I have done refis and other buyer/seller loans but I’m curious about other documents like one page legal documents, a Debt Resolution Presentation, or just an application with no notarization required, things 50 pages or less, what shouldI be charging for those.
1 page or 500 pages/Application or Final, your travel time & mileage are the same. What differs is print time/paper/toner and time at the table. Also be aware that when they say ‘1 document’, it’s not necessarily only 1 pg. (Mortgages are 12 to 18 pages…) Be careful with those Debt Resolution things as they generally want you to misrepresent yourself as their Agent/Co. Rep. and, frankly, these deals stink…but you’re the only face they’ve seen. That’s the reason many NSAs refuse these signings.
I’ve done a few that were just one page or two to three pages with just one signature needed. These luckily were less than 5 miles away. Most of my bigger packages have been 20+ miles away. For these small ones I accepted $50 - $60 which seemed fair to me for the amount of “work”/resources. But I certainly don’t want to be one of the ones bringing down notary fees.
When I’ve read the instructions for the Debt Res. Pres. I thought it was a little weird that the script asked me to say that I’m a representative when in other signings it’s explained and understood that I’m “just the notary”. I always felt like I was getting offered too low a fee for these and now, after exploring more forums, I’m sure. I’ve only done a few. I asked for $20 more once when they offered ten dollars less the second time they asked me, and the scheduler called me up personally to ask why I asked for so much more when I did it for less last time.
That was the first time something like that happened but I was glad I stood my ground and got more money, now I know to ask for way more though. Really annoyed that we’re being taking advantage of but it just comes down to us new notaries doing our research before really getting out there and cutting bad habits in the very beginning. It seems veteran notaries are annoyed at new notaries taking low ball fees and new notaries don’t know that they’re being low balled.
Yes, newbs not knowing any better IS a problem, but I feel a bigger problem is that newbs simply don’t give ‘how do I price my services’ a thought BEFORE they throw their hat in the ring. And that fact makes them a huge target to be lowballed by everyone. And, as you found out, once you accept the lowball, it’s expected from then on. You do yourself and every other NSA serious damage.
Why YOU need to do the prep work: There are very experienced NSAs out there that are happy as loons with $90, while I won’t walk out the door for that. (Caveat: Yes, I would–2 pages 1 mile from home…sure, $60 would work.) Then you find out why $90 works for them: They’re in a densely populated urban area with a lot of competition on every other street corner and the $90 they happily accept are ALL within 5 miles//10 minute drive MAX, small pkg. & there are a lot of them! Whereas my ‘average’ (ain’t no such thing) mileage is 25 and 45 minute drive. My point is each & every NSA has to do the prep work so they KNOW exactly what they require in order to cover expenses and make a PROFIT for every area they are willing to go to. And also realize that ‘package size’ directly relates to ‘how long you’re at the signing table’ so you’ll KNOW to ask for more $ (hourly rate–tho’ you don’t actually SAY that)–it’s factored into your quoted fee. Faxbacks are a pain because you have to come home, do more work, then go out again to drop–requires a higher fee for add’l labor/travel.time. And, even then, you still need to check out whether the co. is reputable and will actually pay you in a timely manner.
When dealing with full-fledged real estate signings, we are used to the hiring party wanting the notary to deliver the documents to FEDEX or UPS after the signing. The nearest point for me to do that is a 30 mile round trip for me, so it doesn’t matter if I can walk to the signer’s house (that happend once), all signings where I have to drop the docs at FEDEX or UPS are priced to include at least 30 miles of travel.
I have one client who has an agent who mostly works in NY. He’s a notary in NY and for NY jobs he does everything himself. When he comes to VT I meet him and the signers to do a couple of notarizations, he does everything else. These jobs are priced for actual travel to the site (my mileage fee includes my labor in driving my car to the site) plus 30 minutes of my time on site.
I agree with you. I do not do Debt Resolution’s. I do not like the way they want us to represent them. The deals stink for the customer. As for companies wanting us to travel to clients and don’t want to pay a fair fee, I don’t waste my time. I am amazed that people go out and do anything for $50 or less. I don’t do anything for less than $85. Most refi’s are minimum $100.
I have done one debt resolution signing and I’ll never do another. As Arichter said, the law group doing the debt resolution for the client wants you to be their representative and do a presentation on the documents. I was very uncomfortable in that situation, never again.