25-year-old signing agent notary earns $200 an hour with no bachelor’s degree

Some mornings, Angelina Nguyen earns $150 in five minutes.

The 25-year-old is still surprised at how lucrative her small notarial business has been. When she first became a notary signing agent seven years ago – just weeks after her 18th birthday – Nguyen thought it would be a temporary jolt to support her income as a bank teller.

Notaries, or notaries public, assist in and authorize the signing of important documents, such as passport applications and real estate contracts. Most notaries public can only charge what their state dictates; Signing notaries, on the other hand, may charge more as they specialize in property records and loan documents.

While Nguyen thought most of her work as a notary would be spent checking signatures and explaining documents to clients, she quickly realized there was more to notarial than she realized. originally thought – she also walked people through some of the happiest and saddest times. of their life.

“I’ve seen people sign deeds to their first homes and contracts for a home they weren’t ready to leave…there are a lot of tears, both joy and sadness. sadness,” Nguyen said. “I realized that I wanted to be the person who made people feel seen, heard, cared for and understood in those important moments.”

Two years ago, Nguyen decided to try notarial work as a full-time career, starting his business, Team Signings, in San Jose, California, his hometown. The move turned out to be a smart bet: In 2022, Nguyen’s business brought in nearly $150,000, according to tax documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

“You don’t have to go to college to succeed”

Nguyen’s father, Chau, repeated the same advice to him throughout high school, when his friends freaked out about their grades and had the right extracurriculars on their resumes: “You don’t have to go to school. university to succeed.”

“He built a career he loved as a realtor, without a bachelor’s degree, and always instilled in me that I didn’t need to go to college to be successful,” says Nguyen. “I listened to it, and luckily I did because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in and I should have taken out student loans…it saved me a lot of time and money. stress.”

It was also his father who suggested he become a notary signing agent, as the notaries he worked with on real estate documents were in high demand and made between $75 and $200 per signing.

In most states, you only need to submit an application and clear a background check to become a notary public, but in California, you must complete a six-hour training, pass an exam, and pass a background check. THE start-up costs to become a notary public in California can range between $275 and $442, according to Notary.net.

It took Nguyen about three months to complete the process, which she completed in 2015, and another month of training and courses to become a specialist signing agent in 2021.

After earning her certifications in 2015, Nguyen was still unconvinced that she wanted to become a full-time signing agent. She quit her job as a bank teller in 2016 and for the next five years tried different jobs, including short stints as a realtor and insurance agent – but nothing matched how much she loved notarize.

“It’s an hour of work and then you’re done, you’re free,” says Nguyen. “It’s flexible hours and I feel like I’m really making a difference in people’s lives.”

“I work less than six hours a day”

Nguyen registered Team Signings as a company in November 2021 and immediately got to work growing her clientele: she visited real estate agencies with a stack of business cards, created TikTok and Instagram pages to document her work as a signing agent, and asked friends to publicize their new business.

by Nguyen ICT Tac, which has nearly 30,000 subscribers, has been her most effective marketing tool, she says. Notaries from other states reached out with references in the comments, and followers near San Jose messaged him asking for his services.

She aims to do at least two signatures a day, charging between $75 and $200, and sometimes an even higher rate, depending on the type of document that needs to be notarized and the distance between the appointment and her home office at San José.

Some signatures take minutes, while others can take over an hour. On average, Nguyen says she works “less than six hours a day”.

“I try to keep regular hours and work between 9am and 3pm, but I’ll also often book signings on the weekends,” she adds. Nguyen hired a full-time assistant in March to help with scheduling and billing.

His only regret is not having started his activity as a notary sooner.

“I like being able to set my own schedule, supporting myself and my parents financially if they need help,” says Nguyen. “All of this together, plus having the opportunity to help people every day, makes me feel really fulfilled as a person.”

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