One of the most common questions we get as California Notary educators is,

“How much is this going to cost in total?”

At first glance, when someone is deciding to become a commissioned Notary Public in California, it may seem that you receive your education and pay an application/testing fee and *poof,* you are a CA Notary. The real answer is a little more complex, so let’s dive into the details.

The first thing to consider is that there are several steps to the process of becoming a Notary Public.

The steps:

  • Notary Education: $30-200
  • Testing and Application: $40 
  • Live Scan Fingerprinting: $50-100
  • Required Supplies: $200-$1000 
  • Filing with the County Clerk $29-69
  • Other, Advertising, printers, office supplies, bags etc. : $0-Unlimited

Notary Education $30-200

California requires new Notaries to take 6 hours of Notary education provided by an approved vendor. Applicants receive a Proof of Completion from their vendor and then must take the exam. Costs can vary wildly depending on the type of seminar you attend. Some educational vendors only provide the Notary Public Handbook produced by the Secretary of State and issue the Proof of Completion without instructions or guidance. 

Give yourself the best chance to pass your exam! It is the suggestion of Notary Public Seminars that if you are a New Notary, you take a seminar with an instructor, Livestream or in person! Having an expert instructor to add context and answer questions is invaluable to someone trying to learn Notary law for the first time.

Register today!
Live Stream Seminar

Testing and Application: $40

Sitting for the official exam is $20 and the application fee to become a Notary public is $20. This is collected by the exam proctors from Cooperative Personnel Services Human Resources  (CPSHR) at the time of your exam. It must be a check or Money order made payable to the Secretary of State. No cash or cards are accepted at the exam.

Notary Public application: notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary_app.pdf
Register for an Exam: exam-registration.cpshr.us/notary/notary

Live Scan Fingerprinting: $50-100

After taking the official exam Notary applicants must complete a background check by submitting Live scan fingerprints. Shopping around is going to be your best bet to find the cheapest Live Scan rolling fees in your area. Below you will find a link to see all the operators in your county and how much they charge.

Application: notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary_livescan.pdf
Locations: oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations

Required Supplies: $200-$1000

Notary supplies are much like Notary education in that the price can vary depending on a few factors. What type of Notary work you do will determine what you will need beyond the required items. An example would be Notaries who become Loan Signing Agents who need to purchase a higher Errors and Omissions policy then someone who only plans on doing notarizations at their office job where there lower risk involved. Entities that would hire Loan Agents usually require a 4 year $100,000 E&O policy, some require up to a $1 million E&O policy. 

NPS Supply Packages

  • Bonds
  • E&O
  • Journals
  • Seals
  • Support

Getting supplies in a package can take the guesswork out of what you need and usually results in a reduced price. In the same way Notary education varies, not all packages are of high quality and in some cases, they are not compliant with CA Notary Laws. Here’s what to look out for  when purchasing your Notary supplies:  

E&O insurance

  • Is it a 4 year policy? (it should cover your entire commission from start date to end date)

 

Journal

  • Is it CA compliant?
  • Does it have enough space so that I will not have to replace it right away?

 

Stamp

  • Is it a high quality stamp, will it last your whole commission?
    • You want a brand name
      • Brother
      • Trodat
      • PSI

 

Extras! Some extras are great to receive, pens, bags, or anything that is functional. What about stuff you don’t want? 

Never purchase a package that includes: 

  • Jurat stamp
  • Disclaimer Box Stamp
  • Date Stamp
  • Embosser

Filing with the County Clerk $29-69

You must file your commission, oaths of office, and original bond with the County Clerk in the county indicated on your commission. Each County clerk has their own fee schedule for this filing. It is important to go to the appropriate County Clerk’s website and familiarize yourself with their process. 

Other: $0-Unlimited

 

Depending on what you are doing with your commission, this other cost will be as much as needed to accomplish your goal. Here are some common costs associated with different types of Notary services:

 

Loan Signing Agent

  • Training
  • Printer
  • Car
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Computer
  • Mobile scanner
  • Marketing Materials (pens, cards, gift cards etc.)
 

Mobile Notary Business

  • Printer
  • Car
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Computer
  • Website
  • Marketing Materials
  • Incorporating costs
  • Advertising

Total: 

When looking at the total cost of becoming a Notary, it can seem daunting. But if you weigh it against your goals and take into consideration the costs are spread over 1-2 months, the time it takes to become a Notary, it becomes more manageable. An active Notary can recoup their start up costs fairly quickly. Becoming a Notary does not equal instant success, it takes work to get off the ground as you are starting a business. Being a Notary is highly marketable and an in-demand skill. But like any business, it will take work to find clients and carve out your market to become successful.

Morgan Christensen

Morgan Christensen

Notary Instructor and Helpline Operator

Uncategorized

A Notary Website!?

A Notary Website!? Notaries are always faced with new fun and/or frustrating challenges. One that comes up a lot is the idea that a Notary

Read More »