How to Make Money as a Notary Public
If you’re looking to start your own small business, you’ve probably been wracking your brain trying to come up with some low-cost options. As you know, commencing a business usually takes quite a bit of cash up-front to get things going. But there’s one possibility for a business you might not have thought about: becoming a mobile notary public.
Although you’re probably familiar with notary publics in general, you most likely haven’t heard of a “mobile” notary public. Read on to learn more about a new twist on an old profession that just might make you some easy money.
Whether you plan to earn some extra cash on the side or make it your full-time profession, developing a mobile notary public business can be done by following the information herein. Keep in mind you’ll likely need to be available at least some time to make notary calls during business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a licensed person who has completed training and a state exam regarding the statutes and duties of a notary. They can professionally witness signatures of individuals on official documents and issue official oaths. More specifically, many types of important papers require a notary’s signature and stamped impression to verify the authenticity of the signatures.
Depending on the state you live in, you’ll most likely be required to complete some fairly brief training — 3 hours in several states. Some states offer online courses in becoming a notary public while others have in-person classes that you must attend. Not all states require an exam and training. For instance, in Texas, no exam or training is required. You just fill out some paperwork and you’re basically a notary after that. However, pursuing some type of training is always a good ideal. Training can be as simple as watching a free video of your duties as a notary public which is usually offered from the place you get your notary license from. If your State does require an exam once you satisfactorily complete the training, you’re required to pass the exam and apply for state licensure.
In most states, a notary must be “bonded.” For example, notaries in the state of Florida must be bonded for $7,500. This means that in the event you make an error in your work, the company who bonded you will pay the harmed customer for the error. In essence, the bond is similar to professional liability insurance in the event you make a mistake as a notary.
The states of Florida, Maine, and South Carolina even allow notaries to conduct official wedding ceremonies that are “legal and binding,” if they’re performed only in the state that licensed you. Depending on your state, as a notary, you might also provide acknowledgments and affirmations or offer oaths and certify copies of original documents for your customers.
Although you could probably locate quite a few notary public in your area, you could be the first mobile notary public locally. This means you’ll travel to the people, offices, and organizations that need notary services, which is a great selling feature for the business.
What You’ll Need to Start Your Mobile Notary Business
Compared with other businesses, a notary public business won’t require huge investments of time, energy, or money. Take a look at what you’ll need:
Completion of your state’s requirements to become a notary public. Based on where you live, these requirements (as mentioned above) will most likely involve a brief educational course, the passage of a state exam, your bond, and a license to be a notary in your state.
A telephone where people can reach you.
Of course, you’ll need a contact telephone number so your customers can get hold of you. You can use your home phone number or a cell number. The advantage of using your cell phone is that you tend to have it with you at all times and you can access calls and messages quickly and easily.
A dependable car.
Since you’ll be traveling to most of your customers, you’ll need a vehicle that runs well.
Spiral notebook and pen.
Carry paper and pen to keep track of the miles you travel and the names and addresses of customers with a brief note including the date of what you did for them.
Your seal stamp.
You’ll be required to have a “stamper” that will make an imprint of your name and official seal on documents you notarize. The stamp also says you’re an official notary in your state.
Although not a requirement¸ a GPS will help you find your way efficiently from place to place.
Depending on how well you know the area where you live, a GPS could come in quite handy as a traveling notary.
A log book, if your state requires it.
A log book or journal is your record of sensitive information regarding the people for whom you performed notary services. It’s your record of what you did, who you did it for, what their legal address is, and how much you charged. Your state might require you to keep other relevant data in your log book.
Twenty of the 50 states in the U.S. require notaries to keep a log book. Those states also specify what must be done with the book upon your death or after you stop doing notary work.
Even if your state doesn’t indicate you must keep a log book, it’s a good idea to do so. Your journal will come in quite handy for you at tax time.
The key to being an efficient notary is to know well your own state’s statutes regarding notary public.
Marketing Your Notary Public Business
Unlike other small businesses, there are special precautions you must take whenever it comes to advertising your mobile notary public business. Consult the legal statues for notaries in your state as they will be your guide on how to advertise your notary business in an ethical manner.
Think about how to get your name out there in front of as many people as possible. Some items for consideration when advertising includes:
Mention you’re not an attorney in your advertising.
In many states, this is a requirement for notaries who aren’t attorneys when marketing their services. Further, it’s necessary to state you cannot provide legal advice nor can you accept any payment for it.
Avoid translating the term, “notary public” into any other language.
In some states, (Florida, for one) it is actually illegal to do so.
Refrain from showing your notary stamp in the advertisement.
Because your stamp is for use on legal documents only and must be paired with your own original (not copied) signature, using the stamp in advertising is ill-advised.
Ponder what types of notary services you wish to offer.
Focus in on your preferences.
For example, will you notarize real estate documents and transactions?
Will you perform wedding ceremonies if your state allows?
Are you willing to notarize wills, even if written in long-hand by a person?
Know the direction you wish to go so you can focus your marketing on your potential customers.
Know your state’s maximum established fees for each type of notarization before you advertise.
Different States have different fee amounts. Know what amounts can be charged for each service in your State.
Think about what you’ll charge to travel to the customer.
In making your decision for the fees to charge, consider what your state’s reimbursement mileage rates are. For example, if your state’s reimbursement rate is 45 cents per mile, would it be reasonable to charge double that amount or even round it up to $1.00 per mile round-trip?
How far will you travel to provide notary services?
Decide on your limits before getting your advertising plan together. You could say something like, “Will travel anywhere in the city limits of Utopia” or “Will come to your home or office anywhere in Williamson County.”
Set the days and hours you’re willing to work.
Keep in mind that since you’ll be traveling to and from your customers, your workday will begin a bit earlier and extend a bit later. For example, an advertised workday of 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. will allow you an hour at each end (morning and evening) to travel to and from your customers.
Use a variety of resources that are best for you to get the word out.
You have many choices: from television advertising (most expensive) to printing your own flyers (least expensive). You can advertise through radio spots, put up a sign on your property (if allowed where you live), and put ads in local and area newsletters, newspapers, and magazines.
You should consider having a website. You just need a basic self-hosted website for this. If you’re not sure how to start or go about that first you’ll need to choose a domain name and web-host provider. You’ll also need a theme (free or paid). Finding a suitable free one should be fine. However, if you see yourself branching out eventually and offering other related services, a premium theme may work better. The last thing you will need is an email service provider if you really want to up your notary business. Building an email list can be a valuable tool for a notary public. Having a client list to send emails and keep them in the loop will keep your customers coming back to you.
Business cards could be your pathway to success.
Remember to keep plenty of business cards on hand. Use your business cards to “sprinkle” your name and contact information everywhere you go. For example, almost every restaurant and café has a bulletin board or some other type of way to display a business card for its customers.
Tack up business cards on your grocery stores’ boards. Leave them on the counter at your barber, hairdresser, cleaners, and car mechanic’s garage. Give one or two to everyone you meet. Leave them in reception areas at doctor’s offices.
Business cards are relatively cheap to have printed at your local office supply stores like Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot. The more you have printed, the less you pay per card.
Also, if you have a computer and printer, you can easily design and print your own cards at home at very little cost. All you have to do is purchase pre-perforated pages of business-size cards, also at the office supply store.
Growing Your Notary Public Business
Now that you understand all about how to establish and market your new mobile notary public business, you’ll want to take steps to grow your business. Expanding your business to ensure ongoing work is necessary for your financial livelihood.
These techniques will keep business dollars rolling in:
Find your niche.
For example, if you live in or near a senior community, maybe you could specialize in notarizing wills, both in attorney’s offices and in your customer’s homes.
Establish relationships with people in the community that regularly require notary services.
Attorneys and business owners are people you should become acquainted with.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce.
Most cities and towns have a group of business owners who get together monthly to share ideas and help one another expand their businesses. You’ll become acquainted with many business leaders who will eventually start utilizing your services and telling others about them.
Know your community.
When you know your community, you’ll have steady business. In terms of a small business start-up, a mobile notary public business may be the way to go. You get to be out and about all
day, interact with people from all walks of life, and earn some money with few overhead costs. As a supplemental job to your full-time position or as your only career, consider becoming a mobile notary public to beef up your incoming dollars.
Even if being a Mobile Notary is not quite a stay at home job, you still get to set your own hours. There is no boss to answer to (you are the BOSS) unless you choose to go work for a company that offers notary services. But why do that when you can work for yourself, work when it’s convenient for you, and still make good money? Notaries are always needed. They are in high demand and you can find plenty of work on your own. Just start advertising and definitely set up a website to get the word out and be professional. Get your business cards and you are good to go. Start out part-time or go all in full-time. So, while this isn’t a standard Work from Home gig, it still falls into the category so to speak.
Many people who need a Notary may not be able to travel to a Notary’s office. That’s where you come in! If you’re willing to do a little driving it’s the perfect job. Just charge an extra travel fee along with your regular notary fee to compensate for having to travel. Whatever path you choose, the most important aspect is to become skilled at marketing yourself and be impartial when dealing when signing documents.
Becoming a notary will make you marketable and increase your value. Having the title of notary also looks good on a resume.
Since the requirements to become a notary vary from state to state, you must be a resident of the state in which you are applying, and have no convicted felonies.
Different Notary Jobs
Executive and Administrative Assistants sometimes become notaries. Especially if they work in a financial or legal field.
This one is the obvious choice for those that want to work from home as discussed earlier. Mobile notaries can travel to places of business, homes, or anywhere to provide notary services while others may choose to work out of an office. You can make nice supplemental income with the potential for full-time income if you are motivated enough. The amount of money you can make will partly depend on how much your state allows you to charge for notary services. The other part of the equation regarding how much money you make will depend on how far and how much you’re willing to travel. Someone who only wants to take on two assignments a day obviously will make less than someone who treats it like an 8 to 5 job and does assignments all day until can’t fit any more in. However, the beauty of being a mobile notary is that the choice is yours. You set your own hours. You are your own boss. You can take off when you want. That’s my kind of job!
To be successful in this area, market yourself to engaged couples, wedding coordinators, and wedding photographers. Think outside the box when it comes to related people and places that can help you market your business and who might need our services.
Real Estate Notaries
Branching out into the real estate arena can keep you quite busy! I know someone that makes a full time living being a notary in the real estate industry in Houston as there are many homes for sales in Houston. There are tons of houses being bought and sold every day. Agents, titles companies, customers, and more need notaries for all the paperwork involved in real estate transactions. I suggest you learn at least a little about real estate first. Some states require you have a particular license if you want to be a real estate notary. Other states do not. These are just a few of the many opportunities available to notaries. Start visiting neighborhood associations and home communities to become familiar with the process. Visiting will also help you network and meet not only businesses looking for notaries, but people buying homes.
The first step is to do the research to see the exact requirements for your State. After that, you can determine if you feel becoming a notary in your state is worth your while.
I’d love to hear your success stories about becoming a notary. If you’re already a notary share how it’s going for you.
p.s. stay tuned for my course on How to Become A Notary as well as a couple of more courses coming on specialized notary jobs. I won’t give too much away but stay tuned…
If you want to stay in the know join my waiting list for progress notifications, when the course launches, and inside news and tips HERE.
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