When Geneva Pugh was looking for a part-time job, she heard that becoming a notary public could be a lucrative source of income. She signed up for a notary class and, one month later, passed her certification test to become a notary in Philadelphia. Now, her part-time gig is earning her serious cash.
“I am a notary signing agent, which means I am also certified to notarize loan documents,” said Pugh. “Notary document prices usually range from $5 [for a] simple one-page acknowledgment to $125 for a loan document.”
If you’re looking to find additional sources of income, becoming a notary public can be a great way to earn extra cash. Read on to find out how to become a notary on the side, and what you’ll need to succeed.
What is a notary?
If you’ve ever had to have a document notarized, you know it’s a pain. You can’t just email a document and get an electronic signature. Instead, you have to drive to the notary public’s office, bring documentation with you, and wait for the notary to verify your information and stamp the forms. But that’s because becoming a notary public is a serious task.
A notary is an individual certified by the state to perform notarial functions, such as witnessing and verifying a signature on a loan application or contract. Going through all that trouble just to get a stamp might seem silly, but people use notarization to protect themselves against fraud.
Many notaries work in an office setting. Some notarize documents on top of their other responsibilities at their full-time jobs, but notaries public can also be self-employed. A notary can work with businesses or individuals, or a combination of the two.
How to become a notary
Each state has its own requirements for becoming a notary. The National Notary Association has a searchable database of each state’s guidelines and rules, so it’s a good idea to review the requirements in your location.
In general, you’ll need to complete the following steps to become a notary public:
- Meet basic eligibility guidelines: In most cases, you must be at least 18, a legal resident of the state, and have a clean criminal record to be eligible.
- Complete training: Nine states require you to take a training course: California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Training courses usually only take a few hours and cost $100 to $200.
- Submit an application: Each state has its own application form. You will need to complete the form and mail it to your state’s office.
- Pass the test: Most states don’t ask you to take an exam, but a dozen states do require candidates to pass a test: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah.
- Complete a background check: Some areas require notaries to pass a background check, and will also take your fingerprints.
- Get bonded and insured: Depending on your state, you might need to purchase a surety bond. If you make a notary error that hurts someone, the bond will be used to compensate them. A surety bond typically costs between $50 and $100.
While often not required, it’s also a good idea to consider getting a notary errors and omissions insurance policy to protect yourself. If you make an unintentional error in the course of your notary work, this type of insurance could protect you from financial or legal consequences.
The entire certification process can take just a few days or up to six months, depending on your state.
How much does a notary make?
According to PayScale, a notary public earns an average of nearly $13 per hour. However, your income can vary, depending on your location and the type of documents you most often notarize. You might be able to command as much as $22 per hour.
On top of the solid earning potential, becoming a notary public isn’t very expensive. Compared to the startup costs of other small businesses, starting your own notary side gig doesn’t need a big investment; usually, the total cost is just a few hundred dollars. However, there are some supplies you should have on hand.
“[When setting their rates] notaries should consider their time, ability to reach potential clients, and additional equipment needed,” said Pugh.
Beyond classes and certification testing, some other expenses to consider include:
- Specialized printer: You’ll need a printer capable of printing legal-sized, double-sided documents.
- Notary seal and kit: You will need your own notary seal, stamp, and kit. You can buy these items as a package for as little as $25, while more deluxe versions can cost as much as $200.
- Notarization log: Although most states do not require it, it’s a good idea to keep a log or journal that lists the client’s name, date, time, and type of document to notarize to protect yourself.
Launch a new side hustle
Once you complete the process to become a notary, you can work for several years before you’ll need to renew your certification in most states. To get started, the National Notary Association has state-specific resources and comprehensive guides to help you navigate through the process.
For more side gig ideas, check out 10 side hustles you can start this week.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|