My Fees are Posted but Disregarded

Hi, I’m South of Seattle, in Washington State. I am not a new notary, but I am new to signing orders and travel expenses. I have joined several forums and have posted my fee schedule which includes how much I charge for each notary, travel and expenses. What are your thoughts about bridge tolls, ferry fees, and parking? If you charge mileage, does that include nautical miles (ferry fee is $20). Do you include that fee in your package, or use it as a tax deduction? Also, I was recently asked to do a signing for $75 that included over 126 miles in travel. From my zip code, they wanted me to travel 27 miles in one direction for the signing, and then pass by my zip code and “drop off” 36 miles in the other direction. That same company later asked me to do a signing in my zip code, and then drive 36 miles to “drop it off.” I was prepared for all the send backs, but I had not heard of “drop off.” Is this a new thing? Do you negotiate your fees? Would you have done it?


In a word: Nope. Paper, toner, drivetime, car expense (NOT just gas), tolls, parking are all cost factors & should receive a fee that pays these and provides a profit. Oh, and $75 even across the street isn’t enougfh.


Are they wanting you to “drop off” at their office or is that how far UPS/Fedex drop location is.

Since there are several UPS/FedEx branches and drop locations in between, I interpreted “drop off at their office.”

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I get these a LOT in Federal Way, my average miles driven per signing last month was 50mi and the fees $105, I ALWAYS reject the Vashon signings because they’re usually $65-85 and on an island only accessible by ferries which would eat half of that fee. I’ve had signings come up for Snoqualmie, Cle Elum etc and can’t imagine who is doing 8 hour drives for $100. Snapdocs almost always sends me lowball $65-75 offers so ALL of my work has come from local ORT or FATCO direct, haven’t managed to win a snapdocs bid in-town that was over $85 yet.

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Northern CA - Hi, I’ve been a Signing Agent for over a year now and here’s what I’ve learned based on your post.

  1. The Signing Services will never take the time to review your posted fees; they have a set fee range that they pay and they throw it out there at the lowest possible rate they can hoping that someone will take it for that ridiculous amount.
  2. The only people who review your rates are Out-of-State Title companies who need a Notary in your area for a one-time job.
  3. You have to “negotiate” – what are you able and willing to do this particular job for? You have to factor in ALL it includes. So, if that were me I’d say something like this: Due to distance; 126 roundtrip miles and ferry expense, fee, $150.00. (I don’t know whether the ferry is $20 only, or each way?) – I find when I ‘explaining’ my reason for the larger fee, I most often get that job because they see these a reason and that I’m not just greedy.
  4. You have to throw your negotiation out there, but know that someone else might be able to do that same job for a cheaper rate (maybe they already have a job nearby and don’t have to pay the ferry cost so they say they can do for $120.)

I live in a rural mountain area and negotiate pretty much every single job, but my competition takes jobs at the low fee to boost his numbers. (I’ve met him.) But he’s so busy with all of those low-ballers that when I do get the ones I negotiate, they’re high paying and I don’t have to do as many, whereas he’s running himself ragged.

Originally, I got a map and drew a small circle around the 10 mile radius of my home - anything within this circle is XX fee. Then I drew a circle around the 20 mile radius. That fee is XX. And so on. Anything outside of my final circle is off limits***-- when I respond to jobs in those areas I say: “Too far outside of my travel radius, but thank you for the opportunity.” (I used highlighter markers to color each circle so they were easily and quickly identifiable; since there there isn’t much time to negotiate.)

*** I say it’s “off limits” but that’s because of the distance and still being fairly new-- If a job is a four hour roundtrip and I miss a signature, I have to drive back there FOR FREE to get that signature.
** Once I’m seasoned I don’t think driving that distance (if the pay reflects nicely) will make a difference.

Hope any of this helps you!

Some Title companies want their docs hand delivered, “drop off” usually means this. “Drop” usually means at the shipping courier; but each Signing Service (SS) has their own lingo.