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July 12, 2017

Notary Effort Pricing

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 9:45 am

Notary Effort Pricing
First an Analogy – Here in Manhattan we have two main types of “for hire” rides. The most common are the legions of Taxi Cabs (TC). Competing with the TCs is a growing number of “Limos”. The laws are changing, but generally TCs cruise the street for customers “street hails” while the Limos are called to meet clients at a specific location/time. Either gets you from here to there, but their pricing structure is quite different. The TCs have a meter that continues to increment the fare; the Limos provide a “flat rate” for the requested start/end point. As a rule the Limos drive very aggressively, wanting to complete the pre-ordained fare as quickly as possible. On the other hand the TCs are a bit more sedate, relishing that the meter keeps incrementing.

Where, When, What – While the simplicity of a flat rate sounds attractive, it fails the test of practicality. There are just too many possibilities to have a “standard notary rate”.
Where – involves principally the distance to be traveled. It also includes the type of facility (Prison, Hospital, Construction Site, etc.); add in the traffic density and speed of the roads leading to the assignment. Don’t forget car expenses; and gas prices are going up again.
When – other than 4AM emergency jobs, is related to the traffic that will be in route. Remember the “bell shaped” curve of one “standard deviation”? About two thirds of the jobs “probably” will work well with a preconceived flat rate. It’s the outliers that are the real problem; overcharging for mid-day, or departing prior to sunrise.

What – This can range from a single notarization on a Deed to a PiggyBack with four affiants on many, many pages. Add in some “Premium Services” such as Apostille, Legalization or Fingerprinting and the effort to completion increases dramatically. Or consider the more common requests for FAX backs, document printing, and waits for doc, status cell calls ……

DYGOOIWYPII – Do You Get Out Of It What You Put Into It?
Posting Prices – About two or three times a year someone asks why I do not post my fee schedule on my web site. Or, I receive an email asking for my fee schedule. Aint got one, never did; and I look with wonder at the few notary sites that post fees. It’s just too complicated. Considering the permutations available in Where What and When – a realistic and useful “rate sheet” would look like a cross between a Rail Road timetable and the pricing structure of most cable TV providers.

Now the Good News – Unless you are a flat rate fan (unlikely) you are already using a variation of “Effort Pricing”. You ask (prior to mentioning a fee) the key: Where, What and When. Keep taking those Ginkgo Biloba brain food pills. Assuming you get the WWandW you are going to have to calculate, you guessed it: your effort pricing. And, your client will expect a price quote rather quickly. Lotsa variables to take into account. The only tip that I can give is to process the Where and When at the same time; figure an effort fee. Then add your What fee – to arrive at a total. Be sure to let your client know that if the specs change, or there is a “surprise” that takes time/effort; the new data will probably up the cost. It’s not rocket science; take care to not commit yourself without knowing the 3Ws in detail. Get “burned” a few times and you will learn quickly.

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1 Comment »

  1. You make a good case for “Effort” pricing; however in California we are deeply encouraged (if not required) to clearly post our rates (to avoid any discrimination based on ….)

    Thanks for the thoughtful article!

    Comment by Michelle M. Regello — July 28, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

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