I know we long-time signing agents keep saying “refuse the low paying gigs”, but since someone is taking them, it isn’t helping to refuse. That said, I got offered a purchase signing for $70 from Signing Carolina. I accepted it against my better judgment (let’s face it, now’s not the time to turn anything down!). However, I just got the docs, and lo and behold, SC has a notary charge on there of $175!!! So, the borrower thinks I’m making $175 and will judge me accordingly, and the signing service isn’t even decent enough to pay me HALF of the charge to the borrower. This makes my blood boil. Thoughts? Advice? I asked SC if the fee was a mistake, and they literally said if you can’t do it for the fee, we’ll reassign! I’m no newbie, and have a great reputation, but this is getting old!
@fitpcchick There is much sound advice as well as insights present within the existing threads found via the Search Function in the Notary Cafe database. It’s truly a GOLDMINE!
To be helpful, I’ve inserted an image for you & others [see below] to help members locate it to unlock the wisdom & knowledge of other members on the forums.
Here are a few examples for your reading pleasure:
As you can see, some of these are YEARS old. So, this “technique” has been present for a while now . . .
This is another one of the myriad reasons that we sages place emphasis on calculating the true cost of providing the professional services. Remember that your service has VALUE.
One cannot control what is done by others . . . you can control solely yourself.
Know your worth.
Charge a fee that is appropriate for the time, travel, supplies, services, etc.
if you’re concerned about what the signers think about a fee listed on their Closing Disclosure or Settlement Statement, share with them your Signing Order [SO] confirmation. Your fee is listed directly on that document.
Accessing the database to locate information about potential clients has saved many of us an inordinate amount of time ‘chasing’ payments for Services professionally provided to potential non-payers . . .
"let’s face it, now’s not the time to turn anything down!). However, I just got the docs, and lo and behold, SC has a notary charge on there of $175!!! "
IMPO … THAT is the time to stand your ground, get the fee you deserve or turn it back.
Sorry, but this business practice is the problem and not part of the solution.
@fitpcchick P.S. You may benefit directly from visiting the post I sent to you on August 31t:
=> Just remember to start at the TOP of the thread:
Agree with Linda. If you’re not part of the solution, you are the problem.
Don’t let them trick you into thinking you are disposable. Have your bottom line. Whatever it is stick to it.
Maybe it’s 75, 80, 90,100 etc. Every time we put pressure on them to add $5, $10, or $15 we are getting closer to where we should be. The more you become known as a notary that does excellent work the better.
As hard as it may be, if the fee does not meet your bottom line standard, turn it down. I know it hurts, trust me! Today I am earning 20% of what I could have easily relied upon just two years ago, and it has been a constant steady decline since that period of time. I am also aware that I do not rely on this income as my primary bread and butter, which separates me from some of you. But, this income is what allows me to treat my family to special vacations together, interest-free loans to someone in a pinch, and peace-of-mind as a fallback position if my husband and I found ourselves in a bind for a month or two. So, considering those circumstances – I feel your pain. The adage, “a rising tide lifts all boats” is never more true than in this situation. The more of us who refuse to take low ball fee assignments, the more it presses the agencies to increase their fee offers. Another thing I do is – if a client compliments me on my service to them, I ask them to not skip the feedback to the agency about my service, and to assure they mention that I am worth the entire $175 they are charging you for my service! On the QT, I will always tell them that I am only receiving a percentage of that cost.
You may have the luxury of making ZERO dollars, but I don’t. I’m not the problem, the 82 to 100 other notaries in my area, willing to work for pittance, are. I don’t have another well-paying job, and don’t treat this as a side gig! This is my sole source of income, and if I “stand my ground”, I won’t get any jobs!
There are so many notaries (I hesitate to call them signing agents) in my area that if I try to negotiate, the companies literally tell me “there are too many notaries in your area who will do it for the lower price”. It seems my only two options are low-ball fees or zero dollars. This is my only source of income, so zero dollars is not an option! I’ve been doing this since 1996 and I don’t have a plan B! It angers me that when the refi boom hit, every Tom, Dick and Harry became a notary. Now they’ve over-saturated the market.
If we don’t stand TOGETHER and demand a living wage they will continue to low ball us. Purchase use to pay $150.00, $ 70.00 isn’t even half and the banks make the same as they use to. REMEMBER they NEED us Notaries, we must stand together. The price of everything has gone up, yet they want us to work for pennies. Same for me i refuse to work for pennies, so someone else takes the job, they are just screwing ALL of us. Self employed can we form a union ? Who’s going to protect us Notaries ?
I’m in Texas and consistently get offerings that list $400 for notary fees and offer me $70. When I attempt to negotiate for higher fees, what I hear is the sound of a loan cricket chirping in the background. In Texas 1 in 60 adults are Notaries, in Florida its 1 in 30 adults is a Notary [source NNA]. As a result of low fees, some of our colleagues that I’ve talked with have indicated that the cost of doing business no longer make it viable to remain in business. I still have three Signing Services that offer reasonable fees that I remain fiercely loyal.
CAVEAT: certain individual names have been removed to protect the culpable. I recently received an email from from a well known low ball signing service, offering training from a well known NSA trainer, bragging about their 7-Figure success. This particular “trainer” is pushing to create more NSAs for our already saturated markets. Mr. Trainer is taking advantage of naive future NSAs generating income for his company, making revenue promises that few will ever see. Whether his actions are ethical, is for you to decide. Keep in mind Mr. Trainer isn’t the only trainer who’s adding more NSAs to our business sector, I expect things to get worse for our business.
While most our colleagues are honest hard working professionals, some will offer advice that worked years ago, doesn’t apply to current market conditions, or to your specific market. You’ll occasionally get rather shallow advice such as ‘know your worth’. I think you already know your worth. You’re spot on target that due to a saturated market, many Signing Services will pass on any request to raise fees and sending the engagement to another NSA, who’s willing to work for low fees. This means turning down low fees that are no longer profitable.
There is a growing interest of forming a collective to push back for higher fees. It will be interesting to see if this develops into anything significant. Doing so may lead to allegations of violating Anti-Trust laws.
My advice is not going to be for you to hang tough and endure. Rather my advice is for you to take a careful analysis of your market and your business strategy. You may have to consider things such as expanding your service offerings, developing a new business all together, pick up part time employment, etc., until the market conditions improve. I know this may maybe a jagged pill to swallow, it’s one I’ve had to choke down.
While I fully understand where you’re coming from, keep in mind when businesses [self-employed of formally recognized] try to ‘unionize’ it can run into anti-trust laws.
This was the kind of spirited and informative response I was hoping for. The attacks I received calling me “the problem” were not helpful. Thank you so much for your response. I will take it to heart!
Just so you know the kind of people they are…in the midst of covid they docked .me 25 dollars on a 100 fee because the signer used her own pen, which was black ink. I signed my side in blue…when i found out about the deduction, i called them to explain the wo.an refused to use anything i touched…didnt matter to them…i was getting docked. I told them to keep the entire fee and never call me again. They seem arbitrary, heartless and intractable…take their assignments at your own risk!
I also saw that email and I totally agree
Agree with you in deed! Get a clue notaries! The lenders charges have not lowered, the title company fees have not lowered, the realtor fees have not lowered, the appraiser fees have not lowered and the inspector fees have not lowered! The only thing lowered is US! The notary!! The signing companies are dropping their fees to us because they are only doing 1/4th of the volume that they use to do. I refuse to take a low ball fee and I’m not traveling as far because of the gas prices!
Rest assured you are not the problem. There are a few others who are more brutal in their honesty than I am. Those are the ones you should listen to. Those who offer shallow advice, cliched rhetoric, and the success bombers are the ones be take with a critical eye.
I’ve moved my NSA business into a value added service category under my Tax Practice. My advice for a new business venture is to figure out where there’s a need and fulfil it. Many of these opportunities aren’t hard to get into. Send me a PM if you’d like to discuss further; no strings attached, no net work marketing involved, and I won’t sell you an ‘opportunity’.
I have done this job since 2003. In the beginning of our positions being created “The Signing Agent”, Notaries could go directly to the Escrow (which is now known as Title) and get the full fee. As usual, Signing Services evolved and contracted with Title, so they could not go directly with the Notary/Signing Agent (or it made it very difficult).
The NNA suggests that we not accept any Purchase or Refi for less than $85. Well with the industry saturated with “Signing Agents”, you cannot argue. And in my area of DFW everything is internet/text for job alerts. It’s a Game Show. You cannot take your eyes off the computer screen or your text on your phone. Hitting the buzzer “Accept” first wins! Hysterical! Negotiating fees doesn’t exist. The companies throw job alerts out there like Spaghetti against the wall.
My biggest complaint with this manner of job alerts is this; what part of mobile notary do you not understand? I can talk on blue tooth while I drive, but I can’t text nor email nor keep an eye on either.
As for the company’s division of payment, I agree with you. They make their money on quantity. Most legit companies know this and will compensate the signing agent accordingly,
They are paid within 48 hrs of closing and they do not pay agents sometimes for up to 60 days after completion! Unacceptable!
As a senior signing agent I will suggest you pick and choice your areas that you are willing to work. I don’t do long distance anymore. I don’t work for companies that pay later than 45 days .
I am after 3 states, 10’s of thousands of signings having achieved a lot of success am walking away from the industry.
you are at the mercy of companies that will not give you the respect or payment for your work.
This will become a supplement business and I will only work for private parties and those companies that contact me directly.
Girrrrl! OMG! this is what I meant when I started the thread. Its sad! but We have to negotiate, at least let them know that we try. But like you said now is not the time to reject many offers. We just have to have discernment and keep the money coming in. Thanks for sharing your information with us.
I want to be supportive and optimistic for notaries starting out…however…this situation will not go away as long as notaries are willing to sell themselves short. I started in this industry 20 years ago when it was booming and $100 to $150 was the going rate because there was more work than notaries. No matter what you read or buy into in terms of training programs this has become a tough business. I left and went into teaching and have since retired and am now just doing this as an occasional side job and I only work for a few companies because all the others are literally such a joke with their fees they offer. You are better off finding steady part time work and doing notary work as a side gig. The work is still out there but it is hard to find and you need to chase signings and then be ready to call to collect your hard earned money. Or…really look into RON or another work from home option that allows you the freedom to work for yourself. The work will probably come back as it seems to tend to do but holding fast to a fee schedule that makes it worth your time will behoove you in the long run. As for that signing, I would let them know you are happy to do it for them for your fee ($XXX) and if they say they are reassigning it then let them!