Hiring a professional registered agent service offers a number of benefits like peace of mind, privacy, and the ability to focus more energy on growing your business.
For detailed reviews of several registered agent services, visit our Top 5 LLC Formation Services Compared article.
Compliance with the Law
Registered agent services help businesses stay up-to-date on state requirements by sending regular reminders for filings. As a result, you won’t have to deal with legal fees and penalties— or worse, lose your business altogether. If you use a professional service, they can:
- Help you find state-specific accountants and legal professionals. Most businesses need accounting or legal assistance at some point during their formation.
- Keep copies of your corporate documents. In case of theft, natural disaster, or other unexpected losses, you will have a backup of all your important business papers.
Peace of Mind
A registered agent service gives you peace of mind so you can focus your time, energy, and attention on running your business. Here’s what a professional service can do to ease your stress:
- Make growing your business the number one priority. Important LLC documents will be automatically received and stored for safekeeping.
- Help maintain your work-life balance. Business and personal mail are kept separate, preventing your work from overtaking your home life.
- Offer personal guidance. You have additional support if your business runs into a problem or if any questions arise.
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. A registered agent service gives you the flexibility to focus on your business instead of keeping track of deadlines and being available during business hours.
With a registered agent service, you can:
- Maintain flexible business hours. A registered agent must be available from 8-5 every weekday. By hiring a registered agent service, you can choose your own hours.
- Form an LLC in another state. A registered agent must have a legal residence in the state where the business is formed. Hiring a national registered agent service will let you form an LLC in any of the 50 states.
- Form an LLC in multiple states. If you set up your business to have a physical presence in multiple states, you will need to have an appointed registered agent for each state.
We all value our privacy. Your registered agent service’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. A registered agent service will maintain your privacy by:
- Preventing you from being served with a lawsuit in person. You don’t want to get served in front of your family, employees, or worse, your customers.
- Having their address public instead of yours. As a result, you’re less likely to receive unsolicited mail.
In addition to having an office in the state of your LLC, we encourage you to find a national registered agent service with the following features:
- Compliance management: reminders for filing annual reports and other important deadlines
- Document management: local scanning of all official documents so you can access them from your online account
- Availability: a reliable customer service team who can answer any questions you may have
- Thorough coverage: the ability to provide registered agent services in all 50 states
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest provides the most comprehensive registered agent services you can get for the price. There are no hidden fees or gimmicks. Plus, they'll include a full year of registered agent services for free.
Northwest's online document management system and regular compliance alerts make working with them completely worry-free. They'll scan and upload all your essential legal documents and mail you physical copies as needed.
Northwest really stands apart for its excellent customer service. The representatives are known for being highly knowledgeable about business formation and business maintenance.
Incfile Registered Agent
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Incfile has been helping entrepreneurs since 2004. They have established a reputation for providing high-quality services for a lower cost than competitors such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer.
If you form an LLC with Incfile, they offer a free year of registered agent services. As part of the service, Incfile will scan all documents to your online account and physically mail you important legal documents.
Incfile's expanded menu of extra options is particularly suited for entrepreneurs who desire additional features like banking offers, business contract templates, business website offers, and other physical items such as a corporate seal.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?
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 meets these requirements:
- is 18 years or older
- has a physical address in the state where the business is conducted
- is available during normal business hours
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.
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 like Northwest or Incfile 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.