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 trip 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 can come to you for the same trip fee and assist you.

If you are a shut-in or just need or prefer to sign your documents at your home, I can come to you there. 

If you would rather come to me and save the trip fee, 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 and general notary services.

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

Notary Memphis business card

Notary Memphis business card

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Why I Will Not Share My Client List on Facebook 

Why I Will Not Share My Client List on Facebook (or any other online site)

For various reasons, I am a member of about a dozen notary-related groups on Facebook. There are hundreds of people in most of those groups. Only some of us participate by posting or commenting on posts from other people. While you can readily see who the members of each group are (if you are a member of the group), that does not mean you know if they are competitors or notaries in another jurisdiction.

So, unless you’ve spent hours compiling a list of all the members and then looked them up to see where they’re from, you really have no idea how much competition from your area is in a group reading what you post. Anything you post in any of the groups could well be seen by dozens of other notaries in your service area, some of whom may be just hungry enough to take what you give freely and use it to undercut you with your clients.

Also, let’s be clear about this: the internet is essentially one big copying machine. Once you post something online, you lose control over what happens to it. It does not matter that you have the legal copyright; there is nothing to physically stop people from sharing it or copying it or printing it out. So, even if everyone in THIS group is out of my service area, that does not mean that what I post will stay in this group and not be seen by competitors who are in my area.

For those who are in different jurisdictions, my client list may well be worthless to them, because the firms that hire me may not even operate where they are.

Also, a fee that I might find perfectly acceptable here may be low for their area; a firm that always pays me on time may find reasons or excuses to not pay other notaries; the requirements of my clients (which I have become proficient at fulfilling) may be deal-breakers to other NSAs; and so on.

In short, my list would require you to do the same research before you use it as any other list you find.

Why would any small business person give away something that they spent years developing and that is the key to their success, especially knowing it may not even help the person asking for it ?

My client list is proprietary information, meaning, it belongs to me. I have written several articles about how to find or create your own lists. You can find these articles if you use the Search function of this website and search by the word “list.” Here are some recent examples:

Where Should Notary Signing Agents Sign Up?

Where to Sign Up – Part 2

Where’s The List of Good Clients?

Where is the Reliable List of Deabeat Firms?

How to Find a List of Lenders for Possible NSA Work 

Also, here is an excellent article by Brenda Stone (which the American Association of Notaries published) on Marketing to Title Companies. It tells you how to find the title companies that are active in your county.

It’s up to you to take those lists, work them through your own process of research to vet or qualify the firms on the list you receive, then sign up with the ones that pass your research & vetting process.

No one who is successful is giving away a list of their good clients to competitors. It just is not done for all the reasons stated above.

House made of Twenty Dollar Bills

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Where To Sign Up — Part 2

In a previous article, I gave some suggestions about Where Should Notary Signing Agents Sign Up?  Please understand that the firms mentioned in that article are directories.

Hiring firms (potential clients) look at directories when all the notaries in their internal list for a given area can not or will not take the assignment for what they’re offering. If you hope to be successful as a notary signing agent, you do not have to wait for them to go to an outside directory and hope you are listed highly enough on that directory to get called.

You want to be on their internal list, which means you need to sign up with them directly. They will still call everyone else higher on the list first, but at least you will be ahead of those who have not signed up with them directly, those who are merely on an outside directory.

So, the next question is how do you find these hiring firms or potential clients? Where do you get a list?

Keep Calm and Make a List

For lists of signing services, you could

  • pay for a paid membership on NotaryRotary and see their Signing Central list;
  • pay to take & pass the Notary2Pro NSA class and then access their client list on the graduates site;
  • visit notaryquest.com  and see their free list;
  • look on 123notary (see here: http://123notary.com/s/ );  or
  • you could scroll through every notary group on Facebook for the past 2 or 3 years and compile your own list of good and bad companies.

You may also find lists inside various books or ebooks (about the NSA business) for sale on Amazon or other online retailers.

I’ve bought lists in years past, but have often found that they were not worth what I spent on them.

Please, whatever else you do, DO NOT ASK FOR A LIST OF GOOD FIRMS ON FACEBOOK. It will not get you anywhere and it just annoys those notaries who have spent years developing their own list of good clients (and deadbeats to avoid).

I have written about this before here (Where’s the List of Good Clients? and Where is the Reliable List of Deadbeat Firms?) .

If you believe that you have enough experience and enough E&O insurance to market directly to title companies, this article which appeared on the American Association of Notaries site may help:  Marketing to Title Companies by Brenda Stone . (Mark Wills of The Loan Signing System is focused on teaching how to do marketing directly to title companies or escrow officers or lenders, but, as I have not yet taken his classes, I am not in a position to comment on that. When I am, my article about his training will appear here.)

If you choose to market directly to lenders, you may find this article helpful : How to Find a List of Lenders for Possible NSA Work.

Wherever you get the list, do not assume someone else vetted it perfectly for your use. It only becomes your list as you work it and make it your own.

Research every company on Facebook using the search function within the Facebook app or from the website while logged in. Facebook posts usually do not show up on Google, so the search function in the app or on the site is the only way to see what’s been posted here.

It is often, but not always, the case that you need to be a member of a group on Facebook in order to see the posts that appear in that group, whether using their search function or otherwise. So, before you start compiling a list, join as many notary groups on Facebook as you can, starting with the ones that have the most members and working your way down from there.

The reason I suggest you start with Facebook is that the notary groups on there are very active, so you will find more current and recent comments there than on any of the websites that are referred to below.

Facebook logo

After you finish researching a potential client on Facebook, use Google to research them next, as that will bring up most comments about them on 123notary, NotaryRotary, NotaryCafe,  ripoffreport, the Better Business Bureau, and other sites. Be sure to go to the 2nd and 3rd pages on any google results, because the firm may have taken steps to make their own web pages show up first and the forum posts from 123, NR, and NC may not be on the first page of the google results.

google logo

Do look at their own website for as much details as you can get about the firm, but don’t be surprised that it is mostly fluff and salesperson blather. What you want to know is their address, phone numbers, names and emails for the principal people involved, and how long they have been in business.

If you are a member of NotaryRotary, remember to use their Signing Central list as part of your research (that does require that you be a member and be signed in to access it and is usually only available to paid members).

If the potential client does not show an address on their website (or if they lack any other bit of vital facts there) and they are incorporated, figure out what state they are based in and look them up in that state government’s website for corporate records (usually under the Secretary of State page).

Only sign up with those potential clients that pass your screening process (whatever you decide that will be), as each assignment means you’re extending credit to them, so you want to know that they’re trust worthy.

research

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A Notary Signing Agent Wears Two Hats

Julie in her Notary hat

A notary signing agent (or NSA) wears two hats, which is another way to say you fulfill two roles while on an assignment as an NSA. Sometimes, the client will cause these roles to conflict with each other.

First, you are a Notary Public — This is your primary role. As a notary public, you must follow ALL notary laws, other relevant federal and state laws, regulations, and other standards for proper notary procedures. If you don’t know what is expected of you as a notary, you need to get some good training before you offer to be a notary signing agent or NSA.

(I posted about notary standards in a recent article here on pushback. Also, I am doing a series of articles about training for notary signing agents; you can find them all here: training.)

Second, you are a Signing Agent – This is your secondary role. As a signing agent, you must follow instructions of your client in so far as they don’t conflict with your role as a notary public. This means you can give industry standard descriptions of the purpose and function of the documents, but not explain the contents of a specific document in this specific package or otherwise act as a paralegal or lawyer, unless you are one. You can use some of the expertise you acquired from your training, your research, your experience, and the instructions from your client (or the title company or the lender) to point the consumer toward specific details in documents if they ask about those. You can not answer “what does that mean?” or “which choice should I make here ?” or “why is it this amount?” or “is this a good deal?” questions, as those are beyond the scope of the role of the signing agent.

Julie in her Signing Agent hat

What these two hats mean is that you are a notary public on every notarized document and the standards of being a notary public apply. On any non-notarized documents, you are only a signing agent and the instructions of your client apply. Even on the non-notarized documents, you have to keep in mind that you are not there to advocate for or promote one “side” or another in the transaction, as doing so would violate the impartiality standard required of all notaries public.

As a notary signing agent, you are there

  • to verify the identity of the signer(s),
  • to be sure they are signing freely and willingly on any notarized documents,
  • to admininster an oath or affirmation when required by the document or the notary certificate, and,
  • if they do choose to sign the documents, to walk them through the package, making sure they follow any instructions you have been given on how to sign, initial, and date the documents.

If your client’s instructions say you can not alter any document without their permission, this does not apply to correcting the venue or the contents of the notary certificate when they are wrong, as you have full authority to make corrections to those elements by virtue of your commission as a notary public. This should be understood by anyone who contracts with a notary public — that the notary is required to follow notary laws, rules, ethics, and other standards first, and that this includes making those corrections.

If your client’s instructions conflict with the standards of being a notary public, their instructions can not be followed and you should inform your client when this is the case. Although you may sometimes be tempted to just go ahead and do what you need to do as a notary public and hope they don’t object, there may be problems with that approach to the conflict.

Correcting the venue or replacing a notary certificate that does not comply with the laws of your state are generally not going to raise an issue, but even those have been the cause of pushback from some clients who are under the mistaken belief that the way their office does things is the only acceptable way they can be done.

So, informing your client when their instructions conflict with the standards of notary practice in your state gives you an opportunity to avoid objections after you have done the work (which may result in you not getting paid or being shorted if they bring in a less-knowledgable notary to “fix” what they believe was your “mistake”). It also gives you a chance to decline the assignment if it becomes clear that they insist their instructions take precedence over the law and other standards of notary practice.

A reasonable and well-informed client will issue instructions that do not conflict with the law and other standards of notary practice. It is always best to seek out and work with such clients — and avoid working for those who are unreasonable or not as well-informed. Client demands can be trying at times, but any demand that you violate the standards of notary practice should be refused.

 This article could be seen as a follow up to one I wrote several years ago on my least favorite comment from clients: No Other Notary Had a Problem with That. 

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No One Has Ever Sent It Back

No One Has Ever Sent It Back — Thoughts on Pushback

One of the more frequently seen comments in online groups where notaries gather goes like this: “I’ve always done it this way and no one has ever objected or sent the document back.”

This means the commenter may believe that lack of pushback is a standard for what is an acceptable practice.

I would humbly suggest that pushback is a worthless standard for proper notary behavior. I say this for five reasons.

1. If you’re right,  people who don’t know that or who were taught differently may or will still object. Notary groups on Facebook have frequent posts about this very situation in which the notary did exactly what they’re required to do by the laws of their state yet the person who received the notarized document insisted that it was wrong.

2. If you’re wrong, they may not know it because they were taught the same as you (or neither of you were taught & you’re just dealing with what’s in front of you in the simplest way that you can see — simple does not mean it’s right).

3. They may think what you did was wrong but lack the knowledge of how to contact you to object, or the desire to confront you about it. Or they fear that they would face an argument from you if they did object. Or they lack the ability to raise an objection because of issues you are not aware of.

4. Making the lack of pushback your standard of what is right ignores the much better standards that already exist, most of which carry serious consequences if they are ignored. These better standards include:

5. Pushback or lack of pushback is no excuse for ignoring the law or regulations or any other actual standards of behavior that exist for being a notary public. Pushback is no defense against the consequences of violating the law or the other standards mentioned above.

If you follow those standards from the top of the list to the bottom, you will be far less likely to run into problems in the future for anything you do today than if you go by “well, no one has ever objected or sent the documents back to me.”

Posted in Business, Ethics - Morality, For Notaries, Government - Law | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments