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Pros/Cons of Being a Notary Public

6 posts, 5 voices


seekinginfo 1 post about 10 years ago


I’m in the research phases of becoming a Notary Public in CA. Can people share what the Pros/Cons are in this career field? I’m looking to do it on a part-time basis. Can I make money doing it in the evenings and weekends or is it more of a service that is required during the weekdays?

The company I’m looking at for taking the course is offering a Certified Notary Signing Agent the same day as the Notary Public class and exam. Is this class(CBSA) something that would be beneficial to take?

Any and all input would be appreciated.



rogeroh 62 posts about 10 years ago

Too many people think that having to become a notary is just a minor inconvenience necessary to be a signing agent. I would suggest you take the time to learn all you can about being a notary, as the responsibilities of that title in protecting the public of your state are significant, and you take a sworn oath to do so. You are always a notary first, and a signing agent second. You need to know your state notary laws thoroughly before attempting to perform as a loan signing agent.

Don’t be taken in by all the hype saying how much money you can make with little effort.
This is a SERIOUS business, and when you’re signing someone’s $400,000 mortgage documents, there is NO margin for error; you can expose yourself to substantial liability from the borrowers, or for violating any of your state notary laws.

You are in a state saturated with notaries, many of whom are experienced signing agents, and yet are still starving in this market. Many have bailed out altogether. You can get an idea of your area’s competition and their experience level by going to and clicking the “find a notary” tab for your zip code – that’s some of the reality you’ll face that the people trying to take your money for the signing agent class don’t like to talk about. It will be difficult for you to break into a very down market with no experience, in a statealready heavy with competition.

Again, it’s a serious business, not a hobby; you have to have the proper equipment (laser printer, fax/copier, cell phone, good car, etc) and a lot of patience with both signing companies and sometimes strange borrowers. And, after it all, you may never get paid, or have to chase down your money.

Don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s the reality of the current market, and you need to approach it with your eyes wide open. Good luck.

joanbergst 90 posts about 10 years ago

Your comment that we are saturated with notaries in CA is not correct. We will have lost at least between (2008+2009) over 70,000 notaries in CA. We were always the lowest per capita in the United States for years by at at least 1/2 to the next closest state which is New York.

This means we will have approx. 1 notary for every 189 people and many states have 1 notary per 22 people.

rogeroh 62 posts about 10 years ago

The point I intended to make was, that within 30 miles of the zip code noted in the poster’s profile, there were some 563 notary listings, and the same (or worse) can be seen in every metro area in the state. Even granting that not all notaries do loan signings, it’s still some pretty stiff competition numbers. Per capita stats may be helpful when you’re looking for a notary, but not so much when you’re competing with them.

joe 69 posts about 10 years ago

I would have to agree with Roger. If you’re not on “Page 1” (literally or metaphorically), then your chances of getting business go down steeply, regardless of per capita. For per capita to have much meaning, you would have to assume the entire pool was receiving an equal distribution of jobs. But the reality is the “Page 1” pool usually receives almost all the jobs.

lkthornton 45 posts about 10 years ago

Because the notary listings include stale/outdated profiles – i.e. profiles that have not been updated since 2006, 2007, and 2008 – no one knows if those notaries with the old profiles still have their commissions, therefore, it is not an accurate rendition of the competition a notary will face. If that notary directory removed all profiles, not updated within the previous 6 months, then there would be a more realistic count of one’s competition within a given zip code. As to the OP’s question regardining the pros/cons of being a notary. the only con is sporadic work – some weeks I’m busy and other weeks I don’t get any calls. Other than that, I love being a notary public and will continue to renew my commission.