So, you’re a new notary! That’s great news and congratulations!
In the various Facebook groups for notaries, I am constantly seeing this question: “I just received my notary commission! What’s next?”
Well, my friends, I’m here today to tell you all about…what’s next!
Often, I see comments and questions that make it clear that a notary has no training. Just because you passed the state’s notary approval process doesn’t mean that you’re ready to head out the door and begin placing your notary stamp on all sorts of documents that you very well may not understand!
Errors & omissions insurance for notaries
So, first, let’s talk about E&O insurance. As a commissioned notary, you do already have a bond in place, but that is different from E&O insurance. To do general notary work, you will need to purchase and maintain an E&O insurance policy. This can be purchased from a variety of places online, or possibly from an insurance company that you already have your car or home insured with. If you want to become a Notary Signing Agent, you will need to also purchase an E&O policy that covers that type of work. Signing Agent E&O covers the work that you do as a signing agent, but will not cover general notary work, just as the general E&O will not cover signing agent work.
To be clear, in order to be a signing agent, you will need 2 E&O policies – one that covers general notary work, and one that covers signing agent work. I purchase my E&O insurance through CNA Surety Company and I highly recommend them.
Notary supplies and equipment
Now that you have purchased your signing agent and/or general notary E&O insurance, it’s time to think about all the different supplies that you will need as a notary. You will need the following items:
- At least 2 notary stamps (except Arizona and Hawaii, where notaries are permitted to obtain only one stamp at a time). The reason I say to buy 2 stamps is so that you have a back up, in case your stamp is damaged somehow during the course of normal usage.
- Notary journal
- 2-drawer laser printer
- Stand-alone scanner
- Avoid the above two items by purchasing an All-In-One Office Machine (see Technological Devices for Notaries for more info)
- Blue and black ink pens (and lots of them!)
- General office supplies (paper clips, stapler, post-it-notes, etc)
- Letter and legal sized manila envelopes (for returning documents)
- Letter and legal sized printer paper
- A suitable business bag/briefcase to carry documents and supplies
Please realize that this is only a basic “starter” list of notary supplies. You will come across other supplies that will aid you in performing your job as time goes on and you refine your system.
Notary signing agent training courses
Next, it’s time to seek some type of notary training. As you will discover, there are dozens of people giving notary training courses today. It is imperative that you seek out some type of training, and not just try to do this job on your own. Before you select and pay for a training course, check out the reputation of the person/company giving the course. Find out exactly what the course covers, and make sure that it includes training for both general notary work, and if you want to be a signing agent, make sure that the training includes notary signing agent training.
I recommend taking Jake Burkhalter and Brenda Stone’s notary training courses (currently only $99!) and also the Sign & Thrive courses offered by Bill Soroka. I also recommend that you follow Bill Soroka on social media.
If you didn’t receive a copy with your notary commission or at some point throughout the process, you will need to visit your state’s Secretary of State website to print or request a copy of your state’s notary handbook. Check out and take advantage of any training offered by your Secretary of State’s office. You should read and become very familiar with your state’s handbook and always keep a copy nearby for reference as needed.
I know that as your training comes to an end that you are going to get very excited! And you should be excited! But with that excitement comes the responsibility to make sure you truly feel ready before you put yourself out there as a notary. As a notary public, you have an automatic obligation placed upon your shoulders to make sure each signer is verified correctly, and that each notarization is completed correctly. Failure in either of these responsibilities can make you vulnerable to legal liability.
Market your notary business
It’s now time to start marketing yourself as a business! How do I do that you may ask? Here’s a quick rundown of general marketing approaches to explore:
- Create a website. A simple one-page website is sufficient for starters, and you will find many free options by performing a Google search.
- Check out Google Ads. I personally get great results from Google Ads, and I highly recommend them.
- If you want to find work as a notary signing agent, make a list of local title companies. Visit and contact each title company and explain that you are a notary offering services and leave a few business cards.
- Make a list of other businesses that may need your services. Visit them and leave your cards. Suggested businesses include:
- Nursing Homes
- Loan companies
- Any other type of local business
Get found in notary directories
Now, it’s time to join some online notary databases. You can become a member of Notary Jane now! Stay tuned to the Notary Jane newsletter / blog for more tips!
Yes, it’s great that you are now a notary!
However, this is just the beginning to becoming the best notary you can be!
Don’t advertise yourself as a notary until you have gone through the training process and are confident in providing signing services. It’s not always a good thing to post a picture of a document in a Facebook group and ask what you should do with it. Obtain copies of documents and study them. I can’t encourage you enough to keep learning about your new role as a notary. Always read, search, and Google about notarial subjects and keep educating yourself.
As always, wishing you the best of luck in your notarial endeavors.
Author: Robert Owens is a mobile notary public in Texas and runs the Facebook group Notary & Signing Agent Network.