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July 14, 2012

Protecting yourself with a contract

Protecting yourself with a contract 

It is common for big companies to make the little guys sign a contract with many terms for doing business. One common term is to have an arbitrator resolve issues, and the arbitrator is probably picked by the company in question — how fair!!! ……. Not!    But, how often do the little guys think far enough ahead to protect themselves?  I say that notaries need to make signing companies sign something that will protect the notary’s interests.  But, will anyone sign it out of desperation? If they like the notary enough, they might, but if you are a novice with no experience, you will not have such good luck.
 
Here are terms that I would discuss.
 
Trip Fees
If I am assigned a signing agent / notary job by your company, and travel to an assigned location, and the job is cancelled while in travel, I want a $50 trip and preparation fee.  I want $75 for jobs more than 40 miles from my house according to mapquest’s mileage estimates.
 
Printing Fees
If I am assigned a signing agent / notary job by your company , print out documents and borrower’s copies, and then your company cancels, I want a $40 printing fee.   (it might not be worth this much, but you have to factor in the hassle of billing these clowns and trying to collect).
 
Payment regardless of funding
If I am assigned a loan signing job by your company, and I complete the signing, but the loan doesn’t fund, your company must pay me $100 per signing.
 
Payment regardless of if the borrowers are willing to sign
If I am assigned a loan signing job by your company, arrive at the specified location, and start a signing with the borrowers, and then they change their mind about signing and refuse to sign, your company must pay me the entire fee agreed upon.
 
Waiting time
If I am assigned a loan signing job by your company, I will allow up to 60 minutes for the job.  If the borrowers want to read every letter of every word in every document and take in excess of 60 minutes, I require a waiting time fee of $40 for every additional 30 minutes, or any fraction thereof.
 
Late payment penalties
I expect to be paid within 30 days for all loan signing services.  If a payment is post-marked late than 30 days from the date of the signing, I will charge a late fee of $25 per signing, and then an additional $25 for each fifteen days after.  If you fail to pay this late fee, I will terminate services with your company.
 
I think that notaries are fools to just be willing to do business with anyone without even background checking them.  On the other hand, a contract like the one I drafted (written in informal language and not legalese) might be too demanding, especially the waiting time.  Perhaps a more liberal contract should be drafted, but notaries need to take protecting themselves a lot more seriously and get more professional and methodical about it.  Bigger companies almost always make you sign a contract, why shouldn’t you?

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2 Comments »

  1. I think that notaries are fools to just be willing to do business with anyone without even background checking them.

    A bit strong, but your point is well taken; and your ideas have merit.

    Each assignment has a risk/reward ratio. A nearby assignment might be “scared off” by the contract, while a distant one would benefit from the documented responsibilities. After a few years one becomes good, not infallible, but good at doing a bit of homework about the prospective client.

    Comment by Kenneth A Edelstein — July 14, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  2. Good luck with that, 99% aren’t going to sign your contract because their lawyers will say no in order to prevent potential lawsuits. They state their terms in their contract and if you don’t like it then don’t accept the job. There are too many LSA’s who will forgo their own contract the agency can choose from. This contact you’re stating could be applied for long term relationships with escrow companies that don’t use agencies but will still be a hard sell unless you’re a very established business.

    Comment by Cheryl Meril — August 20, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

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