How Much Do You Charge for Notary Services?

This is a somewhat sticky question for mobile notaries. Why? Well, how much you charge depends on a number of factors.

First, several states mandate how much a notary public can charge per notarial act, per signature notarized, or both. Other states allow a notary public to charge a travel fee, while many don't. Then, there are those states, such as Kansas, that don't have a statutory fee schedule for notaries. There are notaries who charge an additional fee for adding a notarial certificate to a document. (When I called my Secretary of State's Office about this they laughed, as it is not allowed in Texas.) Some notaries charge to complete the notarial process in a different language, as in a bilingual notary public serving as a translator for people who need documents notarized. (By the way, charging extra for explaining the notarization process in a different language is also not allowed in some states.)

So how much do you charge? Well, it depends on what your state allows. There really is no magic formula. In most states, it is against the law to charge more than the state allotted fees. If you are a mobile notary public, and your state allows it, you can charge an additional travel fee when you are meeting your client at a location other than your office. However, you are required to provide the signer with an itemized receipt that separates the notarial fees from travel and other fees charged.

As a mobile notary public, whenever I get a call from a potential client who asks how much I charge, I explain that my fees are based on the number of notarial acts to be administered, the number of people signing, and how far I have to travel. I also let the potential client know the location I will most likely be traveling from based on the appointment date and time. That way, once the appointment time and location is set, we have also agreed upon a fee for the service.

However you decide to price your services, I'd strongly suggest you follow the guidelines set by your particular state. If you decide to tack on any additional fees, I'd also make sure those are approved by your state. Not following the notary public laws established by your state could be cause for revocation of your notary public commission, implementation of some pretty hefty fines, or both.

-- Phyllis Traylor, U.S. Army Retired is a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries

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