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  • #13955

    july1962
    Participant

    I’ve been caring fulltime for my disabled sister for the last 9 years and she passed away last month. It’s daunting to think of starting over in the job world at age 50! I got to thinking about becoming a notary, and in fact took a class and the test last week. I’m just waiting on my test score.

    I have been doing some research into starting my own mobile business (I want to take the loan signing class as well). Can anyone recommend whether it’s better to start a sole proprietorship or an LLC? Are there any “notary” websites that are helpful for actually starting the business side of it?

    Thanks!
    Eric

    #14238

    Geber
    Participant

    You do not mention your state. Check your state regulations to see whether notarizations of loans and real estate documents is allowed. That seems the bulk of the business; if you can’t do that, you probably can’t make a living as a notary.

    A corporation cannot be a notary, only an individual can. Thus incorporating will not shield your assets from any mistake you make while acting as a notary.

    #14239

    july1962
    Participant

    Sorry, I’m in California. The reason I ask is that in searching for information, I’m coming across other CA notaries online, some of which list themselves as an LLC. The teacher of my class last week said she was an LLC. I’d have asked her about it, but we were instructed to keep all our questions relavent to things that are on the Notary test.

    As for your last statement, that’s not the information I’m reading. The whole point of an LLC is to shield your assets.

    #14240

    Geber
    Participant

    “The whole point of an LLC is to shield your assets.” An LLC is a corporation, and a corporation is a legal person. If you formed an LLC, and, acting as an LLC, you printed an electronic document and accidentally dropped some critical pages in the wastebasket, you could try to argue that it was the LLC that lost the pages, not the natural person july1962, so only the LLC ought to get sued. I’m not an attorney, so I don’t know how well that would work. But an LLC can’t be a notary, so if you forgot to ask for ID, and it turned out to be an imposter, they’ll be coming after july1962 first, and maybe the LLC as an employer that is also liable.

    I’m also a member of a ham radio club. It isn’t incorporated now, but we’re thinking about it. Say we asked one of the members to go to Radio Shack and buy a spool of wire for a club function. On the way he runs a stop sign and a school bus runs off the road, killing 10 kids and paralyzing 3. So the member’s auto insurance will be used up, the club’s $1,000,000 insurance will be used up, and then they’ll come after all the members. That’s where a corporation is really good; the liability is limited to the individual who was negligent and the LLC, but not natural persons who were not negligent. So if you are going to be in business with friends or family, and you want to make sure it isn’t deemed to be partnership, a corporation might be a good move.

    #14241

    jmalone
    Moderator

    july1962. Most of us who do loan signings are independent contractors and run our businesses as Sole Proprietorship. I carry $100K in E&O insurance, along with my bond. LLC, S corp or C corp can be expensive. We already have large expenses with just getting our commissions and advertising on the various websites out there.

    Business in loan signings has decreased dramatically and it’s a real fight to stay in this business. I’ve been doing loan signings for over 8 years now and have seen signing fees drop drastically. Unless you have an in with some Title companies, it’s hard to break into this business. It takes a couple years to build the business, with constant marketing. You can lose a good client at any time, due to decrease in their business or they will cut your fee, where you can’t make a profit.

    You need to study all the top notary boards out there and get a feel for what’s going on. Have a solid business plan, before you venture into the signing world. If you want to do general notarizations as a mobile notary, you need to begin by dropping off business cards with banks, attorney’s, businesses, etc.

    Do not attempt loan signings with no experience. And, do not take low ball fees. Signing companies love to prey on Newbies and get them to do signings for $50 or less. You need to know all of your expenses to make a profit.

    #14242

    july1962
    Participant

    Hmmm…that’s not what I’ve been reading about LLC’s. You’re trying to make it sound like I want the LLC to be the notary and that’s not the case. If it were, anyone who participated in an LLC couldn’t actually be what the LLC represents. If I started an LLC as Hollywood agent, the LLC wouldn’t be the agent, I would. But if the LLC were sued because of something I did (an LLC can’t actually do anything on it’s own!), my personal assets would be protected.

    Google it. I’m seeing quite a lot of notaries with LLC’s.

    @geber wrote:

    “The whole point of an LLC is to shield your assets.” An LLC is a corporation, and a corporation is a legal person. If you formed an LLC, and, acting as an LLC, you printed an electronic document and accidentally dropped some critical pages in the wastebasket, you could try to argue that it was the LLC that lost the pages, not the natural person july1962, so only the LLC ought to get sued. I’m not an attorney, so I don’t know how well that would work. But an LLC can’t be a notary, so if you forgot to ask for ID, and it turned out to be an imposter, they’ll be coming after july1962 first, and maybe the LLC as an employer that is also liable.

    I’m also a member of a ham radio club. It isn’t incorporated now, but we’re thinking about it. Say we asked one of the members to go to Radio Shack and buy a spool of wire for a club function. On the way he runs a stop sign and a school bus runs off the road, killing 10 kids and paralyzing 3. So the member’s auto insurance will be used up, the club’s $1,000,000 insurance will be used up, and then they’ll come after all the members. That’s where a corporation is really good; the liability is limited to the individual who was negligent and the LLC, but not natural persons who were not negligent. So if you are going to be in business with friends or family, and you want to make sure it isn’t deemed to be partnership, a corporation might be a good move.

    #14243

    july1962
    Participant

    Thaks for the input jmalone. I live in the Los Angeles area where real estate sales aren’t as bad as the rest of the country. The teacher that taught the Notary class is also a loan signer and says she does quite well….she lives in Riverside county. Coming into the field now, I don’t know what the numbers were before, so I’ll have nothing to compare it to, like you would as an experienced notary. If the jobs are low, there’s nowhere to go but up from there!

    The teacher also said that a lot of other notaries will try and talk us out of becoming notaries because they don’t want new people coming in and taking jobs away from them…which makes sense. But I’ve also heard that the number of notaries are dropping due to the strict fines we are held to now by the SOS.

    @jmalone wrote:

    july1962. Most of us who do loan signings are independent contractors and run our businesses as Sole Proprietorship. I carry $100K in E&O insurance, along with my bond. LLC, S corp or C corp can be expensive. We already have large expenses with just getting our commissions and advertising on the various websites out there.

    Business in loan signings has decreased dramatically and it’s a real fight to stay in this business. I’ve been doing loan signings for over 8 years now and have seen signing fees drop drastically. Unless you have an in with some Title companies, it’s hard to break into this business. It takes a couple years to build the business, with constant marketing. You can lose a good client at any time, due to decrease in their business or they will cut your fee, where you can’t make a profit.

    You need to study all the top notary boards out there and get a feel for what’s going on. Have a solid business plan, before you venture into the signing world. If you want to do general notarizations as a mobile notary, you need to begin by dropping off business cards with banks, attorney’s, businesses, etc.

    Do not attempt loan signings with no experience. And, do not take low ball fees. Signing companies love to prey on Newbies and get them to do signings for $50 or less. You need to know all of your expenses to make a profit.

    #14244

    jmalone
    Moderator

    july1962………I wouldn’t try to discourage anyone from becoming a Notary Loan Signer or a Notary. Just stating reality. I’m in Northern California.

    When I first started, I heard a lot of discouraging words as I tried to find my way in this business. I have no problem with competition, I just needed to prove my worth to the hiring companies. You can have a million or 100 in this business and some are going to have what it takes and others are not.

    I wish you much success! Sounds like Joan Bergstrom taught you. 😀

    #14245

    LindaHFL
    Participant

    It isn’t that we’re trying to discourage you from trying – I have no reason to as I’m in Florida and you would not be my competition…it’s a case of making sure you have your eyes wide open to the facts before you decide this is the business for you. Of course your instructor is going to tell you that – they have a product to sell – lessons!!

    It take time – lots of time and marketing to establish yourself. It also takes money – you need to have the proper equipment to be able to do loan signings. Do you have ANY experience in real estate or loan work? If not you have a lot to learn and you are going to have to invest in some really good training to get you ready for it. You also need to know your notary laws COLD – there is no wiggle room on that.

    You need to spend money to make money, and you’ll do that in the equipment you MUST have and the advertising/marketing you’ll have to do. And even then, the reality is it will probably take you a year or two to establish yourself as a good, profitable business. That’s the reality that we want you to see. If you need income immediately, you’d probably be better off getting yourself a 9-5 job to help you financially and to help you get back in the swing of things and set your business up at night and on weekends (that’s sort of what I’m doing now after having a hiatus in my signing business since last August – I took a 9-5 to pay the bills as loan signings dropped off to nothing for me and, funny thing, I needed to eat!!…:) )

    We not trying to be negative Nellies here – but that’s reality, flat and simple. It’s going to take time and money for you to get yourself going…study study study….market market market…

    Good Luck.

    #14246

    july1962
    Participant

    Maybe so, but I’m not the only person as a newbie who will come here and read these boards. There might be other newbies in your very own communities who will read what you’re saying. I didn’t mean to imply you were saying it only to me.

    My instructor had NO reason to tell me that, they sold me ONE lesson. It’s not a series of ongoing classes, it’s one 6-hour class and then you take the test. While she talked about loan signing, she didn’t even mention if she teaches a class in that. I hope she does, because I liked her.

    I didn’t really come here asking advice on how to become a loan signer, I only asked if people had an opinion on sole proprietorship OR LLC’s. It appears so far that no one here really knows about LLC’s. As I said, google showed me LOTS of notaries that ARE LLC’s and I just was wondering if that is a better way to go. I know it costs more money, that’s not the issue. I just don’t want someone to sue me and be able to take my house away.

    @LindaH/FL wrote:

    It isn’t that we’re trying to discourage you from trying – I have no reason to as I’m in Florida and you would not be my competition…it’s a case of making sure you have your eyes wide open to the facts before you decide this is the business for you. Of course your instructor is going to tell you that – they have a product to sell – lessons!!

    It take time – lots of time and marketing to establish yourself. It also takes money – you need to have the proper equipment to be able to do loan signings. Do you have ANY experience in real estate or loan work? If not you have a lot to learn and you are going to have to invest in some really good training to get you ready for it. You also need to know your notary laws COLD – there is no wiggle room on that.

    You need to spend money to make money, and you’ll do that in the equipment you MUST have and the advertising/marketing you’ll have to do. And even then, the reality is it will probably take you a year or two to establish yourself as a good, profitable business. That’s the reality that we want you to see. If you need income immediately, you’d probably be better off getting yourself a 9-5 job to help you financially and to help you get back in the swing of things and set your business up at night and on weekends (that’s sort of what I’m doing now after having a hiatus in my signing business since last August – I took a 9-5 to pay the bills as loan signings dropped off to nothing for me and, funny thing, I needed to eat!!…:) )

    We not trying to be negative Nellies here – but that’s reality, flat and simple. It’s going to take time and money for you to get yourself going…study study study….market market market…

    Good Luck.

    #14247

    jmalone
    Moderator

    july1962. I suggest you speak with an attorney regarding the LLC. When I owned three printing businesses, I had a C Corp. Wanted to protect my personal property. Didn’t always work. I had to sign a lot of Personal Guaranty’s to buy equipment. Banks and leasing companies are too smart for that. Only you, your CPA and attorney can determine if an LLC is the way to go or contact the other notaries and ask them why they chose an LLC.

    Sorry, I personally don’t know any notaries that have an LLC. Again Good Luck and sorry for your recent loss of a family member.

    #14248

    LindaHFL
    Participant

    @july1962 wrote:

    Maybe so, but I’m not the only person as a newbie who will come here and read these boards. There might be other newbies in your very own communities who will read what you’re saying. I didn’t mean to imply you were saying it only to me.

    My instructor had NO reason to tell me that, they sold me ONE lesson. It’s not a series of ongoing classes, it’s one 6-hour class and then you take the test. While she talked about loan signing, she didn’t even mention if she teaches a class in that. I hope she does, because I liked her.

    I didn’t really come here asking advice on how to become a loan signer, I only asked if people had an opinion on sole proprietorship OR LLC’s. It appears so far that no one here really knows about LLC’s. As I said, google showed me LOTS of notaries that ARE LLC’s and I just was wondering if that is a better way to go. I know it costs more money, that’s not the issue. I just don’t want someone to sue me and be able to take my house away.

    @LindaH/FL wrote:

    It isn’t that we’re trying to discourage you from trying – I have no reason to as I’m in Florida and you would not be my competition…it’s a case of making sure you have your eyes wide open to the facts before you decide this is the business for you. Of course your instructor is going to tell you that – they have a product to sell – lessons!!

    It take time – lots of time and marketing to establish yourself. It also takes money – you need to have the proper equipment to be able to do loan signings. Do you have ANY experience in real estate or loan work? If not you have a lot to learn and you are going to have to invest in some really good training to get you ready for it. You also need to know your notary laws COLD – there is no wiggle room on that.

    You need to spend money to make money, and you’ll do that in the equipment you MUST have and the advertising/marketing you’ll have to do. And even then, the reality is it will probably take you a year or two to establish yourself as a good, profitable business. That’s the reality that we want you to see. If you need income immediately, you’d probably be better off getting yourself a 9-5 job to help you financially and to help you get back in the swing of things and set your business up at night and on weekends (that’s sort of what I’m doing now after having a hiatus in my signing business since last August – I took a 9-5 to pay the bills as loan signings dropped off to nothing for me and, funny thing, I needed to eat!!…:) )

    We not trying to be negative Nellies here – but that’s reality, flat and simple. It’s going to take time and money for you to get yourself going…study study study….market market market…

    Good Luck.

    I can’t blame you about being concerned about protecting your assets. I’d say the laws regarding LLC’s, corporations, etc etc are all state specific and vary widely along with the protection it provides. I think the best thing you can do for your self is consult an attorney or a CPA about the best route to take – guess it all depends on the goal/purpose of the LLC/corp.

    Good Luck.

    #14249

    mharmon
    Participant

    @july1962 wrote:

    I live in the Los Angeles area where real estate sales aren’t as bad as the rest of the country. The teacher that taught the Notary class is also a loan signer and says she does quite well….she lives in Riverside county. […]

    The teacher also said that a lot of other notaries will try and talk us out of becoming notaries because they don’t want new people coming in and taking jobs away from them…which makes sense. But I’ve also heard that the number of notaries are dropping due to the strict fines we are held to now by the SOS.

    The number of CA notaries dropping has nothing to do with the fines… it has everything to do with the fact that they have greatly expanded the background check. It used to just cover the state of CA, but they now put you through the FBI as well. People who may have had a criminal record in another state were often able to obtain a CA commission because they didn’t have a criminal record in CA. Now with the FBI check, they are looking at everything, and it is weeding out a LOT of people. The cost of obtaining a commission has also increased, which means a lot of employers who used to pay for their employees to obtain a commission are no longer willing to do so. Those, IMO, are the two biggest reasons.

    I don’t think any of us would discourage you because we don’t want to competition… that’s just silly. It’s more a a real warning to do your research WELL before you make the investment because a LOT of notaries who take the course and exam end up burning out when they realize they get in way over their head.

    First, I wouldn’t worry about doing the LLC thing here in CA just yet unless you have substantial assets you’re worried about. That’s just my opinion… but if money isn’t an issue for you, it couldn’t hurt. I don’t know any notaries who formed as an LLC. They are all sole-props. You’ll end up having to pay the minimum annual tax as an LLC in addition to everything else. Sole Proprietors don’t have to do that. I’m no expert…seriously, this is just my own dumb opinion, but I’d probably start with general business liability insurance, proper E&O, etc. Don’t rely on E&O insurance alone, you’d be surprised how little it really covers. Invest in business liability insurance. Remember that the bond the state requires doesn’t protect you at all. If a claim is made against your bond YOU must pay it back. Put your money where you really need it to get started. California notary law does a lot to protect the notary…provided you follow the rules to the letter.

    More than that, though…study your area first. If you’re in LA, know that even though there ARE fewer notaries these days, LA is still very saturated with mobile notaries. That means more competition and lower fees. Title companies and signing services know they can keep calling around to find somebody to do a job cheaper. You need to research the notaries in your area, see who has a good online presence (or not), figure out where the “lack” is and fill that. Don’t just copy what others are doing…it won’t get your anywhere. The only way to know this is to research your area and know it well.

    You also need to know your expenses — all of them involved with printing, travel, etc. It’s going to be a lot higher than you might think. You also need to factor in taxes AND a profit margin. If you’re taking $50-60 jobs, you will more than likely be working at a loss. You have to figure out how to stand out, in a good way. I’ll tell you right away that taking lower fees just to get a volume of work isn’t how you do it. You will burn out fast and realize that you invested a lot of money for nothing.

    The key is RESEARCH. Figure out what it takes. Trust me, you can find it available online if you do enough research. Develop a good plan before you invest much more money. Don’t fall for the lines that the class teachers will give you. They want you to tell others and refer them to their classes. There’s nothing wrong with that… but they WILL (and do) tell you a bunch of hooey.

    The fact is that our industry needs more decent notaries… but sadly, a lot of them burn out fast because they have no idea what they’re getting themselves in to or they listen to the wrong people, thinking it’s easy money.

    #14250

    notaris91
    Participant

    @july1962 wrote:

    I’ve been caring fulltime for my disabled sister for the last 9 years and she passed away last month. It’s daunting to think of starting over in the job world at age 50! I got to thinking about becoming a notary, and in fact took a class and the test last week. I’m just waiting on my test score.

    I have been doing some research into starting my own mobile business (I want to take the loan signing class as well). Can anyone recommend whether it’s better to start a sole proprietorship or an LLC? Are there any “notary” websites that are helpful for actually starting the business side of it?

    Thanks!
    Eric

    I suggest you to start a sole proprietorship

    #14251

    carriewilliams78
    Participant

    I have got my bond Ins. and all of my supplies. I am ready to get started but dont know where to start could someone give me some info or links on this topic? Thank You Carrie Williams.
    for the state of Alabama

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