A notary public is a person appointed by a state government as an official of integrity. A notary public can earn money in their spare time by ensuring that people signing important documents are who they claim to be, or declaring that information in a document is true and correct.
Becoming a notary can also be a quick way to make extra money in your spare time or give your resume a boost, because it’s a valuable service.
If you’re interested in learning how to become a notary so you can earn some extra cash, here are the basics you should know.
What Does A Notary Do?
There’s a good chance that you’ve visited a notary at your bank or another location to stamp and sign an important document for you, such as the title for a vehicle. But notaries have significant responsibilities that are more complex than just notarizing signatures.
State governments determine how to become a notary and grant authority to notaries. Every state has its own notary laws, which means a notary public’s duties in one state might be different from those in another.
However, all notaries must use subjective judgment to determine the state of mind of a signer to prevent fraud or coercion. A notary must also establish that signers prove their identities, comprehend what they are signing and affirm that the document’s contents are true.
A notary’s authorized duties may include some or all of the following, depending on state laws.
- Acknowledging the signing of a document
- Administering oaths and affirmations
- Certifying copies
- Witnessing safe deposit boxes being opened and certifying the contents.
In some states, a notary can even perform a marriage ceremony.
How To Become A Notary
Again, the specific details will vary by state, but there are several common steps and requirements for becoming a notary public. In most cases, you must be a resident of the state (although some states grant notary commissions to people who have a business in the state but live in an adjoining state) and be at least 18 years old.
After submitting a completed application and paying the required filing fee, you may need to take a class. While notary education requirements vary by state, most states encourage you to participate in a training course. The following states require notary training:
- North Carolina
Some states also require potential notaries to pass an exam, complete fingerprinting and undergo a background check.
What Will It Cost to Get Started As A Notary Public?
All told, the Penny Hoarder estimates that the initial start-up costs range from $100-$500.
After receiving a commission certificate from the state, you will likely need to obtain a surety bond, which protects the public against any financial loss due to improper conduct or mistakes. You might also wish to purchase an optional liability policy known as errors and omissions insurance to protect yourself.
You will also need to file your paperwork and bond with the regulating official’s office and purchase notary supplies, such as an official notary stamp or seal, a journal and acknowledgment certificates.
How To Make Extra Money As A Freelance Notary Public
You won’t get rich stamping single documents. Most states regulate how much a notary can charge for an individual notarization.
However, if you can find clients who require multiple signatures notarized, you can charge for each one and in many states, you can also charge for your travel, supplies and other relevant expenses.
If you can find a niche, you might be able to make significantly more. For instance, if you network with clients who frequently require notarization of lengthy documents with multiple signatures and can charge for travel and other expenses, you could have a steady side income.
Joining your local chamber of commerce could help you discover opportunities for ongoing commissions. Local social media groups and pages are an effective way to advertise your services, as well.
Becoming a notary is also a valuable way to boost your resume. If you are seeking a job in a field that regularly requires the services of a notary public, your abilities will help you stand out above other candidates for a position.
To find out the notary requirements for your area, you can visit the American Society of Notaries website and select your state on the map. Details provided include state qualifications, links to applications, authorized duties and other pertinent details. Once you learn how to become a notary in your state, you are a step closer to making some extra money on the side while providing a beneficial service to your community.