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May 23, 2017

How to negotiate signing fees like a pro!

There are several ground rules when it comes to negotiations.

1. The first offer rule
The person who makes the first offer will never get an optimal price. If you start the bidding first with a high price, you might just get declined without being given a chance. If you ask too little, you will miss out on more pay. If you let the other person make the offer, you will end up with more on average.

2. Whining ruins your image
Notaries are notorious for whining. “You only pay $70….. OHHHHHHH, why can’t you pay more?” Who needs this behavior? If you are such a great notary, you would have plenty of people offering you $125 to $150, and you would just hang up on these low-balling fools. But, if you whine like a baby, nobody will want to work with you even if you accept their pathetic offer. Most notaries are so bad, they are probably not even worth what the low-ballers offer them. Most notaries refuse to study to become fastidious professionals.

3. Take it or leave it
Sure, nobody likes fax backs, but don’t complain. You either accept the job or you don’t. If the signing has 300 pages per set of documents, don’t complain. You either say yes or no. When I do my billing, people always ask me, “What did I pay last year?”. My comment is that it doesn’t matter because last year is over, and that doesn’t effect what this year’s price will be. They want to waste my time looking something up for their emotional gratification which affects nothing. What a time waster. Don’t behave like this. If someone makes you an offer, you take it, leave it, or negotiate. If someone wants to politely negotiate with me instead of whining, they will get a lot farther. First of all I will value them more as a long term client. Second, I will know that they will behave professionally with the people who use my site — and I value that much more than how they treat me. Third, it is not a headache to deal with them. If I ask for $200, and you want to offer a polite counter offer, then go ahead. $100 would be rude because it is out of the ballpark. But, what about $150? Try it. I will probably say no, since my prices were computer generated using six inter-connected formulas. But, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

4. Getting companies to up their fee by $35 is possible
But, I know some very fancy notaries who are at the top of their game who get $50 companies to pay $85. These smooth operators get close-by jobs for $85 that are only a few minutes away. They have fast printers that print 45 pages per minute, so the double set of documents takes less than 10 minutes. They buy their toner or ink wholesale. They don’t whine — they PLAN, and they negotiate! So, in a little more than one hour, these seasoned Ninja Notaries get the call, print the documents, go to the job, get it signed, and get back home, and send the invoice. After expenses they probably made almost $70 per hour. Not bad! So, how do they do it?

5. How to impress the client
A seasoned notary will explain calmly how they are famous for doing clean-up jobs after notaries who didn’t know what they were doing ruined a loan. Why not start with a pro and get it done right the first time? How much did you say you offered again? $60? I understand that you are on a tight budget, but my minimum is $100. I can help you out for $85 today though, since I have a little more extra time than I normally do. Wouldn’t it be worth it to you to hire someone who has signed 4000 loans, and who is meticulous? I have state of the art machinery such as an HP 250,000 printer with quadruple trays, and I can explain all of the documents. Would you like to drill me and ask me a sampling of your hardest loan signing questions to see if I am up to your highest standards?

6. Ask them to ask you their toughest question
Most signing companies don’t ask notaries questions. They should. If you ask notaries questions, 90% fall on their face because they don’t have a clue what they are doing. So, if you do know what you are doing, tell the signing company to shop around, but to ask each of the notaries they talk to how they would explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse. If you don’t get a good answer after 45 minutes, then call me back! No notary with fewer than 5000 signings can do a graceful job of answering this question even though it is ridiculously simple. It requires study, and most notaries are opposed to that idea!

7. Don’t say anything that sounds phony
Please notice that all of the points I made sound real. None of this, “I’m professional and accurate and do error-free signings.” That sounds phony. Make real selling points because you are selling yourself to people who have been in this business for years and have dealt with thousands of notaries — most of them bad ones at that. Figure out what to say that proves that you are the logical choice to hire, even at an inflated rate. After all, the extra pay translates into less aggravation after the fact. How much aggravation and potential re-drawing fees is the $20 savings worth to you anyway, you tell me?

8. Having a pricing formula sounds impressive
If you don’t like to negotiate, but like to use pricing formulas, that will make you look good. People who understand distances, time involved and other expenses are true professionals who know their business inside out. You might not always get the highest possible fee with formulas, but you will get respect and repeat business.

9. Negotiation points summarized:
I do clean-ups for other notaries who make mistakes; 5000 loans signed; ask me your hardest loan signing question and then ask the other notaries who you are calling; I have an HP (name) printer that prints 45 pages per minute. I have a mobile office — beat that. I’m ready now — let’s do this! All work guaranteed or your money back!

A comprehensive guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16504

Can you negotiate prices with SnapDocs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16236

Negotiating with aggressive callers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16278

Notary Marketing 102 – Negotiating Fees (a thorough guide)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

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4 Comments »

  1. VERY well written.

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — May 24, 2017 @ 1:11 am

  2. I really liked the article. Good common sense.

    Comment by J. Lippert — July 20, 2017 @ 11:59 am

  3. This was a really good article. More is needed to keep notaries on point.

    Comment by Teresa Wash — December 10, 2017 @ 3:32 am

  4. Well written and informative, but unfortunately in the LA area, there is a massive glut of notaries and signing services know this and use Snapdocs. They rarely, if ever, negotiate. Many years ago, signing services pulled off a legendary snake-oil sales job on the lenders and/or escrow companies out there, convincing them that notaries must have massive E&O coverage (which of course, the signing services can afford). This is how the slow death of the individual mobile notary signing agent began. Sometimes, if you’ll actually see the E&O coverage requirement buried in the loan/escrow documents (usually 250k-500k).

    The signing services will do anything to increase their profits. I used to get $85-$100 from the signing services, but starting about 2 years ago, all the signing services saw the opportunity with Snapdocs, and applying basic econ 101 principles, now send text messages to hundreds of LA notaries at once offering $60-$75 and involving massive driving distances or time (remember, in LA, a 5 mile drive from 3-8pm takes about an hour). If your phone isn’t in your hand and unlocked at the time you receive the text, you’ve missed the assignment. Within 3-5 seconds, the assignment is gone.

    The ability to negotiate requires that supply and demand of notaries be at or near equilibrium. It’s not even close – where I live, there is a massive supply glut and apparently, there hasn’t been enough botched signings by desperado notaries taking the low pay to cause anything to change. Fees offered aren’t improving yet, probably because the number of transactions available aren’t increasing. In red-hot real estate markets (such as Westside LA), most transactions continue to be all cash).

    Most of the Snapdocs offerings are for seller closing documents and the pay offer is only $40-$60. Despite the fact that there are fewer pages, most require filling in forms that the signer has no idea about. No one ever informs them in advance of these forms and I’m usually stuck waiting while they call the RE agent, escrow etc. I can only explain basic info, not give advice (especially with all the tax forms). I only get the docs emailed to me 1-2 hours prior to appt, so even emailing the docs in advance to the signers rarely saves me any time.

    I’m only doing 2-3 loan closings/seller closing documents a month now. I’ve diversified by getting back into loan processing (what I used to do about 10 years ago). Not many loans out there, but it helps.

    Comment by BobH — May 1, 2018 @ 1:37 am

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