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September 5, 2016

Experienced signers are being weeded out of the industry

In the old days, Notaries would make so much money. People could make $150 per signing if they had experience. $125 was a standard fee for Title companies. Unfortunately, even Title companies have lowered their fees to poverty level and hire beginners who fax back tons of pages so the Title company can quality check them. This is a sad state of affairs. But, honestly there is a shortage of qualified Notaries who can be trusted without all of the fax backs.

The problem is that for the few Notaries that are worth paying extra for, there is not enough business. You also cannot make your business model on hiring top notch Notaries since there are so few of them. A top notch Notary on 123notary merits about $110 to $125 per signing and are getting that in real life. There are about 2000 Notaries who are 123notary certified which demonstrates basic knowledge. There are about 250 who are Elite Certified which proves superior Notary skills and understanding. The elite certified Notaries are making the money, but the volume isn’t there. And as a result, many Notaries have dropped out of the profession. It is sad that some of the best Notaries dropped out and even sadder that they dropped out due to price competition.

So, inexperienced Notaries who work for $40 are being phased in while experts are leaving the field. I hope one day that this will change. Let’s pray!

On the other hand, Notaries with experience are weeding themselves off of the SnapDocs database. More and more Notaries are sick of the low-balling and cattle calls that go on over there. They are relying more on their long-term contacts, and other directories as a source of work.

(Added 1-01-2017)
With interest rates on the rise, business is likely to be slow in 2017. Goldman Sachs predicts a slow and steady rise in interest rates over the next year with a tenth of a percent average rise per quarter. This will be very bad for the Notary industry and I pray that we don’t lose our best members.


You might also like:

Organizing the table for efficiency

Best blog articles for advanced Notaries

My interpretation of how the Notary industry went South

See our string of Snapdocs articles



  1. What do you have to do to become an Elite Notary on 123notary?

    Comment by Cara Johnson — September 11, 2016 @ 9:51 pm

  2. Some of my signing companies are still paying$85. Some $55. In California when basic fee will change in January to$15. I wonder what the fee will be from my signing companies then. I enjoy being called by Any company or public contacts who find me on 123… They know I’m responsible.

    Comment by hopelynn — September 11, 2016 @ 11:18 pm

  3. You hit the nail right on the head with this one. I’ve stopped doing loan signings because I make morre money and have less expense by just having people find me on my website and come to my office directly with just their non loan docs. The time I spent doing loan docs was like making $10 an hour. Yet I know some notaries who will work for that… Go figure!

    Comment by Shirley gregus — September 12, 2016 @ 12:36 am

  4. I agree. Even though the fees have dropped, I find that being patient by not accepting low paying signings and not leave your door for less than $100.00, the business will pick up. There are signigns that some companies really want the experience and they WILL call you. I am retired otherwise and not really needing the money for my bread & butter so I am patient and it is paying off. I stay busy enough. The more we accept the cheap jobs, the less demand there will be for us. Patience prevails.

    Comment by Busy Hat — September 12, 2016 @ 2:12 am

  5. Yes, the whole industry is set up to keep a steady flow of newbies going until those newbies realize they aren’t making any money, just producing some cash flow and paying expenses. Who in their right mind does this job as a self employed person for peanuts especially when there is UNLIMITED LIABILITY in an industry where simple human error is not allowed. On the other hand, I know that title companies don’t have the time to fiddle around looking thru signed packages and dealing with the process of getting corrections done on time to fund etc. The signing companies they use do all that checking. Title companies prefer an experienced notary in the first place. The signing agencies who I refer to as “training agencies” deal with all that commotion of reviewing and getting corrections done, not title/escrow companies.
    Even when we charge $125. AND UP for an signing, after expenses we really only take home about half of that so you better now be taking far away jobs (more than 8-10 miles out) or doing anything that takes more than 2 hrs, start to finish. That includes printing. preparing, finding parking and waiting in long lines to drop packages and get receipts at UPS and FED X. The problem is that everyone on earth is looking for a way to horn in on the notaries fees somewhere, when the notary is the lowest paid person in the whole transaction. I would not encourage anyone to go into being a signing agent or a notary. And for us to mentor someone is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. Give away knowledge for free to help someone become your competition. Whoever masterminded that angle was no dummy. We know who is behind that one.

    Comment by Dan Serbin — September 12, 2016 @ 3:30 am

  6. There is a lot of truth to what the previous notaries have written. Myself, I have found that I have a regular following of companies that wish to use only me whenever possible. My 16 years in the business gets me the first call for signings in my area. I don’t have bargain basement fees, and I do get so busy that I have to sometimes turn down loan signings because I won’t cram signings together. My customers give me good reviews and my business has been steady all year. Granted, stupid notaries are accepting scraps for $60 and they can surely do whatever they like. Most of the time they accept signings that I don’t want, printing 400 pages, spending over an hour on a signing and driving hundreds of miles for pathetic little fees. Some people are just slow learners, I guess.

    Comment by Ralph Wedertz — September 12, 2016 @ 5:04 am

  7. So sad but very true. I find more Notaries popping-up to take the $40-$70 jobs. I suspect they have no knowledge of the documents they are witnessing, hence cannot answer a signer’s legitimate questions. This is not service to the public, and not protecting the signer (public) either. I am losing a lot of work as a result, and I am sure the title companies or signing company hiring a Notary may be finding it more difficult to handle, maybe even costly for them. Is it possible lawsuits may occur? Someday, hopefully, the hiring firms will wake-up and realize their mistakes and get back to engaging the professional.

    Comment by Robert Ruston — September 12, 2016 @ 2:29 pm

  8. I did one to help bail the company out since the notary they hired had emergency family issue. I only received $80 and had to fax back 139 sheets. AND the worse part was that it was at 8:30 pm. I will not do that again, but I did feel good helping out the company and the signers. It helped them save a month’s mortgage payment.

    Comment by Rosalee Redmond-Talley — November 2, 2016 @ 10:10 pm

  9. I signed 64 sets alone last month. Most of mine are full feeds. I netted $9k. I will occasionally take service fees if I’m slow. But I get so mad when I see $75 for me when the fee is $200. If the services started paying more that would help. The title and escrow companies that hire me direct pay me the full 150-200 depending on distance no problem because they know I get job done. I even showed up in costume on Halloween to a signing where I knew they had little kids. I delivered Halloween donuts to all of my escrow companies too. You have to go the distance to get good work. Know what you’re worth!

    Comment by Valarie Orman — November 3, 2016 @ 12:34 am

  10. It makes a difference to have establish a great rapport in the industry, because businesses continue calling when they have been acquainted with your services.

    Comment by Rhonda Anthony — November 4, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

  11. The only companies that consistently pay more than $100 are the debt relief companies. I average $60-65 per assignment and the lower they pay, the more they want, including fax backs that add two hours to each assignment plus a second trip to the shipper. When I ask for more money, particularly on longer trips, they get someone else. And 14″ paper is expensive. I can’t afford to play coy, but I am being firm on the longest trips, which usually means I don’t get the assignment. If I could just cut down on the fax backs I could save 2 hours per assignment.

    Comment by Elise Dee Beraru — November 18, 2016 @ 11:14 am

  12. I still get $125 on a regular basis. The Notaries who take the 40-60 re-fi’s jam their

    schedules and especially during

    crunch week I get the cream of the crop. To ALL notaries out there

    Wise up! If we stick together, Title has to pay ALL of us a fair fee.

    Stop undercutting each other. And for the newbies, do some studying

    on the Internet. If your doing it part time you OWE it

    to the borrowers/sellers to get it

    right the first time.

    Comment by Stephen — November 18, 2016 @ 4:30 pm

  13. I to do not do low pay signings, for years I would do $100 to $150 local and more for longer distances. I have been laughed at when I request a fee of $100. or more. Some callers have been rude when I ask for that fee. And to top off the insult, we are to wait up to 7 weeks to be paid. I still work for a dozen company’s who respect my 12 years of closings (thousands) and pay a reasonable fee. I also agree that we are expected to be flawless in our work, yet they will not pay for experience. The new notaries who do these $50. to $75. signings after all the expenses associated with the job, then add your Self Employment taxes (SS and Medicare) and then add your measly profit to your income and then taxed on that. A $75.00 signing reaps a income of a buck and a half an hour… Up until a few years ago I was never required to do scanbacks my work was enough, now because of the low pay and type of notary that does this work, the title, escrow and signing company’s do not trust there work…
    Say no to low pay…

    Comment by Gary Barron — November 18, 2016 @ 5:49 pm

  14. I agree. I had one signing company – Mortgagedocs – offer $30!!! Which included downloading, fax backs etc !! What an insult to our profession. These companies should be boycotted!!

    Comment by Linda Malan — November 19, 2016 @ 5:37 am

  15. I agree 100%. It’s unfortunate the skilled and highly experienced notaries are being flushed out. I turn down a very large percentage of work daily due to the low rates the Signing companies are offering. My base rate for refi’s and purchases is $125.00 and I do not negotiate. They just move on to the next notary that’s willing to accept their ridiculous rates. Thank God I’m able to stand firm, but I’m sure that’s not always the case for most experienced Notaries. That’s also a large part of the problem, because some of our very experienced Notaries feel forced into situations and have to except the lower rates. I wish there was an answer for this issue as I really enjoy doing signings, but I refuse to work for pennies.

    Comment by Joyce A Mikle-Miller — November 21, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

  16. I just received another offer from Mortgagedocs. They offered $55 to download, and travel 29 miles each way !!! I suppose it’s a little better than another offer I received for $30. Who does these signings???? It’s an insult to our profession and these companies should be boycotted. When all is taken into consideration, they are paying less than minimum wages!
    I realize they need to make a profit and I think a third of the fee paid to them would be fair. Very frustrating. I

    Comment by Linda Malan — November 22, 2016 @ 6:46 pm

  17. I agree with all who say we need to stick together. When I renewed my comission I saw some 70 -80 new notaries taking the notary test, the majority for the first time. They were told they were \guaranteed to pass\ by the offering instructors, instructors from the NNA. Those classes are offered in my area 2 times a month. Now that is alot of new notaries coming into the field. Those new notaries are in need of work, those new notaries will take anything to \gain experience\. That’s where the work is going.
    I feel like the NNA and the signing agencies that were supposed to be there to make our jobs better, do neither. Let’s hang in there together and best serve our clients who have found us to be reliable and trustworthy. Referrals have always kept my business going, nothing else!

    Comment by Renness — March 24, 2017 @ 4:19 am

  18. I agree regarding all the work that is involved and getting paid chicken fee.
    Sincerely thinking of getting into a new profession.

    Comment by Catherine — March 24, 2017 @ 11:20 am

  19. I will tell you I think part of the problem is that there are to many people/companies taking a piece of the signing fee pie, such as Mortgage docs, snap docs etc… One company that I have been working for years for starting using snap docs and lowered their fees to compensate the fees they pay to snap docs. They also told me that there are 3 ways you get rated by on snap docs. The companies that uses snap docs, the escrow companies and by snapdocs all have a say as to weather you get the assignment sent to you. i.e. How fast you respond, how low of a fee you accept and how quickly you get the docs done. I found that I have been getting less jobs, lower fees and the payment takes longer to get to me from this company since they went with snap docs. Even my husband has chimed in and said that noteries need to unionize. Sometimes I think he’s right especially when I get a text from a company that want me to drive one way an hour to a job for 60 bucks; I don’t except them but I think someone does because the just keep sending them to me. I hope this helps some in understanding somewhat why we are getting the lowball offers that we do

    Comment by Denise Armstrong — March 25, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

  20. Its Sad to know that a lots of experienced notaries are leaving the the Business…….i thought of it at one point when my cellpone wasnt ringing but One day when I was Meditating in my Dahnyoga class my inner notary guy told me “You know what dont despair Be vigilant n be hopeful ot will just rain like before there are dry times but stay positive and Ride the wave dont charge too much Ride the wave of what is market rate they value your experience and your hardwork and they know if you do it It will be in the next Fedex Plane or truck or UPS delivery trucks the next day Ive been doing it for almost 16 plus years and my cellpone wont stop ringing for equity signings or refis or purchase or even Department of HUD closings they call me I always smile n say than you Iappreciate your business and yes I give them discounts all the time but they call me all the time I ve been with Bancserv for all the years and I have a good relationship with them I always thanks all my schedulers eith an email and also network with lots to f escrow officers in mixers Right now my business iis like an american order just waitingfor orders to come I feel so blessed when I wake up inthe morning n retire blessed at night telling mynotaryself you really did good today!!!
    Just be positive and thankful everything else will follow

    Last thing I never complain if I get paid half of what use to get….at the end of the day I tell my wife and kids Be thankful because the meal tonite came from Signatures and goodpeople Amen

    Yes my formula actually works in a very crazy stressful business like escrow companies and lending institutions

    Comment by Rommeth Rosario Jarin — March 25, 2017 @ 6:58 pm

  21. Here is a question to ask yourself Would you pay a real estate 50% or more commission. My answer would be hell no. So why would I allow someone to take more than 50% of allowed fee to schedule for mr.

    Comment by Desmond Oconnor — April 9, 2017 @ 1:58 am

  22. I have been reading the comments above. It is now February 2018 and things have only gotten worse and the companies are paying less and less. I don’t understand why anyone would do signings when they are not making any profit and in some cases it cost them money when you take your car expenses into account. I have been a signing agent for 15 years and the fee has only gone down. I am going to be looking for another job when the weather warms up a little.

    Comment by Margaret Quednau — February 6, 2018 @ 9:00 pm

  23. I have weeded out the companies that have dropped their standards. I won’t settle for less. I know my worth.

    Comment by Roseanne — November 22, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

  24. -I have worked as a Notary for 14 years and know what I am worth–and I do not do FAX backs

    Comment by Elva Valdez — November 23, 2019 @ 9:20 pm

  25. Thank you for sharing this. It was written in 2016. How is it going now in 2022?

    Comment by Monika — May 19, 2022 @ 3:16 pm

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