notary public roles responsibilities

20 Pros and Cons of Being a Notary

The pros of being a notary include flexible work schedules, opportunities for additional income, enhanced job qualifications, positive societal impact, entrepreneurial opportunities, and continuous professional development. These benefits provide notaries with a sense of accomplishment, financial stability, and avenues for growth.

The cons of being a notary involve challenges in building a client base, potential inconsistent income, navigating complex state regulations, facing liability risks, and the need for continuous education. These challenges can sometimes overshadow the benefits, making it essential for individuals to weigh both sides before making a decision.

What does a notary do?

A notary public serves as an impartial witness to facilitate the signing of important documents, verify the signers’ identities, and screen for their understanding and willingness to sign, thereby helping to deter fraud and ensure the integrity of the signed document.

How to become a notary?

To become a notary you must, meet your state’s criteria, complete the application, pay fees, undergo training and exams, pass a background check if required, obtain a surety bond if mandated, receive a state commission, and buy notary supplies.

How much does a notary make?

On average, a full-time notary public in the United States can earn a yearly salary of around $50,294, but earnings can vary greatly depending on factors like experience, location, and range of services offered. Part-time notaries typically earn over $500 per month, with seasoned mobile notaries potentially earning more than $4,000 per month after building their business for a few years.

Is being a notary worth it?

Being a notary can be worth it if you value flexible work hours and providing a crucial service to help prevent fraud, although it may require managing variable income and risking potential legal exposure due to errors.


  • Notaries can earn extra income and enjoy flexible schedules for improved work-life balance.
  • They take pride in their role, ensuring the authenticity of documents and contributing to community safety.
  • Notaries manage their time to accommodate personal and professional obligations seamlessly.
  • The initial expenses to become a notary are minimal, offering an economical way to start a business.

Notary: Quick Facts & Insights

  • Overview:
    • Role & Responsibilities: Notaries witness the signing of official documents, verify signee identity, administer oaths, maintain notary journals, and handle legal documents.
    • Work Environment: Often self-employed, allowing for a flexible work schedule and location.
    • Social Impact: Deters fraud and ensures the accuracy of documentation, providing community value.
  • Financial Insights:
    • Annual Median Pay: $50,294
    • Earnings Spectrum: 16 percent earn more than $7,500 a month.
  • Entry Requirements:
    • Educational Background: State-specific qualifications; generally being 18, a state resident, and no criminal record.
    • Work Experience: Varies; may include state-approved education, an exam, and an application process.
    • Training & Development: State-required education varies; continuous training through online classes, workshops, and seminars.
  • Job Market:
    • Current Employment: Not specified.
    • Projected Growth (2023-2033): 7%, driven by healthcare and social assistance sectors.
  • Professional Life:
    • Work-Life Balance: Flexibility as a self-employed individual, allowing for a balance with personal obligations.
    • Benefits & Stability: Notary commission enhances job qualifications and opportunities for advancement or additional income.
  • Industry Trends & Diversity:
    • Emerging Trends: Shift toward general notary work and non-notary services; successful notaries often find community-specific niches.
    • Entrepreneurial Opportunities: Independent service offerings can lead to additional income.
  • Challenges:
    • Finding Customers: Building a client base is a common challenge.
    • Pandemic Restrictions: Adapting to COVID-19 restrictions has been a recent industry hurdle.


Pros of Being a NotaryCons of Being a Notary
Flexible Work ScheduleBuilding a Client Base
Opportunity for Additional IncomeInconsistent Income
Enhanced Job QualificationsInitial Investment and Ongoing Costs
Positive Social ImpactComplex State Regulations
Entrepreneurial OpportunitiesLiability Risks
Projected Job GrowthContinued Education Requirements
Continuous Learning and DevelopmentWork-Life Balance Can Be Tricky
Diverse Work EnvironmentsCompetitive Market
Community IntegrationTechnological Adaptations Required
Adaptability to ChallengesPandemic and Other Unforeseen Challenges

Pros of Being a Notary

  1. Flexible Work Schedule: Notaries, especially those who are self-employed, enjoy a level of schedule flexibility that many other professions do not offer. They can set appointments according to their personal timetable, allowing them to manage work alongside other commitments, such as family, education, or hobbies. This flexibility often leads to a more balanced lifestyle, contributing significantly to personal well-being and satisfaction.
  2. Opportunity for Additional Income: Notaries have the potential to earn a substantial income, with the median annual pay reported at $129,717. Those in the 75th percentile can even reach around $181,000, depending on the state and services provided. This income is often supplementary to another primary job, making it a lucrative side business or part-time occupation, especially for those offering specialized notary services.
  3. Enhanced Job Qualifications: Having a notary commission can enhance an individual’s professional profile. It’s an additional qualification that can bolster a resume, potentially leading to career advancement opportunities in various sectors, including legal, financial, and governmental fields. This credential is often seen as a mark of trustworthiness and responsibility, qualities highly valued in many professions.
  4. Positive Social Impact: Notaries play a crucial role in deterring fraud and ensuring the legality and authenticity of critical documents. By serving as impartial witnesses and verifying the identity of signees, they contribute to maintaining integrity in legal proceedings and various transactions, thereby providing a valuable service to the community and enhancing societal trust in documented agreements.
  5. Entrepreneurial Opportunities: The notary profession allows for entrepreneurial ventures since many notaries are self-employed. They can start their own notary services business, expanding into community-specific niches, or offer mobile notary services. These independent service offerings can significantly increase earning potential and allow notaries to be their own bosses.
  6. Projected Job Growth: The notary field is expected to see a 7% job growth from 2023 to 2033. This increase is particularly driven by sectors like healthcare and social assistance, indicating a sustained demand for notary services. Stable or growing demand means more opportunities for current and aspiring notaries, contributing to job security and availability.
  7. Continuous Learning and Development: Notaries have access to continuous learning opportunities, such as online classes, workshops, and seminars, that help them stay updated with legal procedures and documentation requirements. This ongoing education not only ensures they provide accurate services but also contributes to their personal and professional development.
  8. Diverse Work Environments: Notaries are not confined to one particular setting or industry. They can work in various environments like banks, law offices, real estate firms, or from the comfort of their homes. This diversity can make the work more interesting and provide valuable experiences and networking opportunities across different sectors.
  9. Community Integration: Successful notaries often build strong relationships within their communities. They become known as trustworthy individuals who facilitate important legal processes. This level of integration can be personally fulfilling and can also lead to a steady stream of clients through word-of-mouth referrals.
  10. Adaptability to Challenges: The notary profession has shown resilience and adaptability, especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many notaries transitioned to remote or electronic notarization, allowing them to continue providing essential services. This adaptability is a testament to the profession’s relevance and sustainability, even in challenging times.
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Cons of Being a Notary

  1. Building a Client Base: One of the primary challenges notaries face is establishing a steady client base. Especially for those starting, it can be difficult to attract clients and create a reliable stream of income. Networking, marketing, and advertising require additional skills and efforts, and there is significant competition in the field.
  2. Inconsistent Income: While there is potential for a high income, earnings can be highly inconsistent, especially for notaries who are self-employed. Income often depends on the number of clients and transactions completed, which can fluctuate monthly. Notaries might face periods of financial instability due to this unpredictability.
  3. Initial Investment and Ongoing Costs: Becoming a notary involves some initial costs, including education, the application process, and supplies. Additionally, self-employed notaries must also often handle business-related expenses, such as marketing, transportation, and insurance. These ongoing costs can be burdensome, especially if the income is not steady.
  4. Complex State Regulations: Each state has its own set of regulations and requirements for notaries. Keeping up with these, especially if operating in multiple states, can be complex and time-consuming. Mistakes due to lack of knowledge or understanding of regulations can lead to serious legal consequences.
  5. Liability Risks: Notaries take on significant legal responsibilities and, therefore, liability risks. If a notary fails to adhere to legal standards, whether intentionally or inadvertently, they can face lawsuits, fines, or even the revocation of their notary commission. This pressure can be a source of stress and requires meticulous attention to detail in their work.
  6. Continued Education Requirements: While continued education can be seen as a benefit for personal growth, it’s also a requirement that entails time and sometimes financial investment. Notaries must stay updated with changing laws and practices, which means they need to regularly invest in courses, workshops, or seminars to maintain their license.
  7. Work-Life Balance Can Be Tricky: Although being a notary can offer flexible hours, it can also lead to the opposite. Since income is often tied to the number of services provided, notaries might find themselves working odd hours or being on-call to meet client demands, potentially disrupting work-life balance.
  8. Competitive Market: The notary field can be competitive, especially in areas with a high concentration of notaries. Standing out and establishing a niche requires strategic marketing, exceptional service, and sometimes lower prices, which can affect overall earnings.
  9. Technological Adaptations Required: Emerging trends in the notary field, such as electronic notarization, require notaries to be technologically savvy. Not only does this mean additional investment in secure digital systems, but also a need for constant adaptation to new technologies, which might be challenging for some.
  10. Pandemic and Other Unforeseen Challenges: External factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic have forced notaries to adapt to new ways of providing services, like remote notarizations. These adaptations can be difficult and costly to implement, and there’s always uncertainty regarding future unforeseen challenges that may impact the way notaries operate.

Financial Benefits

financial gains from content

Frequently, notaries experience significant financial benefits due to the diverse range of services they can offer and the ability to set their own rates. This flexibility allows notaries to enhance their financial earnings by offering additional services such as loan signing and handling immigration forms. Each service can come with its own fee structure, enabling notaries to maximize their income potential.

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Moreover, mobile notaries have a unique advantage. By traveling to clients, they can charge travel fees, adding another layer to their income. This mobile service offering means notaries can cater to a broader clientele, ensuring their services are accessible to those who may not be able to travel themselves. The immediate payment for services rendered further boosts their financial stability, providing quick compensation and reducing the waiting time for earnings.

Differentiating their service offerings is another smart strategy notaries often employ. By specializing in niche areas or providing a wide variety of services, they can attract more customers and command higher fees. This approach not only diversifies their income streams but also helps them stand out in a competitive market.

Thus, for many notaries, the financial benefits are indeed substantial and multifaceted.

Flexible Scheduling

adaptable work hours offer

Essentially, the primary advantages of being a notary include the ability to set a flexible schedule that accommodates both personal and client needs. Imagine having the freedom to decide when and where you work. Notaries enjoy flexible hours, choosing to set their own hours and create a work schedule that fits their lifestyle. Whether you prefer working part-time or full-time, the choice is yours, allowing you to balance work with family time or personal interests.

This flexibility extends to accommodating clients as well. Need to meet someone in the evening or on a weekend? No problem! As a notary, you can arrange appointments that fit your clients’ busy schedules, making your services even more valuable. This aspect of the job is particularly appealing because it offers convenience to both parties involved.

Moreover, the ability to set your own hours means you have better control over your workload and availability. You can decide how many clients to take on, ensuring you’re never overwhelmed and can provide the best service possible.

Essentially, the flexible scheduling of a notary career provides an excellent work-life balance, catering perfectly to individual preferences and needs.

Job Security

job stability and assurance

Job security is a significant advantage of being a notary, as the high demand for notarial services spans various industries and sectors. Notaries are needed in real estate, law, finance, healthcare, and many other fields. This widespread necessity translates to a steady income for those who enter the notary business.

Whether it’s verifying signatures on legal documents, administering oaths, or witnessing affidavits, the role of a notary is essential.

Moreover, being a notary enhances one’s marketable skill sets, making individuals more employable. Businesses value notaries for their ability to perform important functions that guarantee the legitimacy and legality of important documents. This not only adds value to the workforce but also boosts the resume of the notary, providing an additional layer of job security.

In addition to the intrinsic value they bring to workplaces, notaries have the option to operate independently. Running a notary business can be a lucrative venture, given the consistent demand for their services.

Essentially, the high demand across multiple sectors ensures that notaries enjoy a stable and secure career, making it an attractive profession for those seeking long-term employment stability.

Initial Costs

The initial costs of becoming a notary can range from $100 to $200, covering essential application fees and supplies. This initial investment includes notary seals, journals, and other necessary supplies to start your notary business. These costs, though manageable, are important to take into account as they form the foundation of your new profession.

Notaries may also face additional expenses such as notary training courses, background checks, and surety bonds. Training courses are especially valuable, as they provide the knowledge needed to perform your duties accurately and confidently. Background checks and surety bonds, while sometimes overlooked, are essential for ensuring trustworthiness and compliance with state-specific requirements.

It’s important to understand that these initial costs can vary widely depending on where you live. Each state has its own specific requirements, and these can have a significant impact on the total cost. Before diving in, it’s wise to research the particular requirements for notaries in your state, so you’re well-prepared.

Budgeting for these initial costs is vital for aspiring notaries. By planning ahead, you’ll be better equipped to handle the expenses and set yourself up for a successful start in your new role.

Legal Risks

mitigating legal risks essential

Venturing into the world of notarization comes with its set of legal risks, and understanding these is essential. Making a mistake in verifying identities or correctly completing notarial acts can lead to financial liabilities and even lawsuits.

Notaries must stay aware of the laws and regulations to avoid fraud and fulfill their legal responsibilities, reducing the chances of serious consequences.

Liability for Errors

Traversing the legal landscape, notaries must exercise meticulous attention to detail to avoid costly errors that could lead to significant liability. Key to their role is identity verification, ensuring the person signing a document is who they claim to be. Neglecting this step can result in dire legal risks, transforming a simple oversight into a financial nightmare.

Imagine the consequences if a fraudulent signature sneaks past—a notary could face financial liabilities that stretch beyond their means.

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By upholding high professional standards, notaries play an essential role in fraud prevention. They serve as the guardians of trust, ensuring each document’s integrity. But even the most diligent notary can fall into legal peril if they overlook small details. Legal risks abound if procedures aren’t followed to the letter, making thorough knowledge of notary laws and best practices indispensable.

Proper training and ongoing education are the notary’s best allies in this battle against error. These educational efforts minimize the chances of mistakes, helping notaries dodge the legal pitfalls that lurk in the shadows of their profession. By staying informed and vigilant, they can maintain their professional standing and protect themselves from legal consequences.

Fraudulent Document Risks

Guaranteeing the authenticity of documents, notaries must remain vigilant against the significant legal risks posed by fraudulent documents. These risks are not trivial; they can have severe consequences if notaries fail to establish the identity of the signer or miss other critical verification steps.

Fraud and identity theft are real dangers that notaries face daily, demanding constant scrutiny and adherence to proper procedures to protect both themselves and the public.

To mitigate these legal risks, notaries need to:

  • Confirm the identity of the signer: Always require proper identification to ensure the person signing is who they claim to be.
  • Maintain thorough records: Detailed logs of all notarizations help track and verify actions taken and can be essential in legal proceedings.
  • Be aware of the signer’s willingness: Ensure the signer is not under duress and fully understands the document they are signing.
  • Stay updated on notary laws: Regularly review and comply with all notary regulations and laws to avoid legal infractions.
  • Educate yourself on fraud detection: Learn to recognize signs of fraudulent documents or suspicious behavior.

Legal Consequences Awareness

Understanding the legal risks associated with notarization is essential for notaries to avoid potential liabilities and safeguard their professional integrity. As a Notary Public, you’re not just stamping papers; you’re ensuring the authenticity of crucial documents. However, this role comes with significant legal risks. If a notary fails to follow proper notarization procedures, they can face severe legal consequences. Mistakes or fraudulent activities in notarized documents can lead to lawsuits, making it imperative to adhere strictly to state laws and regulations.

Notary misconduct, whether intentional or accidental, can have serious repercussions. Imagine notarizing a document without verifying the signer’s identity properly. Such an oversight could be seen as negligence, and you might be held liable for any resulting fraud. Legal compliance isn’t just a guideline—it’s a shield that protects you and your clients. Staying informed about state-specific laws governing notarization can help you navigate these legal waters safely.

Therefore, understanding the legal risks involved in notarization is crucial. It not only protects you from potential lawsuits but also ensures that you maintain the trust and integrity expected of a Notary Public. By prioritizing legal compliance, you can confidently perform your duties while minimizing risks.

Community Impact

community collaboration and involvement

How do notaries significantly contribute to the integrity and trust within their communities?

The community impact of notaries cannot be overstated. Notaries play a pivotal role in guaranteeing that notarized documents are legitimate, which in turn provides legal validity to various transactions. By verifying identities and confirming the authenticity of documents, notaries are safeguarding the public from potential fraud and misconduct. Their adherence to ethical standards underscores their dedication to the community’s well-being.

Notaries are often the unsung heroes in many important life events. Community members depend on their services for notarizing wills, powers of attorney, and real estate documents, among others.

Here are some ways notaries positively affect their communities:

  • Preventing Fraud: By validating identities, notaries help ensure that the signers are indeed who they claim to be.
  • Legal Validation: Notarized documents provide an additional layer of legal validity, making them more secure.
  • Public Protection: Their work shields individuals from fraudulent activities and legal disputes.
  • Ethical Standards: Upholding high ethical standards builds trust within the community.
  • Diversified Services: Offering mobile notary services or specialized notarizations increases their accessibility and value.

In essence, notaries fortify the foundation of trust and integrity that their communities rely upon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Negatives of Being a Notary?

The negatives of being a notary include steady income challenges due to state-set fees, potential for lawsuits from notarization errors, and accumulating upstart and upkeep costs, such as application fees and ongoing training expenses.

What Type of Notary Makes the Most Money?

Mobile notaries and loan signing agents typically make the most money due to convenience fees for travel and specialization in real estate transactions, respectively. Geographic location and offering additional services also greatly impact a notary’s earning potential.

What Is the Most Common Mistake Made by a Notary?

The most common mistake made by a notary is failing to properly identify the signers, which can lead to potential fraud and invalidate the notarization, posing significant legal risks and undermining the notary’s credibility.

Does Being a Notary Look Good on a Resume?

Yes, being a notary enhances a resume by highlighting attention to detail, trustworthiness, and commitment to legal standards. It distinguishes candidates in competitive markets and enhances professional credibility across various industries.


To conclude, when contemplating becoming a notary, it is important to weigh the mix of advantages and challenges. Financial benefits and flexible scheduling can make it an appealing career choice, while job security adds an extra layer of attractiveness. However, initial costs and legal risks are crucial aspects to take into account.

The role also offers the opportunity for meaningful community impact, contributing to a greater sense of fulfillment. Evaluating these pros and cons can help determine if pursuing a career as a notary is the right path.


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