Tricks of the trade, eh? OK.
First and foremost is Mileage & Travel Time... which is not IRS mileage fee but what it actually takes to drive YOUR car, PLUS whatever hourly rate you require for doing the driving. Note that most hiring parties want to see a 'per county fee'...meaning you have to figure somewhere between across the street to furthest point or you'll screw yourself. This is specific to 'my' area...rural/few NSAs.
Understand I'm shooting from the hip and generalizing to an extreme degree.
Some pkgs have as few as 2-3 notarizations to over 20 (Lender/TC dependent). You will not be paid by the # of notarizations...that just comes with your 'base fee'.
"Faxbacks" required?...can vary from 1 pg. 'Status' to the whole freakin' 200 pg. pkg. Whatever they tell you is deliberately misleading. And you will probably have to return home to do this time-consuming task and then go out again to drop the package. My min. is 1 pg. free/$25 (or more) over that.
Seller Packages, tho' usually smaller than a Refi, take as much time, if not more due to B having to complete some forms, read (no RTC). Also varying state-specific requirements.
Buyer Packages, Cash = small & fairly quick. Small Refi rate. Purchase w/Loan = see Refi...except no RTC, which means B will READ. Large Refi rate.
Refis vary in size from 72 pages/1/2 hour at table to 200 pages/ 1.5 hours. Pkg. size depends on Lender AND TC...and to some degree, Borrower's issues, which you won't know 'til docs arrive.
VA loans/refis are always larger packages 125p/3/4hr - 200 pgs./1.5 hours
HELOCS - small pkgs, 1/2 hr.
Loan Mods - small pkgs. Can go fast or are really long as B has questions/problems/issues. Figure average of 3/4 hr. ymmv
Piggybacks (2 or more loans) = your fee X # of loans + ONE mileage/travel factor (you only make the trip once).
Any signing with other parties present is going to take longer as LO, RE Agent, Banker, Lawyer, friend-there-to-offer-moral-support are going to chit-chat and digress until you're ready to scream.
You will rarely know about this until too late. Grin & bear it. Use phrase 'moving right along' frequently.
Fees,,,so variable I really hate to start BUT $60 is always no where near enough. I rarely walk out the door for a single doc close to home for less than $75. When they say 'single doc' this could be literally 1 piece of paper up to an 18 page 'single document'. Keep that in mind as they won't be specific. SS really doesn't always know pkg. size...TC does, but will say they don't.
Lowest I've ever accepted was $50 to record a Deed o/n to me. Most I've ever gotten is $400 (last Saturday). Somewhere between the two lies YOUR truth.
Used to see this everywhere and haven't seen this tip in a long time: Flag the 'Foremost Four' docs and go over them FIRST in the following order: Closing Disclosure, Note, First Payment Letter, RTC (if applicable). If B has a problem, those are mostly where it'll show up. The time to find out they have an issue with the escrow amount is NOT 20 pages from the end of a 190 pg. package. Get those out of the way first and most questions are automatically answered and the rest will go m/l quickly.
Hope this helps someone.
One more thing...I had to completely revise my whole fee schedule when I moved from rural Wisconsin to rural Arkansas and that was completely due to travel TIME. OK, one more...one size does not fit all; you WILL have to put some work into calculating what works for you in your location with your advantages/disadvantages.