Monday, December 21, 2015

No, you can't give it back....

Recently, I have gotten quite a few calls regarding fees that the notary sees on the borrowers HUD's. These are relatively new notaries and they are bewildered and troubled at some of the notary fees that they see. Some of the fees are upwards of 250.00 and I assure them that this is nothing unusual. What is troubling to them is that they are getting 80-90 dollars (often times less) and after seeing the HUD they now want more money and/or want to give the job back. Out of the several calls I get regarding this topic, I had one new notary in particular who was VERY angry. She did not understand completely how this fee thing worked or even how to distinguish one caller from another. In other words she didn't know if it was a signing service or a title/escrow company on the line let alone what questions she should be asking. So I had to spend some time with her educating her on the differences between a signing service call and title company call. She was totally lost. Once I explained it throughly, and although she now understood the differences she still wanted to get the money listed on the HID or give the job back. I told her she could NOT do this. I told her,that It was not professional and unethical. She must keep her word by not tarnishing her reputation. She had agreed to the price and she should keep her word no matter what. Her reputation was now at stake. I also told her that she should consider this a bought lesson. The best kind in my opinion...:) I went on to tell her that now that she understands how this notary gig works, she needed to sit down and crunch some numbers to see what fees she will be most comfortable with. This way whatever she sees on the HUD/settlement statement it wont concern her because she will have gotten what she feels is a fair price for her services. As I told her, If I am getting what I feel I deserve, I don't bother or care about what numbers I see elsewhere. Not my problem... Until next time..... ~Carmen

Where and when did it all go wrong?

The longer I stay in this business the more I see things that just don't sit right with me. For example, I for the life of me don't understand why we as notaries don't demand more from the companies that use our services. Doesn't it strike anyone other than me odd that when we work with various companies they demand a copy of our commission, E and O insurance (usually with very high limit), copies of insurance and drivers license and anything else they can dream up, but they in turn DON't supply ANY information about who they are (well, except for their contracts about don't do this and don't do that). Is this because we don't ask and/or demand this information? And why don't we ask? Are we afraid? After all, WE are providing a service, WE use our time, cars/gas, paper/printer, ink, supplies, etc, and then extending credit to them. We jump through all of these hoops without ever really knowing if we are going to get paid. Unfortunately for us, we work on a wing and a prayer. As I often say, we don't know any of these companies from a can of paint. Sure, as a last hope, we can go to and other sites (which I recommend highly due to no other options) and search the forums to see what other notaries experiences may have been but that is really not the efficient way of doing it and that does not guarantee payment. When and how did this become an acceptable standard that we jump through hoops to work with folks that take our jobs, dictate our fee and to add further insult NEVER are required to prove their credit worthiness?!? I mean anyone running a service orientated business (like we do) would typically ask a potential client to supply them with payment either in advance or immediately after the services were rendered. If they needed to establish credit with the company an application for credit would be in order and perhaps a profit and loss statement as well as their credit report. This would show whether they are credit worthy and have the means to pay. And if they didn't pay us after an agreed amount of time we would have the necessary information to help in collecting the debt. This is just the way a business should be run. Unfortunately for us it is just the opposite and it is time for us to do something about it. We need to change the way we do business. If we don't pay more attention to who we work for and how we handle our payments from them they are going to be more instances where we won't be paid. Just something to think about! Until the next safe! ~Carmen

Look em' up before you go!

I often get calls regarding different companies that many of you work with or are contemplating working with. Usually you are wondering whether they pay or not. Other times it is to let me know something that a company may be doing that is unusual or that they just don’t pay at all. But here as of late in the span of a week. I have received two calls where the notary has went out to do a job with a company that they did not check out first. Now there is nothing unusual about this because they could have caught them off guard and/or they didn't have time to check. But what is unusual is that these particular individuals decided not to bother checking one way or the other and now that they are being stiffed on want myself or Jeremy to call on there behalf and demand payment for them. Now most of you know me, I never mind helping any of our members but this is really not either myself or Jeremy's place to call. As a competent business owner, because that is in fact what we are as traveling notary signing agents, it is the notaries responsibility to make sure of the companies worthiness before you work with them-certainly not after. And as unfortunate it is that hat there is now a problem it is ultimately the notaries burden at this point. As my mother use to say is a lesson learnt that you will never forget. Remember when you get a job PLEASE check the company out throughly. You can search our forums and some of the other directories to find out If there is information on them. If you find no information on them then you need to decide whether you want to take a risk or not. If you happen to accept a job and find out later (before you actually do the assignment0 that they have a bad reputation then by all means let them know and return the job back to them. It is very sad that this is our only option because if were were really operating our business wisely we would have credit applications, require a profit and loss and require them to provide references. After all we are the ones doing the work and providing credit as well…… Until next time... ~Carmen

What to do when the phone stops ringing....

For some of you the phone has stopped ringing altogether...dead silence. "What am I going to do?" you ask yourself and me as well.... Market, market, market and then market some more. In the dead times this is what you should be doing especially if you are full time traveling notary/CSA and want to keep it that way. Most people I speak with don't want to work an 9-5 and many of you told me that they would rather 'die' then go back to that same old 9-5 routine. :) I understand completely. We all love the freedom and independence that the notary profession gives us. And even though our lifestyles are unique the flexibility of a traveling notary is usually there for all of us. (Which would account for its popularity, I assume) You cannot sit on your laurels and think because you have paid advertising in place that that is all you need to be successful. With interest rates starting to climb and applications for loans significantly down signings are beginning to dwindle. If you are in an area where there are no state restrictions on travel fees then you need to think about general notary work. Get out there to those convalescent facilities, hotels, hospitals, etc. have a card or flyer to give them. You may offer them a referral fee or perhaps you want to offer a discount on services. Hand out flyers and/or business cards to everyone. Make sure you have a website and be sure to link it to all the places that you advertise. Call ALL the companies that you have previously worked for and let them know you are thinking of them and are still available for all of their notary needs. And last but not least. Make sure all your listings/advertising is up to date and current with all the services you provide I personally take Paypal and credit cards. This is an added benefit to potential clients. Also list any credentials you may have. These are just a few suggestions. If you have more then please comment and share. Until the next time! Be safe! ~Carmen