You’ve got this pretty much figured out…(there is notary-oversaturation in some areas) and, yes, they most likely will pick someone they know. Accepting & then trying to negotiate is kinda playing with fire. Exception: when they have NOT accurately outlined the job (like scanbacks suddenly required or it’s a monster package, piggyback). And, no, we have no value to most of those who operate via platforms. Even after years of work, they are liable to drop you cuz they found someone $5 cheaper. Wish I could be more positive, but this gig is all about the ‘numbers’: for some they work in their favor; for others they don’t. Best I can offer is…keep trying. Sooner or later, their go-to will be busy and you get a chance. If I haven’t mixed you up with someone else…you’ve got the degree…try being a Loan Officer. Pay is MUCH better.