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July 12, 2019

Why are the fees offered to us so low you ask?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 3:15 am

Why are the fees offered to us so low?
….because many of you keep taking them. Some folks are new to the profession and don’t know any better. They want to get experience at any cost. Others know better but take them because they are desperate and can’t seem to find better paying work. Whatever camp you fall in you should not be taking low fees. Why? Because it hurts all of us!

Let me give you some history on our profession. Years ago, it use to matter to signing services/companies who they used. There use to be oral and/or written tests given before they would hire you. And with the exception of a few they paid better and more timely. But those days are behind us. Most of them don’t seem really to care. They are looking for the most green, inexperienced notary so they can maximize THEIR profits. Most title and escrow pay anywhere from 150 to 300 per signing and the signing services know this even if you don’t. The money is allocated from borrowers closing fees and the (title/escrow) typically aren’t paying it out of their title/escrow fees, they are charging it the borrowers. So signings don’t cost them anything for the most part. (there are exceptions to this but no need to get into that now, that’s for another blog). 🙂

Many of you ask me why they use signing services in the first place. Bottom line is they use them for convenience. It is easier to just give the service the assignment and let them find a notary. It frees them up and saves them an enormous amount of time to follow lender instructions and make sure all conditions are met so they can close. But over the years as things have slowed up and due to many notary errors many have abandoned signing services altogether. So contrary to what many folks think many of them do still use notaries directly. But the notary signing professions is still over run with companies that are just out to maximize their profits. And this is our fault.

I had a notary just call in the other day and told me that she was offered a sellers package from a signing service for 20.00. (you know they were receiving WAY more than that) 20.00 dollars people! Unbelievable. Just take a moment and let that sink in. That paltry fee is not even worth starting your car up for. Here in Callie we get 15.00 per signature and then if you have to print (god only knows how many pages) and then take them to FedEx or UPS to ship them back, it is just not worth the time, energy or paper.

Now the saddest and worst part about this situation is probably not the ridiculously low fee of 20.00 being offered, it is the fact that although the notary speaking with me refused, we know somebody will/or did accept it. For those of you that have followed my blogs and or spoken with me, I predicted long ago that as long as there are notaries that take low fees, they would persist and they would eventually get lower and lower. That day has come. I too was just recently offered 65.00 to go to a place that is about 40 minutes from me. There were 2 copies needed to be printed, signed and dropped all at FedEx or UPS all for for 65.00. I would never accept such an assignment, even if I were desperate.

I know that a lot of folks don’t really understand this business and the learning curve is quite high. I also know that other notaries once they start to figure things out they don’t share information on pricing/fees. But we need to work together. We need to educate each other that fees need to be fair and reasonable. We are all in this to make a profit. And you can’t make a profit if others are making/taking the majority of the money (signing services) and you are undercutting one another just to say you had some work.

Remember, the goal is to work direct! Marketing and advertising is key to your success in reaching those title and escrow that have had it with signing services. It is time to works smart not hard. Know your worth.

Just some food for thought…

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

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11 Comments »

  1. i love reading your blogs. Always helpful.

    Comment by adam richardson — August 7, 2019 @ 3:48 pm

  2. You hit the nail on the head Carmen.
    I actually have had this discussion in other forums before and was accused of fixing fee and that is not what I was doing just giving food for thought.
    Those that didn’t like what I had to say are probably the one taking low- ball fees.

    Comment by John Farrell — August 12, 2019 @ 4:27 pm

  3. A couple of weeks ago I got a call from one of those annuity advancers to take a job about 20 miles away and offered me $115, but I had two closings already scheduled and couldn’t fit it in. Them I was texted by one of the signing services to take the same assignment, but offered $40. I have often had two different signing services for the same closing at different fees. We notaries are often left hanging by the computer for documents that are not delivered until an hour before the closing, which means only one closing can be done in a day, and then have to chase the services down for slow payment.

    Comment by Elise Dee Beraru — August 12, 2019 @ 4:51 pm

  4. Why are the fees offered to us so low?
    ….because many of you keep taking them.
    I don’t, and many SnapDocs customers will accept my fees bc I will drive to some towns nobody else wants do. I am 30 minutes drive south of the biggest cities.
    HOW could they not know, unLESS they can’t do math and don’t factor in costs of using your own car/gas. The beauty of this part time work is that you can FIRE employees that don’t treat you right.
    I need to make a profit and even withOUT taking your excellent test yet–I AM studying up for it, bc you said it was difficult–I STILL do a more thorough job than anybody new to this after 6 1/2 years. It takes me an average of 4 hours to do a signing. I check page by page to make sure that all are there. I record all notarized documents bc I keep an accurate journal. I check at the signing table for signer errors AND I do final check of notarized documents for any of My errors. I am confident when I ship that the job is accurate. Part of this trend is how companies make us wait until the last possible minute to receive documents and the rush, rush, rush unNECESSARY to do our best job. Makes me steamed up thinking about this!

    Comment by betty — August 12, 2019 @ 5:23 pm

  5. Exactly! Sometimes the package will include a doc that reveals the amount the service is getting for notary services and I’ve seen ranges from $250+ to $300. I never accept anything lower that $85 and this is when the signing is in my own neighborhood. Printing, travelling, executing documents is an extremely valuable service not to mention we often conduct a signing in less than desirable environments and sometimes with people who are not prepared adding to the length of the signing. I agree. We need to stop accepting the low ball bids. Thanks for this article.

    Comment by Elizabaeth Croteau — August 12, 2019 @ 5:42 pm

  6. I only take these low ball signings when they are only 5 miles away

    Comment by Menyard Smith — August 12, 2019 @ 5:44 pm

  7. I think it all depends on the Notary…I have a set minimum fee and all the lenders/title companies are aware….every now and again I am offered a low fee…I always refuse tell them what I will charge and in most of the time they come back to me….so it all depends on us….yes a newbie or someone desperate will take it…but if you have an consistant history with them…you will usually get your fee….in Ca.. we get $15 per notarizing a signature and I use that to advise of why my fee is as it is….Good Luck to you all!

    Comment by A.C. Dye — August 12, 2019 @ 5:50 pm

  8. Notaries are among the worst crybabies I’ve ever encountered… and liars.
    Betty claims that she spends four hours per signing. This is an obvious lie.
    I’ve done way over 1000 signings, and go slowly, and am very thorough. I rarely go beyond two hours, even though I’m sort of gabby and overly friendly.
    But obvious lies have become truths in certain circles in the USA. Betty sounds like a charter member.

    Comment by Jeffery Northrup — August 12, 2019 @ 10:27 pm

  9. My daughter calls the low fees a race to the bottom. How fast we get there will depend on the market you personally help to create. When we get a standard and know our worth the low ball fees will stop. So will the other verification, we are asked to provide. We take jobs with the hope that we are going to get paid. Who are these signing companies, and why are we afraid to refuse some of the request? If they called and asked would you do the signing for FREE, you would not hesitate to say no thanks. But because you have not given much thought about the upfront cost, of your time, travel, materials, scan backs, parking free etc. you sell yourself short every time. Personally I am not afraid anymore to say no, and stop thinking about whether it was the right decision. Professionalism comes with a price and it is never cheap. I think if anything it is one of the many signs of a newbie.

    Comment by Patricia Dodd — August 13, 2019 @ 3:07 am

  10. Fellow Notaries: FYI
    Let’s not sell our services too cheap. During 2018, I accepted what I thought was a good assignment from a lending institution for $ 200.00, to confirm vehicle identification numbers, and take multiple photographs on a number of vehicles. This assignment took several hours to complete and return photos and their records. The company representative low balled me to take this assignment, and this was my fault for being gullible to his persuasion. Their deal was well over 1.5 million dollars for their client.
    I am being purposely vague in my description of this matter to protect the client’s information. I will never again allow my services be sold so cheap.

    Comment by Michael Hunter — August 13, 2019 @ 5:52 pm

  11. This is always an interesting read both the blog and the Fees charged. I am in rural Iowa and when I tell them my travel fee they say well it is on 25 or 30 or 50 miles. They seem to forget when you are 50 miles away it adds 2 hours to the already fee discussion, confirming the order, printing, signing, checking, scan backs (the entire package), packaging and delivering the docs (in our case the box) and hopefully no errors for a return trip. The 4 hours Betty takes is pretty close to what it is depending upon travel. So Notaries the question is what is our time worth by the hour and expenses?

    Comment by Gary Bowers — September 10, 2019 @ 9:24 pm

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