By Kelly Robertson—I’ve always heard from students (and seasoned professionals, too!) who have the same question: “Since the economy is still recovering and closings are still down, should I consider paying to sign up with signing companies?” Here’s my answer:

  • These signing companies need you! They need to have a large database of signing agents all over their state, region or the US so they can boast that they have a large database of signing agents (their number one marketing tool). Why would you pay someone who should be paying you to be listed in their database?
  • There is no guarantee that if you pay to be listed in their database you’ll get work. Think you’re depressed now, just wait until you spend a ton of money and don’t get any calls!
  • Think about the cost: For example, say you choose 10 companies that charge “only” $25 to be listed. 10 X 25 = $250 – a whole lotta money, don’t you think? Better spent on marketing and if you’re slow, now is the perfect time to be marketing.
  • Why do you need to sign up with a company that charges you to be trained by them? Yes, for a fee, these companies tell you that not only will they list you in their “exclusive database” but they will train you to notarize DMV and vehicle ownership documents… Reverse Mortgages… Heir Buyouts. What? Why would a Notary Public need to be trained on how to notarize signatures on documents?
  • There are hundreds and hundreds of First-Class Signing Services that appreciate you, and welcome you to join their database. They would never consider charging you to be listed in their database (see #1 again!). If they don’t call you, so what? Just sign up with more until someone does start calling you. If you’re slow, you should have plenty of time to sign up!
  • If you do fall for this scam, you are contributing to a change in the way we do business. What we accept is what will be and ultimately everyone else in the business will start charging, too! Just say, “No!” and hopefully, this nonsense will end.

Why not be more proactive with all the time you have on your hands now? Remember that many NSAs are getting out of the business—a lot that had no business being in the business in the first place, leaving more work for you. Take the time to review your profiles and update them or add a few more. Get some fresh business cards (cheap advertisement) and while you’re at it, be sure to get a card that specifically addresses your capability to “travel” or be “mobile” and drop a bunch off at local convalescent homes, hospitals, banks, attorney offices… you’ll learn more about being a Notary Public and enjoy meeting new folks who really appreciate your services and the best part: These jobs pay cash!

Think about other ways to augment your income: Become a Wedding Officiate (the holidays scream for Ministers!), sign up to be a Field Agent (keep your work close to home), learn about Bankruptcy Processing (huge now), or find some realtors that you can do Open Houses for. Why not learn about Home Staging and start a new side business (I saw a neat section on, consider helping out a struggling Broker or Processor and in exchange, learn about their end of the business and get all their loan signing jobs or volunteer to be a Transaction Coordinator for a team of Realtors and in exchange, learn about their end of the business and get all their signing jobs.

Perhaps you limit yourself by being in your own way to success? Don’t’ sabotage your efforts by worrying about what you don’t want: Bills piling up, another day that the phone doesn’t ring, wondering if you may not have what it takes, certain you may not be smart enough? Instead, be a magnet for what you want: Hear the phone ringing off the hook, Feel the confidence in your ability to do a great job, Know that you have a solid knowledge of your job as a Professional Loan Signing Agent. Try it. What do you have to loose?