Our Featured Notary for June is Elaina Murphy. Her thriving notary business, Tampa Bay Signings, is located in New Port Richey, Florida. Elaina often mentors notaries who are new to the signing agent business, and she is actively promoting her bankruptcy processing business as well.

Elaina Murphy Tampa Bay Signings

Q: Elaina, we appreciate your taking the time to share some tips for other notaries. Let’s start at the beginning. When and why did you become a notary. ?
A: I started in 2002. It was required for my career in the mortgage banking industry.

Q: What was your first notary experience?
A: I handled a closing at a law office where I was performing paralegal duties.

Q: How many hours a week do you work?
A: This is my full-time business. I work as many hours as possible. I enjoy meeting new people and providing assistance to title companies and lenders.

Q: Do you work with signing companies?
A: Occasionally, I take assignments from signing companies, but most of my loan signing work comes directly from lenders and title companies.

Q: What percentage of your notary business is loan signings, legal, medical, other?
A: I’d have to say loan signings make up about 90% and legal accounts for the other 10%.

Q: Do you mind telling us what you average for a loan signing?
A: $125, this includes e-docs.

Q: Do you have a minimum fee?
A: Yes, however it varies according to e-docs, travel and scheduling/availability.

Q: How have changes in the industry or economy affected you?
A: It really has not affected me very much. I have developed strong relationships with companies who share mutual expectations and levels of ethics and professionalism. We have been consistent in our loyalty to each other.

Q: What would you advise others who have been hit by the market slowing down in their area? ? A: The market is cyclical. You should anticipate any drop in business by developing more creative strategies to reach companies that seek the same level of commitment as you do. They’ll still be around when business is slow.

Q: Do you have a business plan?
A: Yes. It’s essential to know where you’re going and what it will cost to get there.

Q: So you expect to spend money to market yourself. How do you determine your advertising budget?
A: I calculate my annual expenses and then allocate at least 25-30% for advertising and marketing.

Q: Where do you advertise and market your notary service?
A: I advertise in specific directories that are dedicated to the industry and provide serious professionals with real opportunities to develop new business. The more directories the better, but not every directory has value. I am always marketing my business.

Q: How do you network?
A: I’m always networking and looking for new contacts in the community and through professional organizations. I look for resources that can be expanded and are mutually rewarding to both sides.

Q: What professional organizations do you belong to?
A: I’m currently a member of three associations, the National Notary Association, NNA’S Notary Signing Agent division, and the American Society of Notaries.

Q: What advice would you give a notary starting today?
A: Begin each day with a positive attitude. Your education should be ongoing. Study and know your State Notary Law. Develop a business plan. Be professional in your communication and appearance. Stay committed to having ethics and integrity; you cannot compromise your principles.

Q: What advice would you give notaries who wants to take their business to the next level?
A: Have a business plan and follow it. Not just a list of two or three goals, but an actual business plan.

Q: What materials are tops on your recommended reading list?
A: One great reference is “Notary Law and Practice” from NNA.

Thanks, Elaina. This provides some useful insight into your success as a Notary Signing Agent.