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August 17, 2015

$40 for a signing 72 miles away?

I read the notary forums regularly. Not every day, but I go through them thoroughly every so often. One notary was offered $40 for a signing 72 miles away. I think I have heard everything now. Don’t these signing companies bother to use mapquest or Google directions to see how far a signing is before making an offer? Do they expect notaries to drive all over kingdom come for free?

They know that notaries are desperate.
Perhaps they are counting on the fact that business is really slow and that there are many desperate notaries out there. But, as desperate as you might be, your car expenses to do a 144 mile round trip are not for free. You use your tires, breaks, motor, gas, oil, and more. Your car won’t last forever, and you need to charge for mileage. How much is up to you unless your state restricts this (and nine states do even though I feel that is not constitutional.)

Stop Bothering Notaries!
Putting aside how unfair the offer is, I think that the bigger issue is that signing companies bother notaries with these petty offers. Notary forums are filled with complaints of this sort. It is a waste of the notary’s time and patience.

Minimum Wage for Notaries?
Perhaps the notary industry should have some type of minimum wage. No matter how new or unskilled the notary is, they get 50 cents per mile traveled plus 25 cents per page fax back and at least a certain amount for signings with under 100 pages per set of documents. I don’t know what a fair minimum is. If you set the minimum too high, then newbies will simply not get used unless the signing company is desperate.


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VA signings for $85 with 200 pages?

$30 loan signings. Is it worth it even in the best of circumstances?



  1. Nobody should accept an offer like that. And often title- and signing agencies do not know how far from a location you are. It is up to the notary to explain that and get a better deal.

    Comment by Monica Voloshin — August 21, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

  2. We ALL know that the Title companies, the Lenders and the Notary Services work hard to pay us NOTHING! Our real enemy is the ill informed (new or otherwise) who take jobs cheap out of desperation. Let’s face it, this is a part time job. Supplementing your income for many by taking jobs after they leave work in the evenings, and/or Saturdays and Sundays is a good practice and I know of two NSA’s who do this. I met one at his Refi Loan Signing. =b
    My best fees are for local notarizations. I did a POA yesterday, hired privately, and I charged $35.00 travel fees. The location was 10 minutes drive from my office and I picked the time and date.
    BTW, this customer called three local notaries and told me that I was the ONLY ONE who called her back! The other two were foolish. It is good business practice to ALWAYS call someone back, even if you do not want to the do the job.
    I did another POA recently, and the customer was so happy that I showed up and waited that my $100.00 fee was rewarded with a $140.00 check!
    I take the risk of charging $50.00 for local Loan Modifications principally because I offer signing at my office, and usually they agree, especially since these people are in financial trouble and are happy to oblige to clean up their mess. Sometimes these people don’t have a car, so I risk the travel expenses. I have been paid for one of these $150.00 because it was 120 miles round trip travel. These are fussy, but small—20-30 pages–and usually have a two week window to get them completed.
    This is an intensive job, but I enjoy it. I believe that performing loan signings has trained me to triple check my work, and to look over the paperwork before and after the individuals have signed, so that I’m sure it is correct. We should ALL appreciate our diligence and realize that we are MUCH MORE than clerks who print out and hand over paperwork for signing. We analyze the documents by reviewing them, locate ALL signature, date and initialed blank spots, ask questions when the documents have unusual wording (which I seem to come across 1-2 oddly worded notarization portions of documents every month!), collect checks (I collected a ~$60K check the other day, which is large for my neck of the woods), arrange for BETTER signing locations (like my office, instead of the local McDonalds, simply because they think that their house is a mess!), accommodate delays, follow directions for information that SHOULD have been collected at and after the application, handle private information that we do NOT keep, bring extra supplies, like when the borrower offers a tiny table with textured glass to sign, or tray tables, and I supply a clipboard to use for a smooth stamping…etc.–YOU add your own!
    WE are worth minimum fees! I have handled resigning because somebody locally didn’t take the time an attention to detail to perform the original signing correctly. It costs these companies more money to pay me to do the job a second time. They are “penny-wise and pound foolish!” THIS is how I justify my fees. Many vendors that have treated me well, call me again because they know I will do my best, and that doesn’t mean printing out a PDF, handing it to a borrower and let them do the signing without guidance.

    Comment by betty — August 21, 2015 @ 2:21 pm

  3. I agree with both comments, but since this business has become ‘uber-ized’, I’m getting out. I’m located in the LA area and the signing services are all using an Uber-style mass texting scheme to send signing ‘opportunities’ to hundreds of notaries simultaneously. It’s a speed contest/lottery ticket to even ‘win’ the assignment. I have responded to potential assignments usually within 1 second and I only get 1-2/10 assignments. They know this and continue to lower the pay to the notary (and keep additional profit for themselves).

    Perhaps as my final parting shot, I’ll write to the escrow companies that they put the signing services out of business by sending the mass text messages themselves. 🙂 As it is, the signing services do virtually nothing and get a disproportionate share of the signing fee. I would lose no sleep if they are put out of business.

    Comment by BobH — August 21, 2015 @ 3:45 pm

  4. When and where the market may be slow, remember that your expenses to accomplish a signing ARE THE SAME, they don’t go down. You have to remind them all of this fact. Going lower means, you produce ‘cash flow’ but no profit out of it, which is ridiculous when a notary has UNLIMITIED LIABLILTY.

    Comment by Dan — August 21, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

  5. All too often, signing companies are allocated a set amount for (any) closing. In all reality they do not care what you consider fair for the signing, it’s what they are willing to pay. Keep in mind that there are about 71,000 notaries that are registered in the industry and if you refuse a job then they will hang up on you and just call the next person on the list who will accept the job. The signi9ng companies tell us that they have heavy expenses like rent, salaries, office expenses etc. Sometimes they evaluate a job as ten pages and tell you that this is a piece of cake. Meanwhile the job may be 70 miles away but their logic is it’s a small job and it should take you all of ten minutes to complete. Nations Direct is (in my opinion) the leaders of the worst signing company. They expect you to close a deal for next to nothing and then expect you to fax back the thirty or forty pages before midnight. and they make you wait up to 60 days for payment. When this signing company calls me I let it go into my message box and then delete it afterwards.

    Comment by Raymond Cote — August 22, 2015 @ 7:52 pm

  6. I know how much I need to make on each signing to make a profit. I do not consider myself desperate, either. If I get an extra large signing package I will phone before printing for a revised confirmation with more fees for printing and prep. I also have a list of lenders, title companies and agencies the I do not work for for various reasons. It’s just experience.

    Comment by Mary Ann Schrum — October 15, 2015 @ 11:28 pm

  7. My fees are set. $75 is my minimum fee. I do not waiver. $40 is an insult to my 21 years of business.

    Comment by Carol G Hill — February 28, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

  8. I don’t get mad at the low ball offers… I just laugh and thank God that I’m not a desperate notary. I love what i do and only accept the offers that i can be happy with.

    Comment by Melanie k — February 29, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

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