me long time ago!



March 24, 2016

Two guys with the same name; One cashed the other guy’s check!

Imagine your worst nightmare. Someone else with your same name. But, it’s not identity fraud if the person really is you, or at least shares your name. We had a Notary in Alabama and another Notary in Indiana who had this exact situation. I am not sure if their middle initial or middle name is the same, but the first and last were. They were both on the same database for several signing companies. The problem was that the guy in Alabama did a bunch of jobs for several signing companies, and then the guy in Indiana got paid for those jobs — and deposited the checks.

I actually personally know both of these people and remember a conversation I had with one of them three years ago. He thought his bill was too high and kept saying, Jeremy…. Jeremy…. Jeremy…. Jeremy… with this amazing tonality. He got removed from his high position because it was too much trouble to bill him. Now he has a free listing at the bottom of the list. He might not get that many jobs down there, but if he can get paid for the other guy’s jobs in Alabama, I guess it all works out just fine — for the mean time!

In any case, let this be a lesson to be learned. If you have children, and you have one of those standard type names like Jack Smith, or David Rutherford, consider a name change. Either change your last name, or name your children something that nobody else would name their kids such as Bullwinkle, Shakazulu, or Pleiades! Think in the future, and pick a name that is out of this world, or at least out of this constellation!


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March 22, 2016

Notary: Get Thumb Relief

Notary: Get Thumb Relief
For the record: I am not a fan of texting. Nor do I find using that same tiny keyboard much good for sending regular email. So, I hunted for solutions to replace the somewhat necessary use of my Galaxy S5 keyboard to type. I added to my toolkit a Jorno external keyboard. Now, with a quick Bluetooth connection I have a real keyboard in front of me. And, it both folds to being “tiny”, complete with a built in cover / stand (to hold the phone to a nice viewing angle). The Jorno (EZ to Google) also charges via USB with an industry standard (not proprietary) charging port. It works for Apple and Android, cost is reasonable, and in a word is “Precision-eered” = it’s just right.

Of course sometimes it’s not worth the effort to connect the Jorno. A quick “Confirmed” to an appointment is best done on the phone’s keyboard. But, sometimes it is necessary to explain that the notarization of the POA bound for France will probably require an Apostille. That is when I stop at a coffee shop, quickly setup the Jorno; and type in my (usually verbose) reply. If I have the option, I usually prefer email to texting, as the record keeping is more robust. And, on that this installment transitions to dealing with texting when at home / office.

I’m sitting in front of my PC, with a nice Logitech cordless full size keyboard in front of me. Mouse is also wireless, lest I snarl myself. Ding Dong, the sound of an incoming text. It was O so frustrating, having to work the phone keyboard, or set up the Jorno. Why was I being limited to those two choices? I wanted to use the big screen and big keyboard to reply to that text.

The solution was MightyText. After adding the FireFox browser support (works with IE too), lo and behold that text message was on my PC’s screen and I could use my big keyboard to respond! It gets better. I usually like to have a printout of the address I am going to. With the “text message” on the PCs screen, any screen print tool gives me the printout to take with me. No longer must I scribble notes or refer to the phone. There are several other nifty features in MightyText. It will also originate (on the PC) a text message, not just reply to one. You can also access the contact list on the phone to initiate calls and send texts. A “pop up” on the PC screen allows you to send text to incoming callers, or “decline the call”?

The ability to send a text to an incoming caller has a useful aspect. Using a “key generator” for a “canned” reply, a “one click” ad can be sent. I send my name, and contact information. This is most appropriate when they wish to contact me at a later date/time. I use Keyboard Express, and have several “macros” stored so it’s just a press of Ctrl/w to send my tag line, name, and contact info, and, of course my web site is formulated to be clickable:

The software programs mentioned above are not free, they have a truly trivial cost; and do NOT flood me with ads. “Free” programs almost always have ads, and worse; consider you, and your email address – as something they can sell. Pay a few bucks and avoid an avalanche of junk mail.

Thus, it is possible to turn an annoying situation around. Not only around, but use the tools to further market your services and provide real convenience to your prospective clients. But, don’t overdo it. Sending your “blurb” to a wrong number is bad form – you would not want someone to do that to you. There are usually solutions to repetitive annoyances. You have only to research the problem and obtain the solution. Rarely are you alone with a technology annoyance!



March 18, 2016

Shark Tank — 123notary wants to sell 10% of its shares!


First into the tank is the inventor of a directory that will help notaries vastly improve their business.

JB: Hi, Sharks. My name is Jeremy Belmont. And I’m seeking an investment of $500,000 for 10% of my company, How many times have you needed a Notary public, and thought “Damn. Where can I find me a decent Notary Public?” Sharks, your searches are over. With, we get the most serious customers, because we have the best quality notaries. We get 170,000 visits per month. That’s 170,000 more visits per month than Mr. Wonderful makes to the barber.

MR. WONDERFUL: I’d much rather see my money grow than hair.

ROBERT: So walk me through the business model, Jeremy.

JB: We use a lot of social media and search engines to gather up steam, to get good traffic, and we also keep the site well organized. Make sure people have good notary public note sections, reviews. We spend a lot of time making sure people improve their knowledge and pass their certification.

BARBARA: How is that different from other sites?

JB: They don’t put as much attention into the marketing and organization as we do.

LAURIE: Tell us a little about you. How did you get into this line of work?

JB: I started out by being a notary public.

MARK: Good for you, man.

JB: Starting from the ground up is okay as long as you don’t get ground up.

BARBARA: I get a good feeling from you, Jeremy, and I’m going to make you an offer. But I need a little more skin in the game.

MR. WONDERFUL: Hopefully not the skin around your neck.

BARBARA: I wasn’t talking to you, skinhead. I’ll offer you $500,000 for 20% of the company.

MR. WONDERFUL: Ouch. She just cut the value of your company in half.

JB: I appreciate your offer, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to respect the other sharks and hear if anyone else has an offer.

MARK: I like what you’re doing. I like that you started from the ground up. As you know, I own the Dallas Mavericks. And every time they swear to me they won’t blow a shot, I’d like them to swear in front of one of your top-notch notaries, so I’ll tell you what. I’ll go in with Barbara if she’ll have me.

BARBARA: I’ll have you, Mark.


MARK: 500 K, 20%. But you get two sharks. Ten percent each.

JB: Would you be willing to split the difference at 15%?

ROBERT: I’ll take that deal.

JB: Would you agree to take that deal by signing this paper I have one of our top notaries witness?

ROBERT: I’m out.

LAURIE: You never told us. Why do you need the money?

JB: I want to buy an office.

MR. WONDERFUL: Where are you working now, out of your car?

JB: No, I’m working at home. I want to get an office, so I can have my staff all under one roof. It’s hard to stay unified when you’re all working in separate places.

MR. WONDERFUL: You live in your car?

BARBARA: You’re so mean.

JB: I don’t want to rent an office, because I don’t like the fact you can’t open the windows. I want to be able to customize it to my own needs, which includes having windows that actually open. I have a hard time working without oxygen.

MR. WONDERFUL: That makes you an “airhead” for the right reasons. I’m fine with that. Well, Jeremy, I’ll make you an offer. I don’t want any equity. Zero. Zip.

MARK: Here it comes.

MR. WONDERFUL: I want a 2% royalty for every signing you make. And after I make six times my investment back – Poof. I’m gone.

JEREMY: Darn. You’re still here.

LAURIE/BARBARA/MARK: For that putdown alone, we’ll match your offer.

JEREMY: I’m about to say yes in… 1…2…3!


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March 16, 2016

Can you send a loose acknowledgment? You should hear the answers

I asked a Notary the following questions.

Can you send a loose Acknowledgement if the Grant Deed you already Notarized and send it had a smudgy seal?

The Notary said, that yes you could. You just attach it to the Grant Deed.
I replied back that if you attach the certificate to the Grant Deed, that it would no longer be loose. It is kind of like asking if a virgin can be sent in the mail and you say — yes, she just has relations with Tim and then you can send her. If the virgin had relations with Tim she would no longer be a virgin just like the Acknowledgment Certificate on the Grant Deed would no longer be loose if it were attached to the Grant Deed. On a brighter note, if Tim were the only lady that the “virgin” had relations with, at least she would not be considered to be “loose” like the acknowledgment whose final words were, “Baby, I’ll attach myself to any document… anywhere… any time…”

Legal or not?
Many Notaries feel that it is fine to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail. This is actually not legal in most states. Acknowledgments should be attached by a stable to the document they are associated with. If the stamp was smudgy on the initial acknowledgment, some states might allow you to destroy the original acknowledgment and add another non-smudgy one in its place. But, no state will allow there to be two acknowledgments for one Notarization floating around. That is just plain crazy.

California wants Notaries to completely re-do smudgy signings. You would have to go back and visit the signer all over again, get a new signed journal entry, and do the Notarization as if you were doing it for the first time if God forbid — there was a smudge.

The way to handle Acknowledgments with smudges varies from place to place. But, you need to know what the law says so you don’t do something stupid. Most Notaries that I talked to do not have a thorough understanding of the law about this topic.

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March 15, 2016

Do you know how to sign Applications? Is it even legal?

In the old days, Notaries did a lot of Refinance signings. Then after the financial crisis of 2008, there were many changes in the Notary world. There was less work at first, and then new types of work sprouted up in the ashes of the lending crash. The new types of work for Notaries included:

Types of financial products
Purchases, Sales, Construction Loans, Annuities, Structured Settlements, Loan Modifications, Debt Consolidations, Reverse Mortgages, and also Applications. Additionally, there have been more VA, FHA, Jumbo, Conventional, Non-Conventional and other types of financial products.

Ignorance can cost you
The problem is that not all Notaries are familiar with all of these financial products, and ignorance can really cost you. The first problem with inexperience is that you might not know how to price particular Notary jobs. If you are doing signings for the elderly, that can take a lot longer. Reverse Mortgages are normally for older folks and it can take up to two or three hours to get in and out. FHA’s involve much longer packages than good old fashioned Refinances. Then there are loan products that I never saw such as Annuities, Structured Settlements, etc.

Loan Modifications
Loan Modifications were a source of legal concern as many of these packages involved suspected fraud. Many states required Attorneys to be present at the signing of Modifications as well. Perhaps the borrowers were getting scammed, but many Notaires were paid on time by Modification companies.

Construction Loans
I remember signing a few construction loans back in the day. There were more packages, but the signer was a saavy business person who had signed these types of packages many times before. He signed so fast I couldn’t believe it. We were done in twenty minutes! Then, there was a signing for a literary type which was a deconstruction loan — just kidding. In Vegas they have demolition loans — anyone seen one of those?

I cannot comment on whether a Notary can legally assist with applications. That is up to you to research, but many Notaries get large amounts of work in this department and it is good business sense to know how to get this type of package signed!

Your Notes Section
At 123notary, we recommend that you impress the world by telling them not only how many signings you have done, but what types of signings. The longer your list of types of financial products you know how to handle is, the more you will get paid.

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March 9, 2016

The Notary industry is getting more professional

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: , — admin @ 6:52 am

It pleases me to honestly say and claim that the Notary industry is getting more professional. When I call people, I notice that people are answering the phone more professionally. Also, I have an assistant who worked for me five years ago, took time off, and joined me again. She noticed a huge change in how professional people were. But, what do we owe these changes to?

One thing that comes to mind is that the NNA has raised its standards. They are a huge influence in the business. I believe they have required yearly or bi-yearly certification testing for years. However, the new annual background check requirements became a standard during the time that my assistant and I noticed that the industry improved. Although background screening is not the same as Notary education, it weeds out those who aren’t serious about the profession.

Additionally, 123notary (that’s us) published a free educational mini-course on the blog called the 30 point course. I have noticed that when I ask Notaries questions over the phone, they are doing much better these days than they did five years ago. Several years ago the rate of correct answers was below 50% while now it is around 70%. We are still far from perfect as a professional community, but there are so many encouraging signs that things are getting better.

I cannot prove that the NNA or 123notary made the Notary industry suddenly better in the last few years, but we have both raised our standards in particular ways, and that seems have reflected positively on the industry.

Additionally, I am personally evolving. And as I evolve, I begin to see that there are so many factors that make a good signing agent. The components range from following directions well, to being polite, to understanding Notary law, to knowing your way around the documents. There are more factors than those, but I am just beginning to realize how important following directions can be. Unfortunately, most Notaries do not do a good job at following directions. I am considering creating a new program solely to help Notaries master the art of following directions and then testing them on it.

Why all this testing going on? It’s annoying to Notaries and to me as well. It raises the bar, and helps me determine who knows their stuff and who is just faking it. As a directory owner, delivering quality search results to the end user is my main goal and this is one my tools for doing so.


March 8, 2016

The Ones That Got Away

The Ones That Got Away
It happens to all of us. We put time and effort into establishing an assignment, then it goes poof. Did we do something wrong? Possibly. If someone is fishing for the absolute lowest price for the “equivalent” of what you do; that may or may not be you. But the amount of your fee is not the central theme of this installment. It is the non-price issues that will be explored. So, assuming your fee is reasonable to the caller; why did that one get away?

Excluding walk in situations; virtually all of our notary assignments are initiated by phone or email. Some contacts are doomed from the start. Case in point: this evening I had a caller that needed two signatures notarized. It was for a “kiddie fly” (what I call the notarized authorization statement often required from parents for children to leave the USA). Both had good ID. One of the parents would be present; the other was far away. The flight was for 6AM tomorrow. “I have the ID of my partner and you can speak to and see them via picture phone”. Not an option in NY, personal appearance is always required. Add a bit of pressure: “Unless you do this the kid’s vacation with the grandparents will be ruined, we can’t reschedule and the tickets are non-refundable”. Nope.

Today I also had a “got away” that greatly pleased me. The request was from a distant county, with high tolls and heavy traffic. I goofed. I quoted a fee too low for the effort, I’m sure that pleased them greatly. The assignment was to go there, notarize, return to Manhattan, process an Apostille; then bring the completed job back to the distant location. Making it worse, the initial meeting time would have me traveling in the worst part of rush hour. The delivery trip would have been almost as bad. The good news: we had a conceptual agreement that would be confirmed with a follow up call with exact specifications. They never called back! Hooray.

Both of the above, thankfully, were resolved in the initial contact. Sometimes there are many, many contacts that also result in nothing. I’m starting to feel like a car salesman with an indecisive buyer. Unchecked this can go to ridiculous extremes. Some go back and forth, asking one at a time of their many questions. During slack times I have gone along with these charades. One actually constituted over twenty emails. It appeared that the contact was “pumping” me for procedural information and wished to do it themselves. I don’t like that, certainly not a bit at a time.

There are also requests from the land of Oz. These are the ones that ask for the notary to have supernatural powers. Can you be in my office within the next ten minutes? How come you don’t have an office; isn’t every notary supposed to have one open till 11PM? Please prepare the necessary documents for my divorce in Latvia, in both English and Latvian. Why would 25 notarizations cost more than one, you are already here? Can you open your office a few hours early, as I am working the early shift? The bank notary does it for nothing, what’s so special about you?

It’s silly to lament “the ones that got away”. Of course there are exceptional circumstances that require empathy and “over the top” professionalism – but they are rare. We should limit our acceptance to practical assignments; certainly only legal ones. Many have lampooned the low baller; with their tiny offerings. But, equally, perhaps even more important is the amount of effort that you will have to put into the project. Most charge an additional fee to fax. That usually involves a trip home to the scanner, only afterward can it be shipped. Consider all aspects of the request, even if the dollars are high. Will you get out of it more than you put into it?


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March 7, 2016

Notary Notes — the date of your background screening

It is important to get background screened these days. Who you get background screened by matters too. We have heard that the NNA and Sterling background screenings are the most popular with Title companies. But, getting background screened and showing it to the world are two separate things.

123notary has a notes section on the bottom of every listing where Notaries can write about themselves and their qualifications. If they are knowledgeable about various types of loans, they can indicate that in their notes section. Most Notaries indicate that they have been background screened if they purchased that service. However, few Notaries mention the date they were background screened. Remember, background screening is like milk and bananas. They expire. If you don’t know when the issue date of the screening was you won’t know when it expires. Personally, I feel that one year is too short of a period to have to be re-screened. I would prefer if the Notaries could wear a t-shirt explaining their background screening situation with a note at the bottom that says —

“Best if used before 2-28-2017.”

Indicate the issue date of your background screening in your 123notary profile!


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