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January 14, 2016

How much should a mobile Notary be paid?

This post was written by a guest blogger who is one of our Notaries on our directory.

HOW MUCH A MOBILE NOTARY SHOULD BE PAID?

This Forum debated the issue one hundred times. How to substantiate the answer? A coincidence of stimuli made me reflect yesterday on the life and profession of the so-called “mobile Notary”, the one who generously drives to the clients’ home to execute documents and, thus, save them the trip to his/her office.

At the beginning, the Notary received a call with the Order, the documents were sent UPS or FedEx and returned the same way. Today, the Notary receives the Order, documents are emailed to print 140-145 pages + Borrowers’ copy

I was reflecting on the notary fees while reading in 123Notary Bulletins messages from Notaries complaining about the low fees being paid…when suddenly my email received a new Order.

We cannot blame exclusively the payer (lender, title company) for the low fees being paid to mobile Notaries. Each “closing” is preceded by a contractual verbal agreement: Notary is to perform under the conditions and at a pay the “employer” offers. Whether “sufficient” or “fair” depends upon the fairness of the payer and mainly, upon the self-valuation of the professional payee. When the Notary bargains, companies (frequently) increase fees.

Explore two incidents: Notaries complaints and the Order I received while reading the 123Notary Bulletins. The Order: Refinancing, 6:00pm, house 20 miles away in rural area. Brief computation of Cost and Time.

OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSE.

*Long distance. Three calls to company: $1 (add if documents faxed).

*Car. Round-trip to clients and shipping: 40+6 miles=46. If computed “for Reimbursement”, per 2015 Internal Revenue Service rules: $0.575/mile x 46 = $23.00. If computed as “strictly” Cost: (Notary has to estimate own car mileage use. Mine drinks 1 gallon/12 miles.) At $2.80/gal or $0.233/mile x 46=$9.33. Notary must add “other expenses”: maintenance, registration, insurance, tires amortization.

*Printing. About 260 sheets. If outside (Mail store, Office Depot) at $0.07=$18.20. If at home/office: $5.60, including paper and ink/toner, not maintenance, amortization or other expense.

*Other non-related [Notary] service.- Example: Some companies started asking Notary, “If client does not have IDs photocopy, not to worry; just take photos with your cellular and transmit to us”. Which reminds of that hypothetical proposal of the health insurance company to a physician: “Next time, if the patient does not bring his X-Ray or MRI, do not worry; just use the equipment at your clinic [without invoicing]”.

Estimated out-of-pocket minimum expense: $42.20 (or $15.93, per Notary practices).

TIME.

*(Driving measurable distance vs. actual driving time: 2 miles office-Interstate takes 10-15 minutes due to endemic heavy traffic; remaining 18 miles may take only 20-25 minutes). Total 40 miles; time 1h20m.

*Calling client, calling company to confirm, upon arrival, upon completion; print originals and copies, review and organize them; signing at clients’ home; updating company; delivering to shipping. Minimum 4h10m.
Total time: 5h30m.

Accepting or declining an Order is the exclusive privilege of the Notary, how much he/she values the professional services, how high/low is his demand for respect (personally, professionally). How much 5 hours-30 minutes of work and $42.20 cash advanced are worth? Compare with other activities. The BLS (Bureau of Statistics of the US Department of Labor) released July 27, 2015 its 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages studies. Results are used by corporations, unions and workers to establish and renew fair compensation indexes. Its Mean Hourly Wage of selected occupations shows:

*Legal [administrative employee] is paid $48.61/hour (thus, Notary’s pay for the above sample Order of 5h30m could be $267.35 plus $42.20 expense=$309.55.

*National Business and Financial $34.81 (Notary’s pay: $190.35 plus $42.20=$232.55).

*Food Preparation and Serving, such as fast-food franchises, $10.57 (Notary’s pay: $58.13 plus $42.20=$100.33).

Compare now the average national hourly wage with the fee Companies pay you: Average ranges $35-$100; meaning, a range from a loss of $7.20 to an income of $10.51/hourly wage.

The sample Order mentioned above offered me a $35 fee. No “problem”. I just would decline. But there was a “problem”! When three minutes later I was ready to email “Decline” (low pay!), I was impacted by the screen that popped up: “Sorry, Order has been already accepted by another Notary”.

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16687

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13 Comments »

  1. It continually amazes me that there always seems to be a newbie out there willing to “pay” to do this work, which is exactly what they are doing when they accept these “Low-Ball” assignments. They will eventually go out of business and clearly never should have started to begin with. However, while they are accepting these “Low Ball” assignments they are feeding the greedy who start feeling entitled to more of the take. If you are a newbie, do your homework and figure out what you need to charge to “fit” into the market place you have chosen. Not doing so just Mucks up the whole system for everyone.

    Comment by Cheryl — February 10, 2016 @ 4:10 pm

  2. I completely agree. I’m thinking of taking myself off of SnapDocs. I have received hundreds of offers and accepted and performed a total of one closing. Mostly they serve only as interruptions in closings for which I’m being paid well over $100. Perhaps I am just not getting into the new swing of things, but I don’t really want to do business that way. I prefer giving my clients the certainty of knowing exactly who is doing their work and the level of quality they can expect and depend upon. I admit I am getting less business, but the business I do get is good business and I’m happy to do it. Who wants to drive for almost two hours for 80 bucks? I don’t even bother to decline. Somehow, I don’t get the feeling my feedback is really that important to them.

    Comment by Violet OBrien — February 10, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

  3. I agree…I hold to my min. fee of $90 with edocs but add in an add’l for files over 130 …doesn’t include additional fees for speaking Spanish and for locations beyond my min. mileage….I have been doing business with some companies for many many years so they know the level of my experience and quality of work…It is just not cost effective to take any fee lower (some exceptions –few documents, special client for one of the companies I work with) but overall…I don’t accept any assignment for less……..if other notaries do…they will continue to be paid less…..it’s their decision…but if we know our value and hold to it…..fees will increase….now I get calls and their fees start at $100 and go up from there……….

    Comment by A.C. Dye — February 10, 2016 @ 6:00 pm

  4. In our discussions we have neglected to touch a now sensitive issue: the environment where we are to perform our mobile Notary services. Example: Order received yesterday, accepted without research. It happens that it is the highest crime area in town, in the state, in the surrounding states. Client gave his address as “Apartment #XX”. Upon entering the parking lot of the complex I observed that a number of apartments have the door and the window boarded up, and one of the client’s relatives inside his unit carried what appeared to be a weapon. How much should a mobile Notary be paid?, we ask.

    Comment by Fern Gil — February 10, 2016 @ 6:56 pm

  5. I’m a new notary signing agent. I agree with everything that you say but when your new there is no training on how you figure out what to charge. Part of the problem is training on that subject. You accept what they quote because you think it’s the norm. This is one trading area that is totally lacking.

    Comment by T J Frausto — February 10, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

  6. Well written and totally agree. When comparing our fee the the other three jobs were benefits considered?? Thanks!

    Comment by Teresa Harris — February 10, 2016 @ 9:28 pm

  7. Wow, I don’t know what you are driving or why you are going to Office depot to print out your paperwork but my expenses come to maybe 1/4 of that.

    Comment by Janette Sterner — February 10, 2016 @ 11:50 pm

  8. I agree with A. C. Dye! I get calls for as low as $40. I decline them but apparently someone is doing them because I don’t get called back. If you don’t charge a decent fee it could end up costing you money. If you do a signing for a lower fee it doesn’t mean the borrower is going to get a price break. They are going to be charged the same mount.
    Here in southeastern Michigan the price to get copies made is .11 for letter and .12 for legal. Staples owns all the office supply stores. Just think if your printer stops working and you have to go to Staples to get the documents printed. A pkg of legal paper cost $11:99 plus tax (500 sheets) and the big box stores are not carrying boxes of legal paper anymore.
    In Summation: We should not be doing any full refis signings for less than $90.
    Margaret Quednau (cquednau@charter.net)

    Comment by Margaret Quednau — February 11, 2016 @ 2:20 am

  9. I am so relieved to see posings about this. I, too, am on Snapdoc and just wonder who is taking these low ball offers. Also, I just started so I get alot of Notary Direct, Notary Go – Natons Direct calls – but I say no to less than $90 when I have to print out some 300 pages of documents.
    So, I feel like I’ve been doing the right thing by valuing my time and services. I’m not in this to have something to do. If they can afford fedex or ups – they can afford me.

    Comment by Molly McGraw — February 12, 2016 @ 2:13 am

  10. The LOWEST paid truck drivers in the country are paid $1.075 per mile. Mobile notaries provide at least an equivalent service as far as getting “something” (documents) to “someone” (customers) on behalf of other people (clients like SnapDocs, Get Notarized, etc). The only way our industry will change and start compensating mobile notaries fairly is when the notaries take a stand. I refuse to take mobile signing jobs for less than $100. That fee will serve a client up to 20 miles ONE WAY from my office – 20 MILES! When I am asked to drive further I ask for $1 per mile round trip beyond the first 20 miles. Here’ an example,

    Customer is located 40 miles from my office. That means there are 40 round trip extra miles (40-20)*2=40
    $100 standard signing fee
    $40 time/distance fee
    $140 total

    Another example. Customer is 90 miles from my office. That means there are 140 round trip extra miles (90-20)*2=140
    $100 standard signing fee
    $140 time/distance fee
    $240 total

    When you break it down like this for companies they either “get it” or they don’t. Remember, it’s their problem not yours that they did not plan for a remote location signing – just tell them what you need to be paid and let it go at that. I’ve lost plenty of signings because of the ignorance of these companies but the signings I captured did not result in an overall loss due to time and mileage.

    Comment by Bry Carter — April 21, 2016 @ 9:19 pm

  11. We assume someone is taking these low paying jobs but I live in an area where there are 4 mobile notaries. I am related to 2 & know the other personally. We talk. I get 2-3 calls from different signing companies offering different fees for the same job. I tell them my fee & I know it’s the same as the other 3.

    Comment by Andrea — September 18, 2016 @ 7:55 am

  12. I put in a schedule C for my signings. I lost money even accepting $100 re-fi’s. 120-140 pages x3, plus mileage, ink,car maintenance. Snap docs sends a 1099. Not worth time.

    Comment by Lori — September 18, 2016 @ 11:45 am

  13. Good analysis but find it hard to believe it takes the author over 4 hours to service one order. That essentially means you could only handle two signings per 8 hour day.

    Comment by John Axt — September 18, 2016 @ 11:49 am

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