When you can Work Less & Make More With a Signing Service

Services for Real Estate Pros with LDH Services

Work smarter, not harder.  We all want to get paid the most money possible for our time.  Just like all of the Notaries out there, we hate it! Hate It! Hate it! When a signing company gets half of the fees while you do ALL of the work. 

BOTTOM LINE:  If you accept an assignment from a Signing Service that is close to home and has a low number of pages, you aren't necessarily making a mistake; you are actually getting paid at a higher hourly rate!  Not to mention the quantity of these signings is higher since they have access / contracts with the large banking institutions like WAMU, Wells Fargo and Chase.

Don't get me wrong, in a perfect world I would get the full fees for Job #1 which would be significantly more.

When you can Work Less and Make More with an SS


JOB #1 -


Reputable Signing Company


Fee - $65

JOB #2 -


Reverse Mortgage, Title Company


Fee - $125


Reverse Mortgage

4 miles to destination

35.5 Miles to destination

Total Pages - 65



Total Pages - 283

124, plus an additional 124 (copy for borrowers) and a 35 page instruction packet for borrowers


Preparation Time (printing), 20-30 minutes

Preparation Time (printing) 1 Hour

Fuel Cost - $3.84

4 miles at .48/mile *2

Fuel Cost - $34.08

35.5 miles at .48/mile *2

Signing Time - 1 Hour

Signing Time -  1 ½ hour

Total Travel time -  30 minutes


15 minutes there, 15 back

Total Travel time -  128 minutes

44 minutes there, 44 back

Allow for traffic - 20 minutes both ways













TOTAL TIME =  4.5 Hours



(Fee) $65 - (expenses) $7.09 / (time) 2 hours =              $26.00       (hourly rate)

(Fee) $125 - (expenses) $34.08 / 4.5 Hours =                        $20.20 (hourly rate)



$26.00 / Hourly

$20.20 / Hourly


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Ronald Gillis
Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent) - Port Charlotte, FL
CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY

I like your calculations, and that is a good point.  BTW, I like your pic better than what you have up, BUT I do like that pic as well.  You should put your pic back up, and use the 'signing paper' pic on your profile.....  :-D  my 2 cents anyway!


Oct 10, 2007 02:34 PM #1
Margaret O'Daniel
NM Notary Loan Signing Agent - Albuquerque, NM


We like your mug better! I agree work less get paid more.  Less headaches and you know what you have to do.  New companies have their little weirdness.  Though they are good for experiences.  Happy Signings all!

Oct 11, 2007 11:49 AM #2
Lacey D. Horton
LDH Services - Heath, TX
Certified Signing Agent Texas

Thanks for the advice Ron and Margaret, I changed the mug shot, enjoy!


Oct 12, 2007 12:21 AM #3
Find a Notary Public needAnotary
QEC Internet Services - Long Beach, CA

Lacey, I’ve got one better.  We have a lot of one-page traffic school documents from my site.  I contend they are much more profitable that any loan docs you can sign. 

I'm in California, where the legal maximum notary fee is $10.00, excluding travel.  

Any assignment within 5 minutes travel from my home I notarize for free.  However, I do have a minimum $25 trip charge.  Usually, I meet my client at a local coffee show a block from my residence.

It takes me all of 5 minutes to walk there.  I'm usually with the client 5 -7 minutes.  I do charge $1.00/minute if I have to wait for them to take the test or arrive at the coffee shop.

I get back home 9 out of 10 times within 15 minutes after I left with a cool $25 cash in my pocket.

You example above doesn’t factor in the time value of money ad even with reputable companies it can take 60 to 90 days to get paid.

At $25 for 15 minutes of effort, equates to $100/hr. What makes it profitable is the traffic school office has our site bookmarked and has my profile page individually bookmarked so I can usually depend on 2-3 calls weekly. Plus, all out of area calls go to notaries in our network.  

You'll be amazed at how your annual income can be affected, if you have 15 to 20 unique firms monthly giving you 2-3 small bits of business regularly.  You’d also be amazed at the number of people who have to go through traffic school and choose the online option, which require a form to be notarized. 

I've had people track me down at a restaurant to get the forms completed before the deadline expires.  Believe it or not!  I had one guy drive from Riverside County (about 45 miles) to get a form notarized, that after I assured him he could help him find a local notary.  Once I meet with the client, I inquired as to why he traveled so far; his response was the Class Instructor guy gave him my name!

A little over the top! But the cash was spendable.
Oct 25, 2007 07:58 PM #4
Lacey D. Horton
LDH Services - Heath, TX
Certified Signing Agent Texas


Thanks for taking your time to comment. I think a lot of people make the mistake of not taking into consideration the time and expenses involved in doing a job.  They simply think about how much they are being offered without considering the total profitability. It's great that you are making cash on the spot. 

Best of luck to you!



Oct 26, 2007 12:08 AM #5
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate
Lacey- Your chart, and Ntsike's comment were good visuals to put this into perspective.  I do a lot of small jobs as well, and they only take a few minutes.....love it.
Nov 10, 2007 03:10 AM #6
Lacey D. Horton
LDH Services - Heath, TX
Certified Signing Agent Texas
Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read my blog, Kathy. 
Nov 13, 2007 02:07 AM #7
Theresa Davis, San Diego Certified Signing Agent

I understand your point-of-view about working "smarter and not harder."  My experiences with signing agencies has been than acceptable.

Not only do I feel that $65 is nothing less than insulting for an experienced signing agent, I typically can earn more money in less time doing "public" work.  The signing agencies have all their special rules and policies that a notary is required to follow (I understand their necessity), but are not willing to pay a respectable fee for the "extra" work involved when going through a signing agency.  Most of the agencies I have worked with pay much less than 1/2 of what they charge.  Recently, I did a signup for a large and well known agency who charged the borrower $300 and yet paid me $75.00!  That is just plain greedy! If I had known up front what the agency was charging (it's on the HUD) versus what they were paying, I would never have accepted the job.  I could name many other examples where the fee was far less than 1/2 of what they charged.

I no longer work with signing agencies and yet have managed to fill my time with public notary jobs, and I don't have to wait 2-3 months to get paid!

If you belong to National Notary Association, they now have a section where you can rate the signing agency.  It's a good place to look before accepting a job.

I undertand the market is difficult these days, but Signing Agents should place a greater value on their time, skills, and expenses involved in this business. As many other segments of society, we have experienced a significant decrease in work, yet tremendous increases in cost of living, gasoline, insurance, food, business supplies, marketing, etc.  $65 just doesn't cut it.

Feb 04, 2008 10:36 AM #8
Joan Bergstrom
Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary - Riverside, CA
Mobile Notary, Riverside CA

I am a notary public and  that statement means I do a lot of notary work that has nothing to do with loan signing.  I am in Riverside Ca and today I made $65 for doing a swearing in for a deposition.  The person was an invalid and had to do the depo on the telephone.

I was out of the house in approximately 10 minutes.  I love this type of notary work.

  I also did 2 loan signings today and I think the refi market is going to really take off in CA in the next few months.

Feb 04, 2008 04:47 PM #9
Renee Kovacs
Renee A. Kovacs NSA Services - Northville, MI

I think you did a really nice job presenting this, but I do think you might have over-looked quite a few factors in your calculations.  Two points:

 1) These calculations aren't considering any of your overhead costs of doing business - such as insurance, advertising, maintainence/purchase of hardware, subscriptions/dues for memberships (particularly the 'listing' sites), cell phone, internet service, fax service, postage, software, pens, binder clips, etc, etc, etc.  

 Perhaps a better measure of your actual cost-per-signing would be to divide your total annual business expenses by the number of signings performed during that time period.  Not only will this be an accurate cost/profit illustration, it will most likely be quite an eye-opener.

2)  Think about this - if every one of the bazillion NSA's out there accepted these lower fees, only restricting them to the ones very local, what would the effect on the overall market be?

 There's just no way to justify lower-than-professional fees without impacting the whole industry in a rather unsavory way, no matter how many conditions you put on it.  Unfortunately, it can take a whole year (until the next time we do our taxes) for it to become so evident that volume does not necessarily equal profit.   

Feb 05, 2008 07:39 AM #10
Kelly Robertson
LoanSigner101 - Canyon Lake, CA

Great Post!

I like my business model:  Zip Code to Zip Code (easy to remember)

To go from zip code A to zip code B costs me the same in gas and vehicle wear and tear to sign ONE QUICK DOC or an entire set of loan docs. 

Of course, there are other factors to consider, such as those Renee pointed out. 


Feb 05, 2008 11:09 PM #11
Lacey D. Horton
LDH Services - Heath, TX
Certified Signing Agent Texas
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses!
Feb 06, 2008 02:35 AM #12
Find a Notary Public needAnotary
QEC Internet Services - Long Beach, CA

I believe your time estimates might require modifications, especially here in Southern California.  5 miles of travel can be a 20-minute trip.  65 pages with complete double-checking and collection of signature only are on average about 30 - 45 minutes.  Then you to spend 20 minutes to notaries and prepare the docs for shipping back to the lender or title.  

Then there is a matter of drop-off at the shipper, Transbox, FedEx, UPs, etc.  I would better guess the time for complete signing is more like about 2.25 hours.  The real question becomes what is your Internal Rate of Return.  Personally, I would not do a signing for $65.00 and no lender who I work with would consider asking me for such a ridiculous low rate. 

If you are accepting $65 as a base price for notary signing, I would strongly suggest that you raise the quality of your client.  You cannot become financially successful as a mobile notary public with such a fee structure.  It might cover the cost of gas buy a lunch every now and again, but you won’t build an independent business at $65 per signing.

I sincerely hope that one day the consciousness of notaries could be elevated such that they refuse work from signing agencies and reject a $65 fee offer.  The quality of life for all notaries is lowered when any notary public accepts a lowball offer for a notary assignment. I think the real question is what is the value of YOUR services and time and how do YOU find clients will and agreeable to paying a price consistent with YOUR Market Value.

Our newsletter shares sound ideas with our notary member, and we find they won’t use proven ideas and ultimately select the passive choice of waiting on calls from signing companies instead of making rain and giving people reasons to call.  This business is not about who has the lowest price, but NOTARIES by their action and responses are making it seem that way.

I welcome the day when a notary can base their fees, upon the mandatory state fees and the incremental value they bring through their diligence, training, experience, travel, convenience fee and out of pocket expenses, like gas and wear and tear on a vehicle.
Feb 27, 2008 10:46 AM #13
Pamela Knight
Urban Knight Enterprises, Inc. - Phoenixville, PA

I have put together a zipcode directory for the target counties that I cover.  It is color coded for each zipcode within a county and by the amount I would charged based on the distance from my office (roundtrip).  This has save me on many occassions from taking jobs that were not worth the pain and suffering.  It took about 2 days to put it together and it is a worth while tool to have.  I also a convenience fee which is based on a flat hourly rate of $30.00.  Great Blogs! 

Mar 05, 2008 05:32 AM #14
Joan Bergstrom
Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary - Riverside, CA
Mobile Notary, Riverside CA

It's can become difficult sometimes within a zip code. 

 I live at the start of a zip code: Riverside CA 92507 and the end is at the beginning of Grand Terrace CA and the difference between the 2 cities can be 15 minutes or 30+ minutes if the traffic on the 215 is congested.

Mar 05, 2008 04:39 PM #15
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Lacey D. Horton

Certified Signing Agent Texas
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