Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

May 23, 2016

My interpretation of how the Notary industry went South

It is sad to see what has happened in the Notary industry. Notaries who were getting paid a comfortable living are now working for peanuts or have left the field altogether. Some people blame signing companies for lowering fees. Others attribute the problem to SnapDocs. A few claim that the lack of volume of jobs in the Notary industry combined with too many signers has caused a drastic lowering in fees.

Why are fees so low?
If you ask me, there are several things going on here. Yes, SnapDocs created an automated way to get Notaries for cheap which involves very little work for the signing or Title company. Additionally, in the old days, Title companies used to pay a lot more than signing companies. These days, many Title companies are paying low fees as well. Yes, there are too few jobs and too many Notaries. And yes, the interest rates haven’t changed much in seven years since the Mortgage crash. The bigger fact is that due to the Mortgage crash in 2008, banks cannot lend money unless you have good credit. Since our government is eating up so much money by borrowing it to fund its insatiable hunger for cash — that might be the reason there is very little left over to lend to homeowners.

Low interest rates caused by artificial market conditions
I feel that low interest rates are artificially maintained because the government will go out of business if interest rates rise even one percent. That means there won’t be any more America, no more USA flag, no more hamburgers — okay, there will still be hamburgers, but nobody will be able to afford them. By preventing people with average credit from borrowing, that leaves more money available for the banks to lend the government. The government refuses to lower its spending on wars, military, jails, interest payments, education, infrastructure, etc. If we would cut military spending and put the people in jail in a penal colony where they could work for a living, we could pay off our debt, and not go out of business as a nation.

Reasons for lowered fees:
(1) Banks aren’t lending much >> too few jobs
(2) Too many Notaries
(3) SnapDocs facilitates low-balling
(4) Low skill of most Notaries

Low skilled Notaries
I spent four months in 2015 testing Notaries over the phone. We got our total count of Notaries from 1600 to 2000 which was a huge victory for 123notary and for those who passed our test. However, I noticed that most Notaries had no clue what they are doing and didn’t understand Notary law, signing agent knowledge, and couldn’t even follow directions properly not to mention not having much common sense. For signing companies hiring Notaries, if you limit yourself to hiring good Notaries, your selection will be really small. So signing companies got smart and started planning for incompetence. This is why they prefer to hire unskilled Notaries, and then have them fax everything back to double check their work. Instead of hiring a pro like Carmen for $175 per signing, they can hire a complete novice for $40, double check the faxes themselves, and make a huge profit. I don’t like what the signing companies did, but this is the fault of Notaries not knowing what they are doing. Had Notaries educated themselves, this fax back system probably never would have evolved. It evolved through dealing with incompetent Notaries who in my opinion should not even be Notaries. The state Notary divisions are run by fools who don’t test or double check their Notaries’ work for the most part outside of CA, NY and LA. And the Notaries in the states with testing are not that proficient either. In my opinion a skilled Notary is worth $100+ per signing. But, an unskilled one (unskilled by my standards not yours or NNA’s) is worth $40 per signing and don’t even deserve to work. So, there you have it, that is my point of view which you might not like!

Unfortunately, many of the high skilled Notaries have had to lower their fees or leave the industry altogether (which was horrible for 123notary) because of the lowered fees and fax back system. Many are still around, but they have to charge $85 to $100 instead of $125 to $150 which is probably what they are worth.

The future of America
As I mentioned before, the government seems to have manipulated the banking industry to make huge amounts of cash available to borrow at low rates. This is actually not a bad thing, because it prolongs the amount of time that America can be a nation. The bad thing is the stupidity that led up to this huge 19 trillion dollar debt is the thing that should borrow you (or bother you.) In real life you cannot keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing. It has to end sometime and when it ends, you could lose some, most or everything you have. As an individual you can recover, but how can a country recover? Are we going to click the reset button? It is not China and Japan that lent us most of the money — they lent only 15% of the money. The majority is from banks and some local investors. If America can’t pay its debt, the banks will be insolvent. That means not only no more America, but no more financial system like we know it today. Sure, we will still be here, and hopefully won’t starve, but it is not predictable what will happen.

My spiritual guru predicted that America would experience some devastating natural disasters, go broke, and fail to be a nation. We would be fifty states. These fifty states will not have much of an ability to borrow money to function after the big crash, so expect massive poverty. Whatever problems you have now are nothing compared to what is going to happen.

The future of Notary work
It looks like Notary work will continue on being slow for the next few years since there is not much money lying around to lend to house buyers. Sure, there might be blips and temporary fast times, but for the most part slow. This will continue until our country goes off the waterfall, or has a huge war or financial restructuring. After the crash, it is completely unpredictable how the world’s financial system will be. I’ll have to meditate on that one. In the mean time, just do your best, and try to be more of an expert at what you’re doing.


You might also like:

Best Marketing Resources for Notaries

Nice things people said about 123notary in blog comments




  1. Jeremy – I believe that there is not enough business for all the signing agents that are currently out there and you are correct when you say that payment for our services has decreased and what the lenders and title are having us do equates to more work for us for less money. I know my worth. however, and I will not be bullied by anyone. Having said all that, I will not accept a fee that I will lose money on. I will evolve as we all will, and those of us with Yankee Ingenuity and an Entrepreneurial Mindset will be just fine.

    Comment by Linda Ann Frezza — June 6, 2016 @ 11:03 pm


    Comment by Walter Hertz — June 12, 2016 @ 8:12 pm

  3. What we need is a National Notary Association that truly represents its’ namesake “NOTARY”, not one that is focused primarily on the representation of the non-due paying lenders.

    Comment by Robert Loos — June 13, 2016 @ 1:26 am

  4. The last week of May just from Monday – Thursday, I did 22 closings….in 4 days! Yes, I usually make between $85-$100 for most local closings, although I am skilled, having done over 3000. I still do alright with that income. I am working on my other business, which is LegalShield, because it offers a higher income with retirement, where closing income is somewhat limited with no retirement or residual income. It’s always good to be a serial entrepreneur.

    Comment by Jocelyn Waters — June 13, 2016 @ 3:42 pm

  5. Yes, I agree with your statement about notaries being untrained and unprepared to be Notary Signing Agents, therefore, low fees, faxing all docs back and micromanaging /monitoring of their work. I read recently that many states have low to no standards for notaries, their testing or training. The testing for Signing Agent doesn’t mean much- one still doesn’t know much without practical prior experience. I repeat: the designation of Signing Agent should be restricted to those who have business background in banking, loans, real estate etc related fields and who don’t need business training 101 which seems to be the role of most signing companies.. Until this happens: the position of Notary Signing Agent will be under-respected and there will always be Snap docs, cattle calls/robo calls for notary jobs, low ballers, and tons of signing companies, and endless posts and discussions about low/ no pay being abused and disrespected.

    Comment by Dan Serbin — June 13, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

  6. I am in the fortunate position of only needing to run my notary business as a part time job. However, if I get a low ball offer, I just don’t accept it. Beg all you want, I will NOT ever lower my fees. Either I get it or I don’t and to me it just doesn’t matter. My heart goes out to the notaries who have this as their only source of income. The last time I was low balled I asked the person if they would work for what they made 10 years ago and guess what, I got what I wanted.

    Comment by fdrover — June 14, 2016 @ 9:41 pm

  7. I haven’t worked for a title or signing company for years and never will again. I get plenty of business for GNW and the closings I am doing now I am being hired directly by the borrower. I get paid at the time of service and charge more than I ever made from a 3rd party. This is not my only source of income but it has served as a wonderful side business.

    Comment by Christine — July 14, 2016 @ 5:12 pm

  8. Where I live, I get constant work and I don’t take assignments that low ball me. We don’t have enough people in my area because I could work over- time if I wanted to and I get called sometimes for other calls that I have to turn down because I’m already booked for that time frame. I work a ton when I need to, but my normal is 30 signings a month and that’s with turning down calls.

    Comment by Cynthia Seafeldt — July 14, 2016 @ 5:18 pm

  9. Enjoyed reading the article and agree with it. I am fortunate to only do this to supplement my income. I do NOT let a company low ball me; however I do sometimes accept a lower fee (but not by much) if I have done numerous signings for them.. I don’t work for snapdocs. One thing I wish the title companies/signing services would do is to call Notary Signing Agents instead of texting or emailing them.

    Comment by Jerri A. Lippert — February 5, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

  10. Excellent article. I have been in the title industry here in Washington DC for over 17 years and I have been amazed at how many notaries becoming signing agents have no clue as to how the industry (title, mortgages etc.) works. I figured I have a huge advantage having been on the settlement side as well as title examining and recording and reviewing documents. But there are so many willing to crumb hustle most of these signing agency don’t know a good signing agent from the newbies.

    Comment by Latichia Lawrence — March 14, 2017 @ 3:02 pm

  11. Okay…Brand spanking new Notary Here…I’m seeing everyone here complain about the new notaries not having any experience. I ask you to remember back to your teenage years and looking for your first job. “Yes, we’ll hire you. Do you have experience in this job?”, they would ask. “AH, no, sir. But I am willing to learn.”, you would say. “Well, come back when you have some experience”, they would say. How can you get a job without having experience in the field unless someone teaches you? Oh, wait! Your competitor is teaching you. And they CERTAINLY won’t do a good job teaching you. So, to everyone complaining about the new notaries, remember where you once were…Al of you were new notaries at one time or another. So the question remains…Where do you go to get the best training?

    Comment by Loyd Ramsey — December 1, 2020 @ 5:52 am

  12. I would love to know where Jocelyn waters is located to do 22 closings in 4 days.

    Comment by Candice — June 13, 2022 @ 11:50 pm

  13. I would love to know where Jocelyn Waters is located to do 22 closings in 4 days.

    Comment by Candice Lanier — June 13, 2022 @ 11:52 pm

  14. Thank you and well said! Yes, as Notaries we should know and value our worth!

    Comment by Leila Brown — July 25, 2022 @ 2:48 pm

  15. Definitely, the fact of many Notaries without an idea about how to complete loan signings properly accepting lower fees is the major fail in the industry lately. SnapDocs also is creating a huge hole and lack of work for Notaries who are prepared and certified with many signing systems offering those ridiculous fees as lower as $30-$40. Being realistic, who can take an assignment 40 miles away with a seller’s package, scan backs, signer’s copy and having to travel FedEx/UPS to drop off a package for that amount of money? Just the toner and the paper are more than that, not gas and time for getting ready for the signing/trip included!
    We need an NNA that really plays its role and take action for all of us that buy a membership yearly.

    Comment by Marsia — August 14, 2022 @ 1:30 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *