I find it interesting but also don’t understand why the majority of the notary’s that have posted here are so incredibly fixated on loan signings as the only way to earn a decent income.
I am a former Escrow Officer who became a loan signing agent back in 2012 - I’m in the middle of my 10th year as a Mobile Notary/LSA and seriously proud that I’ve managed to make it in this business for as long as I have. I live in San Diego, one of the most expensive places to live in the nation but also in a state that pays the highest notarization fee so that definitely makes a HUGE difference.
I, too, was working non-stop signing loans and working with signing services and eventually became burnt out and resentful at the reduction in fees and the larger packages. It wasn’t making sense anymore to continue with loan signings due to the expense and time that is involved. When a signing service is paying someone $75-$90 maybe, if you’re lucky, $100-$125 and then deduct the expense of paper, toner, printer maintenance and depreciation, gas, depreciation of my vehicle, time spent fighting traffic going from appointment to appointment, rushing home to scan a package so it can fund same day, cell phone, rushing to make it to FedEx and UPS before the last drop for the day, running home to print a set of docs that came in last minute or needs to be reprinted because the lender made changes or the names were wrong, license renewal and testing, bond, E&O, yearly background check, fingerprinting, yearly re-certification, journals, stamps, advertising, the list goes on. It became painfully obvious that my profit margin was very narrow and just didn’t seem worth it anymore, especially when I compared it to how much I earn with GNW (general notary work). In California we can charge up to $15 per signature and an agreed upon amount for the travel fee. I charge $65 for the first signature and $15 for each additional and have minimal overhead. So imagine this - someone calls for a single document with two people signing - that’s $80 and all I have to do is show up. Plus, if the person is in a hospital or nursing home, I charge an additional $10 (or more depending on the circumstances) because it takes longer and is more involved with Covid restrictions and requirements. Compared to $90-$100 for a loan signing that is 10x’s more labor intensive and time consuming, it became a no brainer. In addition, I get paid on the spot instead of waiting upwards of a couple of weeks to 60 day’s for payment. I will admit I miss the days of opening my mailbox and having it stuffed full of checks but that was also indicative of how much I was working and how little personal time I had. My advertising costs have increased, but that’s okay, it’s worth every penny. I sleep in and have less stress, my phone still rings a lot but now its more GNW. I still do loan signings for a select few signing services and title company’s that call me direct but I’m no longer on any of the SS platforms, I refuse to be a slave to them anymore. The expectations that I take every order when they called became excessive and I started feeling taken advantage of. Someone that has the experience and knowledge that I have shouldn’t be paid less than minimum wage, it was insulting.
So the moral of this story is this - loan signings aren’t the only way to earn an income in this business. Advertising is key. Yelp (free listing, don’t pay for advertising, just get a lot of 5 star reviews) and Google have been my largest source of revenue. Repeat business has also been fantastic. Build relationships with everyone you meet and let everyone know you’re available the next time they need a notary. Oh, and the other thing that’s helped my success is being available at all hours, 7 day’s a week. Some might think that’s crazy but I look at it like this - I sleep in till after 9am most days and have the freedom to decide when my Saturday and Sunday starts, even if its in the middle of the week. GNW doesn’t take very much time, I can work a few hours each day and then have the rest of the day to play or sleep or whatever else I want to do. I’m okay with the crazy hours, it’s fun and exciting and keeps things interesting. My schedule won’t work for most people, but it works for me. I’m much happier now and don’t dread answering my phone.
Get yourself setup to accept credit cards, Venmo, Cash App, Apple Pay and do NOT accept checks from private individuals unless you"re confident the check won’t bounce. I hope you’re able to figure out what works best for you and that you find success in whatever it is. Everyone that commented means no ill will, they’re only sharing the struggles (or success) that they’ve personally had. Please, do not allow what someone else has said stop you from chasing your dreams - you’ve invested a lot of time and money into starting your business, don’t allow someone else’s limiting beliefs stop you from achieving your goals. A phrase that I’m constantly reminding myself that I’ll share here is this - “What you think about, you bring about” - so if you’re focused on building a successful business then with dedication and hard work you will. But, if you’re focused on what can go wrong, or how hard it is, or succumb to the negative opinions of others, then you will only find failure. Stay focused on your goal and keep the blinders on and only take to heart the positive. I hope this helps, good luck.