Unfortunately, the unforeseen ‘TIMING’ as it relates to ‘SIGNING AGENTS’ and the current economic status of our country (and global) has hit our volume drastically. This industry is saturated by our counterparts nationally, additionally the increased rates and overall high cost housing market has impacted the real property market tremendously. Title companies and settlement services are scaling back their workforce. I’ve seen this back in 2008 and we recovered, and we will again. In the meantime, ‘DIVERSIFY’. Find other avenues to remain independent or prepare yourself to re-enter the labor force. I’m a 20+ year veteran and do this full time. So I’ve had to shift gears and put alternate plans in place. We will see another shift but it won’t happen until the current trend ‘PEAKS OUT’ then we will be necessary again. Hold on tight this is going to be a bumpy ride…BUILD YOUR GNW BASE.
Business is very slow with the higher interest rates
I feel for all those people who fell for the “Six Figure Guy” and his promises of lotsa bucks with little effort.
On the upside, there are a LOT of employers out there right now begging for people, and with the increase in minimum wage - here in the Puget Sound area, it is $15 an hour, with many entry level jobs starting at $16 - finding a new job shouldn’t be difficult.
I don’t know if you’re in an attorney state like NC, Alabama, NY, or Georgia like me but I just called all the signing services I could which totaled about 100. I introduced myself and informed them I’m available. It took about 3 weeks since some of them don’t use the major platforms. I slowly started getting offers for signings. It’s rare signing services will ask how many signings have you done, I only had 2 ask me. I still get 3 to 4 offers daily and I began calling the signing services in February.
Curious - when did Alabama go attorney-only??
You haven’t received any because it is a saturated profession and a dead market right now. Unfortunately, we aren’t told this when we purchase programs. I don’t have any advice since I also am dead and moving on to build another business that is more reliable.
Excellent first-hand insights and wise decisions regarding financial future.
Well I have a couple of sugestions for you. I’ve been getting alot of GNW work from my tax preparer and also the fedex drop off for loan pkgs. They have their own Notary but she only works one day a week and have to set a prior appointment to get one. It’s helped me fill in the dead times. Leave some cards with them and maybe it will work for you like it’s working for me.
I disagree with the statement that ‘you missed the notary train by 2 1/2 years’. Longevity in this business is what makes for steady income and a sustainable career. The notaries who pop in trying to make a quick buck, will fizzle out. That’s just makes more business for the rest of us who have been doing this a couple of decades. I saw this same thing happen during the market crash and then again during the pandemic. It just is not a surprise to us ‘Career Notaries’.
I agree with @notarybyangela16 … what she’s saying is now is not the time to jump in the deep end. You said it yourself @CompUstyle … Longevity in the business and career notaries. … They get it. If you’re already established that’s one thing…but to try a startup now?? Difficult, near impossible,… Better off to get a surefire job with guaranteed weekly pay and benefits. Now is not the time for this profession…and may never be again - at least not as we know/knew it.
Well said. I feel the wise thing to do before entering any market is to conduct research to make sure you will see a return on your investment! I’ve read numerous messages or videos indicating that you don’t need a college degree to be a signing agent, but if you lack common sense then you won’t be in business for long! It is vital to calculate gas, supplies and your time before accepting a notary assignment. There are numerous variables that have contributed to a decline in the notary business. The first one is the interest rate and less people are refinancing. You have too many notaries within your zip code for which are willing to work below market value. You could either decrease your fees and let them have the work. As a result you give up the potential to do the signing, because your not willing to work for pennies. Some organizations wait beyond 30 days to pay notaries and your chasing them down for compensation, but they had all these rules that you had to do in order to receive your money! In my final analysis, this field is good as a side hustle and not a main source of income! I enjoy doing this work if I’m being paid on time!
Hi Sharon, you’ve received some excellent advice from your colleagues in Notary Cafe and I want to make another suggestion about expanding your service offering since you are in Florida, a state that permits notaries to perform weddings.
Performing Marriage Ceremonies (in Florida)
Great information, very detailed and well thought out!
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.
Everything you said! Amen!! That’s exactly how i think and what I’ve done.
I’ve been a notary for 17 years.
As soon as you find out PLEASE let me know. I’ve been waiting since May
Not to worry, after becoming a notary I received my 1st signing 8 months after. I felt like giving up but finally something happened, so hang in there it will happen
Thanks for your encouragement…
Yes the wait is real! Lol
It took me 3 months to get my first LSA signing but thankfully my GMB was kept me busy.
I was a mobile notary from 2008 until COVID hit. I now handle everything via RON. $25 per notarization for general notary work and still operate as a LSA. And, I don’t have to leave home.