What is Service of Process for an LLC?
Service of process is the action of informing an individual or business entity that there's a pending lawsuit against him or her, or in this case, against one's company.
This notice, also known as a summons, is presented to the individual or entity being sued. A summons is an official legal document that’s brought before a judge or magistrate.
Registered Agents and Service of Process
The person you appoint as your company’s registered agent will be responsible for accepting service of process. It is then his or her responsibility to receive the service of process in person and take action toward a legal resolution.
If you decide to be your own registered agent, these documents will be brought directly to your home or place of business by a process server depending on which address you choose to provide.
To learn more, visit our What is a Registered Agent article.
Hiring a Registered Agent to Accept Service of Process
Another option is to hire an experienced service to guide you through the process.
Receiving a summons from a process agent can be intimidating and worrisome. A service will be available throughout the week during regular business hours so you won’t have to receive the summons yourself.
If you’re considering hiring a service, take a look at some of our top-rated options below to see which would work best for you.
How to Choose a Registered Agent
In addition to having a legitimate office in the state of your limited liability companies, 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 services in all 50 states
For detailed reviews, read our Best Registered Agent Services article.
Northwest provides registered agent services. There are no hidden fees or gimmicks. Plus, they'll include a full year of professional 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.
Registered Agent Service
(for those who already have an LLC)
LLC Formation + 1yr Free Registered Agent Service
$49 + State Fees
(Registered Agent $125 after 1st year)
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 services. As part of the service, Incfile will scan all documents for business entities to an 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an LLC’s registered agent?
An agent is a person or business who receives and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. In some states, they are called a statutory agent, resident agent, or an agent for service of process.
Most states require that you appoint this role when you form a limited liability company (LLC). To learn more about your state’s requirements, visit our state-specific guides.
Who can be a registered agent?
Anyone can fulfill this role 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, we recommend you consider hiring an experienced and reliable service like Northwest or Incfile to handle this portion of your business needs.
How much does a registered agent service cost?
A 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 registered agents?
Changing agents 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 during normal business hours, such as a summons. A summons is an order to appear before a judge due to a pending lawsuit. Having a registered agent receive proper service mitigates legal repercussions. Plus, having a service that will provide registered agent services takes the burden off the organization.
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 services as commercial agents and individual agents as non-commercial.