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No idea how to make money as a notary? Perhaps you’re new to the field and are wondering where to start. For that, we’ve got you covered.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no high-level skills required to notarize documents and administer legal oaths.
As long as you’re over 18, a legal resident of your state, and possess a clean criminal record, you’re ready to embark on a lucrative side hustle as a notary public.
Why Notary Public?
Obtaining a notary public license allows you to earn more money in the legal field, where trustworthiness is essential for success.
Plus, most states have simple, straightforward qualifications that are easy to comprehend.
Making money as a notary public is commonly associated with law offices and companies that operate fee-for-service.
Alternatively, you have the choice to work independently, either full-time or part-time.
However, you will have a more consistent income if you work for an establishment.
Usually, the initial investment in becoming a notary public can range from $100 to $500.
When starting a business, it’s fair to say that the mentioned price range is relatively low.
That said, keep in mind that you will need to consider other operational costs, such as insurance, utilities, consumables, and so on.
Becoming a Notary Public
Before you start thinking about making money as a notary public, it’s essential to learn how to become one first.
The process required to become a notary is different in each state, so the procedure will vary depending on where you live.
That said, the basic qualifications and steps you must take to be a notary are essentially consistent.
To begin, you must meet all state requirements for the position. The state’s official website usually has the qualifications listed.
Once you are confident that you are qualified, fill out the appropriate application form.
Don’t expect the process to be free, as there will always be mandatory fees.
Specifically, you’ll be paying for a notary stamp together with a record book after you obtain the notary commission provided by the state.
Your state may also ask you to obtain a surety bond for public protection.
After that, you’ll have to undergo some training, which you can complete via various state-approved education vendors.
Once you are done with all of the procedures, you’ll soon be making money as a notary public.
What Services Does a Notary Public Offer?
You will operate various types of notarial acts once you are commissioned.
A few of the most common services are acknowledgments, wherein a document signer acknowledges that their signature appears on the document.
Another is processing jurats, where another signer swears that the contents of a document are genuine via an oath or affirmation.
Most notaries require payment in exchange for these services.
However, the fees must be consistent with the prices set by the state they are in for each notarization or process.
You may also charge the clients a travel fee if you meet them personally to offer them your services.
Other fees are also legal and legitimate if the signer is aware and willing to pay for them.
How To Make Money as a Notary: 9 Essential Tips
Establishing yourself as a self-employed notary isn’t rocket science.
However, there are a few key steps you should take to increase your chances of success. These include:
1. Do your research.
The National Notary Association website contains lots of information about making a notary public application across different states.
State notary fees and policies vary across the country, so you must familiarize yourself with the rules before going ahead with your plans.
The National Notary Association also offers plenty of advice about how to become a notary and where to find a good training course.
2. Navigate the application process.
Most states require prospective notaries to complete the following steps:
- Submit a notary public application form at your nearest county clerk’s office.
- Undergo a notary course and pass the exam. This step isn’t mandatory in every state, but it is certainly advisable. If things go well, your county commission will elect you to become a notary.
- Obtain a surety bond and present it to your state government. Again, this isn’t mandatory in every state.
After completing these three steps, officials will approve your application and hand over your notary seal.
It is worth noting that you will need to pay several fees before you get to this stage, such as an application fee, exam costs, surety bond, and the seal itself.
In total, this could cost up to $500.
3. Advertise your services to locals.
You won’t get very far as a notary if you’re unable to grow your clientele.
That said, you can start making a name for yourself through both online and offline channels.
Quick and inexpensive methods to try could include:
These affordable platforms are easy to use and will help you establish an online presence.
If you’re unfamiliar with search engine optimization (SEO), it is worth learning the basics.
This way, you can push your site to the first page of search results.
- Printing flyers and business cards and giving them to local businesses
- Harnessing the power of social media by advertising your services on platforms like Facebook
- Placing advertisements on local listing sites and in local newspapers
- Telling your friends. You may be pleasantly surprised by the speed at which news spreads.
- Making connections in the real estate industry, as their clients often require signing services
- Promoting your services by being an active participant in your community
As you can imagine, volunteering at various local establishments will help put your name out there as a reliable, friendly notary public.
- Facilitating or co-sponsoring seminars about financial or identity theft
4. Charge the highest possible fee.
It might sound a little hard to believe, but the competition amongst notaries is relatively low.
After all, clients only pay a few dollars per document signed.
Unless you work in-house as a certified notary public, your income depends on the volume of documents you manage to sign in a given timeframe.
To make it worth your while, you will want to charge the maximum legal fee per notarized document.
5. Consider becoming a mobile notary.
While staying in your local area may seem like a comfortable option, you may not find sufficient opportunities to make a substantial income as a notary.
If you possess a suitable means of transport and can travel further afield, it is worth marketing yourself as a mobile notary.
Becoming one also makes the job more interesting, as you can charge up to an additional $75 per client.
Loan signing agents put together notary kits for traveling to make things easier.
6. Prepare to work holidays.
Notaries often attract the most business when banks and local businesses are closed, such as during holidays and weekends.
Working on the weekends and holidays may seem a little inconvenient.
However, freelance notaries have the freedom to set their own timetables and take days off during the week.
7. Go digital.
It is now possible to notarize documents online.
For freelance notaries, this means making money from the comfort of your own home.
To do this, you simply need to have a video meeting with your client to verify their identity.
8. Broaden your horizons.
If you’re new to the world of notarizing documents, your side hustle may take a few months or years to become genuinely lucrative.
In the meantime, it is worth using your status as a certified notary to deliver other services.
For example, notaries in Maine, Florida, and South Carolina can legally officiate weddings in their respective states.
You may also apply to become a Certified Signing Agent for mortgage applications and other financial products.
A few examples are legal documents, loan documents, and errors and omissions insurance.
Try to think outside the box and apply your skills in new contexts.
9. Consider becoming a Notary Signing Agent.
As mentioned, you can apply to be a certified signing agent.
When notarizing documents such as jurats and acknowledgments, a certified notary signing agent can potentially earn between $50 up to $150 per signing.
Many would say that adding this particular credential significantly increases your earnings when making money as a notary public.
The standard service provided by notary signing agents is to guide their clients on the loan signing process and ensure that all required documents are present.
Many agents operate independently, while some work for escrow, title, or mortgage companies.
While becoming a notary signing agent may be profitable, you will find a lot of competition.
An estimated 4.5 million notary public officers are currently in operation, with many already working as signing agents.
That said, get a sense of the competition in your area before considering it.
You can do this by using an online notary locator or getting in touch with a notary already performing loan signings.
How To Protect Your Notary Business
While earning money as a notary can be profitable, you should also keep your trade from possible hassles.
When working as a Notary Public, you may inadvertently make an error on any paperwork you process.
You may be consistently meticulous about your duties, but mistakes are always possible.
As such, it is critical to protect yourself from Notary Public risks.
When you skip providing your business with coverage, you could face an expensive lawsuit, court penalty fees, and cash settlement for clients affected by your mistake.
If you want to protect your Notary enterprise fully, you should get (E&O) Errors & Omissions Liability Insurance.
The annual premium for the coverage can range between $700 and $1,000.
Most would concur that the cost is low compared to the financial disaster you’ll sustain if you commit a grievous error during notarization.
Making Money as a Notary Public: The Bottom Line
Notary services are constantly in demand, which means there’s never been a better time to launch your journey as a freelance notary.
It’s a reliable source of extra money. If you want, you can become a full-time notary signing agent, offering services locally or even digitally.
Get started on the steps listed above and watch your professional dreams come true.
Interested in other ways to make money offline? Check out our post on How to Make Money in the Ministry!