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February 5, 2023
What companies look for when hiring Notary Signing Agents
I have been asked by Notaries numerous times over the years how they can get more work. I have compiled some of the things that set apart the good NSAs from the bad. A lot of these suggestions may seem like little things, but they make a huge difference.
Act like you are a professional
From the moment you answer the phone until the minute you return a package, you are on the clock. You are the only face these borrowers might ever see in relation to their mortgage. That is a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly.
Notaries should act professionally regardless of the circumstances. It doesn't matter if the signing is in an office, someone's home or on the hood of a car. Always answer your phone as if a customer is on the other end. "What", "Huh," and "Yeah?" are never acceptable greetings.
Dress as though you work in an office. Speak to the borrower in a way that shows you are knowledgeable about the documents in the loan package and you are there to help them through the process. No matter how irate or upset they are, don't trash-talk the signing company, bank or title company. There is never any circumstance in which this is acceptable.
Always return calls. I once asked a Notary why he never returned my phone calls. He responded that he didn't call me back because he couldn't accommodate the signing. Think of how many businesses you interact with daily. Do you want to work with someone who doesn't return your phone calls? I don't.
Educate yourself. I cannot say it enough. Stay on top of Notary changes in your state. The mortgage and title industries are not stagnant. They are always evolving and changing. Taking the proper steps to make sure you are on top of those changes increases not only your knowledge base but can open more doors for you. The better we are as a whole, the more good that gets said about us, and the more work we will get and the more prosperous we become.
Have the tools necessary to do business
Signing Agents need the tools to be prepared for every situation. A cell phone isn't enough. You should have a printer that prints both letter and legal-size paper. You should have the ability to fax large quantities of paper. You should be able to scan more than 10 pages at a time and not only be able to scan them but password-protect them. You'd be surprised how many NSAs fall short in one or more of these areas.
You should have all types of packing materials for various services for sending closing documents back. Make sure to keep up with the appropriate licenses and insurance required in your state. I cannot tell you how many times I call a Notary who doesn't have a title producer's license in a state that requires it, or doesn't carry E&O insurance because they don't feel they need it.
Running any business carries expenses, and I understand that. Back in the day, I almost cried when I had to write a $2,500 check for my full-size copier when I started out solo. Today, I realize it was the best money I ever spent. Over the long run it saved me time and money. I could print packages quickly — and print from the road, if necessary — and it saved me money on toner and parts. That copier allowed me to take on more signings which generated more income. Look at the big picture. Decide what you want your business to look like and what you want to get out of it. That will help you decide where to spend your money.
Help others promote their business
Develop relationships with other Notaries in your area. Nothing makes me happier than when I call a Notary for a signing and they can't do it but know someone who can. That shows me they have the team spirit I value in a Notary and the interest to help me succeed. If they help me succeed, I'll help them.
We all have lists of companies we don't like, but spread the word about the companies you do like. Don't be afraid that it will cost you assignments. It won't. You'll get more. But there are two sides to that coin. Most of us have read online Notary forums. Sometimes we allow our personal feelings to overtake good judgment when we post messages and comments. I often cringe over what I read. Know that what you write will be read by people considering whether they want to work with you or not. Be careful not to become the Notary nobody wants to work with.
What this boils down to is that you are the face of your business and a representative of a billion-dollar industry. Conduct yourself in a manner that makes companies want to call you first when they have a signing in your area. Make them want to work with you. If you do these things, fantastic. If you do some of these things, try to incorporate a few more. If you would like guidance, call me. I would love to mentor you.
Marcy Tiberio is an NNA 2015 Notary of the Year Honoree and owner of Professional Notary Services, Inc., in Rochester, New York.