Wondering if we as a group start communicating an organized message to our clients if we couldn’t gain some traction in terms of receiving far compensation. Below is a letter I sent to one company, I have an appointment with management on Monday to discuss the contents of my email. Hopefully, they acknowledge the issue.
I really hope this email doesn’t fall on deaf ears as this is very important. I understand that ### has now automated their notary selection process, and in doing so is offering a set fee for closings with no room for negotiations. I want to make sure you know what happens when we receive an order from a title company or signing agency, we take these with almost no details and have to hope for the best. We get to know where the signing is taking place, we get to know who the client Is, and a type of closing. We know nothing about how many signers, we know nothing about how many pages, we know nothing about scan back requirements or any other very pertinent information. We use this information to determine if what we are doing is profitable, just as I am sure ### does when taking on a new client.
I will give you an example of a recent offer that came over a few days back order #####, the order came over at $100 and I want to take a second to explain why that fee is a huge slap in the face. We are the only professionals involved who will meet with the borrowers face to face at their dining table putting us at risk of infection. Even if everyone else has done their job with 100% accuracy if we make even 1 mistake the file doesn’t close as expected, we are required to perform our duties with 100% accuracy and in a professional manner as set for by our training and the laws we are required to follow. We are usually the only self-employed party involved in a closing and with that we have to calculate our overhead expenses to maintain profitability.
Here is what happens to that $100
First, we print docs, an average package from ### is 150+pgs, printing 2 copies is 300pgs @.08 cents per page (this is the average cost of printing with a laser printer according to industry standards) That is $24 in out of pocket expenses. (This process take about 30 minutes to complete)
Second, we travel to the location The order above is a 48 minutes drive and 35 miles roundtrip, @.55 per mile another $19.25 out-of-pocket expense.
Third, we sign docs, not knowing at all if the person is going to want to read every page or call their lender or their cousin, attorney, realtor etc… for advice. We have to sit within a few feet to manage documents and make sure everything is done perfectly (ask yourself how many strangers have you spent an hour with in the last year, I am just over 700). This process usually takes 1 hour to complete (but can easily take 1.5hrs if there are issues which is about 50% of the time)
Fourth, we travel back to our offices to scan and invoice, then again to drop at UPS. This is another 30+ Minutes
We are responsible for our entire overhead here is a list of a few items: Cell phone, Internet, Office Space and Utilities, Pens, E&O Insurance, Auto Insurance, Health Insurance, Licenses, Commissions, Training, Background checks, accounting software, PDF Software, Computers, Printers, Scanners, Stamps, Journals etc.
So you start with $100 and subtract the easy to calculate expenses Print ($24) Auto (19.25) that leaves the notary with ~ $56.75
Now subtract taxes @30% = $17
Now subtract the orange items above (harder to calculate per signing) but after 14 years of doing this it is roughly $10 per signing
That leaves the notary with $29.75 for 168 Minutes of work that is $10.62 per hour after expenses to provide a professional in-home service in an 11 Trillion Dollar Industry. The minimum wage in Oregon is currently 11.50-13.25 meaning the average offer that ### sends out doesn’t even qualify as minimum wage.
I ask that you use the above information to reformulate your offers and make sure that one of the most important partners in the process is respected and compensated for their time and their skills. I have seen so many new notaries come and go over the years, mostly due to finally realizing they are not making any profits and are being taken advantage of. When this happens it leaves the rest of us professionals to pick up the slack, in 2013 I was running a dozen appts a day and we were delaying closings because of a lack of local notaries. When I started in 2007 the base fee was $125-150 the only thing that has happened since then is the cost of providing my services has increased substantially. Imagine if you can going back to your 2007 pricing and trying to survive within today’s economy.
Please let me know if I can help you in this process, together we can achieve great things.