How Does a Notary Get Paid? The Answer Isn't What You'd Expect
A notary is licensed by the government to perform certain acts in legal affairs. This often takes the form of witnessing signatures on legally binding documents. While not every document requires a notary's services, there are certain documents, such as real estate contracts, which have to have a notary's signature to be considered complete and binding under the law. Because notaries are a requirement in the current legal system, they have a certain amount of job security that comes with their qualifications. But how, precisely, does being a notary make you money? The answer isn't what most people expect when they see what it takes to become a notary in the first place.
How Does a Notary Get Paid?
It surprises a lot of people to know that, despite all the training required for someone to be a notary, notaries do not get paid by the government for doing their job. In fact, notaries will provide their services either as part of an existing career, or as an independent agent who charges his or her own fees for notary services.
Let's start with the first example. Say you work as a loan officer at a bank. To allow you to perform all the necessary services in-house, the bank may pay for you to complete notary training. Once you're a notary, you still work for the bank (though you may get a raise because of your additional function), and it's the bank that pays your salary.
The other option is a little more complicated. When someone operates as an independent notary, then that person is running his or her own business. In that instance you're still performing notary services, but you also have to set business hours, decide what your rates for notary services are, advertise, and figure out where your office space is going to be. While you are your own boss in terms of prices, when you work, etc., you still have to get enough work from the public to make a living.
Which Option Is Better?
Which method you choose to use to get paid as a notary is up to you. Different people may find one to be more valuable than the other. For example, if you like the reliability of a steady paycheck, and you don't want to deal with the day-to-day concerns of running your own business, then working for a business like a bank, or a law firm, or even as a court clerk, are all good ways to put your certification as a notary to use. If you're the type of person who is perfectly fine setting up your own business, or you already have a business and you want to make notary services an extra part of that business, then the second option is the one that's going to work better for you.
Being a notary isn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. You have to go through the initial training, and then you have to make sure you keep your certification up-to-date, and that you are aware of any and all changes made to the laws about how notaries must fulfill their duties. While that is a lot of work, it means that you have a skill set that thousands of businesses and people need every day, which means that no matter what happens, you're going to have something on your resume that will let you find work. Not only find work, but the unique qualification of being a notary is likely to bring you in several rungs up, even if you're a new hire.