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February 2, 2015

Trip + Notary fee = Payment

I have never, repeat never; had a dispute over my notary fees. The key is to make sure in each assignment that the notary fee is fully disclosed when agreeing to perform the service. I write this looking at a check, handed to me for not doing any notarizations. But, that is near the end of my story. Time to back up and present what happened in chronological order.

The caller is an admin assist for a company in midtown needing a notary. Caller does not know the details of what is required, just that a notary is needed. They might need one notarization or several hundred. I quote a fee of $xx for “the trip”, plus the NY State fee of $2 per signature notarized. If five people sign, and there is one notary statement naming them all; to my way of thinking I have done five notarizations with my single signature. I do have to ID check and oath all five of them. For that reason I always use the term “per signature notarized” in any fee agreement. We agree, I leave for the assignment.

Arriving ten minutes early, the receptionist tells me that the work has been already done. They had apparently scheduled a few of us; and to them “the notary race” was on! The ever-present smile behind the counter says “sorry to have troubled you”, “we have no need for your services”. I explained that the issue is not having troubled me, but that I require my fee. The office manager is called. In a calm, polite voice and manner I explain how I perceive the situation. Your admin assist made a verbal contract with me. I was required to arrive prior to a specific time, which I did; for a specific fee of $xx. It was further agreed that I would receive $2 per signature notarized. There was a clear distinction between the trip and notary fees. To earn the trip fee I had to be on time. I was on time.

The office manager initially leaned towards a “you did nothing” rejection. I noticed some signs on the wall. It was time to fire some “big guns”. I repeated there was a fee due, and if not paid I would complain to the Division of Licensing Service, and the Consumer Protection Bureau of NYC. I could tell the office manager did not want that. Two straws broke the last vestiges of resistance. I noticed you have an A+ Better Business Bureau certification. It is my intent to send a very detailed complaint to the BBB as well. Lastly, I intend to file a lawsuit against the President of your firm in Small Claims court. It will include my fee, court costs, and other expenses. We are both aware you will require an attorney to represent your corporation; I on the other hand am retired and have lots of free time to spend in a courtroom.

“Mr. Edelstein, please have a seat, it will only take five minutes to cut you a check”. The check was for the $xx trip fee and in the memo section said “transportation reimbursement”. Did I over react? I don’t think so. We had a very clearly defined two part verbal contract. The fact that, for whatever reason, they had no work for me; ONLY negates paying me the $2 per. Filing complaints and initiating lawsuits might seem extreme, but not to me. It took me a full hour in dense NYC midtown traffic to get to their office. Write it off for “good will” and hope they call me next time? Not realistic considering their tactic of playing “multiple notary race”. Actually, I would have also posted the exact truth on social media, Yelp, etc. If in your heart you feel they don’t have a “shred of a valid point” on their side; do what it takes to receive your rightful pay.

Tweets:
“But, you did nothing” the client replied after the notary wanted a travel fee for a cancelled job.

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August 2, 2014

Signing Services take a portion of the notary fee

It is a well known fact that signing services take a portion of the notary fee. Some take most of it, while others only take a fraction. It is very bizarre how so many companies work on such different margins. I remember when I was in the game back in 2004. One company charged $250 and paid $75. Another company did business based on volume and charged $90, but paid only $50. This was in the days before e-documents were popular. Once in a while you can read the HUD and find that a company is charging a whopping $400 for signing fees. They might claim that part of that is for Attorney or processing fees, but I don’t buy that.

One borrower saw some outrageous notary fee on the HUD, and asked the notary how much he got from it. The notary replied that he got enough to get something on the value menu at McDonalds. The borrower didn’t like that crack much.

Notaries feel that it is not fair that they get such a small percentage of the fee. In business, there is no “fair.” You take it or leave it. If you are taking it, then that is your non-verbal way of saying that is the best you can do, and it is therefor fair. Take it or leave it. To be able to leave it, you need to have a steady stream of better offers.

Notaries always complain about bad offers. But, it is like a girl at a dancehall. If she gets 19 bad offers, but 1 good one, the good one is all she needs. On the other hand, if another girl got three bad offers and complains about them, the problem is not the bad offers, but the lack of good offers.

If you are not an experienced notary with excellent skills, you don’t merit high pay! Become an expert, pay your dues, master the art of communication, and then you might get better offers. Only 2% of the notaries on 123notary are top notch, and they are getting most of the good offers!

Tweets:
(1) It is bizarre to see how signing companies work on such varied margins ranging from modest to highway robbery!
(2) Notaries feel that it is not fair that they get such a small percentage of the notary fee on the HUD

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November 7, 2013

Rich man poor man: Market Yourself to the Wealthy

Rich Man Poor Man

Here is some shocking news – wealthy people have an easier time paying a higher notary fee compared to poor people. Wow! Whatta surprise. Pardon my obvious statement. But I do wonder why so many notaries are struggling with signing service fees – fees paid by little entities with balance sheets that are awash in red ink. Do you have a signing service in your town? Probably not, but you do have many wealthy people whose time is very valuable. Now you know the secret of collecting those higher and much easier to earn fees. Market yourself to the wealthy. It’s that simple. It’s the opposite of going, as a notary to the poorhouse seeking clients. Who are the wealthy? You already know – but might not know just why they need you. Let’s take some time out from the signing rat race, step out of the maze and let me show you the shortcut to the cheese.

I had a fellow who gave me over 17 Apostille assignments for an adoption. He needed various doctor statements to be notarized and receive an Apostille. My fee for each, no discounting; was on the high side for an edoc job. However, the work was much quicker and cleaner. He was a –big shot – stockbroker. He worried about missing an important call and losing a commission that would have been over 6 months of earning – for me. But, not for him; he makes that much money in the course of a 15 minute phone call. I know this for a fact as he told me – while paying me – how he just made several thousand dollars. He even gave me a Franklyn for a tip!

Attorneys often receive Power of Attorney; to sign papers for their clients. The high profile client does not want to hunt for a notary. The Attorney of record, as involved in the transaction cannot notarize the client giving him the power – so an outside notary is needed. Enter the mobile notary, me, to their office. Of course they have others who usually handle this, but sometimes they are on vacation or out sick – I get the call. Doctors, will not go hunting for a notary – they like to have a card on file of a reliable notary who will go to them.

Everyday shopkeepers, who must –mind the store- often have legal documents that must be notarized. The needs vary greatly – the common thread is that their time is worth more than your time. They can pay me XX which is very much worth my while to go to them – and that XX is less than the revenue they would lose by going to find a notary. Clearly, this works best with people whose time is one of their most valuable assets. As a http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com I probably have more rich people here in Manhattan compared to most places. But the concept is applicable in your home town too. Give a card to the general manager of the large Big Box stores in the local shopping centers. I sure don’t have many WalMarts in Manhattan. That person is busy, very busy – and is likely to need a notary now and then but do they have your card? That person pays to save time using company money – it’s not out of the managers’ pocket – does that matter to you.

To harp on the point. Seek out the wealthy who have little time to spare and more money to spend. When you run out of wealthy prospects seek out those who can pay using –company money- to save their personal time. Trust me on this – it is very pleasant to work with these people. They are very appreciative of your services, and are willing to pay fair rates. Now compare what I have written above to a discussion with El Cheepo signing as you beg for an additional ten dollars for faxing 50 pages. Are you marketing yourself wisely to the right prospects?

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