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How to handle a family emergency as a Mobile Notary

As a Nationwide Notary service we work with thousands of notaries each year.  From good to great, to back-outs and no-shows we experience it all.  Recently, we had an issue come up and thought it might be helpful to discuss.

What should you do when you have a family emergency and can not make your appointments?

Option 1, you do not update your client to let them know that you have an emergency and can not make the appointment.

Option 2, you run your appointments and ignore your emergency.

Option 3, you email your client letting them know that you have a family emergency and can no longer make the appointment.

Before we give you the correct answer (as we see it) its important to understand what your Signing Service client will experience with each option above.

If you go with option 1, it will most likely result in what signing services refer to as a “no show”.  It’s one of the worst possible outcomes, and grounds for immediate un-approval for most of the clients that you work with.  Your client looks bad, their client looks bad and, in fact everyone in this situation looks bad.

Going with option 2?  Why would you ignore your family if there is an emergency?  Your client won’t be doing any back flips for you.  Many will just want you to put your family first anyway.

Option 3.  Your client has time to replace the request with another Mobile Notary, or at the very lease they can update their client that there would be a delay in processing the request.  Your client more then likely will understand that life can and will happen from time to time.  They will be grateful for the notice and more then likely want to continue the working relationship you probably worked hard for.

So the answer is 3.

Things can and do come up.  As a Nationwide Notary service focused on I9 verification for remote hires, we find it incredibly important that our notaries update us when they can not make it to an appointment due to a family emergency.  It shows that you understand what it takes to take care of both your family and clients.

How do you handle your clients when you have a family emergency?

 

Where to Find a Mobile Notary & How much does it cost?

Where do you find a Mobile Notary?  It’s a question most folks never think about or ask, until the time comes when you need one.  Then where do you turn?  The internet is helpful and quick, Google search returns about 2.3 million results.  From Google ads to Yellow Page listings the choices are endless.

So you click on a web link, find a phone number to call and leave a voice message.  Do this often enough and sooner or later someone will either call you back or finally pick up the phone.

But how can you tell if the person that you are talking to is really a Notary Public or just a scam?

And how do you know what a fair price is for Mobile Notary services?

We know it’s not easy, and can even be a bit intimidating, so N3 Notary has put together what we hope is a useful guide for finding a mobile notary with confidence and ease.

Firsts things first.

Have an idea about what documents you need notarized and how many notarizations you need.

Nothing will spook a mobile Notary Public more then a uninformed customer.  The more disorganized you are, the more unlikely you will find a Notary at a fair price with just a few phone calls.  So know the titles of each document that you need notarized.

To count the number of notarizations you will need, it’s important to understand what the Notary Public is actually notarizing.  Most folks seem to think that it is the document that needs to be notarized and they are misinformed, when in fact it’s the signature that is being notarized.

Keeping that in mind, to count the number of notarizations you will need, just count the number of total signatures on each document that require a notarization.  For example, let’s say you have 1 document, and the same person will sign the document 100 times, that would be considered 100 notarizations.  Alternately, if that person was to sign 1 time on 100 documents that would still be considered 100 notarizations.

Be prepared to share this information with the mobile Notary when you speak with them.

Second. 

Find a notary website that is dedicated to making it easy for you to find a Mobile Notary in your area.  There are some great websites out there that have been built just for you free of charge.

GoMobileNotary.com

NotaryRotary.com

These websites are very easy to use.  You simply just enter in the zip code that you need a notary in, click the “Search” button and a list of Notaries that cover the area will be presented to you.  You can read reviews, get their phone number and review their experience as well.

Third how much does a Notary cost.

Pricing for a Mobile Notary will range from $5 per signature with no travel fee to several hundreds of dollars.  Some states do dictate the price that the notary can charge per notarization as well as limit the fees Notary are allowed to charge for travel.  You can check with your Secretary of State office for specific details.

A Fair price will be about $25 – $40 for 1 to 2 Notarizations and an additional $5 – $10 per notarization thereafter.

Fourth know the rules for Notarization in your state.

Most of the time, the Notary is going to want to know two things.  First, can the individual who is signing the document understand the contents of the documents and two can the Notary properly identify the individual appearing for notarization?  If the notary cannot answer yes to both of these questions then they have a duty to refuse the notarization, and more than likely you will be charged for the full rate of their service as they are acting according to the rules of their state.

Before you even schedule a Notary visit, make sure that the person that will have their signature notarized has original unexpired ID issued by a federal (Passport) or state (Drivers License) agency available to show the Notary at the time of the appointment.  In addition, the person that is appearing for notarization must be of sound mind.  Unfortunate as your situation may be, if you ask the notary to travel to an Alzheimer’s ward chances are the notarization will not be taking place.

Finally seek out the advice of an attorney.

A Notary is not authorized to render legal advice.  In fact, in some states that cannot even tell you what type of notarization you need, it’s actually your job to tell them.  If you have questions about identification, or the ability of the person appearing for notarization to understand the document or have questions about the document or Notary process, you should consult with an attorney.

3 Mistakes Mobile Notaries Must Avoid to Keep and Attract Clients

It’s been hard being a signing agent the past few years, and if interest rates keep going up, it may get much harder.   Maybe you’ve been at this for years, or you’re just starting to put the wear on the tries.  No matter where you’re at with your small business, it’s important that you are able to attract and keep customers or you’ll burn out, give up, or worse, stay exactly where you are.

Nationwide Mobile Notary Signing Services can be a lucrative customer for a traveling Notary Public, as they tend to have a large volume of requests.  This volume could provide you with $300 – $650 in revenue per month and more.  Sure, the per file rate is low, maybe $65, while a title company client may pay $125.  Then again, 10 requests at $65 per file is more then 2 requests at $125 per file.  So there is some real value in keeping and attracting Signing Services as clients.

As a Nationwide Mobile Notary Service that specializes in I-9 Form employment verifications for Remote Hires, we have worked with thousands of notaries across the United States for more then 10 years, and would like to share with you 3 mistakes you must avoid in order to keep and attract Notary Signing Services as clients.

First, never dictate to a Signing Service how the appointment is going to be run.  Sure you’re an independent contract and you can do it your way, but at the same time, a Signing Service does not have to call you again.  Most want you to provide the services within the guidelines and policies of the company.  They do this in order to provide an overall consistent service to their customers.  Stay within the guidelines and you’re more likely to get another opportunity.  Do not, and your chances are you will not.

Second, never provide the Signing Service with your rates.  They’re more than likely not to honor them and they are not interested in them.  The service provider dictates the fees 90% – 95% of the time.  When you e-mail them a rate sheet after accepting a request, it shows that you do not understand the nature of the signing service business and will make them question your ability to perform the appointment up to their standards.

Finally, never back out of an appointment because you didn’t realize you double-booked yourself, or you didn’t realize the appointment was farther away for the rate you agreed to,  or because you got a better offer for the appointment time.  Backing out for these reasons or any reason is almost always unacceptable, and chances are the signing service will never want to work with you again.

By avoiding these three mistakes, as an owner of a traveling Notary Public service, you will give yourself the best possibility at a second opportunity for work and the possibility of a client that could provide you with a few thousand dollars a year.

 

 

7-Eleven I-9 Compliance Audit Gets Embarrassing

This past June, federal authorities seized fourteen 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia following the discovery that multiple owners and managers were falsifying information on Form I-9’s to hire employees not legal to work in the US. According to authorities the franchises were dealing out  false social security numbers to pay illegal employees which lead to a request to audit the entire 7-Eleven enterprise.

 

The initial audit resulted in all franchises being required to show compliance by conducting an internal review of all employees and their employment eligibility Form I-9’s. 7-Eleven’s executive vice president, Darren Rebelez, reminded and warned its 5000 plus franchises that Form I-9 compliance steps are mandatory and “failure to comply will result in serious consequences, including the possible termination of your franchise agreement.”

 

Not only must all employees complete an I-9 form with true and accurate information, but under the Immigration Reform and Control Act, all US employers must verify the identity and work eligibility for all new hires. This information is documented in Section 1 and 2 of the Form I-9 where employees attest to their citizenship and verify their identity and work eligibility with appropriate documentation. Employers are responsible for keeping the original copies of the employee’s I-9 form for the purpose of inspections or review. The IRCA also requires the retention of terminated employees for three years after their date of hire or one year after their employment has been terminated, whichever is later.

The executive vice president went on to assure that 7-Eleven will be taking the steps to “protect the integrity and reputation of the 7-Eleven brand… and to ensure that all franchised stores are being operated in a lawful manner.” All franchises have the deadline of 1 month to show compliance with the internal review and fix any deficiencies that they may have with their employee’s employment authorization including absent or missing I-9 Forms. Failure to do so would result in the franchise’s termination. Starting in July 2013, 7-Eleven field consultants and market managers will travel to each individual store to audit all Form I-9’s completion and compliance with federal and state policies.

 

Currently prosecutors are expecting $30 million in forfeiture from the 14 stores and the Dallas based corporation. Following the audit of the initial franchises in violation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and federal prosecutors will be investigating an additional 40 New York 7-Eleven’s and abroad.

 

 

I-9 Form Guide To Accepting Temporary ID

What do you do when an employee presents you with a temporary ID instead of an original copy of an Acceptable Document in Section 2 of the Form I-9. Section 2 of the Form I-9 requires that original documentation be used to validate the Employee’s employment authorization, however, on occasion a temporary ID may be given in the place of a required document. Below are the types of receipts accepted to replace a document and instructions on how to enter this information in Section 2 of the Form I-9.

There are three types of receipts that can be used:

The first type of receipt that can be used in place of an original document is a receipt acknowledging that the employee has applied to replace a document that was lost, stolen, or damaged.  This type of receipt can replace documents from List A, List B, and List C.

The second type of receipt is the arrival portion of the Form I-94 or Form I-94A  with a temporary I-551 stamp with a photograph of the individual. This receipt is for a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) or “green card” and acknowledges that the Employee is a lawful permanent resident. This type of receipt can be used as a document for the Employment Authorization in List A.

The third type of receipt is the departure portion of the Form I-94 or I-94A with a refugee admission stamp. This type of receipt acknowledges the Employee is a refugee or an “alien authorized to work in the US” which you can confirm from their status in Section 1. This type of receipt is used when an Employee hasn’t received an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or the combination of a List B documents paired with a Social Security Card. This type of receipt can be used as a document for the Employment Authorization in List A.

Types of Receipts that are not acceptable to use as an Acceptable Document are receipts showing that a person has applied for an initial grant of employment authorization or for renewal of employment authorization. These do not apply in any case.

When the Employee presents you with an acceptable receipt, enter the document title as “Receipt” in Section 2 where it applies under the sections List A, List B, or List C.

Next enter the receipt’s document number in the “document #” space. Lastly you will enter the last day valid day of the receipt for the Employee in the “expiration date” space. In the case a receipt does not have an expiration date (such as the third type of receipt), enter “N/A”.

Remember, expired receipts can not be used as an acceptable document. If an Employee presents you with a receipt that isn’t listed above it does not apply and can not be used to replace a document from List A, List B, or List C.

 

 

 

 

 

The I-9 Form: Understanding Section 2

This is an instructional guide for Notary Publics completing Section 2, “Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification”, of the Form I-9. As the mobile Notary Public, it your job to look over and verify the identification papers for a new employee’s Form I-9. Section 2 of the Form I-9 requires that original documentation be used to validate the Employee’s employment authorization. Proper documentation establishes both that the employee is authorized to work in the U.S. and that the employee is the person who the document was issued to. The following are the steps to ensure proper completion of Section 2 of the Form I-9:

 

1. On the first line under Section 2, fill out the Last Name, First Name, and Middle Initial of the Employee’s name. Refer back to Section 1 for this information.

 

2. Enter the information for the document title, issuing authority, document number, and the expiration date from the original documents supplied by the Employee. Only unexpired and original copies of documents may be used. Enter “N/A” into any unused fields. You should examine the document(s) and accept them if they reasonably appear to be genuine and if they reasonably appear to relate to the person standing before you.

•It is important to remember that you may not specify which documents an Employee presents to establish their identity and employment authorization. The list of acceptable documents is on the last page of the Form I-9. You may accept any List A document, which establishes both identity and work eligibility OR, you may accept the combination of one document from List B (establishing identity) AND one document from List C (establishing work eligibility). Note that if a document from List A is used, no documents from List B or C should be reviewed or entered and vice versa.

•You may use abbreviations for the document title or issuing authority if the abbreviation is widely known and/or widely understood. For example, you may use DL for driver’s license or DMV for Department of Motor Vehicles. If you question whether to use an abbreviation, write out the name in full. Remember, when in doubt, write out the full known name of a document title or issuing authority.

•Receipts can be used when a document was lost, stolen, or damaged. This receipt is proving the Employee applied to replace the document. Enter the word “receipt” as the document title.

•Some List A documents are considered “combination” documents and must be presented together to be considered an acceptable List A document. For example, a foreign passport and a Form I-94 must be presented together to be considered a List A document.

 

3. Under the Certification section, enter the Employee’s first date of employment. If the Employee does not know this date, leave the line blank. As the Notary Public, you will sign your name, enter the current date (month, day, year), fill in your title (Notary Public), and print your last and first name. Doing this confirms all the information is true and accurate and that you physically examined the documents entered in Section 2.

 

In summary, be as thorough as possible. Only unexpired documents can be used to verify the employee’s authorization and no photocopies should be accepted.  If you make mistakes, line through the mistake then write the correct information above or near the incorrect information and initial and date it.

 

 

 

 

Your Mobile Notary business. How Expanding Your Expertise Can Lead to More Profit

Running your own Mobile Notary business can be a rewarding challenge.  But when trying to grow your business many notaries can feel as if they are on a hamster wheel.  Rather then just putting up a website, creating a profile on 123notary.com or signing up as a vendor with signing service after signing service try expanding your areas of expertise, to win your way to more profits.

First there is one sure way to prove that you’re an expert mobile Notary Public.  Join the National Notary Association, take there certified loan signing agent training and undergo their back ground screening.  Hands down this in one of the best things you can do for your business.  Notary only will they provide you with training for conduction loan closings, it demonstrates to those that you work with that you take your roll as a Notary Public seriously, have invested both money and time into expanding your knowledge, and is a great resource for when you have a question about a notarization.

Second, expand your knowledge don’t just do loan closings.  Lets face it the market is ever changing and so are the rolls that notaries are asked to play.  Did you know that Notaries can act as an authorized agent to companies for completing employee I-9 From verification.  While an I-9 verification is not a Notarial Act, Notaries with knowledge of how to properly complete the I-9 Form are in short supply.  And short supply plus high demand can lead to more profits.

Third, become a certified process server and add one more service that you can offer.  A process server business and a mobile notary business have some similarities.  One they both require traveling, reviewing and process paper work, and provides the freedom and flexibility of being a mobile notary.  Second licensing requirements are relatively easy to obtain, and finally adding this expertise to your business can again win you more profits.

Finally get to know other Mobile Notary providers in your area.  Talk to them, help them and be helped by them.  Become a mentor and allow yourself to be mentored.  Network with them, and throw them some work or a referral from time to time.  These types of partnerships are extremely valuable to all involved.  Being a mobile notary can sometime fell like your on an island all by your self, but reach out and connecting with other mobile notaries can be rewarding and make you feel connected and needed.

Rather then just signing up with signing service after signing service, and waiting for a call, spend some time expanding your knowledge, add an additional license or two, and enter into different markets.  Get to know other mobile notaries in your area and network with them, help them, throw them a referral now and then as well  Not only will your knowledge grow, your relation ships and friendships will grow, but so will your checking account balance.

Remember its no-longer enough just to do loan closings.  Those running a mobile notary business that can expand the scoop of the services they provide are likely to succeed.

 

 

Remote Hires and Form I-9 a delicate balancing act of compliance

For many companies remote hires are a part of normal business activity.  Hiring an employee who lives on the other side of the state or other side of the country presents compliance challenges with Form I-9 that need to be address.

DHS’s enforcement unit ICE is increasing the number of audits and fines each year, companies need a system in place to ensure Form I-9 compliance or risk large fines in the event of and Audit.

There are a range of strategies for Form I-9 compliance, from putting the responsibility on the employee, to electronic I-9 systems designed specifically for remote hires.

Choosing the compliance strategy for your business will depend on a few different factors.

First is the experience you want to provide to your employee.  You can simply e-mail your employee the Form I-9 and ask her/him to find a local Notary Public to complete section 2 of the I-9.  Or you may choose to engage the services of a traveling notary services that will meet with your employee and complete section 2, this takes the burden of finding a Notary off the employee and demonstrates a higher level of commitment and dedication on your company’s part as part of the overall on boarding experience.

Second is the accuracy in which the Form I-9 is completed.  Many times I-9’s are completed incorrectly or refused to be complete by a local Notary Public.  Employees have the expectation that all Notaries will be able to complete the From I-9 accurately, but many Notaries do not.  Either the Notary enters in the incorrect information in section 2 or puts a Notary stamp in section 2 or simply does not signed as the authorized representative of the company.

These types of error can be frustrating for the employee and the on boarding staff, resulting in rework and compliance issues.  Using an out side service provider that specializes in Form I-9 compliance is worth considering if there are a high number of Form I-9 that are completed incorrectly using your current strategy.

Third is the price that services providers charge.  Fees can range form $10 to $100 depending on the services that you need and the strategy you want to implement.  Electronic I-9’s can help reduce the number of errors and improve overall compliance and can range from $10 – $20 per I-9.  Notary services that provide I-9 service can rage form $40 – $100 and in some cases even higher.  A local Notary Public will charge about $10 to complete and I-9.

Finally is loss of reputation.  What would happen to your business, your brand should you fail an ICE audit.  For some companies a failed audit could mean a loss of customers and loss of reputation, while other companies would just face a fine and not much else.

If your brand exemplifies, trust and compliance in the market place taking a look at your current I-9 compliance system is a must, and any deficiencies should be improved as soon as possible.

Form I-9 compliance is not just for remote hires it’s for all hires.  Defining your I-9 strategy and evaluating your current system can go along way in ensuring Form I-9 compliance.

How a Nationwide Mobile Notary Service can simplify the Records Retrieval Process

If your litigation support service has a daily on going need for the services of a Notary Public to assist with picking up records and notarizing affidavits then having some knowledge of how a Nationwide Mobile Notary service can help you company improve outcomes while reducing costs could be an answer to a question you have yet to ask.

A Nationwide provider of Mobile Notary Public services can help a company by:

1Improving turn around times for retrieving records and notarized documents.

 

1Controlling cost with a fix fee service throughout the nation.

1Reduce staff hours dedicated to scheduling and managing the mobile notary requests.

 

1Improve quality with a service provider that insures that all their notaries are licensed, insured, and background screened.

Improving turn around times

Mobile Notary services that provider services through out the United States can improve your turn around time.  Because these types of service providers have a large network of traveling Notaries, staff dedicated to scheduling the requests, and internal technology to streamline the process, orders can be processed faster then in-house staff.

Controlling cost

Another advantage when working with a nationwide mobile Notary service is there ability to control costs.  Most litigation support services have a large volume of service request and therefore can have the option of volume discounting from their service provider, as well as a fixed rate for services performed.

Reduce staff hours dedicated to scheduling and managing the mobile notary requests

Do you know how much time your team dedicates to the scheduling and managing of your notary requests?  Could that time be put to better use?  Mobile Notary scheduling services saves time by doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to your request.  They will schedule as well as mange the request, and ensure a successful outcome.  This frees up your team to focus on other areas of your business while providing a single point of contact for your service requests.

Improve Quality

Are you doing your due diligence on each Notary Public you use for record pick ups?  Have all your Notary contractors signed an independent contractor’s agreement with your company?  Using a nationwide mobile notary scheduling service can help you with your due diligence.  When selecting a company to work with be sure that they conduct a background check, verify licenses and have an independent contractors agreement in place for each Notary Public that they work with.  This way you and your clients are covered should something go wrong.

Good things come when partnering, but choosing the right nationwide service provider for your record retrievals is key.  Before selecting the mobile notary service be sure they;

1Offer service through out the United States

 

1Offer fixed rate pricing and volume discounts

 

1Have technology in place that helps speed up the process.

 

1Does their due diligence on each Notary Public they work with.

 

New Form I-9 as a Notary Public are you ready?

Maybe you have noticed that there is a new Form I-9 that employers are using.  If you have not yet employers will have until May 7th 2013 to make the switch and as a Notary working as an authorized agent to our nations employers you need to be ready.

The first change you will notice about the Form I-9 is that the from it self is now 2 pages rather then one.  This was done to make the from easier to understand, for employers, employees as well as authorized agents.  The idea was to minimize the common mistakes that are made while completing Form I-9.

Is section 1 you can see that there have been a few new fields entered asking for both the phone number as well as the e-mail address for the employee.  This information is optional, and an employer can not require the information to be filled out.  It is completely within the employee’s discretion to provide this information.

Section 1 still needs to be signed a dated by the candidate and must be completed on or before their first day of employment.

It’s important to note that employers or their authorized agents still can not tell the employee what types of ID to use for completing the I-9 Form.  At best the employee must be referred to the list of acceptable documents and determine on their own what ID to use for the Form I-9.

Section 2 of the I-9 Form

Take a look at the top of page 2 just underneath the instructions.  There you will see that the employee’s first and last name as well as middle initial needs to be completed by the Notary Public (authorized agent) as it papers in section 1.  This is new, so take a little extra care when completing this part as it might take a little time getting used to it.

Section 2 will still need to be completed on or before the 3rd business day of the employees first day of employment.  By looking at the I-9 Form you can see that there are still three list letters, A, B, & C.  As before that employee still needs to present to the Notary (authorized agent) or employee either a List a document or a List B & C document.

As you can see under list A, there are now additional fields for adding document information as required by the I-9 from.  This will be used in such times as when accepting a foreign passport with an I-551 stamp or Visa.  Giving the Notary more room to complete the required information for List A documents.

Another change you can easily see is the 7 pages of instructions to review for completing the Form I-9.  As a mobile Notary or Notary Public it’s probably a good idea to review the instructions once or twice to familiarize yourself with these new changes.

As a Notary Public working and an authorized agent for I-9 Form completion it’s important to get failure with the new changes.  And remember that starting on May 7th 2013 all employers must be using the new I-9 From.