I knew it!

Today, I received an purchase signing order schedule for 2PM Wednesday 12, 2024. Here’s the funny thing I was given the request at 3:30pm this Wednesday afternoon. Once I read the confirmation email, I thought this got to be a mistake. So I called the hiring company, nope it was scheduled for 2pm today. I asked, when will the documents be made available, they told me I would be notified once the papers were available. The company was paying $85. Since the signing was right around the corner, I accepted the assignment. I called the signer to confirm the scheduled appointment, he told me it was at a local bank that would be closing at 5pm. At 4pm, I was notified the documents will available, the package was 161 pages. I immediately called the hiring company, explaining this is a rush order. If I do not meet with the signer before 4 pm, the location would change to his residence that was 45 minuter drive time. After reviewing the documents, I found significant corrections was needed. I called the hiring company and requested a fee adjustment of $145.00. Long story short, they agreed to my fee. In the back office, I saw this notation from the signing service’s vendor - “i don’t see anything in here about packages being larger and additional fees. Can he please do the amount stated. This is a standard buyer package. The charge is typically $150. Please honor this”. This is proof that these signing services are cutting our fees. I guess the signing service was willing to pay me, because of the circumstances, otherwise they probably would have reassigned the order to another LSA.

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Now that you know it, please stop accepting $85.

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I understand that for some taking an $85.00 signing might be below what you might expect, but for some people, right now, they are in tough times! When you take three signings in one day at $85.00, that will pay a bill or two. If you choose to not take the job, then that is fine. The jobs are going to continue to come our way low balled or not. If we need to take it because we need the work and may not have the connection of the rates some of you are being offered then that is just how it is. For some people they need everything that comes their way to make ends meet. So lets not knock people for doing the work that is out there. If you really think that these signing services are going to all come together and start raising the rates because we press them, that will not happen. The fact is, now more than ever this industry is flooded with notaries and there will be more and more over the next few years. They will take the jobs at the low rate and it will just get funneled to the one who is hungry enough to take it. I am sure there is enough business out there for everyone at whatever rate is for your level.

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Hello Stephanie4, First and foremost I wish to express thanks for posting your response to my experience. Yes, running a business is tough and especially during these economic times. You are correct by stating there been exponential growth of Notary Publics/Loan Signing Agents in our field. What has also happened, our operating costs have increased as well. In some instances, the cost has double, for instance printing paper, toner, gasoline, and other things have increased too. What hasn’t changed is the time it takes to prepare documents, phone confirmation, and completing the signing process, these are considered our labor costs, which has a value. Here’s the funny thing, well I guess not so funny, signing fees have decreased over the past years. Here’s the kicker, while the lenders and mortgage companies have faced similar increase costs for their operations. Their charges to the borrowers for loans has not decreased, in fact those charges have most likely increased. Most companies will pass the rising costs of doing business onto their customers. For some unknown reason, the opposite effect is happening to loan signing agents. Why? I have to guess, lack of managing skills and knowledge, not running the loan signing services like it’s a “real” business. It’s stated, if a person doesn’t know their numbers in a business, it is going to fail. Here’s a fact, most start-up businesses fail in the first five years. I have talked with signing services and title companies personnel, who told me the following: “They will pay what’s the going rate is in a geographical market/area”. In essence, the signing agents are determining “the going rate” in their area. Here’s the simple truth, life is a battle! Companies are fighting to keep their profit margins growing. Some of the loan signing agents are fighting to generate a profitable business and some are not. Unfortunately, it seems like more loan signing agents are willing to work for depressed signing fees and that allows the companies to drop signing fees (my experience supports that premise). If anyone still have doubt, have you ever seen a signing offer go up by $10, because it wasn’t taken immediately and continue to do so until a LSA take it? Guess who going to stay in business for the long-term? I didn’t address your comment on “pay a bill or two”. If an individual in this business just to pay a bill or two, then that individual is going to get exactly what they desire. I just think and we desire to exceed abundantly more, than just “paying a bill or two”! I pray that everyone will double their ROI (rate of return on their investments), because I agree with you on the fact, there is enough business out there for everyone. We just have to be very creative in how we approach business. Don’t follow the masses, be daring, be different step forward and outside of the norm. I share my experiences with the hopes of helping somebody.

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Judging by the many posts here and elsewhere, it seems to me that newbs believe a lot of myths: 1. No, in the current market, there is not enough business out there for everyone. 2. Everyone is offered the same fee, regardless of experience or lack of it.

Therefore, the two things contributing to low fess are 1) the law of supply & demand and 2) newbs willing to work (often at a loss) in the belief that the next offer will be better. It won’t because there’s almost always someone who will take it, allowing the lion’s share to go to hiring party–who are also hurting due to a lack of business.

OK, 3 things… not knowing actual costs and what to charge to be profitable and the belief that volume will provide same.

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Arichter, I totally agree with your points. When I make the statement “there is enough business out there for everyone”, it with the aspect of shifting with market trends and customers demands. Business is dynamic, we have to constantly research and develop our business. I learned years ago, never have tunnel vision and watch for the changes in the marketplace. At the time I became a loan signing agent, the market was hot for loan signing agents. I had already had another business and becoming a Notary Public aligned well with my current line of service. An loan signing agent brought to my attention, another business that offer great growth potential and low entry investment, it was totally different from the two other services. All three business were service allowed me bring more value to my potential customers. I now am able to generate revenue by cross offerings services to the same people. If we keep an open mind for opportunity and willingness to learn new ways to make money, that equal unlimit business potential. On the other hand, if we follow the masses and limit ourselves to a single line of business that reduces our options and opportunities.

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Well said, Sir! (need 20 characters to post)

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Concur :100: percent with @Arichter . . . they probably believe the myths because of the “lines” (non-truths) they’re fed to get them to purchase the 6-figure training . . .

The underlying premise of “there is enough business out there for everyone at whatever rate is for your level” is an INACCURATE statement.

We all know indubitably that there ISN’T “enough business” because nearly EVERYONE working within this business sector CHOOSES to diversify their services & audience.

WHY??

Because there are INSUFFICIENT Signing Orders [SOs] to support their business.

NOTE: This particular myth has been busted time and time again . . .

Also, the volume of SOs available varies dramatically from region-to-region as well as from state-to-state as well as from person-to-person.

Unfortunately, some Professional Signing Agents [PSAs] believe that what they experience is the same as what others experience. This is an INACCURATE premise. Just because one individual reaches out directly to Title/Escrow Companies [T/ECs] & receives regular SOs from them DOESN’T NECESSARILY mean that the next person will receive similar results.

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There are multiple factors that come into play when being an entrepreneur and launching a business within this (or any other) business sector.

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  • IF there were sufficient SOs for everyone seeking SOs, there would be INCREASING prices . . . not decreasing
  • IF everyone who launches a new business (regardless of the business sector or region of the country) did achieve equal results, then we’d ALL be as rich as Elon Musk.
  • IF PSAs provide their professional services for the low-ball fees currently being proffered within our industry without giving valid & comprehensive consideration to the actual costs of providing those professional services, they’ll soon discover that there are NO BILLS that can be paid because the lowball fees they’re accepting are only covering the actual out-of-pocket costs for providing those professional services.
  • It’s merely a DELUSION that Signing Services [SSs] advance to those who are new to this industry: “Can you help us out by doing this SO for $30 and we’ll send all our SOs to you?”

:swan:

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Agree. Most times, if i counter with a higher than offered fee, i get no response. They give it to someone accepting their fee. It’s sort of 1/2 of something may be better than 1/2 of nothing. But then again, i dont want to be known as the cheap one on the block.

2 years ago – I posted this: and a lot of notaries did not agree… Did not take signing under $120 for 6 months

Our market has a glut of notaries. Insisting on higher fees means i get nothing.

Too many are buying into the easy money narrative being pitched by a popular Notary Trainer. Those same notaries get defensive when their business acumen is challenged by our more experienced Notaries. In addition to learning how to be an NSA, they also need to be educated on how to operate a business. It’s the hidden, difficult to see, costs that will devour cash flow putting the newbs out of business.

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Been on Notary cafe a little over 3 years, started during the pandemic. I’m semi retired and have another built in income so I don’t need to make $100k a year doing signings to make ends meet and have a little left over to enjoy my hobbies in life…
I read all the postings every week and have done so over the last 3 years. They are always about being short changed as a NSA or PSA. I’m just like the rest of you on this site. Yes, I do turn down 3 or 4 times as many a week as I accept. I didn’t start in the good old days when you long timers were getting $200+ a signing with no scan backs. So, all I really know is that $85-$150 a signing with scan backs…
The way I work my Business is at the end of the week after gas and ancillary expenses I’ve made $50+ an hour for all the hours from start to finish… I put in 15-20 hours a week and I’m super picky on the signings I take, by October I will have a thousand signings under the belt.
What all my rambling is leading up to is, last week I have an 11:30 appointment with my barber, at 10am a blast comes over the phone for an 11am one page notice of termination signing for $50, no drop off just a scan back, on the same street as my barber. Did I take that measly $50 signing,?? you bet your keester I did, that was a free haircut with change left over.
An earlier poster said she had 3 $85 signings for the day, that’s $255, were not privy to the miles she put in, or the timing of the signings but if it totaled from start to finish in a 4 hour window that’s $63.75 an hour before expenses,
Yeah, I want to make $100+ an hour start to finish too, but I’ll do $63.75 an hour.
Just my two cents here.
Thanks for listening.

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This was awesome, Thanks for sharing this post!!!

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I’m sorry but $63.75 /hour before expenses is really not that profitable. It sounds like it until you tally up your mileage,gas, paper/printing costs…she maybe profited half that amount per hour at best.

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@amg.hernandez Concur :100: percent . . . PLUS, the Federal and State taxes (as applicable) will take an ADDITIONAL HUGE BITE out of the gross income.

Thus, the Net Income will be substantially less . . .

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NOTE: For those interested in a comprehensive (albeit not exhaustive) listing of many of the expenses associated with performing the services you provide within your service region to determine a baseline operating cost, review the following thread:

:swan:

@cNsa5 and @amg.hernandez,

Do not forget also the deductions of the costs for life insurance, health, dental, disability, and financial savings (IRA, sinking fund and other items).

@cfletcher FYI: Those are already included within my listing.

Did you see it?

:swan:

Seriously flawed thinking in so many ways…agree with @amg.hernandez - and this flawed thinking and belief is what’s led to the downgrade of what used to be truly respectable fees being paid. smh

Everything depends on your particular situation and lifestyle, I see a couple of posts here about deducting the cost of health insurance and the costs associated with it from your gross proceeds , as we are not employed by any company and getting the benefits from it. The out of pocket expenses can be very high for some. In my situation I don’t have that problem,
I live in Florida where their is no state income taxes, just federal. I buy my toner and drums aftermarket, that saves a lot of money. I calculate all my expenses associated with the business. It’s not that hard. At 30 signings a month it’s $5,000 a year in vehicle expenses, that includes everything except for car insurance and car payments, you have car insurance anyway so that bill doesn’t actually come from the business and car payments would be there regardless of whether you are self employed or working employed. All comes down to perspective and how much end dollars you need to float your boat and stay in this business…
honestly I wish it was the Good Old Days where it was all $200 for a sellers 19 page package… But reality is probably more in the line of this is a great side gig for those in a metropolitan area where it’s not 100 miles to every signing and you don’t have to use this as your sole income… Industries change and evolve or they dissolve. Just look at the steel industry and Pittsburgh…