I get a call after 11PM, on a week night; someone has “about” 15 documents that they need notarized prior to 6AM. He tells me he had someone lined up, but they failed to show and were no longer reachable on their cell phone. The meeting would be “in about an hour”. I give him a reasonable notary fee, considering the hour, and the amount of notarizations. He feigns shock. “I thought it would cost me “chump change””. I guess he figured I was a “chump” and worked for “change”. Not liking my fee he says he “might” call back in an hour (guess he wants to make some more calls) and asks that I be available to take his “possible” call. That was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I told him that in 15 minutes I was going “off duty” for the night.
He thought that wanting 15 notarizations would qualify for a “quantity discount” significantly under the NY fee of 2$ per. He also wanted to ignore the hour and that I would be going to him. None of this was to be. After the 15 minutes I was “off duty” as far as he was concerned. Here in NY State we are allowed travel fees, however there is no mention in the regulations about an “insult surcharge” – I should bring that up to the Legislature.
Today I processed 4 rather complex Apostille documents. The preparation for these was non-standard and required “hard learned” techniques for receiving the necessary approvals. Received with full compliance for all applicable rules and regulations – nothing even slightly “gray” – but the methodology was far from routine. My client had initially asked for a quote for processing 18 similar documents. I gave a fair per document fee, and we had an agreement. When we met today he produced the 4 documents and handed me cash using the quantity 18 rate. “Sorry, that was not what we agreed upon”. This time my client was more realistic and agreed to a fee based on much lower quantity; also as previously discussed.
As professional mobile notaries we seem to be under appreciated, and suffer frequent attempts to “change the deal”. It also happens when payment is received in advance. I’m sure that I am not the only one to accept an assignment at a fixed price to discover that the number of notarizations required has grown significantly. If there were supposed to be 5 and 7 are required, that is a “live with it” to me. But, changing from 5 to 17 is not in the same ballpark. “But you’re already here”, is often the logic. Sometimes they have multiple copies of the same document “but these are just copies”; I say they can make copies on a copier; but they are often not considered to be notarized documents. I tell them to ask their Dentist to fix the adjacent tooth for free, as they are “already there” and he is “working in the area”. No Novocain for that tooth!
With signings the flower of deceit blooms to the size of the Audrey plant in “Little Shop of Horrors”. Somehow they neglect to mention that the “routine refi” is: 185 pages per set, 38 notarizations are required and will be signed by one person using a POA, faxing requirements are added in the edoc but not on the confirmation (for each notarization), and, and, and, you get the point. You know what “rolls down hill”, often the signing service is not aware, as their client misrepresented the job to them. YOU are at the bottom of that hill, and the poo is squarely on you – IF YOU LET IT BE.
“But if I object and ask for more money they might not call me again” – is often said on the Forum in this type of situation. Perhaps, but do you really want every “hard luck”, tough to process, time consuming assignment they can give you for bottom dollar? Remain silent and “take it” and you can be sure you are coded in their computer as being “flexible”. That is a euphemism for “Sucker”, a term they don’t like to put in the database.
When the attempt to exploit you reaches the “insult” stage – you must let the other party know that they are speaking to a knowledgeable professional aware of the value of their skills and their time. Let them know that if they are seeking the cheapest notary in town; they dialed the wrong number. You have to be fair and not exploit their situation; that’s the other side of the coin. Having fair rates and sticking to them; neither granting fee “favors” or taking improper advantage is the way to grow your business.