I’ve been working as a Notary at my job for several years, and I’ve recently decided to get more out of my commission by becoming a mobile Notary. How much am I allowed to charge for a signing, if the notarization includes travel, photocopies, or other services? –C.K., Calabasas, CA
The question regarding Notary fees is a common one for both mobile Notaries and Notary Signing Agents alike, and there are several factors to consider when determining your fee. First, make sure you understand what your expenses are in providing Notary services. You mention several. The good news is that California’s Notary fee statute only regulates the per signature fee for notarizations, so you are free to set fees for ancillary services as you please. Since travel is one of your main expenses, you can check out the IRS website that offers a helpful reference for determining how much to charge per mile. [Business mileage for 2013 is 56.5 cents per business mile driven.]
If offering mobile Notary services, the customer still pays the standard fee for a California notarization, which is $10 per signature for a jurat or an acknowledgment. From there, you would communicate the additional costs for ancillary services clearly to your signer prior to completing the notarization.
If you want to conduct mortgage loan signings, you will be paid by a title company, escrow agency or signing service instead of a signer, and you will be paid a flat fee for all of your services. The most important advice when it comes to Notary fees is to always establish and clearly communicate the total with your client before you perform the notarization, and always carefully record the fees collected, so that you will never be accused of overcharging your clients.
For more information on this topic, the May 2013 issue of The National Notary magazine will be featuring an in-depth article on notarial fees.
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