General Notary work

How much would you charge in the state of Maryland for general notary work? I’m trying to work on my list and fees but I’m stuck. I know I can only charge $4 per stamp and I believe it’s .56 a mile for travel. I don’t understand where I’m reading people have a flat rate of $35 or $45 dollars plus mileage etc . Thank You

Not sure about MD, VA notaries are allowed to charge $5 per notarial act plus travel if they are a mobile notary. There’s a senior asst living facility that I do work for sometimes, I charge $25 total b/c it’s usually 1 notarial act.

2 Likes

The $4/stamp is your state-mandated fee for notary work;

The $0.56/mile is the standard rate set by the IRS for mileage deduction purposes (among other things) - it is NOT necessarily the standard mileage rate you can charge. Don’t forget, when you charge to travel you’re charging for other things besides mileage - you’re charging for travel time, table time and wear and tear on your vehicle.

My travel fee for GNW within my county is $30-$50 depending on where I’m going (I charge more for hospitals and nursing homes as you have to navigate the halls and floors of the facilities - and time is money) - in addition to the $10/notarial act we can charge by law.

Hope this helps.

3 Likes

The Handbook for Maryland Notaries Public has relevant information. In part, it says

A notary public may demand and receive up to $4.00 for the performance of an original notarial act or remote notarial act.
A notary public may demand and receive reimbursement at the prevailing rate for mileage established by the Internal Revenue Service for business travel and a fee not to exceed $5.00 for travel if required for the performance of a notarial act.

So the $0.56 per mile should cover your travel expense; if you have an efficient car, low insurance cost, etc., maybe you’ll be able to go farther for $0.56. But you should be compensated for your time while you are driving. If you want to be compensated at $30 per hour, the $5 fee would cover 0.17 hour. If you average 30 MPH, that would be enough time to drive 5 miles. If you’re doing a round trip, the client would need to be within 2.5 miles to make it worth your while.

The handbook also says that the $4 fee is for each notarial act, not each stamp. Sample dialog (assume you walked to the appointment and there is no travel fee):

You: “Mr. Jones, did you sign this record for the purpose stated in the record?”

Mr. Jones: “Yes.” CA-CHING! You just earned $4, and your running total is $4.

You: “Mrs. Jones, did you sign this record for the purpose stated in the record?”

Mrs. Jones: “Yes.” CA-CHING! You just earned an additional $4, and your running total is $8.

Now you fill out one acknowledgement certificate with both names, including signing it once and stamping it once. You collect your $8 and go home.

1 Like

I disagree with this - these two statements are all part and parcel of an acknowledgement - one notarial act. I don’t think you can CHA CHING you way through one notarization just to get a higher fee. If that’s the case then

Sign the notarial certificate - CHA CHING

Stamp the cert - CHA CHING

With your reasoning, this became a $16 notarization in VT -

JMO

P.S. Sorry to see you guys can only charge $4 for a remote notarial act. Hope they change that for you

1 Like

It depends upon how the laws of your state are written. In WA state WAC 308-30-220
Fees for notarial acts.
(5) A notary public may charge a travel fee when traveling to perform a notarial act if:
(a) The notary public and the individual requesting the notarial act agree upon the travel fee in advance of the travel; and
(b) The notary public explains to the individual requesting the notarial act that the travel fee is in addition to the notarial fee in subsection (1) of this section and is not required by law.
I bill my mobile service as a stand alone fee of $35, which I charge for any distance outside of my zip code, and which I always inform the requestor will be in addition to any cost for notarial certification. OF course, they have the choice of coming to me, which nullifies that additional cost. I don’t usually tell people up front, but I will often waive the costs for seniors and veterans. If I am coming from or going to another paid assignment and the requesting party is on the way, I will usually not charge the mobile fee. It’s pretty discretionary, but always transparent.

1 Like

I disagree. The Maryland notary manual on page 24 has a definition of acknowledgement that agrees with the definition in my state:

TAKE AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A RECORD:
“Acknowledgment” means a declaration by an individual before a notarial officer that:
• the individual has signed a record for the purpose stated in the record; and
• if the record is signed in a representative capacity, the individual signed the record with proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or entity identified in the record.

It says “an individual” and "the individual: and “a record”. So the number of signer signatures determines the number of acknowledgements and each acknowledgement is a notarial act, not the number of certificates.

As for what I could charge in VT, there is no fee limitation in VT so I can charge whatever the client agrees to. I can’t think of a situation in VT where I need to count the number of notarial acts.

1 Like

I agree with LindaH-FL and believe that you have taken broad latitude in interpreting your fees. You may want to make a call to your SOS to be certain you are in strict compliance with both the intent and the letter of the law.

1 Like

The limits on travel fees or per-act fees that exist in some states, like the original poster’s state, Maryland, do not apply in my state, Vermont. I have not had to interpret fee regulations for my own fees; there are no limits.

I consider it important for all notaries to review, word-by-word, the definition of an acknowledgement in their respective jurisdictions. For instance, in Vermont, not only do I have to ask whether the signer signed for the purposes expressed in the record, I also have to ask if the signer is acting in as a representative, and if so, if he/she is authorized to do so. The answer to that question will lead me to choose one of two different acknowledgement certificates, and the law establishes that it is the signer, not me, who is asserting that the signer is authorized to act in that capacity. But someone who never read the law wouldn’t know that.

1 Like

For clarification on Maryland notary fees, the original poster should of course contact the Maryland SOS. But for those of us who would like to understand the issue but are not Maryland notaries, consider that Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, and Maryland have all passed their own version of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, and define signature witnessing by a notary the same way. The Oregon SOS has a web page that addresses this issue:

If two people sign the same document, do I charge $10 or $20?

​The fee would be $20. The fee is per signature/person. Even if the notary public is using one notarial certificate, the notary public in this case is identifying and witnessing two separate executions on the document - OAR 160-100-0400​.​​

(By the way, states that have passed RULONA allow notaries to witness signatures as a notarial act, in addition to the more traditional administering an oath or taking an acknowledgement.)

2 Likes

Never charged for notarizing the document per se. That eliminates controversy over that. I charge for executing documents for printing them, taking them to the signer explaining them, and returning them to the title agency and being able to verify that they have been signed correctly. My fee is for executing documents and travel only and I have a flat fee for the county I live in for mortgage closings. 75 for refi, + 25 docs, + 25 for each additional 15 min driving time (one way). (Additional fees for purchase, reverse mortgage,
scans, etc) Don’t usually have any complaints. Standard fee for other in county signings 50. Again I do not charge for notarizing I charge for the convenience of coming to their location. I have never had any complaints. For Hospital signings were people are really incapacitated and signing POA for their family I just do that as a donation or when I get to their home to authorize a car title signing or POA and see that they are dirt poor I donate that one also. I just try to do it in a way that doesn’t embarrass them.

1 Like

My understanding is that for ALL notarial acts, you can only charge a certain amount for the notarization itself, as it’s in a special tax category, and this is important at tax time. Otherwise you can add to that whatever you negotiate with the client, and call it what you will. -mileage, transaction fee, junk fee, anything. Please correct me if I’m wrong. If it were not the case, how could Notary Signing Agents collect from $85-$250 in FL where the state says that you can (mostly) only charge $10.-/notarization? In addition, I just got offered doing lockbox signings at $250/day. I invite you to check this out with NNA and let me know what answer you get. I did that yesterday, and it’s always good to get further confirmation.

1 Like

The Topic is General Notary Work so it was my belief we were talking about simple calls of “I need something notarized” and you quote your $10/notarization fee plus your established travel/time fee depending on how far you’re going. The $85 - $250 is the “Signing Agent Fee” which is inclusive of notary fees but involves more than just notarization. Remember, as a signing agent you wear two hats, that of the notary and that of the signing agent.

Lockbox signings @ $250/day? How the heck many do they have? Do they accumulate them and have you come in once and get them all done in one visit?
How long do you have to sit at the bank doing these (I’d guess could be boring at times). Sounds like a decent offer - where else would you get paid $250/day and really, basically, do nothing. Lockboxes are okay to do but I’m always praying they’re empty - itemizing a full lockbox is tedious after a while.

Not quite sure what you’re referring to here…

1 Like

What I ment is to please let me know whether you get the same info which I got from the NNA hotline. It should be the same ! (with regards to your total charge being whatever you want to negotiate! It’s the itemized notarization charges which are set by the State and must remain constant.

1 Like

Re: Lockbox signings. I had to reject the offer as I had prior commitments on certain days, but it was a large block of days they were looking to fill. I had the same thought about boredom, but plan on perusing this after researching the subject.

1 Like

I’m sending you a private message with some info - don’t want to take up the room here - it’s pretty wordy and I apologize now. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

When a state specifies a maximum fee for something, whether it’s a notarization, or anything else, you can’t charge a higher fee by adding a fee for what amounts to nothing. If I lived in a state that set the maximum fee for taking an acknowledgement of $10, and someone came to my house and I took an acknowledgement, and that’s all I did, I couldn’t charge $10 for the notarization, plus a $40 “service fee” when I didn’t really do anything other than the notarization.

If I did do something that just doesn’t fall under the duties of a notary, I could charge more. If the circumstances were the same as the first paragraph, except the visitor brought me a messy handwritten document, and asked me to type it and print it before he signed and I notarized, then I could charge $10 for the notarization and $40 for typing.

(This is hypothetical. My state doesn’t regulate notary fees.)

The NNA Hotline said that I can charge whatever I negotiate, but I plan on double checking all this. My understanding is that the state regulates what a person can charge for each notarization, that’s it. (The income for same is taxed at a lower rate than normal). This would explain why a a NSA can get paid $250 and more, per loan signing…it’s not about the travel unless you want to itemize that, and it’s not about the number of notarizations.

Okay…as far as your statement about notary fees and taxes

All of your income is fully reportable and taxable on schedule C…only your notary fees ($10/notarization or $30/marriage) are exempt from Self Employment taxes…

2 Likes

It’s about a whole lot more than that - there’s a lot more involved in loan signings than sign, stamp and you’re on your way. In many markets notaries can command those fees - my area not so much - but there’s nothing illegal about it.

2 Likes