Already become a notary public? Just been commissioned? If you're fresh and starry-eyed, you're probably wondering about notary public fees.
What are they? How much should you charge?
Setting your notary public fees follows the same concept as any business offering a product or service. You want to keep an eye on the competition while making sure you don't do anything unethical.
Unsure how to set the right notary public fees? We've got a handy guide to help you out of your tight spot.
Follow state regulations
When it comes to charging the appropriate notary public fees, you definitely want to make sure you follow the regulations that have been set in your state.
In California, you cannot charge more than $15 per notarized signature. You should also establish what you will charge for mobility. Mobile notaries will typically charge $25 for this and will add a surcharge for “out-of-area” distances. Do not list a mobility fee in your notary journal.
You should have your pre-printed invoices with you at all times. Your invoice should break everything out so that it will be clear that you are not exceeding state limits. Here’s an example:
Document1 Notarized Signatures: 2 @ $15 = $30.00
Document 2 Notarized Signatures: 1 @ $15 = $15.00
Mobility: @ $25.00
Total of Fees: $70.00
Take some time to create an attractive invoice with your company name, address, logo, phone, fax and email address. Always have a Thank you! In large letters on your invoice. Many times this is the document your clients will remember you by.
Another great option for invoicing is to use Notary Depot’s Invoice feature. From your computer or phone, just enter the information in your profile page and click to email or text your invoice to your client.
Check out what other notaries charge in your area
The next step to keeping up with your competition is to figure out and understand the notary public fees in your area.
If you keep an eye on the notary public fees in your area, you'll have a good idea on how to price your services in a competitive way.
You can either charge a little bit higher (and hopefully offer great customer services to go with it), or you can charge a tiny bit lower and gain your customers that way. This also ensures that you don't over or undercharge your clients.
As with any business, you want to charge what your time and skills are worth - while still staying within state guidelines.
What notary public fees don't include
Remember that your job is to verify the identities of all parties signing a document or documents. As a notary, you need to understand your limitations. Many clients will ask you legal questions. A simple reply like, “That sounds like a question for your attorney,” works just fine.
Your job is to make sure the document is complete... not to complete the document for the client. Your client will appreciate prompt, competent and efficient services.
How to increase your profits
If there's nothing else that you can offer in addition to your notary services, then you'll want to grow your business, the old-fashioned (and best) way: word of mouth referrals.
Don't be afraid to advertise and push your services! Always leave a business card with everyone you deal with. The more people who find out about your business, the more people will call you to help them with their documentation. If you play your cards right, you could soon have a river of clients flowing straight to you.
Don't be afraid to network. Get in contact with mortgage companies, or other companies which deal with a ton of legal documentation. Introduce yourself, build a relationship. They may start sending their clients your way.
Things to consider
Regarding your mobility fee, you should do some mapwork from your area to determine how far you are willing to drive for a single appointment.
If you take an appointment way beyond your $25 limit, you should tell the client that there will be a surcharge of $x.
At first, you will probably take appointments that are too far away. These can cost you because they take you away from your local market.
You never want to have to turn down an easy, local signing because you were out of the area. Develop the discipline to stay in your area.
Keep track of your business mileage and do an accounting of your profitability each day/week/month. Assign an amount like $.50 per mile. A quick accounting of a day may be:
Fees Collected: $150
Miles to and from appointments: 45 @ .50 = $22.50
Essential Briefcase Items:
- Notary Seal
- Thumb Printer
- Rubber Finger
- Invoices (Personalized from NotaryDepot.com)
- Ackowledgments (Personalized from NotaryDepot.com)
- Jurats (Personalized from NotaryDepot.com)
- Business Cards
Setting your notary public fees is a large decision, with a lot to take into consideration. You want to be priced fairly for your work and time, and you have to adhere to state guidelines while following what other notaries are charging.
However, with a little bit of business planning while taking your expenses into account, setting the right fee for your services can be a breeze.
If you have any questions regarding notary public fees or your state restrictions, feel free to contact us!