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August 10, 2015

Many notaries who previously wouldn’t leave the house for <$125 are working for peanuts.

Even some of our most seasoned notaries have gotten so desperate that they are forced to work for less than they feel they deserve in terms of Notary wages or fees. We’ve had notaries who had strict policies of working for no less than $125 or $100 forced to do Notary jobs for $60. Some take this emotionally, while others realize that we all have to eat, and that a notary’s gotta do what a notary’s gotta do. On a brighter note, the price of gas went down by more than a dollar, so your expenses are a lot less now!

Notaries make the mistake of trying to figure out what they “should” get paid or what is “fair.” In the world of business there is no should and there is no fair. In foreign countries people doing the exact same job you are doing might only make $5 or $10 per day, so is that fair? As people living in America, you have it better than any other country, even Canada. Of course a well off person in a foreign country is likely to be better off than you, but someone doing the same Notary job you are is probably a lot worse off. The point I am trying to make is that fairness can only be viewed in perspective. But, even if you can figure out a very equilateral viewpoint of fairness, it won’t do you any good. The universe gives you what it gives you. It decides how much it is going to give you and you just have to work with what is given to you. Forget about fair, and just do the best you can.

Do you see people working at gas stations shaking their head saying, “It just doesn’t seem fair that we have to sell gas at $2.40 per gallon now. We’re doing the same work we were doing when it was $4.00 but getting paid close to half for the same work.” No, they just go about their business and do the best they can which is what you should be doing. Try and do as well as you can as a notary regardless of what the external conditions are. If things get too slow, you can try to supplement your income with other tasks or jobs. In the worst case scenario, if it is really slow, it might be time to get a full time job and moonlight at night doing notary work.

In my opinion, the market for notaries and Notary jobs will bounce back eventually. I’m not sure when. It really depends on a variety of standards. If it has been many years since people could refinance, they will get more and more anxious to do so, even if the percentage of equity they can borrow upon is low. If housing values go up, or interest rates go up, and then down, there could be more refinances. Or, if banks simply lower their standards for who can borrow money, we might see more loans going through. We live in a changing world, and markets go up and down.

Look on the bright side, maybe North Korea will get rich and start buying up property in your area. That will drive the price up, and then there will be more refinances. On the other hand you might have more competition from “Un Notary service” if Kim John Un becomes a notary! Picture him being your neighbor!

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My interpretation of how the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

VA signings for $85 with 200 pages?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15879

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16 Comments »

  1. I have strong feelings about this also. Besides the drop in fees, lets also consider the vast increase in file size and the fact that now the title co’s are requiring fax backs prior to dropping the file.
    I just received a call from Old Republic which I accepted, then the agent tells me, oh by the was the file is 227 pages from PennyMac. After the initial shock I respectfully told her that I refused to do a file of this size and then print out dups for the cust, then I would have been up to almost a WHOLE REAM of paper.
    As far as the fax backs are concerned, in the 17 years I have been doing this work, I can count on one hand the redo’s that were necessary. Having to return to my office and take another 20-30 minutes to breakout the faxes, fax them and put the file back together and drive to the drop box, I end up working for minimum wages. The title companies can price their services and pass on to the customer legally. Why are they cutting our fees?
    We use to work during normal business hours, now its will you close at 10Pm, or on Sunday or drive 50 miles one way during rush hour in the DC market for $70, then wait 45-60 days to get paid?

    Comment by Rod — August 10, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

  2. I’ve accepted assignments ranging from $65.00 to $125.00. There’s no shame in my game – but, of course, this is not my day job, and I still maintain a very lucrative career as a Senior Executive Assistant. I love my work as a Mobile Notary and Signing Agent!

    Comment by JANICE ROCKETT — August 12, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

  3. we can always do something else.
    Me, I am selling stuff on Ebay and making more than signings>
    If you are interested, email me.

    Be well,

    James Gaary Dean

    PS I think this type needs to be MUCH MUCH smaller so I can even read it at all!
    What moron came up with this format!

    Comment by James Gary Dean — August 12, 2015 @ 9:25 pm

  4. Notaries are not “forced” to do anything. Notaries are independent contractors and as such have free rein over what they choose to do or not to do. Personally, I feel that it is shortsighted for a notary to agree to ridiculous $60 signings just so some less-than-reasonable signing company can take the lion’s share of the signing fee.

    These “companies” (which really for the most part aren’t really a “company”)start out lowballing and then not paying, are preying on gullible newbies (and sadly, even some experienced notaries) desperate to make a dollar. The only way to bring things around is to NOT accept signings from these people, but there are always some who will accept. Mortgage apps are down, signings are fewer, and title companies do not want inexperienced notaries destroying what business they do have.

    In sum, don’t feed the sharks – or become a victim.

    Comment by Ralph Wedertz — August 15, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

  5. c’mon. $60. Even $80 is a joke. And printing an 80 page set of documents in dupe? There are paper costs, toner costs, time to collate. Gas, tolls , parking. By the time it’s all added up to dollars you make $20-$35 for 3 hours of work. When I refuse an assignment I always check the pay is to low box.

    Comment by Glenn — August 17, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

  6. Notaries can always do something else. I live in a rural area and most signings in my area require extensive travel. When it comes to $60.00 signings, my philosophy is, if I have to choose between working for free or not working at all. I would rather not work at all. Fairness and desperation have nothing to do with it.

    Comment by Daisylynn Tafoya — August 18, 2015 @ 12:41 am

  7. I needed a document notarized and was charged 10.00 at Discount Check Cashers was that to much

    Comment by Ronda Brown — February 5, 2016 @ 11:08 pm

  8. Bad Advice!! I don’t just ignore these low balling companies, I let them know that I’m refusing the offer because the fee is way too low. Heck realistically, considering what all we do, $125-$150 is minimal. This is an example of a common signing. You receive a call at 11am for a 2 o’clock signing.. Now you are tied in from that moment. There really isn’t much time for you go and take care of any of your personal business. So you’re just hanging around waiting on docs. Now you go to the 2 o’clock signing and complete it about 3 P.M. let’s say you arrive back home at about 4 to 4:30.. That’s 5 to 5 and a half hours that you’ve realistically committed to that signing.

    Comment by mark latimore — March 1, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

  9. I do seem to be taking more small jobs in between the larger ones and as someone living in a town hard hit by the oil industry, I’m just thankful to have work at all.
    Just a short comment re gas station workers…they get paid the same whether gas is low or high, gas prices never affect a gas station as all fees are passed onto the consumer…gas stations make very little on gas, they rely on inside sales. Just so y’all realize your gas station owners have nothing to say about the prices other than a few cents (i am a former gas station c-store owner)
    We all just have to do our best and always remain professional and optimistic

    Comment by Lisa Nassour — March 1, 2016 @ 6:39 pm

  10. I am about to become a mobile notary and am so excited! It was suggested that I consider taking some low-paying jobs to start with to gain some experience. I’m actually fine with that. Down the road I do think that it would be silly to accept work that I could potentially lose money on. Thankfully this is not my full time gig and I’m not depending solely on income from signings. I do intend to do what I can to ensure that I stay as busy as possible during evenings and on weekends.

    Comment by Kim — March 2, 2016 @ 12:38 am

  11. I have all but given given up on loan signings for now. It’s not that I expected a super lucrative business, I just wanted the equivalent of a good part time job. For a brief time it was going well. Then interest rates went up and overnight business was gone. The signings I had after that were often complicated. Items missing, name misspellings, redraws, very large packages, last minute cancellations, etc. Pair that with low ball fees and demanding companies…..forget it. Not to mention the new certification requirements and background checks. Even if I do turn a small profit, it’s no longer enjoyable. It’s not worth the stress for me. Now I focus on general notarization. I don’t have a ton of business but it seems to come in waves. Best part is no printing, no faxbacks, and no waiting for payment. People can go to a check cashing store for simple notarization; when they need a mobile notary, they are willing to pay for the convenience/service. I’ll probably go back loan signing in a few months when my kids leave for college but I won’t accept lowball fees. I feel like it hurts all notaries when we accept lowball fees. Our work is important and it should be treated as such.

    Comment by Deanna Petersen — March 2, 2016 @ 5:38 pm

  12. I haven’t worked for a Signing Company/Title Company for years. I do General Notary Work Exclusively and do quite well. The work is plentiful, I get paid at the time of service and most of my appointments are finished in less than 30 minutes. I’m lucky as I am in a big city, don’t drive and take public transportation , Uber , or walk to all my appointments. The large files, low fees, fax backs and waiting to get paid was ridiculous.

    Comment by Christine — June 14, 2016 @ 9:03 am

  13. I charged $150 per signing about 10 years ago. $60 MIGHT be acceptable for a close refinance signing with a printed package provided. Otherwise, I’d rather sit on my couch and play video games.

    Comment by Renee — June 15, 2016 @ 6:13 am

  14. Great thread!
    BOND NUMBER AFFIX CORPORATE SEAL HERE
    Notary Public Application
    Jesse White — Illinois Secretary of State
    Enclose $10 fee payable to Secretary of State. Return completed form to: Secretary of State Index Department, 111 E. Monroe, Springfield, IL 62756.
    !Printed on recycled paper. Printed by authority of the State of Illinois. April 2010 — 1 — I 171.6
    1. I am a U.S. citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence.
    2. I have been a resident of Illinois for at least 30 days.
    3. I am age 18 or older.
    4. I have never been convicted of a felony.
    5. I am able to read and write the English language.
    6. I have never had a notary public commission revoked.
    Last Name: First Name: Middle Name or Initial:
    Business Address (P.O. Box not acceptable):
    Street: City: State: ZIP Code:
    N a m e of Employer: CDraivrde rN’su Lmicbeenr s(ea totarc Sht aat ep hIdoetonctiofipcya)t:io n
    Business Phone: Date of Birth: Applying for: n New Commission n Renewal of Commission
    Current Expiration Date: _________ Commission Number: ____________
    Mailing Address: County of Residence:
    Current Home Address (P.O. Box not acceptable):
    Street: City: State: ZIP Code:
    Do you want your home address to be displayed to the public? n Yes n No ____________________________________________________________
    NEO 0606-0001 IL (10/10)

    CHAMPAIGN

    I THINK that they are burdening us even further in an attempt to burn out NSA’s so that they can offer cheapo rates to newbies.

    I have different fees for different vendors and for different Title Companies, who are now also hiring me. There are two companies that treat me like a Princess and I’ll do a no-print Quickens for THEM for $75.00, flat, more for out of town but reasonable. Being nice goes a LOOOONNNNNGGGG way with me because it makes my job low stress. There are two companies that treat me pretty well, BUT they have paid me fully for Refusal To Sign jobs and They get preferencial treatment from me, too.
    Companies that give me a hard time, are impossible to reach with questions during signings OR outright argue with me or LECTURE me get my highest fees and I refuse, after 750 signings, to barter with them.
    I do NOT feel badly for overcharging anybody. One vendor hired me last week, local signing, close to my office, with faxbacks. I agreed to $150.00 After the fax wouldn’t go through I called and told them that I would have to scan and email back from home. The Vendor said, “Forget that, JUST drop the documents.” The bank erred on the Closing Disclosure and they emailed me 4 days later needing the co-borrower’s signature–NOT AND NEVER MY PROBLEM TO DOUBLE CHECK THE BANK’S WORK!!
    Since I am friendly and helpful to borrowers at signings–which ALSO has it’s benefits–the co-borrower was happy to drive to my office to sign this.
    I believe that this job has it’s ebbs and flows, but the world wants service industries and it will continue into the future. For those of us who became NSA’s during the boom (me, included), it is dissapointing to see a dropoff. However, there are now fewer NSA’s in my area, and many will not drive to the places I have driven to, so I can get some good fees. Even last year when both me and my DD were 7 day a week NSA’s (she now has a full time 9-5 and does signings on weekends), were got a last minute call, 2 1/2 hours from home at 5:30PM and they were toying with $1,000.00 to get it done THAT NIGHT.
    Keep up the faith, brothers and sisters of the NSA! =D

    Comment by betty — June 15, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

  15. I’m sorry, but, I see this as unnecessary commentary. Sounds like tabloid journalism, barely click worrhy. This doesn’t benefit the notary public at all. We are not satisfied earning $15 an hour after expenses. No, we are not taking these lowball fees for full refi packages. No,it is not funny that all the forces seem to be working in concert (now your blogs as well).And this is a ridiculous comparison, the gas pumper still earns the same, he does not earn half as much as he did a year prior. We should not just suck it up and wait for your opinionated “prediction” of “the market bouncing back” for notaries. Man, I read this piece and just groaned the whole time. Unnecessary, and certainly not helpful!

    Comment by Jay Schankman — June 15, 2016 @ 4:28 pm

  16. There is one signing service, NotaryGo, that routinely offers $60.00 regardless of the distance you have to drive or the number of pages you have to print. They are also notorious for getting the papers uploaded at the last minute, making you the villain when you have to call the borrowers to tell them you’ll be late. And then they want faxbacks as well as dropping the documents at a manned FedEx or UPS office (not a drop box). I’ve gotten to the point that if the distance is too far, I quote them my price for that distance and if they don’t want to pay me that, I don’t care if they get someone else. I can’t dump them completely, but I’m careful to limit my travel distance at the price they offer. If we all boycotted them, maybe they would raise their payment, but there’s always somebody out there who’ll work for less, and we’re independent contractors, not employees or a union.

    Comment by Elise Dee Beraru — June 15, 2016 @ 6:46 pm

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