How Much Do Notaries Make In California? A Detailed Overview

Notaries public provide an important service verifying signatures and documents in California. But if you’re considering becoming a notary, a big question is – how much do notaries make in California?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The average salary for a notary public in California is around $50,000 per year. However, earnings can range from $30,000 for part-time up to $80,000 or more for busy full-time notaries.

This comprehensive guide will break down notary income potential in detail. We’ll look at average salaries, hourly rates, factors that impact earnings, and how California notaries make money through fees and additional services.

Average Notary Income in California

When it comes to the income of notaries in California, several factors can influence how much they make. In this detailed overview, we will explore the average earnings of notaries in the state and the various factors that can impact their income.

Full-time vs part-time earnings

One of the factors that can affect a notary’s income in California is whether they work full-time or part-time. Full-time notaries tend to have a higher earning potential as they have more hours available to provide their services.

On the other hand, part-time notaries may have a more flexible schedule but may earn less due to the limited hours they can dedicate to their notarial work.

According to a study conducted by the National Notary Association (NNA), full-time notaries in California reported an average income of $45,000 per year, while part-time notaries earned an average of $25,000 per year.

These figures may vary depending on the individual’s client base and the demand for notarial services in their area.

Experience level

The experience level of a notary can also play a role in determining their income. Notaries with more experience and a solid reputation in the industry often have a higher earning potential. Clients may be willing to pay more for the services of a seasoned notary who has a track record of professionalism and accuracy.

According to the same NNA study, notaries who have been in the industry for more than five years reported an average income of $50,000 per year. In contrast, those who had been working for less than five years earned an average of $35,000 per year.

It’s important to note that these figures are averages and individual earnings may vary.

Location in California

The location within California can also impact a notary’s income. In areas with a higher demand for notarial services, notaries may be able to charge higher fees and earn more. For example, notaries in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco may have a higher earning potential compared to those in rural areas.

According to data from the California Secretary of State’s website, the average notary fee in the state is $15 per notarization. However, this fee can vary depending on the location and the complexity of the documents being notarized.

It’s worth noting that notaries are allowed to charge additional fees for travel or other services provided.

California Notary Fees

When it comes to notary fees in California, there are certain regulations that dictate the amount a notary can charge for their services. Understanding these regulations is essential for both notaries and individuals seeking notary services.

In this section, we will provide a detailed overview of California notary fees.

Allowed fee amounts

According to the California Secretary of State’s website, the maximum fee a notary can charge for each notarial act is $15. However, it is important to note that this fee can vary depending on the type of notarial act being performed.

Some common notarial acts include administering oaths, certifying copies, and taking acknowledgments.

In addition to the maximum fee, notaries can also charge additional fees for travel, if they are required to travel to a location to perform the notarial act. These travel fees are typically negotiated between the notary and the client.

When can fees be charged

Notaries are allowed to charge fees for their services when they are performing a notarial act. This means that if a notary is simply providing information or answering questions about the notarization process, they cannot charge a fee.

However, once the notary begins the actual notarial act, they can charge the appropriate fee.

It’s worth mentioning that notaries are not allowed to charge fees for notarial acts performed on behalf of certain government entities, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Fee limits

While the maximum fee for each notarial act is $15, notaries are not obligated to charge the maximum fee. They have the discretion to charge a lower fee if they so choose. This can be particularly beneficial for clients who require multiple notarial acts, as it can result in cost savings.

It’s important to note that these fee limits are set by the state of California and can be subject to change. It’s always a good idea to consult the California Secretary of State’s website or other reliable sources for the most up-to-date information on notary fees in California.

How Notaries Maximize Earnings

Being a notary in California can be a lucrative profession if done right. Notaries have the potential to earn a significant income by maximizing their earnings through various strategies. Here are a few ways how notaries can maximize their earnings:

Volume of assignments

One of the key factors that determine a notary’s earnings is the volume of assignments they undertake. Notaries who actively seek out and take on a large number of assignments have the potential to earn more.

By being proactive and marketing their services to individuals and businesses in need of notarial services, notaries can increase their workload and subsequently their earnings.

However, it is important to strike a balance between taking on too many assignments and maintaining quality service. Notaries should ensure they have the necessary time and resources to provide each client with the attention and professionalism they deserve.

Additional services

Offering additional services can also help notaries maximize their earnings. While notaries primarily authenticate signatures and administer oaths, they can expand their range of services to include other notarial acts such as document translation, mobile notary services, and fingerprinting.

By offering these additional services, notaries can attract a wider client base and increase their income potential.

It is important for notaries to stay updated on the legal requirements and regulations regarding these additional services to ensure compliance and provide accurate and reliable assistance to their clients.

Building a client base

Building a strong and loyal client base is crucial for notaries looking to maximize their earnings. By providing excellent customer service, maintaining professionalism, and delivering reliable notarial services, notaries can establish a positive reputation and attract repeat business and referrals.

Notaries can also leverage technology and online platforms to market their services and connect with potential clients. Creating a website, utilizing social media platforms, and listing their services on reputable directories can help notaries reach a larger audience and increase their chances of securing more assignments.

Furthermore, networking with professionals in related industries such as real estate agents, attorneys, and loan officers can also lead to valuable referrals and higher earning opportunities.

Notary Cost Considerations

Supplies and bonding

When it comes to becoming a notary public in California, there are several costs to consider. One of the primary expenses is the supplies and bonding required for the role. Notaries are required to have a surety bond, which serves as a form of insurance to protect the public in case of any errors or misconduct by the notary.

The cost of a surety bond can vary depending on factors such as the amount of coverage needed and the provider you choose.

In addition to the surety bond, notaries also need to purchase a notary stamp or seal, as well as a notary journal to record their notarial acts. These supplies can range in price, with the stamp typically costing around $25 to $40, and the journal costing around $15 to $20.

It’s important to keep in mind that these costs are not one-time expenses, as notaries may need to replace their supplies periodically.

Association fees

Joining a notary association can provide notaries with valuable resources, networking opportunities, and professional development. However, membership in these associations often comes with a fee. The cost of joining a notary association can vary depending on the organization and the benefits they offer.

It’s a good idea for notaries to research different associations and compare the costs and benefits before making a decision.


Notary publics in California are considered self-employed individuals, which means they are responsible for paying their own taxes. This includes federal income tax, state income tax, and self-employment tax.

It’s important for notaries to keep accurate records of their notarial acts and related expenses, as these can be used to claim deductions and reduce their tax liability.

Notary fees can vary depending on the services provided and the location. It’s recommended to check the official website of the California Secretary of State for the most up-to-date information on notary fees.

Other Ways Notaries Make Money

In addition to their traditional notarial duties, notaries in California have the opportunity to expand their services and increase their earning potential in various ways. Here are some other ways notaries can make money:

Notary signing agent services

One lucrative avenue for notaries in California is to offer notary signing agent services. Notary signing agents are specially trained professionals who assist in the closing of real estate transactions.

They are responsible for ensuring that all necessary documents are properly executed and notarized during the closing process.

Notary signing agents are in high demand in California due to the state’s bustling real estate market. They can earn fees ranging from $100 to $300 per loan signing, depending on the complexity of the transaction. This additional income stream can significantly boost a notary’s earnings.

Loan signings

Another way notaries can make money is by specializing in loan signings. Loan signings involve notarizing documents related to mortgage loans, such as loan applications, promissory notes, and deeds of trust.

Notaries who have expertise in this area can attract clients from mortgage lenders, banks, and title companies.

Loan signings can be particularly lucrative for notaries as they typically involve multiple documents and require attention to detail. Notaries can charge a fee for each document notarized, and these fees can quickly add up.

Establishing relationships with local lenders and real estate professionals can help notaries secure a steady stream of loan signing assignments.

Document translation

Notaries who are bilingual or multilingual can offer document translation services, which can be a valuable source of income. Many individuals and businesses require documents to be translated from one language to another for various purposes, such as immigration, legal matters, or business transactions.

By leveraging their language skills, notaries can provide accurate and reliable translation services, ensuring that the translated documents retain their legal validity. Notaries can charge per word or per page for their translation services, and the fees can vary depending on the language pair and the complexity of the documents.

For more information on how to become a notary signing agent or to find loan signing assignments, notaries can visit reputable websites such as National Notary Association or Snapdocs. These resources provide valuable guidance, training, and networking opportunities for notaries looking to expand their services and increase their income.


Notaries in California can earn a nice income providing a valued service to their community. While the statewide average is around $50,000 annually, earnings above $80K are possible for busy, full-time notaries.

By understanding factors like fees, services, expenses, and location, you can get a realistic view of how much money notaries make. Use our comprehensive guide to gain the key insights into earning potential as a California notary public.

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