Training for Notaries & Signing Agents
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Mobile Notary Business Information
Setting Your FeesOnce you're an official Notary Public you can charge for your notarizations and for your mobile services. You can only charge what your state will allow per notarized signature.
Here's how it works:
In California the maximum fee you can charge per notarized signature is $10. That means that if one person signs one document you can only charge $10 as a Notary fee. If a husband and wife both sign a document, the fee can be $20, even though only one Notary Acknowledgment and seal (stamp) is required to cover both signatures.
If one person signs ten documents and it only takes ten minutes, you can charge $100 for the notarizations alone. Likewise, if a husband and wife both sign those ten documents, you can charge $200 for the notarizations.
Just remember that the maximum allowable fee a state approves is per notarized signature.
Now let's say that a client calls you to come to them, instead of them coming to you (this is actually what a mobile Notary is by definition). You charge them the fee per notarized signature, and a fee for the service of coming to them.
In the above example where a husband and wife signed $200-worth of notarizations, most mobile Notaries would waive the travel fee, unless it was a very long way. Then, of course, the client would probably call a Notary closer to them in the first place.
You must account for the Notary fees separately from the travel fees (more on that later).
A few states are now mandating what the travel fee can be as well. But most states allow you, the mobile Notary, to set that fee.
Here are some sample assignments in a typical day in the life of a mobile Notary:
$60 Notary fees/$75 mobile fee
Susan Oaks, Assisted Living Center, 2 miles, Power of Attorney, 2 signers =
$20 Notary fees/$50 mobile fee.
(You might set a minimum mobile fee, and you also might have a senior discount. It's up to you.)
Smithfield Junior High, school band travel authorizations, group discount:
Mobile fee: $50
Larsen family, 2 members $20
Smith family, 1 $10
Burke family, 1 $10
Samuels family, 2 $20, etc.
Assuming you have the freedom to set your own rates for your business services, do a little research first. Find out what the competition is charging for the identical service in the same area. Go online and look for mobile Notaries in your area and get a good sampling. While you're at it, find out all you can about the businesses you're researching. You can get many clues and ideas for finding customers and organizing your own business. Also, look at their advertising and see what's effective and what isn't. Who looks the most professional? Don't copy anyone, but get some inspiration.
Another thing to consider is how much you need to make, and what your future income goals are. Be realistic, especially at first. While thinking positive and aiming high for your business goals, allow yourself time to get established. Of course you can't live on $100 a week, but the first week that you make that first $100 you'll be celebrating your career launch, and realizing for the first time that this really can work!
One more thing to consider is what the market will bear. You don't want to charge too much more than other mobile Notaries, but you might discover a niche market, or find a company or group that will give you an exclusive contract. This will determine your fees as well.
Come up with a fee schedule and leave room to adjust it as needed. Keep it by the phone to speak from when those first customers call. You want to sound firm and experienced, not new and uncertain.
It makes sense, and is even required by law in most states, that both parties agree to all fees in advance of the appointment. Believe it or not, some people expect a Notary to travel to their house, no matter how far away, and charge only a small Notary fee. They think because Notaries are public officials that somehow the state will cover the cost. Discussing the fee in advance eliminates misunderstandings and arguments when it's time to pay for your services.
Another thing to be aware of is that most states require that you not refuse business to anyone (without reasonable cause, like suspecting fraud, or improper ID), and that your Notary fees are the same for everyone. Since the state tells you what your maximum fee per notarized signature is, this really only affects your desire to give a friend or family member a discount or free notarization. The way to handle this legally is to charge everyone the same fee. Enter it in the appropriate place in your Notary Journal. Then it's your business if you hand them back their $10 later.
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