That's a primary concern for notary signing agents. The fastest I have ever been paid is one day. It was from a mortgage company up in Fort Collins. They must have mailed the check as soon as they hung up the phone. The slowest was 85 days. They backdated the check to make it appear that I was paid 40 days later.
Having to wait 40 days isn't unreasonable in this business, considering we're lucky to be paid at all. So when should you start making efforts to get paid? It really depends on the company. They all have different accounting practices. Some have no accounting practices at all. They just pay you when they get around to it.
Some signing agents start worrying after 2 weeks, and start making calls then. I imagine that, because non-payment is such a big issue, they're afraid that if they don't start making a fuss soon, they won't get paid. I'm a patient person. I just wait. Eventually the check will arrive in the mail. However, for the company that took 85 days, I started calling around 60 days. And I called every week after that until I finally received payment. Will I work for them again? It's hard to say.
The reason is that, there are many reasons why payment may be delayed. Sometimes payment delays are caused by turnover in the company. The person who was handling the books left. The person who steps in has a huge backlog to take care of. Another time my check was delayed because the company left off part of the address. If you're having trouble getting paid, you might want to ask if they have all of the required paperwork from you. Some companies won't pay you unless they have a W-9. What method of invoicing do they use? Do they require you to send them an invoice? Or is the invoice automatically generated? And if you have to send an invoice, what method do they prefer -- fax, email, or mail? I worked for one company that accepted invoices by fax. Then they changed their policy and insisted that invoices be mailed to them. If you didn't read the fine print, you can expect to have to wait a long time.
How long a signing agent should wait before they start taking steps to get paid is something they'll have to decide for themselves. Try to be patient. If you had a job that paid you once a week, or every 2 weeks, keep in mind that this is a totally different world. And if you finally get paid after 85 days, consider yourself lucky. There are some signing agents who are still waiting after a year. Good luck.