A notary public gets paid to be a third-party witness to sworn statements and official document signings. A mobile notary public specializes in traveling to perform this task on short notice.
Becoming a mobile notary public can be a great way to earn extra cash in your spare time. If you get good enough at it, you can even turn it into a full-time income. This quickstart guide will help you get started by walking through 10 steps in the start-up process.
1. Write a business plan for your mobile notary public business
A surprising number of business owners skip this step, which is a big cause of business failure. To make sure you succeed, take some time to plan your business. For best results, your business plan should ideally include:
- A description of your business and the services you plan to offer
- A management strategy outlining your goals, what steps you will take to achieve them, and how you will run your business’ daily operations, including who will help you do this if you plan to have any help
- A marketing analysis listing of the types of people and businesses you will sell your notary services to, such as marriage licensing services, hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing homes, real estate agencies, title companies, escrow companies, loan signing companies, law firms, jails, and bail bonds offices.
- A promotional strategy for how you will let others know about your services
- A budget estimating your expenses and income, including costs of equipment, promotion, and travel
For help with writing a business plan, you can find a free guide on the website of the US Small Business Administration.
2. Apply for a notary public commission and set up your business
A notary is a commissioned government official, and you will need a government-issued license to become a notary. Each state has its own notary licensing process. Steps usually include:
- Meeting eligibility requirements for age, residency, and lack of felony conviction
- Applying directly to a government agency or indirectly through a notary association, and paying any application fees
- Completing training and passing exams, if any are required
- Waiting for approval
- Taking the oath of office and filling out required paperwork
You will find more detailed instructions on how to become a notary in different states elsewhere on this website.
After you obtain your commission, as you set up your business, be sure to meet any state requirements for business licensing and tax filing. You may also want to set up a business mailing address and bank account.
3. Obtain notary supplies
You will need some essential equipment, including:
- a notary stamp and/or seal
- a journal
- a mobile phone
- a means of travel
You may also find it helpful to get software to help you manage things like your client list, schedule, and payments. A software tool you will find very helpful for this is NotaryCRM. You can sign up for a free NotaryCRM account elsewhere on this website.
4. Plan your travel
Since a mobile notary must travel frequently, it is a good idea to plan your travel. Estimate how much distance you will travel per week, how much time this will take you, and how much it will cost you. These figures will change as your business grows.
5. Organize your time management strategy
You will need to plan how your mobile notary travel and activity fits into the rest of your schedule. Budget how many hours you will need per week for promotion, travel, appointments, and bookkeeping. Also plan how you will fit your travel into your other obligations, since you will sometimes be called upon at short notice.
6. Set up your promotional tools
There are a number of different tools you can use to promote your mobile notary business. These can include:
- A verbal sales pitch explaining what you do in 30 seconds or less (called an “elevator pitch” because you should be able to say it between floors during an elevator ride)
- Business cards
- A directory listing
- A Yellow Pages ad
- An answering machine script
- Phone scripts for cold calls
- Sales letters
- A website
7. Set your prices
Check what others in your area are offering and charging and base you fees on that. Make sure you charge enough to make your business profitable. You can charge higher prices if you can offer extra value distinguishing you from your competition, such as coverage of a specific geographical area, greater availability, rush service, or bonus services.
8. Set up your payment collection method
After you’ve done all this work, make sure you get paid for it! It’s vital to have a reliable payment collection method. Some notaries fail to collect as much as 35% of what they are owed due to inefficient collection methods. Simply using good payment collection software can help you collect half of that. To help you collect what you’re owed, this site offers you a free payment collection tool, NotaryCRM.
9. Promote your services
Once you’re got your business set up, it’s time to let your clients know you’re available. Some ways to promote your services are:
- Listing your name with notary association directories
- Telling your family, friends, and acquaintances what you do
- Making phone calls and sending sales letters to businesses that need notary services
- Setting up a website and promoting it to web surfers in your target market
There are also advanced promotional strategies and tools you may wish to explore as your business grow. Other articles on this site describe these.
10. Build your mobile notary public business with good service
The key to building your business is good, reliable, prompt customer service. Good service will bring your repeat business from clients who use your services. And good service will build you a good reputation that will spread from your clients to new prospects through referrals, the best source of new business.
We hope this quickstart guide has pointed you in the right direction. You’ll find other articles on this site going into more detail on many of these steps. Click around, sign up for your free NotaryCRM software account, and feel free to contact us with any questions on how we can help you get started on a successful mobile notary public career!
Read our mobile notary public tips page for more ways to grow your mobile notary business!