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January 11, 2021

Travel fees if nothing gets signed

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:55 pm

It is common for Notaries to go to a job where the signer refuses to sign, or the job gets cancelled. What can the Notary charge for a travel fee since he/she/they didn’t “do” anything? The answer is that the most important aspect of this issue is not what you charge but what you explain over the phone. The client/signer needs to be painfully (the more pain the better) aware that the notary’s schedule is not for free and that they have to pay x amount of dollars even if nothing gets done as well as waiting time.

It is a generally prudent policy to get travel fees in cash at the door upon arrival before seeing the signer. This is because you need to be able to be impartial and have no beneficial or financial interest in a document being signed. If your $50 travel fees is contingent on Sammy signing the Affidavit, you will be tempted to notarize it even if the ID doesn’t match completely. As a Notary, you need to not be tempted to wiggle on state notary rules, and having your travel fee in your pocket puts the power and integrity back in your pocket. It’s hard to be integrous when money is at stake.

If someone gives you $40 travel fee which includes the first 20 minutes waiting time, and then keeps you waiting more than that, since you have the $40 in your pocket, you can demand cash for the next twenty minutes or threaten to walk. People will string you along in this line of work so it is important to keep the upper hand, or as Mrs. Meao likes to say — the upper paw!

The bottom line is that communication of signing fees over the phone before the signing is the most important solution to the travel fee issue. Fail to communicate — you might not get paid at all. So, communicate not only what the client will have to pay, but terms and conditions for what gets paid when and how much. Also, be careful with checks. Signers who cancel jobs sometimes bounce checks or stop payment. It happened to me after a very time consuming jail job. I bet Mrs. Meao would have something to say about that!

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  1. Glad to see this. What do you MEAN, “Didn’t do anything?!?!?!” I confirmed the signing, printed the documents + 1 extra copy, prepped the documents, prepped the signer so that they had their ID’s ready, and was available for their extra phone calls, AND drove to the signing table!!!!!!
    IF your plumber, or electrician, or heating/cooling company comes to your house to fix something, and you change your mind, THEY DON’T CHARGE ONLY TRAVEL FEES!!!!!!
    This is a real pet peeve with me. I try to make it clear that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS I will still get the full negotiated fee. I recently had a signing for an out of town attorney, who was asking for a relative of her client to sign property paperwork. The first time, the signer refused. I got paid the full fee. The 2nd time, the attorney rewrote the documents and she signed. I got paid the 2nd time, too. WHY is the NSA’s time and effort worth nothing when the fault lies with the lender/title company/private party who didn’t communicate with the signer. EVERY NSA should be paid for preparing and showing up on time, reGARDLESS of whether the signer(s) sign OR refuse.

    Comment by betty — December 13, 2019 @ 11:01 pm

  2. Agree.

    Comment by Kyle Russell — February 18, 2021 @ 9:45 am

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