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Special Report

2023 Notary Survey Results: In a slow market, Notaries stay strong by diversifying their businesses

Illustration of different bar charts with people looking at them.

Click here to view the full survey results

Business prospects for Notaries have swung wildly between feast and famine since 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic era, there was a surge in demand for Notary services, particularly mobile services. But a recent nationwide survey conducted by the NNA revealed that Notary Signing Agents are experiencing a significant slowdown in loan signing assignments due to rising mortgage interest rates, a struggling economy and other factors.

Still, there are plenty of bright spots in the NSA/mobile Notary market, rooted primarily in a significant spike in general notarization appointments. And some Signing Agents reported their work is not only stable, but growing — and these respondents had two important factors in common: 1) They actively market their Notary businesses through multiple channels such as personal websites, social media, Google Business Profile, and online Notary directory listings, and 2) Many of these Notaries diversified to offer more non-Notary business services to compensate for slowdowns in the real estate market.

Rising real estate interest rates hit Signing Agents hard in 2023

It’s no secret that deal flow in the mortgage finance industry has been down significantly in the past several years, primarily due to exceedingly high interest rates. Additionally, refinancings are down significantly because people do not want to refinance into higher interest rate loans.

According to Bobby Alihaji from All Cal Title, “The real estate slowdown is like a mixtape of rising interest rates, pickier lending rules, and a bit more houses popping up for sale. It’s kind of like everyone is taking a breath and being a bit more cautious in the market. With the real estate scene taking a bit of a siesta, it’s directly hitting Notary Signing Agents.

“Predicting the future in real estate is a bit like guessing the weather, but we’re hopeful that things might start looking up by 2024. We might see a slow dance toward improvement that could even stretch into 2025,” Alihaji added.

Bar chart depicts how much Notary business Notaries got in 2023.

While mortgage finance assignments are slow, our survey found many NSAs, instead of relying solely on services that traditionally worked in the past — mortgage documents and refinancing assignments — are learning to expand their services.

“I realized the key to success was to be open-minded in being diversified and continuing my personal education,” said Dianna Hanson, a self-employed Texas Notary and NSA for more than 20 years. When the market slowed, she added typing services and became a field inspector, among other duties. She also expanded her advertising, signing up with the directory and began using Google Business, Snapdocs, Yelp, nextdoor and Notary Cafe. She also continued her education by joining local and national Notary groups and networking with trusted peers to share and exchange experiences and learn different skill sets.

California Notary and NSA Franchesca Sanchez also uses Google Business and Instagram, and said that diversifying her service offerings and networking with other Notaries has helped keep her business steady.

“With the economy in flux and interest rates up, I have managed to stay busy with general Notary work by diversifying my business. I added permit running and field inspections to my list of services,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to network with other Notaries. I have had times come up when I am booked and I’m happy to forward the contact information to a reliable Notary in my network who I know will take care of them just as I would.”

More customers are comfortable with mobile Notary services post-COVID, respondents said

Bar chart depicts the impact of COVID-19 on notaries.

While NSAs are scrambling to find what works for them while the market is slow, mobile Notaries have found themselves with increasing work post-COVID. Demand for mobile services from the American public is on the rise since the pandemic changed consumer behaviors around how they find and acquire Notary services.

“Since COVID, people have become more and more comfortable allowing someone to come to their home to provide something they need. People have also become more familiar with the term ‘Mobile Notary,’” said Missouri Mobile Notary Janessa West. She advertises through word of mouth as well as online. “Marketing is what makes a business and you have to be on top of it in order to stay relative and grow. All my bookings come from my website or my Google Business profile.”

Florida Notary Constance Bowers agrees. She has been a Notary and NSA since the 1970s and recently added mobile Notary services, apostilles, mystery shopping and weddings, in order to deal with the real estate slowdown. “The market is saturated, and I personally know at least 20 Notaries in my social circle,” she said. “But I think there is enough work for all of us. It may not be our main source of income, but the majority of us have more than one stream of income.”

Notaries said stick with trustworthy marketing directories and watch out for scammers

Bar chart depicts the non-Notary services.

Tennessee mobile Notary and NSA Elizabeth Girardeau said she uses and relies on, but warned Notaries that other online Notary directories may not be as trustworthy, especially those with poor online reviews or that make suspicious claims.

“I highly recommend that before signing up for any of these, you should first seek out reviews and research what they are offering or promising,” she said.

NSA Kendra Lewis, on her YouTube channel Signing Agent Basics, adds that dishonest directory sites often take advantage of inexperienced Notaries. Her channel has a variety of video tips to help tell reputable directories from scams.

Notary Mentors

Another interesting trend is that more Notaries are taking advantage of mentoring by more experienced colleagues. Bowers mentioned that the state of Florida not only requires training prior to receiving your commission, but also provider with suggestions how to connect with a seasoned Notary for beginner tips.

Girardeau added, “I have heard some real horror stories from people who got commissioned by their state but haven’t a real clue about what and how to notarize. I am so thankful that I had an excellent mentor at the very beginning who highly recommended that I be trained and credentialed through the NNA and recommended SnapDocs as well.”

Hanson said she began acting as a mentor when she was looking for document witnesses. “Some of these people asked me to train them and, at times, I receive calls from a referral stating that no one would answer their questions, explain terms, show procedures or point them to where to locate the laws for requirements. Plus, they wanted to know who to call when in doubt or if they don’t know the answer. That is how I started as a mentor in 2009,” she said.

Notary survey respondents shared tips for staying successful in a tough market

Bar chart depicts how long before Notaries considered their mobile Notary/NSA business profitable.

The most successful Notaries we spoke with have evolved into entrepreneurs, combining continuing education with marketing and best practices. New York Notary Makyjah Palmer got his commission mid-pandemic. “Post-COVID my commission transformed from a hobby to a business, thanks to a few articles, ‘YouTube university professors’ and divinely orchestrated events,” he said. “I started marketing, paying for ads, networking, getting listed on databases, applying with signing services and investing in my education. On a macro level, I think a lot of New York Notaries had inflated expectations from the overheated 2020-22 market, and quit, leaving me to ‘bottom-feed’ until I found what works for me,” he said.

Palmer recommends always answering your phone or sending a text response immediately, using online services like Google Business and, and above all, be coachable and lovable. “Make every day your masterpiece and you’ll be compensated accordingly,” he said. “Not only financially, but by going the extra mile, being prepared, working without a murmur, being lovely and lovable — your name/brand may be immortalized.”

West heartily agrees. “Becoming a Notary is one thing. Learning how to start, run and grow a business is another altogether. The most valuable asset I possess is marketing knowledge. Learning marketing is beyond valuable as an entrepreneur and staying on top of trends and changes to stay relevant is what keeps my business thriving,” she said. “Know that education can come from hard knocks and learning on your own, which can be slow and painful, or you can invest in yourself by paying for education and coaching and get farther, faster.”

She added that it’s important to get clear on your objectives and your ‘why’ for being a Notary. Were you sold on the idea that you could easily make $100k from TikTok or YouTube? Are you doing it as a side hustle? “Or are you a Notary because it brings you joy in being able to assist all types of people in your community and beyond with their important life moments and the income just happens to be a nice benefit? If your reason is the latter, then you are already on the right track to being successful,” she said.

Hanson sums it all up with the following: “Be yourself and follow the Golden Rule. Continue reviewing best practices and state procedures. Do what you say or agree to, smile, and enjoy being your own boss while developing your network and friendships.”


Add your comment

Stephen Reich

04 Mar 2024

I’m a Bronx notary who has an in-person business only. The reason is that my police officer clients advise me that it is too dangerous to be a mobile notary in a city where crime is rampant and guns are everywhere due to the recent Supreme Court ruling. Also, parking is very difficult to find and the subways are not safe.

Jaine Ozbirnn

04 Mar 2024

This article was very informative. I am focusing on GNW as I like the diversity of opportunities available. I will be taking advantage if the advice offered. Thank you.

Multi Business Services

04 Mar 2024

how do I get connecter with first time home buyer to do the loan paperwork notarization for them. paperwork

National Notary Association

06 Mar 2024

Hello. Please see this article for suggestions and tips:

Toby Louden

06 Mar 2024

The worst thing about the last couple years is the middle guy, Notary Companies are offering signings at $40 and $65 not the usual $150 that the borrower is paying for our service. It should be illegal that these companies take almost $100 from our pockets. I think something should be done immediately.

Dorothy Melton

11 Mar 2024

To the gentleman who wanted to know about first time honebuyers and the market for signing agents. I work in Georgia, which stipulates that real estate closings must be facilitated by an attorney. However, I am on the board with a not for profit that provides HUD required first time home buyer workshops, which they prefer to present in person. There are online workshops as well, and a certificate from a Hud approved workshop is required for anyone wanting down payment assistance and a variety of mortgages designed for low income households. Identify those providers of the education in your area and get to know them as workshops are frequently attended by bankers, real estate agents, and so on, some to make presentations, some to provide a face with a name.

Donna Renaux

11 Mar 2024

I have been a notary and NSA for 24 years. I love my work and I love helping people especially seniors. I advertise in a community newsletter and also stop by title companies and income tax preparers also assisted living places where I hand out my business card.

Marie A Kalfayan

11 Mar 2024

It is a nice article but one that doesn’t benefit loan signing agents. Since we are members of your , why aren’t you telling the signing companies that we are doing all the work and their job of finding us is one phone call away and keeping 3/4 of our fee is not right.

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2024

Because Signing Agents are independent professionals, organizations such as the NNA, have to be careful to avoid discussions of specific Signing Agent fee amounts that can be construed as price fixing. This means we cannot recommend specific amounts for Notary Signing Agent fees, lobby for higher fees, or host discussions among Signing Agents agreeing to only charge certain fee amounts. For more information, please see this link:

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