By Victoria Anton—1. Do not file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and expect to get your money back from a company that does not pay you properly. The BBB is for consumers. Notary Signing Agents are not acting as consumers when performing their jobs because they do not buy anything. Notary Signing Agents are acting as business operators.

2. Do not file a complaint with the Attorney General and expect to get your money back from a company that does not pay you properly. The AG’s office is for consumers who are scammed by companies regarding a purchase they made. Notary Signing Agents did not make a purchase in performing their service.

3. Learn basic accounting principles so you can provide the proper documentation to substantiate your invoice and be paid promptly. Attend an Accounting Principles Class at your local community college for a week or so. Or go to the Small Business Association in your area who is there to help small businesses learn how to operate. (Believe it or not, some people just sit and wait on their check and do not have the first clue about how to make an invoice and submit it to a company for payment.)

4. If you do not have written documentation from the company stating that: “You will receive the full fee whether or not this loan funds or closes”—you cannot expect to be paid for a signing that does not close. This is why it is vitally important that you READ the contract you sign when you work for any company as a notary signing agent.

5. Make a list of companies that do not pay you and keep it by your phone so that when they call you can decline (nicely) as in “I am already booked.” Do not rely on someone else completely. I have seen many good companies bashed for no reason or because the person complaining messed up but doesn’t want to admit to it.

6. STOP running to the message boards and complaining. A large majority of the information provided on message boards will get you black-balled with the companies. The good companies watch the boards periodically. If you are willing to go to a message board and smear a company name (rightfully or wrongly) other companies are going to think long and hard about whether or not they want to deal with you because you will probably do the same to them. It is never good business practice to do a smear campaign regardless of whether you are right or wrong. The problem is between you and your customer (the company) — not you and the WORLD to be read 100 years into the future.

7. Always invoice a company separately after you have completed the signing. If you are not paid within 30 days, send a reminder letter. In that letter, make sure you indicate WHO you spoke with as well as the time and date, stating that the full fee was guaranteed and they are 30 days behind in payment. At the 60 day mark (if it is not paid) send another letter that is a little stronger. At the 90 day mark give them 10 days to pay or you will file a complaint in your local small claims court. If you file in small claims, get a judgment. NOW you have control to be a bother to them. WHY??? Because you can send the judgment to their courthouse and have it recorded as a lien. You can also file it with the credit bureau.

The collection procedures above are how businesses operate. This is why it is so important to have more knowledge in this business aside from just being a notary and doing your job. You are a business owner so you need to operate as one. If you do not have the skills, there are millions of places to learn the skills. Asking other people to give you advice will just get you opinions from other people—not good, solid training in proper business procedures.