Notary Public/Loan Signing Agent - Newbie Tip #2: Diversify & Prosper

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with d/b/a Alabama Notary and Process Server 229068

This year, Huntsville Mobile Notary celebrated its third anniversary.  As a business owner, this was no small accomplishment.  According to the Small Business Association, most small businesses fail within the first five years for a variety of reasons.  I would attribute my "success" to three things:  determination, God's blessings, and diversification.  And not necessarily in that order.

I want to write about diversifying my business.  Huntsville Mobile Notary provides mobile notary public services in North Alabama.  That is, was and continues to be the reason for me being in business.  In addition to receiving phone calls from the general public to notarize Wills, Powers of Attorney, Parental Consent forms, etc., I hear from law firms and Title companies; Signing Services and Settlement Companies who hire notaries as signing agents for real estate and insurance transactions.

Like many businesses there is a clear business cycle or pattern.  Business is slower early in the month and busier at the end of the month.  Being idle for two weeks out the month is not an option so I looked into offering the following [ancillary?] services:  field inspections, process service, mystery shopping; and becoming an e-Verify Designated Agent, and Certified Acceptance Agent.

Field Inspections are now limited to primarily Business Verifications for companies that have the need to pull credit reports for their customers.  It is my responsibility to verify that the company actually exists and has a functioning office.  I complete a questionnaire, snap a few photos and interview the contact person.  I currently conduct these "inspections" for 3-4 different companies.  These are quick and easy to complete; however attention to detail is a must.

At one time, I was being asked to inspect structures that had suffered water or fire damage, to ascertain progress made-to-date on repairs made by contractors.  The more involved those assignments became, the less interested I became in completing them.  Since I have not received formal, extended training I started to decline these assignments.   I know of several notaries in other states who participated in HUD certification training so that they could qualify for high paying inspections.

The good thing about field inspections is that these assignments, at least for my territory, tend to come around the first two weeks of the month.  A nice compliment to my notary work.  When there is an overlap between to the two, I can usually schedule an inspection (a lower paid assignment) around my notary/ signing agent work (the higher paying assignment).

Another good thing about field inspections is that at my level, there is not a huge financial commitment.  You need a good digital camera, measuring wheel, computer, fax, and scanner.  That's about it. 

Having an active Notary Public commission is not required; however; the companies hiring you want to make sure you can be trusted.  As self-employed Notaries, most of us make it a point to undergo regular background screenings, and maintain insurance coverage.  Notaries are also accustomed to working around confidential information.

Here lately, I have been contacted to conduct property preservation vists and REO inspections (a realtor license is required for this in many states).  Homeowner associations are known to need "inspectors" to drive through neighborhoods to make sure residents are complying with agreed-upon practices (i.e., garbage disposal, lawn maintenence, etc.)

If you are interested in starting a Notary Public business, plan on diversifying in order to be successful. To get started in field inspections, do your research and contact your state and city license bureau to make sure you are aware of your local requirements.

 Check back next month when I will blog about my experience as a Process Server, Mystery Shopper and the various Agents.

Comments (4)

Joan Bergstrom
Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary - Riverside, CA
Mobile Notary, Riverside CA

Great post.  You always have to have your "marketing cap" on with this economy.  Always be open, as Michelle is, to other assignments in other industries.

If you don't like the opportunity than you can always refuse the it and move on!

Dec 02, 2009 02:16 PM
Anonymous
VColtrane

Interesting.  I've been in the business since 2003 and am presently looking to diversify as well.  I am also in the process of trainng my son to become a certified signing agent.  This is good information.

Dec 06, 2009 10:26 PM
#2
Laura Vestanen
Bellingham, WA
My book "Notary Marketing 2019" is on Amazon.com

OMG, Michelle!

You have done it again.  This is a hugely important post for notaries all across the US.

Recovering from H1N1 now so too tired to respond in detail.  Will do so later!!!

Dec 19, 2009 01:20 PM
Anonymous
Notary Class

Great post! Your point of view on the necessity to diversify is completely true! I will start to apply these concepts!! Thanks!

 

-Kelly

http://www.getsmartnotary.com/

Mar 25, 2010 12:17 PM
#4