Want to understand notary business startup costs and how to bootstrap your new notary business launch? All you need to know is right here. One of the great things about this industry is that it really doesn’t take a lot of initial capital investment to get started, and you can be your own boss.
You can run your own business right out of your home office without a problem, and set your own schedule, so you won’t need to pay for an additional office space as you are starting your notary business.
We are going to cover in detail each of the costs that you will need to cover, and why you will need it. Also, you will find suggested items that we recommend from years of experience in the notary business.
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Notary Business Startup Costs
- Notary Commission, Journal, and Stamp Costs
- Signing Agent Training Costs
- Errors and Omission Insurance Coverage Costs
- Business License Costs
- Notary Business Office Equipment Costs
- Initial Office Supplies Costs
- Professional Business Attire Costs
Let’s get into the details of each of these costs and understand what it’s for and why you need to spend it. Understand that the costs we list here are estimates based on the cost at the current time. It shouldn’t change dramatically so you can get a good idea.
1. Notary Commission, Journal, and Stamp Costs
Getting your notary commission is obviously the first step in starting a notary business. We recommend going through the National Notary Association for your required training to pass your state test if there is one. We recommend the basic training package, and to get your E&O insurance somewhere else. (we will talk about that later).
- National Notary Association Basic Training Package (estimate) – $160.
After that you will need to pay the Secretary of State that you live in to get your notary commission. Each state is different, so this is an estimate. We are overestimating the cost to include any testing fees your state may charge. Usually this is not a big cost, so it isn’t going to break the bank.
- Notary Commission from Secretary of State (estimate) – $150.
Once you become a commissioned notary public by your Secretary of State you can order your notary stamp and get started. Honestly, once you have your stamp you can start making money with notarizations.
There are plenty of companies that you can choose from to get your notary stamp made, but we highly recommend that Excel Mark Notary Stamp.
- Excel Mark Notary Stamp (estimate) – $35.
You will also need a notary journal. Notary journals are regulated by each state and whether or not you need to keep a notary journal and the journal requirements are governed by your own state laws.
You can usually find out online what your state requirements are before purchasing a journal. You should make sure that any notary journal that you purchase is state compliant.
We have used many different journals to record notarial acts, and for reasons of speed and efficiency at notary appointments we highly recommend the Integrity Notary Journal by Mobile Notary KC LLC. We are big fans!
It has many of the commonly notarized documents already listed for each entry saving you time and hassle.
- Notary Journal (estimate) – $30
Total Notary Commission, Journal, and Stamp Costs (estimate): $375.
2. Signing Agent Training Costs
Probably the primary source of income for your mobile notary services is going to be as a loan signing agent doing real estate closings for Escrow Officers and signing services. When the real estate market is doing well you be in high demand and can make a significant income as a signing agent.
We will get into how to develop your loan signing agent business later, for now we are focused on covering your notary business startup costs, and you need some good training to become a certified loan signing agent.
We are going to list several options for training, it is up to you to decide which one. The loan signing agent online course that we highly recommend is the “Loan Signing System” by Mark Wills, as we have gone through the course and built our own notary business on the foundation of this course. It is thorough, relevant, practical, and provides a certification as a Loan Signing Agent.
Here are some things that are covered in the “Loan Signing System” course with Mark Wills.
The Basic Loan Signing System Course includes:
- Notary Signing Agent Training and Certification
- Training on All 5 Major Closing Types
- Step-by-Step How to Do a Loan Signing in Under an Hour
- How to Get Signing Jobs without Selling
- Video of a Loan Signing Start to Finish
- The Basics on How to Get Jobs Directly from Loan Officers
The Loan Signing System course cost is currently:
$197 for the Fundamental 2.0 Course
$297 for the Profession 2.0 Course
$497 for the Six Figure 2.0 Course.
A great alternative Notary Signing Agent training course is the “Notary Coach – Sign & Thrive” course by Bill Soroka. He is a highly respected leader in the loan signing notary industry and his materials are also first rate.
You will be well trained and get plugged into another great notary community by getting your loan signing agent training through the Sign and Thrive course, but the pricing structure is different.
The “Sign & Thrive” course includes:
- Full Access to both courses (Sign & Thrive, Morning Mastery)
- Unlimited One-on-One Coaching Calls with Notary Coach, Bill Soroka
- Access to the Most Supportive Private Facebook Group on the Web
- 7-Day Free Trial
- 100% Moneyback Guarantee (Cancel anytime in your first 30 days)
The cost for the “Sign & Thrive” course is $33 per month. We recommend staying enrolled for at least 6 months to get the full training and the confidence you need to build a successful notary loan signing agent business.
The “Sign & Thrive” course current cost is ($33 monthly x 6 months recommended) = $198.
On top of the notary signing agent course that you choose, you will need to also become a Certified Notary Signing Agent through the National Notary Association. We suggest you take one of the above courses, and then you will need to take this course also.
It is not near as thorough as either of the previously mentioned courses and will not teach you how to build your notary business but is a mandatory requirement for many of the companies that send your real estate closing work.
Trust us that this is required, you will be asked to provide proof, and will need to keep it up to date annually.
The Complete NSA Certification Course by the National Notary Association includes:
- Background Screening
- Notary Signing Agent Exam
- 1-Year SigningAgent.com Top-Tier Listing
- 1-Year SigningAgent.com Priority Listing
- Certified Notary Signing Agent Online Training Course
- Downloadable NSA Exam Study Guide
- Notary Essential Training
- The Notary Signing Agent’s Loan Documents Sourcebook
- Loan Signing Prep Sheets
- Signing Agent Log
The Complete NSA Certification Course is currently $285.
So, to boil down the costs for Signing Agent training, you are looking at:
- Signing Agent Training Costs (if you take the most expensive = $497 –(If you choose a cheaper course, it will be obviously less)
- Mandatory – Complete NSA Certification Course and Background Check = $285 –
The cost of this training is well invested in your competence and confidence. There are other notary signing agent courses available, but we cannot vouch for them or recommend them. We want to challenge you not to take any short cuts in your training. It is vital to the success of your notary business.
Total Signing Agent Training Costs (estimated) = $500 to $780
3. Errors & Omissions Insurance Coverage Costs
Errors & Omissions Insurance coverage will be required for your notary business. It is for exactly what it sounds like. If you commit any errors or omissions as you conduct your business, and someone involved has loss because of your conduct when notarizing their legal documents, this insurance will cover it.
We recommend that you have minimum coverage of at least $100k. Some signing services and escrow companies require at least that much. You can get Errors and Omissions coverage from the National Notary Association or from Biberk Insurance Company. There are other insurance companies that can provide it and we suggest that you shop around.
The cost of E&O insurance is a variable nut it’s not a very big expense for your notary business startup.
Total Error & Omissions Insurance Coverage of $100k (estimated annual cost) = $250.
4. Business License Costs
More than likely, you will need a business license from the city or county for your notary business to operate legally there. If it is required, make sure you don’t skip it and try to operate under the radar.
If you operate your notary business entity without being properly licensed, you may incur more liability of something happens and you were not operating legally.
It isn’t difficult, typically you just need to go to your City Hall and to the licensing department to apply. If you in an unincorporated area of your county the go to the county offices.
Once you have obtained a business license you will probably need to post it in an obvious place, if you are operating exclusively as a mobile notary business then you will need to keep it with you in your vehicle.
Total Business License Costs (estimated annually) = $100.
5. Notary Business Office Equipment Costs
Not including any office furniture, you will need like a good size desk and a comfortable desk chair (which you can probably get on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to save money), you are going to need some essential office equipment to run your notary business successfully.
Yes, this is the expensive part of getting your business up and running smoothly.
- A Windows Based Laptop
- An External Monitor for Your Laptop
- A Duplex Laser Printer with 2 Paper Trays
- A High-Speed Document Scanner.
– A Windows Based Laptop
We recommend against using a MacBook for your notary business as they are not only expensive for a notary business startup, but they don’t work well with Adobe and .pdf documents with mixed paper sizes. You will be working with Adobe and .pdf document packages that sometimes have more than 200 pages.
There are plenty of stories from notary loan signing agents having problems with their printer jamming because of corrupted .pdf documents from the conflict between MacBook and Adobe. Similar issues are the same with Chromebooks. When problems like that happen when you are on a time crunch trying to get your real estate closing package printed before your appointment time it is a real stress and anxiety booster.
That is why we highly recommend using a Windows based laptop. They tend to work seamlessly in our line of notary work which increases productivity and lowers stress levels.
Windows Based Laptop Expense (estimate one-time expense) = $750 – $1000
– An External Monitor for Your Laptop
While it’s important to use a laptop for this business because of its portability for remote use at loan signings or just as mobile notaries working off site, it is also important to have an external monitor at the office to plug your laptop into.
When working with large real estate closing packages and multitasking it can be crowded and cumbersome trying to do that on your laptop. Also, you will be doing accounting, reviewing for documents for errors, and scanning documents to send back to title companies after real estate closings. Trying to do all of that on a small laptop screen will certainly increase your error rate as well as slow you down and make you less efficient.
We suggest talking to someone at your local electronics store about the best computer monitors and how to connect it to your laptop. It’s easy but you will need the right cable. Bring your laptop with you when you go in to make sure they are giving you the right recommendations.
Trust us, your eyes will thank you! You will also be much more efficient and accurate with a larger computer screen to work from when you are in the office.
An External Monitor for Your Laptop Cost (estimated one-time purchase): $175 – $200
– A Duplex Laser Printer with 2 Paper Trays
Building a successful notary business will involve plenty of printing. Especially when you are working as a Loan Signing Agent doing real estate closings for escrow officers and other potential clients. Real estate documents are required to be printed on a laser printer so your ink-jet home printer will not work for this industry.
The other thing that you will doing on a regular basis is printing document packages that have mixed paper sizes with both letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) and legal size (8.5 x 14) paper mixed in the package you are printing.
This means that your laser printer will need to print the document package in the exact stacking order it came with, and that each legal size and letter size paper is printed in the same order it came in. Getting this wrong will frustrate escrow officers that are giving you business, and will probably cost you their business. We don’t want that!
As of the time of this writing, there is a proven workhorse of a printer that has worked like a charm for many other people that run a notary business like you.
That workhorse of a printer is: The Brother HL-L6200DW series laser printer!
There are other printers that will do the job also. As a proficient loan signing agent, make sure whatever printer you decide on has two paper trays. One tray for Letter size paper, and the other for Legal size paper. It will make your job much easier and will save you from making costly errors with changing the stacking order of the document package.
We recommend that you shop around to find the best printer for you, but make sure the above requirements are met.
A Duplex Laser Printer with 2 Paper Trays (estimate one-time cost): $400 – $500
– A High-Speed Document Scanner
If you are going to be working as a loan signing agent doing closings on real estate transactions, then you will be required to have a high-speed document scanner. This is so you can send scans of completed real estate closing documents for review or early processing. Don’t make the mistake of getting a cheap scanner that takes forever to scan 150 pages.
Once again, there is a workhorse scanner that has been proven in this industry and we are big fans. It’s the Epson ES-500W series scanner. It is compact, high speed, and has earned its place on the desks of many people who are in this line of work.
A High-Speed Document Scanner (estimated one-time cost): $350 – $400
Total Notary Business Office Equipment Costs (estimate): $1675 to $2100
6. Initial Office Supplies Cost
Here is a checklist of office supply items you will need, check the off as you purchase them:
o Case of Letter-size paper
o Case of Legal-size paper
o Replacement toner for your laser printer
o Blue and Black Ink Pens (not gel – they smear on paperwork)
o Paperclips for small document packages
o Rubber bands for large document packages
o Notepad for notes
Total Initial Office Supplies Cost (estimated): $250 – $300
7. Professional Business Attire
You most likely have a good start on this one, but you might want to refresh your wardrobe with some good business attire that would be acceptable at an escrow office or working with real estate agents. Knowing what is appropriate is a matter of where you are located. In some communities it is much more dressed up for business and in others sharp business casual is just fine.
We suggest taking a look around the professional area of your community and see how they are dressed and emulate them. They are probably your potential customers. You may have a history of working in the professional world and don’t need any new attire at all.
If you are looking to save some money on a wardrobe refresh, then local thrift stores often carry a wide variety of clothing that might work. Be resourceful and look respectable. It’s YOUR business!
Total Professional Business Attire (wardrobe refresh estimate): $150 to $250
So here is the final breakdown of Startup Costs: (estimate) $3300 to $4155
- Notary Commission, Journal, and Stamp Costs: (estimate) $375
- Signing Agent Training Costs: (estimate) $500 to $780
- Errors and Omission Insurance Coverage Costs: (estimate) $250
- Business License Costs: (estimate) $100
- Notary Business Office Equipment Costs: (estimate) $1675 to $2100
- Initial Office Supplies Costs: (estimate) $250 to $300
- Professional Business Attire Costs: (estimate) $150 to $250
There are ways as a small business that you can bootstrap your notary business start-up costs by buying used items or items on sale. It doesn’t take that much money. Also, keep in mind that the notary business startup costs can be incremental as you only buy what you need when you need it. This list may not be comprehensive as you may not do real estate loan closings or want to do loan signing agent work at all. You may choose to only focus on general notary work, work for only law firms, or some other additional services.
We hope this post has been helpful as you take the next steps towards building your own successful business plan.