A lot of people looking to get into becoming a notary, are obviously interested in if the opportunity is right for them and their family. And the biggest, and best question is: How much does a notary make?
It all starts there.
Does a Notary Make Enough Money?
Well, the first thing you must understand is that there are a lot of ways to be a notary. You are obviously looking for the most profitable way, so it is important to understand how the system works.
As an Employee
If you are an employee of a business, you may be required to become a notary and perform signings for the company, even if that is not your main responsibility.
For example, you may work for a company that notarizes a lot of documents in house and that is what you do. Or, many bank managers are also required to be notaries to notarize documents for bank customers. That practice seems to be fading a bit, but you can see that the main role of a bank manager is not to be a notary.
How much does a notary make as an employee?
In these roles, they get paid by their employer, and if there is a notary fee, the employer collects it. Since it falls under part of their job responsibilities, the notary gets paid whatever the agreed amount between them and their employer is.
These are places you see that have notary signs in the window. They can be a range of things like mail solutions places, tax offices or even convenience stores.
At Sunshine, we also do a storefront notary business. Like most businesses that offer this service, we do it mainly to get more foot traffic in the office. People we can easily serve, and at the same time are exposed to our brand and the other services we offer.
When you offer a service like this, for individuals looking to get documents notarized, the amounts that can be charged are heavily regulated by each state, and are usually not high enough to earn a consistent income.
How much does a notary make with a storefront?
This is best left for businesses that offer it as an additional service. Depending on state law, the conditions to attempt it are more favorable than others in certain locations. But, you would need a consistent line out the door in many states to make a good living being a storefront notary. That is just not realistic in most cases. To nail home the point, here is a pdf showing state notary fees from the National Notary Organization.
How Much Does a Notary Make by Going Mobile?
There is no easy answer to this question.
But, I will say, the potential to make a good living is much higher as a mobile notary. The potential of this being a career instead of a side thing is real. The chance to become your own boss and own your own business is tangible and achievable.
But, it is not easy. Don’t let someone tell you that. It will take a lot of hard work, and it will be rewarding when it pays off.
There are different kinds of signings that pay more than the ones above. The most talked about are mortgages, as they tend to pay the most, but there are a lot of others. At Sunshine, we do many types of signings outside of mortgages, even outside of real estate. For a business, even a home one, diversity of income is consistency in income.
Businesses need these signings done on a strict time line and at specific places. For these businesses it is more beneficial to have a notary go on site for them than to try and use an in house employee. It is even becoming more popular for individuals, as the convenience is worth the cost for many.
But, How Much Does a Notary Make?
Let’s be realistic here. A successful, established mobile notary has a mix of private clients and signing services. A good diversity of income streams.
A signing through a signing service pays anywhere between $45 and $100. Some signings may pay twice that if the notary acquires their own private clients. We established in the past, that the small jobs end up paying about as much per hour as the larger number signings.
In the current market, as a realistic number, new notaries are making about $50 an hour, travel time included, before business expenses. This is a conservative number, and more experienced notaries who have built their business make more than that.
This is heavily dependent on market conditions. When real estate is booming and there are a lot of higher paying signings, the amount a notary can make increases. And the opposite also holds true. So, income potential is higher than the $50 an hour mentioned above, but I think it is reasonable to start with a more realistic outlook so you can plan your growth.
And if you are ahead of the curve, that is just icing on the cake.
But, a Business Has Costs
You must account for the fact that you most likely won’t be on the move eight hours a day. Don’t fall for projections that have you doing 8-10 private signings every day. While that is an awesome goal, it is not realistic. Especially when you are building your business and learning to set yourself apart from the crowd.
First off, every business has administrative time. It’s rarely fun, but it must be done. You also have to account for marketing, which helps you earn more money. Then you have to decide if you are going to do the online thing, and how much effort you are going to put in if you do. All of this is time you are not signing.
Of course, you could do this after hours or have a spouse or someone else help, but that must be accounted for, and if you are going to pay that person, that must be accounted for. This is still a great opportunity for spouses, as long as both spouses understand and agree to their responsibilities in the business.
Don’t forget about general business expenses, state or local fees and taxes, the structure of your business and how that affects your personal and business taxes. Costs of any services used and vehicular expenses (depending on how you calculate them for taxes).
So, How Much Does a Notary Make?
As we said before, there is not a set amount. It depends on a lot of factors. If a notary can gross $50 an hour or more, and can work 25 to 30 hours a week, then this is an opportunity that can work for many of us.
It can be a profitable and fulfilling venture for the right person.
A person who wants the personal freedom, who wants the challenge and who wants to take a more direct role in their career future.