First off you aren’t part of the problem, you are actually trying to find ways to make it better for us all through discussion.
There is a difference between notaries ACCEPTING low ball offers beforehand and those of us who agree to a signing (hopefully not a low ball offer), only to look at the CD and realize the company is making more than double what we are. In effect we were low balled and didn’t know it.
You’ve tried calling AFTER the order was received. Does anyone have success with calling and getting more after? I think it’s a lost cause and probably leads to getting on their blacklist.
I’m thinking about creating a list of Signing companies that I’m willing to work with again, but only if I negotiate a better rate knowing that they charge double or more what I’m making. Kind of a fool me once. The company may threaten me with using a cheaper notary but if I’ve already done a signing for them and did it right then perhaps I can sell them on pay a little more for me (because I am worth it) or risk using a notary who may drop the ball.
The only problem I see with this strategy is by the time I get the order request and cross reference my list of companies that lowball on the backend…someone else will probably have already taken the gig
One experience that hopefully is encouraging to all of us as we hold out for better offers.
I had to Signing come through that was a little lower than my personal base purchase price rate (which is around $90 now). I had the decision of do I risk losing the $75 gig to another notary or hold out for more money. I decided to wait and see and 10 minutes later they sent, an updated rate and I completed the signing. I know this is an ideal and not every market is like this.
I have actually had some minimal success with fee increases after accepting the signing. Usually, though, it is due to a much larger package, or change of venue (to a further location). They all have “wiggle room”, it’s whether they are greedy or fair. Here’s the thing, they send out mass emails and texts, which is literally a push of a button. Little to no expense on their end! We incur ALL the expenses. Paper prices have increased significantly since covid! Then there’s toner, folders, gas, wear and tear, etc… And, we are literally the only human contact most of their customers have. We are expected to look and dress professionally (another expense), deal with all sorts of moods, arguments, filthy houses, and so on. We earn/deserve every red cent, and then some!!!
Like you said, taking time to research and counter-offer just allows another “quick on the draw” signing agent to take the assignment out from underneath you. I often grab the signing first, and then give it back if the fee is insulting or the distance is ridiculous. Who has time to check the potential profit margin when 60 other signing agents are getting the same offer?!
I have been at this since the days of Di-Tech.com (“you can sign in your pajamas” was their slogan), when docs and your payment were overnighted to you (1996, if you must know), so I’m no newbie, and I am damn good at what I do. It is beyond frustrating to lose one assignment after another to someone who claims to be “experienced” when they got their stamp 2 years ago!! But as long as they show up, the signing services will hire them.
I promise you, I’m not “just starting out”. I’ve been a notary since 1993, and a signing agent since 1996. The problem is everyone jumped on the bandwagon when the refi boom hit, and the market is truly over-saturated. I appreciate your advice, I do, but RON is not for me. I don’t trust it, first of all, and I’m still liable if someone dupes the system. Also, one of my favorite parts of the job is getting out and meeting people face to face. I still do a pretty steady amount of work, but my issue is the fees! A signing service that does little but farm out jobs via “cattle call” should not be allowed to keep 50% or more of the fees charged to title or signer. PERIOD!
My first signing was in 1993–just so you know I’ve been around a while. I see no solution to the ‘too many notaries & not enough business’ problem because some notary will nearly always accept a low fee AND signing service now must make their profit by keeping as much as possible of every fee–unlike the low interest/high-volume decades when they could profit by a smaller cut of a much larger volume. Only 1 unlikely possibility exists: Keep saying no to low fees until the middleman is oob & title is forced to go direct at the same fee they are currently paying. Every time a notary says yes to low, they contribute to keeping this current situation going.
I agree with you 100%. The just starting out comment was a general statement not directed at you. The fees are beyond frustrating, just silly really. Sometimes when I see an order come across I literally burst out laughing! But…its not funny! Glad you are getting steady work and I hope you didn’t take offense to anything I said!
Not offended in the least. If this job has taught me nothing else, it has taught me to have thick skin…Lol. I appreciate your feedback either way. I also find myself laughing (and crying a little) at some of the ridiculous fees being offered. I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with the Closing Exchange, but they are one of the absolute worst! Their offers are insulting and border on insanity!
It is unbelievable what these services expect you to accept as fees. I recently saw one for $30. They keep posting and posting and eventually it goes up. Still, many notaries are accepting very low fees. Not worth it to me with the cost of paper, toner, mileage and my time. I take fewer signings but make more in the end.
I quit working with signing platforms and companies in late 2021. It wasn’t worth the aggravation anymore. Docs of over a hundred pages/2 copies/ Scan backs/ list of ‘instructions’ as long as a kid’s Christmas wish list, lousy pay and delayed pay/ and the biggest Bitch- waiting last minute for everything. The stress of dealing with it was too much and I just stopped.
Guess what? I have NOT regretted it for a minute. I do GNW through my community, referrals, repeat customers, word of mouth, car magnets and visits to adult communities.
I get real estate transactions regularly b/c title companies send the Deed packages to the clients who are left to find their own notary.
The only printing I usually do is the invoice. I will occasionally print out docs for clients who don’t have access to a printer and I sometimes offer to drop off docs to Fedex/UPS for them if it isn’t too much out of my way. I do a lot of estate planning documents/car titles for sellers/ and miscellaneous things that require notarization.
My fee schedule is structured around travel, time at appointment and number of notarizations- so it’s very individualized for each appointment.
I get paid at the end of the appointment- cash or Zelle banking app. NO WAITING 30 days or more.
Granted, I’m not as busy as I’d like to be, but let’s face it- how often (on a regular basis) do folks require a notary? It’s special documents and occasions. The key to staying busy is to keep marketing, keep staying present in the community and to keep getting NEW BUSINESS.
To be honest, I am not the greatest when it comes to marketing and I am deciding how far I want to up my game. I am 68 years old, need extra money (who doesn’t these days in this economy) and like to meet new people and socialize. It’s just a lot of work and again, how often do people need our services? That’s MY challenge these days.
It appears that you’ve successfully discovered a great niche in your region within this business sector! You may directly benefit from @alice2uworld 's suggestion of leaving “printed laminated copies of page for full care facilities, hospitals, etc.”
Create a FAQ about commonly queried items; i.e., type of ID needed, criteria for witnesses, listed fees, etc.
I’m south of you in between Austin and San Antonio. I think my odds of winning the Mega Millions are better than getting a signing engagement that pays more than $75. I’m debating on whether or not I’ll renew my commission next year. The cost of operating the NSA business is getting close to the incoming revenue. If I renew my commission, it’ll be a value added service to law firms and my tax clients.
I have a list in my head. Like I said it’s a game show. You have to hit the “accept “ button first, no time to think or cross reference. And good luck negotiating after accepting. It’s a signing service’s dream the area is saturated with hungry agents.
Your comments mirror my thoughts. Preparing for 2024 taxes and still making profit thanks to GNW. Still not accepting low ball fees and those that do accept low ball fees are not profitable and affecting the NSA business. Those offering low ball fees get what they pay for and hence continued emails on notarizations incomplete. Supplement income for me and can’t see this being full time work. I will continue NSA and GNW into 2024 and end of year if fees don’t improve will drop NSA work and just perform GNW. There is enough money in real estate transaction to increase NSA fees but NSA contractors and others greed has created this scenario.
I don’t disagree with your logic except for the fact that if you “give it back” enough times, that signing service will eventually stop hiring you. The simple truth is that you have to make an instant decision on whether you’ll take the job or not or someone else will grab it. Counteroffer if you want to, but in this day and age of too few jobs for too many signing agents, your chance of a counter being accepted is slim at best.
I’m not sure where this will end. As long as the Professors of 6-figure University continue to pump out NSAs, fees will continue to decline, fewer signings will be available due to NSA saturation, and the overall quality of this profession will sink into the abyss. It’s going to be interesting to watch the outcome when loans turn sour due to poor notary practices.
Hi all, I counter the $80 lowball offers with my standard fee, they usually up the fee 10 bucks from original offer, I counter again with my fee, they up it again 10 bucks, done playing…still not taking it…at least I helped the other notary get over $100. When I look back at it!! I have my big 3 that know my fees, and I dont have to haggle, in South Tx outside Houston gulf coast
“Pandora’s box” has been opened and the birth of signing services has evolved. Now you have RON providers marketing their services to the lenders, title companies, and signing services. Not to mention the explosive growth of Notaries/Loan Signing Agents coming into the marketplace. We are going to have to get used to seeing “low fees” being offered. Years ago this had happened to the Independent Insurance Agents, where FMO (Financial Marketing Organizations) came along and eliminating the agents ability to contract direct with insurance carriers. What does all this means? It means the creative thinkers (Notary Public/LSA) will need to evolve in such a manner that cuts their dependency on the traditional way of doing business. Like all business, they either expand their business to adapt to the changing marketplace or the business struggles to stay in business. My suggestion is simple, stop focusing on the things you can not change, focus on the things you can change.
if u dont stand ground u lose… if these companies actually say that to you,thats dispicable.
Yes I have an area over saturated too and they (signing Companies) do whatever they can to lo ball the fees
However I also have direct business who pay fair fees and steady work,not near what it was , but steady. These days Unless you have those relationships, you cant depend on this Notary business to make a living.
try to reach out to some in ur area and tell them
Signing Carolina is in my area too. either they pay me, or i decline
and I do that with anybody.
I do have a reputation I am proud of, with some of these signing Companies, but I know for $5. they will give it to somebody else.
I’m in business to make a profit, so I counter for my fees and I get the job or not.
My direct business is Totally different. They pay a fair fee and I give them a fair Quote.
Plenty of times I have said that I could do the particular job for a lesser fee because of travel.
They appreciate it and I have exclusive work from them.
good luck …but sadly you may need to supplement your income…many think they are going to make $100K ,and they all bought the course…now reality of the Market is here…interest rates are way up. that affects us all.
Who will REFI for 8% when they have a 3% mortgage.??
Young Couples starting out got a bigger home for a 2-3% mortgage that today,at 8% is over budget.
it is reality
I do predict some rate cuts in 2024,but with the over saturation,of notaries, it still will be a problem.