The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Notary (2023)

Businesses across multiple industries in the United States require documents to be signed and notarized, so notary services are in high demand. There are more than 4.4 million commissioned notaries in the United States, and as more people look for part-time gigs to supplement their incomes, the numbers continue to grow. Before you take steps to become a commissioned notary, there are some important pros and cons to understand about the job.

The Cons of Being a Notary

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.

  1. Steady income can be difficult
  2. You could be sued for a lot of money
  3. Upstart and upkeep costs can add up

Steady income can be difficult

How much money a notary makes is dependent on several factors. Most states have set maximum fees that a notary may charge for their services. Some states set that fee as low as $2.50. In some cases, you can add additional charges for accompanying services like driving out to meet a client, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make tons of money doing simple notarizations.

Specializing in additional services is one of the best ways to make more money as a notary. Some of the additional services will require you to be a notary first while others may not require it. Opportunities may be limited based on what’s allowed in your state.

For instance, I-9 Forms don’t require notarization, but some notaries act as the authorized representatives for businesses. Some states, like California, place restrictions and additional requirements on who can perform this role.

Becoming a notary signing agent is one of the most common ways notaries increase their marketability and income. To become a notary signing or loan signing agent, the following is recommended:

  1. Take a specialized training course
  2. Take and pass an exam
  3. Pass a background check
  4. Buy additional supplies
  5. Purchase a higher minimum E&O policy

As long as the housing market is booming, notary signing agents will be in high demand. Notary signing agents can make anywhere from $75-200 per signing, and each signing event can take anywhere from thirty minutes to a few hours depending on the complexity of the loan documents. Notaries who work directly with escrow officers, title agents, lenders, and real estate agents will make more than those who work for loan signing service providers.


Before expanding your services, research what is required by your state, get the right training, and approach new services with caution. With more complex signings and services comes greater responsibilities and risks.

You could be sued for a lot of money

One of the most important tasks a notary has is to establish the identity of the signer to protect the public against fraud and identity theft. Notaries deal with lots of different paperwork and people, so it’s important to always follow the steps of notarization and record important details of each in a journal.

Mistakes could result in a lawsuit, and the more intensive a signing is, the greater the chances of making a mistake.

For instance, a loan signing package may contain hundreds of pages of financial documents totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Any misstep could mean the notary is to blame for the financial loss.

Even when no mistake has been made by the notary, they may still be sued by a disgruntled client.

Before applying your first stamp to any document, be sure to brush up on the procedures of each type of notarial certificate and buy an y to protect you against civil and criminal claims.

Upstart and upkeep costs can add up

Becoming a notary and sustaining a notary business comes with costs. The obvious initial costs will include:

(Video) PROS and CONS of being a Notary Loan Signing Agent

  • Application fee
  • Surety bond
  • Notary courses
  • Supplies like your stamp and notary journal

It’s relatively inexpensive to jump over the first hurdle and obtain your notary commission. In most states, these can total less than a hundred dollars, but it’s just the start. There are additional business costs that might not be so obvious at first glance. If you hope to establish a successful long term notary business, you’ll also want to think about:

  • Cost to register an LLC
  • Cost to market your business
  • Website hosting and maintenance costs
  • E&O Insurance
  • Additional office supplies like paper and printer (this is especially important for loan signing agents)
  • Additional training courses to expand services
  • Other business software

If you want to become certified to do remote online notarization, that’s also going to entail additional courses, a higher surety bond, and software. Be sure to research the costs of becoming a commissioned notary in your state, what services you’re allowed to provide, and how you can provide them (remote or in-person) before making the initial investment.

📰 Related Reading: 10 Reasons Notaries Should Offer Remote Online Notarization

Training to become a better notary should also be a part of your ongoing budget. Many notaries often feel underprepared by the basic required courses, so consider enhancing your knowledge by joining online communities for notaries, joining the National Notary Association, going to conferences for notaries, and attending advanced courses and seminars.

While the cons may seem intimidating at first, they are fairly easy to navigate.

The Pros of Being a Notary

The pros of being a notary greatly outweigh the cons. Here are a few:

  1. Getting started as a notary is pretty easy
  2. Flexible hours and be your own boss
  3. A notary commission enhances your resume
  4. Opportunity to make extra money
  5. You get to help people

Getting started as a notary is pretty easy

To qualify as a commissioned notary, most states simply require that you are:

(Video) The Down Side to Being a Notary Signing Agent in 2021: What Other YouTubers Won't Tell You

  • At least 18 years old
  • A resident of the state you are seeking a notary commission
  • A United States citizen
  • Have no felony convictions

As we mentioned previously, the initial costs are pretty low. Once you’ve determined if you qualify for a notary commission, the process to officially become a notary will look something like this:

  1. Find and complete a state-approved training program.
  2. Take your state’s exam.
  3. Complete a fingerprinting and background check.
  4. Purchase a surety bond.
  5. Complete and submit your state’s application along with the fee.
  6. Receive your commission certificate signed by your state’s governor.
  7. File your commission paperwork and bond with your secretary of state or other regulating agency.
  8. Purchase your notary supplies.

Depending on your state, one or more of these steps might not be required, and once you’ve completed the process, you’re ready to start notarizing!

Flexible hours and be your own boss

As a notary, you have the option to create and run your own business. Notaries can set their own hours and work within an area of their liking. You can work as much or as little as you like, and the opportunity to make extra cash could pop up at any moment. Advertising your mobile notary services on your car means you might even get a call from a potential client while sitting in a traffic jam.

With the adoption of remote online notarization, notaries can offer their services anytime and anywhere without leaving their office or home.

📰 Related Reading: What’s the Difference Between Mobile, Electronic, and Remote Notaries?

A notary commission enhances your resume

Lots of businesses benefit from having a commissioned notary on their payroll. Law firms, public and private schools, car dealerships, insurance companies, healthcare facilities, and real estate companies utilize notary services on a regular basis. Featuring your status as a notary on your resume will push you ahead of other candidates.

Oftentimes, if your workplace could benefit from a notary on staff, there’s the potential to negotiate that they pay for your costs to receive your commission. It never hurts to ask. Before you approach your supervisor, be sure to do your research on the costs and benefits of sponsoring you.

(Video) Pros and Cons of Being A Notary Signing Agent | The Down Side Of Being A Notary Signing Agent

Opportunity to make extra money

Even though there are millions of notaries in the United States, the need for the various services provided by these professionals keeps them in high demand.

While it’s difficult to build a six-figure income by doing simple notarizations like jurats and acknowledgments, some states have higher maximum rates than others. In California, notaries can charge $15 per notarial act. In Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and others, notaries can charge $10. In some states, there are no maximum notary fees set by law, so local competition sets the typical price.

These types of notarizations can be quick and simple. Additionally, most mobile notaries have the option to add on travel fees, and the best part is that notaries are paid on the spot.

Of course, to make the most money as a notary, you’ll want to add other services like:

  • Immigration Forms Specialist
  • Healthcare Facilities Specialist
  • Apostilles Specialist
  • Loan Signing Agent
  • Wedding Officiant
  • Form I-9 Services

The general skill set of a good notary, like attention to detail and following procedures, makes adopting many of these services effortless.

You get to help people

One of the most important parts of being a notary is the value you bring to your community. The procedures notaries follow help to avert fraud and protect the public. From field trip slips to home loans, the documents you notarize have a direct impact on the lives of others. As you grow your business and explore ways to diversify your service offerings, the impact of your work expands as well.

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Notary (1)
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(Video) Benefits of Being a Notary - What Are [ALL] the Benefits?


Which notary job makes the most money? ›

As we mentioned earlier, Signing Agents are some of the busiest of all Notary Publics. For this reason, they also tend to earn the highest income.

How much does a NYS Notary make? ›

How much does a Notary Signing Agent make in New York? The average Notary Signing Agent salary in New York is $42,298 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $41,321 and $53,803.

How much do Colorado Notaries make? ›

The average Notary Signing Agent salary in Colorado is $39,302 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $38,395 and $49,992.

How much do notary publics make in NC? ›

How much does a Notary Signing Agent make in North Carolina? The average Notary Signing Agent salary in North Carolina is $37,607 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $36,739 and $47,836.

Who needs a notary the most? ›

Many types of people need notarization services but cannot afford them, like the elderly, homeless, disabled and college students. These groups typically need notarizations for powers of attorney, residency affidavits, advance medical directives, college transcripts and enrollment verifications.

How much did earn per month working as a notary? ›

Answer. Now Lushkoff has been working as a notary. He is earning thirty-five roubles a month. He is obliged to Sergei for giving him a job of chopping wood which has changed him from a beggar to a notary......

How hard is the notary exam in NY? ›

New York has one of the toughest exams to become a Notary. The Empire State requires notary applicants to undergo and pass an exam with a minimum score of 70 percent to obtain an appointment. However, the state does not require any education, so candidates are on their own to learn the topics covered in the test.

What state pays notaries most? ›

New York

What is the most a notary can charge in NY? ›

The maximum allowable fees that a New York notary public may charge for notarial acts are listed below:
  • Acknowledgments - $2.00.
  • Oaths or affirmations - $2.00.
  • Jurats - $2.00.
  • Swearing a witness - $2.00.
  • Protests - $0.75.
  • Each additional notice of protest (limit 5) - $0.10.

How much do mobile notaries charge in Colorado? ›

Notaries in Colorado can accept fees of up to $5 for in-person notarizations. Notaries can charge up to $10 for any electronic signatures or remote notarizations. Keep in mind that this is the stipulated fee for in-office notary services only.

How long is a notary commission in Colorado? ›

You must renew your commission every four years. The commission term begins on the date you are approved as a notary.

Who can be a notary public? ›

Who can be appointed a Notary Public in Kenya? The Act further states; “No advocate shall be appointed under this Act unless he has practiced as an advocate in Kenya for not less than five years immediately preceding his application to be appointed as a notary public”.

Is the notary exam hard in NC? ›

Is the NC notary public exam hard? The state with the toughest minimum score is North Carolina. This state requires a passing score of 80% in order to receive a commission, among the strictest in the country.

How much can a mobile notary charge in NC? ›

For acknowledgments, $10.00 per signature. For jurats, $10.00 per signature. For verifications or proofs, $10.00 per signature. For oaths or affirmations, $10.00 per signature.

How long does it take to become a notary in NC? ›

Take your training

You must take 6 hours of training and an exam.

Can you notarize for family? ›

A notary public is not permitted to notarize a signature on a document if the signatory is the notary's spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father. Even though some states permit notarization for family members, the practice is highly discouraged regardless due the potential for a conflict of interest.

Who has the power of notary? ›

- The Central Government, for the whole or any part of India, and any State Government, for the whole or any part of the State, may appoint as notaries any legal practitioners or other persons who possess such qualifications as may be prescribed. 4.

What do you do when you make a mistake in your notary journal? ›

Line through the incorrect information. Write the correct information in the same box, if there is room to write it legibly. If there is not enough space in the same box, use the box in the line below the entry. There is no rule that says you must only use one line per journal entry.

How do you become a notary in USA? ›

Become a Notary Public
  1. be 18 years of age or older (there is no maximum age set by statute)
  2. be a legal California resident.
  3. complete a course of study approved by the Secretary of State.
  4. satisfactorily complete and pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State.
  5. clear a background check.

What is a notary lawyer? ›

A Notary Public is a specialist attorney who is legally empowered to officially witness signatures, administer oaths, certify the validity of documents, and perform a wide range of administrative functions of national and international nature, including the drafting and/or legalisation of certain documents.

What disqualifies you from becoming a notary near New York NY? ›

The examples include but are not limited to: assault, arson, auto theft, burglary, possession or sale of illegal drugs, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, failure to pay child support or failure to comply with a court order.

How much does a mobile notary make in NY? ›

Mobile Notary Public Salary in Brooklyn, NY
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$164,957$79
75th Percentile$58,158$28
25th Percentile$35,423$17

What happens if you fail the notary exam NY? ›

If you fail the written exam, you will receive a notice in the mail. You may retake the exam on another date and time of your choice. Examination results are only valid for a period of two years. The exam is multiple choice.

How much does a notary public make? ›

Notaries usually charge a fee of one percent to 1.5 percent of the property's selling price for a Deed of Absolute Sale.

How much does lushkov earn per month as a notary 1? ›

By listening to Sergei, he had changed his ways. He was a notary and earned thirty five roubles a month.

Can I notarize for a family member in NY? ›

New York does not disqualify Notaries from notarizing documents on the basis of family relationship. However, if you are a party to or directly and pecuniarily interested in the transaction in some way, you cannot notarize.

How long does a NY notary last? ›

The term of commission is four years. Every person appointed as notary public must, at the time of his or her appointment, be a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States and either a resident of New York or have an office or place of business in New York State.

How do I become a mobile notary in NY? ›

To become a New York Notary:
  1. Fill out application to Division of Licensing Services.
  2. Review license law information.
  3. Complete application and oath of office.
  4. Take and pass exam. Review test center policies, pay $15 fee.
  5. Receive your test pass slip, and submit with fee.
  6. Pay $60 fee.
  7. Commissioned by Secretary of State.
24 Nov 2022

Is the Colorado notary exam hard? ›

The CO Notary Public exam is easy to pass with the right preparation. Stop trying to cheat by searching online for the Colorado notary exam answers and start studying the colorado notary law instead. After all, the purpose of the exam is to make sure you're ready to perform notarial acts without breaking the law.

What can a notary certify a copy of in Colorado? ›

Notaries in Colorado can administer oaths and affirmations and certify copies. They can also take acknowledgements, depositions, witness signatures, affidavits, verifications, and other sworn testimony or statements.

How do you become a signing agent in Colorado? ›

How To Become a Loan Signing Agent in Colorado in 5 Steps
  1. Step #1 – Meet the Basic Requirements. ...
  2. Step #2 – Complete a Notary Training Course. ...
  3. Step #3 – Pass the Colorado State Exam. ...
  4. Step #4 – Take Your Oath. ...
  5. Step #5 – Apply through the Secretary of State's Website. ...
  6. How much can I make as a loan signing agent in Colorado?

How much does it cost to take the notary exam in Colorado? ›

Pass the state-required exam. Take your oath of office and get your affirmation notarized. Submit your application with a copy of your ID card, training certificate, exam certificate and the $10 filing fee online. Include the original notarized affirmation, too.

Can I notarize for Family in Colorado? ›

A notary public who has a direct or indirect financial (or other beneficial) interest in a document may not notarize such a document. The better practice is not to notarize for a spouse or family member in order to preserve the integrity of the notarization and to prevent a challenge to the notarization.

How long do notary services take? ›

Your appointment will likely take between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the notarial services required.

Can you notarize without being a lawyer? ›

Notarization it is to certify or attest to a document by a notary public. The 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice provides that a notary public must be a lawyer in good standing and must not have been convicted in the first instance of any crime involving moral turpitude.

What is the job of a notary? ›

As a publicly commissioned official, a notary is tasked with verifying the authenticity of documents, and they serve as impartial witnesses when signing legal documents. Legal documents are notarized to ensure that transactions are properly executed and to deter fraud.

Can a non lawyer be a notary public? ›

Not all lawyers are notaries public but all notaries public must be lawyers.

What disqualifies you from being a notary in NC? ›

You must not have been convicted of a felony in North Carolina, or a felony in any state that is considered as a felony in North Carolina. a. Have you ever been convicted by any court of a felony or misdemeanor? Call the Secretary of State before taking this class at (919) 814-5400.

Which state has the hardest notary exam? ›

New York has the toughest exam to become a notary with a minimum passing score of 70%.

How do NC notary make money? ›

One of the best ways to guarantee paid gigs as a notary is by becoming a loan signing agent. A loan signing agent is a notary public that is present when loan documents are signed. When someone purchases or refinances a home, a loan signing agent walks them through the final paperwork signing.

What services can a notary provide in NC? ›

A North Carolina notary can offer these services: Acknowledge signatures. Administer oaths and affirmations. Verify or prove the veracity of signatures.

How long does a notary commission last in NC? ›

How long does a North Carolina Notary commission last? The term of a North Carolina Notary commission is five years.

What can you do as a notary in North Carolina? ›

North Carolina Notary Public: a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities such as: oaths and affirmations, acknowledgements and certify copies. A notary can also be referred to as a signing agent. There is a North Carolina Notary Public Manual that is available for purchase.

Can you take the NC notary class online? ›

We also offer an Electronic Notarization class, designed to instruct existing N.C. Notaries Public in the legislative procedure required to perform electronic notarial acts.

Can a NC notary prepare a will? ›

To make a will self-proved in North Carolina, the testator and witnesses must sign a “self proving affidavit” before a notary public. An affidavit is a sworn statement, and a notary public is an officer of the court. Therefore, an affidavit before a notary public is like making a statement in court.

Can I do online notary in NC? ›

Remote Online Notarization (“RON”) will become effective on July 1, 2023, and Emergency Video Notarization (“EVN”) is effective immediately. Electronic notarization has been available in North Carolina since 2005 under the Electronic Notary Act.

How much does a notary make London? ›

The average notary salary in the United Kingdom is £30,000 per year or £15.38 per hour. Entry level positions start at £24,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to £33,600 per year.

What kind of expense is notary? ›

According to the Internal Revenue Service, fees received for notary services should be reported on Schedule C (Form 1040) or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), Net Profit From Business.

How many copies can a notary get? ›

Bring original and submit two (2) photocopies of each document or ID. Examples of supporting documents are: birth certificate, school records, medical records, Driver's License, passport, US permanent resident card, State ID, Voter's ID, etc.

What is the name of beggar? ›

cadger, mooch, moocher, scrounger. someone who mooches or cadges (tries to get something free) panhandler. a beggar who approaches strangers asking for money. sannyasi, sannyasin, sanyasi.

What was lushkov telling lies to the people? ›

Answer: Lushkoff gave the reason for his telling lies that he formerly sang in a Russian choir but was fired from his job for being an alcoholic. So, he had to tell lies. He could not get along without lying as no one would give him anything if he told the truth.

What did the beggar tell people to get money? ›

Answer: The beggar, Lushkoff, requested Sergei to have pity on him and give himsome money to feed himself. He told that had been a village school teacher for many years. Sergei had seen him earlier.

What qualifications does a notary need? ›

There are three stages to qualifying as a Notary: Academic Training, Professional Training and Appointment. There are exemptions if you apply within 5 years of these modules being studied which may mean no further examinations are required before beginning the professional training.

Do notaries charge VAT? ›

If applicable, these additional fees will be advised in our quote and may be based on a fixed fee or hourly rate basis depending on the service needed. VAT (Value Added Tax) will be applied to our fees if you are resident within the United Kingdom.

What is a notary public? ›

A Notary Public is, therefore, a public official, usually lawyer, authorized to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents, verification and authentication of documents amidst other functions.


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