Guest Post: On Notary Signing Agent Fees

This is from Jennifer Glover, owner of Prestige Notaries, a signing service. It’s so very true, so spot on, so wise that I cheered when I read it.

 I read a lot of posts about fees, we all do, and while I agree that making more money is always beneficial, there seems to be a lot of shaming going on and a LOT of misinformation. So here we go.

Not one person has the right to shame another for working and paying their bills. We all have personal situations that others do not know about. We all have different levels of experience, different cost of living, different money management, different levels of service, and the list goes on.

Each person must determine for themselves how much they need to average per signing. Then they should take into consideration their business expenses

Expenses include: commission, business license, insurance, bond, certifications, training, printer, toner, paper, pens, clips, folders, admin time, bookkeeping, mileage, square footage of home office and the cost to run that office utilities, a business only computer, business cards, marketing materials, website, encrypted email, business cellular or percentage of use, other mobile tools, association dues, listing fees, and more.

There are all sorts of notaries out there.

The notaries that excel at building their book of business, they go after the work, they are salespeople, they market themselves and their fees will reflect the work that they have put in to build their book of business.

Then there are those notaries who prefer the work to come to them, maybe they are great notaries, but they don’t do well promoting their business, they want someone else to do it for them. They might see less work unless they work with a signing service, so their fees will often reflect the work that they have put in.

Then there is the in-betweener, the notary that just likes to bust their tail, takes as much work as they can get, promotes their business and always answers the phone. These are the notaries that irritate so many people because they will take fees from low to high, they just like to stay busy and make money.

I will give you examples.

I, myself, worked only with title companies. I got up every day and dressed for the day whether or not I had any appointments. I drove to different offices several days a week to introduce myself and talk to decision makers. I sold myself and I was good at it. I spent hours upon hours driving and selling. I was not compensated for that time, so the fees that I charged when I received a call was a set fee. It was non-negotiable. I was always pleasant when someone tried to negotiate, but I simply explained that my fees were set and if they needed me in the future to please call. And I was busy.

Then I know a few notaries who work for local services who are guaranteed an average of 8 signings a day for less than half what I was charging. They never complained about their fees, in fact they were very happy with the stability and their net income, They were still netting $50/hr and where else can you make $50/hr or even $30/hr with little training and without a high school education? I never got mad at them for accepting fees less than half mine, because they had determined what was important to them and I didn’t know their circumstances.

Now, to discuss a lot of the misinformation I have been reading lately.

1) Title companies can be deadbeat too, don’t let them fool you. Just because they are a title company does not mean they pay fairly or timely.

2) Don’t always believe the fee you see on the Closing Disclosure. Reasons for increased fees a) application signing lumped into one notary fee, b) shipping provided by service lumped into notary fee, c) some title companies add a buffer “just in case” and any overage is reimbursed to the consumer, d) and then sometimes it is just a mystery. I have had closings come over where an extra $100 to $150 is on the notary fee and I wonder where it’s going, because it wasn’t what I agreed to…..

3) Not all notary fees are paid by the consumer. Many title companies pay the mobile notary fee from their settlement services fee. I see this most often on Refinances, Seller, and Office signings. If the fee is being paid by the title company then 8 out of 10 offices care what is being charged.

Most Closers are paid bonus based on the revenue from their files, so if they pay a notary $75 instead of $150 then their bonus is higher. Most large companies bonus closers based on how they compare to other closers who work for the same company, or they give them awards and recognize them. So the more revenue they make their company, the better they bonus and the more recognition they get.

At the end of the day we are all entrepreneurs; we are small business owners; we are independent. We get to do exactly what we want to do so long as it is legal. Figure out YOUR price point, value yourself, and be happy.

Prestige Notaries logo

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed. Mobile Notary Public and Signing Agent, Freelance Writer, and Ordained Minister. Willing servant to cats. Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from https://notarymemphis.wordpress.com/books). Please be kind to one another.
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