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Notary of over 30 years offers five tips for long-term success

Herb Guinup

Throughout his 30-plus years as a Notary, Herbert Guinup has seen booms and busts, industry shifts, and more changes than he can count. Along the way he has picked up several tried-and-true strategies to ensure his career longevity that helped him build a thriving Notary business in Tampa Bay, Florida.

1. Create your own Notary specialty

Relying entirely upon mortgage signings can limit your earning potential. Guinup instead focuses on other notarial specialties, including medical documents and wedding officiating.

“I’ve often been asked to get signatures for last wills and testaments just before signers pass away,” says Guinup, whose years of experience and patience, often dealing with end-of-life patients and their families, has earned him a place at the top of the list of referral pages for many hospitals and hospice care facilities.

As a Florida Notary, Guinup legally officiates weddings and has built relationships with many popular wedding destination hotels in his area. For years, he performed civil ceremonies for same sex couples, and he is poised to get even more business now that same-sex marriages are legal in the Sunshine State.

2. Constantly seek new opportunities

“I am constantly finding ways to use my Notary commission,” says Guinup. Over the past year, for example, Guinup has received requests to witness court-mandated telephone hearings for non-criminal cases. Guinup sees mostly child custody and support cases, in which he is asked to provide his commission information to the court, identify the respondent in the case, place him or her under oath, and then act as a “witness” through the telephone hearing.  

By listing the service on his website, he receives even more requests, for which he charges a flat fee of $30 for the first hour, and $20 for every half hour after that.

Notaries considering performing telephonic depositions should consult their state laws, as they vary from state to state.

3. Capitalize on the skills and assets you already have

Guinup advises Notaries to analyze their unique skill sets and desires to find ways to further capitalize on their existing talents and abilities. For example, having grown up with a deaf-mute mother, Guinup is fluent in sign language and now uses these language skills to serve his local deaf community, who can often feel intimidated by the signing process.

Consider your own assets — second language skills, an accounting background, or secretarial skills, for example — and you might find you have additional services to offer your clients, as well.

4. Get it right the first time

Despite the extra work it affords him, Guinup is distressed at the number of “re-do” requests he’s recently received, all for notarial acts performed improperly the first time.

“It’s not only an inconvenience for the signer,” Guinup says, “it’s bad for the reputation of all Notaries.”

Guinup now reports the commission information of the Notaries responsible for the errors, along with a description of the rejected notarization, to his state’s Notary commissioning agency.

“As Notaries, we need to revisit our statutes and refresh our skills and knowledge on a regular basis,” says Guinup. “Laws change, technology changes, and we need to keep up with those changes.”

5. Keep up with the times

Of all the technological leaps and bounds technology has made during his 30-year tenure, Guinup is probably most thankful for Internet marketing. Hiring a professional to customize his website,, has helped him expand his business exponentially in the last couple of years. “Last month alone, I saw my business triple.”

But there is one aspect of his marketing that hasn’t changed: He still believes in the personal touch when it comes to making introductions to potential clients, such as those at nursing homes, rehab centers, banks and other places often in need of notarial services.

“The role has changed quite a bit over time,” says Guinup, “but I’ve always felt a sense of pride in my role as a Notary, and serving my community with integrity and honesty.”

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Add your comment

Darcel D. Davenger, M. Ed., Notary Public

25 Jan 2015 many over the years since 1990.

Deborah Lister

26 Jan 2015

This was a great article. It's good to get more ideas of where a notary commission can be used. Thank you.


29 Jan 2015

I really enjoyed this article. This is coming from a new Notary in Illinois.

Andres Rodriguez, Certified Notary Signing Agent

31 Jan 2015

greatly appreciate the insight, thanks for sharing.

Marcia Clarke

21 May 2015

Great article; I am in the process of using my commission to provide mobile services and these tips are very helpful. Thanks for sharing!


25 Dec 2015

Great information I didn't realize there are so many ways that i advertise my business

20 Jan 2023

Great article and great tips! I appreciate all the knowledge I can get from experienced notaries.

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