Burial or Rebirth of Dutch Notary Business Model?

Officer 02 - colored cartoon illustrationToday in the Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf” an article was posted about the fall of revenue of Notaries/Solicitors of 30 to 40%.  “A big war” is going on between Notary offices who lower their rates in order to keep up with the competition. Or in other words… in order to survive. “200 notaries united to fight the battle because the market enforced the prices going down!” “The New Stamp” will put an end to lower prices. Anyone who charges lower prices will be friendly asked not to do so. AMAZING.  Mmm… do Notaries wear sunglasses? Are they too blind to see what their clients really want?

But  where have we seen strong decrease in revenue  before? CD-sales? In the music industry? Where established firms like e.g Warner was outperformed by newcomers with new business models like Sellaband? In the car industry? In the airline industry where Ryanair and Easyjet rule the market nowadays? 

What should Notaries do nowadays… ?  I think they should understand that they can not change the market but rather themselves should adjust to the changes. Why? Clients do not see the added value of their services as contracts are available on the Internet. Their services are not transparent. Why paying € 1.400 for setting up a company? Or € 1.200 for wedding papers?  Can Notaries do something about it? YES they CAN! Take off their sunglasses and do BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION! 

Take a look at the practices in the other regions, Estonia for example. Looking at Estonia would not be your first thought. However, we can learn a lot from them. The idea is to facilitate the entrepreneur in boosting the economy (not the Notaries bank account). For setting up a business you have 2 options: 1) through the Internet (if no notary is required) and option 2: at Notary office. And do you know what the second option costs you? Depending on the number of parties involved and the transaction volume you pay for a BV (Dutch Limited Company) only € 70! 

Being served by an Estonian Notary feels like flying Easyjet. A different model. No over the top offices, no staff overload, no Notary with Mont Blanc pencils but just a beautiful designed office where you can shop for a Notary signature in only 20 minutes. By the way in the public computer corner you can pay your bill online. Pick up and delivery of papers on the next day. Wow Dutch Notaries… what about that?



  1. credit you for your report and it helped me in preparing my college assignment.

  2. It’s not as easy as stated. I worked with a small notary office to find new businessmodels but the laws surrounding the service are hard to pass. There is something like a responsability to care (zorgplicht in Dutch). Sentence by sentence they have to make sure that a client is understanding everything and does understand all possible complications coming from a certain decision.

    My client was sued for 200.000 euros because a client of hers claimed she did’t understand the Dutch language well enough at the time to have understand the implications of a marriage contract she signed. This notary had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she did understand it at the time.

    So it’s more complicated then just some online forms. For more flexibility the strict laws concerning notaries has to change but then entrepreneurs and other users should accept more responsability. In the meantime only the large notaries will survive and kill the small realy caring ones. Is that what we want?

    BTW we found new businessmodels but not on the traditional notary business.

  3. Notary is really important! I wish they got more credit for what they do and how much they save companies from legal complications!! My friend became a notary through http://www.getsmartnotary.com and he learned everything he needed to know and passed the exam with flying colors! Try them out if you are interested in becoming a notary, they know what they’re doing!

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