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October 13, 2019

Should the cost of your commission, phone, equipment factor into your prices?

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 11:27 pm

A handful of Notaries responded to an old article about doing some job with fax backs and eDocuments for $75. The question was, is it worth it? I also mentioned that in India people would cut off their left arm to have such an offer, but I got only sarcastic responses stating that they didn’t live in India.

Many Notaries wrote back that when calculating your fee, you should consider:

1. Cost of commission, licenses & memberships
2. Study time
3. Cell phone cost per month
4. Equipment costs
5. Advertising costs & the time spent generating business
6. Auto expenses
7. Printing expenses

The fact is that expenses from 1-5 are fixed expenses and have nothing to do with a particular job. Expenses 1-5, if too much, should influence your decision to stay in the business or leave altogether as those expenses do not go up or down based on whether or not you take a particular job.

The real cost is whether you could do something else with your time such as a more profitable job, billing clients, sleep, spending time on errands or with family. If $75 is your best offer, then take it whether it is “fair” or not. There is no fair in business — only relativity.

Additionally, if you lived in India, you would be working all day long for a few dollars and would not get to eat in restaurants hardly ever unless you had a swanky job. You would have bare bones conditions and people nagging you all day long. Don’t take for granted that you live in an affluent society because that can be taken away from you in the long run. Yes, sarcasm is good, but try to see what is going on in other countries and realize how good you have it compared to the 3rd world folks.

LINKS
You might also like:

Is $75 enough to print 2 sets of docs, notarize and do fax backs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10369

$300 in 13 minutes — how Carmen cleans up in the Notary business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19284

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October 9, 2019

Maximum Notary fee $5, but the signing pays $200?

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 11:23 pm

Each state has a maximum notary fee per notary act or procedure. Some charge by the signature, Florida charges by the stamp if I’m not incorrect (better look that one up.)

But, if you are allowed $5 per signature, the signing has four signatures, but pays $200, then what? Are you breaking the law? Or are you being paid for mobile fees and supervising fees? The truth is that you are being paid for a bunch of responsibilities within your service:

Printing documents
Confirming an appointment
Supervising the signature and initialing of documents
Answering simple questions (perhaps)
Not answering questions you are not supposed to (unless you are a know-it-all who is looking for trouble)
Notarizing
Waiting while people read or have long conversations by phone with the Lender.
Getting the documents safely back where they belong
Availability for after service.

All of those combined definitely merit at least $125, don’t you think?

So, how do you document this in your journal? $5 per notary act. Two people x two notary acts per person is four lines in your journal each stating $5 for the notary fee. And then in the additional info section for the first notary act of the set, put down you got $180 travel / supervising fee for a loan signing. Then it is all documented just in case the IRS has any questions. Notary fees are not subject to self-employment tax but travel and supervising fees are. Look it up in the SE instructions.

But, what if you live in California and the Notary fee is $15, you have ten signatures, but the job only pays $100. You could charge $150 plus travel for that signing, but your Lender or signing company isn’t paying that. Just put whatever you want for the notary fee between zero and $15 per notarized signature in your journal. And do a reasonable estimate for what the travel and supervising fees should be — just estimate and try to be proportionate.

You might also like:

Travel fees vs. Notary fees in your journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22612

Travel fees if nothing gets signed
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

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September 26, 2019

What do you charge for Notary work & signings?

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:34 pm

Just out of curiousity, the market has changed since we wrote our various pricing oriented blog tutorials. Those were written from 2010 to 2016. We want to know, what do you guys charge now?

Signings
eDocuments
Extra Miles

Regular signings for general notary work.
Other

Thanks!

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September 6, 2019

How far do you push for payment terms?

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:59 pm

As a newer Notary, you tend to get pushed around by more experienced companies. They set the terms, they give you the run around, make you fax back far too many pages, cancel jobs at the last minute, and then don’t pay you. Seems like you get a raw deal. Unfortunately in this business, as a new Notary, you have to pay your dues and work for the less than wonderful companies. The question is, how soon can you start being pushy for payment terms?

Ken in NYC is very aggressive for payment terms. He makes people pay up front. He is not a bank and he does not lend money to the signing companies. He charges more than others because he is the most solid Notary in town and people know that. But, he has thousands of loans under his belt. How much experience do you need before you start setting terms? There is no set answer.

You can test your terms out and see how much work you lose. If you demand that the signing company sign a contract with you for your terms, you can see if they sign it. The terms might go over last minute cancellations, printing fees for cancelled jobs, or incomplete signings, second trips, etc. You could even fine them for paying late.

How much experience do you need to bill people up front? Or what if you reduced your fee a bit to charge up front? Would you rather get all your money up front but get less? If you wait to get paid, you will have bookkeeping expenses, lost time doing collections and not get paid part of the time, so giving 10% off seems like a reasonable arrangement for me.

Or perhaps signing companies who don’t have a reputation with you yet would be asked to pay up front. Different terms for different companies. There is another approach. If you trust a company more, few terms or no terms, but if they have a bad rep or you don’t know them then more stringent terms.

In short, there are many ways to manage your terms. It is up to you how you do it. My suggestion is not to have any terms until you get 1000 loans under your belt as well as certifications from three companies. At least that shows you are not fooling around. If you don’t know your job up to my standards in my opinion you don’t merit terms! (ooh, that was mean)

You might also like:

Trip + Notary Fee = Payment
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13596

Payment terms set by buyer or seller?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1812

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August 31, 2019

Travel fees if nothing gets signed

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:55 pm

It is common for Notaries to go to a job where the signer refuses to sign, or the job gets cancelled. What can the Notary charge for a travel fee since he/she/they didn’t “do” anything? The answer is that the most important aspect of this issue is not what you charge but what you explain over the phone. The client/signer needs to be painfully (the more pain the better) aware that the notary’s schedule is not for free and that they have to pay x amount of dollars even if nothing gets done as well as waiting time.

It is a generally prudent policy to get travel fees in cash at the door upon arrival before seeing the signer. This is because you need to be able to be impartial and have no beneficial or financial interest in a document being signed. If your $50 travel fees is contingent on Sammy signing the Affidavit, you will be tempted to notarize it even if the ID doesn’t match completely. As a Notary, you need to not be tempted to wiggle on state notary rules, and having your travel fee in your pocket puts the power and integrity back in your pocket. It’s hard to be integrous when money is at stake.

If someone gives you $40 travel fee which includes the first 20 minutes waiting time, and then keeps you waiting more than that, since you have the $40 in your pocket, you can demand cash for the next twenty minutes or threaten to walk. People will string you along in this line of work so it is important to keep the upper hand, or as Mrs. Meao likes to say — the upper paw!

The bottom line is that communication of signing fees over the phone before the signing is the most important solution to the travel fee issue. Fail to communicate — you might not get paid at all. So, communicate not only what the client will have to pay, but terms and conditions for what gets paid when and how much. Also, be careful with checks. Signers who cancel jobs sometimes bounce checks or stop payment. It happened to me after a very time consuming jail job. I bet Mrs. Meao would have something to say about that!

You might also like:

Why are the fees offered to us so low?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22293

What are mobile notary fees?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

See our “fees” category
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=2070

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February 4, 2019

Compilation – Best blog posts from 2010

Filed under: Compilations — admin @ 6:10 am

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TOP

Funniest things that happen to signing agents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=55

Stories of Notaries who fail and what they did wrong
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=143

Confirming the signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19

Just say no Article 3
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=376

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MARKETING

Stories of Notaries who fail and what they did wrong
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=143

Bilingual Notaries – how often are they needed?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=238

Business cards for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=36

Notary etiquette from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=300

2010 version – everything you need to know about notary advertising
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=30

Getting Paid the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=27

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SOCIAL

Welcome to the 123notary Blog
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1

Social Media – what we are doing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3

Funniest things that happen to signing agents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=55

TECHNICAL

Confirming the signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19

Just say no Article 3
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=376

Hospital Notary jobs from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=76

Everything you need to know about journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=70

Signature by X
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=203

911 and California Law Changes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=212

New laws for Notaries in Illinois
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=198

Jail Notary jobs from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=151

Credible Witnesses – When ID and docs have different names
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=230

Typical Things Notaries do Wrong
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=58

Meeting clients at a jail
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=274

12 points on eNotarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=228

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December 3, 2018

Compilation of posts about lawsuits & legal risks

Here are some posts about Notaries getting in legal trouble.

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknolwedgment
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost $20,000 in legal fees.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

A Notary gets sued because of a scrambled ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19443

You could get sued if you don’t have a business license
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7100

Help, I’m being sued and E&O won’t help!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3570

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI or 123notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

What’s your sign? Tricks to uncover fake identification.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19638

Who is the authority at a notary signing?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20175

Don’t have unprotected notarizations!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19467

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December 1, 2018

Compilation of posts about 123notary

Here is an article with links all about 123notary, our history, our policies, practices, staff, and more.

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ADVERTISING INFORMATION

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How does pricing work for top placements on 123notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19355

Which directories get the high paying signings?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19201

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ABOUT US

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123notary behind the scenes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2499

All about 123notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18897

I eat, breathe and sleep 123notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18876

The History of 123notary from back in 1999.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17458

The story of 123notary.com
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=710

Subscribe to our newsletters
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16717

Welcome to the 123notary.com Blog!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1

Who is involved with 123notary behind the scenes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18888

Where does 123notary get ideas for blog articles?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9342

Notary Rotary’s Forum vs. 123notary’s
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1251

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CERTIFICATION
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123notary 2018 Certification Standards
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20120

Elite Certification Study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

A detailed look at the Ninja course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4621

Does 123notary have the authority to quiz people?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19469

123notary’s tutorials raise test scores by 30%
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20092
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WHAT WE DO & HOW WE WORK
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6 free things 123notary does for its clients
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6563

How does the 123notary points system work & why should you care?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19010

A few testimonials about 123notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=700

Notary Rotary vs. 123notary
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=23

Social Media, what we are doing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3

Do you compare yourself to others on the 123notary search results?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18882

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November 21, 2018

12 questions to ask for hospital notarizations

SAFETY TIPS AND 12 QUESTIONS TO ASK FOR HOSPITAL NOTARIZATIONS:
I get calls frequently for Notarizations in Jails and Hospitals.
This blog will focus on things you must do to protect yourself from lawsuits and damages when you get a desperate call to go out to a hospital to notarize documents to be signed by a patient, moistly a Power of Attorney. The phone call invariably comes from the child who has a parent admitted to the hospital.
What do you do as the Notary when the person calling says they will pay you whatever you charge as your mobile fee? Remember Rule #1: It is not always about the money. It is about your ability to follow the Notary laws and perform your job without taking short cuts.
The following list of questions is a short summary of the steps I have actually taken when I got such a call.

1. What is your relationship to the patient?
2. Do you have any other siblings or relatives who have a beneficial interest in the transaction?
3. Is the patient conscious? Coherent? On any medication?
4. Does the patient have a current valid ID with him or can you make it available when the notary arrives at the hospital?
5. Is the patient able to sign his name without any help?
6. Does the patient speak English and can he understand and answer simple questions coherently?
7. Does the patient have an attending physician and a Nurse assigned to him?
8. Do you have the number to the attending physician and nurse because I need to talk to them to get an accurate idea of the health and overall condition of the patient?
9. When can I talk to the patient directly by phone with a nurse present in the room?
10. What type of document are you having notarized?
11. What dates and times work for the patient?
12. My mobile fees are _____ and $15/signature notarized. After I get there if I make the determination that the person is unable to understand anything I ask him or is being forced to sign, I will not be able to notarize the document but will still charge you my mobile fee for coming out based on your representations over the phone. Are you okay with that because I don’t want to get into any arguments after I get there?

Believe me there has been more than one occasion I can recall where I had to leave without notarizing a document because the patient was unable to understand anything I asked, was incoherent and simply could not sign or even hold a pen to just mark an “X”. It is better to walk away from a Notarization where you know instinctively that it is wrong because the signer is not aware of what he is signing and inevitably you will end up being a party to a litigation by interested parties who believe that the Notary failed to take into account the coherence and soundness of mind of the signer at the time of the Notarization. This would invalidate your notarization and worse yet force you to pay legal expenses to defend yourself. Is it worth it? Absolutely not!

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You might also like:

The carrot, the stick, the notary, and the bag
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3951

When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15282

A tale of four notaries at hospitals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=463

Hospital Notary jobs from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=76

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November 6, 2018

Compilation of posts about credible witnesses

Filed under: Compilations,Credible Witnesses — Tags: , — admin @ 10:49 am

Here are some helpful posts about credible witnesses. Not all states allow credible witnesses, and the rules are state specific.

Credible Witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Notary Public 101 (covers many Notary issues, but not Credible Witnesses.)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

Credible Witnesses — the process explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16695

Credible Witnesses, the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19634

Credible Witnesses
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18911

See our string on Credible Witnesses
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=credible-witness

Credible Witness protection plan
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18831

Where do credible witnesses sign the journal book?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2508

How much can a Notary charge for a credible witness?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2700

Credible Witness requirements
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2464

What is a Credible Witness notarization?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2408

Oath of two Credible Witnesses
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2405

Types of witnesses in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5664

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