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November 7, 2020

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

Originally published in 2016

Are you a Notary? Do you want to join some Notary organizations? There are many of them out there. Some help educate Notaries while others have helplines or hotlines. Some sell Notary supplies while others help Notaries advertise their services.

123notary.com
http://www.123notary.com/
123notary.com has been around since 1999 and helps Notaries advertise their Mobile Notary services online. Title, Escrow, Signing Companies, Attorneys and individuals love using 123notary to find some of the best trained and most experienced Notaries anywhere. 123notary also sells loan signing courses and has a very entertaining and informative blog. Check out their list of signing companies with reviews to see who you should and shouldn’t be working for.

National Notary Association
https://www.nationalnotary.org/
The NNA has been around since 1957 as a California Notary Association to help Notaries with educational resources and tools. In 1964 it became a National Association. NNA sells Notary supplies, errors & omissions insurance, education to help pass the Notary exam and become a signing agent, andmore… Advertise your signing agent services on signingagent.com

Notary Rotary
http://www.notaryrotary.com
Notary Rotary has been around for decades and offers a very potent way for Notaries to advertise their services. They also sell seals, and E&O insurance. Signing Agents can place an add and get found based on how close they are to the zip code being searched for.

SnapDocs
http://www.snapdocs.com/
This organization makes it easy to find newer Notaries who work for cheap as well as providing a system for downloading documents. More seasoned Notaries are complaining that SnapDocs is contributing to the lowering of fees in the industry. We recommend this organization for newer Notaries who want to get their foot in the door.

American Society of Notaries
http://www.notaries.org/
ASN offers a phoneline for technical support just in case Notaries have a question while on the job. They also sell Notary supplies and more.

American Association of Notaries
http://www.notarypublicstamps.com
Buy your stamps from the AAN!

Notary Café
https://notarycafe.com/
Notary Cafe is a smaller directory of Notaries that seems to specialize in the more serious Notaries. We do not have records to show how popular their directory has been in the last few years, but they have been popular for a long time.

Pennsylvania Association of Notaries
https://www.notary.org/
Need help becoming a Notary in Pennsylvania? Try this organization.

California Association of Notaries
http://www.calnotaries.com/
This is yet another Notary directory.

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You might also like:

Snapdocs — see our feed for posts about this company
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

The Towles Booth (pronounced Tolls)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9456

Why the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

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January 17, 2017

Notary vs. Signing Agent

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Popular on Twitter,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 12:21 am

We write about this topic every so often. It is so basic and so critical that all new Notaries should understand. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans become Notaries. As Notaries they can perform tasks such as Acknowledging signatures, performing Jurats, administering Oaths, and other tasks which might be state specific. Notaries can hold their heads up high as their function is to identify signers, keep good records (in most states at least) and deter or prevent fraud. But, that is only if they are doing their job correctly — and most states do not vet their Notaries well enough to know the difference.

What is a Notary?
(1) A Notary Public is a state appointed official that is authorized to perform particular Notary functions. All states allow Notaries to perform Acknowledgments, Jurats, and Oaths, while some states allow Notaries to act as an official witness, safety box opener, proof of execution, protests, take Depositions, and more.

(2) A Notary receives a formal certificate of commission from their state, and a commission number.

(3) Many states require a Notary to have an official notary seal that has the Notary’s name, commission number, expiration date, state andcounty.

(4) Many states require the Notary to keep a bound and sequential official journal of notarial acts.

To be short, a Notary can perform certain basic Notary functions that their state allows them to function. Their state offers them a formal certificate of commission, and normally allows them to get one or two official Notary seals with their name, commission number, expiration date, city and state, etc. Notaries use prescribed state specific wording for particular Notary acts and that wording can be used on loose certificates that they can purchase from businesses who sell Notary supplies. A Notary is a public official, although most Notaries don’t understand that on an emotional level. They are appointed by their state as an official who will uphold (or at least are supposed to) the laws of their state at all costs.

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Would you accept a signing without a confirmation?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22588

Notary Public General Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20075

10 rules for negotiating notary fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19620

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October 19, 2016

Notary Butt Dialing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — admin @ 10:34 pm

Notary Butt Dialing – No Ifs ands or Butts

When it comes to Notary butt dialing, there are no ifs, ands, or butts. One Notary had a cell phone with a waterproof case. His acupuncturist spilled massage oil all over his last phone, ruining it. So, the Notary bought a waterproof case that gradually disintegrated over time to the point where the lock screen button in the plastic fell off. So, the Notary couldn’t lock his phone without sticking a key through the plastic to the phone’s actual metal button – and putting the metal to the metal.

So, just once, this Notary decided not to lock the phone as he put it in his pocket. He put it on the page with the 16 icons and thought — what are the chances the iphone will have the green phone icon pressed? That’s one out of 16, and if it does, what are the chances it will actually call someone. After, two minutes, the phone had already called two people this Notary actually really wanted to talk to whom he hadn’t talked to in years. He was starting to trust his butt more than his fingers!

But, what if you butt-dialed an actual signing company? Would they think that the Notary was an actual butt-head? Would the two of them butt heads together?

At least the notary wasn’t just sitting on his butt like the feeling you get from lenders who are late in sending documents. This notary’s butt was being proactive! And rather than risk a traffic ticket or his life while talking into his cell while driving, this notary could butt-dial and drive at the same time. Driver’s seats should come equipped with built-in cell phones. Rear-view mirrors, welcome your new modern cousin – rear-sensitive seats!

If smartphones can let you digitally sign for things, it might not be long before we see smartphones for butt-dialing clients. By flexing the precise posterior muscle, maybe someday they’ll be able to sign documents in remote locations. Face to face notary encounters, make way for butt cheek to butt cheek encounters.

And now for my reBUTTal: One notary accidentally butt-dialing someone he might want to do business with is like hitting the lottery – the odds are against it. The stories of desperate gamblers who think otherwise too often REAR their ugly heads. END of story. Now if you’ll excuse me, my butt is calling.

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You might also like:

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

Dumb and Dumberer for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14102

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September 29, 2016

Notary Aptitude Test 2

(1) Notary Stamp is to Notary Seal what Attest is to:
(a) A test and a verbal verification (b) swearing and stating (c) The 123notary signing agent online test and proof (d) Oath and affirmation.

(2) Document Date is to Signing Date what Match.com date is to:
(a) Ditching date (b) Marriage date (c) Engagement date (d) Backdate (e) No relation

(3) Backdating is to signing what _____________ is to lying about your age.
(a) Match.com profiles (b) rescission date (c) Notary Applications (if you’re under 18 or not a US citizen) (d) notarizing an acknowledgment an hour before your signing appointment.

(4) Name on Title is to Name on a Document as name on Birth Certificate is to:
(a) Name on your ID (b) Your street aliases (c) Death Certificate (d) Mother’s maiden name

(5) Jurat is to Oath, what Oath is to:
(a) Quaker Oaths (b) Oath written text (c) Swearing (d) Attest

(6) Original document is to wet ink signature as commission paperwork is to:
(a) Secretary of State’s seal (b) name of your state (c) Felony conviction (d) Commission impossible

(7) Venue is to State what State is to:
(a) Secretary of State (b) City (c) County (d) Zip code

(8) Witness is to bank robbery what Notary act is to:
(a) Acknowledgment (b) Jurat (c) Protest (d) Unmarked Bills

(9) Subpoena is to testify what credible witness is to:
(a) Busy-body (b) Bank Robber (c) Subscribing Witness (d) Identify

(10) Middle initial is to document what ___________ is to identification
(a) Name (b) Middle Name (c) Matching or longer (d) Name on Title

(11) Digital signature is to an eSigning what a/an ________________ is to the future of the Notary profession.
(a) eDocuments (b) Notary (c) eNotary (d) 123notary

(12) SnapDocs is to the Notary Profession what Walmart is to:
(a) eBay (b) Retail (c) Amazon (d) Life

ANSWERS:

1. Note to readers, seal has two meanings. It could mean a stamp, or a signature). Answer (a) is correct even though it is part joke and part true.

2. (e) is the correct answer as the document date is arbitrary and could be any date, and has no relation to the signing date although it is commonly the same date as the signing date by convention.

3. (a) Match.com profiles typically have women who lie about their age and roll back the years about five to ten years. But, do men also backdate their age?

4. The name on Title is your official name that the property is registered to which carries a certain amount of official merit to it and permenance just like the name on your birth certificate. However, people do change their names after the fact that could lead to different names on the document or ID. Correct answer is (a).

5. (c) Swearing is a part of the Oath just like an Oath is a part of the Jurat process.

6-12 Figure it out on your own! That was fun!

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You might also like:

Notary Aptitude Test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15853

Two & a Half Notaries: Detering Notary Fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10452

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September 27, 2016

The Nose Best Notary

OK, I’ll admit it – I cheated. Of course the title should use the word “knows”. But, there seems to be a problem in the notary community. A disproportionate percentage of notaries feel they are a “cut above” the rest of the field. Not a tiny cut, but by a wide margin – knowledge wise. Many of us seem to consider ourselves the best – not “one of the best” but “the ultimate notary”, why?

I’ll venture a guess. It’s that the vast majority work for themselves. They answer to no one. Thus, they do their own “self evaluations” and, surprise – bask with pride at their reflected image. Wake up; you have a lot to learn. The world, security wise, is changing rapidly. The old TIL and HUD have been usurped by a CD. Are you hoping I will define that – sorry – I will not – you are supposed to know what a CD is. OK, you aced it – but how aware are you of its components?

The problem is manifested in more than knowledge of esoteric loan package forms. It goes to the heart of being a responsible public official. The county sheriff would not be in office long if they could not recognize one of the 10 Most Wanted if they passed them on the street. Similarly, you need to keep up on changing components that affect your working environment. A good start would be to review the Current Edition of your governing regulations. Things have changed since you took your notary exam. You swore to uphold those rules, and must maintain your knowledge.

Take participation in the http://123notary.com forum. Many are the posts that offer their own opinion – believing that theirs is the only right path. Few are the posts that acknowledge that someone with a superior understanding offered the right approach to the situation. It’s an interesting exercise to explore the web sites of those self proclaimed luminaries. I have done precisely that. What I found was gushing self praise and absurd proclamations. We can be at your location in 10 minutes. We know every doorman in the city. Our notarizations are much better than any other. Blah, blah, blah.

How do you throttle back your ego? One good method is to submit to standardized testing. This site offers a few varieties, as to some others. Of course there is your state notary manual, do you understand every word. Not each sentence by rote – but each concept by its essence. Did you ever call upon your licensing authority to explain a “fuzzy” concept? Or, did you just assume “I don’t need to know that. Here in NY State notaries must view “Adequate Proof”. The term is not further defined in the Notary manual. I spoke at length to them to derive their intended meaning.

Nobody is the knows best notary. Some think they are. The ones that come close are open minded and willing to learn. The foundation is, of course, your governing laws. But, it is in the application of those parameters that we exhibit our judgment; and our “wisdom”. For your business to be viable, you need to meet your clients’ needs and desires. Sometimes creative approaches, based entirely on what is completely proper are required. Given a complex situation there are those who will claim the request illegal; usually a safe choice. But, others with a greater breadth of knowledge can derive a totally legal and possible innovative solution. It is those whose clients feel that their notary “is the best notary”.

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September 20, 2016

Their Signature

Their Signature

Let’s use, as a working definition of Their Signature; “somebody’s name written by him or her in a characteristic way”. Long ago, about a decade, I was often asked to provide “legible” signatures that matched the name signing. I tried that a few times, mostly with dismal failure. More often than not, the signature was totally illegible – more like artwork than written script handwriting.

Now let’s go back a lot further in the past, about two thousand years. Commercial transactions were common then as they are now. Most did not read or write, they made their mark. It was the seal of the Notary, who knew the affiant that validated the “mark”. Nothing has really changed. It is still the Notary who is supporting the validity of the signature.

They can sign many ways, with a pen, with a brush (artsy?), using their hands, feet, knees or mouth to hold the instrument of signing. Keep in mind the Americans with Disabilities Act. We must make reasonable accommodation to all who qualify for our seal. The signature does not have to be the same as, or even similar to the one on their ie: driver license. A lost limb or even both arms does not preclude notarization. Pen held in mouth is fine, the signature will be vastly different – but that really does not matter. Many elderly people have hands that shake, but their minds remain crystal clear.

Their “signature”, however written is the second aspect of accepting the Notary Oath. The first part is communicating a “yes” to the Oath; the signature is the written agreement. As mentioned – often the signature does not match the ID. Of course the picture must. There is one signature that (at least in NY State) must match – and that one is mine. My signature is recorded with the county clerk and for it to be authenticated; my signature on the document must be the same as my officially recorded one. Thus my signature cannot change.

To me what really counts is their printed name somewhere to indicate exactly who is being notarized. If it’s in my “loose ack” – I get to print the name. Sometimes it’s not that clear on the document, that is when I ask them to print their name under their signature. Notaries must take care to delimit their notarization to those actually given the oath and ID checked. When there are “other” places for signature, I often add “by affiant name” to the “sworn to and subscribed”.

Signatures vary greatly. I have seen perfectly formed cursive handwriting, squiggles and minor works of art with flourishes. Many bear no relation whatsoever to the name. Sometimes the same thing is on the ID, sometimes not. It’s my job to determine who they are, not to critique how they write their name. It would be so much more “absolute” if a DNA sample were to be added. Some think a thumbprint would be best; but not everyone has a thumb.

So, I am not a handwriting nanny. When the instructions mandate “clearly written” I tell the affiant what they “require” – and accept what they do. Usually I ask for their routine, standard signature “the way you would sign a check”. In my experience people object to being told “how to sign”. The signature, stamp and seal of the Notary makes whatever it is “Kosher”.

You might also like:

Your signature needs work
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15051

How to get something notarized that doesn’t have a signature
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4695

Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

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August 2, 2016

How to find a Notary mentor

Many new Notaries want to set up shop and get going. The problem is that they don’t know how. They haven’t mastered their Notary skills and have no idea how to complete a signing or even get a signing. They need a mentor — and fast! But, how do you find a mentor? Actually, there are various types of mentors, and that is something more critical to understand than anything else.

You can get an actual human being who lives near you who can be your mentor. If you are lucky, they will let you tag along at signings and explain things to you. You could also find someone far away who can coach you. The problem is that most Notaries who are good at Notary work might not be good at teaching Notary work, and even if they are, they might not care about teaching you.

Those who are too close to you might see you as competition. We’ve had many stories on 123notary about how a mentor trained someone new out of the goodness of their heart. The next thing you know, that new Notary steals all (or a good portion) of their mentor’s clients and puts their mentor out of business. It has happened many times.

So, what type of mentors should you be looking for? We suggest finding many sources of knowledge and help, as you cannot depend fully on any particular source.

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1. Hotlines
NNA has an amazing hotline. They are great at helping out with technical questions about ID’s, credible witnesses, out of state forms, international issues, and more. 123notary does not have a hotline, but people routinely email us asking us questions and we are happy to help. Some people call Carmen at 123notary, and she is very seasoned in all aspects of the Notary and Signing Agent process.

2. Local Mentors
Get one in the next county over so you are not in direct competition with them. Mentors know that you might cut into their market share, so they will be unlikely to help you if you are within 30 miles. To be safe, you can consider 50 miles. If you can go out on a few signings with them, that might really help out as you will have hands on experience with the documents and procedure. Just make sure you do your studying first before you go out on an assignment, so you’ll have some knowledge about the documents. Seeing the documents a lot is different from having a solid knowledge about what the salient features of the documents. So, don’t fool yourself into a false sense of confidence.

3. Far away mentors
If you can find someone who is great at answering questions over the phone, but is too far away to actually visit. 123notary has many Elite Certified Notaries throughout the nation who are excellent. I think that NNA used to have an official list of mentors that was nationwide. I am not able to find that list on the web anymore. But, if you want to mentor, just post a reply to this article.

4. Courses
Many Notaries want a mentor when they haven’t actually studied. There is no substitute for book knowledge. It is hard to find a good mentor unless they like you. But, it is easy to find a book. 123notary offers loan signing courses that will get you started in about two weeks. You can take our online test and be officially 123notary certified which counts for a lot when advertising on our site. You will learn all the pertinent terms, all about the basic documents, signing procedures, marketing, and more.

5. Blogs
Many Notaries have caught on to the idea that they can get free knowledge and advice by reading blogs. NNA and 123notary have excellent blogs with great technical and marketing information in addition to entertaining stories, and more. To use the 123notary blog effectively, it is better that you understand how the categories work. Here are a few categories we recommend:

The 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

Loan Signing 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=2053

Hospital & Jail Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3251

How to get work & Who is getting work
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3264

Best Humorous Posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3241

Technical & Legal
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3244

We also have many subcategories under Marketing, Humor, Popular Posts, types of documents, and more.

6. Companies that micromanage
I learned more about loan signing from Nation’s Direct than from anywhere else. They taught me the ropes and were there on the phone to get me through my first 100 signings. They don’t pay that much, and Notaries complain that they micromanage, but they are a great place for newbies to get started in my experience. We have a list of companies that hire beginners. Those companies might tell you more about loan signing than any “mentor.”

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Companies that hire NEW signing agents!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7059

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July 13, 2016

Are you a Yes-tary or No-tary?

It was a month or so ago. I was asking Notaries Notary questions about what you can and cannot do. Unfortunately, Notaries often don’t take Notary rules seriously or have just never been adequately trained. The “more, but not less rule” is no good unless you understand which direction the rule runs. The ID can have more than the document, but 40% of Notaries think that it is okay if the name to be notarized on the document has more meat on it than the name on the identification. Good God! My point here, is that the whole point of having a Notary is to verify people’s identity who signed documents. The Notary profession helps to deter and prevent fraud as a result. But, if Notaries do whatever, and don’t follow state rules, then the purpose of having a Notary is defeated or undermined.

To put it shortly, the entire point of a Notary is to say No. If you feel uncomfortable or awkward saying No, then you should not become a Notary. In many Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures it is considered bad manners to say no, so they say, maybe, or later, or perhaps next time, or make up some excuse for not saying yes. Since they can’t outright say no, they beat around the bush. But, as a Notary, you might be facilitating fraud by not saying no. So, get used to saying no. Stand in front of the mirror and say, “No…. NO…. NO!!!!” Do it the way Joey from Friends practices saying, “How you doin’?” in front of the mirror dozens of times mastering his facial expression and verbal inflections. Take pride in saying no. However, for those Notaries that don’t like saying no, worry not! There is a solution. Become a Yes-tary.

But, what do Yes-taries do? Yestaries say yes to illegal requests. Unfortunately they cannot be commissioned and don’t have a stamp. But, maybe they should have an unofficial Yestary Public stamp just to make their job more comedically offiicial. What would be the duties of a Yestary? If someone wants to be Notarized as Mickey Mouse but lacks sufficient ID, you say, YES. If someone claims to be Kim Jong Un and looks Korean enough to you, say yes and stamp his document. If a Taiwanese client wants you to stamp a loose piece of paper because their government requires such a Yestary act, you can do it as a Yestary, but not as a Notary. Because a Notary’s job is to say No!

But, what if they won’t pay your travel fee if you say no? It is actually illegal in many states for a Notary to notarize a document in which they have a beneficial or financial interest. I feel that if the Notary will not get paid a travel fee if they refuse to notarize, then they now do have a beneficial interest of a sort and would be willing to break the law so they would get paid. Get your travel fee up front before you see the signers or the documents or the identifications. That way if a signer isn’t there, or if the name on the ID is not matching, or some other problem, you can forfeit your Notary fee, but still get paid for your trip. Remember, your job is not to please the client, but to uphold the law even if that means hurting someone’s feelings by saying no. Hurting someone’s feelings is better than going to court as a result of facilitating fraud or having your commission revoked!

One last note, it has been reported that some Yestaries have gotten a rare intestinal disease from saying yes too much to illegal requests. Some call it an illness, I call it karmic retrobution. The disease is called “yesentery” and comes from ingesting unclean Notary requests. If you get this disease, just consult your doctor and take some prescribed antibiotics. Good luck!

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You might also like:

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

ID: a growing problem
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15074

Credible witnesses: The process explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16695

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July 11, 2016

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner

We wrote a similar article on this aspect of Notary advertising a few years ago. I think it was very helpful. But, let me structure this article as a quick tips article with itemized things to add to your notes section. The basic idea is that if you have no experience, you cannot talk about what you’ve already done. So, talk about what you are willing to do, where you go, or what training you have had.

Don’t write three paragraphs telling us how many years of experience your mentor has otherwise we’ll stop looking at your profile and start looking at your mentor’s profile. Remember, you are selling yourself, not your mentor.

Don’t write six paragraphs telling us about your Real Estate career as nobody is hiring you as a Realtor on 123notary.com. That is something to write a single line about LOWER in your notes.

Don’t waste space telling us how you respect the integrity of the transaction and how confidentiality of the transaction is of utmost importance. That tells us nothing except that you are claiming not to be a conman.

Don’t tell us how important it is to hire a Notary who is experienced and knowledgable. You think the browsers don’t already know this? They have hired tens of thousands of Notaries and are hiring Notaries daily. They know what is important, the question is, are you the kind of Notary they want?

Don’t write two paragraphs about how you are a new mom. People will assume that when they call you they’ll hear screaming in the background. Focus on Notary work.

Don’t use adjectives. people who claim to be reliable, responsible, experienced, professional, accurate, etc., are people who have nothing good to say about themselves who compensate by using a bunch of unverifiable claims about themselves which are usually not true. Experts who hire Notaries see through the nonsense faster than you can say, “skip my listing.” So, don’t use adjectives unless you can back them up with real information. So, what should you write about?

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BASICS

Basic information should go at the top of your notes section. If you bury the most critical information where nobody can find it, they won’t hire you. Pertinent knowledge, radius, and special services are what people need to know about first. Don’t bury this in a long paragraph about how wonderful you are!

Last Minute Signings — It is sometimes hard to find someone who accepts signings at the last minute. If you do, that really helps.

Hours — Letting the world know how early you start and how late you finish can really help.

Languages — Fluent in Thai? Let them know. There is more demand for Spanish and Vietnamese though based on word on the street. Also let us know if you are fluent, or only conversational. If you cannot get through a signing with your language, save us the trouble and don’t mention it.

Hospitals & Jails — Most Notaries aren’t experienced with these types of signings which are more demanding. Let people know if you do.

100 mile Radius — Most Notaries are wishy-washy about how far they go. They have three paragraphs of information about exceptions to the rule like if their coffee wasn’t good that morning, they won’t go too far into Morgan County, but if you pay extra they might consider Strantom County. Just list your radius and your counties without all of the hype please. Nobody has time for this.

Counties Covered — List as many counties as you can if you want to get lots of jobs. If you cover counties that nobody else does, even if it is a long drive, you might get a lot of new clients as a result.

Loans & Documents — List all types of documents or loans you know how to sign including types of loans. Most Notaries say they are familiar with most legal documents. This is vague. It is better to list the top several legal documents you see a lot of.

Catchy Phrase — Sometimes a catchy phrase about yourself, your business or service can win the game. Often it is a one-liner that is artfully phrased and catches people’s attention. Don’t bore them with fluff, dazzle them with class!

About You — What is unique about your service or about you that the reader might want to hear?

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EXPERIENCE

All of us have some type of experience. Mortgage and Escrow are the most valuable. Real Estate experience doesn’t translate into being a better Notary, and doesn’t make you that familiar with the documents despite what you may think or claim. However, you can mention it in a one liner. Mention other experience, but don’t write paragraphs on it. Keep it short. Military and Police experience are actually very helpful if you are a signer. That way you can keep the peace and use real bullet points in your notes sections!

Mortgage Experience — List any pertinent past experience, particularly if it is in Mortgage, Escrow, or Legal. Don’t be vague about the experience either. If you say you have experience in the legal industry we’ll assume you were a janitor or secretary. If you were a legal assistant, then say so.

Unrelated Experience — You can mention what you used to do for a living. It might be impressive if you were a bank president or dictator of a small country.

Military — If you were in the military, say so. That might prove that you are careful or on time.

Police — If you were in the police, that proves you know how to deal with difficult situations and crazy people. Mention it.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The bottom of your notes section should list all of your “other” information in an easy to read format. Some people use bullet points, and others just list it clearly so it is easy to read. Do NOT put this information in a long jumbled paragraph please.

Certifications — Are you NNA certified, Notary2Pro Certified? Say so

Memberships — Are you an NNA or AAN member? What about PAN or NotaryCafe? List all memberships.

E&O Insurance — Tell us how much you have. Some people only have $15,000 while some have a million.

Equipment— Is your printer a specific brand? Is it dual or triple tray? Does it print 200 pages per minute? Say so.

Closing Phrase — Thanks for visiting my profile on 123notary. I hope to hear from you soon. But, put it in your own words so it sounds a little more unique.

Uniqueness — Uniquess really counts. People who hire Notaries have read through thousands of profiles. If yours is unique and factual, you will stand out in a very positive way as most other people’s notes are jumbled, disorganized, and have no interesting information. Additionally, many of the others ramble on and on about how they value integrity which is a useless and unverifiable claim that is a waste of the readers time. If you waste the readers time, they are statistically less likely to use you. Give them unique and factual information and win the game. Many beginners do quite well on 123notary, especially those who express themselves well.

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June 9, 2016

A comprehensive guide to Notary Pricing

It’s been a long time since I have written an article on pricing, so I feel it is high time! Most Notaries want to have a fixed fee and make tons of money. This is not always possible. The Notary market is a market with lots of little ups and down that a smart Notary needs to constantly adjust to. It’s smarter to have systems and formulas worked out ahead of time so you know how to react to these fluctuations.

There are fast days and slow days, monthly highs and lows, as well as changes in the market that happen over the years. There are also changes in who is competing with you in your area at a particular time. The key is to be flexible and learn how to charge accordingly. Here is how I would set my prices.

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1. Time Involved
A smart Notary should charge based on how much time is spent. Notary jobs during rush hour involve more time. Jobs that involve printing more than the average amount of pages should be billed accordingly. Smart Notaries ask who the Lender or Bank is. This is because the name of the Lender can determine with some accuracy the size of the package. Signing companies lie about package sizes which is why smart Notaries ask. Additionally, there are many loan types and some require more time. Refinances are faster, while Construction Loans are longer but have more professional and businesslike signers. Reverse Mortgages, VA, and FHA take more time. Piggy Backs are double signings and have double the pages and double the Notary work. Time for doing a signing is based on these components:

Negotiating Time — Some companies are easy and pleasant to deal with. If it is fast getting assignments faxed or emailed to you and easy to confirm with the borrower, take notes of that time. It can differ from company to company.

Printing Time — Notaries should charge by the page for e-documents. Printing takes time, and often involves waiting for documents to be ready which can be hours if you work with irresponsible companies.

Driving Time –Factor in how much time it takes to get from point A to B. Keep notes so you’ll know how to charge for jobs to particular cities in the future.

Signing time — Some Lenders have loans that get signed quickly. Some Lenders answer the phone and get situations handled quickly while others don’t.

Loan Type Influences Time Spent — VA & FHA signings are just plain longer. Reverse Mortgages are for the elderly who are less businesslike and might need a lot more time to sign. Power of Attorney signings are the most likely not to fund, so take that into consideration. Piggy Back loans are double the signatures and double the notarizations. But, once everyone has sat down and you have your journal out, it goes quickly.

Fax Back Time — Fax Backs are a pain in the rear, but they serve a purpose. Signing companies can hire newbies and get away with it, because the signing company can check your work before it gets sent back to Title. They no longer need experienced Notaries. However, fax backs take time, so if your time is worth something, charge for each page faxed back.

Cancellation Rate Time Waste — Factor cancellation rate and billing time into the price.

Billing Time — Some companies pay on the first request while others require hounding.

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2. Expenses Itemized

Printing Documents — is not only time consuming but costs money. You are using up paper, toner, cartridges, ink, and using up your time to restock what you used up. Charge accordingly.

Car Expenses — Driving a car is not free. Tires wear down, brakes wear out, plus you need to change the oil, filters, shocks, transmission, and more. So, in addition to time, try to work a mileage fee into your pricing in addition to charging for time.

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3. Track Record & Risk of Not Getting Paid

Late Documents — If the signing company or title company was late getting your edocuments in the past, make a note of that. Keep detailed records of each company. Record how fast they paid you on each job. Recalculate their average days to payment every month just to keep records updated. Also, keep records for how late they are sending edocuments or how incompetent they are about keeping their borrowers informed. If you are dealing with a flake, charge more.

Unknown PartiesIf you accept a job from an unknown lender, or one with a bad reputation online, you might charge more, or make them pay up front. You should always charge extra when there is any type of risk involved. . These signings assume risk. Some of the risk is spending an unpredictable amount of time or not getting paid at all.

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4. Payment Terms
If a Lender will only pay you if the loan funds, you need to charge more. Some Lenders will not pay your printing fee if the job gets cancelled, so make sure you know what the terms of the agreement are. Some will pay part of a travel fee if the job gets cancelled mid-way. However, the signing company booked your time, and you can’t give your leftover time to some other company at the last minute just because they needed to cancel. You have to commit your time to them, but do you make companies commit to paying you?

I personally feel that Notaries should set their own terms. You are not a bank, and it is not your job to gamble on whether or not a loan funds. You should be paid before, or within 72 hours of a signing in my opinion. But, you can make your own terms. Beginners have to accept the terms dictated to them, but old pros can make their own terms and get away with it. However, if you do accept terms that limit your ability to guarantee payment, charge a lot more.

Recommended Reading:
Issues to consider when creating a signing agent services contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

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5. Travel Fees for Non Loan Signing Work
Most Notaries charge $25 to $50 travel fee, and more if it is for jails or hospitals. You also charge by the signature on top of the travel fee. Charge based on how valuable your time is worth. If you are desperate for work, charge less. If your time is limited, charge more. If you have lots of other things to do, you have less supply of time so you can charge more — this is a strategy to consider — so stay busy my friends.

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6. Jails & Hospital Notary Jobs
Charge more for jails and hospitals because these are the jobs where there is a lot more that can go wrong. You also will not be dealing with the cream of the crop. You can get stood up at a jail. Inmates do not have ID and your credible witness or ID carrier might not show up. ID’s might be expired. Hospital patients are often drugged making it impossible to notarize them. Half of them can’t even hold a pen, so how can they possibly sign? Consider this when deciding upon your jail & hospital travel fees which should be $60 to $150 depending on how greedy you are! Some Notaries are afraid to go to jails, but it is safe, and that is where you can make money fast. Just make sure you have them read their ID to you over the phone including expiration date or you will be very sorry. Also, get your travel fee in cash at the door BEFORE you see the signer. They might not be available or might not want to sign! Be prepared!

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7. General Pricing Models
Keep in mind that a few years ago, Notaries could get paid a lot more. With Snapdocs and lower demand, companies can pay a lot less and get away with it.

Situations where you charge more or less
(1) Charge less during the first 17 days of the month. It is slower, and you have more time.
(2) Charge more during the end of the month. Additionally, you can charge more if you schedule a job several days in advance because you might miss out on a better offer. Additionally, jobs scheduled in advance in my day had a 25% cancellation rate which will wreak havoc on your schedule.
(3) Charge less if you are having a slow day and someone needs a last minute signing. If you are doing nothing, why not sell that time.
(4) eSignings have less physical pages, but often take longer because the signer and their spouse need to take turns looking at the computer screen not to mention the chance of delays due to technical issues.
(5) Charge extra if there are three or more signers on a loan.
(6) Charge more if the company cancels a lot
(7) Charge less if a company has a good track record and is easy and fast to deal with — or pleasant!
(8.) Charge more if there are lots of signatures to notarize.

Pricing Recommendations For Beginners. 0-500 signings

Basic Signing $60-$80
E-Documents: $10-$25 extra per double set or 7 cents per page
Pickups: $25 extra
Dropoffs: $20 extra — there is less waiting time during dropoffs
Reverse Mortgages: $100
Piggy Backs: $100
Regular Notary Work Travel Fee: $30 if within 30 minutes
Jail & Hospitals: $50

Pricing Recommendations for Intermediates. 500-3000 signings
Basic Signing: $80-$120; E-Documents: $20-$40 or 10 cents per page; Pickups: $30 extra; Dropoffs: $25 extra; Reverse Mortgages: $125; Piggy Backs: $125; Regular Travel Fee: $40 if within 30 miles; Jails & Hospitals: $70

When to charge in advance
You are not a bank and you should not offer endless credit to any signing company. Some of them will string you along and not pay you or play games with payments making it unclear which job they are paying for. Decide in advance how much credit to give each company and keep records. If you have a six month track record with a company and they pay you on time, you might offer them credit for six jobs. For all others, do one or two jobs, but don’t do any more until you get paid. It is not a bad idea to charge up front with Paypal, but few companies will pay a beginner up front. Ken, our seasoned Notary always gets paid up front, but he is a pro.

(1) New Companies — do one job, but don’t do a second until you get paid for the first unless they have a stellar record for payment on the forums.
(2) Some Track Record — do two jobs, but don’t do a third until you get paid for the first.
(3) Good Track Record — Watch out: good companies can turn bad if they experience financial difficulties or labor shortages. Do not offer credit for more than six jobs no matter what. A good track record should be over at least six months.

Don’t complain
There are many Notaries who have gone out of business because there is too much competition for too few jobs. If you are getting paid, getting experience, and staying afloat, you are ahead of the game. Many Notaries have this idea that they should get $125 per signing ever time. Unfortunately, it no longer works like this. So, take what you can get and just do your best! If you get more experience, you will be worth more in the long run. Additionally, the market could have an upswing at any time, so keep a positive thought.

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