Notary Grows Alexandria Business Through Experience Living Abroad – Patch
ALEXANDRIA, VA — As someone who has lived abroad, Dominique Fikar knows all about the daunting immigration paperwork and foreign documents that come with it. That has motivated her to start her notary business in Alexandria and grow it throughout the DC region.
Fikar, once an international recruiter who has lived in Morocco, France, Egypt and Azerbaijan, now owns Alexandria-based Loan Signing Agent, a notary public providing general notary services, loan closings, employment verification, fingerprinting, and apostille services for international work. The business opened in 2019 and has grown to five female employees serving the DC region.
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Below is more information on Loan Signing Agent:
Loan Signing Agent LLC
The Carlyle Tower- 2461 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA
Hours- Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
When and how did the business get started?
Loan Signing Agent formally launched during the winter of 2019. I was drawn to the profession out of a love for the real estate industry and desire for a career that allowed me to have a flexible schedule while also being self-reliant. I knew that being a business owner would allow me to build a new stream of income and also more self-reliance as a woman. My experience living in foreign countries as an immigrant/ expat also showed me how much opportunity is available here in my home country. I was really motivated to take full advantage of the opportunities available to me. The business grew in response to the refinance boom of the pandemic which sought qualified notaries to perform loan closings.
My greatest success to date came when I hired my 1st staff member. As an early stage business I do not take a profit from our revenue, I simply re-invest. When I was able to pay my 1st staff member it meant so much to me. I now have 5 female employees. My motivation also comes from the clients that I work with. I have lived in many countries and know just how daunting immigration paperwork and foreign documents can feel. My hope is to grow to the world’s premier notary service and demonstrate how much a trusted notary service provider can do beyond just stamping your paperwork.
What does your business offer?
Loan Signing Agent is a notary service provider that offers in-person and mobile assistance with Loan Closings, Employment Verification, Fingerprinting, Apostille and General notary services in DC, Maryland, Virginia and globally through our remote online service.
What’s your most popular product or service?
Although we began our work with title companies closing loan documents we have expanded our services and see a strong return and referral rate for our apostille service. It is unique in that folks can come into our office or meet a consultant in person. We are able to sit down with our clients in their home, our office or virtually and perform an intake meeting where we talk through each step of the process and what to expect along the way. We help our clients with the proper documents they need for foreign weddings, adoptions, study abroad and relocations as well as new-hiring paperwork and the documents businesses need to conduct their work internationally.
What’s your favorite thing about the community your business is located in?
My favorite thing about our community is how diverse it is. Alexandria is home to large immigrant populations as well as diverse American populations of transient professionals. The clients that we receive reflect this diversity and it is my great honor to serve my community. Our HQ office is in the Carlyle Tower under the Industrious umbrella which is home to a variety of businesses as well. We are closely linked with law firms, investment professionals, real estate agents and other small businesses.
What kind of impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on business?
There was a refinancing boom due to low interest rates during the early months of the pandemic which was great for our business. We have also realized the strength of having an office which offers temperature screenings and the ability to socially distance outside of the home. Many clients who previously welcomed notaries into their home preferred a more public space for signing documents.
Do you have any favorite memories at the business over the years?
My favorite memory to date is rather recent. Many immigrant families travel in waves with one parent leaving a wife and children behind to work and send money back. With the current war in Ukraine we received a father who is required to document his consent to allow his son to travel with his mother beyond the borders of Ukraine into the EU for safety. This client found us through a strong referral for the apostille service and it was our pleasure to assist him with a power of attorney and consent to travel document which will be used to secure his son’s safe passage. We provide transformative services for all of our clients, but this story stood out as I could directly see the impact of my work in a time of desperation.