Out of all public service occupations, the duties of a notary public seem to be the simplest. Notaries essentially verify the presence of a witness during the signing of an official document. But besides being honest and impartial, a notary public actually has many underlying responsibilities. After all, they work as a public servant and for the good of the individuals and corporate entities.
If the job still sounds particularly enticing to you, then consider the pros and cons of becoming one so you will know if it’s right for you.
The Advantages of Becoming a Notary Public
- It is an honor to work for public service. As mentioned, notaries certify that the signatures on documents are genuine. A notary asks for identity verification from the signatory before signing and also guarantees that the signature was made freely and without threat or force. Imagine the hundreds of fraud that notaries deter every day. Legal papers become executable because of notaries.
- Notaries make document processing fast and efficient. Many businesses, such as banks and law offices, ensure speedy transactions through their notary commissions. They can process papers faster and authenticate them within the office.
- Working as a notary is a great source of extra income. There’s no set working hours; you can also just do it at home by running your own notary service or you can offer a mobile notary service, in which the notary goes to the location of the place of business or the client’s home. This way, a mobile notary can help create a solid business base for himself and have steady income.
- Having a notary commission gives you a career edge. Some employers prefer candidates with a notary certification so they won’t need to outsource the notarization elsewhere. Having an in-house notary means the company can save time and money because you can do the authentication or witnessing for them. Banks, law offices, and mortgage companies are examples of companies that need the continual services of a notary public because they always have paperwork that requires a notary stamp.
The Disadvantages of Becoming a Notary Public
- It’s a serious title, not a hobby. The notary public serves to protect the interests of the people and of the state. You even have to take a sworn oath before gaining your certification. Thus, if you make a mistake, you can be substantially liable to the parties involved. Knowing your state notary laws thoroughly is valuable in this job before taking on your first client.
- You need proper notary supplies and equipment to perform your job. Besides the usual printers and copiers, you also need to purchase rubber stamps and seals that can be expensive if you’re just starting out. There are websites that sell the supplies in packages according to your state to get you going, but it is best to know what they are.
- You may not get paid on time. Or worse, not at all. You may end up chasing the person for your payment, which can end up very frustrating on your part.
Kayla Dunmar is a notary public commissioned by the state of Michigan and certified to authenticate documents in any Michigan county. She also works as a contributing blogger for NotaryBonding.com.