How to Choose a North Carolina Registered Agent

Every North Carolina LLC is required to have a registered agent. In order to choose the best registered agent for your LLC, you need to know what they do and why you need one.

We will also show you how to easily elect or change your North Carolina registered agent.


What is a North Carolina Registered Agent?

A registered agent primarily acts as your LLC’s main point of contact with the state. You can expect your registered agent to receive things like tax notifications and compliance information on behalf of your LLC.

Registered agents are also responsible for accepting service of process. That is, if your LLC should be sued, your registered agent will accept the legal summons on your LLC’s behalf.

Can I be My Own Registered Agent in North Carolina?

It is possible to be your own registered agent. You could also choose to elect a member of your LLC, or even a friend you trust, as long as the person:

  • is 18 years or older
  • has a physical address in the state where the business is conducted
  • is always available during normal business hours to receive service of process in person

Another option would be to hire a professional registered agent service. One of the disadvantages is that it is more expensive than acting as your own. However, using a service helps you avoid any fees or further legal trouble caused by missing or misplacing an important document or notice. This can actually save you more time and money in the long run.

Should I Use a North Carolina Registered Agent Service?

There are more advantages than disadvantages to hiring a professional registered agent service for your business. Registered Agent Services are also called commercial registered agents.

Pros:

  • Privacy: Your registered agent’s address will be listed on the public record -- not your personal or office address. This is especially important to consider if your business operates out of your home.
  • Convenience: If you choose to act as your own registered agent, you will need to be available to receive official notices during standard business hours at the address you provide. Hiring a professional registered agent allows you to keep a flexible schedule.
  • Discretion: If your business is ever sued, your registered agent will notify you immediately and discreetly. No need to worry about getting served in front of your employees, or worse -- your customers.
  • Peace of mind: A professional registered agent service will send you regular compliance reminders and notify you of any requirements needed to keep your LLC in good standing. As a result, you can focus more of your time and attention on running your business.
  • National Coverage: If you decide to expand your business as a foreign LLC in different states, a national registered agent service will be able to continue services there.

Cons:

Cost: Hiring a commercial registered agent service is more expensive than acting as your own registered agent.

What is the Best Registered Agent Service in North Carolina?

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest provides the most comprehensive registered agent service for the price. There are no hidden fees or gimmicks. Northwest will include a full year of registered agent services for free when you hire them for formation services.

Northwest's online document management system and regular compliance alerts make working with them worry-free. They'll scan and upload all your essential legal documents and mail you physical copies as needed.

Northwest stands apart in its excellent customer service and their representatives are known for being highly knowledgeable about LLC formation and maintenance.

Registered Agent Service

$125 Annual
(for those who already have an LLC)

Get Started

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LLC Formation + 1yr Free Registered Agent Service

$39 + State Fees
(Registered Agent: $125 after 1st year)

Get Started

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If you want to explore all your options, check out this article on the 7 Best Registered Agent Services written by our friends at Startup Savant.

How Do I Elect a Registered Agent in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Articles of Organization. The Articles of Organization is the main LLC formation document in North Carolina.

Electing a Registered Agent Online

You can form your LLC online on the North Carolina Secretary of State website ($125 filing fee required). Your registered agent’s name and contact information will be requested when you file your LLC’s Articles of Organization online:

Electing a Registered Agent by Mail

To form your LLC by mail, download the Articles of Organization form ($125 filing fee required), fill out the required fields, and submit a physical copy to the North Carolina Secretary of State. You’ll be asked to provide your registered agent’s information starting with number 3 in the middle of the page:

An image of the manual LLC filing form for the state of North Carolina

How Do I Change My Registered Agent in North Carolina?

You can easily change your registered agent service. Fill out the online form titled, “Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent, and submit either by mail or in person. There is a $5 fee for changing your registered agent in North Carolina.

When electing your new registered agent, make sure to submit your new registered agent’s signed consent form, if applicable. This step may vary by state and depends on who you choose to be your registered agent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be a registered agent?

Anyone can be a registered agent as long as the assigned person or entity is available on weekdays, during regular business hours (8 am- 5 pm), and at the given registered agent address. This is important in case of a lawsuit and to remain compliant with legal forms and deadlines.

Although you can be your own registered agent, we recommend you consider hiring an experienced and reliable registered agent service to handle this portion of your business needs.

How much does an LLC registered agent cost?

A registered agent service can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, but hiring a registered agent service will save you time and money in the long-run.

How much does it cost to change my registered agent?

Changing your registered agent can cost from $0 to $50 per state depending on the number of states you’re registered in to do business with your LLC.

What is a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a resident agent. Although most states use the name registered agent, different states use different titles.

What is a resident agent?

A resident agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a statutory agent. Although most states use the name registered agent, different states use different titles.

What is a service of process agent?

A service of process agent is another name for a registered agent, a resident agent, or a statutory agent. Although most states use the name registered agent, some states use different titles.

What does “service of process” mean?

Service of process means receiving legal documents, such as a summons. A summons is an order to appear before a judge due to a pending lawsuit.

What is a commercial vs. non-commercial registered agent?

Most states require LLC owners to provide their LLC’s registered agent’s name and address when forming your LLC. In some states, you will be asked whether you are electing a commercial or non-commercial registered agent. Some states refer to the professional registered agent as commercial agents and individual agents as non-commercial.

 

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