Can you run a business?

Many have joined into the profession of being a Notary Loan Signing Agent (NSA) with little or no experience as a notary or a familiarity with loan documents or the loan process. This coupled with a lack of knowledge of running a business or a certain business savvy may leave them at a major disadvantage.

Upon contemplation of becoming an NSA, one should research the details of being an NSA. Do you have an understanding of loan documents and the loan process? Are you able to gain that knowledge?

In addition, it is important to understand and read people. At a loan signing, you should be able to read the borrowers to understand their competency or awareness of the transaction at hand and present the package accordingly. Realize, whether they understand what is being shown to them or if you need to ask some questions and elaborate more.

Your competency level can also be of great value or a deterrent to which the borrower becomes uneasy and takes more time in reviewing and signing the documents. This can be largely dependent upon the level of confidence and organizational skills you show in your set up and presentation at the table. So, you feel you can be knowledgeable and you can present the documents in such a way as to put the borrower at ease.

You may be able to attain the knowledge necessary as explained above but now can you run a business? Do you know how to set pricing to assure a profit? Do you know proper procedures for signing contracts and independent contractor agreements? Do you know how to solicit business? do you know how to record the business in a manner that will allow you to keep your accounts receivables current, easily make an collection calls and track conversations with customers? Owning and operating a business takes a certain type of person, as well.

Many times you believe things should work a certain way but in the reality of the business world they do not work that way. It is beneficial to have been involved in owning and/or running a business prior to becoming an NSA. Bookkeeping background can be a great asset to set you on the right track to keeping your records straight and not getting yourself in a position of attempting to collect on invoices that are several months ole. You must stay on top of these items. The older the invoice is the harder it is to collect on.

There are some abusive companies who find a way to not pay or put you off until you give up the fight. If you stay current on your accounts receivable and gain an awareness for abusive companies, you will find yourself better off in business. Remember you are the business owner and the companies do not dictat to you but you do have to work within or conform to work within a certain level of common practice which many seem to be unaware of. This goes back to thinking things work or should work a certain way but in reality they do not.

Some companies do not pay the NSA until the loan funds. Sometimes, the payment terms vary within a single company depending on which of their clients you are doing a signing for. It is not in your best interest to gain a reputation for strong arm collection calls at 31 days. You nearly always catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Being professional and courteous will get you a lot further on a  collection call. Always present yourself in a non-threatening manner with the thought in mind that you may have missed an instruction of how to submit for payment, even if you know you did everything correctly. Ask the accounts payable person if they could check to see if an invoice is in their system for payment. Only upon repeated calls with no response do you get a bit forward in your collection efforts. There is the occasion this will be necessary.

Additionally important in keeping records is to keep records in a manner that you can check the progress of your business throughout the year. It will serve you well to set up a system where you can check how many signings you have had in a week, in a month. Determine what your cost are and what you need to make to pay your bills and pay yourself. Determine how much you will need in gross dollars to accomplish this.

A recommended bookkeeping software is Intuit’s Quicken Home and Business or Intuit’s Quickbooks.

I know how much I need per week in signings to keep working an independent business. I keep track as the week goes on and what that averages out to in a month. One week you may make nothing but you may make that up at End of Month for a monthly average where you need to be. Don’t let yourself get into financial problems by not keeping track of this along the way to be sure the receivables you have coming in will cover your expenses and pay you.

Owning a business is about resourcefulness, people skills, keeping good records, and managing money.

Managing money is the next item on the agenda. So you have a few boomer months and you think you have money to blow. To continue owning and running your own business, you must plan for a rainy day. Buy wisely, spend wisely and save your a rainy day. When you have good months and feel like you have a lot of money, don’t spend frivolously, but rather, save frivolously. There will come a month or a time when business will slow. With money in reserve, you can concentrate on business and marketing and not be stressing over money.

Starting a new business, there are always items you didn’t think about when determining your fees or determining amount available to spend and how much to keep on reserve but that is not just a business occurrence. We know that happens in day to day life.

From a standpoint of someone who has worked as an independent business owner for many years, I can give you some guidance to help you think of all the expenses you may incur in the Loan Signing business and help you to understand what you need to charge as a minimum to be profitable and continue to own your own business for years to come.

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