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April 11, 2016

Minimum wage for Notaries

I was thinking about this yesterday. Notaries would be much more happy if there was some sort of a minimum wage. I remember Ben Carson claimed that there should be a separate minimum wage for people fresh out of high school or college otherwise they might never get hired. Personally, I think the government should stay out of wage setting as it creates artificial market situations which might make it too expensive to do business. If someone is sluggish, minimum wage might be more than they merit. And when you combine minimum wage with taxes, insurance, unemployment, and the rest, it might lead many to outsource their work overseas!

Our average Notary averages $105 per signing.
But, you can’t outsource Notary work overseas — at least not yet. Notaries would feel like they were being treated better if they were paid a fair wage. On the other hand, Notaries surveyed half a year ago were averaging about $105 per signing which is not bad at all. Just because you get bad offers doesn’t mean that you actually do signings for $60. It is sort of like looking at the asking prices for houses on the market. The asking price and the sale price are often very different and will give you a distorted view of the market.

Do beginners have merit?
In any case, I feel that beginner Notaries with no experience and no 123notary certification do not merit a minimum wage. Most of the Notaries I test by phone do not know their documents, signing terminology and additionally do even worse when I ask them simple Notary questions. The fact is that we have a lot of unqualified people out there who feel they are worth a lot. In addition to minimum wage for Notaries, I feel there should be minimum standards as well. I feel that our new 30 point test should be the standard, and a particular test result such as a 14 or 15 should be the minimum to be hired at all.

What should qualified Notaries make?
A Notary who has signed 400 loans (and an prove it with journals) and who has passed the 30 point test with an adequate score in my opinion is entitled to some sort of standardized minimum wage. I feel that

$60 per signing of 5-99 pages
$65 per signing of 100-125 pages
$70 per signing of 126-150 pages
$80 per signing of 150+ pages
10 cents per page for printing
50 cents per page for fax backs

I feel that a Notary with good test scores who has signed 4000 or more loans deserves a lot more than this, but the market can determine their value. Just because you test well, doesn’t mean you show up on time, well dressed and with a good attitude.

What do you think a fair minimum wage for qualified Notaries should be? What about for not so qualified Notaries?

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You might also like:

$40 for a signing 72 miles away?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14959

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

The “Met my fee” list of signing companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16979

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19 Comments »

  1. I disagree! Below is what I think is fair

    What should qualified Notaries make? A Notary who has signed 400 loans (and an prove it with journals) and who has passed the 30 point test with an adequate score in my opinion is entitled to some sort of standardized minimum wage. I feel that –
    $100 per signing of 5-99 pages
    $125 per signing of 100-125 pages
    $150 per signing of 126-150 pages
    $200 per signing of 150+ pages
    20 cents per page for printing
    50 cents per page for fax backs

    Comment by Jane Loya — April 13, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

  2. There can never be a \standard\ fee for notaries. First, \wages\ are for employees; we are all independent business owners, each with our own business plans that determine our profitability goal for the circumstances and in our area.

    Each state has its own notarial laws and fee schedules for notary acts. As a business owners it’s NOT what a company says they will pay, it’s what YOU determine to charge for a given assignment and its unique requirements.

    You wouldn’t tell a plumber what you’ll be paying him, THEY tell YOU what their fees will be for that particular job. Same principle.

    Comment by Roger Rill — April 17, 2016 @ 4:08 am

  3. Roger,

    Bulls Eye – your post was perfect.

    Ken

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — April 20, 2016 @ 9:18 pm

  4. Roger is correct. I started doing this after I retired so I could minimize the number of people from whom I to take to take orders. Electrical engineering is hard. Very hard. Thinking all day every hour of the work day. Even when you’re not working it’s in your head. Helping someone with there signings is easy. It’s finite. Even when you make a mistake it can be fixed. After time you stop making mistakes. If you have a question you call the expert online. My job is essentially to make the customer comfortable, confident, take away his fear. It’s not rocket surgery. I like it specifically because like engineering it has to be precise and accurate. But, the human factor is huge. I prefer negotiating my pay. I know when someone calls me weather there high paying signing agency or a low-paying signing agency. I make my decisions according to where I’m going and when I’m going and how many in the same area I might be going to in the same day. I like the freedom.

    Comment by MikeHolden — May 6, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

  5. Agree w/ Jane and Roger – Perfect!! Our time and experience is worth more than some. I think the prices above are more than fair. However when the appraisers get 300-600 per assignment and get paid on the spot and they spend no less time than we do, how is that justified??

    Comment by EvaMarie Colla — May 6, 2016 @ 3:16 pm

  6. I have stopped doing signings because all I was being offered was $60, no for additional printing (sometimes 3 copies minimum 125 pages)and fax back. By the time I did all that, drove to the client, spent at least an hour going through the pages, driving back, faxing it all back to them and finally taking it to the fedex. I was making about 8 dollars and hour. Even after them sending me numerous requests for the same closing and me telling them that $60 wasn’t going to do it, they would say that is all they are authorized to pay. So for now, I am done with closings. I can do a wedding with non of the stress for $100.

    Comment by Rebecca Leewe — May 6, 2016 @ 3:17 pm

  7. Roger is spot on! And who exactly would be paying that minimum wage to an independent contractor?

    Comment by Teri Wilson — May 6, 2016 @ 3:29 pm

  8. I agree with Roger! At least in my case I set my fee is dependent on the size of the package and the distance to the signing location. I live in a rural area and do not have freeways so time to location is important. For a local signing in my area I charge $100 minimum assuming no fax backs. My fees go up from that. I agree with the $.50 per page for fax backs and extra for document packages larger than 140 pages. I am talking refi’s and reverse packages. The walk ins, jail signings and hospital signings all have there own specific situations and prices are set from free to what ever i and the client agree upon. I have over 12 years experience and I am not sure how many actual signings.

    Comment by Gary Williamson — May 6, 2016 @ 3:30 pm

  9. I would be happy with 100 per loan signing with extra for fax backs
    There are some smaller packages that could cost less with a minimum of 50 pages or less .. could vary from 40 t0 60 ..
    when you are working with signing companies they offer much less

    Comment by Joanne Mortensen — May 6, 2016 @ 3:47 pm

  10. Roger nailed it. I have 20 years experience in all aspects of the Real Estate market. Selling Homes, Mortgage Origination, Mortgage Processing, Mortgage Closing, Title Search and recording, with all kinds of Mortgages, sales, Refi’s, Reverse Mortgages, Deed in lieu, etc. Even SBA loans. I have a legal degree also.

    But I have to bid on work and look at many factors. When business is slow, I may take a closing at $80 that I would charge $150 if business was busy. I make charge $100 on a 65 page signing, if it is out in the rural areas, where GPS fails and your cell phone is just a piece of plastic. I have wasted 2 hours searching for a signer where they don’t have house numbers, They have mean dogs running free at every house and GPS laughs if you turn it on. Asking directions can get you hurt in those backward spots in South Alabama. So I charge for that 2 hours right up front.

    My big complaint is that I have caught many schedulers giving deceptive, incomplete or down right dishonest details to get your price down. I have been told there was NO faxback, but when the docs came it had a 50 page fax back required. I called and they promised to pay extra, when the check came it was not paid. This is a common problem I have encountered. I have black listed some of these companies and ceased to do work for them.

    Also, the ones that require you to bill them at the end of the month, They should pay extra for requiring me to do their bookkeeping for them. They know who they owe, it is simply a trick to get out of paying.

    Comment by Morgan — May 6, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

  11. Morgan said:
    My big complaint is that I have caught many schedulers giving deceptive, incomplete or down right dishonest details to get your price down. I have been told there was NO faxback, but when the docs came it had a 50 page fax back required. I called and they promised to pay extra, when the check came it was not paid.

    Morgan: If someone lies on a loan application the bank can declare the entire loan due immediately. It’s the same with the folks you deal with. When deception is discovered demand a full and instant payment of the new (with fax) amount to your PayPal or similar.

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — May 6, 2016 @ 6:44 pm

  12. I never accept less than my minimum set fees, even if business is slow, because next time they call, the signing company or title company will remember that you reduced your fee last time, and you’ll have to argue with them to get your normal fee from then on.

    Comment by Judith Korff — May 6, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

  13. Please stop using the tern “Wage.” Wages are for W-2 hourly employees who work for other people. We are business owners who works for fees, not wages! There should be no such thing as minimum wage, anyway, for W-2 employees. Let the market determine that. (I do think that your scale is too low, though).

    Comment by Jocelyn Waters — May 6, 2016 @ 11:12 pm

  14. I’ve been a mobile notary for about 18 months. As much as I’d love to make the rates you propose, but I have to balance what the market will bear (meaning what the cheapskate signing companies will pay) with how much I need to make each month by taking jobs so it is worthwhile to continue. There are some distances that are too far away and demand extra time with faxbacks followed by a second trip to the shipping company for the paltry $60 being offered for most of the jobs they offer. Independent contractors have no minimum wage or other protections. If I want too much money, they’ll find someone who’ll take less and I’ll see fewer and fewer jobs offered.

    Comment by Elise Dee Beraru — May 7, 2016 @ 1:30 am

  15. I’m not hired by the page or the mile. I’m hired for my expertise. You don’t hire an attorney, doctor or most professionals by the number of clients they deal with but by their level of knowledge. When someone calls me and says, “It’s only 15 pgs.” Or “It’s only 5 miles from you. ” that is my answer. I put too many dollars and effort into keeping up with my qualifications.

    Comment by Jacquelyn — May 7, 2016 @ 11:13 am

  16. The growing “cattle call” procedures being used by many companies serve many purposes one of which is to get NSA’s to agree to the fee offered. The only way we will get reasonable fees are if no one takes the cattle call, low pay jobs. As long as someone takes these calls, fees will remain low. As far as wages, minimum pay is concerned, as already stated by others, we are independent contractors so set our own fees. Besides, who would enforce minimum wages anyway? Best advise I think is to simply NOT accept low fees, and assure your work is such that companies are willing to pay higher fees to get real professional NSA’s. jer/ohj

    Comment by John Rogers — May 7, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

  17. I used to be scared not to accept the low ball numbers. I would turn down those jobs worried that I was missing out on something. The thought was that if I do not take the money-losing offer, someone else will. It is true, someone else will lose money on the “deal.” Not me! I have fewer “gigs,” but I make more money now by sticking to my fees. It is true that many of these schedulers will lie through their teeth to get you to take a job, and once you accept the job, it is too late. Many times I will finally get the job later in the day by someone willing to pay what the job is worth. I am seeing notary fees on the new TRID forms and the Signing Agency is getting sometimes as much as $500.00 for a job they farm out at $100.00. The ONLY one who loses is the notary who accepts the job at $60.00. By the way, I am not seeing offers for $40, or even $30. There is an agency out there offering general notary work for $4.00 per signature. The company charges $10.00 per signature, but pays the notary $4.00. I turn those down as well.

    Comment by Michael — May 9, 2016 @ 3:09 pm

  18. In my last message, I accidentally type “not” instead of “now.” Sorry about my “fat” fingers!

    Comment by Michael — May 9, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

  19. I have to respectfully disagree that notaries want a minimum wage. If that were the case, then why leave your normal 9-5 job to pursue your own business venture? The only way a minimum wage would make sense is if all companies were required to offer no less than $100 minimum per job. Its laughable and insulting to see the $60 price tag come through for all that we must do to successfully complete each job! So, yeah, minimum offering should be $100, and then the notary decides if that’s reasonable for them Or not. I definitely like the way Jane Loya broke it down!

    Comment by Pam of BNLS — June 4, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

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