Are you looking to start your own notary business and serve those in your community? If so, there are a few things you'll need to do to get started.
Now before we dive deep into how this small business works, here's an overview of what you'll learn:
- How To Become A Notary
- Different Types Of Notaries
- The Costs Of The Business Model
- How To Market Your Business
What Is A Notary Public?
A notary public is an individual authorized by the state to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths.
Notaries are unbiased third parties who ensure that the signers of a document are who they say they are and that they understand what they're signing. In some states, notaries are also allowed to officiate weddings.
Notaries are typically commissioned for a four-year term, after which they must renew their commission. Some states require notaries to take an exam to become commissioned, while others have different requirements.
For example, in Florida, notaries must complete a three-hour online course.
Once commissioned, a notary public must maintain a bond and an insurance policy in case he or she mistakes while performing notarial duties. The cost of the bond is typically between $500 and $1,000.
Notaries can perform their duties either as business employees or independent contractors. Many end up working as mobile notaries and choose to work as independent contractors so that they can set their own hours and rates.
Charging for mobile notary services usually works on a per-signature basis.
For example, a mobile notary might charge $15 per signature for general documents and $25 per signature for more complex legal documents. Some mobile notaries also charge travel fees if the signing is outside their normal service area.
Most mobile notaries accept payment via cash, check, or credit card.
Hiring a mobile notary is a good idea whenever you need to sign an important document but can't make it to a physical location.
For example, if you're moving out of state and need to sign some paperwork related to the sale of your home, you can hire a mobile notary to come to your new home and witness your signature.
Mobile notaries can also be helpful when witnesses must sign documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Hiring a mobile notary is more convenient than going to a physical location because it saves you time and money on travel costs.
The 10 Steps On How To Start A Notary Business
As a notary, you will be an important part of the legal system, serving as an impartial witness to signing important documents. To get started, there are a few things you need to do.
This blog post will outline the steps you need to take to start your notary business.
- Get your notary commission
- Purchase notary supplies
- Purchase insurance
- Set your fees
- Promote your business
- Stay up-to-date on notary laws and regulations
- Gain More Skills As A Mobile Notary Or Loan Signing Agent
- Form A Business Entity
- Open A Business Bank Account
- Create Standard Operating Procedures
Watch This YouTube Guide For Notaries By The NNA
1. Get Your Notary Commission
To become a notary, you must obtain a notary commission from your state. Requirements vary from state to state, but you must be 18 years old or older, have no criminal record, and pass a notary exam.
Most states do not require you to take an exam but are recommended to ensure that you are knowledgeable about notary laws and best practices.
Here are the states that require you to take an exam to start your notary public business:
- New York
- North Carolina
- Ohio, Oregon
You can find more information on becoming a notary in your state here.
2. Purchase Notary Supplies
Once you have your commission, you will need to purchase supplies, such as a notary stamp and journal. These supplies will be necessary to perform your duties as a notary.
It doesn't stop there, though. You will also want to purchase a printer, ink, paper, and a way to securely store your documents.
Make sure you save all of your receipts! Many of these items can be written off as business expenses come tax time.
You can find affordable resources through the NNA or National Notary Association.
3. Purchase Insurance And Surety Bond
You should purchase notary errors and omissions insurance to protect yourself from liability. This type of insurance will cover you if you make a mistake while performing your duties as a notary. Either way, almost all states require that you have E&O insurance and/or a surety bond.
When performing a notary service, you might never know what could happen. An E&O policy will protect you and will act as personal asset protection.
To find out how much E&O insurance you need and get quotes from different providers, use this E&O Insurance calculator.
4. Set your fees
As a notary, you are allowed to charge for your services. The going rate for notary services is typically between $5 and $15, depending on the state where you reside.
That does not sound like a lot, but most notary businesses will work under a legal document preparation company or as a mobile notary.
5. Promote Your Notary Business
Learning how to promote your notary business will be critical to your success. There are many ways to get the word out about your business, such as online directories, social media marketing, and word of mouth.
One of the best ways to promote your business is to join the National Notary Association (NNA). The NNA is the largest notary association in the United States and provides members with access to resources, discounts, and networking opportunities.
Another way to get your business name out there is by setting up a business stand at local events, such as business expos or career fairs.
Here you can meet potential partners such as:
- Loan Officers
- Real Estate Agents
- Title Companies
- Big Mortgage companies
You'll also want to create marketing materials to pass out, such as business cards and flyers, so that people can refer potential customers to you as the go-to notary public.
6. Stay Up-To-Date On Notary Laws And Regulations
It is important to stay current on all of the laws and regulations governing notaries in order to prevent any legal issues from arising in connection with your business.
Additionally, keeping up-to-date on changes in the law will help you provide the best possible service to your clients.
You can always take ongoing notary classes or join private communities, such as the Notary Rotary, to stay informed on the latest notary news and get answers to any questions you may have.
7. Gain More Skills As A Mobile Notary Or Loan Signing Agent
Working as a notary is great for stepping into legal services, but you can up your skills with more training.
You'll have the chance to become a loan signing agent or mobile notary.
Loan Signing Agent:
As a loan signing agent, you will facilitate loan signings for mortgage documents.
Mortgage loan signings are a crucial part of the loan process. As a notary signing agent, you will be responsible for ensuring that all mortgage documents are properly signed and notarized.
To become a loan signing agent, you must complete a notary loan signing agent training course.
After completing the course, you can confidently provide loan signings for your clients to facilitate mortgage documents.
You will provide notary services to clients at their homes or businesses as a mobile notary.
Of course, there are pros and cons to any business you try, and you'll have to drive your vehicle to meet with clients, meaning you'll need to consider wear and tear and gas costs.
That being said, with a mobile notary business, you'll be able to set your own hours and work as little or as much as you want.
8. Form A Business Entity
When you start your notary business, you'll want to choose the right business entity for you.
There are four main business entities: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Each business structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the one that best suits your needs is important.
Speaking with an attorney or accountant can decide which business entity is best for you.
9. Open A Business Bank Account
As notaries or notary signing agents, we know the importance of organizing and keeping good records.
When it comes to your finances, one of the best ways to do this is to open a dedicated business bank account. This will help you keep track of your income and expenses and give you a better idea of how your business is performing.
You need your employer identification number (EIN) to open a business bank account. You may also need to provide proof of your business address and a copy of your notary bond. Once you have the required documentation, you can open an account at any major bank or credit union.
In addition to a dedicated business bank account, you may also want to consider getting a business credit card. This can help cover expenses when you're starting out and also help build your business credit history.
With your business credit card, you could buy and save on:
- A notary seal
- Notary certificates
- Business supplies
- A notary journal
- online education and programs
A good perk of working with a dedicated business banking account is the ability to separate your personal and business finances. This will make tax time much easier and help you stay organized all year.
10. Create Standard Operating Procedures
To run a successful notary business, you must have standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place. SOPs are step-by-step instructions that outline how you and your employees will complete specific tasks.
They help ensure consistency and quality in your work and can be a valuable training tool for new employees.
Since notaries work with sensitive information, you'll want to maintain accurate and detailed accounts of all notarizations.
You can start your own successful notary business by following these steps! As a notary, you will play an important role in the legal system while providing valuable service to your community.
Frequently Asked Questions As A Notary Public
How Much Does it cost to become a Notary?
The cost of becoming a notary varies from state to state. You must apply with your state's Notary Commission and pay a filing fee with your local county clerk. You may also need to purchase a notary bond and take a notary training course.
Don't forget that most states require business insurance, including general liability insurance and errors and omissions.
How To Work As A Notary Signing Agent
Loan signing agents work with mortgage lenders, title companies, and a third-party signing service to notarize loan documents for home buyers and sellers.
There are many training courses available, including the loan signing system.
What is The Loan Signing System?
The loan signing system was founded by Mark Wills, associated with with the NNA. It offers hours of course material that covers all aspects of loan signings.
Mark goes over the startup costs of a signing agent and how to get clients through signing services or direct marketing.
How Much Does a Mobile Notary Signing Agent Make?
Loan signing agents typically charge by the document. Notary signing agents can make anywhere from $50 to $200 documents, depending on their experience and the complexity of the loan documents.
Some signings require a legal witness, while others may only require a mobile notary.
The bottom line is that as a loan signing agent, you can make a decent living working from home and setting your own hours.
Do I Need A Website As Notary Public?
A business website is recommended for many notary businesses that offer online services.
A website allows you to reach a wider audience of potential customers and gives you the ability to showcase your notary services.
You can use your website to:
- Display your business information
- Sell notary services online
- Display your pricing
- Take payments online
- Partner with potential businesses
A website is not required to start a notary business but can be a valuable marketing tool.
You can save on ongoing expenses by using social media, word of mouth, and other marketing strategies to promote your business without a website.
How To File Business Licensing For Notaries
You'll want to look at your county website to view local business licensing requirements.
You'll more than likely need to file for a business license and may need to file for a DBA if you're operating under a name other than your own.
Notaries are typically considered low-risk businesses, so the licensing process is usually fairly straightforward.
Starting a notary business is a great way to be your own boss and make a decent income.
While the startup costs are relatively low, you will need to take some time to learn the notary business and put some processes in place.
By following these steps, you can launch a successful business that provides valuable and helps your community.