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Notary Bulletin

5 Tips for new Notary Signing Agents

Launching your own business as a Notary Signing Agent can be very exciting, whether as a part-time gig or full-time career. But once you have become certified, the big question remains: what next?

While starting a business might seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. As someone who has gone through the same experience, I have learned several lessons that helped create my blueprint for success.

Here are key 5 tips to keep in mind as you embark on your journey as an independent NSA:

Tip 1: Understand your role

Notary Signing Agents wear 2 hats: Notary and Signing Agent. Both roles come with specific responsibilities.

In your role as a Signing Agent, you preside over the signing of real estate- and mortgage-related documents. This includes everything from printing out loan packages, showing borrowers where to sign or initial and returning the documents to signing service or title company. In general, you follow the directions of the client that hired you.

In your role as a Notary, however, your job is to act as an impartial public official to positively identify a person in a transaction. During a loan signing, you will notarize the signatures of the borrowers on some of the documents. In this role, you are required to follow the Notary laws and procedures of your state.

NSAs are often asked to do things that Notaries are not allowed to do. For example, the requesting agency may ask you to change the date on a Notary certificate, rely on a signer’s ID your state deems unacceptable or sending blank Notary certificates with your signature and seal on them.

At best, the requesting agency may simply not understand the laws and professional standards of the Notary’s state.

It remains your responsibility to understand what you can and cannot do as a Notary — to

yourself, the signer, the lender and the general public. So make sure you are fully versed in the duties and responsibilities of Notaries.

Tip 2: Take inventory of your equipment and supplies 

Now that you are running your own business, it is imperative to have the proper equipment for loan signings. While you may have many items NSAs need — such as a smartphone and computer — there are other items you may not have. This might include a dual-tray laser printer, toner cartridges and paper in both letter and legal-size. 

For some clients, you may find a scanner is also a must-have. It may be helpful to check an online forum for tips from other Signing Agents on their preferred equipment to help you shop out your tools. Don’t forget, it is also critical to have reliable transportation.

As your business grows and you find out the particular preferences of your clients, you’ll figure out which additional investments are needed to scale and conduct business in an efficient manner.

Tip 3: Market yourself 

Once you become certified and background screened as an NSA, the work does not come automatically. You will need to let potential clients know you’re available to take assignments by seeking them out and advising them how you can add value to their business.

If you get your certification through the NNA, you will automatically receive a listing on SigningAgent.com. This can serve as a personal “landing page” for various companies, including the general public, to verify your certification.

You also should create profiles on other Notary directories. But be careful if asked for money in exchange for leads. There are plenty of reputable directories that have free and paid listing options for membership. So research any directory to verify their legitimacy before committing to using their paid services. Be sure to customize your profiles with a professional photo and any further information you would like to share about yourself.

This is not where marketing your Signing Agent business ends. You should directly approach potential clients, such as signing services and title companies, to begin building vendor relationships. Have some business cards made and then consider expanding your efforts by approaching smaller entities in your community, such as small law offices, hospitals and perhaps also jails. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce and/or Realtor Association as an affiliate member can be of major benefit as well — the opportunities for outreach are quite endless.  

Tip 4: Connect with other NSAs

This is one of the most important steps for any new NSA. Connecting with other Signing Agents, along with the guidance of an established mentor will prove to be extremely helpful when it comes to navigating the early days of launching your business.

There are many opportunities to connect with other professionals of all experience levels in various online forums and social media outlets to build relationships and learn from one another through shared experiences. In addition, selecting the right mentor according to your personal learning style can be monumental in providing a roadmap for success in business-building. While it’s not generally acceptable to shadow other Signing Agents with their clients, try watching a mock signing tutorial online. Or pair up in person with others locally, through a platform designed for connecting with others of similar interests. While much of our experience comes from doing the work personally, having the added perspective from others in the field will go a long way in navigating the learning curve.

Tip 5: Be patient

Don’t get discouraged if things don’t pick up quickly. Many factors influence how quickly a Notary business gets off the ground, including location (some areas have a high saturation of Signing Agents), experience (some companies require a certain level of experience to join as a vendor), market demand and personal marketing strategies.

It’s also a good idea to offer services beyond loan signings. While the mortgage and real estate markets experience ups and downs, there’s always a need for general Notary services.

Don’t forget to make time to work on your business, either a little bit each day or set a designated day each week for continuing education, networking and advertising. This means that no matter how busy (or not busy) the work flow may be, take the time for “housekeeping” (invoicing, ordering supplies, etc.) and evaluating opportunities for growth (seeking potential clients, sharpening skills, tuning in to a group call with other professionals, etc.).

Remember, starting any business comes with challenges — expected and unexpected — yet the opportunities for growth can provide for a rather rewarding career.

Rachel Lefler is a Notary Consultant with the Information Services team at the NNA and regularly answers questions for the Notary Hotline.

11 Comments

Add your comment

Tonia steward

02 Aug 2021

Looking for notary signing jobs

Maria Hernandez

02 Aug 2021

Thank you Rachel for the tip. I am looking forward in implementing your advice. Starting in grouping with a mentor.

Brenda Kennedy-Seymore

02 Aug 2021

Was interesting

Dechelle Biggers

02 Aug 2021

This is very helpful. I need this push and the idea of constantly continuing to work on my business by continuing education, etc. is greatly appreciated. The reminders and motivation helps tremendously. Thank you!

Paul Paul

03 Aug 2021

Looking for notary signing jobs

Donna Elsey

08 Aug 2021

Thank you for the info.

marshie.pollard@gmail.com

15 Aug 2021

Looking for notary signing jobs

Patricia E Cora

24 Aug 2021

I was in the business fir four years and was very successful. When the housing market collapsed , I got spooked and decided to get out as the mortgage companies I worked under and had committed my services to we’re closing down . These were very large companies . My word to anyone getting into the business is have more then three or four companies that you do signings for . I’m starting over and it’s scary but follow the guidelines from NNA they know how to guide you . Good luck ! It’s a fun career and be patient . Touch base with your companies . Get something to leave when you visit with your name on it . Just keep your name out there and you can prosper .

Jackie Guerra

24 Aug 2021

The information is very helpful. Thank you!

E. David Sawyer

01 Sep 2021

Fascinating, informative, and helpful. Thanks.

Lonetta Silas

16 Sep 2021

I am looking for Notary Signing Agent jobs.

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