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November 24, 2014

Is $75 enough to print 2 sets of docs, notarize & do faxbacks?

Filed under: NSA Pricing, Fees & Income — Tags: , — admin @ 3:02 am

In this tough economy, many notaries have simply dropped out. The remaining notaries, as tough or as proud as they portrayed themselves to be have simply had to compromise their standards for what they charge. Many signing agents with ten or more years of experience told Carmen (in confidence) that they were forced to accept $60 signings just to stay afloat. So, we won’t mention any names, but you know who you are. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Americans complain about what Indians would regard as a luxury!
Notaries complain endlessly about how unfair it is that they only get $75 for so much work with such high expenses. My take on the situation is quite different because I travel. A policeman in India makes $50 per month (not including bribes.) Can you imagine living on $50 per month? How would you rent a place to live? You would be living on top of each other twenty to a room and eating dahl and rice in small quantities once or twice per day if you were lucky. Can you imagine this type of poverty that hard working Indians endure as a matter of standard procedure? And what about the folks in the countryside who work for 20 rupees per day which is about 40 cents. That is about $12 per month. When you get these $75 assignments, just say to yourself, “I made four months of a Bihari farmworker’s salary in two hours! Yippee!”

If you are doing worse than last year, do you get upset?
It is a human tendency to be sad when you are not getting what you want, or what you used to easily get. But, this human tendency needs to be changed. We live in a changing world where what was impossible yesterday might be easy tomorrow, and vice versa. You need to just do the best you can do and not base your life today on whether it is better or worse than last year. Notaries base their fees on 123notary on what they paid last year. If I charge $150 this year, but only $120 last year, they are upset that they are paying more this year than last year. What really matters is not what happened last year, but if your investment is getting you a sufficient return.

Let’s do the math
If you get $75 for a loan signing, how much work and expense is really involved. You might spend 20 minutes on the phone on average including follow up calls, scheduling and making sure the documents arrive through whatever medium is used. You might need to drive thirty to forty-five minutes both ways to the signing. You might go through 350 pages of paper, and some toner or ink printing the documents which is not for free unless you have a gift certificate to office-max.

Your real expenses might be $4 of car expenses including gas, oil changes, and other wear and tear.
If you can purchase paper for a bulk price you might use up $3 in paper, and $2 in ink or toner (just guessing)
You might use up two hours of your time including everything: 1 hour driving; 30 minutes signing; 20 minutes on the phone; 10 minutes doing fax backs. (best case scenario)
After expenses, you get $66 profit and you can deduct your miles at the Federal mileage rate as well!
If you spent two hours total, you got $33 per hour.

On the other hand, if you spent an hour each direction, had to wait four hours for documents, and the signers read every letter of every page and asked a million questions, plus spent an hour on the phone with Fred the lender, then you might have invested seven hours which would leave you with $9 per hour which is still above minimum wage in most states.

$20/hour is not bad for someone who can just walk in off the street.
I would say in all honesty, that the average signing agent probably makes about $20 per hour for their assignments. More seasoned signing agents who command higher rates like $125 or more per signing might make $45 per hour on average. Being a relatively inexperienced signing agent is not a high skilled job like being a nuclear physicist. You do not merit $50 or more per hour unless you are the best 1% of notaries in the business or are an Attorney. All you need to be a notary signing agent is to be a resident of a state (not even a citizen in many states,) fill out an application (most states don’t even have a notary exam,) get bonded, and take a quick class in loan signing; $20 per hour is not bad for someone who can just walk in off the street and start doing loan signings. For a notary with three years of experience, they should be making more like $25-$30 per hour. That is what I made when I was doing signings with that level of experience!

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November 23, 2014

If a notary doesn’t login, how likely is it that they are out of business?

Filed under: Reviews — admin @ 8:24 am

If a notary doesn’t login to their listing, they might be out of business. But, how likely is it that they are out of business. The answer is that it depends on their placement level.

If a notary has higher placement on 123notary, they paid a lot of money, and are generally more serious about their business. I have no formal stat for this information, but I am guessing that a notary who didn’t login for 200 days with a high listing might be less than 5% likely to be out of business. However those with low placed listings are about 12% likely to be out of business if they didn’t login for 200 days.

As a directory owner, I would like to see a very high level of accuracy in our search results. This means having a 1% rate of notaries with dysfunctional phones, or out of business profiles would be the highest that I am willing to tolerate. So, how do I enforce this low rate of bad information on our site? We need to keep a closer eye on notaries and make sure they are regularly logging into their listings. In some cases, we even remove notaries temporarily until we hear from them if they didn’t login for more than 150 days.


November 22, 2014

Nov: Out of biz signing companies. (B-C)

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — admin @ 4:37 am

These companies have been removed from our list of signing companies because they have not had a comment in about four years.

Bay Area Signings

Blue Ink Signings

California Signing Services

No forum

No Forum Posts

Central Escrow

Central Florida Closing

Century Document Service

CJ Signings

Clear Source Title

Closing Masters

Coastal Land Services

Confidential Signature Service



CTC Notary


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November 21, 2014

Notary Pick Up Lines Part 2

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: — admin @ 10:40 am

This one was written by a guest blogger.
It is rated (R), so if you are tight on morality, please skip on to the next one!

You get my stamp of approval that’ll never expire.

Lien on me, baby.

After impressing my notary seal to this document, I’d rather impress you.

How ‘bout affix-up? (or… How ‘bout an affix-up?)

Let’s talk dirty and swear under oath.

What do you say we change the venue to my place?

If you look at another notary’s writs, I’ll get subpoenas-envy.

Is that an embosser in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? (off the old come-on first made famous by Mae West that’s lived ever since, “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”)

After acknowledging you signed a document, feel like acknowledging my existence?

While you certify that date, how ‘bout certifying our date?

I affirm under penalty of law you’re hot.

Why bear witness to documents when we can bear each other’s souls?

It’s a crime if you don’t go out with me, punishable by the death of my social life.

Forget power of attorney. Right now I’m thinking about the power of that blouse (you’re wearing).

Come witness our initials in that tree.

There’s no statute of limitation to how much I want you (right now).

Hi. If I’m bothering you, it’s just a duress rehearsal.

(some slightly edgier ones…)

After you sign the deed, how ‘bout we do that other deed? (the proverbial “dirty deed” as in screw.)

This is just my notary public façade. Wait till you see my privates.

I’m state-approved. Care for a drink? I’m also state of intoxication-approved.

Are you as loose as that certificate? (re: “loose certificate”)

My seal isn’t the only thing that’s raised right now.


November 20, 2014

Public Service with Payback

You’ve done your marketing. You distributed lots of cards to people who have the resources to call for mobile notary services. Your notes section is current and well written. But, you still have “some time on your hands”. Ring, Ring, a call! Phooey, they wanted to know your “office hours” so they could drop by, at minimum fee, when you will be “in the office”. OK the caller is not interested now, but how about some other time? Or, just as good; you have the opportunity to show that you both know your stuff, and are willing to be of public service.

Most of the callers do not have a clue what notarization requires. If they did I would not get so many requests to notarize via email. One, wanting their Deed notarized; broke the absurdness meter by asking if I could notarize their document via text message! Whatever your skill level, you know lots more about notarizations than the typical caller. So, jump on the knowledge sharing bandwagon and share what you know. It’s just good business. There are many ways for you to “strut your stuff”, let’s explore a few “dud caller” possible actions you can take.

The caller is seeking the absolute minimum expense. Clearly that’s not you. But, you do know where they can find what they want. Do you just brush them off as not being worth another cell minute? Or, do you really try to help them? Here in New York State a county clerk will notarize a document at no charge. It’s a bit of a hassle to get past the long lines, the metal detector complete with the need to empty your pockets; and the slow, when working, elevators. That’s an inconvenient location, far from me, they say. OK, I tell them; try some banks and pharmacies. I can’t tell you which will have a notary, but that, and lawyer offices are probably your best bet.

They thank me for the information, realizing that I really am trying to help them. Do you have a few more moments, I ask? If so, there is some additional information I can give you that will probably be helpful in getting your POA notarized. Sure! I explain that Government Issued Photo ID is best, and that both the principal and the agent will probably be notarized. The principal should review the document and make several decisions as to which powers are to be granted. I also cover the fact that often several copies should be produced, as some will accept and keep only an original, rarely a photocopy. Now they are really listening. Such routine knowledge to you is coming across as gospel from an oracle of wisdom. Mention that documents going outside of the state where they are notarized should be embossed, and they are spellbound.

The caller mentions that the POA is to be used in Israel. I ask if they know that an Apostille might be required. I explain what an Apostille is; giving the short form, saying that it makes the notarization valid internationally. Caller asks if they need one. Here one must use caution. The best answer is that the ultimate recipient of the document determines if it’s needed. You can mention that you are an expert in applying the local notary laws; but you also know when to say that you do not know something. Never guess, it’s their POA and they must research it.

Yes, it takes a few minutes of your time. However, if there is an incoming call, with the potential for revenue; you can tell the POA person you must answer the new call and they can call back. The key point is to offer assistance “Public Service” to each and every person, especially when you think it’s a “dud”. They will remember you, tell others; and eventually call back with a job.


November 19, 2014

Waiting for The Corner Office

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 10:26 pm

Waiting for The Corner Office
Generally the occupant of The Corner Office is an important person. With a flick of the pen on an evaluation, or a harsh word they can strike terror into the hearts of lower ranking staff. However, the mobile notary responding to their request for an appointment is not an employee. You are the seller (of notary services) and the VIP (in this case) is the buyer. You arrive a bit early, as is your custom; and are told there will be “a wait” as the VIP is running behind schedule.

The call was for a single signature to be notarized. It’s unlikely that your fee would be anywhere near $250; most likely it will be a lot less than half that amount. The gatekeeper (the administrative assistant) informs you that his meeting is running about an hour late and asks if you would like some coffee while you wait. Note that the presumption is that you will be waiting; certainly in the gatekeeper’s mind you will. Everyone is willing to wait to see the VIP. However, the mobile notary is an exception, and with many good reasons.

The main reason you cannot afford to wait for an hour is that you are there for practically peanuts. Our fees are tiny. Others, wanting to see the VIP have “the big bucks” in mind. They are selling big contracts for goods and services with hefty commissions; waiting is just part of the sale. But an hour wait is not justified for a mobile notary fee. Inform the gatekeeper (if your schedule permits) that you charge a dollar a minute to wait; after, perhaps, the first 15 minutes. Either you will be shown the door, or they will agree. I make it a point to explain that my modest fee does not allow for extensive waiting. Please inform the VIP that the notary has to leave in 15 minutes. In my experience the VIP comes out to sign the paper, not always; but most of the time.

I understand that there can be higher priorities compared to seeing me. But, I also place a value on my time and refuse to give it away. Many are the prepaid, via PayPal, jobs that never happened. Either the person had to leave or they just had higher priorities. Prepayment is a great protection, but not to be used unfairly. Each situation is different; but the aim should be to strike a reasonable balance whereby neither side is grossly being exploited.

It’s good to establish the ground rules in advance. If you are actually speaking to the corner office person – stress that your quote does not include your dollar a minute waiting time addition. It’s also fair to mention that, due to the lowness of your fees; waiting just does not make economic sense in your business model. It’s a harder sell to convince the gatekeeper; but stressing that you expect (due to a subsequent appointment) to start punctually.

I have had assignments where the essence of the project, from my perspective was to wait. The longest wait I ever had was over eight hours. They wanted me “standing by” for when a contract would be signed. I quoted a hundred an hour to “sit there”, after receiving a five hundred dollar retainer via PayPal. They were sure the negotiations would last for at least eight hours. They lasted for ten hours. During my wait a representative checked to make sure that I was still there and sent out for my meals. Finally, they thanked me profusely for waiting (as if I did so for free), and handed me a corporate check for the second half of my wait. No deduction for Wonton Soup or Sesame Chicken!

I’m “old school” and feel that both sides should meet as scheduled. Today, the inspiration for this installment; called me half an hour after the scheduled meeting to inform me they were about half an hour away. “Make a U turn” I told them, as I was already in route to my next appointment. Yes, I can meet with you later today; but it will be about four hours from now as I have other obligations that I cannot and will not allow you to disrupt. I understand you could not predict that you would have a flat tire; but I must be on time to my other appointments.

Of course there are exceptions. A regular client gets some slack; but never to the expense of keeping some other client waiting. It’s only fair. One way to keep your travel fee is to break down your charge into two components. The larger fee, say 75$ is for going there, and, at the site you add the per notarization fee. That protects you two ways. You never lose the travel fee; and when many more notarizations than initially described are required; you get paid for each one.


November 18, 2014

HUD-1 The Settlement Statement

Filed under: (4) Documents,Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:04 pm

“We are waiting for approval of the HUD before we can send you the docs”. I’m sure you have heard that frequently. Arguably the single most informative document in the package. The HUD, along with the Note, Mortgage and TIL (you better know what the letters stand for) comprise the heart of the deal. Although the HUD is usually not notarized, you DO have to take a look at it.

Probably the most important things for you to check are lines 303 and 603 on the first page. But first take a look at items D and E on the top. D & E name the borrower and seller. Generally you will meet either the borrower or the seller; occasionally both. Now you know if you are meeting with the borrower or the seller, and a quick check of 303 and 603 will let you know if there is “Cash (x) From” due. You are expected to notice cash from and to pick up the payment.

Generally the check is made payable to the Settlement Agent. The agent is named in box H at the top of the form. The check(s) are usually made out to the name in box H. On page 2 in the 1100 series of entries there is often a notary fee listed. Sorry, but that is not the amount that you will receive; it’s the amount payable to the Signing Service. If it says $350 and you took the job for $75; you can be sure the Signing Service considers you a hero. As you recall they said they are only getting $125, you might have a slightly different opinion of them.

There is generally a separate signature page. Oddly, the signature page is often not numbered and really has no “tie” to the HUD itself. Take care here; often the signature page requires two signatures. It’s an easy mistake to just obtain the first required signature but not the second. It’s also easy to become a favorite with the settlement company. They need several copies of the HUD and often make them and stamp them with “Certified True Copy” – they are always delighted when the notary prints a few originals, five is a nice quantity; and has original signatures on each.

Sometimes you will receive the entire package minus the HUD; which you are told will follow as soon as it’s approved. Wanna take a chance? If so, go ahead and print the two copies of the docs that you currently have in your inbox. Don’t be too surprised if you are told to shred what you printed. Numbers on the can HUD relate directly to other numbers in the package. If at all possible wait for word that the HUD is “final” prior to printing the package.

As the HUD is the key “money expenses” page; it’s common for the borrower to receive email with “preliminary” numbers. Obsolete HUDs (that are not the “final”) look very similar to the “final” that you brought to the table. Take care that an earlier HUD, printed by the borrower is not mixed in with the documents that you printed. Borrowers will frequently want to compare the one they printed (left hand) to the one you brought (right hand). Be absolutely sure that you return the one sent to you and not the one sent to the borrower.

There is a silver lining to the gray cloud of HUDs. It’s a federal form and almost always the HUD is basically identical and it’s easy to find information. However, I have seen “HUD clones” that do not follow the standardized format. Take care to look closely to determine how these are signed (perhaps also initialed?). Rarely notarized, it’s an easy form to process. Return a few copies of what was sent to you, signed in all the right places.

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November 17, 2014

Can you notarize auctions? Yes, but only for the highest bidder

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 2:56 am

I have never heard of notaries doing auctions before, but now I’m reading that it happens. One notary got so carried away that he auctioned himself off for a date with a woman. The woman asked if she could see his journal and he said, “On a first date? — I’m not that kind of notary!”

But, are there any “bumps” in the road notarizing car auctions?

One notary claimed they did notary services at several car auctions for a car towing company. The atmosphere was fast paced and somewhat crazy. It was the towing company that was going to pay him based on time and quantity of notarizations. There were several forms that someone from the towing company needed to sign as well as the buyer.

At the end of the auction the notary couldn’t start his car
No problem, the towing company offered him a complimentary tow home! (That didn’t really happen)

Courthouse auction paperwork signings
The county courthouse is another location where auction paperwork could be notarized. The entire process takes about an hour and you get paid roughly what a loan signing pays.

One notary got called by two different towing companies on the same day for an auction. Each auction was to last three hours. So, he asked them both to bid for his time. He said, “250, 250, 250 bidi bidi bdi 250, 250, 250. Do I hear 300, 300, 300 bidi bidi bidi 300, 300, 300?” They both hung up on him and hired a different notary.

Do’s and don’ts for notarizing at auctions

(1) Do get paid the same day
(2) Don’t auction off your notary seal
(3) Don’t bring a firearm to the courthouse
(4) Do set your fees for waiting time in advance
(5) Find out how many sets of paperwork will be involved and what they entail.
(6) Ask the auctioneer to talk a little more slowly.


November 16, 2014

Is the industry picking up? 1 notary had 11 signings today!

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 9:09 am

I just got off the phone with a notary who couldn’t talk. He was finishing the last of 11 signings that he was doing in a single day. I asked if he had gone in a time machine back to 2004. He said that he really meant it. Does this mean things are finally picking up? A notary on Notary Rotary said things were picking up for her too. I’m hearing this all around. Not everybody is busy, but it is a lot better than a few months ago. So, there is hope. But, don’t expect things to get too wild until lending conditions lighten up a bit. You still need amazing credit to qualify for a loan these days.

I hate it when people are too busy to talk to me. But, if it is for a worthy case like finishing off a dozen signings, that will brighten my mood with news of hope! I hope that me sharing this with you gives you hope too!


November 15, 2014

2014 Most ACTIVE signing companies

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — Tags: — admin @ 10:31 am

These companies were the most active in 2014 each with multiple comments in our forum.

Accurate National Signing Service

Always Signing

American Signing Connection

BNN Services

Convenient Closers

Doc Pros

Executive Signing Agents


Field Choice

Global Notary

Land & Law Group

Loan Processing Center


Mobile Signing Solutions Corp

Mortgage Connect LP

Nations Direct


Sign Here Ink

Signing Stream

Skye Closings

Timios Title

WFG National Title Insurance Company


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