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February 15, 2013

Why undercut your competitor?

I get many calls from frustrated notaries all over the county. It seems that they are trying to do everything in their power to keep their notary businesses afloat. With all businesses this can be a task; especially with economic times being what they are. But, it hardly doesn’t make it any easier when you are constantly battling with other notaries and they are undercutting your fees. Unfortunately, it seems to be an epidemic of this behavior, It is happing more frequently than ever because lets face it — in some areas of the US there just isn’t enough work to go around. So, the notaries are fighting for what little work there is in their areas. So, ultimately they find out what their competition is charging by whatever means necessary (probably calling around pretending they need some notarial service and getting various quotes or calling around to different signing companies finding out what some of the others are making; who knows) and they in turn lower there fees to get the assignments.

Now, this isn’t an unusual business practice but what it does for us in particular is lower our fees so low that it cheapens the services we provide as well as drive the fees down so low that its not financially beneficial to even stay in the profession.

So, think about it when you undercut your competition. Are your really knocking out your competitors and getting more work, or are you hurting your own business in the long run?? How long can you stay in business and turn a profit by working cheap. The better way is for all of us to stick together and keep pricing in the same ball park. Now, I am Not talking about price fixing… I’ll leave that to the signing companies. Because, in my opinion that is what they have done. But what I am talking about is getting fees that everybody can live with and make a profitable living. Something that ALL of us are working towards! Think about it!

Until the next…be well and be safe!

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  1. Why would you lower your prices? Why not have everyone in your city or town have the same prices? That way, you are all charging the same and the signing companies just have to make a choice between the notaries as to which one they want. We have to be unified instead of undercutting each other. If you are a good, reliable and efficient notary you will get all the signings you can handle and then some!

    Comment by Faye — February 16, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

  2. I agree. We are having the same problem here in Toronto, Ontario. Thanks, Rula (www.notarytorontomobile.com)

    Comment by Rula — February 16, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

  3. I agree 100% with Faye. Here in the Phoenix area, any of the title companies gladly pay $125.00 to $150.00 for a re-fi set of docs. They have the docs delivered to our door and send a courier to pick them up. Then we get a call from a signing company that says they want us to print two sets of the docs, scan and email back to them post haste, all for $80.00 When we tell them our fee will be $150.00 because it’s clear across the valley, they tell us they’ll get back with us and we never hear from them again…i.e. they shop other notaries in the area and beat down our price. Why should we accept a less than normal fee for our area and maybe lose another local signing in the meantime?

    Comment by Rodrigo Jones, AZ — February 17, 2013 @ 4:01 am

  4. I think Notaries in California should unionize.

    Comment by Neil Kleeger — February 18, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

  5. Why would you cut your fees when on the HUD the borrower is being charged between $300 – $400 for your services. I think we should go up on our fees.

    Comment by C. Terry — February 20, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  6. Carmen,

    You echo the sentiments of a lot of notaries who are doing their best to maintain their high standards, be true to themselves and their time, while
    dignifying the profession at the same time. Most of the signing companies “shop around” and as you correctly point out so do the
    desperate out of work notaries whose sole purpose is to undercut price. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for” and cheaper or cheapest is
    almost always never better.
    Perhaps through this forum, we should come up with minimum fees (with some flexibility and price range) for mobile notarizations based on distance,
    urgency – amount of notice provided, number of pages to be printed, any non-notarial services performed. We could add more determining factors to this list.
    But it would be a good reference guide and a starting point to avoid people marginalizing our profession.
    Some food for thought.


    Comment by Muthiah — February 21, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  7. Thanks to all of you for your feedback and support. As most of you know i have been an advocate of our fee structure (or lack of I should say). Many notaries believe that if we ban together and set some sort of standard because we are independent contractors) we would be engaging in price fixing. This is not so. I urge anyone interested to look the term up. If I go to the car mechanic, dentist or an attorney for example, one becomes aware quickly that the prices are similar for the same service. This is all I am talking about. We need to have a standard. If we don’t get it together soon we are doomed. Prices for gas, paper ,etc have risen sharply but our fees have fallen drastically. That is our fault.

    Comment by Carmen Towles — February 22, 2013 @ 3:53 am

  8. I feel the same here. I get those calls trying to lowball and then I give them my quote and they say the’ll have to get approval from their boss and never call me back. Too often, they get new notaries that ar thirsty for any singing in an effort to put more experience under their belt.

    Comment by Fred — February 26, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

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