Amanda Farrell - 2 years ago
How Much Money Does a Notary Make?
Becoming a notary is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Yes, you can make six figures, but it takes time to build a successful notary business. How much a notary makes is dependent on a few factors like your state’s fee schedule, which services you’re allowed to offer, and how you’re allowed to offer them. To get a deeper understanding of the potential earning power of notaries, here are some important numbers to know.
What’s the average income of a notary?
The national average is $36,298 with notaries in Mississippi taking home $28,314 on the low end and Hawaii notaries banking $40,977. Averages can be misleading though since the number doesn’t distinguish between top earners, part-timers, specialized notary services, or other factors like local demand.
Fees for general notary work
As appointed officials of the state, notaries must comply with certain rules, including the maximum amount that can be charged for general notary work. General notary work includes acknowledgments, jurats, oaths, and affirmations. The fee for performing these simple notarial acts ranges from $2.50 in New Jersey to $10 in states like Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and Oregon. Notaries in California and Nevada can charge up to $15.
Some states, like Alaska, Tennessee, and Kentucky, haven’t set a maximum fee, so notaries in these states have to pay attention to their local market to set competitive prices.
Travel fees can also be added on top of these charges. Here’s a complete list of 2021 Notary Fees By State.
Going mobile or remote
Businesses that offer their customers the most convenient options will win out over those who don’t. So, going mobile or remote is something every notary should consider.
In the past year, both mobile and remote notary demand has risen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote online notarization (RON) is limited to about 30 states right now, going mobile is an option for notaries in every state to bring their services directly to clients. But do mobile and RON notaries make more than other notaries?
In the NNA’s 2020 Notary Survey, about two-thirds of mobile notaries reported making $4,000 or more a month after three years in business. However, half of all full-time mobile notaries earned about $2,000 a month. Less experience translates into less income. Creating a business plan is also a vital part of success. Without a clear understanding of your market’s demand for notary services, the operating costs, and the marketing strategy to connect with the right audiences, notaries will flounder.
Remote online notarization isn’t new, but it’s become more popular in the last few years as more states approve its use. Some of the reasons notaries offer RON include convenience, safety, and reaching more clients without leaving their home office. Notaries can schedule a full day of notarizations without worrying about traffic and most states allow higher fees to offset the cost of the software.
Notaries are usually required to take additional steps like RON-specific training, obtaining a higher surety bond, and sending in a separate state application and fee before becoming RON certified. Some states also require the notary to purchase an Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance Policy.
There isn’t clear data on how much a full-time RON-certified notary makes, so before you set out to get your state’s approval, ask:
- How much is the application fee?
- How much is the training course?
- How much are the surety bond and E&O insurance?
- How much can I charge for RON?
- What are the costs of RON software?
- What are the costs of the required digital tools (digital certificates and eSeals)?
- Are there hidden software costs like charges for failed KBAs?
Choosing the right RON software will also depend on if you want a platform geared towards entrepreneurs growing a notary business or if you prefer a part-time gig.
The worst states to be a mobile or remote notary
While the overall costs to start a notary business are relatively low compared to other businesses, adding travel or software will increase operating costs. Unfortunately, some states don’t reflect this additional cost in their fee schedule.
Notaries in these states are likely to struggle:
- Maryland – The maximum fee for RON is set at $4
- North Carolina – Travel fees are prohibited
Before going mobile or remote, be sure to check your state’s fee schedule to get a better idea of your potential profit margins.
Ask “what” not “how” to make more money as a notary
The best way to make more money as a notary is not in how you offer your services but in what you offer. By specializing in additional services like Immigration Forms, Apostilles, and Loan Signings, and marketing to the appropriate businesses and consumers, notaries are far more likely to reach that six-figure goal.
Here is a list of some specialized services and the typical range of charges that notaries offer:
|Service||Fee Range or Income|
|Apostille and Authentication||Up to $195|
|Loan Signing Specialist||$75-250 per loan signing|
|Immigration Forms Specialist||$54,799 average salary (Zip Recruiter)|
|Wedding Officiant||$500-800 per wedding|
Not all of these services require specific training, but a good understanding of the documents and processes involved is needed to provide the best experience for your customers. For instance, to become a loan signing specialist, notaries are only required to submit to annual background screenings, pass an SPW-compliant exam, and show proof of errors and omission insurance, but a training course to get a deeper understanding of critical closing documents is highly recommended.
Your state may also limit which services you can offer as a notary, so always be sure to check your commissioning authority. Now that you have a better idea of the limitations and permissions placed on a notary’s income, you can design a business plan to meet your financial goals.
This content is provided for informational purposes only. PropLogix, LLC (PLX) is not a law firm; this content is not intended as legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. PLX makes no representations as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of this content. PLX may reference or incorporate information from third-party sources, upon which a citation or a website URL shall be provided for such source. PLX does not endorse any third party or its products or services. Any comments referencing or responding to this content may be removed in the sole discretion of PLX.
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