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Ten Tips for Starting a Successful Notary Business
What you need to know to launch a thriving notary career.
Just like for any business, simply becoming a certified notary is not enough to start a successful notary business. Unfortunately the saying, "If you build it, they will come" simply does not work in business. It is essential that you create a smart business plan to launch your notary business and bring in loyal clients.
- Get State Approval to Start Your Business
The very first step for anyone who is looking to start a successful business as a notary public is to become authorized in your state. Learn more about how to become a notary public in your state. You will also need to purchase notary supplies which are essential to running a successful notary business. This includes a notary state embossing seal or rubber stamp seal, a notary journal, and possibly a surety bond depending on your state. It is also advisable to have a copy of your state's notary handbook so that you have a quick reference guide. Visit our notary supplies page to find the necessary supplies.
- Understand Your Competition
Once you have state approval and have received your notary public commission, one of the most important steps you need to take is understanding your competition. You want to know how much notaries in your area charge, what services they provide, how they are advertising, and what their unique services are if any. You need to stand out from the competition in order to be successful and gain long term clients. Knowing what other notaries in your area are doing is essential so that you stand out from the crowd. You can research your competition by looking at websites for notaries in your area, contacting local notaries to ask for their fee schedule and pamphlet or flyer if they have one, or contacting local business that are likely to use a notary service and asking what they most look for in a notary service or if they are satisfied with their current notary public.
- Understand Your Market and Create a Potential Client List
Once you understand your competition, the next key step to launching a successful notary public business is understanding your market and creating a potential client list. To do this you first want to brainstorm the types of businesses and people that are likely to need a notary public in your community. Here are some of the most common business that frequently require a notary public: real estate, businesses who often use contracts, legal profession , financial planners, banking, credit unions, savings and loans companies, retirement facilities, hospital and convalescent facilities, long term care facilities, hospice facilities, and immigration centers. Make a list of what types of businesses exist in your community, key contacts at those businesses, and their addresses, phone number, and business. These businesses are your target market and you want to understand how many of them there are, who they are, and think about why they would need your services as a notary.
- Think About Your Unique Value-Add
One key step that many people starting a new business, as a notary public, or in any business overlook is thinking about their unique value add to their clients. This is extremely important to make sure you stand out from the crowd. As a notary there are many ways you can stand out from the crowd. Many people think the only way to do this is by offering lower prices. This is a viable option, but there are many other ways to stand out and generate business. If there aren't many mobile notaries in your community, you may make that your unique value add and let clients know that you are willing to travel to them. Maybe you are open to working nights and weekends, and that will make you stand out from the crowd. Possibly, you have experience in the law, real estate, or medical field which makes you uniquely aware of the challenges, concerns, and questions for folks in that field, thus making your service as a notary stand out. Or perhaps, you speak other languages and can offer notarial services to a more diverse client base. Whatever it is, you want to think about what your unique value add is and how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.
- Create A Notary Fee Schedule
Now that you understand what comparable notaries in your area are charging as well as your unique value-add, the next thing that is imperative is creating your notary public fee schedule. This is both essential to your business and in most states must be provided up front to your clients. To create your fee schedule you first must understand any state mandates on fees that may place a maximum on what you can charge. Then you need to think about what is reasonable for you based on your value add and financial needs to ensure your business is profitable. The more unique your value-add is, the more likely it is you can charge a higher premium for your service.
- Add Your Name to State Notary Listings and Databases
People are constantly searching for authorized notary publics and you want to make sure you are on the most popular notary listing websites and databases. Likely, your state offers a database and you may consider adding your name to the National Notary Association database and other popular notary public trade databases. It is also a critical to get your notary business listed in the yellow pages both online and in print.c
- Create Business Cards
Many notaries underestimate the power of a business card. Business cards not only speak to your professionalism but also are a great way to network and increase your client base. First, whenever you act as a notary public for a client, you should give them your business card to keep on file, as well as extra business cards to pass onto to other people in their office or in their field. Word of mouth is critical in the notary business and business cards help people share your information after having a positive experience. Secondly, you will be shocked once you start telling people you are a notary public, how many people are in need of your services. You always want to have business cards with you to give to people so that they remember you when they are in need of notary services. Finally, if you send out mailings to solicit business, people are much more likely to keep a business card than a letter or pamphlet.
- Create a Form Letter and Email To Reach Out to Businesses
Again, like we said at the beginning, it is critical that you reach out to businesses to promote your notary businesses and build a long term client list. In order to do that, you have to advertise your business and let people know that you are out there. One great way to do that is to create a form letter that you can mail or email to your potential clients. This form letter should contain the key information about your pricing, hours, traveling potential, and stress your unique value-add. It may be beneficial to create multiple form letters for different types of businesses where you show your understanding of their specific and unique needs. Once you have created this letter, you will want to send it out to potential clients.
- Create Flyers or Postcards
One last way that you can market and promote your business is through flyers and postcards. These flyers and postcards can be left at local businesses where clients are likely to need notary services. This could include law firms, real estate offices, and long term care facilities to name a few and could also include local stores, coffee shops, and classified boards where people can find your business. Presence is everything and you want to make sure that people think about you when they are in need of a notary. Also, don't underestimate including your picture on your flyer - it builds credibility and trust.
- The Importance of Follow Up
Finally, and perhaps the most important, step you can take to create a successful notary public business is follow up. First and foremost, you want to follow up with clients after serving as their notary and thank them for their business as well as ask if they have other notarial needs you can take care of. If you don't hear from them right away, you may want to follow up a month later to ask if they need your service again. You should also follow up after sending letters and business cards out to local businesses. Call or email to ask if they received your letter, have questions, and are in need of your services. Follow up is critical in both retaining loyal clients as well as getting people to take the first step and use your services. Likely the businesses you are contacting are in constant need of notary services and hearing from you will make them think about choosing you.