Two sister notary-related startups have signed on for an upgraded headquarters.
Vanessa Terry is moving her two companies, Notary2Notary and On Time Notary, to a new office at 13125 Rivers Bend Blvd. in Chester.
Notary2Notary is a training site for both budding and experienced notaries, offering paid courses covering a variety of industry topics. On Time Notary is a dispatch service that provides signing agents to clients, specializing in real estate and loan closings.
“We’ve been seeing a warm welcome, not only from the community, but also from our students,” Terry said about the move. “Everyone we trained across the country is like: ‘Oh my god, we want one in our city!”
Terry has operated from 205 E. Broadway Ave., a smaller location in Hopewell.
Though Notary2Notary is primarily a virtual service, Terry often organizes in-person training. That was a reason to move.
“Finding event space was a little bit of a hassle,” she said, noting that affordable spaces for rent are often hard to come by. “And then, a lot of our students work from home. They don’t have an actual office address.”
The leased 2,000-square-foot property provides students with an address they can use for their own notary businesses. Paying members in the area can come work in the office and participate in the location’s training courses. Notaries pay $49 for a membership, while others pay $89.
In 2021, Notary2Notary surpassed $1 million in revenue. Terry expects that number to be close to $2 million this year, while On Time Notary is projected to reach $1 million in revenue.
That growth earned Terry a spot on the Forbes Next 1000 entrepreneur list, a distinction awarded to growing businesses that are making a difference in their industry.
Terry became a notary in 2014, after working in a handful of prior roles, such as with Qdoba and MCV. She discovered notary work when searching for a career more in tune with her transition into parenthood.
Notary2Notary was officially established in 2020. By then, she had casually helped several friends and family enter the industry and realized the habit could be transformed into a business model.
Terry describes the profession as one of the best kept secrets. In Terry’s view, it’s a profession attainable by almost anyone.
“It’s just one of those well-hidden industries that no one knows about,” she said. “That would have definitely been a job I did while I was in college.”
To enlist as a notary public, one must receive a state-handled notary commission, a process the Notary2Notary platform guides students through.
A commission in Virginia costs $45 and is a two-week process, she said.
The company has 15,000 registered students across the country, but Terry says Notary2Notary has gained an even larger social media audience, thanks to its podcasting, book releases, conference participation and in-person training events.
New lessons are also added to help current notaries stay in the know-how and improve their trade. According to the website, course topics include tax management, business grants and e-notaries, with prices starting at $129.
The pandemic, Terry said, may have helped shift the industry’s typical age range, averaging around 30 to 65. As some took a break from work during that time, notaries stayed especially busy, given the period’s increase in wills and home refinancing.
In her view, the main issue notaries have run into are rising gas prices. The profession, mobile in nature, often requires notaries to travel to meet clients. Some notaries have increased their rates.
She is now working on an e-notary platform called iNotarize and plans to launch it in the fall. Terry has started searching for investors to back the project and predicts it would cost between $200,000 and $300,000 to develop.
Terry’s joint operation is staffed by six others, two of whom work out of state.
The growth of e-notary work will require legislative changes in some jurisdictions, a process Terry is getting involved in in Virginia by working with the Secretary of the Commonwealth to provide industry perspective.
“We’re actually doing it every day, so we know what it takes to get it done,” Terry said. “All across the country, state legislatures are trying to get to a place to kind of figure out how to do (e-notaries), because there previously wasn’t much.”
Inspired by her younger students, Terry is also planning to take Notary2Notary into schools and teach it as a trade sometime in the next year.
“The past couple months, we’ve been getting a lot of recently graduated high school students who are like, ‘I don’t want to go to college, can I do this?’” Terry said. “And they’re making money, about to break that six-figure mark starting off.”