Notable Home Business: Become a Notary

Homepreneurs presents another home business idea: Notary Services or simply working as a Notary.  This position is often a freelance job, where a notary travels site to site as needed, witnessing house closings or other legal transactions.  Some notaries are employed by corporate entities and serve in other positions such as executive assistants or other administrative personnel.  Banks and local governments employ notaries too as secondary functions of their positions.

The American Society of Notaries describes a notary’s job as follows:

What is a Notary?

Most people believe that notaries simply “notarize signatures.” This greatly oversimplifies a notary’s duties and responsibilities. In carrying out his or her duties, a notary not only follows what is dictated in state law but exercises subjective judgment on matters such as the state of mind of the signer, the signer’s comprehension of the transaction, or whether fraud or coercion are present.

The most typical notarial transactions involve the execution (signing) of documents.  In order for documents requiring a notarial act to be properly executed, the signer must physically appear before the notary, prove his/her identity to the notary, and acknowledge his/her comprehension of the document and willingness to sign OR swear/affirm that the contents of the document are true. The required notarial act is determined by the composition of the document or is at the direction of the signer or other party involved with the document—it is not determined by the notary.

Notaries derive their authority from their state governments. They are “appointed” or “commissioned” by a top official of their state, generally the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State or Treasurer. Each state has its own unique notary laws and notaries must follow the laws of their particular state. This means that notaries in one state may have authority to perform duties that notaries in another do not—it depends completely on each state’s notary laws. There is no corresponding or overriding federal law governing notaries.

A notary’s specific, authorized duties vary by state but can include:

  Administer oaths and affirmations;
  Take and certify the acknowledgment of a document;
  Take and certify affidavits;
  Take and certify depositions;
 Issue protests of notes and bills;
  Witness the opening of safe deposit boxes and certify a list of contents;
  Perform civil marriage ceremonies (1)

Becoming a notary does require training and fees are required for training and ongoing certification renewal.  Every state requires a training class and exam to become a notary. More information can be found here.

Though the amount a notary may charge is regulated by the state, someone hiring the services of a Notary Signing Agent (NSA) or traveling Notary will pay extra because they must cover the notary’s expenses. Depending on distance traveled, the type and complexity of the documents, and other factors, a Notary Signing Agent can make $30-$200 per signing.(2)  Some notaries feel that 5 signings per day (because of distance) is close to the maximum amount, though this will vary by area.

Interested in a Notary position?  Below are some links to investigate for potential positions:

American Title Inc.

CDS Signing Services

Document Assistance Company

Nationwide Document Service

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs





Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2011


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