Papercuts & Ink Stains: Is That Signing REALLY Worth It?

Mar 04, 2019

Papercuts & Ink Stains...

Is that signing really worth doing for that fee?

You can see it in the online notary forums on a daily basis, and as a notary coach, I get asked several times a week:

Is $50, $60, $70 (insert almost anything less than $100 here) worth the effort for a signing?

And, you get ALL kinds of responses, based mainly on the perspective, circumstances, opinions, history, and lens of the person offering the opinon, not the person asking the question. 

You'll see lots of valid points in these forums, of course, about how low-baller companies negatively impact our industry. You'll "hear" people, in all caps, tell you that you SHOULD NEVER WORK THAT CHEAP, closely followed by a "back in my day" story about they used to never get out of bed for less than $150 per signing, but now they're "lucky" to make $80 a signing. All because of new signing agents and their damn willingness to work "so cheap."

That's simply not true. 

The truth is a little more complex, and the weight of the burden of harnessing and managing the fees of an entire industry does NOT sit solely on the shoulders of our new loan signing agents (what a relief!), nor even on our seasoned agent's shoulders (Um, what a relief...again!).

There are many factors at play, when it comes to fee structures, with various signing companies. Most of which, you don't have a lot of control over. 

Would it be amazing if all notaries-roughly 4.5 million of us- all stood up, united hand in hand, and demanded our fair and equitable signing fees? 


Is that real (or even legal)?

No. At least, not right now. 

Right now, you have a dream to feed. Right now, you have to make this business work. Right now, you need experience. Right now, you need revenue. Right now, you need results. 

Results bring confidence, hope, and...momentum.

It's your dream, and your business.

So...only you get to decide what a signing is worth to you. How's that for an empowered entrepreneur?

Only you get to decide if making that $50-$80, or whatever the fee is, versus making zero if you don't take it, is going to serve you and your life situation.

I encourage you to think for yourself on this. Don't worry so much about the opinions of other notaries who do not understand where you're at in life, and in business. 

They may not understand the hungry kids.

They may not understand the desperate, but supportive spouse. 

They may not understand the disappointed parents. 

They may not understand that you MUST have a win, right now, to avoid what Thoreau described as, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

This is your dream, and your business.

Now, sure, there is the reality of rightly knowing your expenses involved in a signing, so you aren't working in the negative on every signing. Driving yourself out of business is not the goal here. 

We want to flourish and thrive so this business can be the vehicle of service we need   to make sh*t happen for us. 

You need to know what your expenses are, like printing and fuel (Right?). 

Sure, time is an extremely valuable commodity, and you deserve to be compensated for it. This is usually where lots of the forum voices get extra loud and CAPITALIZED:

"$75 and I gotta go here, and sit there, and do this, or do that, drive back, and fax back? That's three hours of my time- And my time is worth more than that!"

And then...

Right back to Dr. Phil re-runs, or...

surfing the interweb and social media, or...

Cruising notary forums, complaining about low signing fees.

Now, hold on- I know some are more productive.

Some of us put our dreams, and the hustle that comes along with it, on hold for chores. We have laundry to do, day jobs to work, meals to cook or prep, cars to repair, and houses to clean. 

That's all a bunch of trap, too (see what I did there?)

Beware of the resistance trap.

The bigger your dream, and the impact of that dream on you and others, the bigger the resistance will be.

All this we are talking about- the complaining, the posting, Dr.Phil, negative forums, cleaning, cooking, repairing, and SO much more- when they distract and refract the energy you have AWAY from your dream- are distractions and...resistance. 

To justify the resistance, we hugely overestimate assets, like our time AND opportunities that could move us forward on the dream-our "limelight" activities.

This makes it easier to say "no" to the $75 signing, as we wait for the $100 signing (cuz we're worth it, right?).

And then, at the same time, many of us underestimate those same assets, like time AND opportunties when it comes to that time you have at home- "in the dark," outside the limelight-on your own. 

We're willing to demand $100 for 45 minute signing from someone else, but we cut ourselves a HUGE discount when we binge watch Golden Girls on Hulu (Hypothetically, of course). 

If you're going to turn down $75 that someone else was going to pay you because your time is worth more than that, honor that time you just saved. 

The question then should be, "What am I doing with my time if I don't take this signing?"

You either need to be working in your business-taking signings, generating revenue, bookkeeping, etc- 


You're working on your business, building relationships and creating opportunities.

That's the only way this business is going to work for you.

Idle wheels don't pay the bills.

We all have our own life situations. And, we all have our own, compelling why we want this business to work for us.

For me, I'd rather take six $50 signings in a day than work eight hours in a call center making $15 an hour. 

Let's Do The Math on That

Six signings at $50 a piece is a gross revenue of $300 for the day.

Let's say I had to use a full tank of gas to do that at $50.

On the high side, printing costs me $10 per signing, for a total of $60.

I pick up lunch and some bottled water for $20.

My expenses for the day are $130, so I net $170 for the days work, and maintain my freedom, working for myself.

In the call center scenario, I have to exchange eight hours of my life, each day, for $120 ($15x8). 

I'll take the #NotaryLife anyday.

You get to decide what works for you.

Isn't that awesome?

You owe absolutely no explanation to anyone about the fees you take and why you take them.

You get to decide what's right for you, at that time. 

It doesn't always "make sense" to those looking in. Hell, sometimes it doesn't always make sense to us.

When working with lower signing fees, at best, you've got  yourself a new business with a flexible schedule, a chance to make unlimited income, and you get to work a legit industry you can be proud to talk about.  At worst you've got a paid internship that will get you the experience you need to succeed.

And, there's magic in the motion.

When you're out here, in the arena, gettin' papercuts & ink stains, you increase the chances of the magical intersections of the very people and opportunities that will change your business, and your life, forever. 

What's it gonna be?




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