Notary Public, Brenda B, talks getting business off the ground, lessons learned and success
Earlier this summer, MortgageDocs reached out to some of our top performing notaries and asked them to share some of their secretes with other notaries looking to expand their personal business and improve their skills. Brenda B., of Atlanta Georgia, was kind enough to share some of her experiences with us. We hope you enjoy!
(MortgageDocs): Which region do you serve?
(Brenda B): I service the metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia area.
(MortgageDocs): How long have you been an active notary?
(Brenda B): I have been an active notary for 10 years.
(MortgageDocs): Do you have any additional accreditations?
(Brenda B): No. The major reason is that there is very little signing work in Georgia because we are an attorney state. I work with very few companies and along with an attorney’s office. Since there is not that much work, the certification in Georgia is almost an exercise in futility.
(MortgageDocs): Do you work as a notary as your primary job?
(Brenda B): No, it is part-time as I am retired.
(MortgageDocs): When did you begin working with MortgageDocs?
(Brenda B): I began working with Mortgage Docs directly in June of 2012. Prior to that, I worked with MortgageDocs through another company as a notary doing all of their MortgageDocs work.
(MortgageDocs): What do you like about working with a signing company?
(Brenda B): Basically, you do not have to worry about finding the work when you work with a signing company. They find the jobs and then contract with the notary. Most companies, (i.e. Title companies) have a litany of rules and regulations that, at first blush, appear to be very cumbersome.
When you work with a signing company usually, they have distilled this list of rules into something that is easy to work with. Additionally, you establish relationships with employees in the signing companies that make life easier. With these established relationships, particularly with the ones at MortgageDocs, you get to know each other and develop a good feel for expectations.
(MortgageDocs): How many signings a week do you do for MortgageDocs?
(Brenda B): Currently, I am averaging about 1 a week because Georgia is an attorney state and notaries are not allowed to close on Georgia property. I have been fortunate to have a good relationship with MortgageDocs and therefore, I am able to get a lot of the signings in the metro Atlanta area.
When modifications and auto loans were rolling through Georgia, I averaged about 10 – 20 signings a week. That lasted about 2 months. Now there are very few signings for out-of-state property coming through and hardly no modifications and automobile loans.
(MortgageDocs): If you have one, please share an interesting and/or memorable signing story with us?
(Brenda B): You always remember the ones that happen in strange places, i.e., outside in the yard on the hood of cars. Also, those that question you and your credentials relative to coming to their homes to have automobile loans signed as opposed to them going into the bank.
Specifically, one customer lied about whether I should come to his home. I visited his home twice. He was so very angry because he and his mom stated that I was not who I stated I was and that the bank did not tell them I was coming. Additionally, he stated a lot of untruths.
The saving grace was that I am conscientious about contacting all parties when things start to go wrong. He spoke with the loan officer in my presence and lied about the conversation he had with the LO. He was told that with his credit rating he could not complete his loan at the bank and he was to sign the papers I presented or he would not get the loan.
This was a very ugly situation. Of course, these are always the ones you remember. Glad nothing came of it.
Advice to New Notaries
(MortgageDocs): How did you get your signing business off the ground?
(Brenda B): Persistence is the name of the game. You have to always hurry up and wait prior to getting your foot in the door with a signing company. You have to do a lot of follow-up also.
If you intend to make a living in Georgia, you have to sign on with every signing company you can find. While this is not something I chose to do, again, in Georgia you must do so.
You must always be professional and no matter how trivial the requirements, you must follow them to the letter. I have elected not to work for some companies because of the strict policies relative to when you check in and how many times you have to check in before during and after the assignments.
(MortgageDocs): Any lessons that you’ve learned that you want to share about growing your business?
(Brenda B): You must be cognizant of the fact that this is a business.
That means you must:
- •Learn all the requirements i.e., insurance, certifications required for your particular state.
- •Keep all certifications and insurance/bonding current.
- •Be sure you market yourself professionally.
- •Follow all the rules of the company with which you contract.
- •Learn all requirements of the company with which you contract.
- •Try to never, never be late.
(MortgageDocs): What is the most important guidance you can give a new notary?
(Brenda B): Know your business and all applicable state rules and follow them!
(MortgageDocs): Do you have any tips or tricks of the trade?
(Brenda B): Most of them have been enumerated above, but always remember, the customer is always right. Even when they are wrong, you have to leave them with the idea that they are right. Sometimes, you leave feeling like you have been rode hard and put away wet but in the end, you win!
The Big Question:
(MortgageDocs): In your opinion, what has made you a successful notary?
(Brenda B): I set out to develop relationships with people in the signing company first by demonstrating that I was willing to work and work efficiently. I have always been willing to accept responsibility for any errors and learned early to QC my docs prior to returning them.
Early on I made a few “second trips” because of oversights. Having to make the second trips taught me the importance of not allowing the customers to run me out prior to insuring the documents were correct.