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Recommended: ZenBusiness offers a reliable registered agent service and excellent customer support.
And, learn how to change your registered agent if you decide to switch.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or entity that is legally authorized to accept official documents, such as tax documents or service of process, on behalf of a company. A registered agent is also known as a resident agent or statutory agent.
In most states, an LLC, partnership, or corporation must designate a registered agent. The registered agent can be the LLC’s owner, another individual, or a professional service. However, the individual or service must meet the criteria set by the state.
Registered agent services offer a number of benefits. To explore your options, check out our Best Registered Agent Services review.
For more information on registered agents, see our What Is a Registered Agent? guide.
What Is Service of Process?
Service of process is when a summons, or notice of a lawsuit, is served on a representative of one of the parties to the lawsuit. Service of process acts as official notice to the party being served so that they are aware of the lawsuit and can secure proper legal representation.
For a more in-depth explanation, check out our What Is Service of Process for an LLC? guide.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent?
A registered agent can be any person who:
- Is 18 years or older
- Has a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state where business is conducted
- Is available in person during normal business hours
A professional service also can act as a registered agent if the company is authorized to do business in the state, has a physical address there, and has an authorized individual there to receive official documents during normal business hours.
Why Should I Be My Own Registered Agent?
While it may be tempting to act as your own registered agent to save money, it could end up costing you more over time. This is because a registered agent service can help you avoid fees or legal problems caused by missing or misplacing an important document or notice.
How to Elect Yourself as a Registered Agent
To elect yourself as the registered agent for your LLC, simply list your name, address, and other required information on your LLC’s formation documents when you file them. If your company already has a registered agent, you can file a form with the appropriate state agency to change it to yourself.
Downsides of Being Your Own Registered Agent
The downsides of being your own registered agent include loss of privacy and time.
In terms of privacy, if you work out of your home and act as your own registered agent, your home address will be listed in a public database operated by the state. Many people may not be comfortable with this.
If you work in an office outside your home and act as your own registered agent, people may deliver sensitive documents to your office that you would rather keep private (like service of process) during business hours.
Acting as your own registered agent also requires time for receiving documents and keeping track of filing deadlines that you could be spending on other business matters.
Benefits of Hiring a Registered Agent Service
There are several benefits of hiring a registered agent service rather than acting is your own. These include:
- Compliance With the Law
- Peace of Mind
See Should I Use a Registered Agent Service for more information.
Compliance With the Law
A registered agent service helps you stay up-to-date on legal requirements like filing deadlines, helps find accountants and attorneys, and keeps copies of your corporate documents.
Peace of Mind
Hiring a registered agent service will give you peace of mind that you are meeting legal requirements and don’t have to keep track of them, as they can change periodically.
If you hire a registered agent service, you can work whenever you wish and won’t have to be available during regular business hours every day of the week to sign for documents.
Hiring a registered agent service will keep your home address out of the public record if you work from home. If your office is located outside your home, it will prevent deliveries of sensitive documents during work hours.
Recommended: ZenBusiness Registered Agent Service
ZenBusiness is a small business formation service that helps others launch their businesses. After carefully researching many LLC formation services, we decided to partner with ZenBusiness to design packages that offer the most affordable registered agent services for our users at only $99/year for an existing business. You can also upgrade to the complete coverage package to include a “Worry-Free Compliance” guarantee for a total of $149/year.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent FAQs
Can I be my own registered agent for an LLC?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you own an LLC. However, for privacy reasons and to free up your time for building your business, we recommend hiring a registered agent service.
Can anybody be a registered agent?
Any adult who meets the criteria for a registered agent can be one. These include:
- Being 18 years or older
- Having a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state where business is conducted
- Being available in person during normal business hours
How much does it cost to hire a registered agent?
Registered agent services typically cost between about $100 and $300 a year.