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April 12, 2011

Pricing for notary work: different strokes for different folks

Pricing for notary work – different strokes for different folks
 
Notaries argue endlessly about what to charge and what others should charge.
Some notaries wish that there could be a set fee in the industry for certain jobs.  That is not legal or possible.  Other notaries complain when low-ball signing companies offer them work for $40 or $50 which is better than nothing.  Many notaries complain that they did lots of work and didn’t get paid, which is a very serious issue.  So, what should you charge and why?
 
What fancy signers do
I know of many signers who will not leave the house for less than a particular set fee.  One notary public I know will not leave the house for less than $150, while others will not leave for less than $125.  They figure that they have to put up with getting dressed nicely, traffic, borrowers who want to take forever reading, lenders, and then trying to get paid.  It’s just not worth it for less.  But, these notaries have something that some of the rest of us don’t always have:  something to keep them busy during the rest of their time when they are not doing notaries.  If you rely exclusively on mobile notary and signing agent work to keep you busy, you have to take almost every job that comes your way. If you sell insurance, real estate, or have some other type of job, then you can pick and choose what type of notary work you do.  If the company has a bad reputation, or doesn’t pay enough, or if the job is even one mile outside of your coverage area, you have the luxury of saying no.
 
Additionally, many high-priced signers will not leave the house to notarize single documents for less than $50 travel fee no matter how close the job is.  Finding notaries who are available, close, and answer their phone is hard, so you can often get high travel fees if people can find you.
 
FYI: Notaries who are in the high price range generally have experience and finesse to back up their high prices. They are normally very reliable, well trained, well dressed, and have good business skills.  Those of us who don’t have all of our skill sets polished will have trouble commanding such high prices for signings.
 
What desperate signers do
Anyone who is not a convicted felon can be a mobile notary .  This profession is open  and easy to get into which means that there will be a lot of competition and a lot of newbies who will do anything to get work.  Some people become mobile notaries who are successful in what they do, but prefer the free lifestyle. Others get into this because they have mouths to feed, and this is the only way they can think of to sustain themselves.  Desperate signers are often new in the business, lacking experience, and are poorly trained.  They will often not be certified by 123notary, or NNA.  They will not know what they can get away with charging, and the quality of their work?  Who knows?  Desperate signers will work for $40 per signing, do fax backs, drive long distances paying a lot for gas, and then often not even get paid.  We wish these desperate types would consult us.  We would tell them to research all companies before working for them.  No matter how hungry you are, working for somoene who won’t pay you doesn’t make sense. You would be better off at home twiddling your thumbs.
 
What makes sense
We have another notary blog entry that goes over the components in price computations.  Its very complicated and goes over many factors. The biggest factor is how desperate you are.  If you don’t have enough work, then you need to become a regular for more companies.  It makes sense to accept lower paying work until your schedule is filled slightly more than you can comfortably handle.  Once you reach that threshold, then raise your minimum a notch or tighten your radius a notch.  Supply and demand is the ultimate deciding factor in what you charge.  No set fee schedule or recommendation from a friend can help you here.
 
Should I mention what I charge in my profile?
As a general rule, we say no.  Notaries change their pricing all the time, and with all the variables, you would have to write a novel to document exactly what you charge. Its easier if someone just calls and asks.  The low-ball companies call (bother) everyone, so you won’t be left out by them. The high-payers start with the top of the list and gravitate towards elite certified folks.  Changing your notes section to include fees doesn’t get you at the top of the list or elite certified, and won’t increase your business by much if at all.  Companies who know what you charge will still bother you to offer you jobs at half of what you charge. 
 
Marketing Marketing Marketing
The main thing to remember is to market yourself well. If you have a bigger net, you catch more fish, and then you keep the ones you like.  Even if you are busy, having more offers doesn’t hurt.  If you can take more jobs from companies you like, and decline jobs from companies who are less than your favorites, that is a beneficial way to go.

Tweets:
(1) Notaries argue endlessly about what to charge & what others should charge. Here’s what the pros do!
(2) How much is it worth to get dressed nicely, deal w/traffic, wait for borrowers who want to take forever, lenders & then try to get paid?
(3) The notary profession is easy to get into which means there’ll be lots of low priced competition!
 
You might also like:

Pricing formulas for mobile notary work. 
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=pricing\

Price fixing, whats it really all about? 
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=price-fixing

How to make your notary crazy 
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=ken1

Price Formulas and Time Spent
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=588

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