NSA Fees to accept

I have been in the business for 28 years, 16 years as a mortgage underwriter. I have done about 12,000 signings in my career. I don’t really do loan mods because the pay is too low. I suppose if it was in my town I might but unlikely.
The minimum I would typically charge for a load mod is $70, however they won’t usually go that high.
For mortgage signings I charge $125. In Hawaii we charge a bit higher though because cost of living is so high.
Just figure in this when you decide what to charge:
*Cost of expenses such as paper and toner
*Taxes taken out
*Time figure in print time, process time, driving time, signing time. When you add in all the time minus the above expenses that is your approximate profit.

As you can see, $40 won’t make you a profit. It also doesn’t really give you any experience. You just stamp one form usually and you don’t process or print any docs.

Just take my advise and you will see you are working for nothing.
This is how I would see this one:
*$40 fee
*Minus taxes at 30%-$12…makes $28
*Minus expenses…$7…makes $21
*Minus drive time, for a 15 minute drive each way…
*Minus signing time and drop package drop off time…1 hour
*Minus prepare time 15 minutes because no printing
Total time is 1 3/4 hours
$12 approximate profit after time and expenses
You can see it is a lot of work to make $12.
And if distance further than 15 minutes each way, the expenses go higher for both gas and time.

If you think of yourself as a business and you have to make a profit, you will have direction in where to go. If you cannot make a profit, then your business is not going to be successful.
In all these years the amount paid is the same of less than when I started. With all the automated systems now all the relationships built over years mean nothing.
To me, you take good care of your clients and if they are reputable, they will take care of you. Loyalty used to be there but is hard to find these days. The cheapest is all they want. Remember too, that once you accept a lower fee once, you will find it hard to go higher later because they will refer back to the signing where you accepted less.

I hope this helps.




NEWBIE’S AND ALL OTHERS: I send this to any assigner who tries to pay less than $100. " Expect To Be Paid Like the Professional I Am." (My minimum fee is $100 (within 25 miles of my office) and I will not accept less. I’ve gotten where I’m quoting $125 - $150 more and more - and getting it. I live in the north of San Antonio, Texas area. Due to all the major road construction going on, the road ways have gotten extremely dangerous. I am using routes staying off “freeways” where every driver thinks they are on a race track. Takes longer but I feel safer. (i.e. Takes more time to do a loan.)

Assigners, lenders, and title companies are putting the professional signing agent out of business.
My cost are as follows
A. 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. Start looking at the attorneys and title companies are charging for their services. With the electronic age in place, very few, if any, even go to the court houses any more. If you are still reading, 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.


Becky. Go with your gut. I started taking most offers. Once I got my rhythm going and felt real confidence I raised my fee. The lowest fee I accept now is $100.00.

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I understand your point about being new, but how can we even stay in business after you factor in taxes, materials, gas, time, etc. You can end up LOSING money. I don’t expect to be paid what a trained notary makes, but I can’t stay in business with $40 signings. That’s just bad business, whether you’re new or not.

The reason for being in business is PROFIT (regardless of how new you are). If a reasonable profit isn’t there–why are you doing this? Big banks aren’t my most favorite charity and they recoup your fee several times over with just the interest the B pays on the 1st payment they make!

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Very important information delineated within this thread regarding HOW TO CALCULATE fees:

And this as well:

There is an excellent specific cost breakdown by one business owner for services within her [ @anon78047977 ] region & for her overhead (see excerpt below):

"Ok for a seasoned already in business Signing Agent (meaning no start up costs to factor in, just on going costs)

Average Refinance

  • 150 pages (300 when having to print 2 copies)
  • 35 miles average miles to signing/from signing/to FedEx drop
  • Print cost average .15 per page (Laser printer, standard paper. Note this is also the cost at Staples, FedEx Office in the area BUT I have actually calculated my real costs by dividing the number of pages I get from a toner kit, my drum kit, cost of paper etc. but I use this average of .15 because there are Notaries around who actually use outside printing)
  • IRS mileage .56 per mile (you can use actual costs of gas, insurance, plus maintenance costs. I will use the IRS rate because it’s a good average and I also have Tolls I have to pay which I will not add in this example. Also later I kind of use this amount as a “catch all” for other expenses. Again, I have determined my “actual” costs and the averages I use are pretty spot on.)
  • 2.25 hours an average total time spent which includes, confirming appt & reviewing instructions, printing/prepping docs, travel time to/from/to FedEx, signing/notarizing docs, scan back
  • Costs that people usually do not take into consideration because it’s part of their household BUT they are costs of running a business (home office expenses - internet, electric, computer, phone, supplies, etc.) Remember every business has similar expenses

So here we go…let’s look at average total for this signing:
$45 print costs
$19.60 mileage rate (So this number is based on IRS mileage rate. I use this number as a catch all to give me an estimate of my actual costs (gas, toll, %of annual maintenance, %of insurance and a % of home office costs, %of supplies, etc. Since I know my % for every business expenses, I already know this number is pretty close to my actual costs. For example my actual costs for this signing would be around $21)

It will cost me $64.60 for a 150 page refinance order. With no issues, no traffic, no reprints, no problems

If I took a $75 signing fee I would net $10.40
I would net roughly $4.62 per hour for a signing that took up 2.25 hours of my time.

$95 I would net $30.40 or $13.51 per hour
$125 I would net $60.40 or $26.84 per hour
$150 I would net $85.40 or $37.96 per hour

So when I advocate for SAs and fees I am not just coming up with number off the top of my head. I have done the math for myself personally."

SOURCE: Signing Agent Fee is Just Not a Notary Fee - #38 by notarybe

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Thank you @cNsa5 - and all should note… these are older figures - paper has gone up, IRS mileage rate is now $.585/mile, vehicles maintenance has gone up in price - I’d make a safe bet the costs are at least 10% higher in 2022 - thus reducing the net gain and the net/hour gain.

So again, as I said elsewhere, if anyone is happy earning less than $4/hour (which is waitress pay with no tips) then have at it - you won’t be in business for long.


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