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Overdue Notary invoices: Strategies for getting paid

A person checking invoice on laptop and phone

Updated 1-9-24. Unpaid invoices are a source of frustration to many Notary Signing Agents. But Signing Agents are not alone. Seventy-one percent of independent contractors have had trouble getting paid by their clients, and these people on average are owed more than $6,000 (some as much as $30,000), according to the Freelancers Union.

To make matters worse, some larger corporations work on payment cycles that can exceed 120 days, while your rent and the electric bill are due every month. Collecting these debts is tricky, especially if you want to preserve your relationship with the client. So what strategies can NSAs employ to peacefully collect debts without jeopardizing their client relationships?

Everything starts with a Notary’s fee agreement

Open communication is crucial. When problems do arise, each step of the collections process, from the first day a bill is late to months later, should be marked by careful, professional dialogue, and a trail of paperwork. It all starts with the contract or agreement, said Caitlin Pearce, director of member engagement for the Freelancer’s Union.

“Make sure you have a clear, written agreement, ideally a formal contact,” she said. “This protects the company as well as the freelancer.”

Most title companies and signing services have written contracts with the NSAs they use. Make sure you and your client are clear on all the requirements, large and small, as well as the due dates, payment terms and any other expectations. It’s also a good idea to have your own contract template for those clients who rely on handshake deals. Don’t forget to have a lawyer review it to ensure that you’re asking for things that are within the scope of the law, Pearce said.

Before beginning a job, Pearce also suggested that NSAs find the name and contact information of the person responsible for payments, whether it’s the company owner or an employee in accounting. You should have their phone number and email address, and establish contact. Some companies have bureaucratic red tape a mile or two long; if you’ve chatted with your contact, your invoice is less likely to get lost in the shuffle.

Your payment’s late. Now what?

When you send your first invoice, you should also clearly state when you’ll follow up if not paid by a certain date. On that exact date, call and email your contact. Be polite and professional, Pearce said, but let them know you’re not going to let this go. Personally chasing after people for money can be tough, so there are several brands of payment collection software that can do a lot of the work for you, such as sending reminder letters and emails. WebAR, a cloud-based platform, manages accounts receivable and will process payments. The credit bureau Experian also offers an application. Its program will validate names, addresses, and other important data against information reported to Experian, and it’ll help you get nuggets like unpublished phone numbers.

Escalation tactics if a Notary isn’t paid

So you sent repeated invoices, made calls, and you’re still waiting to get paid. What next?

There’s also small claims court, and if you choose to go down this path, make sure you have paperwork, including emails and copies of work product, available to show a judge. But that can be time-consuming and costly. Frank Metayer, who owns San Diego-based Mobile Notary Express, recalled an experience he had with one signing service. After 30 days, he sent a friendly email. His second attempt was a voicemail. By then, he went over the client’s head and alerted the escrow company that he had not been paid. The following day, he was called by the signing service and almost immediately paid.

Sometimes you have to look at relationships. Escrow companies are important to signing companies and they don’t want to lose those contacts, he said. In another case, he did a signing for a different escrow company. After three attempts to collect, he sent an email and cc’d his contact’s manager. He promptly got a check.

Barbara Weltman, an attorney and small business expert, notes that “invoices aren’t like fine wine — they don’t get better with age.” But if nothing works, and you can’t get paid what you’re owed, you may be able to write off the bad debt on your taxes. 

Collecting debts may be a hassle, and may force you to get assertive while discussing a topic that makes many people uncomfortable, but persistence often pays off. Pearce said some freelancers have doggedly pursued debts as small as $100. On principle. Because everyone deserves to get paid for the work they do.

Related Articles:

The cost of becoming a Notary Signing Agent

Additional Resources:

Managing your collection efforts

Sample collection letters

Common Collection Terms


Add your comment


05 Sep 2016

I have not received my supplies and now I'm expired. Please check up why I've not received anything and I've paid for it.

National Notary Association

06 Sep 2016

Hello. You can contact our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 or for assistance with your order.

Alan Jorgensen

06 Sep 2016

I am ruthless. I don't care to work for companies that don't pay and will comment on their F BBB rating and research all that were involved with the signing, bank, title company, and do the same to them as they are accessories to doing business with wage theft companies.

Jo Ann Siebecke

07 Sep 2016

The fact that we as Notaries put our time and money into every single signing that we complete, makes it unconscionable that we should spend more time and more money attempting to collect fees that are due. I for one decided a long time ago to chock it up, and let it go.

25 May 2017

All these agencies want the notaries to preform with highest standards while they sit back and not do the same. We have to drop things and go to signing when they call us, but if you don't remember that they still owe you, they do not care. National Loan Closing will pay if you remind them and after 2 months, Reliable Notaries-- do not pay funny they say reliable... so we need to continue and report any agency so other notaries can stop working for them and in return they can loose there business of scamming.

Stephen E Swetz

23 Oct 2017

Utilize QuickBooks to track your invoices. in fact, generate an Invoice every time you conduct a signing, and upon signing completion, send the invoice. Utilize NEAT to track expenses. Utilize MILEIQ to track your mileage. I would love it as well if the NNA would have a section on Software & Technology that new or existing Notaries could use to be more efficient.


15 Aug 2018

Maybe the Title Andy Escrow companies should stop using signing companies and call signs no agents directly for signings. Like it used to be. You get paid immediately after a signing. The Escrow officers have a list of signing agents they can call direct. These signing companies want to pay the person that does all the work 50% of what the Escrow company pays out. All they do is assign an Notary. I used to get signings and paid after three days for refinance and a day after a purchase signing at minimum $150 per signing now they call me and want a signing done for $60, and you still need to print out two set of docs do fax backs and ship them. How can signing agents survive off of these fees and to get paid 44 or more days later. Maybe the state should do something and not allow this anymore.

Mary K Bates

01 Oct 2018

I will not do notary work unless I am either paid on the spot or paid in advance if it is a remote client. If a company doesn't want to play by my rules, I don't need them. As my notary services are an auxiliary to my secretarial service, I can afford to play hardball.

Enotary in Nevada

27 Apr 2021

Being a Notary Public is first a foremost a service provided by me for the state that appointed me. The State says I can collect a certain amount per signiture notarized and that I can be compensation for my travel. I have notarized 182 signitures in the last four months at my store and all of my customers had no problem paying for it, but I have 3 outstanding invoices for loan signings performed in November 2020 that one notary signing company in California (that all notaries complain about online) has not paid, and one more outstanding invoices from another signing company that failed to pay last month. As a result, I am out the cost of four reams of paper, ink, and fuel it took to perfom those assignments and was paid nothing for my time and energy, two of which kept me out past 8pm at night. The notaries I perform at my store covered the expenses I incured to perform those loan closings. Now when I accept loan closing assignments through these signing companies I will only do so if they are going to pay through the online platform where they submitted the assignment because if they say they will will mail a check to me in 30 or 60 days it is never in 30 or 60 days. It is usually longer than the term specified or the check never arrives. I never have this problem with individuals, title companies, mortgage companies, attorneys, or financial institutions. I have only had this expereince with notary signing companies.

Rhonda Meadors

08 Mar 2022

One time, after nearly 4 months of non-payment, non-returned emails, phone calls and broken promises that the payment was on the way- I had to call the signing platform and pretend to be a "new escrow client". I asked about the process and who was responsible for paying the Signing Agent. I was told their company would pay the notary. I then asked about the turn around time to pay the notary and was told "as soon as we receive your payment, we process the payment to the signing agents." I then stated "Why haven't I been paid as a Signing Agent yet?" She said "I thought you said you were a title company." and I said "And you said you would pay me last month." Received my payment the next week. I've also notified escrow directly and received payment promptly afterwards. I agree that it is ridiculous that it takes more than 30 days to be paid. I use Notary Gadget and it is excellent to track payments past due and I can create invoices that reflect that. I've also added that if not paid after 60 days there is an additional monthly late fee of $25. I seldom receive the extra payment, but it does help to get paid at all.

RoyInk Notary

07 Feb 2023

I had a poor experience of my own recently. I performed a signing on Christmas Eve of last year and still hadn't been paid. I followed up after nearly 40 days and was told to expect an email from Intuit within the next day or so. I checked my spam folder and nothing was received. I reached back out on today for payment and suggested and alternate form or payment such as Zelle or Cash App. It took me contacting the client contact's email in's dashboard to get movement on this. The company I performed the work for did not so much as even apologize for the delay. It was AltaSign by the way. I was not going to let it go so easily because I went above and beyond at the re-fi appointment and all of that aside, it's a matter of business and professionalism. I felt I had to go over AltaSign's head to get my payment but in the end it worked. At the end the day, we try to allow other business owners to do the right thing but none of us (notaries included) are in business to perform services for FREE!

Steven D Ransom

06 Mar 2023

You need to contact the title company that used the signing service that contracted with you. If they refuse to help, let them know you holding them responsible. If they refuse to get the service to pay or to pay you, send 3 emails with a copy of the invoices attached marked PAST DUE, spaced about a week or two apart requesting payment with the warning that unless payment is made, you will be taking further action. Make sure you include in the Subject heading the words “First/Second/Third Notice” depending on which notice is being sent If they still refuse after 3 emails, contact your state government office and find the division responsible for title companies' compliance and get them involved. They will tell you the steps needed to recover payment.

Cynthia Alsalieby

31 Jul 2023

I did a signing for US Signings on 6-15-23. I sent an email to their accounting email with no response. I left 3 voice mail messages with no response. I contacted the Title company and they said they no longer work with this company due to the problem with them not paying the notaries. She gave me the email for the owner. I have emailed him and see if I get any response. We spend a lot of time, supplies and fuel doing these and don't get paid. I am always leary but so far that is the only one that hasn't paid me within the 30 day period.

Claytown Management LLC

21 Aug 2023

I did a signing for U.S. Signings on 5-9-23. I sent an email to their accounting with no response. I left several voicemail messages with no response. I contacted Snapdocs, which is the point of contact for this signing for U.S. Signings only to receive information to resolving it myself. Snapdocs gave me the email address and contact information for U.S. Signings. I have emailed them several times with no response. I am very professional when handling business but only ask for the same when its time to pay for my services. All I want is payment for my time, fuel and supplies.

Armeeda Gantt

26 Jan 2024

It’s EXTREMELY upsetting to go out of our way as notary loan signing agents, do scanbacks, rush packages off to Fed Ex/UPS and then when it’s time to be paid-AFTER WAITING A MONTH AND A HALF and can NOT get paid on time‼️ This is AWFUL and something needs to be done QUICK‼️ I am very professional and I love helping but I need to do away with this and work strictly with DIRECTS that pay at the time of service. Not all signing services are like this but my God it’s getting awful‼️

M. Johnson DBA Notary Financial Services

21 Feb 2024

I had one company oweing me over $4,000.. I sent their corporate office a letter and copies of past due invoices. I was paid shortly after that. What few notaries or anyone owed doesnt understand is that the customer already paid for the service, even thru a agency; so if the agency does not pay its notary then I call it embezlement. After checking I found out I am right. So I will contact my state reps and let them know about this customers antics. I should not have to do that but I can and I will.

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