How To Make Money As A Notary
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When presented with papers or documents, particularly those that serve legal purposes, you often come across the term “notary.” But have you ever thought what precisely a notary is and what are his responsibilities and obligations?
In terms of an official document’s legality and validity, you would be required to have it notarized by a notary public. May it be for business (e.g., loan documents), contracts (e.g., real property sales), or several other official documents – most would require signatory from a notary.
At the same time, the occupation of notary, can be both lucrative and rewarding. If you curious about the role and responsibilities of a notary and the process of how to become one, keep reading and learn how to make money as a notary.
What Is A Notary?
A notary, also commonly known as a notary public, refers to anyone commissioned or authorized to perform official acts under the state or country rule. You should take note, however, that although most notaries are lawyers, there are also notaries who are not practicing law. In the same way, not all lawyers practice notary. Also, non-lawyers who are granted to be notaries only have limited notarial duties. We will further discuss the general requirements and the process of application in the next section.
Meanwhile, when asked regarding the notary’s duties, you might easily think of notarizing documents or executing or signing of documents. Although true, being a witness during the signature of official documents is not the sole responsibility of a notary public. They are, in fact, also responsible for identifying any possible fraud or coercion and determining the state of mind and comprehension of the signer on the transaction.
Some of the other duties include administering oaths, completing a notarial certificate, and handling legal documents such as contracts and affidavits.
How To Apply As A Notary
As mentioned earlier, being a lawyer may not be a requirement for applying as a notary in some states or countries. However, if you are considering notary as a profession or as another means to earn, let me give you a word of caution. There are several documentary requirements you need to complete even before you are allowed to file your application. The documentary requirements and the application may differ depending on the state, but there are similarities with the process you might want to know. The following are the general requirements for the application process:
- After securing the documentary requirements needed basing on your state, apply for the notarial commission.
- Most states would require you to be at least 18 years old at the time of the application.
- You should be a resident of the place you are applying for a notarial commission. Sometimes, you will also be required to have a regular place of work or business in the area where you intend to render your notarial services.
- Most states still allow people who had minor crimes to apply. As long as the offense didn’t concern fraud or dishonesty, or their civil rights were restored. However, some states require that the applicants should not have been involved in any crime at the time of application.
It might take a lot of your time and patience. But once you have completed the requirements and filed the petition, you can then start practicing your notarial duties.
How To Make Money As A Notary
Usually, we associate a notary with document notarization. However, that is not the only way for notaries to make a profit. In fact, often, being a notary is more of a side hustle – another way of making extra money.
Suppose that you were granted with a notarial commission, you can perform several public services under the rule. Performing these services would allow you to earn money by charging notary fees. Well, if you are asking how exactly you can receive, this section provides you seven ways of how a notary makes money.
Transcribe Depositions and Translate Affidavits
Both depositions and affidavits are essential in the legal process and may be used before and during a trial. Attorneys of the concerned parties need deposition transcriptions and given some circumstances, even affidavit translation. Well, you should know first that these services can be done by the attorney himself, who is representing the case. However, due to tight schedules and deadlines, and probably the volume of clients, some attorneys might need additional help.
A deposition refers to the process where a witness provides a sworn, out-of-court oral statement or testimony. During the procedure, both the plaintiff and the defendant’s parties take note of the whole testimony. They can then outsource or hire notaries to help transcribe the deposition in an accurate and timely manner.
On the other hand, since an affidavit is a signed legal document, you must understand its contents. Therefore, under some circumstances, the affidavit needs to be translated into the native tongue of the person signing the document.
Through the notaries’ deposition transcription and affidavit translation services, the attorneys would have enough time to prepare for their cases.
You’re most probably aware that leaders of religious groups or members of Judiciary, for instance, can officiate wedding ceremonies. But what you might not know is that a notary could also be a licensed ordained minister or a wedding officiate. Although, only a few states allow a notary to officiate a wedding, in addition to extra qualifications and authorizations needed.
As a wedding officiate, a notary is responsible for verifying the legal requirements of the bride and groom (e.g., marriage license). You should also keep records, including the date of the wedding, the name of the bride and groom, and the location.
If you are solemnizing a wedding as a notary, you can charge your clients from $75 – $250 depending on several factors. Also, as a notary, you can conduct non-notarial services (e.g., wedding planning) for additional payment.
Notarize Physical and Digital Documents
As a notary public, notarizing documents would be the most common form of earning money. Several relevant documents you have, such as property deeds, loan and mortgage papers, or certifications, need something to attest to its validity. Given this, you would often be required to have your documents signed in the presence of a notary. Therefore, when talking about business, each notarized document equates to profit, unless stipulated under exceptional circumstances.
Traditionally, the practice of notarization requires you to bring a printed copy of the document and the physical presence of both the notary and the signing party/parties. Yet, due to the advent of technology and the presence of the internet, digital, or e-notary arise. Electronic notarization is when a document is in a digital form and is signed and notarized electronically. Although the process remains to be uncommon in some areas, e-notary is advantageous in providing additional income for notaries.
Work for Online Notary Companies
As previously mentioned, technology paved the way for the rise of digital or e-notary, which provides more significant work opportunities for notary, given the convenience. Try to search online, and you can see several companies providing e-notary services.
There’s not much of a difference between working for an online notary company and working in the traditional, office-based setup. Only that if you plan on working for an online notary company, make sure you are a commissioned e-notary public. Some states require a separate course and exam to be commissioned for e-notary.
But there’s no need to worry. Some companies actually help applicants apply for an e-notarial commission and provide them with training as well. Also, the good thing about working for an online notary company is the freedom you’ll have to decide about your working condition. You can choose whether to do full-time work or only as part-time freelance work.
Become a Mobile Notary
As the name implies, a mobile notary is a process where the notary public travels to the client to provide notarial services. Most of the clients for mobile notary deal with real estate, bank loans, and insurance. Similar to e-notary, a mobile notary is convenient, especially when clients cannot and prefer not to travel for notary purposes. For example, you are selling your house, but you don’t have time to visit a notary. You can choose to hire a mobile notary to meet you and the buyer to notarize the title.
In terms of the benefits, mobile notaries can generally earn more than a traditional-practicing notary. The client also covers travel expenses, and if the waiting time is too long, you can also ask the client for additional pay. Being a mobile notary also gives you a more flexible schedule. You can choose what work you will accept, depending on the time and location asked.
Also, mobile notaries are still not that common, which provides you a more significant market to penetrate. Regarding the working environment, mobile notaries can do work and travel at the same time. Imagine you earning money and being able to visit other locations as well, unlike the typical working scenario revolving around your office desk.
Be a Field Inspector
Often, you will not be required for specific or strict background or qualifications to be a field inspector. In fact, some companies or contractors hire field inspectors regardless of their educational experience. Still, being a field inspector could provide you an easier and alternative way of earning extra money. You can consider this as a side hustle outside your regular notarial services offered.
As mentioned, sometimes there are no specific qualifications asked to be a field inspector, but being a notary would put you to an advantage. Some companies prefer hiring notaries because of the training and skill set possessed. Notaries are known to be reliable, detail-oriented, and precise – qualities essential for a field inspector.
Field inspectors are typically hired independently by agencies to inspect or preserve properties visually. Most financial and insurance companies need someone to check and validate information provided by the clients about their properties.
For example, an insurance company may hire you to check for possible problems before a car insurance policy is provided to the owner. Other sample services that you can provide to get that additional income include collateral and business inspections, mortgage and lease inspections, and commercial inspections.
How Much Does A Notary Make?
The previous section provided you various ways of how a notary can earn money. Ideally, considering the number of notarial services that a notary public can provide, notaries seem to make more than enough. Yet, notaries earn differently depending on several factors such as the area of practice, number of daily transactions, and the type of document notarized.
Generally, state rules somehow regulate a notary’s earning by providing a maximum amount a notary can charge for each notary service. Usually, though, each notarization costs between $2-$20 per document or signature. The type of material will also determine the price as documents like mortgage and divorce papers might cost a client more.
Working conditions would be another factor. The salary will be different if you plan on working as a full-time or part-time notary. It would also depend on whether you are practicing as a traditional notary or as an online or mobile notary public. Some notaries earn on a per hour basis with an average of almost $13 hourly rate up to as much as $22 per hour.
We have seen how the notarial service industry continues to make itself relevant to the needs of its clients – providing services regardless of time and physical location. Being a notary sure has a lot of opportunities to earn now, especially with the changes brought about by technology and the internet.
More than just notarizing documents or witnessing the execution of the signed documents, notaries also have various options for side hustles. Notaries can provide other services such as transcribing depositions, translating affidavits, or becoming a field inspector.
So, if you really wish to make a career out of being a notary, check the requirements and application process in your area. Once you are commissioned to be one, just remember, there is no one way to become successful. You’ll figure out your way to success once you’re already there.
To help you get started, you may check out Jason Soft’s book entitled Notary Public Book.