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July 6, 2011

Good companies gone bad

Unfortunately, over the last few years, it has been hard to find decent companies to work for.  Personally, if I were still a notary public, I would only work for about 20% of the signing companies out there and watch them like a hawk for payment.  I would keep a database on each one to see what their average wait time was and of any problems.  I would have the best data collection system in the industry.  But, the problem is that companies that we have known and trusted for years, sometimes go bad.  In this industry, everyone seems to go bad.  Signing companies are like milk.  If you keep the refridgerated, they still go bad — it just takes longer. There still are a few decent companies around, but you can count them on two or three hands only. 
I started noticing this trend in 2006
Companies with a solid payment record would suddenly become very slow payers.  Perhaps they were experiencing financial problems.  Personally, I think that if you are in a signing business, you should save your money, so you can pay your expenses on time. Any type of business involves cash flow, and keeping on top of cash flow means saving money.  I heard rumors that many of these signing company owners would drive the best SUV vehicles, have swanky homes, but not have money to pay the notaries.  Their priorities were their short term objects, and not maintaining their business.  The bottom line is that 95% of those companies that behaved like this no longer have businesses — and karmically that makes perfect sense to me.  Back in 2006, this trend began.  companies who always paid on time started slipping.  This trend continued, and is still continuing to this day five years leater.
Settling the score in 2008
This was the year when more signing companies went out of business than any other year.  2007 was the year when America started experiencing a financial disaster, but in 2008, that was the year that the bottom fell out, and companies folded.  Good companies started stringing their trusting notaries along for payment.  What I learned is that you can’t even trust companies with good payment records, because the minute they experience financial issues, the notary is the one who gets paid last. I have no idea why signing companies are almost all like this.  Is there a common gene that all signing companies have that causes this?  Maybe we should do some gene mapping to find the no-pay gene.
The depth of the crisis in 2011
By 2008, roughly 80% of signing companies that were around in 2005 had folded (educated guess).  But, by late 2010, the numbers had escalated to about 93%.  I know this because very few of our 400 signing companies on file are being gossiped about by the notaries.  There are a few new companies sprouting up in the doldrums to my surprise though.
A few companies that went from good reviews to bad
Here are a few companies that used to have good reviews or at least passable, that started getting a lot of really bad reviews lately. Please keep in mind that reviews are based on notary feedback and are NOT based on the opinions of 123notary or the people who work here.
American Freedom Assurance
Chase Title
Dynamic Field Solutions
Genuine Title
Insured Closings
Notaries Express
The Notary Biz
Pacific Document Services

(1) Signing companies are like milk, even if you keep them refrigerated, they still eventually go bad!
(2) Many signing companies started out paying people on time, but these ones eventually started paying late!
(3) It is common for signing companies to pay on time, but then start paying late the minute they have financial problems.

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  1. Add Cogent, LSI, ServiceLink, ISGN, NREIS never has recovered.

    Comment by Lee-AR — July 7, 2011 @ 1:03 am

  2. I agree about NREIS. I talked to someone in accounting recently and they told me their pay policy was 45 days to 60 days out and didn’t even act like there was anything wrong with that when I commented on how long it was.

    Comment by Barbara Wilson — July 18, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  3. All Service and Signings is another new company who does not pay their notaries. They are now out of business, too.

    Comment by Adele VandeHouten — July 18, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  4. Performance Closing – no phone- no fax – no website NO MONEY

    Comment by Georgia Cowell — July 19, 2011 @ 12:39 am

  5. I have to agree with you. I do most of my business with about 5 or 6 TRUSTED companies. The rest I let them go because I do not have time to ‘hassle’ with them over payment. It is too bad but nobody is in this business for a hobby…..Je

    Comment by Jan Engels — July 19, 2011 @ 3:57 am

  6. I would like to know if the principals at Nations Direct would like it if they had to work for 90 days before getting paid. This is the only business in the world where you do professional work for a company and then you get treated like you are the least important poerson on the planet.

    Comment by Mike Vergere — July 19, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  7. Jeremy, thanks for the great report and wise advice, I keep plugging away and trust too much that signing companies will come to treat notaries professionally.

    Comment by Frances — July 22, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  8. Jeremy, thanks for the great report, I trust the signing companies way too much i will be more cautous when it comes to accepting jobs but it is hard to say no when the calls don’t come as often as they use too.

    Comment by Frances — July 22, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  9. I would like to add a company to your list that found me on your website. My Notary Connection, LLC called for me to do a job May 19, 2011, on July 18, 2011 I received a partial check with a remaining balance of $59.00. Finally I was told that the owner will send the balance asap. It is July 23, 2011 and still no check. I have informed then not to call me any more, I will not contract with them again. This seems to happen more and more so I am becoing very “Picky” about who I work with. Rebecca Aaron-Fowler, Wyoming

    Comment by Rebecca Aaron-Fowler — July 23, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

  10. The only company listed that I have experienced problems with is DYNAMIC FIELD SOLUTIONS.

    Comment by Kellie Salley — July 24, 2011 @ 1:36 am

  11. The company that I have trouble with is OHIO STATEWIDE CLOSINGS dba Insured Closings. They use to pay in 30 thirty days now it is anywhere from ninety or older. I set a credit limit because of this an not taking closings from them.

    They don’t seem to know what a credit limit is. They do HELOCs for US BANK thru Old Republic.

    Barbara J. Sartori

    Comment by Barbara J Sartori — July 24, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  12. I would like to see us, as an industry, be paid by the title company even if a signing company is used. The appraiser is listed as a closing cost and when funds are dispersed, if I’m not mistaken, the title company sends a check to the appraiser. If a title company or lender wants to use a signing company then seperate out what the signing company gets for making a phone call and what the notary gets for doing the work and show them as two line items on the documents. If the title company wants to send the signing company 1 check a month for all their work if the title company agrees with that, then good for them. Isn’t title responsible for making sure everyone gets paid so there are no leans on the property? Shouldn’t we look to title for payment if the company they sub-contract with fails to pay us?

    Comment by Guy Case — July 25, 2011 @ 1:00 am

  13. I had a bad experience with Safir Signing Agents, LLC. Their name has changed to Genuine Title and they too are not returning phone calls.

    Comment by Frances James — July 25, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  14. Safir Signing Agents, LLC is no longer returning phone calls. Their name has changed to Genuine Title.

    Comment by Frances James — July 25, 2011 @ 12:46 pm


    Comment by Ken Minnesota — July 30, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

  16. #12–Guy Case I totally agree with this line of thought. I worked for atty owned and operated title companies for 15 years before becoming a mobile notary 10 years ago. We always paid all the invoices from the file when it disbursed. Isn’t there some way we can start a petition or something to get the law changed. I don’t mind the signing company getting their fee, but I don’t want to worry over whether or not I will get paid. I have too many other things to worry over.

    Comment by Cynthia Cole — August 5, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  17. This company was so accomocating when they enlisted my services in May 2011. I did the signing but they forgot to include some riders so I had to go again. I submitted my invoice and waited. I am still waiting. No answers to my emails and no answers to my phone calls. I have contacted the AG in Arizona and am filing a fraud complaint. I am also contacting the title company who is associated with them but I doubt that will do any good. Upon doing research I found out that I am nt the only one who isn’t being paid by mynotarycinnection.

    Comment by MyNotaryConnection — August 9, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  18. BEWARE!! I did a signing for Speedy Closings, Frank Amari on April 22, 2011 and still haven’t been paid! I have called them numerous times and faxed them invoices and they promise that the check is in the mail!!! Haven’t seen one yet….

    Comment by Barbara Brewer — August 10, 2011 @ 2:01 am

  19. I saw a comment on LSI. I disagree. This company has been and continues to be a top rated company.

    Comment by Jim N — August 19, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

  20. It’s absolutely essential to collect the signing fee at the time of the signing. We accept credit cards or paypal. Every other business gets paid well for their services. If the title company makes a mistake, they will need to pay for the notary to correct the error. I know what it feels like to print documents, drive to someone’s location, handle a signing and then be treated like I don’t warrant any payment. Really? The only way this problem can be corrected is for notary closers to collect their fee at the time of the signing. At least notaries can be tracked through state records if they are fraudulent. Signing services cannot. Please, everyone, ask for payment at the time of service. Here are some ways the title c0mpany can pay: 1) borrower can pay 2) broker can pay 3) signing service can fedex documents with a check for the signing 4)any party can pay with a credit card. Again, please professional notaries – let’s stop this issue from making us feel like a bunch of losers when we work so hard these days.

    Comment by Barbara Pritchett — August 20, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  21. And one more thing – add a fee for less than 4 hours notice and after hours signings. Why should we put up with receiving calls 1 1/2 hour before the closing time. The correct fees for this: $25.00 for last minute signings, $25.oo for after hours. The going rate is $150 for all signings – period. Then you add $25 for last minute and $25 for after hours if the signing is after 5:00 PM or before 9:00 AM. The correct fee for this is $200. You won’t feel so bad about being asked to fit an inconvenient signing into your schedule. Again, collect at the time of the signing. No exceptions. Please notaries, your services are needed. This is a mess we created ourselves and we need to correct it.

    Comment by Barbara Pritchett — August 20, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

  22. Discount LNB C…

    Fantastic article.Really thank you! Cool….

    Trackback by Discount LNB C — November 21, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  23. I’ve seen a lot of companies excusing slow payments by saying \I couldn’t pay you because I didn’t have your address\ – when the address was clearly provided on the invoice… or waiting 2 months and then out of the blue emailing you and saying \your payment has been delayed because we do not have your W9.\ Companies need to get their act together. Address information is provided on invoices – that is NOT a valid excuse. As for the W9 – require that documentation UP FRONT. Not when after the invoice has aged 60 – 90 days.

    Comment by John Cole — April 24, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

  24. Heaven Drumm…

    Major thanks for the article post.Thanks Again. Fantastic….

    Trackback by Heaven Drumm — August 17, 2012 @ 2:00 am

  25. I have done signings for NREIS over the years and have found that they are getting slower about paying; I have a payment due from 3/13/12. I finally gor a rep. who said to email them @ subcon.payrequest@nreis. I also threatened them with a class action lawsuit to collect for every notary they owe. If you use this email address be sureto mention the lawsuit. It is up to us to light the fire under their uknowhats.

    Comment by SueAnn Freitas — August 17, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

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