The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Notary

April 1, 2024



Embarking on the path to becoming a notary public is a decision that many professionals contemplate, attracted by the prospect of offering a valuable service while potentially expanding their career opportunities or business offerings. However, like any professional endeavor, it comes with its unique set of advantages and challenges. This detailed article will explore the pros and cons of becoming a notary, providing a balanced view to help those considering this path make an informed decision.

The Cons of Being a Notary

Initial and Ongoing Costs

Becoming a notary involves certain financial investments. Initial costs can include fees for training courses, the notary exam, background checks, and purchasing your notary seal and journal. Some states also require notaries to purchase a surety bond to protect the public from mistakes. Additionally, there are ongoing costs for notary renewal fees and possibly additional surety bond premiums.

Liability Risks

Notaries public are tasked with a significant responsibility to prevent fraud by verifying the identity of signers and ensuring documents are signed under free will. Mistakes or oversights can lead to legal consequences for the notary, including civil lawsuits or administrative action from the state notary regulator. While surety bonds and notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance can mitigate these risks, the potential for legal challenges can be a con for some individuals.

Rigid Compliance with Laws

Notaries must strictly adhere to state laws and regulations, which can vary widely and change over time. This means notaries need to stay informed about current laws and best practices, requiring a commitment to ongoing education and awareness.

Demand Can Be Inconsistent

Depending on your location and the way you offer your services (mobile notary, notary signing agent, etc.), demand can be variable. For those relying on notary work as a significant source of income, this inconsistency can be challenging.

The Pros of Being a Notary

Additional Income Stream

One of the most attractive aspects of becoming a notary is the potential to earn extra income. Whether you’re adding notary services to your current business offerings or starting a notary business, notarizations can provide a steady income stream, especially in areas with high demand for notary services.

Flexible Work Schedule

Many notaries appreciate the flexibility that comes with the job. Mobile notaries, in particular, can set their schedules, choosing when and where they work. This flexibility is ideal for individuals looking for a work-life balance or those seeking to supplement their income around other commitments.

Opportunity to Help Others

Notaries play a crucial role in various important life events, such as buying a home, adopting a child, or starting a business. This position allows notaries to help people through significant moments, providing a sense of fulfillment and community service.

Wide Range of Opportunities

The need for notaries spans across multiple industries, including real estate, legal, financial, and healthcare, among others. This diversity opens up numerous opportunities for notaries to specialize in areas of interest or demand, potentially leading to more business and higher earnings.

Relatively Quick to Get Started

Compared to many other professions, the process to become a notary can be relatively quick, often taking just a few weeks to a few months. This quick start-up time allows individuals to begin offering notary services and earning income sooner.


Becoming a notary public offers a blend of opportunities and challenges. While there are costs, liability risks, and the need for diligent adherence to laws, the benefits of flexibility, the potential for additional income, the ability to help others, and the vast range of opportunities present compelling reasons to pursue this profession. Like any career choice, becoming a notary requires careful consideration of both the pros and cons. For many, however, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, making it a fulfilling and advantageous profession. Ultimately, the decision to become a notary should be based on a thorough evaluation of how well it aligns with your professional goals, financial expectations, and personal values.