I think it's important that notary signing agents have a cancellation policy in force.
Doing loan closings is our livelihood. We are not salaried employees. If a company calls us to do a closing at 5PM on Monday, then cancels it at 4PM, we should be compensated.
Why get paid? You didn't do anything.
You should get paid because of the potential income that you lost. If another company called you to do a closing around that time, and you had to turn them down because of a possible schedule conflict, that is money that you have lost. And it's business that you have lost, because that company is going to find another notary signing agent. And there is also repeat business to consider. You can't get repeat business from a company, if you haven't had a chance to work with them. So we lose out in many respects when a company cancels a closing request.
Moreover, I don't believe that companies have the right to put a hold on notary signing agents, and assume that we belong to them for that entire evening. We are independent contractors. We have other jobs to do. We have bills to pay, and mouths to feed. And if you book us for a particular time slot, be prepared to pay if you have to cancel at the last minute. It's the right thing to do.
Signing agents, when you make your cancellation policy, set a fee that you expect to be paid if the company cancels at the last minute, and be clear about what constitutes "last minute" to you. And be firm about collecting payment.
Here is an example of a dentist cancellation policy. This dentist will charge a fee if you cancel in less than 24 hours: