All time low for Notary Fees

I have been a notary in Montana for a number of years. I decided to become a notary signing agent a few months ago. The average offer I get is $55. I have never gotten an offer greater than $95. I live in a very, very rural state. Most of the notary locations are over 90 miles away, and at least 40 miles from my home. I refuse to accept a signing for less than $150, in order to cover overhead expenses that include ink, paper, work/travel time/vehicle, training/certification, insurance, etc. The signing company reps act like I am being ridicules and, I assume, move on to another NSA.
I’m just not sure how to proceed.
What are your thoughts/suggestions?

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Excellent response!! And since you are doing less it makes for less opportunity for mistakes/errors wink: so even more reason for the clients to come back to you/us time and time again. Low-ballers are spinning their wheels doing many more a day to make ends meet giving 10x the potential for errors and making peanuts and just might be taking years off their lives in stress…especially if they live anywhere near like I do. Metro areas with high traffic are hellish in this biz…Thank you for the great insight!

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Sadly, I was informed yesterday when I tried to negotiate a higher pay than the $25 they offered (!) that there were 92 other notaries in a 10 mile radius they could call… YIKES! That’s a lot of competition. Got it up to $45 - and now with all the hassle this weird one has been - it’s totally worth $100.
Lesson learned. May be doing less work in the future, but I gotta know my worth.

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92 other notaries and YOU were the lucky one that they called for this $25 job? Maybe the other 92 had already turned them down and that’s why you got it up to $45.

exactly, I regect anything under 100

Just food for thought… I do mostly Refi,s …Reverse Mortgage type services
The Notary fees are listed in the documents. Most average from 135 to 250 dollars per assignment.
The contractors are paid the full amounts . Low Ball fees are hurting all of us.
I will not low ball to get work.

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I won’t touch Reverse Mortgage jobs because the fees are insanely low. These signings take more time than a regular loan and I’m seeing fees offered of $70-$90 for Reverse Applications. They’re crazy!

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I’m new to being a signing agent and I’m so glad I found this forum. I was struggling with pricing but after reviewing some posts, I am confident my fees are on point.

I agree with the low ball fees for us. I worked as a junior uw and saw signing fees up to $300 listed on CDs and I thought the fee was split 50/50. I thought this would be a good career move, but it doesn’t seem like I will be able to provide for my family doing this. I’ll give it a few more months before making my final decision.

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Agreed! Hello all! Anyone have any tips for a newbie to get more visibility ?
Thanks

I have accepted signings for $40 but it was for debt resolution agreement and I only had to notarize one document and no copy package for the client. The appointment took about 30 minutes and it was about 10 miles round trip. I am a new SA and these appointments are providing experience so now I can sign-up directly with title companies, as they require “experience”.

I totally agree with refusing the low ball fees, but if it’s a simple transaction and I’m making a profit, I’ll accept. But let me be clear, there is no way I’ll accept $40 for a mortgage transaction any day!! If it doesn’t make cents it does NOT make sense…,

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Yes and I bought into that last year but after my main title companies wore me out last year with fax backs and scanning and large document packages for pennies I said no more and upped my prices this year. They are not what they used to be but I upped them $10-$25 more than last year for all zip codes and guess what? I am still getting plenty of work. What I am finding all those idiots that want to take the lo ball fees get their schedule filled up with their low ball orders they then can’t take more orders and I get my orders filled at my price. Especially the ones using apps. Sign up for companies using apps that send you orders with applications on your phone. and in email Snap docs or directly on your phone. At what point will Notary Signing Agents out there realize you are selling yourselves short? Do you realize 5 years ago we all made a minimum of $100 - $150 for each closing? We have taken a severe cut in pay. Do you realize that home values have in some cases doubled since the 2008 crash??? That means title companies and lenders are making handfuls of money again so how in the heck did we allow them to keep getting MORE money and convince us that we should be making less??? The CRASH is OVER stop letting them fool you into thinking they need to pay you less they are not making less and when they say they are they are lying…look at the HUD Settlement statement Newbies won’t know the difference but those of you that have been around know. Title companies fees/ cost is based on a percent of the value of the property just like lenders are.

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Totally agree! And, considering inflation, that $150 should be $175 this year. STOP, already.

I accepted a Reverse Mortgage signing on Monday for $100, wouldn’t have taken if I had other signings in the oven. Agree with you, they are a lot of work and time.

I guess in some States it’s like being a secret shopper to become a Notary Public. I think it’s sad but Common Law States, the majority of our Country, place we Public Officials into the position of ‘merely’ confirming identity and then witnessing signatures. Most States place a ceiling on how much such Public Officials can charge for doing so. That turns out to equate to a meager amount of money that nobody can live off of all by itself on an on call convenience basis. Some States limit it to $15 and some to a mere $5.

Imagine being a full time on call Notary Public on a walk in basis with no other hat to wear working in Connecticut for instance. Maybe once or twice a week somebody needs something notarized and walks in at their convenience. There you are. That’ll be $5 thanks. Done.

Loan Signings are entirely different in every aspect. We absolutely must be qualified as Notary Publics and nobody that isn’t one can do our job in our stead. We are not merely witnessing a signature either. We are actually expected to walk a fine and tricky line. We are expected to both point out the (most important? - being that we are not allowed to be at all partial how is it that we should be the ones to pick and choose what is most important or even the ones to boil things down? ) parts of the documents, and yet stay miles away from seeming at all to be acting in the role of a Lawyer.

I understand from my research that we can and have been included in lawsuits from unhappy borrowers and that our E&O, regardless of how much we purchased, only covers the handful of pages out of the upwards of 80 to 200 pages, that we walked the borrowers through. It only speaks to the ones that we notarized. Beyond that we are on our own.

If NSAs anywhere, newbies or not, think that something close to $50 or less for an hour of their time is a win then they fail to see the extraordinary risk that they are taking on, let alone the obvious cost of their vehicle expenses, office equipment/supplies, insurance and TAXES, We are self employed people. There are no benefits and the contractor isn’t even paying the one half of Social Security that an employer typically pays.
YET these middle men AKA Signing Services are keeping well over half of the cost that the Lenders are charging the borrowers for Notary fees.

I am new to this Forum and have been tooling around to get a pulse. I have seen posts that echo my sentiments and I have seen some from the opposite end of the spectrum too. One gal claimed that she isn’t even in it for money. She just enjoys being of help to people that she knows and has trusted friendships with. That’s nice for her but I also tend to think that there are good reasons that she isn’t in it for the money. She probably doesn’t need the money. Not in the direct sense. Her family ties and her friends have her back. In other words, she is a member of a network, more than likely. Don;t get me wrong, if I were a homeless person I too would take joy in working for free just for the sheer joy it gives me to be of help to somebody who is an old friend or is a kin but I wouldn’t suggest that all Notary Publics across the Country appreciate that my attitude should set any sort of a standard.

I would figure that I was born fortunate and can afford to do business on such terms and I suppose I would also figure that regardless of the fact that I wasn’t focused upon the money it would be coming back to me ten-fold simply because of who I know and the favors that I have accumulated. I wouldn’t communicate to all Notary Publics everywhere that just because I was well born that they too should never balk at being offered less than the equivalent of minimum wage when factoring in taxes and expenses just because it never hurts to be a generous person for the sheer joy of it. No. I wouldn’t.

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I will not take any loan signing for less than $100.00. By the time you factor in your overhead costs, travel, etc. you initial cost is around $35.00 which means you are really making $65.00. I do not get as much work as maybe some lower priced notaries but my clients know I will deliver a quality signing with accurate completion of the documents. I am in the northern Los Angeles County area, and my market is saturated with Notary Signing Agents. My escrow officers tell me they are approached daily with low-ball signing service companies which they will not work with because “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price”.

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Good for you! In Louisiana it is extraordinarily difficult to even become a Notary Public so I say to you hats off for holding your ground. We are valuable people in any state of this union when we know what we are doing and those bottom feeders cost the industry itself, no matter how you look at it. Lost rate locks, trust issues with the lender, and the blame game. Signing companies hiding behind their roles as mere middlemen when they are the ones that fail to triple check for complete packages and then have the audacity to dock the pay of the Public Official who, often given a window of less than two hours just to ACCEPT the signing let alone SEE the documents. I could go on and on and on. I have yet to accept even one assignment. It’s too blind. I don’t stake my reputation as a Public Official on that sort of thing. I’ll just keep on notarizing documents from my home office here thank you very much.

I have been saying the same thing for years. I get paid 200 or 150.00 per signing. I do not take orders for less than 125. period. I work less and make more. Can’t figure these idiots out there that do closings for 65 dollars with faxback. Don’t know how they do it. Have they considered paper cost, electric, toner, wear and tear on vehicle, Income tax and their time. They are working for less than minimum wage. I have said it so often on this forum to the point where i don’t engage in the conversation anymore. Seems to be a waste of time talking. They keep doing the same thing over and over. Most notaries that slave still cant pay their bills at the end of the month.

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Have no idea of their costs, so can’t make it or pay their bills on what they do scratch up, find a 9-5 job & leave the business. Then a whole new batch steps in and–here we go again. Agree. Does get old.

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:joy::scream::raised_hands::+1::raising_hand_woman:t2::laughing::rofl: yes, respect yourself!

I absolutely agree. I just got off the phone with one companies “vendor management”. They have a formula that detects what the lowest rate a notary takes and averages that. If we as notaries accept low balled fees, it HURTS ALL OF US. Don’t do it! Don’t take these ridiculous fees.
Been doing this for 7 yrs. I am not going to make less money. That doesn’t make sense. These middle men can spin it however they want. They are in it to make the most money. Why shouldn’t we be??? Do not accept low fees period.

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