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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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You might also like:

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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You might also like:

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16074

Unique Phrases from the Ninja Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

2014 Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

2011 Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1043

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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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You might also like:

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8914

A great attitude gets most of the jobs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6493

Notary Marketing 102’s guide to negotiating Notary fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

Notary Public 102’s guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19781

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May 3, 2016

How to Chase Away Clients

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:01 am

How to Chase Away Clients
Through the years, by accident, inattention or just plain stupidity – I have chased away some clients. We all have. Miztakes are a normal part of the human existence. Show me someone who claims to never make mistakes; I will show you a delusional individual. Probably the most offensive mistakes are those resulting in a lack of judgment. The perpetrator knows what they are doing – it’s just that their “bright idea” is offensive to the recipient of their “wisdom”.

I will start out with the antics of a foolish notary that I personally know. And, know enough to avoid that one both personally and in business efforts. This klutz had the understanding that doctors often need notaries (true enough) to process their statements as to the health of a patient. Typically required for adoptions, this process is routine. Thus, the mentally inept one starts properly enough; by defining a market that has a recurring need. That’s good thinking make no mistake about this: fools can think clearly – they just draw the wrong action conclusions.

With the idea of filling the rather restricted cranial cavity, the notary proceeds to develop some advertising. Self praise is piled high, claims to be anywhere in moments, having the lowest fees in town and other nonsense that rambles on and on. What started out as a one page “flyer” morphs into a densely worded manifesto; with an astonishing 5 page length! With the masterpiece ready, self absorption and a lack of respect for others kicks in mightily.

Having the usual unlimited local calling plan, this proceeds to FAX the five pages of rubbish to every doctor, hospital, and clinic within 20 miles! Not bothering to keep records, it is sent multiple times (due to the way they listed their business) to an unfortunate, but now highly vocal few. Of course the ones who received it only once are also outraged. For the next few days the most common phrase in the medical community is “I got the same junk too”. Blacklisted!

The notary did what was thought to be good for the notary. Totally lacking was any consideration for the recipient. The notary quickly became very well known, but in a very negative way. That notary’s notoriety will last forever, possibly extending beyond medical. Mouse brain would have been better off mailing a pencil with an ad. That probably would not be very effective, but it would not create flaming animosity.

Yesterday, I visited, as requested one of my regulars. The location is about 5 minutes away. The owner immediately told me he forgot to reschedule; as the document had not arrived. It was due to arrive today. He told me that today, my second visit, my fee would be double; to pay for my efforts yesterday. I asked for, and received 1.5 of my regular fee; cutting the prior day in half. He asked why I was not accepting 2X my fee. Because it feels right, was my reply.

It’s easy to lose a client and hard to acquire one. That’s a Marketing 101 truism. To chase them away simply put yourself on their side of the transaction. Would you be happy or sad? Picture the humble = symbol. Is the deal = in benefit for both sides? Only a win win arrangement will result in repeat business. Some strive for >= (greater than equal), good for you; not so good for them. Charging $1000 for a 3AM emergency notarization might get the cash; to be followed by a lawsuit for price gouging. Follow your head and your heart, not just your wallet.

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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

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April 11, 2016

Minimum wage for Notaries

I was thinking about this yesterday. Notaries would be much more happy if there was some sort of a minimum wage. I remember Ben Carson claimed that there should be a separate minimum wage for people fresh out of high school or college otherwise they might never get hired. Personally, I think the government should stay out of wage setting as it creates artificial market situations which might make it too expensive to do business. If someone is sluggish, minimum wage might be more than they merit. And when you combine minimum wage with taxes, insurance, unemployment, and the rest, it might lead many to outsource their work overseas!

Our average Notary averages $105 per signing.
But, you can’t outsource Notary work overseas — at least not yet. Notaries would feel like they were being treated better if they were paid a fair wage. On the other hand, Notaries surveyed half a year ago were averaging about $105 per signing which is not bad at all. Just because you get bad offers doesn’t mean that you actually do signings for $60. It is sort of like looking at the asking prices for houses on the market. The asking price and the sale price are often very different and will give you a distorted view of the market.

Do beginners have merit?
In any case, I feel that beginner Notaries with no experience and no 123notary certification do not merit a minimum wage. Most of the Notaries I test by phone do not know their documents, signing terminology and additionally do even worse when I ask them simple Notary questions. The fact is that we have a lot of unqualified people out there who feel they are worth a lot. In addition to minimum wage for Notaries, I feel there should be minimum standards as well. I feel that our new 30 point test should be the standard, and a particular test result such as a 14 or 15 should be the minimum to be hired at all.

What should qualified Notaries make?
A Notary who has signed 400 loans (and an prove it with journals) and who has passed the 30 point test with an adequate score in my opinion is entitled to some sort of standardized minimum wage. I feel that

$60 per signing of 5-99 pages
$65 per signing of 100-125 pages
$70 per signing of 126-150 pages
$80 per signing of 150+ pages
10 cents per page for printing
50 cents per page for fax backs

I feel that a Notary with good test scores who has signed 4000 or more loans deserves a lot more than this, but the market can determine their value. Just because you test well, doesn’t mean you show up on time, well dressed and with a good attitude.

What do you think a fair minimum wage for qualified Notaries should be? What about for not so qualified Notaries?

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March 6, 2016

Should you send the Fedex right away?

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Twitter — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:41 am

I remember out old blog which was a favorite entitled, “Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box.” This article should be entitled, “Put the Fedex in the Staffed Station’s drop box as fast as possible.”

My question that I asked many Notaries was…

A Notary did a signing for Joe. Joe signed all of the documents except for the Flood Disclosure which he wouldn’t sign simply because his lender Chad never got back to him about the document. Joe and the Notary waited for 20 minutes with no return call. So, the Notary loaded up the documents and put it in the Fedex. The Notary is driving away and it is about noon-ish. Should the Notary take the Fedex straight to the Fedex station or wait?

Answer #1.
Most Notaries claim that it is good to hold on to the package just in case the Lender calls. But, if the Lender calls, do you really have time to go all the way back to the borrower’s house to sign a single document and stay on the phone for half an hour? Don’t you have anything else to do with your life? The Lender never gave you instructions to wait, so why wait? Additionally, there are many reasons why waiting could sabotage the loan. 123notary has heard of various situations where a Notary forgot to come to an appointment or drop a package. These include:

(a) The Notary got another rush job at the last minute and forgot all about dropping the package off.
(b) The Notary’s six year old daughter hit her head and he had to come rushing home and forgot all about the Fedex.
(c) The Notary got hit by a car and was so shaken up he forgot to send the package.

In real life, unexpected situations come up more than you would expect. If that Fedex doesn’t get sent out, the borrower could lose his loan and his lock. There is no reason to keep the package. The document that was not signed was NOT A NOTARIZED document. The borrower can handle it on his own.

Answer #2
Drop it off as fast as possible.
The Lender might not like that you didn’t wait. But, why should you let him waste your time unless he is paying for your time. It is the Lender’s fault for not explaining the document to the signer before the signing. It is the signer’s fault for not signing the document. Why are you holding yourself hostage for the convenience of people who sabotaged their own signing? They are not paying you for your delay. Go on and get to your next item of business and let these nitwits deal with their own problem. The borrower’s copies will have a copy of the disclosure or the Lender can email another copy.

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January 6, 2016

Notary Jury Duty

I was just at Jury duty. I was lucky. I was called in to a nine day case. I sat on the bench and listened to each one of eighteen individuals introduce themselves one by one. The Attorneys asked everyone questions. After several hours, I was asked if I had any negative experiences with the Police and I said that I had. I was released shortly after that. I am not at liberty to discuss the case, so I won’t.

It seems that Jury duty supports the rights of Americans. The rights of particular Americans — namely Defendants. However, it doesn’t support the rights of the Jury members who are virtual hostages. I think that Jurors who are self-employed, medical professionals, or other busy people should have the option to serve at night so that we don’t have to sacrifice our work. Additionally, I feel that instead of serving one day or one trial, we should serve a particular number of days each four year period.

Say for instance that you are super busy at work, and then Jury duty hijacks you and forces you to serve on a 12 day trial. They will no longer accept hardship excuses from most people in California. When you come into Jury duty you can’t plan your life. You don’t know if you will get called into service at all during your designated week. And if you are required to show up, will you sit in that big room all daylong to daydream or will you get picked on a murder trial that will last six months? It is not fair to the Juror.

My suggestion is have 10 days of service every 4 years. If your service is above 10 days because a trial drags on, you should get paid $150 per day regardless of what you normally earn. We are putting in our time as slaves for the benefit of the defendants. They should pay if they use more of our time than they deserve. Can you imagine using 12 Jurors plus back ups day after day for a long drawn out case? It almost happened to me. You could do your ten days all at once, or you could go trial by trial and spread it out over several years. You should also be able to choose day or night, or weekend court. Jury duty should be for the convenience of the Jurors,not for the convenience of the Judge and Attorneys who are getting paid a huge salary. The Jurors get nothing!

But, what if you were a Notary sitting in that big room turning tricks while waiting? It is not illegal, and you could make a fortune! Have your clients come to you. Just hope to God you don’t get called, otherwise no notary income for you for potentially many days.

ATTORNEY: Now, Mr. Swengsly, do you consider the duties of a live in maid to be something they should be accountable 24 hours a day, or less than that?

NOTARY: Ummm, just as long as they keep the joint clean. Can you hold on a second, I think my client is at the door.

JUDGE: Order in the court. What is going on?

NOTARY: Oh, I thought I could have my notary client meet me here. They need an Affidavit signed. It will only take a minute.

JUDGE: Are you trying to show contempt of court?

NOTARY: No your honor, I’m trying not to! (whispering) sign right here… perfect. Raise your right hand…

JUDGE: I’ve never seen anything like this. You are relieved of Jury duty effective this instant.

NOTARY: Oh great. Just one second. Do you solmenly swear to…

JUDGE: OUT!!!!

CLIENT: Let’s continue this in the snack bar next to the metal detector.

JUDGE: In my 35 years as a Judge I have never seen anything like this — BAILIFF!!!

In short, I feel that Jury duty is a valuable American tradition and system. However, I feel that Jurors are treated like dispensable slaves and treated with complete disregard as far as their personal lives go. Your life is put on hold indefinitely for someone else’s court case. Can’t they hire retired people or college kids on summer break for the long ones?

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January 1, 2016

Notary aptitude test

Have you ever had your aptitude tested as a Notary? Other than the various certification tests? Well, maybe it’s about time that you did! But, what types of questions would be asked? Maybe it would be like the NSAT. The Notary SAT’s.

(1) Stamp is to Fraud as Pen is to:
(a) omission (b) signature (c) backdating (d) ink

(2) Name on document is to Name on ID as Name on signature is to:
(a) Name on AKA statement (b) Name on occupancy statement (c) Fees on the HUD (d) Name on Notary Seal

(3) Date of Rescision is to Signature Date as New Year’s Eve is to:
(a) A really bad hangover (b) A party that was “rescinded” early (c) Midnight of the 4th (d) The 3rd (e) Confession where the borrower says, “Forgive me Father, for I have rescinded.”

(4) The Signature date is to the Rescission Date what Backdating is to:
(a) The Document Date (b) The Transaction Date (c) the day before the Signature Date (d) The eDocument Date

(5) Notary is to Signing Agent what Mortgage Broker is to:
(a) Escrow Agent (b) Title Agent (c) Settlement Agent (d) A really good Mortgage Broker who actually knows what he/she is doing

(6) A Notary who doesn’t cross out the he/she/they is to Mortgage Broker as a Mortgage broker who:
(a) Is always late (b) Rips off his borrowers (c) Doesn’t explain the terms of the loan or why the APR is so high to the borrowers (d) Multitasks as an Escrow agent.

Hope you enjoyed this little test. It was fun to write.

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July 10, 2015

Jane the Virgin Notary

Disclaimer: This post may not be appropriate for those of you who have lost their virginity, or their sense of humor!

Jane goes to her first signing for the Owens. They are going to sign a Refinance and get a better rate.

Mr. OWENS: Welcome Jane. So, you are going be our Notary tonight.

JANE: This is my first time.

Mr. OWENS: Gee that’s interesting. When the last Notary showed up, I asked, “Are you experienced?”

JANE: Wow, you have quite a record collection over there. I bet you have a lot of Hendrix.

Mrs. OWENS: Just make sure he doesn’t call you foxy lady.

JANE: So, I’ve never done this before.

Mr. OWENS: Oh, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ll be gentle.

JANE: Okay, so here’s the Deed of Trust. Just initial here, and sign here.

Mr. OWENS: So you haven’t done the Deed or the dirty Deed yet.

JANE: I can attest to the fact that I haven’t, and bear witness to the fact that I’ve never been with a bare witness.

Mrs. OWENS: But, he’s not bare!

Mr. OWENS: Is that the naked truth?

JANE: I’m going to affix my seal now. Brace yourselves.

Mr. OWENS: Oh, that looks very therapeutic, just like… well, you know…

JANE: Well, I wouldn’t know. I’m not only a virgin as a signing agent, but I’m also still a virgin in real life.

Mrs. OWENS: Well knock us over with a feather. If you dropped any more hints, I would have gotten out my chastity belt. Can we affix you up with someone? I know a nice Notary who lives not far from here. He’ll understand all of that mumbo jumbo you folks talk about at signings that confuses us like scilicit which is an archaic Latin term.

JANE: Oh, I thought you were talking about soliciting which I’ve never done because I’m a … well, you know.

Mr. OWENS: If you did that with another Notary whose term hasn’t expired, you’d be doing it in the commissionary position.

JANE: I don’t even know what that is.

Mr. OWENS: Don’t worry honey, after a few more signings, you’ll really be on top of things… unless of course you prefer to have the signers on top.

Mrs. OWENS: So, what comes next?

JANE: I thought you’ve done this before. We just need to sign these last three documents, and then we’re done.

Mrs. OWENS: Okay, we’re done. That felt good.

Mr. OWENS: Was it good for you?

Mrs. OWENS: I think this was our best signing honey. I really liked how you signed the HUD. Wow Jane, you look completely different. Look George, she’s glowing!

JANE: Wow, I feel completely different now.

Mr. OWENS: Does it bother anyone if I smoke?

Mrs. OWENS: Since when do you smoke?

Mr. OWENS: I always smoke after a signing, or after a book burning if the book is 50 shades of gray.

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