So, obviously this profession is a mess right now. If you’re doing well, good for you! If you aren’t, I sympathize with you. Orders and alerts have completely dropped off to almost nothing. I don’t really do signings anymore, but wanted to let you know of some things I do to save money and time. If you let them, signing services will exploit you until you have nothing left. They have an extensive list of things for you to do and will hold you to a high standard. However, no matter how long you’ve worked for them or how well you do, they will drop you in a heartbeat for the first infraction. There is no loyalty with them. They don’t care if you can afford your rent, bills, or anything. You are integral to their payment (which they receive at least 3 days after the closing and funds are dispersed), but some force you to wait almost 90 days in some cases for your payment.
Every signing should at least give you $150. Anything under that is exploitation. You have to maintain your commission, your insurance, finance further education, pay for your ink, toner, your printer, your scanner, gas, your car insurance, your car payments, print the docs 2x, review/explain the docs to the signer, scan them back, drive all over, and more. You can simply look at the closing disclosure to understand that in many cases these signing services are getting paid hundreds of dollars to farm out all the real work to you. We are adults with many responsibilities. We are providing a professional service. If you choose to do jobs for less, I do not fault you. It’s very hard in this world. Just know what you are worth. You are completing deals for hundreds of thousands of dollars… That is worth something. You are the only one who can do it.
Be smart. Do not let them take advantage of you. I was taught to treat people as I am treated. If they aren’t going above and beyond for us, neither should you for them. Cut corners, save your money, and be clever, always.
1. Don’t use sticky labels.
- Using labels takes a lot of extra time. It’s helpful if you’ve never done this job before. Try to phase this process out as soon as possible and get familiar with spotting what needs to be signed by you. After you’ve gone through the whole package, always go through again, at the table. Go through every page and check for correct signatures, correct dates, and make sure you’ve applied your seal where applicable.
2. Print double sided signer copies.
- When you’re new, it makes sense to print your signer copies exactly as the copies you return to title. This allows you to sub documents out that are signed or stamped incorrectly. However, once you’re familiar with everything, it’s best to print the signer copies double sided. It saves paper and thus saves money for you.
3. Print signer copies on letter size only.
- The signers don’t care what is legal or letter. I used to print their copies exactly as the lender copies dictated. This is a waste of time and paper. Print all of the signer copies on letter paper, double sided. It’s easier, saves money, and saves time.
4. Save your documents until you are paid.
- Save everything you’re sent until you are paid no matter what the signing service says. This protects you. If they said you didn’t sign a certain document, you can look back and check if it was even included in the original package. If you’ve scanned something and sent it in, this also allows you to see exactly what the scan says. These documents also contain pertinent information you can use to reach out to the lender in case you aren’t paid on time. Don’t let signing services abuse you.
5. Save money on your ink/toner.
- I made a post here detailing how you can save money on your ink and toner (for brother printers only). These printers are created with programmed obsolescence to force you to buy more of their product. By outsmarting them, you can save money on ink and toner. You’ll know when you really have to replace your items because the printed paper will have dark streaks on it.
6. Allot one hour for every signing.
- No signing should take more than one hour (unless it is a reverse mortgage). That is your standard and goal. If a signing is going to take more than an hour, leave (unless it’s your fault). Time is money. Signing services do not care about your time or your schedule. Make sure to make this known. If you have spent more than 30 minutes with a signer and they cancel, demand your full fee. Make this known at the beginning of the signing always. Your time is worth something. Your driving is worth something. Your experience is worth something.
7. Accept jobs without reading them.
- Signing services are not loyal to you. They don’t care about you. Click accept immediately from companies you like. I personally ignore everything from snap docs, and other signing services proven to be grifters. Read the details afterwords and if they are not acceptable, then give them back. Always say they conflict with your schedule even if they don’t, because some signing services will hold it against you otherwise. Remember, you are nothing to them, so they will have no incentive to meet your fee. If you speak up, they can blacklist you. Pettiness. Say it conflicts with your schedule or that you are sick and can’t complete the order. There’s no way to read the entire order before you accept. They do this on purpose by sending out orders to everyone in your entire city or state. They know you only have less than 2 seconds to accept. They don’t care if it’s a brand new person or a veteran. Accept first, ask questions later.
8. The standard for scanbacks is $25.
- Period. Scanbacks are $25. Scanbacks are extra work. You have to drive all the way home, scan the documents back (which can take up to 15 minutes), and then drop the documents at UPS/FEDEX. This is work. Any job that doesn’t increase the fee is exploitation. They don’t care about extra work you have to do. If you accept a job that doesn’t allow for this, that is your choice. Just know, if you have to provide scan backs for a $80 refinance, you are really getting paid $55 for the refinance and $25 for the scan backs. Highway robbery.
9. The maximum payment schedule should be 30 days.
- So, once the loan funds (after right to cancel ends usually), most parties are paid if not all. Ideally, that would include you. However, that isn’t the case. I have read of people working with companies who make them wait 45, 60, and even 90 days for payment! Any company doing this is waving a giant red flag for you. Why are their finances so out of order that it’s taking you months to be paid for your valuable services? Do not do business with companies who make you wait this long for payment. When I work directly with title offices, they pay me before the signing when they set the appointment via a credit card POS on my website. I also allow for checks to be sent. I have a strict 2 week payment period. If it takes longer then that, I charge a $35 late fee, which they also must pay. For signing services, 30 days is the maximum.
10. Loyalty does not exist in this field.
- Signing services are not loyal to you. They have no reason to meet your fee, because there is always someone desperate enough to accept a loss. Please understand this. This is the nature of capitalism. Review your costs to do business and stick to that. Taking a low cost order hurts not only you, but all signing agents. We do not have laws in place to protect us. These services know this. We are like illegal immigrants doing extensive work for less than minimum wage. When you stand up for yourself, you stand up for all NSA’s. I hired a lawyer last month for a personal issue. He charged $1000 just for his consultation. The phone call was less than 30 minutes. $1000 for less than 30 minutes of legal advice! Your experience, professionalism, and expertise is worth just as much! These companies are making thousands off of you. Do not do business with people who exploit your labor.