Becoming a mobile notary can be an awesome experience for the right person, no doubt about it.
The hard part for many, if not most of us, is that fact we are running our own business. And, I think a lot of us find out, that it is tougher than expected, because a lot of us simply don’t know what to do?
A Little Disclaimer
We just want to make sure people know that laws and strategies vary wildly between states, and even some localities. This article is not meant to be an end-all be-all to your studies, you will need to learn the laws you are beholden to, and in the right cases consult with the proper professionals, whether it be an attorney, accountant or other professional.
So What is in a Name?
When you are becoming a mobile notary you need to have a name for your business. But, depending on how you structure your business, and where you do business, your requirements are different.
So when do I have to register the name?
If you are forming an LLC or Corp, you must do a search and file your name with the proper agency for your area. Then you will follow the proper procedures to reserve the name for your blossoming business. This will most likely include additional paperwork that will have to be carefully prepared. You can do it yourself, or a service; like some banks, registered agents, or attorneys can do it for you.
Even if you are a sole proprietor, some states require you to register your business name. For example, the state of Florida has a website/service called Sunbiz that allows independent contractors and sole proprietors to register their business names.
When don’t I have to register the name?
When you operate in certain states as a sole proprietor you are not required to register your business name. In these states, you get what is known as a DBA (or doing business as). You actually do this through your bank in most places. When you set up your business account, they will set up your DBA.
So, instead of your account being to “Sample Name” it is “Sample Name DBA (doing business as) My Awesome Mobile Notary Service. North Carolina would be a state where you can do business as a DBA.
Again, check the rules for your area. There are a lot of small business help centers to get you through the process.
When I am Becoming a Mobile Notary do I Need a Trademark?
Probably not, unless you choose a name that is prominent or close to the name of a large corporate behemoth.
We did recently have a friend who was in business who had to change the business name for this reason. But they were in the banking industry and their name was too close to some big fish. A small business can’t afford a costly legal battle in that case, so even if you are in the right, you are still going to take the brunt of it.
Now, as our business gets bigger, we would more closely consider the trademark. If we branch out into different areas, especially across state lines, we’ll need to start to actively protect our brand. And that is the most important part of the trademark, the protection it gives you to protect the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
What is a Registered Agent and Do I Need One?
For the most part, if you incorporate your business, you’ll need a registered agent. What are they?
A registered agent is someone whom you designate to receive official papers for your business. These would include documents related to lawsuits, and also important communications from the state such as renewal notices for business registrations. – -NOLO
Simply put,a registered agent is someone who is guaranteed to be there during regular business hours (9-5) to accept paperwork for the business. Sole proprietors dodge the need for a registered agent for the most part, though I’d recommend checking your local area before you pass up on one.
You need a registered agent in each state where you are registered to do business. As a rule, this means any state in which you’ve registered a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership, or limited liability partnership (LLP). – -NOLO
One note here, is that if you own a storefront that will always be manned during regular business hours you can act as your own registered agent. When becoming a mobile notary, that may not be possible, but if you are in a situation where you have a open storefront, it is an option for you.
Some registered agents do offer additional services. I spoke with one of our notaries today who told me that her service also helps her with all of her LLC filings and makes sure all of her paperwork gets filed properly and on time.
Again, this is just a brief look at becoming a mobile notary, from the business side. We in no way covered every area, these are just some of the early hurdles you might hit.
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And we’d like to remind you again, we just want to make sure people know that laws and strategies vary wildly between states, and even some localities. This article is not meant to be an end-all be-all to your studies, you will need to learn the laws you are beholden to, and in the right cases consult with the proper professionals, whether it be an attorney, accountant or other professional.
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