When You Need a Notary in Memphis

When You Need a Notary in Memphis, Contact Notary Memphis

Notary Memphis is a mobile notary service provided by Tim Gatewood. I have been a notary public here in Shelby County, Tennessee, for over 20 years and I currently offer services in Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton Counties.

If you or your family member are in a nursing home or a hospital and you need a power of attorney or advance care directive or Will notarized, I can come to you at a very reasonable cost and get that taken care of for you. Please see my article about Hospital Notary Work for details of that.

If you are an employee or manager or owner of a business and you need something notarized at work, I can come to you for the same reasonable mobile notary fee and help you get it done.

If you are at a school or church function and you need a release or permission slip or some other document notarized, I will be happy to travel to you and notarize your document.

If you are a shut-in, I can come to your home.

If you just prefer to have the convenience of having the notary come to you and you don’t mind paying the trip fee for this service, my mobile notary service is just what you need.

OR, if you would rather have basic general notary services and save the trip fee by coming to me, I can often be found in the 38115, 38119, or 38125 zip codes (unless I am out providing mobile notary services somewhere else).

Please see my article How My Notary Service Works for details of my mobile notary service and general notary services.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration.

(Updated December 20, 2017)

Notary Memphis business card

Notary Memphis business card

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Can I Accept This as an I.D. for Notary Purposes?

Notaries need to know the laws and rules in our respective states in order to avoid making mistakes as we deal with the public. We also need to know relevant federal laws and regulations as they relate to things such as privacy, marketing, real estate, and other matters.

Unfortunately, some of the questions that are asked by notaries in online groups and forums reveal an appalling lack of education as to the most basic issues of notary practices.

For example, hardly a week goes by without some notary on Facebook asking if they can accept this (non-standard thing) as an i.d. for notary purposes. Here is my answer to that question.

Can I Accept This as an I.D. for Notary Purposes?

What do the notary law and handbook in your state say about acceptable forms of i.d.? What does the Secretary of State and/or the Attorney General for your state say?

If nothing, use scholar.google.com to research court cases in your state to see if any address the issue.

If none of those help, call the NNA’s Helpline (if you are a member of the NNA) or consult a general notary reference such as those mentioned on my page called Education for Notaries.

Those are general rules of thumb for any basic notary questions, such as this.

If you don’t have time to reach the SOS or AG (and you don’t know your state law and you don’t have a copy of your state’s handbook — as you should on both), refer them to the nearest Legal Services Corporation affiliated office or to the local Bar Association for possible pro bono assistance.

Then go get copies of your state’s notary handbook and your state’s notary law and print them out to put in your notary bag. (Google your state +notary law or +notary handbook to find them.) And study them until you know everything they say inside and out.

Just be aware that potential clients may be members of those same online notary groups that you are, and, even if they aren’t, your competitors are.

If you hope to get hired to provide any type of notary public services, you should avoid posting questions online that reveal that you don’t know basic notary practices for your state. You may be shooting yourself in the foot by those types of posts.

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How Do I Become a Notary Signing Agent?

You have to start with knowing everything in your state’s notary handbook. If you don’t have one, try googling the name of your state and notary handbook to see if there is one available.

Some states don’t have a notary handbook, so you may have to get some help to understand what the law says and what it means in your state.

Now, if there is a notary handbook for your state, it’s only going to help you do your job as a notary public in your state. It won’t teach you about being a notary signing agent, as this is not a profession that is regulated by the states the way doctor and lawyer are.

For NSA training, you have to spend money to take a class (or classes) from the National Notary Association (NNA) , Notary2Pro (N2P), or another firm.

Before you do that, it is strongly suggested that you do some market research to see how much business there is in your area and how many competitors you would be facing. Some areas simply don’t have enough work to support even one more NSA.

You also need to know if your state requires a Title Producers License for those who facilitate loan closings or if it is an attorney-only state. The TPL is an additional investment of time and money that you would have to make upfront before you start taking NSA assignments. An attorney-only state would mean you’re severely limited in what types of NSA work you can do.

To be blunt, unless you already have a relevant background in real estate, mortgage lending, and/or law, I don’t recommend that you become a notary signing agent.

This is because technology is pushing the NSA business toward extinction. I predict it will be gone in 5 to 10 years, which would not give someone who is starting from scratch much time at all to develop a successful NSA business — and then to see it gone.

Even before technology started disrupting this business, I did not recommend it to anyone who had no relevant background, as the market conditions have been getting tougher for many years.

If you’re determined to do this despite my recommendation, please see My Advice to New NSAs.

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Necessary and Successful

One online comment we’ve all seen many times from notaries is how this or that suggested thing is “not necessary.”

I would humbly suggest that “necessary” is about following laws and regulations. This is a minimum to be in business, and it is not enough to succeed in business. Success is about more than what is merely necessary.

Success is about knowing your market; having a data-driven plan that includes a strategy for achieving what you’ve chosen as your definition of success within that market; taking action within that strategy; measuring the results of your actions; adapting your plan and actions based on those measured results; and anticipating changes to laws and technology and other aspects of your market so you are prepared to handle them and stay on course toward your goals.

Success is about marketing — finding and qualifying customers & clients and convincing them to know, like, and trust you so that they buy, repeat, and refer others to what goods or services you offer.

Success is about return on investment — a measurable positive impact on the profitability or marketability of your business for every dollar or hour you spend on it.

Success is about benefits that are more valuable than the cost to obtain them, both the benefits you obtain in exchange for your investments in your business and the benefits you offer to your clients and customers when they buy from you.

So, no, it is not “necessary” to be a member in the NNA, get certified by them, buy a background check through them, be listed in the big three directories (notaryrotary, 123notary, and notarycafe) with a paid membership in each, and have more notary Errors & Ommissions insurance than your state requires.

These things are not about what is “necessary.” They are about success. They are about Return On Investment and marketing and cost-benefit.

You can have a notary business without any of them. You can have an NSA business without any of them.

Just know that being in these types of business without them will be like reaching for your goals with one hand tied behind your back.

Don’t expect to start from scratch with no relevant background and build it quickly to success without them, as your established competitors are very likely to have them all and to out-compete you using the advantages that these things offer.

And don’t expect anyone to tell you for free how to succeed without those advantages. That knowledge does not come cheap; it requires spending significant amounts of time and money to learn. It always has and always will.

If you want to be successful in business, you will need training and every other advantage you can acquire. Stopping with only the minimum necessary is a good way to fail.

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On Notaries and Marketing

Notaries and Marketing:
Active Marketing is Required for Success

Whenever someone asks about getting more work as a notary, the first answer usually given is sign up with lots of companies. That’s a good first step, but it’s not the only thing you can do — and it is not enough if you want your business to be a success.

Sure, repeat business and referrals from doing great work is wonderful — but that is hard to generate when you are new or times are slow so that the business is not repeating or referring.

So, when you don’t have the referrals and the repeat business or when you need to grow your income by adding more assignments, what do you do?

You have to engage in active marketing.

Many people don’t understand the difference between passive and active marketing. Signing up with one or more potential clients and having profiles on all the usual directory sites — heck, even having a website that has great SEO — these are passive marketing. They depend on the customer to take the time to find you.

Back in the earlier years of the notary signing agent industry, passive was good enough. Now, you need active marketing if you’re going to survive as an NSA. Simply signing up with potential clients is not enough; they will only call someone new if their old hands are busy OR if you’ve made yourself top-of-mind to them when they have an assignment.

You make yourself top-of-mind by active marketing. Go to the library and get some books on marketing a service business and how to prepare a marketing plan.

Studying marketing for service businesses and developing a marketing plan are the best things you can do if you want to move from working for lowball firms who pay slowly if at all and who will wear you out with their demands to working for good clients who pay well and on time with minimal issues.

Study what the marketing experts say about passive and active marketing and develop a marketing plan for how you will do both. Those two steps will work wonders for you when you need more business or just want to keep the same level of income during times when overall work is slow.

I’m not saying to skip the passive marketing (the signing up and the having a website with good SEO results), just that it’s not enough.

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How Much Should a Notary Charge? 

How Much Should a Notary Charge?

One of the questions that gets asked most often in the groups on Facebook where notaries gather is “how much should a notary charge to do this ?”

The answer to that is simple, but many notaries refuse to believe it. Here it is:

No other notary can tell you what to charge. 

If they are not in your area, any figure or range of figures that they may give you would be irrelevant because their market conditions are not your market conditions.

If they are in your area, they’re your competitors and it would be price fixing for them to tell you what to charge. Price fixing is a Big Deal because it is against federal law. (For an introduction to price fixing, see this article by the Federal Trade Commission: Price Fixing.)

What to charge is something you have to figure out on your own based on your expected expenses to complete the scope of work as described in the offered assignment and your own market research.

Let’s say that someone does respond to your question about this that you posted online. If they are in another state, their answer may be somewhere between irrelevant and totally useless to you.

For instance,  California permits her notaries to charge up to $15 per notarization. Other states allow much less. Some (such as my own Tennessee) say that we can charge any reasonable fee. What does your state let you charge? Are you allowed by your state to charge a trip fee for traveling to the signers? Are there other specifics about the fees that your state laws and rules cover? It is YOUR responsibility to know the laws and rules in your state, and no one in another state should be expected to research that for you or to know it on their own. (They might, but expecting them to do so is unreasonable.)

Are you in an attorney-only state? If so, you are limited in what NSA work you can do.

Are you in a state that requires a title producer’s license before you can assist with closing loans? If so, you have to invest in getting that before you even start marketing, even the passive marketing of being listed on directories.

How crowded is the market in your service area? Are you trained and certified and background checked by the firm that this client prefers or requires? Do you have as much Errors and Omissions insurance as they require? Do you have availability at times they usually offer assignments? And those are not all the issues that you need to address in your market research and your personal preparation and business planning.

Each of these can affect how much you can reasonably expect to charge without losing the assignment.

Then you get into your expenses. If you live in a rural area, your driving expenses and time will be more than someone in an urban area. On the other hand, your dollars may go further for basic expenses, so you might be able to make a profit from a fee that someone in a more expensive part of the country would turn down.

If you have to buy a new printer, a better cell phone or improved plan, or more E&O insurance, your net after expenses is going to be less, even before you pay taxes on your earnings.

Even when someone tells you what they charge, it does not answer your question of what should YOU charge. It is YOUR business. You are responsible for setting your own fees, based on your own market research.

House made of Twenty Dollar Bills

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