Welcome to the first in our series of interviews featuring successful Notaries. We hope some of their tips and words of wisdom will help you along your path to financial independence and success as a Notary Public or Notary Signing Agent. This month we feature Barbara Linker of Linker Mobile Notary Services.
Barbara R. Linker
Certified Notary Signing Agent
Linker Mobile Notary Services
Q: Barbara, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let’s begin with when you started in the industry. A: I received my commission the end of May 2004 and began my June 2004, so it has been just under two years.
Q: Why did you decide to become a notary? A: Having completed a 40 year career in Information Systems and not eligible for Social Security yet, I decided to start a home-based business. My niece had been a Notary for a couple of years and suggested I look into it.
Q: What was your first signing experience? A: Initially the work I performed was general notarizations from the public and local businesses. For my first loan signing I was contacted directly by the borrowers and it went very well. Within 3 months I was receiving work from Title Companies and Signing Companies.
Q: Is your business full time or part time? A: This is a full-time business that I continue to build.
Q: How many hours a week do you work? A: The hours vary from 25 to 35 hours per week. This includes all phases of working from marketing, networking, office management, travel, and signings.
Q: Do you work with signing companies? A: I have several Signing Companies that I work for on a pretty regular basis.
Q: What percentage of your business is loan signings, legal, medical, other? A: Loan Signings are about 30% of my business, while the other 70% is a combination of Trust Signings, and performing services for local businesses.
Q: If you don’t mind sharing, what do you average for a loan signing? A: Taking loan signings as a whole and arriving at an average, the amount would be $100 for overnight docs or borrower has the docs, and $150 for e-docs.
Q: Do you have a minimum fee? A: Yes, my minimum fee for loan signings is $75 for overnight docs within a 5 mile radius of my home office.
Q: Have any changes in the industry or economy affected you? A: I haven’t been affected by changes in the industry to a great extent. I continue to market my services and receive work on a regular basis.
Q: How will you handle changes in the future? A: Market, market, market and market again!!!!!
Q: Do you have a business plan? A: I do not have a formal business plan, per se, but I do set goals on a monthly basis which keeps my revenue on track.
Q: What percentage of your net income do you spend on advertising? A: 15 to 20%
Q: Where do you advertise? A: I have a website and advertise with all the free sites I can track down, and I promote and accept reciprocal links with other sites relative to the Notary business. I pay to advertise on Merchant America, Magic Yellow, Verizon Superpages, BizMart, and The Christian Examiner, just to name a few.
Q: How do you network? A: I talk with everyone I know and meet. I also belong to BNI (Business Network International), and the local Chamber of Commerce. I always ask for referrals, and I talk with other Notaries.
Q: What professional organizations do you belong to? A: The Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International, National Notary Association, American Society of Notaries, The Mobile Signing Registry
Q: What advice would you give a notary starting today? A: Know your notary laws inside out and backwards. Have a lot of patience, be diligent, always study and research, and never stop marketing yourself!
Q: What advice would you give a notary who wants to take their business to the next level? A: Exude confidence, market your business, network continually, and ask for referrals.
Q: What has been your most unusual/memorable signing experience so far? A: I did a legal signing for an elderly gentleman who was an inspiration. He was alert as could be, was on oxygen and had two dogs on his lap (one dog was blind and the other was deaf). The three of them were real companions for each other. I mentioned to him that it was a beautiful day out, and he replied, “Every day is a beautiful day! If I wake up it’s REALLY a beautiful day!” I gave him one of my pens (another marketing tactic) and you would’ve thought I gave him a million dollars. “I LOVE these pens,” he says. So I gave him two.
Q: What is your key to success? A: Put God first in your life and keep a positive attitude.
Thank you, Barbara. I know you’ve provided some useful insight for our GoGetNotary members and visitors, and we wish you continued success.