May 2020 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – Control Panel

May 30, 2020

Are you in a good enough state of mind for Notary questions?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:10 pm

If you are a professional, you should be able to handle professional questions in your sleep. Particularly if they are routine questions.

I have stopped phone testing people partly because people hate it so much, partly because it is so disturbing to me, and partly because it is so time consuming. Last, the companies that use 123notary care about the knowledge level of the notary, but they don’t care enough for me to merit training and testing people who didn’t pay for a program.

During the days when I was testing, people got mad because I called when they were not in a good state of mind. They were sleepy, busy, with friends, going to the hospital, and this was somehow my fault. They are “professionals” and they answered their phone, yet they could not talk about intelligent topics with me.

Is the problem your state of mind or is the problem that you don’t know your stuff and don’t have the discipline to learn your stuff or act professional over the phone.

Notaries want to get paid more, but I can make a list of Notaries who merit getting paid more. Those are people who are elite certified by us. It takes discipline to master Notary knowledge the point that you can pass that test. Those who are faking it will fail miserably. Getting 95% on Notary questions under time pressure narrows the population down to a fraction of a percent. Why the others cannot function with that level of knowledge is beyond me — after all, that is their profession.

Take your profession seriously and professionally. Don’t just claim to be professional because that sounds phony and corny. Master Notary knowledge. There is not that much to know, and if you got through college, this is much easier than college.


May 29, 2020

How do you increase your client base to all title and no signing companies?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:09 pm

This is easier said than done. Different people have different experiences climbing to the top of the food chain in this business. As a general rule, you start out working mainly for low paying signing companies who micromanage. Some of those companies might not pay at all. Working for companies that don’t pay is a great way to rack up experience, but not a great way to pay your rent. As time goes on, you will gradually get a higher share of higher paying title companies.

Title companies like experience. They also like it if you in addition to claiming to have a zero percent error rate, actually have not made any errors, at least not on their work. A professional disposition also helps and that is hard to explain. The Notaries that get mostly title companies tend to have 5000-10000 loans under their belt. It takes time to get that much experience. At a rate of 1000 loans per year if you are a busy Notary, you need five to ten years of experience and then you are at the top of the pyramid.

Please keep in mind that most Notaries average about 200 loans per year, so they never accumulate this type of experience. Please also keep in mind that only about 5-10% of the Notaries listed on have 5000 loans signed and only 1-3% have 10,000+. Yes, it is lonely at the top.

Basically, the name of the game of Notary fame is to be a scarce commodity. If you have more experience, more knowledge, better professionalism, phone etiquette, etc., you will get paid more. People with 123notary Elite Certification are part of the top fraction of a percent and they get paid a lot more. Anything you can do to differentiate yourself from the others will help.

So, get more experience, more certifications, more reviews, maintain your listing better, and learn to be an expert at seeming professional over the phone. Then, you will get more title companies…. eventually.


May 28, 2020

If you meet a signer at a cafe, who pays for the coffee?

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 10:02 pm

It is common for Notaries to meet signers at cafes. But, what is the etiquette for who pays for the coffee? Or does only one party purchase a drink so the cafe can allow them to stay there? Does the drink go on a chair or the same table with the critical documents?

This question sounds more like a Seinfeld dilemma than anything else. Since the signer is paying the notary for the notarization, it’s the least the notary can do to buy a piece of bundt cake for the client. On the other hand, if the Notary has to bill to get paid, and is billing a third party, then neither party should have to pay for the coffee. But, what if the signer wants a palpation but forgot his walled. But, then how will he have his ID for the notarization? Wow, this is really complicated stuff!

NOTARY: You should pay for the almond croissant because I’m the Notary. It’s like a courtesy for my hard work.

SIGNER: Yes, but I am the client, and it is customary to take your clients out to eat and pay.

NOTARY: You’re paying cash right?

SIGNER: Yes. Small unmarked bills to be precise.

NOTARY: Are you going to wash your hands for 20 seconds before you handle those bills? I don’t want the Coronavirus.

WOMAN: I think the man should pay.

NOTARY: Obviously not a feminist.

WOMAN: I am when it doesn’t involved someone paying for me. You see, I’m what you call an opportunistic feminist. Equal rights, but not so equal on the responsibilities.

SIGNER: Honesty is so sexy. I like you!

WOMAN: Thanks, I’m single

NOTARY: I think I see why.

WOMAN: Yeah, but at least I’m not paying alimony and child support and having my kids taken away from me by legal force. It could be worse. You know what. You guys are so much fun, I’ll pay for your frappachino.

CLERK: Sorry, we are all out of coffee.

NOTARY: But, this is a cafe. Your whole business revolves around coffee.

CLERK: Sorry. But, we have those dark chocolate covered graham crackers. They’re really good.

SIGNER: I’ll just get a soda. I don’t drink coffee after 2pm anyway.

WOMAN: Nice to meet you guys.

NOTARY: Here’s my card. I do notarizations, weddings and bar-mitzvahs.


May 27, 2020

The Lonely Notary

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 10:01 pm

Once upon a time there was a lonely Notary. He wanted to talk to everyone, but nobody wanted to talk to him. So, he resorted to talking to animals, stray cats, little chihuahuas, birds, squirrels, and bar tenders. He went to all the NNA conventions, but nobody there would talk to him longer than a few seconds to engage in pleasantries. His only acquaintances were bar tenders that humored him with a little conversation before they walked off in the middle of his sentences to get a drink or wash something.

He liked being a notary because at loan signings, the signers were forced to talk to him. Sometimes they actually liked talking to him. Other people were not so nice. Once some stuck up girls were ignoring the lonely Notary. So, the notary insulted them. They got offended and started arguing with him. The Notary said, “At least I got you to talk to me — I’m so lonely.”

The lonely Notary soon found out that people at old age homes like to talk a lot — a really lot. So, he spent an hour at an old age home. He liked the fact that people wanted to talk to him. But, the problem is that most of them didn’t listen. They just talked right over him. And then others were so hard of hearing that they couldn’t listen.

The Lonely Notary was so upset with modern American culture and how unfriendly it is, that he decided to move to Africa. Life was cheap over there and everyone wanted to talk to him because Africans are more of a talkative people. At first he went to the wrong country and they spoke French only. His French was mediocre, plus understanding their weird sounding accent in French was too much. So, then he moved to another area. But, too many tribal languages were being spoken, plus the tribal make up (the little dots on their faces) were a little odd for our American friend. Finally, he made it to an English speaking place.

Once he arrived, his new friends taught him how to do an African laugh. You need to inhale a lot, open your mouth wide, and do a “ha ha ha haaaaaaa” with an elongated last “ha” all in a very deep voice.

So, our American friend enjoyed his new life in Africa, made many friends and lived happily ever after until he got some rare tropical disease that no doctor had ever heard of and died. But, he died happy. And upon his death, his last words were, “Ha ha ha ha haaaaa.”


May 26, 2020

A Notary Cereal

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:00 pm

I think there should be a cereal for Notaries. One that is high in fiber that has berries for antioxidants and lots of vitamins. Notaries need vitamins to deal with difficult borrowers and their attack cats. But, what would this cereal be called? What would it look like?

How about: Kamut Seals? It could be high in all types of high fiber grains, have blueberries and some soy and dehydrated almond milk for extra protein and minerals. Kamut seals will look like little notary seals floating in milk, or soy milk. Personally, I prefer almond milk. Tastes great, has b12, and lots of minerals and one of the best sources of vitamin E.

And best of all, each package of Kamut Seals will give you crossword puzzles with notary terminology and the chance to win a prize such as a plastic fake notary seal. Just what your kids will love. “Look dad, I’m a notary!”

You could also have the cereal with some black liquid that looks like seal ink just to be fancy. I’m thinking of squid ink, but that is expensive. On the other hand you could get black food coloring.

Kamut Seals — a cereal for winners that you will swear (or affirm) to.


May 25, 2020

Calling ahead to see if they have dogs

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 10:00 pm

Some us us don’t like dogs. And some of us like dog owners even less. Many dog owners love their dogs and can’t understand that the rest of the world doesn’t like their slobbering friend licking them, or their little white fluffy dog sniffing their toes. Then there are the ferocious dogs that growl in a petrifying manner to which the owner says, “oh… he’s friendly.”

Just because your dog is allegedly “friendly” doesn’t prove he won’t bite. There is a first time for everything. It also doesn’t meant that I’m friendly — because I’m not, unless you are a well behaved organism.

ME: Hey, keep him away from me.

DOG OWNER: Oh, he’s friendly.

ME: I didn’t give your “friendly” dog permission to molest me.

DOG OWNER: Oh, are you afraid of dogs?

ME: I didn’t say I’m afraid, I just don’t like being assaulted by weapons of mass slobber-struction.

DOG OWNER: He won’t hurt you

ME: I’ll come back with my mentally ill younger brother and he will molest your wife, daughter and other females in your family. And when you complain and look aghast, I’ll say — “Oh, he’s friendly.”

DOG OWNER: You jerk!

ME: See how you like it when you are on the receiving end buck-o!

So, what I recommend is to call ahead and make sure that if they have dogs, that the dogs are behind a locked door. In my experience, dog owners are by definition extremely careless and rarely think about the legal implications of being sued for their pooch biting someone. They are also intrinsically careless about being considerate to those who don’t share their love of dogs.

It is common for the dog behind a “locked” door to mysteriously escape from the locked compartment and start bothering you or scaring the hell out of you. It might be hard core, but you could threaten to leave the minute you see a dog not separated from you by a locked door. Let them know you are serious in a polite way.

Dealing with dogs is no joke. One time a signer came to the door with a loaded gun drawn because there was a pitt bull running around the neighborhood. The notary was afraid, but the gun was to protect them from the dog and not to mug the notary. It’s not a bad idea to bring pepper spray either because the dog owners often will not protect you at all from their crazy and disturbing pets.

Remember – dogs and cats are a reflection of the character of the owner. If the owner is deranged, so will their dogs be.


May 24, 2020

Colorado Acknowledgment Wording

Colorado Acknowledgment Verbiage; Colorado Acknowledgment Form;

Below is the official Colorado Acknowledgment Wording. The word “seal” below refers to the notary’s official stamp. Please keep in mind that in a notarial context, a seal could mean a signature or a stamp depending on the situation.

State of Colorado
County of ________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this ______ (date) by _________ (name of person acknowledged)


Notary’s official signature
My commission expires: __________________


May 23, 2020

Which signing companies are good to work for?

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — admin @ 9:55 pm

If you are a new signing agent and want to learn who to work for, or more important who NOT to work for, there are various forums out there with information.

Notary Rotary has the most information about signing companies and ratings for signing companies with one to five stars as the rating system.

123notary has a list of signing companies with reviews that are positive, negative and neutral and then links to forum posts with commentary about those particular companies.

If you work for new companies, it is imperative that you check them out one by one BEFORE committing to a job otherwise you will get ripped off. Extending credit to people who don’t pay is a losing proposition.

Title companies are a little harder to check up on as there are so many of them and their volume of work tends to be low enough that there is little published material on more than a few dozen of them. The other problem is they are branches of bigger companies and some branches are more reputable than others.

So, basically do your homework and good luck!


May 22, 2020

What to do with signers who read too much

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 9:54 pm

Growing up, my father drove people crazy by slowly reading every part of long contracts while they had to sit and wait. I agree with him that reading contracts is essential. But, exasperating others is not nice. I think it is my karma being the son of a copious reader (that is his hobby by the way) to have signers who are just as bad (or diligent and good) as dad.

During my career, roughly half of my borrowers read too much. My average signing took a little more than an hour. I dealt with it. I was not too concerned unless they were delaying me from getting to another job. But, now that I am older, and value my time more, I realize this is no good. Three hour signings cannot happen.

You need a strategy for how you are going to deal with this. Here are some ideas. Put in the comments if you have other ideas.

1. During the confirmation call, let them know you are offering them “x” amount of minutes for the signing. I would offer more time to those paying you well to make sure you get rehired. For cheap signings, perhaps offer 45 minutes. Keep in mind that if they go over, you need to offer some leeway to avoid social friction (and getting fired). For signings that pay big bucks, you might allow up to two hours just to be nice. But, still emphasize that there is a limit. My personal experience was that the more I was paid, the faster the signing was. My worst client was a Lender whose borrowers always had to call him and ask painstakingly long questions on my time. The average phone call was 45 minutes which I had to sit through.

2. If you don’t give them a summary of your time offering before the signing, you can spring it on them at the signing. You explain that this is a signing appointment and not a reading appointment. You can explain that they have borrowers copies to read for the next 72 hours if this is a refinance for a primary residence, and that they can cancel after the fact. Explain that you have other appointments and have to leave in “x” amount of minutes whether the loan is signed or not out of courtesy for your subsequent appointments.

Having time limits might get you fired, not paid, or in trouble. But, if you want to make money as a signing agent, you need to book lots of appointments and nail them one by one. Or, you need to have two high paying jobs per day. 2 x $200 = $400 and $400 per day is a living — not a great living, but a living. If you make $80 per signing, you need to do at least five per day to get paid well and that means hustling and moving fast, especially at night when they might be back to back.

In the worst scenario, you might have to take the main copies signed or unsigned, put them in the Fedex and send them back. You can explain to the company that you ran out of time and that next time the Lender should explain the documents better to the signer AHEAD OF TIME otherwise they end up taking your time when you don’t have time. It is not a matter of what your time is worth — if you have another client waiting, it is an abuse of that other client’s time if you are late for any reason.

Please comment if you have better ideas, because this blog article is about playing rough which is not considered nice, but is the only way to get good income per hour spent. Otherwise you might get taken for a ride regularly.


May 21, 2020

Are you frustrated with Snapdocs?

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:53 pm

After reading more and more comments from Notaries about Snapdocs, I realize that your ability to get jobs from them is very unstable.

First of all, many Notaries have indicated that they got many jobs at one period of time and then the texts abruptly stopped. What probably happened is that someone gave them a thumbs down, or that their average response time was too long and they got bumped down on the pecking order to the point where nobody would text them or use them. It might make sense to be more equitable in the way business is distributed, but that does not seem to be the way Snapdocs functions — it’s winner takes all. Or if you think people being low-balled are losers, then loser takes all.

Many Notaries complain that they are only offered jobs far away at low-ball prices. This is a common complaint and I don’t know how to answer it other than — negotiate your fees and ask for more.

Low-ball fees are a pain. People offer low-ball fees because there are plenty of other Notaries who will take them. If you can prove you are substantially higher quality as a Notary than the rest, there is a chance people will pay more. But, in this highly refined technology driven marketplace, if you are not better, then you can only get a low-ball offer. (Sorry)

You can only get better rankings by accepting more jobs and getting a good review. And your reviews and rankings are hidden from your eyes for better or worse. If you are too picky about jobs, you won’t get any, and your ranking might go down. Sometimes you have to do a few low paying jobs to get the ball moving. But, in the long run, I suggest renegotiating prices if you use Snapdocs in the long run.

I am uncomfortable with a portal that will phase you out on a whim, and that refuses to take phone calls. But, then I have not been a Notary since 2005 so my opinion doesn’t matter. Also, my generation is more personable and more sensitive to being phased out. It seems that the Snapdocs algorithm keeps Notaries in the dark. At 123notary, we will tell you how you do on our algorithm although we don’t publish the actual results. We can also offer tips to help you do better. Snapdocs is good for those who like them, but I am not comfortable with their business model. On the other hand they seem to continue to grow despite all of the complaining so I guess they have something!

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