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June 28, 2017

$300 in 13 minutes. How Carmen cleans up in the Notary business

Carmen has always realized, or at least since 2005, that you can’t just do Notary work only. There are not enough high paying jobs to keep you busy. Those who try to be full-time Notaries end up taking a lot of low paying work just to stay busy. Carmen has always believed that you should combine signing agent work with another profession that is flexible, so that you can take an hour or so off during the day to do a signing.

Carmen normally makes about $150 or $175 per signing, and since she only accepts close jobs, she is often back home within 40 minutes. She preps her borrowers over the phone so she can get in and out without any delay.

But, a few weeks ago she got a job. The lady was a repeat customer and asked what Carmen wanted to charge. Carmen said $200. But, the lady was feeling generous, and wanted to be in good hands next time around, so she offered Carmen $300. Talk about being popular or having good signing karma.

Carmen printed the documents, went to the job, and was in and out in 13 minutes. The signers knew what they were doing. It was a construction loan or investment loan for seasoned investors who were fast at signing documents and had their lawyer prep them on what it all meant BEFORE the signing rather than detaining the Notary for two hours while they read every word of every page. So, Carmen got everything signed and notarized in minutes and was out the door. The signers were impressed and happy that it was such a painless experience.

Had they hired some other Notary, it might have been sluggish, incompetent, and the Notary might have shown up late, or dropped the package in a drop box rather than a staffed Fedex station. There is a reason why people pay extra to hire seasoned pros. But, you don’t find too many seasoned folks at SnapDocs. For the best Notaries in the biz, you need to visit 123notary.com!

$300 jobs don’t come every day. However, if you sell yourself short, you will never get any. If you can afford to do so, charge more, and take only jobs from people who value you. Otherwise you will be calculating your gas expenses and how much a ream of paper costs for the rest of your life — should you live so long!

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June 26, 2017

How do Notaries decide what a fair fee is?

Unfortunately, Notaries rarely think like business people. There is no such thing as a fair fee. Fees are based on supply and demand. Sometimes the quality of the Notary is not even considered which makes it hard for seasoned Notaries to survive in this low-ball world unless people swear by them. But, here are some erroneous ways of thinking that Notaries engage in.

1. The fee on the Closing Disclosure is $250, so therefor I deserve more than $50 which is what they offered me.
WRONG: You are worth what the market will pay you. If you are a new Notary, and $50 is the best you can do, it is better than starving.

2. I am a seasoned Notary and someone offered me $50. I feel insulted.
WRONG: If you are a seasoned Notary, you should be only worried with how much the top four offers per day are paying. You have time for four jobs per day unless you want to work overtime. If your top offers pay you $125, then it doesn’t matter what the other offers pay you as you won’t have time for them. The problem is you don’t have enough good offers, and the problem is not how many bad offers you get.

3. I got paid $90 per signing ten years ago, therefor, I should be making at least that now.
WRONG: Market conditions and interest rates have changed. There are too many Notaries (particularly of the low-ball variety who work for clearing house agencies) who will work for cheap. Additionally, with interest rates higher than they were before (which is still low comparative to the 70’s and 80’s) there are few refinances going on. You work for what the market will pay you.

4. I am using my toner, gas, paper, and wear and tear on my car, therefor I deserve at least $x per signing
WRONG: You can only get what people are willing to pay. If they don’t offer enough, you can consider alternate things you can do to make a similar or greater amount of money.

Summary
There is no right or wrong in what you are offered. Getting better offers is based on your experience, skill, desirability, negotiating skills, and how well you advertise. If you are getting “enough” job offers, but they don’t pay enough, you are not getting enough job offers. You need to get twenty offers per day so you can take offers either from the nicest companies, the best paying jobs, or the closest. Getting five offers of which you take four guarantees that they will be mostly not good offers as most offers are not. If you don’t take the cream of the offers you are not getting good offers, so advertise more and make sure your advertisements look good as well — that means having reviews!

There is no fair price or right price. Having a fixed price schedule is stupid too. You need flexibility. The market determines what you get paid, so learn to play the market instead of getting played like a Notary chump.

Rebuttal: Who you callin’ a chump?

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May 1, 2017

Discounts for early booking? Hotels do this, why shouldn’t you?

Filed under: NSA Pricing, Fees & Income — admin @ 7:34 am

Hotels and airlines give you a better price if you book in advance. I think that Notaries should use this system too. But, be careful. You can’t just go around giving discounts to anyone.

CLIENT: How much do you charge?

NOTARY: It is $125 for a signing, but $90 if you book two or more days in advance. Unless you are one of those companies that cancels all the time.

CLIENT: Oh, not bad. I will book for Thursday at 9pm.

If people book at the last minute, if you are not doing anything, you can still discount their rate. But, if scheduling is tight, then charge a higher rate. Keep your pricing flexible for optimal results. Not everybody will want to use this strategy as some preferred fixed rates, or perhaps each of your clients has a fixed rate they are accustomed to.

If you get your appointments booked in advance you have a more predictable schedule and life. You can plan in advance. You know what part of town you will be in. You can book your schedule more efficiently with less holes. On the other hand, no discounts for people who cancel more than 20%.

You need to keep records of the average time it takes a company to pay. Keep records of the average number of cancellations. This all needs to be recorded in a database file on your computer or on paper. Paper doesn’t crash, so I suggest paper. Also, the math here isn’t that complicated, so you can do the averages on paper or use a computer program. What you charge people needs to depend on:

1. Performance of the company: how fast do they pay, how nice are they to you, etc.
2. Distance
3. # of pages in loan or how long it takes to do their loans
4. Time involved for fax backs.

Most Notaries don’t get it that pricing formulas are a little bit complicated. You have to integrate the company’s performance into the price. If a company pays slowly, then charge more or make them pay up front. If a company cancels, then make them pay a deposit or pay you more. Reward people for good behavior and make them pay if they cause you grief regularly. On the other hand, if a company is generally good, don’t penalize them for one or two small mistakes as that will be bad for your relationship!

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June 9, 2016

A comprehensive guide to Notary Pricing

It’s been a long time since I have written an article on pricing, so I feel it is high time! Most Notaries want to have a fixed fee and make tons of money. This is not always possible. The Notary market is a market with lots of little ups and down that a smart Notary needs to constantly adjust to. It’s smarter to have systems and formulas worked out ahead of time so you know how to react to these fluctuations.

There are fast days and slow days, monthly highs and lows, as well as changes in the market that happen over the years. There are also changes in who is competing with you in your area at a particular time. The key is to be flexible and learn how to charge accordingly. Here is how I would set my prices.

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1. Time Involved
A smart Notary should charge based on how much time is spent. Notary jobs during rush hour involve more time. Jobs that involve printing more than the average amount of pages should be billed accordingly. Smart Notaries ask who the Lender or Bank is. This is because the name of the Lender can determine with some accuracy the size of the package. Signing companies lie about package sizes which is why smart Notaries ask. Additionally, there are many loan types and some require more time. Refinances are faster, while Construction Loans are longer but have more professional and businesslike signers. Reverse Mortgages, VA, and FHA take more time. Piggy Backs are double signings and have double the pages and double the Notary work. Time for doing a signing is based on these components:

Negotiating Time — Some companies are easy and pleasant to deal with. If it is fast getting assignments faxed or emailed to you and easy to confirm with the borrower, take notes of that time. It can differ from company to company.

Printing Time — Notaries should charge by the page for e-documents. Printing takes time, and often involves waiting for documents to be ready which can be hours if you work with irresponsible companies.

Driving Time –Factor in how much time it takes to get from point A to B. Keep notes so you’ll know how to charge for jobs to particular cities in the future.

Signing time — Some Lenders have loans that get signed quickly. Some Lenders answer the phone and get situations handled quickly while others don’t.

Loan Type Influences Time Spent — VA & FHA signings are just plain longer. Reverse Mortgages are for the elderly who are less businesslike and might need a lot more time to sign. Power of Attorney signings are the most likely not to fund, so take that into consideration. Piggy Back loans are double the signatures and double the notarizations. But, once everyone has sat down and you have your journal out, it goes quickly.

Fax Back Time — Fax Backs are a pain in the rear, but they serve a purpose. Signing companies can hire newbies and get away with it, because the signing company can check your work before it gets sent back to Title. They no longer need experienced Notaries. However, fax backs take time, so if your time is worth something, charge for each page faxed back.

Cancellation Rate Time Waste — Factor cancellation rate and billing time into the price.

Billing Time — Some companies pay on the first request while others require hounding.

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2. Expenses Itemized

Printing Documents — is not only time consuming but costs money. You are using up paper, toner, cartridges, ink, and using up your time to restock what you used up. Charge accordingly.

Car Expenses — Driving a car is not free. Tires wear down, brakes wear out, plus you need to change the oil, filters, shocks, transmission, and more. So, in addition to time, try to work a mileage fee into your pricing in addition to charging for time.

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3. Track Record & Risk of Not Getting Paid

Late Documents — If the signing company or title company was late getting your edocuments in the past, make a note of that. Keep detailed records of each company. Record how fast they paid you on each job. Recalculate their average days to payment every month just to keep records updated. Also, keep records for how late they are sending edocuments or how incompetent they are about keeping their borrowers informed. If you are dealing with a flake, charge more.

Unknown PartiesIf you accept a job from an unknown lender, or one with a bad reputation online, you might charge more, or make them pay up front. You should always charge extra when there is any type of risk involved. . These signings assume risk. Some of the risk is spending an unpredictable amount of time or not getting paid at all.

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4. Payment Terms
If a Lender will only pay you if the loan funds, you need to charge more. Some Lenders will not pay your printing fee if the job gets cancelled, so make sure you know what the terms of the agreement are. Some will pay part of a travel fee if the job gets cancelled mid-way. However, the signing company booked your time, and you can’t give your leftover time to some other company at the last minute just because they needed to cancel. You have to commit your time to them, but do you make companies commit to paying you?

I personally feel that Notaries should set their own terms. You are not a bank, and it is not your job to gamble on whether or not a loan funds. You should be paid before, or within 72 hours of a signing in my opinion. But, you can make your own terms. Beginners have to accept the terms dictated to them, but old pros can make their own terms and get away with it. However, if you do accept terms that limit your ability to guarantee payment, charge a lot more.

Recommended Reading:
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5. Travel Fees for Non Loan Signing Work
Most Notaries charge $25 to $50 travel fee, and more if it is for jails or hospitals. You also charge by the signature on top of the travel fee. Charge based on how valuable your time is worth. If you are desperate for work, charge less. If your time is limited, charge more. If you have lots of other things to do, you have less supply of time so you can charge more — this is a strategy to consider — so stay busy my friends.

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6. Jails & Hospital Notary Jobs
Charge more for jails and hospitals because these are the jobs where there is a lot more that can go wrong. You also will not be dealing with the cream of the crop. You can get stood up at a jail. Inmates do not have ID and your credible witness or ID carrier might not show up. ID’s might be expired. Hospital patients are often drugged making it impossible to notarize them. Half of them can’t even hold a pen, so how can they possibly sign? Consider this when deciding upon your jail & hospital travel fees which should be $60 to $150 depending on how greedy you are! Some Notaries are afraid to go to jails, but it is safe, and that is where you can make money fast. Just make sure you have them read their ID to you over the phone including expiration date or you will be very sorry. Also, get your travel fee in cash at the door BEFORE you see the signer. They might not be available or might not want to sign! Be prepared!

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7. General Pricing Models
Keep in mind that a few years ago, Notaries could get paid a lot more. With Snapdocs and lower demand, companies can pay a lot less and get away with it.

Situations where you charge more or less
(1) Charge less during the first 17 days of the month. It is slower, and you have more time.
(2) Charge more during the end of the month. Additionally, you can charge more if you schedule a job several days in advance because you might miss out on a better offer. Additionally, jobs scheduled in advance in my day had a 25% cancellation rate which will wreak havoc on your schedule.
(3) Charge less if you are having a slow day and someone needs a last minute signing. If you are doing nothing, why not sell that time.
(4) eSignings have less physical pages, but often take longer because the signer and their spouse need to take turns looking at the computer screen not to mention the chance of delays due to technical issues.
(5) Charge extra if there are three or more signers on a loan.
(6) Charge more if the company cancels a lot
(7) Charge less if a company has a good track record and is easy and fast to deal with — or pleasant!
(8.) Charge more if there are lots of signatures to notarize.

Pricing Recommendations For Beginners. 0-500 signings

Basic Signing $60-$80
E-Documents: $10-$25 extra per double set or 7 cents per page
Pickups: $25 extra
Dropoffs: $20 extra — there is less waiting time during dropoffs
Reverse Mortgages: $100
Piggy Backs: $100
Regular Notary Work Travel Fee: $30 if within 30 minutes
Jail & Hospitals: $50

Pricing Recommendations for Intermediates. 500-3000 signings
Basic Signing: $80-$120; E-Documents: $20-$40 or 10 cents per page; Pickups: $30 extra; Dropoffs: $25 extra; Reverse Mortgages: $125; Piggy Backs: $125; Regular Travel Fee: $40 if within 30 miles; Jails & Hospitals: $70

When to charge in advance
You are not a bank and you should not offer endless credit to any signing company. Some of them will string you along and not pay you or play games with payments making it unclear which job they are paying for. Decide in advance how much credit to give each company and keep records. If you have a six month track record with a company and they pay you on time, you might offer them credit for six jobs. For all others, do one or two jobs, but don’t do any more until you get paid. It is not a bad idea to charge up front with Paypal, but few companies will pay a beginner up front. Ken, our seasoned Notary always gets paid up front, but he is a pro.

(1) New Companies — do one job, but don’t do a second until you get paid for the first unless they have a stellar record for payment on the forums.
(2) Some Track Record — do two jobs, but don’t do a third until you get paid for the first.
(3) Good Track Record — Watch out: good companies can turn bad if they experience financial difficulties or labor shortages. Do not offer credit for more than six jobs no matter what. A good track record should be over at least six months.

Don’t complain
There are many Notaries who have gone out of business because there is too much competition for too few jobs. If you are getting paid, getting experience, and staying afloat, you are ahead of the game. Many Notaries have this idea that they should get $125 per signing ever time. Unfortunately, it no longer works like this. So, take what you can get and just do your best! If you get more experience, you will be worth more in the long run. Additionally, the market could have an upswing at any time, so keep a positive thought.

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April 11, 2016

Minimum wage for Notaries

I was thinking about this yesterday. Notaries would be much more happy if there was some sort of a minimum wage. I remember Ben Carson claimed that there should be a separate minimum wage for people fresh out of high school or college otherwise they might never get hired. Personally, I think the government should stay out of wage setting as it creates artificial market situations which might make it too expensive to do business. If someone is sluggish, minimum wage might be more than they merit. And when you combine minimum wage with taxes, insurance, unemployment, and the rest, it might lead many to outsource their work overseas!

Our average Notary averages $105 per signing.
But, you can’t outsource Notary work overseas — at least not yet. Notaries would feel like they were being treated better if they were paid a fair wage. On the other hand, Notaries surveyed half a year ago were averaging about $105 per signing which is not bad at all. Just because you get bad offers doesn’t mean that you actually do signings for $60. It is sort of like looking at the asking prices for houses on the market. The asking price and the sale price are often very different and will give you a distorted view of the market.

Do beginners have merit?
In any case, I feel that beginner Notaries with no experience and no 123notary certification do not merit a minimum wage. Most of the Notaries I test by phone do not know their documents, signing terminology and additionally do even worse when I ask them simple Notary questions. The fact is that we have a lot of unqualified people out there who feel they are worth a lot. In addition to minimum wage for Notaries, I feel there should be minimum standards as well. I feel that our new 30 point test should be the standard, and a particular test result such as a 14 or 15 should be the minimum to be hired at all.

What should qualified Notaries make?
A Notary who has signed 400 loans (and an prove it with journals) and who has passed the 30 point test with an adequate score in my opinion is entitled to some sort of standardized minimum wage. I feel that

$60 per signing of 5-99 pages
$65 per signing of 100-125 pages
$70 per signing of 126-150 pages
$80 per signing of 150+ pages
10 cents per page for printing
50 cents per page for fax backs

I feel that a Notary with good test scores who has signed 4000 or more loans deserves a lot more than this, but the market can determine their value. Just because you test well, doesn’t mean you show up on time, well dressed and with a good attitude.

What do you think a fair minimum wage for qualified Notaries should be? What about for not so qualified Notaries?

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January 18, 2016

VA signings for $85? With 200 pages? No Thanks!

As a blog writer, I need to come up with ideas for interesting blog articles. So, I often go to Linked In and see what was popular there. I was visiting last night and saw that someone was offered a VA loan for $85. But, the package had about 200 pages! As new Notaries, you need to understand that not all packages are alike. Some Lenders have short packages while others have longer ones. Some Lenders have their documents ready on time while others don’t. Additionally, there are different types of loans — some are longer and more time consuming than others.

Large Loan Packages
VA loans are normally a lot longer than regular Refinances. FHA loans are longer and more complicated too. Additionally, Reverse Mortgages are longer and take longer partly because the signers are normally elderly. VA loans are for Veterans, and they might tell you some war stories about getting ambushed by the Taliban, but they are probably middle aged and able to sign in a moderate amount of time. But, the packages are long and take a long time.

What to Charge?
The average Notary on 123notary makes about $105 per signing (interesting stat.) If your standard fee is $100, you need to charge more if it is going to be a slow signing or a signing with an above average number of pages. You will be using your printer more, and spending more time at the signing. So, how much more should you charge? In my experience, more pages won’t take you that much more time. It will cost you a little toner and paper, but an additional fifty pages might only take you an additional twenty minutes assuming the signer is not a slow poke. What does take time includes: sluggish signers who read every word, elderly people who can barely function, issues with the loan involving long calls to the Lender, multiple signers who don’t always show up on time, problems with the ID.

Before You Accept the Job
My suggestion is to call the borrower and ask if they will be able to sign within a sixty or seventy-five minute window for a longer package. If they say no, then you might consider charging more or cancelling the signing. If you have the luxury to call the borrowers before you accept a job, you can have a lot more flexibility. You should ideally charge for time, and NOT based on the length of the package. I signed a 200 page construction loan in 25 minutes because the borrower was a professional and had been through the process dozens of times. His time was worth a lot and he didn’t waste a minute. He was like an assembly line.

As a General Rule
For most Notaries on 123notary, I would recommend charging $115 or $120 for VA signings and Reverse Mortgages. If you are very experienced with more than 5000 loans signed, then add another $25-$50 to that figure. Notaries should not try to charge too much unless they are so popular that they simply have to turn down good offers daily. Try to be reasonable and accommodating while you earn some notches in your belt! But, $85 is just too low unless you are a complete beginner!

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November 16, 2015

Should travel fees be flat?

Should anything be flat in the world of pricing?

Any notary who has a flat travel fee doesn’t understand that their time is not for free. Sure it is easier to have a flat notary travel fee, but what if a job is scheduled during rush hour, or is far away? You’ll spend all day long for a small travel fee. Keep in mind that most notaries on 123notary are loan signing agents and don’t do non-loan mobile notary work. However, if you want to do regular mobile notary work, there is cash to be made. No waiting for companies to send you checks, no invoicing, no fax backs, and no excuses!

It is easier when you have a flat travel fee for the first 20 miles, or some type of a radius. You could shorten the distance during rush hour to be more fair to yourself if you like. Or just keep it simple. I used to charge $35 travel fee and people would pay it. I learned that others would charge $50 and get it. Customers were desperate and would pay anything if you would just get there and do the job right away.

But, for longer commutes, many notaries don’t have a formula. Some have a mileage rate they stick to. Others just don’t have a plan. Mileage rates are good for highway driving, but not for in-town jobs. 30 miles in an urban area can easily take over an hour and wear down your brakes, while 50 miles on the highway can go by quickly.

In my opinion it’s easier to charge based on estimated time. Your formula will be complicated if you have separate rates based on how many miles, and then compensate if they are in a metro or on the highway, and then another adjustment if it is during rush hour. It is easier to say that the driving will take 75 minutes total for the round trip and that you will charge $50 for that. Your rates are up to you, but this is my suggestion.

Charge a fixed fee for the first 45 minutes of travel for your round trip.
Then charge extra for every additional estimated minute.
If you estimate wrong, then as my mechanic friends say, “eat it” meaning take the loss gracefully.

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June 19, 2015

How much more does a 123notary certified signer make?

How much more does a 123notary certified signer make compared to a 123notary uncertified signer? The answer is roughly $8 per signing average. I hear a bunch of “buts” in the background. “But, I’m NNA certified, so I’m already certified.” Yes, but you will make more money if you have the knowledge and the show that only 123notary certification offers you. Our numbers are the proof. Not only do 123notary certified notaries get more than double the new incoming calls from our site than 123notary uncertified notaries in comparable spots, but they get paid roughly 8% more as well!

I did a poll of the notaries on our newsletter. I asked what their average signing yielded them. The answers were not always very precise and some round-about. However, I was able to crunch some numbers.

Crunching the Numbers
I crunched figures from the first 22 uncertified notaries who responded.
I crunched averages for the first 20 certified (by 123notary) notaries who responded.
I crunched numbers for 10 Elite certified notaries who responded or who I had talked to previously about fees.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but then who is.
My results are based on limited information, but enough to get a rough idea.

Average Results
The average Elite certified notary polled claimed they averaged $116 per signing
The average 123notary certified Notary polled claimed they made an average of $110 per signing.
While the average 123notary un-certified Notary polled made an average $102 per signing.

My Surprise
I was surprised that the 123 uncertified Notaries did so well. Most of them lack even the most basic of signing agent education. Most of them don’t know where to find the prepayment penalty or how to explain the APR intelligently let alone understanding the other documents. I am amazed they get paid so much!

$8 Extra per Signing Adds Up to Almost $30,000 in a Decade!
Many Notaries think that they don’t “need” our certification. However, Notaries who pass our certification test know approximately double what those who can’t or didn’t pass our certification test know. Additionally, Notaries who pass our test get double the new calls from our site, although our certification will not help you on other sites. Moreover, Notaries who pass our test get $8 extra per signing. If you do 30 signings per month for 10 years, you will make $28,800 extra as a result of having passed our certification test. So, when you ask yourself if you “need” our certification, also ask if you feel that you “need” an additional $28,800 extra over the next ten years. That can buy you almost a brand new Toyota Corolla after seven years!

$14 Extra per signing + lots more offers makes Elite a good investment
Our Elite certification is intentionally priced higher than our regular certification. We are charging $179 currently. Notaries comment on how that is expensive, but what they should be focusing on is what it can get them. Elite certified notaries have a monopoly on the market. We make it easier for them to get to the highest spot(s) on the list, and people who use 123notary vastly prefer our Elite signers as they are four times as knowledgeable (in my experience) as un-123notary certified Notaries. Getting our Elite certification will make you stand out, get lots more work, and get paid roughly 14% more for the same work! Your entire career could be changed by this one decision. We prefer if you have signed a few thousand loans before you take our Elite course, but that is up to your discretion!

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February 2, 2015

Trip + Notary fee = Payment

I have never, repeat never; had a dispute over my notary fees. The key is to make sure in each assignment that the notary fee is fully disclosed when agreeing to perform the service. I write this looking at a check, handed to me for not doing any notarizations. But, that is near the end of my story. Time to back up and present what happened in chronological order.

The caller is an admin assist for a company in midtown needing a notary. Caller does not know the details of what is required, just that a notary is needed. They might need one notarization or several hundred. I quote a fee of $xx for “the trip”, plus the NY State fee of $2 per signature notarized. If five people sign, and there is one notary statement naming them all; to my way of thinking I have done five notarizations with my single signature. I do have to ID check and oath all five of them. For that reason I always use the term “per signature notarized” in any fee agreement. We agree, I leave for the assignment.

Arriving ten minutes early, the receptionist tells me that the work has been already done. They had apparently scheduled a few of us; and to them “the notary race” was on! The ever-present smile behind the counter says “sorry to have troubled you”, “we have no need for your services”. I explained that the issue is not having troubled me, but that I require my fee. The office manager is called. In a calm, polite voice and manner I explain how I perceive the situation. Your admin assist made a verbal contract with me. I was required to arrive prior to a specific time, which I did; for a specific fee of $xx. It was further agreed that I would receive $2 per signature notarized. There was a clear distinction between the trip and notary fees. To earn the trip fee I had to be on time. I was on time.

The office manager initially leaned towards a “you did nothing” rejection. I noticed some signs on the wall. It was time to fire some “big guns”. I repeated there was a fee due, and if not paid I would complain to the Division of Licensing Service, and the Consumer Protection Bureau of NYC. I could tell the office manager did not want that. Two straws broke the last vestiges of resistance. I noticed you have an A+ Better Business Bureau certification. It is my intent to send a very detailed complaint to the BBB as well. Lastly, I intend to file a lawsuit against the President of your firm in Small Claims court. It will include my fee, court costs, and other expenses. We are both aware you will require an attorney to represent your corporation; I on the other hand am retired and have lots of free time to spend in a courtroom.

“Mr. Edelstein, please have a seat, it will only take five minutes to cut you a check”. The check was for the $xx trip fee and in the memo section said “transportation reimbursement”. Did I over react? I don’t think so. We had a very clearly defined two part verbal contract. The fact that, for whatever reason, they had no work for me; ONLY negates paying me the $2 per. Filing complaints and initiating lawsuits might seem extreme, but not to me. It took me a full hour in dense NYC midtown traffic to get to their office. Write it off for “good will” and hope they call me next time? Not realistic considering their tactic of playing “multiple notary race”. Actually, I would have also posted the exact truth on social media, Yelp, etc. If in your heart you feel they don’t have a “shred of a valid point” on their side; do what it takes to receive your rightful pay.

Tweets:
“But, you did nothing” the client replied after the notary wanted a travel fee for a cancelled job.

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November 24, 2014

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

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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