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Marriage is often seen as a commitment. A spouse indeed should be your best partner in life. But can married couples be good business partners in the notary signing profession? Well, there are many benefits of being in a happy marriage and the same can be said for running a successful company with your spouse.
The relationship is both professional and personal. Married couples can have more time to discuss their business goals and structure them to align with their family needs. This co-work experience gives the couples a fantastic opportunity to learn about the working side of each other, which they would not otherwise.
Also, when one partner becomes sick, the other can provide support and handle the work responsibilities.
This time, I’m very delighted to have the opportunity to interview Cathy Pedrosa Vidal and David Vidal. They will share what it is like to work in the notary signing business as married couples, their journey when starting out, and valuable advice for couples who desire to succeed in this industry.
Here’s the Exclusive Interview with The Loan Closing Couple ®
Before we dive into your notary signing business, can you please tell us about your life as a couple?
Cathy: “Dave & I met during college. I was attending Rutgers University (Newark Campus) and Dave was at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). These two institutions are across the road from each other and many students from the campus would hang-out at each others’ campuses.
We met through mutual friends. I graduated Rutgers with a BS in Criminal Justice and English Literature with a minor in Education. Dave received a BS in Marketing Management”.
Dave: “I have a variety of hobbies, but the top of my list is anything with cars and motorcycles, cooking and keeping our veggie patch going…but my green thumb needs some work. Cathy also enjoys cooking, baking (other than bread and madeleines, I do not bake), reading and being outside, whether in a park or sitting on a beach.
We do not have any children but try to be role models for all the children that are in our lives; nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids.”
Now, moving on to your notary signing services. Can you please tell us about the business?
Dave: “Cathy & I are commissioned notaries in the state of NJ, concentrating our service area to Central and North NJ. We specialize in loan/mortgage signings for real estate refinances and purchases, both residential and commercial. Our clients, or “accounts” as we say, are independent title companies as well as lender/bank title companies which are subsidiaries of banking institutions.
In our business this is referred to as working “direct”, and our business model is 100% direct work. Our marketing and branding strategy gives the impression that we are a much larger company, and we are often solicited to by notaries who believe we are a signing service. However, the fact is we are a husband and wife team of loan signers, and perform assignments ourselves. Our marketing philosophy is a bit “look like Pepsi” while “being a mom and pop shop”.”
Cathy: “While we do focus on loan/mortgage closings for refinances and purchases, we do HELOCs and seller’s packages as well. There are so many avenues a notary can take when building a business, but the dynamic nature of the real estate industry is the one that excited us the most.
We enjoy doing loan signings, and love working this business together.”
Please take us back to the beginning of the business partnership. Why did you decide to work together in the notary signing business? Is working together something that you always wanted to do?
Cathy: “We never gave thought of working together when we were each working our corporate jobs. Dave was working in the banking industry, working on the lending side, but the company he was with permanently shut down at the end of 2015. My experience was in the legal industry, working as a paralegal in the medical malpractice sector. Circa 2016,
Dave had discovered the LSS program when he was trying to see what else he could use his notary commission for, already then considering the possibility of being self-employed. This was something he was giving serious consideration to doing, starting a loan signing business, and even took the course.
However, the whole thing got sidelined when he took on a new job. Around this same time, I was at a point in my career where I felt I needed a change, wanted a change, for personal and professional reasons. My mother had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I wanted to spend more time with her. My job at the time gave me some flexibility, but nothing compared to if I was self-employed.
Dave encouraged me to take the Loan Signing System training course, and start working as a notary signing agent. Although my mother passed away shortly thereafter, I was still inspired to continue and pursue a business as a loan signing agent.
We decided to start the business together, Dave continued with his 9 to 5 while we took time to see if this new profession was viable, and I went full time into the business. As we worked on the business; branding, marketing, business development, we knew a time would come for Dave to join me full time.
That time came July 2020, after a six month notice (the pandemic created difficulty in finding his replacement) he joined me full time. It took us awhile to become The Loan Closing Couple, mainly because we first wanted to put in place medical insurance and save up to purchase another printer and more office supplies.”
Can you describe the daily operation of The Loan Closing Couples? Do you go to every signing appointment together or separately?
Dave: “Its catchy right…The Loan Closing Couple. Like many mom and pop shops, small businesses and small partnerships, we both wear many hats…with some of those overlapping.
The major function we primarily overlap on is facilitating loan closings. Cathy and I both perform loan closings, each prepping and finalizing our own documents. To maximize our potential to serve more clients, we conduct assignments separately. This also guarantees that we are in compliance with any privacy concerns that our clients, borrower/signers, or any parties involved may have. However, we are always in contact with each other, making sure we have not booked ourselves for closings without the other’s knowledge.”
How do you determine who is responsible for which specific roles?
Dave: “We each took on roles that fit our strengths. Cathy handles most of the scheduling, bookkeeping and general administrative tasks. I have taken on the social media and marketing campaigns/posts. But, when in comes to in-person networking, we both cover events, either together or apart, depending on what we have on our schedule for the day.
Our big sell is that as a team, we share best practices, learn from each other, and keep our service consistent.
One area where there is no overlap refers to the idea of “Who’s the Boss?” Well, I’ll make that easy for you….its not me. All jokes aside, this is a very important decision we recommend all couples/partnerships make when they decide to work together. Now by boss I don’t mean one is ordering the other around. The boss in this instance sets the priorities and the operational protocols of the company.
From there, when it comes time to make a decision on something we will only proceed if we both are in agreement. Otherwise, you get into the sticky situation where disagreements occur, or worse, animosities emerge. Because Cathy started the business, we elected that she be the boss.
Furthermore, she is 51% owner and President of Vidal Notaries, making our company woman-owned and woman-led, something we both felt was necessary for the longevity and prosperity of our company.”
Is it difficult to separate business from family time? Or do you find it necessary?
Cathy: “In the beginning there were no “boundaries.” We would talk about work all the time. You see, Dave is a night owl while I am more of an early bird. I would want to talk in the morning as soon as I got up about work but without his two cups of coffee, Dave didn’t function.
On the flipside, after dinner is when Dave wanted to discuss strategy, marketing, etc., and by that time, my brain had shut down. We came up with a plan, although we do sometimes blur the lines a bit.
During breakfast we limit our conversation to our schedules for that day, along with any documents we are still waiting on. If we have time during the day, we talk about the social media posts, marketing, networking and accounting.
During dinner, unless one of our accounts calls us, we do not mention work. After dinner, for about an hour or so, we recap the day, relay any news and finalize our schedules for the next day. Then we do try to unwind and relax a bit.”
Dave: “We also try to talk a little shop during the weekend. It helps keep important topics top of mind. Many folks refuse to talk about work on the weekend. But we don’t mind it.
For most folks, the weekend is the time they handle many personal errands and deal with things around the house, thus why they don’t want to hear the slightest mention of work. However, given our flexible schedule on weekdays, and because we’re a home-based business, a lot of that stuff is handled during the week. Thus the tradeoff is to talk a little bit about work during the weekends.
I know that you both just attended the Loan Signing System (LSS) conference. Can you please let us know a bit about the event? Would you recommend other couples to both go through the LSS training?
Cathy & Dave: “WOW! It was phenomenal. There were about 1100 loan signing agents in one location. We met and mingled with people from all over the USA. The conference provided us with tips, wisdom and advice from the heavy-hitting loan signing agents (those doing over $20,000 per month) and from industry leaders in real estate, lending, escrow and title. We learned how to make impressions and build relationships with people in the field in order to stay top-of-mind and be called upon to do their loan closings. There was so much excitement. 1100 like-minded people who all “get it” and understand what it really means to be a loan signing agent. And it didn’t hurt that this year it was held in Las Vegas!
And the beauty part of the Loan Signing System is the sense of community that it builds. From the very start, that was the feeling we felt, that we were not only just students…but part of a large family. It was awesome. And Mark Wills is an incredible mentor who takes a personal interest in the success of all his students.
We absolutely recommend that couples take the LSS training. It is a great course that brings loan signing agents to the next level to increase their business. Even if only one will be doing the loan closings and the other handling “office” work, its good to know how to do a closing to cover the other one when needed. We are both LSS students and we both went to conference. Being able to compare notes, share the talks we had with others at the conference and then coming home to implement what we learned – it facilitates the phrase “hit the ground running.”
Cathy: “For couples looking to build a great family business, there truly is none better than a loan signing business. I highly recommend they opt for the Six-Figure Course, which is the most complete option of the program. And opt for the monthly mentorship program of live videos to help further your knowledge.”
Jacob: “Here’s a complete review of the Loan Signing System (LSS). In there, you will find out the course materials, costs, and student ratings from different sources. I also talked to numerous signing agents, and they shared their first-hand experience about the training program.”
What is some advice to couples who are thinking of becoming partners in the notary business?
Cathy: “It was difficult at first when we started this business. We are two different individuals with different work-styles. Our biggest challenge was making decisions regarding finances. We decided that unless we are in unanimous agreement, we do not proceed with any actions related to a particular issue.
As with any small business, budgeting and money management are a major key to success, so large purchases for the business also only occur if we both agree on the need for the item. Basically, we each present why or why not/pros and cons to go for something. One of us will not proceed without the other’s support/approval in order to avoid resentment.
This business, this partnership should not, and will not, become a sore spot between us. We also had to work through what each other’s roles or tasks would be. We played on each other’s strengths. I handle most administrative tasks while Dave handles the brand and social media tasks.
This way we are responsible for implementing the task and realizing its result. And if something goes wrong, we hold each other accountable for the resolution.
The key to couples working together is talking; good communication, constant discussions and full transparency on all aspects of the business and partnership. It is not easy at first, but if couples are looking to start a business together, the notary business is a great option.
And as mentioned earlier only one can be the boss, so the other has to be comfortable with this notion.”
What is your outlook for Vidal Notaries?
Dave: “Yes, our business is still growing and continues focused on real estate transactions, specifically loan closings. I come across social media activity from peers referencing how they are adding this service and that service to their notarial business, without truly mastering anyone service.
But Cathy and I want to be the go-to notarial specialists for the real estate world and where our company will always be laser focused on. All across the United States, people buy and sell properties and businesses every day, and a notary signing agent will be at the closing table ensuring that the transaction is completed flawlessly.
Whether in a high market or a low market, there is always a need for a qualified loan signing agent. The type of transaction and client may change depending on the market fluctuation. Understanding the cyclicality of the real estate industry, making necessary adjustments, and deepening our relationships with professionals in this space will hopefully keep us in business for a good long time.
Cathy & I are in this for the long haul.”
Thank you so much for the incredible sharing, Cathy and Dave. I have one last question. What are the best ways to reach you if our readers want to know more about your notary services?
We invite readers to connect with us on social media. We’re both on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and frequently use those platforms to answer questions we receive from other professionals. That, and we love meeting new people and making new connections and friends.
Just some final thoughts
That’s a lot of incredible sharing! I really like the idea of how Dave and Cathy had clearly communicated upfront the business models. Also, their different strengths are a great compliment to their loan signing business.
Although doing business together might not be suitable for every married couple, it is great to see that Cathy and Dave are learning and growing their notary business with each other.
Furthermore, Cathy and Dave indeed put lots of thoughts and detailed responses into this interview. They also responded very promptly and also kept me in the loop when there were any updates. I genuinely believe having such a good work ethic is one of the core elements of success in the notary signing business.
Once again, I thank Dave and Cathy for taking the time to give this interview and share such an incredible journey and experiences with us. I wish them all the best and continued success in both the notary signing business and their beautiful marriage.
Here’s another article that discusses whether being a loan signing agent is a good career. You will learn important considerations for this profession. I also talked to several loan signing agents, and they shared their valuable viewpoints about this career. I’m confident that this will give you a clear picture of this profession, thus leading you to make an informed career decision.