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March 9, 2011

Pricing Formulas & Time Spent

Pricing formulas – time spent?
 
At 123notary, we help notaries try to understand the components of pricing.  How hungry you are for work is the most important factor, but time spent is another.  It is not always straight forward to understand how much time a job is going to entail.
 
Traffic
If someone asks you to do a job late at night, you might not like it if you are not a night owl.  However, there is usually no traffic at night after 9pm.  If you live in Los Angeles or NYC, you will be very happy to avoid traffic for once.  If it were me, I would want more to go out during rush hour, especially if the job is far away.
 
Miles?
Not all miles are created equal.  A job 100 miles away on a highway in Montana might be only slightly more than an hour and twenty minutes away. You can go 75 over there.  But, what about a job that is five miles away on congested roads. Some roads seem to always be congested.  Don’t bill based on mileage unless you are forced to by law ( and some states have fixed mileage rates for notaries travel fees ).  Charge the mileage based on how long it will take you.
 
More signers or more notarized signatures?
I used to be the fastest notary this side of the Pecos.  I could do ten signatures for four signers in less than thirty minutes.  Thats a total of 40 signatures and five pages of journal.  I was fast and furious.  But, long sets of documents, or extra notarizations take time.
 
Is the lender missing a few marbles?
Some lenders do not adequately inform their borrowers about the documents or the numbers in the loan.  These days, the laws are more stringent for lenders to keep their borrowers informed about the specifics of their loans.  If a particular lender always has loans that go smoothly, while another lender always gives you nightmares, that costs you extra time which needs to be incorporated into the formula.
 
Unknown company?
Always background check all companies who want you to work for them.  Look them up on our list of signing companies or use your i-phone / android to visit www.123notary.com/S.  Visit our forum or the notary rotary forum.  If you don’t know a company, you can read what others have experienced with them.  You might charge more if working for an unknown company simply because you don’t know what to expect.  Unless they have a well documented track record with others, you don’t know if you will get paid either.
 
Jails
Jails are tricky.  I would not go to a jail until you have read our blog about jails.  You need to make sure the inmate is where they are supposed to be and that you have ID, and that your contact person shows up on time. There is a lot of coordination and waiting that goes on with jail jobs.  Charge accordingly!  10-20% of the time with jail jobs you will not get paid due to lock-downs, no-shows, and ID problems, so incorporate that into your fee too.
 
Hospitals
Hospital notarizations are almost as tricky as jails, and sometimes more tricky.  Travel time to the hospital is the same as to any notary job.  But, waiting time is a constant.  People in hospital beds rarely jump up to see you, produce their ID, and are ready to go!  They are generally sleeping or drugged when you arrive and don’t know who you are.  They have forgotten that their niece is having them sign a document.  Getting them to sit up could take 20 minutes, and bring the book, “Zen and the art of holding a pen” with you — you’ll need it.  Some of the signers can not move their own arm without shaking the pen up and down the page.   If you want to do hospital notariations, please read our blog first so you will know the ins and outs (particularly the outs).  Charge a lot extra for this type of job, because they will have no qualms about keeping you there for hours without compensating you. 
 
People in hospitals, regardless of whether they are nurses, patients, or family members of patients have a very different time consciousness.  They are there for hours and nothing happens.  They are conditioned to the idea that things happen slowly.  If it takes thirty minutes to find a pen, and forty-five minutes to find an ID which isn’t even current, thats fast for them.  A New York minute might take three hours in a hospital.  Try to make sure the hospital folks have their document ready, and current identification in their hand before you get in your car.  I would charge 50-100% extra travel fee for hospitals to incorporate waiting time.  You might tell them that if you are kept waiting, there is a fee for each 20 minutes you are kept waiting.  The first 20 minutes is free, but after that waiting fees must be paid at the beginning of each 20 minute period and that the travel fee must be paid at the door before you even go up the stairs. 
 
On a brighter note, after being in business for a few years (or decades), you will eventually meet a few people at hospitals and jails who actually respect you and your time (no guarantees).  You might eventually meet people who show up prepared without you babysitting them.  Its possible!  So, think positively!
 
Remember — charge for your time, hassle and risk.  Don’t let people take liberties with you, and be prepared and educated about all normal notary situations.
 
You might also like

Hospital notarizations from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=76

Jail notarizations from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=151

Components of pricing formulas
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=84

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2 Comments »

  1. I. Need to become notary assp

    Comment by Connie Rowe — December 21, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  2. Speaking of time spent, I recently decided that I will not do any loan signings for under $125, and that ‘s the price if the documents are sent to me or waiting at the bank! To print 2 sets of 130-page documents at Fed Ex (with Fed Ex staff doing the primting) will cost you about $50.00. That should be your minimum rate for printing documents at home! More pages, more money! Add driving, late-night hours, traffic or having to wait for the client and the price increases! If you are an expert like me (with over 1,600 home loans closed), you are worth the money that I am now charging! Don’t short yourself!

    By the way, I charge $1 per minute (that’s $60 per hour) as a waiting fee if I travel and arrive on-time and the client is late more than 15 minutes, or it takes longer than 15 minutes to begin signing. It happened recently with a big celebrity that I was sent to sign, and I didn’t mind waiting almost 2 hours because I knew I was making $1 per minute on top of my normal fee. Yes!

    Comment by David Ransom — February 17, 2015 @ 2:38 am

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