Notaries are on the boards all day long complaining about low-paying signing companies, not getting paid, and fax backs. These are legitimate complaints. My complaint is that most Notaries are so anti-education that they don’t want to pay for our loan signing course, but won’t even study from the materials if they are free! We have lots of free educational materials on our blog that very few people read. So, my question is, how much pay do you merit?
Too many signing agents = low pay
Being a signing agent doesn’t cost much. It is an easy profession to get into. You don’t need to be a citizen, and you don’t need a college degree or even a high-school degree although that would help. You just need to be a resident of your state or in some cases a resident of a neighboring state who doesn’t have a felony conviction. Most states don’t even have a Notary exam. In my opinion there are too many signing agents simply because it is too easy to get into this line of work. If it were harder to get in, those inside would get paid more.
The majority of signing agents aren’t trained well
You don’t need to be an expert to be good as a signing agent. But, you do need to know your basics. Most Notaries do not know signing agent principles, don’t know their documents that well and don’t even understand the basics of Notary law and identifying signers. I don’t see too many Notaries brushing up on their Notary knowledge either. There are a few Notaries who take being at the top of their game seriously, who know their stuff and who are always reading or studying. In my opinion those are the ones who merit high pay, not the rest of the Notaries.
So, what do Notaries merit being paid?
Only 20% of NNA Certified signers can pass the 123notary exam. So, passing their test doesn’t prove anything to me.
Not 123notary Certified
$50 per signing
$70 with eDocuments
Fax backs are not a bad idea, because an untrained Notary will undoubtedly screw up costing the borrower and lender thousands if they don’t make sure everything got signed correctly. Additionally, since 75-90% of the signing agents in the industry haven’t or can’t pass our certification exam, that constitutes a huge excess of Notaries in the market who have poor skills and therefore do not merit much pay. If the supply of untrained Notaries in proportion to the total were less, then they were merit more due to the rules of supply and demand.
$80 for a signing
$105 with eDocuments
123notary certified signers represent 25% of the Notaries on 123notary and perhaps only 10% of the Notaries who advertise online in total. Since you are higher skills and there are fewer of you out there, you merit more pay and the time you invest in eDocuments is worth more as well.
Notary2Pro’s certification is excellent and we usually recognize it. Since they specialize in training Notaries, they put a little extra care into the whole educational process than other agencies.
123notary Elite Certified
$100+ for a signing
$125-$150 for a signing with eDocuments
Only 2% to 3% of 123notary members are Elite Certified. They represent the cream of the crop in terms of knowledge and study habits. They took a very complicated course from us and passed a demanding exam. Unfortunately, since many companies have developed an assembly line system for dealing with inexperienced signers, the demand for seasoned pros is lower these days. However, for those people who want the best, the best are worth paying for.
What do 123notary signers make in real life?
Putting aside what I feel people should make, a recent poll of our signing agents revealed some interesting information. The respondents to the poll were mostly experienced, so the information they gave me does not represent what beginners are making.
Beginners — $60 to $90 per signing
Not 123notary Certified — $100 average per signing (edocs or not)
123notary Certified — $108 average per signing
123notary Elite Certified — $114 average per signing
How much you make as a signer depends on your connections and how well you present yourself. Notary education represents a big part of how much you get paid. But, how good your communication and business skills are represent an even bigger part. It is hard to put a finger on what good business skills are. But, answering your phone, dressing well, negotiating well, showing up on time and making sure your work gets done correctly are components of basic business skills. Sometimes people with a Real Estate or business background do better in this business than others. Having reviews on your profile, a great notes section, and a company name help your presentation a lot as well.
To sum it up, I cannot say what your work is intrinsically worth. But, if you haven’t proven yourself educationally, have no reviews, refuse to crack a book, and then complain all day about how low your pay is, perhaps you should think about improving yourself so that you merit more pay a few months down the road!
You might also like:
Minimum Wage for Signing Agents
A Notary Union — how would that work?