I was reading on linked-in a thread that was started about a notary wanting to increase her signing agent fees based on gas prices. It was nothing outrageous just a simple $10.00 increase due to the rising fuel costs. This is not unreasonable, or is it?
Unfortunately today, in addition to fuel it seems everything that we use in our profession is rising, from paper, ink, etc., but the signing fees from many signing services are getting lower and lower. And I couldn’t help wonder how this increase or any increase for that matter is going to play out for those of you that choose to raise prices out of shear necessity. I remember back in our heyday when loan signing requests were at there all time high that I personally went to two of my major signing companies and requested ever so humbly that I needed a small fee increase. The response was that although they loved me and my work it was impossible for them to do this. My response was (in a nice but firm tone) that I felt that this was not an unreasonable request and I believed that they could very well increase the travel portion of my notary fee but just did not want to due to to the fact they didn’t want to share the fees any more than they have to. And although I didn’t say it I was thinking that it is was nothing but GREED that was the deciding factor and motivation for them to deny my request. It was at that time I stopped working for signing services at all. And I have never looked back.
So, now unbelievably so, it is 2012 and nothing has changed. From what all of you tell me (and from what I see with my own eyes) things are worse than ever in the fee department. Not to mention they have tacked on more duties that are now required of us, more pages to print, etc. For me it is just so outrageous that we are still allowing these companies to dictate what they will pay us. In my opinion, it should be the other way around. I don’t go in to my doctors office and tell him what I am going to pay for his services. He would definitely think I was nuts and most likely kick my you know what right out of his office. But what is even clearer is that I CAN’T go into anybody’s office requesting services and tell them what I am going to pay them. This is ludicrous. The signing services should take a percentage (lets say 30%) and that it is. After all we DO the bulk of the work. But sadly when working for most signing services we make the least amount of money. How did this come to be and how did it become acceptable to all of us?? When did it become okay for them to set our fees for us? Hell, did anybody ask you if this was ok?… I am positive nobody asked me!
I mean I have never heard of any industry that if independent allows OTHERS to dictate the fee for someones else service. If I have several notaries when calling around marketing or when they get a call requesting service, asking “How much do you pay?? Are you serious? This is UNACCEPTABLE to me! Why are WE asking how much THEY pay!?! We should be getting the details of what will be required and then offering up a price that is inline with the service that we are going to provide. Certainly not the other way around! This needs to stop! And it can stop with each of us doing our part. Stop asking and start telling!
Now, occasionally I read the boards and there will be a thread about price fixing… this is NOT what I am talking about. I mean are the appraisers, plumbers, doctors, private attorneys, etc price fixing when they keep their prices within a ball park of each other?? Certainly, not. It is about getting what you are worth! PERIOD. Until we start sticking together soon and I mean very soon; you WILL be working for free! (we damn near are now) And now, before anybody says it, I realize that they are more often than not the liaison between us and the title/escrow companies but if we all stick together and refuse these low ball fees, our fees WILL come up. And on a side note, if you ask me, it seems that the signing companies are the ones that are guilty of price fixing!!
I’d love to hear some of your feedback on this issue!
Until next time! Be Safe!
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