Pricing: How does a Notary stay in business?

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There have been a few instances in the last few years when clients or potential clients have scoffed at a price quote for the Notary Services we provide.  Still, I have to be understanding, as Mr. and Mrs. Joe Six-pack in the here-and-now of 2013 continue to have little understanding about what a Notary is or does.  I'm actually quite proud of my pricing structure (and the fact that I rarely alter it) but admit I wish everyone understood what goes into it.


Here is how I break things down:  

First of all, my services (all of them) are mobile services.  I do not operate from a fixed location and as I provide these services across six counties in Southern California, prices are based upon the distance we travel.  I charge a "minimum" travel fee ($39) in my home county (Orange County, California) that covers almost the entire county.  

Next, the factor that is always involved (but that I rarely* charge for) is time.  Time spent from point A to point B, time spent in traffic that a client never sees, time spent delivering documents or sending via overnight or planning, printing documents, flagging documents for signature, conferring with originators regarding any questions or instructions regarding those documents all take up time and require time and attention.

Notary Signatures (which vary from state to state) which are [in California] $10 each.  That may sound like alot, but consider that we must take personal responsibility-since 2008-under penalty of perjury for each acknowledgment we stamp that the signer is indeed who they claim to be.  We are sworn and commissioned to uphold that sacred duty.  We take our oath very seriously.

Another factor, and not to be taken lightly is the cost of fuel.  Recently, gas prices in Southern California spiked to over $4.50/gallon.  I took a long hard look at raising my prices to stop losing money due to fuel prices and ultimately didn't have to go there.  We may revisit that decision again in the future as all business entities must and I fear fuel prices will be the trigger for that.  Every year since beginning our service, gasoline has been the largest expense for our business.

Finally, I also have a particular expertise as a Notary Signing Agent and a Certified Loan Signing Agent.  These fancy sounding terms simply mean that (with over 10,000 loan signings to date personally) I can guide you through your loan signing in such a way that you will have a better understanding of what you are signing than had you been left on your own to navigate the process.  Very few Loan Officers or Mortgage Brokers sit in on their own signings these days.  While Notaries cannot and should not comment upon the specifics of any document set (as they/we are not qualified to do that) we most certainly do present what "is" and give clients general information about the documents seen at the signing.  Loan signings are a "package" price which take into consideration all the factors mentioned on this page.

Nobody wants to pay more for things.  Simply consider that the services you are receiving should be provided by an experienced professional because choosing less may not deliver the result you desire.


Visit our "Fee Schedule" page for details.

*Note: The "rare" incident of charging for time occurs when we have arrived on time for an agreed appointment and must wait for a signer to arrive or when we turn down other work and client cancels or creates wait/hardship.



Comments (2)

Terrie Gillett
Notary San Rafael - San Rafael, CA
Certified Loan Signing Agent & Mobile Notary

Shannon, this is so well stated!  As a fellow mobile notary and certified signing agent in Northern California, the one small point I would add is the time and fuel from Point B back to Point A.  For me, with my freeways, I can generally zip to my appointments, but the getting to FedEx afterwards seems to always land me in bumper to bumper.

I take pride in the fact that this is one service industry that still offers home service, and actually for a relatively minor fee.  Not sure what Home Vets or Doctors charge (do doctors even make house calls anymore???), but it sure isn't $39.

Just my 2 cents...  Thanks for your post.

Terrie Gillett

Sep 04, 2013 06:24 AM