How to Make Money as a Notary

By Andrea Delgado

Published:

Side Hustles

Andrea Delgado

Andrea Delgado

Writer & Career Coach

Did you know that a simple signature can hold the key to unlocking extra income? Discover how to make money as a notary and turn your signature into a valuable asset. This article delves into the practical avenues for generating supplemental income through a notary side hustle. Learn concrete strategies and opportunities that showcase the impactful ways notarization can help you earn extra money. Whether you’re seeking a flexible side gig or a meaningful way to boost your earnings, the world of notary work holds untapped potential.


What does a Notary do?


A notary plays a pivotal role in verifying the authenticity of legal documents and signatures. As a notary, you act as an impartial witness, preventing fraud and ensuring the legality of transactions.


How to Become A Notary


To become a notary, you typically need to meet certain requirements, which may include a minimum age, residency, and legal eligibility. The process usually involves completing an application, taking a notary education course, passing an exam if required, and paying the associated fees. The process of becoming a notary varies from state to state, but here are the common steps involved in becoming a notary public:

  • Check Eligibility: Review your state’s notary requirements to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. This usually includes being at least 18 years old, having legal residency in the state, and not having a serious criminal history.
  • Education Requirement: Some states require you to take a notary education course. Check if your state has this requirement and find approved courses if needed.
  • Application: Fill out the notary application provided by your state’s notary regulating agency. This application typically requires personal information and may require you to disclose any past criminal convictions.
  • Bond or Insurance: Depending on the state, you might need to purchase a surety bond or an Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance policy. This helps protect against any errors you might make as a notary.
  • Exam (If Applicable): In some states, you might need to pass a notary exam after completing the education requirement.
  • Fingerprinting and Background Check: Certain states require fingerprinting and a background check as part of the application process.
  • Application Fee: Pay the application fee, which can vary by state.
  • Oath of Office: You might need to take an oath of office, either before a notary or another authorized official.
  • Bond and Oath Filing: File your bond and oath with your state’s notary regulating agency.
  • Purchase Supplies: Obtain the necessary supplies, including a notary seal/stamp and a notary journal to record your notarial acts.
  • Receive Commission: Once your application is approved and all requirements are fulfilled, you’ll receive your notary commission.
  • Know Your State Laws: Familiarize yourself with your state’s notary laws and regulations to ensure you’re conducting notarial acts correctly.
  • Renewal: Notary commissions are usually valid for a certain number of years (often 4 years). You’ll need to renew your commission when it expires by following the renewal process set by your state.

Remember that these steps can vary based on your location. It’s essential to follow the specific requirements of your state to become a notary.

How long does it take and how much does it cost to become a Notary?

The timeframe and costs vary depending on your location and jurisdiction, but with dedication, it’s feasible to become a notary within a few months. Here’s a general overview:

  • Time: The process of becoming a notary can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This includes time for completing the application, taking any required education courses, passing an exam (if applicable), and waiting for your application to be approved.
  • Cost: The costs associated with becoming a notary also vary based on the state’s regulations. Here are some common expenses according to nationalnotary.org:
  • Application Fee: This is the fee you pay to apply for a notary commission. It can range from around $25 to $200, depending on the state.
  • Education Course: Some states require you to take a notary education course. The cost of these courses varies, but they typically range from $50 to $150.
  • Exam Fee: If your state requires you to pass an exam, there may be an additional fee for taking the exam. This can range from $20 to $50.
  • Notary Seal and Supplies: You’ll need to purchase a notary seal and other supplies like a notary journal. The cost for these can range from $20 to $100.
  • Background Check and Fingerprinting: Some states require a background check and fingerprinting, which can cost around $50 to $100.
  • Renewal Fees: Notary commissions are usually valid for a certain number of years. You’ll need to renew your commission when it expires, which involves paying renewal fees that can range from $25 to $100.
  • Optional E&O Insurance: While not required in all states, Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance can provide coverage in case of errors or mistakes in your notary work. The cost of E&O insurance varies based on coverage limits and the provider.

Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and can vary based on your location and specific circumstances. It’s important to research the requirements and costs in your state to get an accurate understanding of what it will take to become a notary.

Can I Complete an Online Notary Education Program?

Many states do offer online notary education courses that you can take to fulfill the educational requirement for becoming a notary public. These courses are designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge about notary laws, practices, and procedures. They usually cover topics like identifying signers, completing notarial certificates, handling different types of documents, and understanding ethical considerations.

It’s important to check the specific requirements of your state, as each state has its own regulations for becoming a notary. Some states may require you to take an approved education course, either in-person or online, while others might not have this requirement at all.


How to Make Money as a Notary


How Much Can I Make as a Notary?

The earning potential of a notary can vary based on factors such as location, demand, and services offered. On average, a notary’s hourly rate can range from $10 to $40 or more.

Notary Services

  • Acknowledgments: A foundational notary service, acknowledgments involve verifying the identity of the signer and their willingness to sign a document. For instance, this could be a signer acknowledging the sale of a property.
  • Jurats: In jurats, notaries certify that a statement in a document was made under oath or affirmation. For instance, a jurat might be used when someone is signing an affidavit confirming their identity for a legal matter.
  • Administering Oaths and Affirmations: Notaries have the authority to administer oaths or affirmations for affidavits and statements. For example, a notary might administer an oath for a witness providing testimony in a legal case.
  • Verification of Fact: Notaries play a role in confirming the accuracy of information, which is crucial in real estate transactions. For instance, they might verify that the information provided in a property transfer document aligns with existing records.
  • Certifying Copies: Notaries can certify copies of original documents, providing an official confirmation of their authenticity. For example, a notary might certify a copy of a birth certificate for use in legal proceedings.
  • Protests for Non-Payment: Notaries can protest negotiable instruments like checks that are not honored due to non-payment. This involves a formal process that can be used, for example, when a business receives a bounced check.
  • Affidavits: Notaries witness the signing of sworn statements used as evidence in legal matters. An example might be an individual signing an affidavit detailing their account of an accident.
  • Depositions: During depositions, notaries administer oaths to witnesses who provide sworn testimonies. This is common in legal proceedings such as court cases.
  • Safe Deposit Box Verification: Notaries can verify the contents of a safe deposit box, which might be required during estate planning or property transfer processes.
  • Attestations: Notaries attest to the authenticity of a signature on a document. For instance, they might attest to the legitimacy of a person’s signature on a power of attorney document.
  • Issuing Apostilles and Authentications: Notaries provide international verification of documents’ authenticity through apostilles and authentications. This is crucial for documents used in foreign countries, such as academic transcripts for international students.
  • Marriage Services: Some notaries are authorized to officiate weddings and certify marriage licenses. They play a role in making marriages legally binding.
  • Electronic Notarization and Remote Online Notarization (RON): With the advent of technology, notaries can now perform notarizations electronically or remotely via video conferencing. This modern approach enhances convenience, especially for clients who are unable to meet in person.
  • Immigration Documents: Notaries assist with notarizing documents related to immigration processes. This could involve notarizing affidavits or supporting documents required for immigration applications.
  • Vehicle Title Transfers: Notaries verify signatures on vehicle title transfer documents, ensuring the legitimacy of ownership changes.

Please note that the complexity and demand for these services can impact the fees charged. It’s important to align the service you provide with your expertise and the needs of your clients.

What Other Services Can a Notary Offer?

  • Mobile Notary Services: In response to the modern demand for convenience, notaries provide mobile services, traveling to clients’ locations. This service is especially beneficial for elderly or disabled clients who might find it challenging to visit an office.
  • Real Estate Closings: Notaries play a crucial role in real estate transactions by facilitating the signing of documents during property closings. Their presence ensures that all parties involved properly execute the necessary paperwork, promoting a smooth transfer of ownership. This service is pivotal in the real estate industry and often requires notaries to have a deep understanding of property transaction processes.
  • Loan Document Signing Agent: Specializing in loan document signing, notaries assist with financial transactions by ensuring that loan documents are signed and notarized accurately. They provide a critical link between borrowers and lenders, contributing to the seamless execution of loans. This service demands meticulous attention to detail, as even a minor error can have significant financial implications.
  • Notary for Legal Firms: Legal firms rely on notaries to authenticate documents for various legal proceedings. Notaries help law firms ensure the validity of signatures, affidavits, and other legal documents. Their involvement is particularly crucial when building strong cases and ensuring the legality of legal processes.
  • Notary Workshops: Sharing their expertise, notaries offer educational workshops to guide individuals through the process of becoming notaries themselves or understanding notary procedures. These workshops empower participants with the knowledge needed to navigate the notary landscape confidently.
  • Estate and Trust Notarizations: Notaries provide an essential service in the realm of estate planning by notarizing wills, trusts, and other documents related to estate distribution. Their involvement lends an air of authenticity and legality to these sensitive matters.
  • Translation and Notarization: Bilingual notaries offer a valuable service by translating documents and then notarizing both the original and translated versions. This dual service ensures that individuals who speak different languages can understand and endorse legal documents accurately.
  • Business Services: Notaries play a significant role in the business world by notarizing contracts, agreements, and other business-related documents. Their involvement adds a layer of authentication to vital business transactions.
  • Document Preparation: In addition to notarization, notaries assist clients in preparing legal documents. This service combines document creation with proper notarization, offering clients a comprehensive solution.

Key Considerations and Challenges of a Notary Side Hustle


Engaging in a notary side hustle involves several crucial considerations and potential challenges:

  • Building a Client Base: Establishing a steady stream of clients requires effective marketing and networking efforts within your local community. Leverage your existing professional network and consider advertising your services through online platforms.
  • Balancing Time: Juggling your primary job with a notary side hustle requires careful time management. Striking a balance between your commitments is essential to ensure quality service in both roles.
  • Legal Liabilities & Insurance: As a notary, you are accountable for the accuracy and legality of the documents you notarize. However, obtaining Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance can provide coverage in case of errors, protecting you from potential legal consequences.
  • Unexpected Challenges: Be prepared for clients who lack proper identification or submit incomplete documents. Handling last-minute cancellations or scheduling conflicts requires flexibility and clear communication.
  • Staying Impartial and Unbiased: Maintaining impartiality and avoiding conflicts of interest is fundamental in notary work.
  • Document Review: Ensure documents are correctly filled out and comply with legal requirements before notarizing. Use your attention to detail to prevent errors that might affect the validity of the documents.

Conclusion


The notary field offers a range of opportunities. With the flexibility to offer various services and work settings, you can tailor your notary business to your strengths and preferences. The demand for notary services spans industries, from real estate and finance to legal and personal document notarization. Mobile notary services provide convenience while specializing in areas like loan document signing, legal firms, or translation and notarization can set you apart. As businesses and individuals require reliable notary services, this path offers the potential for a steady income.

Embarking on the journey into the notary field is an invitation to seize a realm of possibilities. Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, explore a new career avenue, or leverage your existing skills, the notary field holds doors wide open. So, take that step, immerse yourself in the world of notarization, and be ready to witness your efforts translate into tangible success. The opportunities are ripe, and your journey as a notary promises growth, fulfillment, and the chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those you serve.

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Andrea Delgado

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