How to Choose a Pennsylvania Registered Agent

Every Pennsylvania LLC is required to have a registered agent. In Pennsylvania, a “registered agent” is referred to as a “registered office” or “commercial registered office provider (CROP)”. 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 show you how to easily elect or change your Pennsylvania registered agent.


What is a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?

A registered agent primarily acts as your LLC’s main point of contact with the state. In most states, a registered agent is a person who is at least 18 years old and has a physical address within the state.

In Pennsylvania, a registered office is the official mailing address for all legal mail related to your business. This will be your official point of contact with the state and the place where parties to a lawsuit would go to serve legal summons (service of process) on your LLC.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Pennsylvania?

You can use your LLC’s place of business or your own personal residence as your registered office address as long as the address used meets the criteria of the state.
Your business’ registered office must:

  • have a physical address in the state of Pennsylvania
  • be available during normal business hours to accept service of process

You may select any residential or business address that meet these conditions as your registered office. For example, your registered office can be your place of business or the home of any of your members or managers.

Many Pennsylvania businesses choose to appoint a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP). These services often help with processing legal notices and make responding more efficient. Refer to this list of official Pennsylvania CROPs to learn about eligible registered office providers.

Should I Use a Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania?

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest provides the most comprehensive registered agent service for the price. There are no hidden fees or gimmicks. Plus, 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 Pennsylvania?

Whether you'd like to appoint yourself, another member of the LLC, or a professional service to fill the Registered Office role, you'll be able to do so on the Certificate of Organization. The Certificate of Organization is the main LLC formation document in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, you must have a contract to acquire the services of a CROP before listing one. Without this contract, you could face civil and criminal penalties.

You also can’t use a CROP with Fictitious Name registrations.

Electing a Registered Agent Online

To begin the online formation process, create an account through the PENN File System. Once subscribed, you’ll gain access to all the resources you need to appoint a commercial registered office provider (registered agent) and form your LLC online.

An image of the online LLC filing form for the state of Pennsylvania

Electing a Registered Agent by Mail

To form your LLC by mail, simply download the Certificate of Organization, fill out the required fields and submit a physical copy with the Department of State (along with a $125 filing fee). You’ll be prompted to provide 1) the address of your registered office, or 2) your commercial registered office provider’s name and county of venue in Section 2.

An image of the manual LLC filing form for the state of Pennsylvania

How Do I Change My Registered Agent in Pennsylvania?

You can easily change your registered office online through the PENN File System. Alternatively, you can download a Change of Registered Office form and file a physical copy with the Department of State ($5 filing fee required).

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 professional registered agents as commercial agents and individual agents as non-commercial.

 

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