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Public Notary Business Idea

If you’re looking for a low cost, small business opportunity, learn how to become a public notary.

What is a Public Notary?

A public notary, sometimes called a notary or notary public, is a person authorized by the state government to officially witness statements on legal documents, take sworn testimony and administer oaths.

They are used to deter fraud by making sure the people signing the documents are who they say they are, and that they are signing them voluntarily. A notary can witness signatures and can verify that each party has sworn the authenticity of the documents. Unless the notary is also an attorney, they are not allowed to provide legal advice.

How to Become a Public Notary

Each state has its own requirements for a notary, which may include the following:

  • Attaining minimum age (which is usually 18)
  • Completing notary classes or state run training (often available online)
  • Passing the notary public exam
  • Attaining the required residency requirement
  • Being of good character
  • Having a high school degree
  • Being bonded and insured

You can check to see what is required in your state. The National Notary Association (nationalnotary.org) has a wealth of information on how to become a notary for each state in the U.S.

You may be able to go one step further to become a notary signing agent. This type of notary can also sign mortgage documents, which opens up more opportunity for business. Some states, however, have restrictions on notary signing agents (i.e. they must be an attorney) so check with your state’s regulations before you proceed.

Once you become a notary, you are given a term of office, usually 4 to 5 years, depending on your state. After that, you will need to renew your term.

Setting Up Your Business

When learning how to become a public notary, you’ll also need to consider the costs. Beyond the fees for becoming a notary, there are very little costs. You will need to order some notary supplies (including the official notary seal), but beyond that, a cell phone (so you can be reached easily), reliable transportation and a pen will be your primary tools for the job.

Getting customers, then, will be the thrust of your activities. While some organizations such as banks and companies like UPS have notaries on staff, many organizations do not.

Your challenge will be to find those organizations and become their go-to guy (or girl). Consider starting a mobile notary service, where you come to the clients. Financial planners might visit the homes of their clients, and need you to come to witness signatures.

Doctors may need a notary to meet them at hospitals, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. Real estate businesses and law offices may also be able to use your services.

Get involved with your chamber of commerce and offer your services. Contact smaller companies in the real estate, financial, legal and medical businesses and let them know you’re available.

Ask the business owners what their needs are for notaries, and see how you can help. The more repeat business you can get, the faster your business will grow. Recurring revenue with existing clients is an important concept to remember when learning how to become a public notary.

With good marketing and planning, this low cost business could give you big rewards.

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