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July 25, 2016

You want to get paid well as a Notary, but do you merit a good rate?

Most Notaries are complaining about how poorly they get paid and all of the headaches like fax backs, micromanagement, and hassles they have to put up with. The reason for the micromanaging and fax backs is that someone could lose their loan and their lock if there is a mistake. Notaries make mistakes more than they care to admit, especially the new ones. So, signing companies are forced to check up on Notaries. But, you’re not like those other Notaries, right? Prove it!

Most Notaries do not want to pass the 123notary certification test. They passed the NNA certification test or some other tests, but don’t want to take the trouble to pass ours. When I ask them questions over the phone, they typically try to pass themselves off as knowing it all and then fail my test miserably. For such a large group of people to be anti-knowledge is really bad. You are a professional, it behooves you to study up and know your technical data inside out. Know your Notary procedures inside out. Know your signing agent knowledge inside out. Not just some of it — all of it.

If you have signed a few thousand loans, have good connections, and are certified by several agencies, you are beginning to merit good pay. Those who are 123notary elite certified average $116 per signing which is a lot more than those who are not. Many beginners average $80 per signing, or at least that is my guestimate.

You can learn more about being a good Notary by reading the technical articles in our blog and in NNA’s blog. You can study up on your state’s handbook. There is a lot you can do to become a better Notary. Getting reviews on your listing and polishing up your notes section help your image as well. If you want to get paid well — merit the good pay and it will come.

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You might also like:

Compilation of certification posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16264

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

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March 4, 2015

Deceptive Fax Backs: The good ole’ bait and switch tactic

These days notaries are complaining about many things. There is the good old, “They never paid me.” Then there are those who got paid late. Cattle Calls with low-ball offers via email or text are a new source of notary exasperation. But, deceptive fax backs are another source of annoyance and grief.

Did I forget to mention the fax backs?
Notaries have been complaining about fax backs for a long time now. But, the types of issues I have been hearing about have been getting worse. It is common for companies to simply not mention fax backs, or to lie and claim that there are no fax backs. Then, later on, the notary will read the instructions and see that 50 pages of fax backs are required. What should a notary do at this point? Should they demand more money? Even if the signing company agrees, the notary will not likely get the extra cash. Should the notary just cancel the job knowing that they will never get paid for their extra 30 minutes of work? In my opinion, the way you handle this type of situation should be contingent on one fact — do you want to ever work for this company again? If yes, press 1 and do whatever they tell you to. If it is just not worth it in the long run due to bad past experiences, or it is below your well thought out standards then press 2 and tell them to forget about it because they did a bait and switch.

20 pages of fax backs will be necessary!
When negotiating fees, notaries want to know how many pages of documents will be in the package, and how many fax backs. It is typical for a notary to be promised a package of “about” 100 pages with 20 pages of fax backs. When they get the actual package it is 178 pages with 50 pages of fax backs. This happens more than you might think. The key to dealing with this is to have a policy that is well thought out that you create beforehand for how to deal with these types of situations.

If you are flexible, you will just do whatever the companies ask and deal with it.
If you have a lot of other things to do and time is tight, you can have your rate be based on a particular size of package, and then charge an additional rate for each additional page and each additional fax back. If the company signs a contract with you regarding your additional fees (which they will not likely do) then you are in business. However, many companies won’t pay your additional fees after the fact, so incorporate that sad fact into your policy.

Sample Fee Structure for notaries with 1000-3000 loans signed
Signings: $100 (eDocs not included)
eDocuments: $20 for first 100 pages per set; 12 cents for each additional page per set.
If the package is 200 pages, you charge them $32. And refused to work for them again until they pay this.
Fax Backs: $5 for first five, 50 cents for each additional.

Beginners Sample Fee Structure
Signings: $60
eDocuments: $15 for up to 200 pages per set
Fax Backs: Up to 25 included, additionals are 40 cents a page.
Beginners should price themselves low to get at least 500 signings worth of experience, and then consider raising their rates by $5-$10 if the market will tolerate that.

In real life, fax backs are mostly for complete beginners. And for them, I recommend that they just do it without complaining. Signing companies have no other way to ensure that the package was signed correctly. There are many notaries out there who don’t know what they are doing, and they have no way to know that you are the one notary who really does know what they are doing without fax backs, otherwise a half million dollar loan could be ruined which is not worth their risk.

Don’t work for them if they don’t pay the incidentals
If a company won’t pay for incidentals on extras that they didn’t tell you about up front, then don’t work for them again. If you lose too many customers, it is time to increase the number of pages and fax-backs that you will accept for your base fee. There is no right or wrong in rate structures. It is about charging what the market will bear, and not trying to charge based on what you think is fair.

.

You might also like:

Signing Companies that require lots of fax backs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13088

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November 24, 2014

Is $75 enough to print 2 sets of docs, notarize & do faxbacks?

In this tough economy, many notaries have simply dropped out. The remaining notaries, as tough or as proud as they portrayed themselves to be have simply had to compromise their standards for what they charge. Many signing agents with ten or more years of experience told Carmen (in confidence) that they were forced to accept $60 signings just to stay afloat. So, we won’t mention any names, but you know who you are. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Americans complain about what Indians would regard as a luxury!
Notaries complain endlessly about how unfair it is that they only get $75 for so much work with such high expenses. My take on the situation is quite different because I travel. A policeman in India makes $50 per month (not including bribes.) Can you imagine living on $50 per month? How would you rent a place to live? You would be living on top of each other twenty to a room and eating dahl and rice in small quantities once or twice per day if you were lucky. Can you imagine this type of poverty that hard working Indians endure as a matter of standard procedure? And what about the folks in the countryside who work for 20 rupees per day which is about 40 cents. That is about $12 per month. When you get these $75 assignments, just say to yourself, “I made four months of a Bihari farmworker’s salary in two hours! Yippee!”

If you are doing worse than last year, do you get upset?
It is a human tendency to be sad when you are not getting what you want, or what you used to easily get. But, this human tendency needs to be changed. We live in a changing world where what was impossible yesterday might be easy tomorrow, and vice versa. You need to just do the best you can do and not base your life today on whether it is better or worse than last year. Notaries base their fees on 123notary on what they paid last year. If I charge $150 this year, but only $120 last year, they are upset that they are paying more this year than last year. What really matters is not what happened last year, but if your investment is getting you a sufficient return.

Let’s do the math
If you get $75 for a loan signing, how much work and expense is really involved. You might spend 20 minutes on the phone on average including follow up calls, scheduling and making sure the documents arrive through whatever medium is used. You might need to drive thirty to forty-five minutes both ways to the signing. You might go through 350 pages of paper, and some toner or ink printing the documents which is not for free unless you have a gift certificate to office-max.

Your real expenses might be $4 of car expenses including gas, oil changes, and other wear and tear.
If you can purchase paper for a bulk price you might use up $3 in paper, and $2 in ink or toner (just guessing)
You might use up two hours of your time including everything: 1 hour driving; 30 minutes signing; 20 minutes on the phone; 10 minutes doing fax backs. (best case scenario)
After expenses, you get $66 profit and you can deduct your miles at the Federal mileage rate as well!
If you spent two hours total, you got $33 per hour.

On the other hand, if you spent an hour each direction, had to wait four hours for documents, and the signers read every letter of every page and asked a million questions, plus spent an hour on the phone with Fred the lender, then you might have invested seven hours which would leave you with $9 per hour which is still above minimum wage in most states.

$20/hour is not bad for someone who can just walk in off the street.
I would say in all honesty, that the average signing agent probably makes about $20 per hour for their assignments. More seasoned signing agents who command higher rates like $125 or more per signing might make $45 per hour on average. Being a relatively inexperienced signing agent is not a high skilled job like being a nuclear physicist. You do not merit $50 or more per hour unless you are the best 1% of notaries in the business or are an Attorney. All you need to be a notary signing agent is to be a resident of a state (not even a citizen in many states,) fill out an application (most states don’t even have a notary exam,) get bonded, and take a quick class in loan signing; $20 per hour is not bad for someone who can just walk in off the street and start doing loan signings. For a notary with three years of experience, they should be making more like $25-$30 per hour. That is what I made when I was doing signings with that level of experience!

You might also like:

Pricing strategies for mobile notary work
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=697

Pricing formulas and time spent
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=588

Sample prices for various types of loan signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=84

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December 27, 2013

Notary Suicide Hotline

Filed under: Virtual Comedy Themes — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:04 am

This blog entry seems appropriate now that the holidays have set in. I’m sure many of us have a solid dose of holiday related depression with less sunlight, and an interruption of our daily routines.

“Hurry — we have a level 3 on line 2!”, said the neurotic manager of this organization. What organization was this, you might ask? It is none other than the Notary Suicide Hotline. But, I have never heard of this, you might say! It all came to Jeremy in a dream…

The dream…
It was a few days ago. Jeremy had a dream that he and a few notaries were having sandwiches. The bread was a foot long, but each sandwich only had a small cutlet in it. Then Jeremy went up to the 7th floor of a haunted mansion to hide, because he felt bad that the notary industry was so slow, and felt afraid too! So, Jeremy went to his psychic to do dream interpretation. The sandwiches had lots of bread which represented hard work, but very little cutlet which represented nourishment. That meant that the notaries were working too hard for not enough money!

Another dream
Then, the next night Jeremy went to sleep there was another dream. In the dream, the NNA had become very concerned about the emotional well-being of notaries throughout the country. Many were depressed, and a few even contemplated ending it all. Something had to be done. So, the NNA created the Notary Suicide Hotline.

The call
Notary: “Hello… (sob) It’s too upsetting”
Frank: “I’m sorry about what you are going through. Would you like to talk about it?”
Notary: “Yes… well… It was another $40 signing… boo hoo hoo!”
Frank: “I’m so sorry to hear about that — please hold”

Frank “Hey Sully, we have a level 3 on line 2, can you handle it?”
Sully: “I got it!”
Frank: “Sorry to keep you waiting, I am going to transfer you to Sully — he specializes in exactly this type of crisis”
Notary: “Oh…okay”
Sully: “Hi, this is Sully, I heard that you were offered yet another $40 signing”
Notary: “Yes, it is terrible — we deserve more, especially with fax backs!”
Sully: “I’m so sorry about that. How many fax backs were there?”
Notary: “There were 12. I can’t figure out why they need so many!”
Sully: “Maybe they are insecure. Just remember — it’s THEM, not YOU”
Notary: “Really?”
Sully: “Yeah, they are the guys with the problem, not you!”
Notary: “Do you really mean that?”
Sully: “Sure, we get this all the time. they are paranoid that someone didn’t sign ONE little document on one out of a hundred loan documents. My attitude is — deal with it. Don’t put the notary through hell. If the notary makes a mistake, just don’t use them again unless they have a good track record.”
Notary: “That makes me feel so good. You are really on my side!”
Sully: “Hey… we have been dealing with this for a long time. It never ends. And for $40. It is ridiculous. They should pay at least $90 for those types of signings. But, don’t feel bad, just ride the wave until the economy picks up. They, maybe you’ll get lots of $125 signings, especially if you have experience.”
Notary: “I feel so hopeful now. I pictured everything being gloomy forever!”
Sully: “Nothing lasts forever. What goes down, must come up again, right?”
Notary: “That’s true. When the economy was good before, I thought it would last forever. Now that things are slow, I am depressed thinking that things will be slow forever. But, that isn’t true. Everything in the notary industry is cyclical!”
Sully: “You got it. So… you’re not thinking of ending it anymore, right?”
Notary: “No, you talked me out of it. How can I ever thank you?”
Sully: “Well, this week we are having a special, buy three NNA journals, get a half-price ticket to one of our seminars, what do you think?”
Notary: “Well, how much are three journals?”
Sully: “$40, but without the fax-backs!”
Notary: “It’s a deal!”

So, ends our level 3 suicide hotline call. Thank got it wasn’t a level 10. Level 9 is when a notary is standing at the edge of a bridge holding a stack of pre-fax-back loan documents. I’ll leave it to your imagination what a level 10 is. You need a lot more experience handling those types of calls.

Tweets:
(1) The Notary Suicide Hotline — making sure notary commissions expire before the notaries do since 1932.
(2) Notary Suicide Hotline: “I have a level 3 on line 2, can you handle it?”
(3) Notary Suicide Hotline: “May I help you?”
Notary: “I’m tired of $40 signings w/fax backs!”
(4) Don’t put the notary through hell. If the notary goofs, just don’t use them again.
(5) Dream: A long sandwich w/3 little cutlets inside.
Interpretation: Notaries doing too much work for too little money.

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Vampire Notaries: 24 hour service
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4094

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May 17, 2011

Fax Backs are a Pain!

Fax Backs are a pain!
 
Notaries want to make easy money, and why not?  Everybody else wants easy money too!  But, the realities in the notary world are not fair.  A handful of notaries walk off with unreal amounts of money for doing easy signings. Maybe they have a nice manner, or have experience?  Maybe people swear by them?  They are the lucky and the few, and they are not complaining about anything.  But, for the rest of us, we have to hustle for our money.  Some jobs involve putting up with cancellations. Other jobs are for companies that don’t always pay you, or string you along while you wait for payment.  Some notaries end up with “Readers”, who are borrowers who read every letter of every word in every document and ask a total of about three dozen questions, call the lender three times, and take forever.  But, these cases are mild compared to signings with fax backs.  Fax back has become  a dirty word in the signing agent business!
 
Commentary from notaries
I love reading forums and hearing what notaries have to say.  One notary says, “I don’t usually do these fax back signings”. Another notary states that after downloading, printing, driving, coordinating, and signing, its just not worth it to do fax back jobs for $60.
 
Why do companies require fax backs?
After running a Facebook profile for over a year, and a Forum for years, I realize that some notaries really know their stuff well, while the majority really do not even know what they are supposed to explain to the borrower, and what to refer to the lender.  Most notaries do not know what a “Document Date” is, or how to distinguish it from a document creation date. A few, can not even distinguish it from a signing date or notarization date.  Even if a notary is certified by NNA or 123notary, it doesn’t guarantee that they know their stuff. Our certification allows two wrong, and if one of the questions you got wrong was regarding what you can tell the borrower, then you could cause a lot of trouble.  The simple fact is that something like half of the mobile notaries out there do not know what they are doing, have not been trained, and need to get educated fast.
 
The companies requiring fax backs hire inexperienced notaries
To safeguard their loans from inexperienced notaries, the companies requiring fax backs read the faxes to see if documents were notarized correctly and signed correctly, so that they can have another notary go out and take care of business if there is a problem.  And, there could be more problems than you might think. For the notaries who do know what they are doing, they feel insulted being required to do fax backs. Its a waste of time and an insult to their intelligence, right?  Experienced notaries should work for outfits that make it a practice to work with experienced notaries and stay away from this type of babysitting job!

Tweets:
(1) Why do so many companies require fax backs? It is because notaries often miss things which could ruin a loan!
(2) Companies requiring fax backs generally hire inexperienced notaries.
 
Here are some related posts on the forum!

Low Ball Signing Companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=745

How to get business directly from title
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14950

Fax Backs
 
FASS and fax backs
 
New Milleneum and fax backs 

Countrywide huge fax back

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April 27, 2011

Low Ball Signing Companies

Low Ball Signing Companies 

Notaries are always complaining about low ball signing companies.  My advice is to just say yes or no. As long as its quick and they pay you, you have nothing to lose, but your dignity.  Sometimes a quick $40 is not so bad.  If it takes you an hour or slightly more for the whole affair, that is not bad pay.  Just don’t take a low ball job and have to do fax backs, and wait for two hours while the borrower reads each phrase of each page and asks a million questions.
 
Tough times are here
We are living in tough times, and people in foreign countries live on a quarter of the income you have.  They have simpler habits and smaller cars or mopeds.  They eat less meat and more beans and rice or “Rad Na” if they live in Thailand.  Its better to take what you can get and save up for a rainy day.  I used to work for very little. When I was booked, my prices would go up.  When things were slow, I would accept jobs for very little, no matter what.  My bills didn’t care how many dollars per hour I made.    My mistake was not to ask for high amounts of money.  Some people and companies will pay you double what you think they will. Just ask.  If they say no, then take less if you have to.  Its better than starving.
 
Your lives are not that bad
Assuming you don’t have a health emergency and are not having your life threatened by your local gang, and assuming that a tsunami didn’t visit your neighborhood, your life is not that bad (I’m guessing).  As a world traveler, I see how middle class people live in India.  Broken roads, clunky cars, the other drivers’ purpose in life is to run you off the road and kill you, food that gives you dysentary, traffic from hell, salaries 20% of what Americans make, expensive rent, cab drivers that always try to rip you off.  Just crossing the street in Pune, India is an ordeal that most of you will never have to face.  Additionally, they have terrorist attacks on a regular basis and its not safe for women to go out after dark.  Few of you have any of these situations to contend with.  So, count your blessings.  Even in America, I know many who work for minimum wage who ride a bicycle to work through dangerous areas.  If you own a car, you are doing better than my bicycle riding friends who can barely pay their rent.
 
Forum posts on the subject:

The text below is written by notaries, and does not represent the viewpoints of 123notary.com

If you accept $50 signings
If one accepts $50 signings, then it’s obvious one has not taken into account everything that is involved in the signing, from consumables to time to depreciation of equipment ……
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2993
 
 
Vital Signings
……If you want to support Vital signings be aware YOU will not make any money. After a dozen signings I calculated I made $18.00 per signing. They get the bucks, you don’t.
The best micro-managers in the business. What a pain. They can’t pay me enough to work for them again.
If make an error, they take away YOUR fee and make you pay their fee as well…..  (scroll down for this one)
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26
 
Firma Signing Solutions
…..So, you can imagine how hard my chin hit the floor when he quoted $35.00 for the whole thing! The low ballers fail to remember what all it takes to become adept at this job, you have to know what you’re doing. You’re not “just a notary” but a certified signing agent, which takes training and education to fully understand this process. I will just decline the job if the price doesn’t meet my fees, it’s just not worth it…..
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3170
 
Fax Backs
…. (scroll to the bottom) Has anyone else had jobs recently where they want the whole package faxed back? I have had two from Nations Direct. Of course, as usual, they are low balling the price and then state that the whole package needs to be faxed back. Both times I have told them I will not do a job for their low price, especially with all of the fax backs. Yesterday, for example, they asked me to go 30 miles away with edocs and fax back the whole package for $70. I don’t think so.
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3902
 
Question 2 Price Formula
……Rule of thumb: The lower the offer, the bigger th PITA it will be. It never fails….when you agree to a lower fee, docs will be late, the closing will go awry somehow, you will have a ton of fax-backs and need permission to ship…AND…you’ll wait at least 60 days to get paid the low ball fee. HONEST !!  ………
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1872

Tweets:
(1) Notaries are always complaining about low-ball signing co’s. Don’t complain, just say no!
(2) We are living in tough times. Maybe those low-ball signing companies keep you from starvation!
(3) Read real stories about four low-ball signing companies.

You might also like:

Good signing companies – a thorough list
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21091

Getting what is due! A clever plan!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3221

Bounced checks, Collection Agencies, FBI reports!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1765

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