I do not lower my fee

Continuing the discussion from Lower fees and fewer assignments:
This is the memo I send to companies with low ball offers. Has not seemed to negatively affected my business. The only way we are going to stop the lowballers is to refuse to take an assignment from them. Most of the assigners are being paid a minimum of $150.00. With the mass assignments they deal with, they can stop stripping fees from us Notaries.

I Expect To Be Paid Like the Professional I Am
I realize by sending this to you, my Mobile Signing Agent career is probably in jeopardy. However, assigners, lenders, and title companies are putting the professional signing agent out of business.
The insistence in cutting fees paid for our services is driving the professional, caring, and efficient notaries out of business because we cannot meet our cost.
Gone are the days I could schedule two to five appointments per day because I got documents the day before the appointments. I was being paid an average of $135.00 per signing within 25 miles of my office. Today, I’m afraid to schedule more than one appointment as documents are not getting to me until I should have left for the appointment.
My cost are as follows:
A. Printing – paper, toner, amortization of printer, and seal 5.9¢ (average package 187 pages twice total 374 pages) = $22.07.
B. Car expense 50 miles round trip = 28.25 plus $15.00 amortization of the vehicle = 43.57.
C. The total is $65.64 excluding additional costs for fax backs and trips to FedEx or UPS.
D. When the fee is $65.00 I’M TAKING $0.64 OUT OF MY POCKET TO DO THE LOAN. Not included is the “cost” of my time to contact the client to confirm the appointment, time to print docs, travel time, time on site, and time for trip to a drop box that is usually way out of the route.

I’ve not included the costs of insurance, bond, background check, business cards, clothes cleanings because of the dog/cat hair, urine, house hold odors, etc. we incur.
I am amazed how everyone else in the equation is more amply compensated for their time. Attorneys still make $250.00 to $350.00 per loan package. Title companies and lenders are making this or more.
As a consumer, when I request a service I expect to pay for it. Borrowers rarely take time off work to close their loan since we go to them on their time schedule. There is very minimal loss of time and convenience for them. Our fees should be, at least, the level of other professionals and paid by the borrower.
Nearly every package I receive (as well as do my notary friends) there is a statement that says something such as “Please note – we have been incurring a lot of notary errors and we are losing clients as a result. It is very important that you go thru ALL of your docs’ forwards and backwards, make sure all docs are stamped….” Guys, it’s blatantly obvious where the majority of the problem lies. A lot can be solved by a few simple steps such as

  1. Get docs to us the day before so we can review and tag the potential problem areas.
  2. Get the pay up to bring the truly professional notaries back to the business.
  3. When extra services are required (i.e. fax backs, trips out of our way to drop docs, etc.) pay for these extra expenses.

At the NNA meeting in Austin, Texas, everyone I was in earshot of was angered and insulted how “our” association allowed the title companies and lenders to get away with the responses of what was being done to improve the way we do business. It was disgusting and appalling. We left that meeting convinced that NNA was not our advocate and would not stand up for us with the title companies and lenders.
In summary, you want a professional job, you have to pay a professional fee and allow adequate time for us to get packages in time to really review them before we go out.

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Right on! When I did signings in South Florida in 2003, I got $250-300. No one balked. I don’t understand how it is SO much less now…

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I like your very valid point [“Gone are the days I could schedule two to five appointments per day because I got documents the day before the appointments.”]

It costs more in time and travel when you can’t schedule appointments well enough ahead. I would pass along a cost reduction IF I could get signings scheduled and documents in an organized/orderly way. If appointment is scheduled 3-4 days in advance, WHY are docs sent in “grease lightning,” turn on a dime mode resulting in turning away other money makers?!

It amazes me when folks look at one element and blame a non-performing organiz., PT notaries or just One thing for “ruining” the notary signing biz. Full-time workers have more scheduling flexibility but can’t afford to depend on the declining fees and topsy turvy market. Part-timers have limited options to practice, so they’re inclined to ask for less. Really the opposite should be true: Prime time notary requests should demand MORE money; most are too short-sighted to see how it runs them ragged and reduces their profitability in the long run.

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They are paid a great deal more than $150. The usual minimum fee paid by the lender is $450 or more. Read the Closing Document or HUD-1. If it says $450 that is how much the service is paid at closing. If they pay the notary $50, then they are pocketing $400. For what?? I am perfectly capable of making my own appointments with borrowers. And I have the capability of accessing a single source to obtain and print documents. I have 20+ years experience in the lending industry and am quite familiar with the documents. I have been a Notary Public and Signing Agent since 2005. I am worth every penny of $150 per signing and am not willing to accept less than that.

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Amen & Amen thank you for taking the time to explain reality to these young eager notaries taking these 40.00 offers. I tell them “you get what you pay for”

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Yes, you are all right. NNA is NOT our advocate. While they offer a nice legal hot line and products and a newsletter,their business is churning out a constant stream of new, green notaries whose inexperience can be taken advantage of by the low ball signing companies who they so closely align with. The middle man is ensured of work, the notary who does the work is nothing. I have found that title and escrow companies are great to work with it is most of the signing companies who are the abusers treating like some employee and not the independent contractor in business for them self. Most new notaries have no business experience or no experience relating to the loan/real estate industry and that’s exactly who NNA and signing companies depend on.

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I also love it when a signing company calls and says that ‘business is slow now’ so we are only offering _________. Really? Well my supplies and costs haven’t gone down and therefore, my price remains the same and going up.

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Found your great memo this morning and note it was written in 2017. Have you updated it since 2017?

Thanks for telling it like it is. You’ve obviously done your homework and KNOW what you require to be profitable. Hope this inspires a newb or two to do likewise and see what they’ve done to themselves by not having even considered their own reality.