Low ball offers and negotiations

After working full-time as a mobile notary for a few months, I soon discovered that there are signing agencies out there that have no ethical or professional core beliefs at all. It is a jungle out there. There are no safeguards against nonpayment to notaries, and we are stuck dealing with all sorts of unprofessional conduct from some terrible signing agency. I am curious as to why there are not any business regulations in place and why using signature agencies even exists rather than employing notaries directly through online platforms. I work as a notary in Florida, which is known as the “capital of scams,” and the elderly are the demographic most frequently targeted. I witnessed a con artist use one of those platforms to hire me to obtain an order and attempt to coerce two elderly individuals into signing off their credit card to them I quickly realized that those documents uploaded were a scam why the signing agency and the platform did nothing to stop and when i informed then it was a scam they simply marked it as cancelled.
I enjoy what I do, I think of myself as a professional, and I have zero tolerance for lowball compensation, late payments, rude emails about signing regulations, or lack of control or accountability on the part of the signing platforms in terms of vetting who can sign as an agency. Hopefully, at the end of this rant, I will be able to make a plea to all notary signing agents out there, asking them to “Double check who you are dealing with, value your time and professionalism, and do not accept a lowball offer.” If we all work together, we can turn this into a legitimate profession. An additional plea to the signing platform, “PLEASE DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE AND DONT LET JUST ANYONE WITH A CREDIT CARD SIGN ON AND TRY TO SCAM US AND CLIENTS,”. When numerous non-payments are discovered, there should be a point system in place, and the agencies in question will be kicked off the platform. I am interested in knowing what you think about this. I know you are a great professional, and thank you!

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Well, this once was an honorable, respected and well paid profession. The platforms changed that pretty quickly. As the platforms cater to anyone who pays to use them, they aren’t about to change their policies. The only way I can see to change that would be if every notary deleted their profile on all platforms. That’s not gonna happen. But it would be cool to do and watch what happens :rofl:

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I can guarantee you that every company that uses a platform for scheduling has been required to hold that platform harmless for any issues arising as a result of that signing … The platform is merely a ways (hiring party) to a means (notary) without hiring party having to negotiate with every notary on every assignment. IOW it keeps the phones/emails quiet, less stress for them

I can tell you that since platforms came into the picture, the fees have dropped drastically. As for thjs

“Double check who you are dealing with, value your time and professionalism, and do not accept a lowball offer.” If we all work together, we can turn this into a legitimate profession.”

It was legitimate…until platforms AND people talking others into believing that they can make six figures as a newbie in this industry. Also a major over-saturation of new notaries with no business sense… who truly believe that $50-$65 is fair, not realizing at that rate they’re working at a loss.

Double check companies??? Preaching to the choir…been said over and over again.
But, you can lead a horse to water…

Sorry to have gone on so long but the door was opened…off my soapbox now

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The Signing Services [SSs] will BLAST out an offer of a full Refinance Signing Order [SO] with scan backs that is a 1-1/2 or 2-hour drive away one-way for $30. Then, about 10 minutes later for $40. Another 10 minutes later for $50, etc.

The fees are never much higher than that because someone accepts the SO at the LOWBALL rate . . .

For that amount of time & travel, the $50 doesn’t even cover the COST of gasoline for the trip . . .

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Many Title/Escrow Companies [T/Ecs], lenders, & signing services are intimately familiar with this . . .

On the other hand, unfortunately some are just chasing the dollar to the bottom of the barrel while clearly demonstrating a lack of professionalism.

Unfortunately, some folks do believe the spin that’s advanced by hucksters on YouTube about this business sector - selling their program without regard for whether those folks will ever see another dime or not . . .

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To All Notary Cafe Members: As a professional signing agent [PSA] it’s paramount to your long-term business success (especially while weathering the current tumultuous times) to remain professional throughout, ensure that your Schedule of Fees will cover your out-of-pocket expenses & simultaneously bring in revenue.

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:swan:

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Unfortunately, that’s true about any type of online business, not just signing agents. There is always some huckster out there selling training of some sort that promises to make you wealthy.
While that training may sound good, most times it’s worthless in the real world. Once you learn the basics, the only thing that will really make you succeed is hard work and dedication to being the best that you can be. There is no magic elixir that will instantly make money fall from the sky.

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Here is a good example as to why I hate many platforms. 2 weeks ago, I received a purchase signing directly from a Title Company for $150 and accepted; the appointment was about a 25 minute drive. A few hours prior to the closing, Title called and apologized that it was not clear to close so they would need to reschedule.
When they called back to reschedule, they offered $150 again but I had a conflict in the schedule. Within 15 minutes, I received an alert through a Signing Service on Signing Order for that same appointment for $75. I simply hit, “Not Available”.
A couple of hours later, I got a call directly from the Signing Service instead of an alert to let me know that the appointment had been moved to later in the day but the location was moved to her workplace which is only 5 minutes from my house.
I was truthful. “I know you are receiving $150 since XYZ Title called me directly and offered me that amount this morning. You want to take 50% of that amount when I DO have a relationship with XYZ. I would be happy to split that amount but I won’t do it for $75”.
The SS did meet me half way (not sure if that was from me calling them out), it was only 5 minutes away and it turned out to be a hybrid so the only docs to sign were the notarized items (maybe 5 docs). It was still a good appointment but it infuriated me that the Signing Service wanted to hold onto that large of a chunk.
I know each platform keeps an amount (Sig Closers is around $25) but we have no idea how much each SS is keeping.
I’m done with SnapDocs even though my profile is still out there. I do only a few from SO. Mortgage Connect is falling off my radar due to their ridiculous fee drop and the others went bye bye years ago.

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The lo bsll fees are being considered as collusion according to unnamed sources of a state atty general’s office.
They propose to make a multi state investigation.
Ill believe it when i see it

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@CAFRAN2 Interesting. Thank You for Sharing. Would you please keep us updated when additional information is made available?

:swan:

Very interesting… PLEASE do keep us posted IF this progresses.

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I would hope it is fir real. But politicians are so thorough

I am at a point that I would rather go out and get direct from title then deal with this stuff. I had one last week that was so unreal. It was rescheduled three times, wrong address, I had to drive around to find it for 30 minutes, the client did not have the correct paper work to hand over, and the best part, the signing service is calling me 10 minutes after “time up” asking me for documents. I went off. Then they wanted to know why I did not supple the proper documents that the client was asked to supply. HOW about you do your job and I will do mine. The couple were in there 80’s, hoarders and looked like they were holding each other up from either pain meds or exhausted. It was a show. Then, the service wanted to dock me for not scanning on time! I said you gave me the wrong address and the old man is so deaf that when I called to verify he could barely hear me. I gave up!

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Yes. Please keep us updated if you hear anything new. Just today I saw a lower than normal offer from someone who always pays me well. I countered my normal fee and got it but it took them a while to do so.

You are asking all of the right questions. However, the crux of your valid argument is rooted in this basic question: (…why using signature agencies even exists rather than employing notaries directly through online platforms…)

The answer is MONEY. While some Title Company’s do work directly with Notary’s, the vast majority contract though “signing agencies” because they will pay far less for the service. In the end, the signing company makes money, the title companies save money and we notaries get what little is left over.

Let’s be clear about one salient point: The notary profession is just as culpable as the signing agencies and title companies. Why you ask?? Because, as long as there are notary’s out there willing to accept the stupid low fees for their work, NOTHING will change.

We as professionals need to put forth a unified front and let these signing agencies know that we will no longer tolerate their substandard business practices. Unless and until our profession wises up, nothing will change. After all, you can’t blame the signing agencies if there are notary’s willing to be taken advantage of.

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:100:percent VALID statement.

:swan:

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Actually, we are the most culpable because there is almost always some fool who will bite. Just like everyone has been exposed via many avenues of information to the various internet scams–YET every day there’s more victims.
As I do check on my ever-increasing newb competition and know who they are, I also note that not a single one has ever posted on this or any other forum I’m aware of and every one of 'em is on both SD & SO, where they are being taken for a ride all the time. WHY do they know about and join SD, SO and not this site? I dunno.
Who sets them up to accept the low fees? I think the ‘educators’ (who also own SS). As a ‘group’, we are anything but. How many FB sites are there that a newb can join & be exposed to what info? All the ones I’ve seen (a small fraction of what’s out there) have a newb every day whining about low fees or no offers. It’s obvious that few newbs ever bother to ‘do the math’ and are happy if they have $10 ‘extra’ income, while ‘hoping’ to score the big bucks next time. (Or why do people buy lottery tickets?) Wishful thinking keeps 'em going.

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What you are suggesting is against the law.

I disagree. He is not suggesting price-fixing (which is really impossible given the multiple varied factors involved). What if every notary on all platforms PAUSED their availability for just a week? Panic would ensue. They might even realize that they really do NEED us and we’re not a dime a dozen. They’d have to actually CALL notaries and we’d have the ability to actually negotiate (instead of rushing to be the first to accept the too low fee).
For sure, a lot of notaries would not receive a single call, but those few lucky enough to get a call would undoubtedly find the caller willing to negotiate a higher fee (rather than make 6 more calls). The ‘old way’ really was better BECAUSE it forced the schedulers to use a few brain cells and call the closest notary–who was more likely to also be the cheapest due to proximity and not send way-too-low offers to 10 others 25, 50, 100 miles more distant.

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I get called by these signing services as well for these low fees of $75 to drive to the other side of the world and then have to scanback and drop!! I respond by telling them I will do it for $125 BUT I will not drive to them they have to come to my office that way I can scanback and drop as soon as they leave. Reponse I will get back to you!! HAHAHA and I don’t hear back which is what I’m wanting in the first place. These loan modifications for $40 is the same they want you to drive scanback for $40!! Get outta here please. I totally agree with Arichter we should all agree to delete out profile from these platforms and sit back and watch what happens. Our phones will be ringing nonstop and we can get our higher fees that we deserve.

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The phones calls is one of the parts that I miss in this industry! Every once in a while I will receive a phone call for services and EACH time that happens, I thank them! Since everything pretty much went text message / email confirmations for availability … the “professional” portion I feel was taken out of the equation. Like stated many times before, too many notaries are clicking away yes, yes, yes to a fee that does or can not support the true cost of doing business!

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I started as a notary in 2020 and in 4 years worked for about 70 companies over that time. I dealt with some rude comments from companies who from the start assume you’re an idiot, and I was shocked to see those kinds of comments but I learned quickly how to defend myself in a conscientious and professional way. I can think of two companies that almost got away with not paying me but I was able to secure payment and made a list of companies not to work for. Fast forward to 2024, NPN owes me $375, I’m down to about 10 companies that I truly trust to work for in National Paralegal and notary was one so now make that nine companies . I’m so turned off by the industry and as was mentioned the lack of protection to notaries that I now work full-time elsewhere I’m extremely happy and only do work very seldom for companies that I trust. I will not be renewing my stamp in 2028.

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