I just wanted to provide a very, very brief update. 18 months ago I posted here asking for advice on starting a mobile notary business but focused on after-hours notarizations.
I am pleased to report that it has been a resounding success, but perhaps not the way most would think of it.
I charge $125 flat fee. No haggling, no negotiation. Subsequently, I only get professional clients. Occasionally, some people have wanted to meet me at a hospital or house call or had tedious docs and offered me more. I meet people at my office (5 min drive from me) or occasionally closer if I’m in a rush. Always after hours or over the weekends.
I’m on track to pull in about $5k this year, which is absolutely fine. Most notarizations take 5 minutes, factor is 5 min to book it and 5 min drive either way that’s 20 minutes. It’s an easy $125.
Most importantly, I have helped some people out of jams who couldn’t wait till the next day (wills, real estate closing docs, etc.).
Just wanted to post here to pay it forward. Massachusetts will allow online notarizations next year, which won’t be worth my time as the gig economy has made it a race to the bottom (they offer like $15 a notarization!). I expect this side hustle to dry up. But it’s been a fun ride.
Best of luck to everyone else. Thanks again.
That flat fee would work up your way - and I’m glad to hear it has gone so well for you! - but down here? We can charge $10/notarization plus modest travel charge - so my base fee for a one-document job is $35 - $50 - people don’t want to pay the $10 let alone the rest for time and travel.
Location, location, location.
Yeah. People do not want to pay. that’s one reason that I don’t really do GNW. I had a client that needed a will notarized, a 10 minute drive from my house. I charged $75. One of the signers went on and on about how expensive my rate was. I thought " You can’t afford $75.00? Really? how much does a plumber cost in this area?"
I didn’t actually say this but I thought it. And I’m pretty sure I could have charged more. Some notaries charge $150 for stuff like that.
My county is large - I can drive 25-30 miles one way and still be within the county. That’s why the fee is my base fee and is variable and that’s just for private homes. I charge more for nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities as having to park and work our way TO the signer can be daunting. Certain document signings take longer than others (POA vs deed signing) - I adjust the fee accordingly.
$5 thousand at $125 per each is about 40 engagements per year. During the peak Covid period some were closing 40 per week. You could have made better money working a part time W2 job.
Ha! I’m a salesman. I do quite well. Anything less than $125 isn’t worth my time.
The math says otherwise. Ha!
What do you mean?? I don’'t follow.
5 grand for a side hustle isn’t too shabby. Nice going! I’m happy for your success. In Ohio I can charge only $5 per notarization and a travel fee. I can’t believe how many people think that $35 is too much for me to travel to them. Some have tried to circumvent that fee by asking if they can come to me. Nope. I don’t have a public office. I am a MOBILE notary public. Thankfully, I love what I do despite the complainers.
$35 won’t cover travel costs in my neck of the woods. Factoring in paper [i.e. number of pages], print costs, time doesn’t make it worth my effort to take on low ball fees.
@RiverpointeTax if you’re referring to my base fee - that $35 does not include any printing - it’s for GNW where the signer already has the forms printed and filled out. I’m assuming (and probably incorrectly) that that type of assignment was what @superiorsignaturens was referring to.
Our point is - he says he fee is a flat $125 - and, to us, he’s very lucky to be able to demand that and get it.
I was dividing a $5 K by $125 each, which becomes about 40 signings for the year, less than one per week. Not was I would call busy as James implies it is. Assuming that James resides in MA, which has no cap on notorial fees. Sorry for the confusion.
There’s always a Mr. Negative somewhere. While it’s true I probably could’ve made $20k in the past year if I lowed my price to say $40 a signing, I would have had to do 3x the amount of signings and worked 5x as hard fielding calls, traveling to people’s homes, etc. Being a notary would have gone from lucrative side hustle to demanding part-time job.
One thing I implore all to do is to determine how much their time is worth. If you are used to looking at the bottom line (i.e. how much did I make this year off of this), or if you value your downtime at 0, then you will always feel obligated to follow the breadcrumbs.
The flip side is that true, I only made $5k a year from being an after hours notary, but it was easy, and left me time to pursue my other pursuits. One of those pursuits: sales. I had a great deal that netted me $25k back over a few hours work in June because I answered an important call and had time to chase down the lead in the middle of my work day. Would I have chased down the lead if I had 3 notary appointments scheduled that afternoon? Maybe, maybe not. Would I have chased down that lead if I was overworked being a notary because I hustle at my day job and had 3 signings the night before? Maybe, maybe not.
Learn how to value your time.
I do have to agree with that statement. Particularly when it come to loan signings! I guess my point is that as independents, we get to decide how to run our business and what our time is worth (to us). OP has found a lucrative niche market…and I wish we all could do likewise.
Someone will always try to rain on your parade… Great work making it work for you and thank you for sharing your experience!
I was referring to general notary work. My travel fee starts at $35, plus the fee for each notarization.