Being A Notary Public Could Be Your New Side Gig
You’ve most likely heard the term: notary public. But unless you’ve actually had to secure the services of a notary public you might not be sure what “notary public” means. Or what one does. Or whether it’s a person or a thing.
You might be interested in knowing that being a notary public can be a lucrative and easy-to-schedule side gig where you can work as little or as much as you want. Read on to find out how to become a notary — and how to make money at it.
The duties of a notary public can be easily summed up: A notary witnesses the signing of legal documents and thereby deters fraud by ensuring that the people signing the documents are actually who they say they are, and that they’re willingly and knowingly entering into a legal agreement. A notary verifies the signer’s identity and makes sure all parties are aware of what the documents they are signing entail.
Becoming a notary requires no specific experience or education, other than notary training, where applicable. If you’re 18 years of age or older, have not been convicted of a felony, and can read and write English, most states will allow you to become a notary public. You must, however, be a legal resident of the state where you are applying.
The process of becoming a notary, and the duties associated with it, can vary from state to state. Before you pursue certification, check your state’s specific requirements. Some common certification requirements include taking a notary class, taking a notary exam, obtaining a surety bond in case you make a mistake that hurts someone, submitting paperwork to the state, and purchasing a notary seal and kit.
So you’ve sealed the deal in terms of becoming a notary — now how do you go about making money? If you plan on freelancing as a notary, you might want to size up the competition in your area. Many businesses do General Notary Work (GNW) within their communities. Businesses such as UPS have notaries on staff. And banks often offer notary services to their members for free.
You might want to consider becoming a Notary Signing Agent, someone who specializes in notary services for the real estate industry. As a signing agent, you’re not competing with the big banks because you’re specializing in real estate work. Another bonus: Signing agents aren’t subject to the same price regulations as GNW. Perhaps it’s a positive sign that being a notary public is the right side gig for you.