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The Truth About Notary Signing Agent Fee Discussions

Fee Discussions

It’s no secret that many of you have seen your Notary signing agent fees go down. It is one of the most persistent topics of discussion on Notary social media pages.

At the same time, loan-signing assignments are taking longer than ever before, document packages are larger than ever, and gasoline, paper, toner and other costs are going up, making it difficult to turn a profit.

Signing agents routinely ask, “Why isn't the NNA doing something about this?”

This is an important concern and you deserve an honest response.

The Hard Truth
 

There’s a very simple reason why we don’t talk about NSA fees: Federal law prohibits us from doing so. Neither the NNA nor Notary signing agents can engage in actions to fix prices. We also can’t host discussions calling for set fees.

We understand many of you would like us to function like a trade union and advocate for the fees you are paid. At a minimum, you want us to provide a forum where you can talk about fees to members and anyone else who could be listening.

It’s important to remember that we are a professional association, not a trade union, and signing agents are independent contractors who compete with each other.

Competitors And Price-Fixing
 

When it comes to the issue of fees, the law is very strict about any actions members of a profession or professional associations take that could improperly restrict trade. Federal law prohibits competitors in an industry from getting together to discuss or set fees. This is known as “price fixing.” For example, it would be illegal if all the tax preparers got together and decided no one in the profession should charge less than $100 for preparing a Short Form Tax Return. There would be no competition. As a consumer, whichever tax preparer you called would quote you the exact same price.

We learned these lessons firsthand in the early days of supporting the work of Notary signing agents.

Years ago the NNA published a draft of a suggested minimum fee schedule for signing agents. Though not intended as a binding rule or standard, after publication the NNA learned the draft could be perceived as an attempt to unfairly influence signing agent fees. To ensure we followed the law, the NNA removed the fee schedule from our website, publications and reference material. 

Discussions Among NSAs
 

During this experience, we also learned that antitrust laws prohibit competitors like signing agents from getting together to set or discuss fees. And we learned that, as a professional association, we have a special obligation to proactively take steps to keep discussions and gatherings we host — our publications, annual conference, seminars and even our social communities — free from any discussions amongst members about the subject of fees.

This is why we cannot allow discussions on signing agent fees, costs and related matters on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and on our website. This is also why we sometimes must remove posts about fees that could be considered “price-fixing” under the law.

We can and do discuss statutory fees Notaries are allowed to charge for notarial acts.

In our competitive national economy, the market should dictate the fees individual companies pay per loan signing, and what you as individual competitors charge for your services.

We understand this answer isn’t satisfying to many of you.  We want you to know that we’ll continue to work for you in ways that we can as a professional association, while adhering to federal laws. The NNA works to provide information to the nation's Notaries, Secretaries of State, and to many major lenders, banks, title companies and signing services.

Bill Anderson is Vice President of Legislative Affairs with the National Notary Association

73 Comments

Add your comment

richard bleess

27 Oct 2014

I have not lowered my fees. If they don't like my fee they can call others.

Donna Mastrantonio

27 Oct 2014

Its not the NNA's job to determine the fees for signing agents but when it comes to changing the requirements for signing agents with new codes of conduct and special rules and laws to make things even more difficult and setting the standards higher for signing agents, the same thought and energy should also go into at least creating some sort of schedule or guideline for the title companies to follow as to fees that are more appropriate. The fees are definitely too low for the amount of work that goes into a signing, just in general across the board. In addition, they want not only the agent to have customer service skills but to also have zero erros. Its important for the standards to be higher but not important for the fees to be higher? Price fixing might not be the right way to handle it but in the legal world of loop holes, there should be some way for signing agents to acquire fees that are more appropriate to the work being done.

Richard C Wilson

27 Oct 2014

Are the companies that hire us forbidden to discuss, between themselves, what fees they will offer us or can they work out a fee schedule they will pay?

Ruth Gentry

27 Oct 2014

For this reason I have discontinued to do closings. Also, so many of the mortage/title companies companies do not double check the paper work for the signings and you have to print additional corrected copies.

Michael Gilman

27 Oct 2014

Thank you Bill for posting this.. as many people just do not understand your / NNA's stance and throw many stones at the organization for that.. This should help.. Another thing that might help and not cross the line is to show our fellow NSA's how to figure out what to charge.. How to determine your costs and to do a simple market analysis to be sure that you are competitive. Knowledge is power... and with the appropriate knowledge our folks would be well prepared to confidently determine the right fee for their services.

Dan

27 Oct 2014

This is why I didn't renew my membership with the NNA. Signing agents are routinely gouged by signing services in particular. They get 100 plus dollars for the referral, we get much less than that for doing the work, and with the costs associated operate at a very low margin. We are getting gouged!! I am doing less and less signings because I am working for nothing in most cases. Can't you at least educate the lenders and title companies to try and deal directly with the signing agents??????

Bill Anderson

27 Oct 2014

Dan, thanks for your comment. The NNA has educated the title insurance and singing services industries about what you do. For example, we worked to lower NSAs' out of pocket costs by suggesting to lenders and title companies that based upon our insurance claims history, a $25,000 errors and omissions insurance policy was sufficient for the average NSA when some lenders were requiring higher policies. To your question, the pain point of many title companies is having to schedule their own NSAs. This is why they outsource this to signing companies.

Susan J. Cunningham

27 Oct 2014

(Comment removed by the NNA)

National Notary Association

27 Oct 2014

Hi Susan, In order to follow federal rules as described in the article above, we are asking our readers to please refrain from including specific signing agent fee amounts in any comments posted. We apologize that we had to remove your comment for this reason. However, if you would like to re-post your comment with the specific fee amounts removed, you’re welcome to do so. Thank you for your feedback and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Dave Irby

27 Oct 2014

sort of a hassle to view to be able to view

D. Williams

27 Oct 2014

There is an easy way around this issue, just do not mention a dollar amount. You can also discuss the contemptable trend of emailing a dozen notaries and telling them that "this signing will pay thirty three cents." Lately I have been getting emails that merely allow me to take an offered fee or decline. No other option. Am I supposed to believe that the industry does not engage in activity to lower my fees? I make less per signing now than I did four years ago...by a factor of about 33 percent. Of course it is obvious that they are getting people for chump change or they could not do this. I do believe the trend has been toward people doing this for pin money, on the side for a few pennies or even as a hobby. It has killed my profession. See? I did not mention fees once and I still discussed the trends that are killing us all.

anonymous

27 Oct 2014

One more example again of big business shorting the worker that gives them the big bucks. By the way escrow agents usually make out pretty well. Think about it. Ridiculous and infuriating because of the legal consequences of notary error - that's a big penalty liability you take. I won't bother going into the escrow signing arena for sure now. Thank you for at least letting me know the truth.

CHANDOS CALDWELL

27 Oct 2014

We set out own fees, at least I do. If it is below what I need for my experience, travel, office equipment maintenance, then I refuse the assignment or i accept it depending upon my whim.

Janice E. Grannan

27 Oct 2014

Notaries should just be notaries. They have turned the Loan doc signing into everything but that. You should just be notarizing the documents everything else should be charged separately and not have anything to do with what a notary can charge. Those fees need to increase because the Lender is no longer providing the documents and the clients need to be handled as if you were a salesman.

Julie

27 Oct 2014

I have not lowered my fees either - I still get calls from companies I consider to be low-ballers and often they take a while to pay too - so is it really a huge loss if you are going to have to pursue them for payment? I also tell any company that bulks when I tell them my regular fee - that I also have not increased my fee - while my gas, ink, paper, cell phone bill, high speed bill etc. have all increased in price. I run 2 other businesses in an attempt to be home with my children - so if they can't meet my fee to help cover my expenses and time and make it a little worth my while - my time is best spent elsewhere. I don't like to have that attitude - but it is annoying to see their fee on invoices as 3 times what they paid me - these borrowers think that is what you are getting paid.

Thomas Gorman

27 Oct 2014

I think the larger signing companies that get the package from the title & banks are dictating what a signing agent gets. It is more money in there pockets. I received a call to do a signing last week for a refi, it was $30.00. There should be some control on these companies. At this time thing are a little lean for closings, so some signing agents just jump at it, just to get the job

David Krause

27 Oct 2014

While it might be illegal for the NNA to host these discussions, it is not illegal for signing agents to discuss fees if they're not competitors. The broad brush stroke applied here only applies to the NNA. I'm in Seattle. My competitors are in Seattle. Someone in Tacoma is rarely going to be my competitor. No one in Portland or Milwaukee or Dallas is ever going to be my competitor. There are plenty of places to discuss these issues, and the position outlined here should be put within the context that position which is true of the NNA is not necessarily true of individual signing agents.

Bill Anderson

27 Oct 2014

David, thank you for your reply. The issue with your point is that when you discuss fees with other signing agents outside of your area over the open Internet, the discussion will be seen by signing agents in your area.

Brian M

27 Oct 2014

So discussing fees amongst other NSAs could be perceived as "price fixing," yet there is no mention of signing services doing the same. A $75 fee has become a "standard" offer (and often, now, even $60), regardless if that fee is being paid to a California NSA or to one in Arizona. Why is the industry (and the NNA) tolerating this price fixing among the entities that hire us?

Bill Anderson

27 Oct 2014

Brian, thanks for your comment. If signing companies are getting together to fix prices, it would be an antitrust violation.

Marian H.

27 Oct 2014

No offense, guys, but the fee schedule you mentioned above wasn't "perceived" as anything other than what it actually was -- a tool that was used, and unfortunately, is STILL used by companies today as the "standard" of what notaries apparently expect to be paid. Unwitting and uneducated individuals who think of anything the NNA publishes as authoritative simply followed it out of fear of not being competitive in their local markets, even though it said 'minimum' fees... they were wholly unrealistic and well below any real profit margin truly professional notaries had. Companies only saw that as "maximum" fees and it spurred a tide of unethical and fly-by-night signing services making a quick buck off of uneducated notaries who took the NNA's word rather than understanding the basic ability to set one's own fees, much less understand how to set and work with a profit margin. I know that you guys have disavowed it, but the damage was long done, and let's face it.... a lot of us know the real reason why it was taken down. You hint to it in the article, and I won't get in to it because the information is available for those that look. Like Dan said, this is one of the very reasons I refused to renew my membership, too... among other things. It saddens me, but it's just the truth. I've come to not even trust new notaries who have been trained the NNA because they are coming out of their training with little working knowledge of what they are doing. And yeah... I know a LOT of NNA trained notaries. Do people know that they could be "certified" as a signing agent without even being confirmed to be an actual Notary Public? I know because *I* did it. I got my "certified" signing agent certificate and background screening back well before the State of California issued my first commission. I just wish more notaries understood what was going on here.

betty

27 Oct 2014

Actually MY fees have gone up. I imagine it is probably bc we don't have that many Signing Agents in our general area, but the # of signings has remained fairly constant. ALSO, I will travel to other counties. I negotiate my fees according to distance and extra work. It all comes down to asking questions when you agree to do a job. Faxbacks cost more, multiple loans cost more. Few vendors allow renegotiating after you have agreed, but I have argued for those, too, and gotten them. Vendors who are fair with me get a break, those who are not are negotiated at a higher fee, or, I am "not available" for that time/date for a signing. I set my fees as double for last minute signings bc I know that there will probably be a problem with that signing. Sometimes the problem is simply that the area is rural and they have trouble getting anybody to drive to that location. I have done over 300 signings since March, 2013, and I am willing to not get a job bc the vendor wanted to pay me less than it is worth. I am proud of my meticulous work and do not mind the intensity for the ability to decide when I choose to do signings.

Lynda Laster

27 Oct 2014

I am a newly commissioned NSA. How can I find out what an appropriate fee schedule would be? What sources can I research? Also, according to article/comments, I understand it's best to deal just with the actual lender...cut out any 'middle man'. I appreciate any assistance any one can offer. Thank you.

Rose Sher

27 Oct 2014

I agree with Dan with on the title companies and lenders should be hiring us directly. So when the loan closes and funds are disbursed that includes my check! I had a few companies call me for a signing and the lender pay them XX amount of dollars for the notary and they take a cut of it. We notaries should always know what we charge for every type of signing before the phone rings. When the phones rings you have about 30 seconds to find out WHO, WHAT AND WHERE so as the caller is talking I am adding up my fees. And stick to it. Don't low ball yourself!

Janis Bottorff

27 Oct 2014

I have actually increased my signing fees. When I explain the need for an increase due to the required background checks that I have to pay for and the increase in cost for supplies,vehicle expenses, etc. they usually will approve my minimal increase. I do stand firm on those companies that don't provide me with the docs until right before the signing time or are slow pays. For those companies that continually throw me business or have their acts together and respect my time, I sometimes cut them a deal.

Tommy 'T. A.' Smith

27 Oct 2014

If there is any organization (industry) that needs to be questioned about even discussing their charges it's not the signing agents - it's the title companies!! Over the years these folks have gained such a stranglehold on the real estate industry it would be considered price fixing and against the law in any other business were it not so lucrative. Ever stop and think who's calling the shots in a great majority of the real estate and/or title companies? If you selected curtain "A" you are right - it's the ATTORNEYS! Being a 'recovering' broker myself, on more than one occasion I have asked why we charged for two complete closings when a property was first sold on a "formality" title policy and is then immediately sold to another buyer. The second closing is practically identical to the first and could possibly even take place in the same room. The only differences are a few changes such as; another set of similar standard fees, the legal description is identical, the survey is identical, the surveyors company is identical, the law firm is (generally) identical, the closing officer is (generally) identical , and THE NOTARY PUBLIC IS (GENERALLY) IDENTICAL! The most noticeable changes are; a different sales price, a different buyer and a different seller. Of course the appropriate fees will greatly increase in most cases because of a new sales price but the body of the transaction remains the same. Yet it was legally a new closing and a new title policy (with a brand new policy fee) was required before the old policy was even twenty-four hours old. All of the necessary changes on the new closing were accomplished with a few strokes of a computer keyboard, which were probably done at the same time the first contract was being prepared. When I was on the brokers side of the table I wouldn't have changed a thing BUT, after getting into the custom home building business I began to look at things entirely different. I don't really care how much money real estate or title companies (or lawyers for that matter) make but for someone to criticize a group of notaries when they mention discussing their fees it really gets under my skin. So, maybe it's time we took this subject out in the open and if those who don't like it let 'em 'take a hike'.

Alisha

27 Oct 2014

It's always the big fish trying to take advantage of the the little fish. I am a NSA and a Realtor. I have been on all sides of the transactions. Notary services are needed to make the deal work. Instead as seeing us as a part of the team some companies and lenders are seeing our value. Well I'm not settling for less than a certain amount based on the assignment. Although we are independent contractors we have expenses just like any other company. Gas, computer, laser printer, paper, ink, electricity, time, etc.....all expenses we incur. Stop trying to be the cheapest and adding value to your services.

DONALD D. FOGAL

27 Oct 2014

I no longer do signing. I've let my nna/nsa lapse. expenses/education requirement, no, profit

Rod McGarrie

28 Oct 2014

What bites me is the recent requirement of some of the major banks to require fax backs of the entire package and wait for approval to drop. I recently did a refi with a piggy back and the refi had 206 pages and the refi 156 pages. It blew my mind. Of course they didn't tell me up front it was 2 loans. For this title company I have decided not to take any more orders. The time and paper expense is just not cost effective.

brenda s.

28 Oct 2014

I have been an NSA for many years. As an independent contractor(self-employed) I operate my business with my highest standards and those expected of me by the industry. A few years ago, I was informed by a vey indignant title company official that the NNA had an item posted on their site stating that 75.00 was the recommended fee for closings. I was further treated as though I had been paid too much money for my services and that as of that date, 75.00 was their set fee. Soon other companies followed their lead, and many others dropped their fee to 65.00. My business slowed with the economy. I closed a few at 75.00, but, only those that did not require distance or late hours and other factors .I work for those lenders that respect me and the care and time and professional services I offer. There are companies I will not work for.(non payment, very late hours, pay low fees,etc). I have closed loans on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, every other holiday I can think of, on a mountain top at 11:00 at night, have endured a few unreasonable and rude individuals, during hurricanes with candles and a flashlight, during snow storms and ice storms and in every other type of store and business(at the borrowers request), closed balancing my briefcase on my knees, arrived home after 1:00 a.m. more times than I can count. I am sure all other NSA's have done the same. Are all closings pleasant? Absolutely not! My responsibility is to close the loan and represent my employer in the most professional and pleasant manner possible and also to set fees for my services. We should promotet ourselves and services to lenders and title companies and selected other entities. We should be building our business reputation and integrity, It will take some time and effort, but, in the long run, we will find professionals in the industry that when they need a closer in the area we serve, we will be the first on their calling list. Who knows, you may able as I have, to work almost exclusively for two or three great companies . I sincerely wish my best for all of us.

John Axt

28 Oct 2014

Bill Anderson is right on target. The Sherman Anti-Trust act has been in existence since the great depression. You figure out what others in your area charge by conducting competitive intelligence. This is sort of like "blind shopping" that retailers do to determine whether their prices are out of line with their competitors. In many cases, the title companies and Signing services will tell you what they consider to be "Usual and Customary" fees in your area. This is not an anti-trust violation as they are not your competitor (unless you operate as a signing service as well). Then you can do your own research on what fees are being charged by others. Many will list the "advertised" fees on their website.

Susan

28 Oct 2014

I stick to my fee schedule and do not accept low ball offers, which are unprofessional; my position is 'you get what you pay for'. I set fees based on the average time required for the type of document package, and then add travel time and expense, the ink and toner cost per page. If a signing agent hasn't figured out the costs of doing business, then that person is unprofessional and won't last long. Title companies seem to appreciate this and I prefer doing business directly with them. You should know what your time and experience is worth, as well as the cost of doing business.

Irene

28 Oct 2014

If companies offered honorable rates, they would not have to spend half a day or more looking for qualified notaries. I've stopped accepting closings almost all together as it is no longer worth my time and I'm happier without the aggravation. I often discover from the settlement statement that companies offer us a third of what they are being allowed (not to mention the Doc Fee charge made by the banks.) Not only are we now being asked to print loan docs (which was only occasional in the earlier days), but also title docs, broker docs and in some instances even the appraisals! Fax backs often have become a requirement as well (Title doesn't want to monitor who sends in error free work and who doesn't.) I once told title that if they wanted them faxed back same day they would have to pay for the FedEx faxing charge. They agreed as it was an out of town closing. It cost them over $40.00. Notaries are neither printing presses nor escrow officers, yet we often catch a lot of their errors. Something needs to be done about this, and if notaries don't start making it hard for the originators to the various parts of these loan documents, you know THEY won't! They're saving and making too much by having the notary do it.

tanya

28 Oct 2014

I too have not had to lower my fees, I am always reminding them that I am a pick up and delivery service and their docs are coming back complete on time and that I am an after hours service and they seem to understand. I just refuse jobs that aren't willing to pay the fee. I too, stay loyal to my regulars and cut deals when needed and they in turn take care of me.

mary Wiegard

28 Oct 2014

The companies say it is only 25 pages X2. They do not compensate you whenit is 150 to 170 pages x 2 on legal an then fax back 50 plus pages. It takes just as long to drive or review docs befor going to closng. Sometimes what they offer barely covers expenses your time does not seem to count. I give a fee and that is my fee. If they don't like they can call someone else. My 10 years and very low errors should count for something and some do respect that. A happy Notary makes for happy appointments.

Ronald Walton

28 Oct 2014

Our case should be taken directly to the organization that set the closing fees. I believe that would be the Mortgage Companies, which set the percentages rate that their company uses and the closing fees. Now, if I am not mistaken, the closing fees go to the Title companies, that hire the Signing Companies or in some cases directly to the Signing Agent, so naturally the prices that Title give to the Signing Companies are set, then the Lender or Title Companies can dictate to the Signing Companies a standard fee across the board, so then SC will hire the best instead of the ones that will accept the lowest fees. What does all think?

Bill Anderson

29 Oct 2014

Ronald, thanks for your comment. It sounds like what you suggest would constitute price fixing by the lender or title companies. Fees paid to Notaries by signing companies or directly by title companies are to be competitively based.

Robin Booth

29 Oct 2014

I have one thing to say... If you don't like the fee, politely say no thank you. It does absolutely no good to complain and puff out your feathers about bow good you are. Everyone has their own standard on what fees they are willing to accept. Complaining will not help to raise the fees. You have the choice to take the job or refuse it.

Marian H.

29 Oct 2014

I'll add something else because I've been thinking about this for a couple of days. Since we are allowed to discuss statutory fees, let's look at a very typical scenario. I'm in CA, so I'll use CA fees. Under CA law, we are allowed to charge up to $10 for the average acknowledgement or jurat. So, let's say we get a typical loan package with a husband and wife. The package is a large one, something we are seeing more and more, and requires each spouse to have their signature notarized 10 times. That's 20 notarized signatures. In CA, per the Secretary of State in their 2014 Newsletter, they make it clear (again) that we must create individual journal entries for each notarized signature. 20 signatures = 20 entries. That alone is a lot of work and time consuming... and that's just the notarized signatures! Loan assignments require much more time and effort than the notarizations involved. So, using statutory guidelines for CA, by law we have the right to charge up to $200 just for the notarized signatures. Thank about that. I won't even get in to all the other work involved. My point here is that notaries need to understand their state laws as well as how to run their own business. Anyone with basic knowledge or training in how to find a profit margin for a business can figure out what they need to be charging. It will be different for every single notary and can vary from city to city, region to region. Also... remember that YOU are the service providers here. They are the ones shopping. YOU, the notary, set the fees, not the other way around.

K Harris

30 Oct 2014

Is it "price fixing" for appraisers, abstractors, termite inspectors or title companies to have "set" fees?? You don't hear of them haggling over what they will charge; they get whatever is standard in the industry, no questions asked. Unlike notary signing agents, some are paid in advance of the closing; others are paid off the HUD; either way they aren't wasting time and energy negotiating fees and chasing down payments after the fact. We shouldn't have to either.

Bill Anderson

30 Oct 2014

If by "set" fees you mean that appraisers, abstractors, termite inspectors or title companies got together to create a "set" fee, that would be price fixing.

Cleveland Notary

17 Nov 2014

I have been a mobile notary for 17 years. In the last 12 months my major title company client decided to hire 7 of their own closers. I'm sure it is because they can pay ridiculously low fees in return for a guarantee of getting some work. Other title companies have lowered my fees which doesn't matter at this point because they don't call me anymore, they bring people into the office. As of today I am barely working, and it is apparent that my career is all but over. I could sign on with more out of state signing companies but they want to e mail docs and even the extra $25 does not make up for the hours I spend in front of my printer, often at the last minute switching paper sizes and driving myself crazy. It's no longer work it to me. This is not how I pictured the end of my working career. I wish the rest of you luck.

MJM

30 Jan 2015

I agree to some of your comments. When you accept an order for a price set, majority of the order(s) are husband & wife. Eight signatures each X2=16 signatures in normal case this would be$160. Some signing companies pay $65-$100 but on the Hud-1 a Notary fee charged on the loan is $150! Difference goes to the scheduler, I think as a bonus or commission?Now, majority our my loan docs have 175-200+ pages (x2) almost one(1) ream of copy paper! Figure out the math 10cents/copy $20x2=$40...this order pays a Notary $60 not to mention the cost of supplies, gasoline, time to review and put tabs, taxes (1099). Can we complain? No, they (signing companies) are the bread and butter of our business. This is one factor our industry may slow down....but everyone has to survive and accept less fees! Just my 2 cents opinion.

KHill

28 Mar 2015

Between 2006-2008 I would receive calls for a "big closing" that would pay x amount of dollars and it was a fair amount. I stopped doing closings for several years and have recently gone back to it, now I constantly receive low ball calls and the other night was asked to do a re-fi of 150 pages at 9 pm (2 hours away) for 60% less than what I used to get paid. I nearly choked when she sounded excited to say this was a BIG ONE like she was offering me a golden ticket. I make that much with my evening travel fee notarizing 3 documents in 30 minutes and don't have to deal with the hassle of printing 300 pages, sitting somewhere for an hour, fax backs (required with this signing agency) and then the next day another trip to fedex, all while they keep calling me and baby sitting me obnoxiously. So I quoted her what they used to pay. She responded with, "Well, we are a signing agency, and we don't even make that much on these ... what's the least you can do" I dropped my amount by $10. She said she'd try to get it approved, and of course I didn't hear back. This happens often - but if more notaries stuck to their guns and didn't allow these agencies to push our prices down, then the wage would once again increase. We know what we are worth, we know how much our supplies and gas cost. And what is your time worth? They can't send out just any Joe Schmo, they need a NOTARY, and one that now has also paid for the extra yearly background check and sometimes one that carries higher E&O. I'd rather take mobile jobs notarizing power of attorney docs in nursing homes and hospitals and work smart short hours rather than work hard long hours for the same amount.

Tonya O

09 May 2015

I am a new notary with hopes of becoming a signing agent. Any tips for areas to work in part-time from home.

National Notary Association

12 May 2015

Hi Tonya. You can read about six alternate income opportunities for Notaries here: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/07/five-ways-to-earn-alternate-income. Also, Daniel Lewis of Indiana has suggested other ways to earn extra income in this article: hwww.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/05/22-ways-make-money-as-notary

Josh Reisner

20 Sep 2015

How about the NNA stepping up to the plate and batting down the misnomer that an individual getting a notary license puts them in the notary business? How about helping those who express interest in notary to understand that it is a business like any other and thus, you should have a SPECIFIC and sound plan for being in the business rather than just trying to sell them on one of your packages? How about helping notaries to understand and that if they do not do their numbers as a business person they will not only incur taxation from the IRS as a hobbyist bit also drag down those who HAVE business planned and understand and act as members of the notary field as opposed to casual weekenders who foolishly believe that cheap notary job result in additional supplemental income? The NNA CAN help in this regard if they drive home the points of intelligence, business savvy, and professionalism. With the NNA working on a sales model business structure as it currently is, you are promoting an industry of brainless, unprofessional, stamp monkeys who bring down the industry by undercharging due to limited understanding and lack of business training.

National Notary Association

21 Sep 2015

Hello Josh. The NNA has published many complimentary articles for Notaries on how to grow a healthy business. Some examples are available here: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/building-your-business. We've also published several articles on income tax tips for Notaries, such as the following: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/02/five-tax-tips-for-notaries. Thank you for your other content suggestions; we will share them with the Editorial team.

Sean M Henigan

02 Oct 2015

I was an NNA member for a number of years. However, I decided not to renew my membership this last time because I never found any benefit from it. I renewed when an NNA rep. told me about their new-at-the-time but now-defunct TEA program, which she assured me would be very lucrative. Sadly, it wasn't. I received all of two orders from said program, even after extensive study and testing. Wasted money, time, effort. I really cannot blame the NNA for that failure, though, as nobody could foresee the lack of future demand. Besides, I like exuberance. Of course, I didn't know that excitement was for nothing. Nobody knew. However, it did teach me a valuable lesson: research everything carefully before getting involved in it. It was, after all, my decision to just accept what I was told. Of course, the TEA program was rolled out at the forefront of the slowdown/downturn in the real estate industry. Thus, I was eager for any new opportunity for additional income since the volume of notary signing orders had dwindled down to almost nothing. I still perform the occasional signing order at approx. half of what I used to get paid. Most of the time, I'm doing twice the work I did before. Sadly, Arkansas has the highest concentration of notary publics per capita (1,000 people) in the USA. As a result, competition is fierce. I would get more orders if I moved from the rural area where I reside, now, to Little Rock (our state's capital city). But, Little Rock was recently declared the most dangerous small city (population under 200,000) in America. I used to drive for Uber, there. But, their fees have also dwindled down to almost nothing. Fortunately, the real estate industry has more potential to rebound than most other industries. As they say, they aren't making any more land. The US and world populations are increasing at an ever rapid rate. Thus, demand can only increase for the equally-rapid depletion of desirable properties. Ultimately, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy: said increase in demand will increase the fees that real estate agents earn. Such increased fees will eventually trickle down to the lowly notary signing agent. I doubt that such fees will ever rise to the level where they were at before the 2008 housing debacle/fiasco. But, any increase will be welcomed by all, I'm sure. In the interim, I'm pursuing additional opportunities.

Dana Bybee

04 Nov 2015

I pretty well enjoy my membership with the NNA but do not rely on them to promote my business. I have a web site I put together myself and where I live and work from I have an enormous amount of business. I work with title companies, escrow companies, banks and mortgage companies from all over the country, I have been doing this since 2001 along with my real estate business which I retired from 2 years ago. My business is flourishing because I do set my own fees with the various companies and some of them don't hire me because they feel my fees are too high but I don't care because the majority of the bigger companies pay me what I want and lately I am working almost every day of the week except Sunday. I live in a very rural area of Washington State but I will travel to 6 counties and more with negotiable fees and I expect this helps me keep the business going. I am 76 years old but full of energy and want to keep working. What I do to help with costs is to utilize the traveling by doing other things alongside my trips. Since I live in a very rural area my jobs get me around to places that I would have to travel to anyway to do some of the shopping I need to do. I am happy with the business which has become a lucrative extra income for me. As it is my husband and I have two SS incomes, his pension and another income from a cell tower on our property. So my Notary business is essentially a fifth income making me a happy camper. So I will continue to keep working at it.

Raquel Printiss

29 Mar 2016

What I am experiencing is signing agencies who contact me after locating me on NNA and once I start working with them they pay me my asking fee and I received payment within 30 days. Then as time goes on the very same signing agencies start delaying payments, but they keep calling me to do signings for them. I have since then stopped doing signings for these signing agencies, but at this time I am still waiting for them to pay me for signings that I completed for them. Some of these signing agencies owe me thousands of dollars. I am heart broken because I really never thought this type of control would take place in where signing agencies would receive payment from a title companies or lending institutions etc. and then not pay the signing agent who actually did the signing for them.

Johanna B

13 Apr 2016

I fully understand the concerns about fee discussions and price-fixing. What seems to me to be missing is a forum for us to bring those (and other) concerns to lenders and title companies. I attended the 2014 NNA conference, and while there were many sessions in which lenders and title companies got to share what their expectations of us are, there were none in which we got to express our "pain points" and tell them how they could help us help the clients. it needs to be more of a partnership and a two-way street. I would hope the NNA would help raise awareness of what we as notaries face.

Joe Ewing

17 Apr 2016

The signing agent fee is right there on the Settlment statement. The issue is the actual "cut" the signing agent actually receives. Thanks NNA for dancing around the answer without actually answering it.

Howard Blum

17 Apr 2016

Personally I think this topic is worn out, has been through the ringer dozens of times and there will never be a resolution to it. As the owner of a successful signing service that has the same fee structure since we opened our company in 2008, I will say you reap what you sew. If you want to sit back, wait for the phone to ring to get orders and not be proactive about doing the things you need to do to get direct work from title companies and escrow officers, then you have no right to complain. I have not seen any title companies lower their fees to us. Consequently, I have held to our fee structure for signing agents for the past 8 years. I am particularly rubbed the wrong way when I hear people say we do nothing as a signing service and reap too much of the money. That is sheer ignorance speaking. -Signing agents expect to be paid for services performed, but if the transaction does not close, where is that money supposed to come from? -Keeping books, maintaining relationships with the ones that send us orders, booking those orders into one’s system, paying notaries, receiving and sending out docs in a timely manner, issuing 1099s, receiving, depositing and accounting for payments received and made, doing our own taxes, bookkeeping and paying our accountants and attorneys and the hefty E&O fees for $1,000,000 coverage that we must maintain to be an approved signing service all costs lots of money. I will concede there are bad signing services out there that lowball or not pay at all. Don’t like working for those people? Then get off your lazy bottom, do the legwork necessary to secure direct orders from those that close them for buyers, sellers and refinancing and find out for yourself everything that is involved with running a service dealing directly with escrow officers and then tell me we don’t do anything for our money. I doubt that many people will do that once they figure out what it all entails. It is much easier to sit back, complain and cry that your are not being treated fairly. Lastly, I wish every advocacy group (which is what the NNA does for NSAs) did their job as well as the NNA does theirs.

Iris

03 May 2016

Johanna B, you are spot on about letting lenders and title companies know our concerns. Coming soon is such a service that will tell you how companies are rated per how they pay us; if they are established and in good standing with their state and a service that will put "them " into collection for non payment for services rendered. We as notatories need to take back the control by being armed with resources to help us to be treated fairly because we will have the resources to do so.

Lisa M

21 Jul 2016

Boy after reading these comments I am apprehensive about becoming a signing agent. I was hoping to do this to supplement my income. I am located in NJ anyone out there to offer some advice and guidance for NJ signing agents?

Fazlur Rahman Chowdhury

23 Jul 2016

May be we cannot discuss about our fee but beside fee there are a few things that make it difficult for us to obtain assignments or even lose money. I'll give only two scenarios; first, I get a message from a signing company that I work for saying that there is a signing opportunity available in Riverdale County at 3pm on Thursday, July 28th and if I am interested. Most of the time if I make myself available a thank you message comes up saying I will be contacted if I am assigned this signing. So here my question is as I have committed myself saying I was interested, how long should I wait for them before accepting a sure offer from another company for another signing on the same day at the same time? Second scenario; I accept an assignment(fee is $75) from a signing company that I work for and the assignment is at 3pm on Thursday, July the 28th. After few hours another company I work for calls & says they have a signing (within my working area and for a fee of $125) opportunity available and the assignment is at 3pm on Thursday, July the 28th. But as I have already accepted an assignment before and committed myself I decline their offer. After few hours the company that gave me the assignment calls and informs me that the signing has been cancelled. This happened with me many times and I felt stupid and helpless. But then nothing can be done. If I protest there will be no more signing assignments in future from them.

Sonja Wright

27 Jul 2016

What is the standard charge for fax-backs?

National Notary Association

01 Aug 2016

Hello Sonja, Please be aware that there is no "standard" fee per se for fax-backs-each NSA must determine what fee is appropriate for their business. Also, we'd just like to remind all of our readers to refrain from any comments calling for set fee levels or for other signing agents to boycott companies in exchange for a fixed rate, that could be construed as price-fixing. For more information, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/10/truth-about-notary-signing-agent-fee-discussions

Ernesto Figueroa

27 Aug 2016

How is charging at least the legally prescribed statutory fees price fixing. Who is price fixing by denying at least the prescribed fees. It is tantamount to indentured servitude. Then, some companies want to punish Notaries for even the slightest oversight when there is yet to be a consensus on a specific format for all loan documents. I think the NNA could DO more and it would not be "price fixing" but rather "fee protection by statute!"

Bob

05 Sep 2016

It doesn't seem like the appraisers have trouble setting their fees... and high, too!!!

Linda Ann Frezza

26 Sep 2016

I have gotten into trouble with the NNA and my comments removed before but I understand to a point. But -- above that point I want you to know that I am a darn good signing agent and I don't turn down work if the pay is reasonable. I also double book because many of these signings are cancelled or time is changed by the signing company. I realize the borrowers comand the time slot but when the job is cancelled or moved to the following day because title could not get docs ready in time, it affects my bottom line - So I take all and let GOD sort it out. Sometimes I have to cancel on them like they do to me. All is fair in love. war and business guys!!!!! I do my best and set my own prices and times and use the NNA for the educational company that it is. I know NNA won't help me run my business - that is my job. I have been doing it since 1992, Thank You Very Much!

basil

14 Oct 2016

Just apply apply common sense in running your business because every participant in mortgage transactions expects to make profit for their contributions. Every real estate mortgage sales culminates in closing, therefore your service is very important, so take seriously and also get a commensurate reward.

ELIZABETH R. TEIXEIRA

14 Oct 2016

I am sorry that Mt comment is regarding the text and not the commentary, but I felt compelled to call to your attention the following fact: IN THE BLUE CIRCLE THERE IS AN OBVIOUS TYPO. The second YOU should be YOUR. This should have been caught in b the editing process. The Article was Excellent and b Informative

Joseph H West Jr

18 Oct 2016

Member 160151926. I would like to see more information on Commercial Real Estate Signings. I try to do research, and it is mostly about Singular, personal, ReFi's and other types of loans. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would be grateful.

Nadia Charmelus

05 Jan 2017

We may not be able to talk about price, but there are some things we can discuss to reduce csa's costs, such as smaller packages, borrower copies sent directly to borrower by title companies, and ensuring that borrowers are aware of the importance of having ids, checks and other documents ready when signing agents arrive for the signing. These things mentioned above can reduce costs tremendously.

Nicholas J

06 Feb 2017

I am sorry but to two print two copies all legal cannot turn a profit @ 80-81 per signing. This a range not a specific fee with new platforms to facilit closings directly from title companies SS. Are useless hold up pay or don't pay at all. I am starting a work group in FL to require SS to have a presence in this state and register with the sos office that way the state can pursue and shut down bad actors.

RM

24 Feb 2017

I would like to know if federal law prohibits discussing a piece behind closed doors - how the brothers of Global Notary and NotaryGo can offer the exact same pricing to Notary's, which is $40 to $60 for loan signings. And notaries are not allowed to negotiate even though they're independent contractors. It would seem to me that these two companies especially being blood related have set their fees and are very much breaking the law. Companies like Title Source, Loan Closers, and Xome Signings also set their fees. To me this is also behind closed doors without independent agent consent. You either except the fee or you don't work.

janean jackson

14 Apr 2017

I think it is an insult with the amount offered for a signing, our time, gas, toner, etc. You offer me $50 to drive 1hr or more. Then signer has questions which prolongs it.

Marlene Santos

09 May 2017

I am a certified signing agent with NNA. I was contacted 3 weeks ago by Xome signings. I did my first closing on April 28. The closing was about 45 minutes from my house on a Friday 4 pm, heavy traffic. Xome sent me the documents at almost 3pm. Did not give me hardly anytime to look over the documents. I called that afternoon a few times with questions, they were very irritated about my calling. Today is May 9 and I still have not received payment. I don't think I am going to pursue this career.

forrest h

07 Jul 2017

Sounds like there are a lot of people willing to do away with any remaining free market. Asking a regulation to keep you safe and warm is the death of any possible fortune to be made. Socialism is never forced on anyone. It is begged for. And today it is you that is begging.

Renness Tomley

24 Jan 2018

Signing Agencies exist to make it easier for title companies to find reliable notary signing agents. If we make ourselves known to title companies in our areas by going in an introducing ourselves and sharing our credentials and skills they will work with us directly. Take the time to visit your towns and surrounding towns title companies and you will get work directly from them. I did and I do.

Tanya

04 Mar 2018

i just became a notary, and thought about perusing to be a signing agent. All these comments have me thinking I'm better off just being a mobile notary

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