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Next up is Northwest Registered Agent, a company that offers personalized customer support. Northwest no longer provides free mail forwarding service with its registered agent offering, which used to be a cornerstone of its service. However, it still has plenty of intriguing attributes.
How does Northwest Registered Agent stack up to the competition?
Northwest Registered Agent’s calling card is its personalized customer support. Instead of outsourcing its support network to a generic call center with questionably trained representatives, Northwest keeps its support team in-house.
Northwest offers a year of registered agent service in North Carolina with any business formation service purchase. However, at $225, the price point for this package is higher than most competitors, especially when compared to the free LLC formation package we offer at ZenBusiness.
We appreciate Northwest’s volume discounts for registered agent service, although these are only applicable for larger companies that operate in several states. They’ll slash your rate from $125 to $100 annually if you require service in at least five states. In addition, they receive strong customer reviews and offer free ongoing compliance reminders.
Overall, if you prioritize personalized customer support, Northwest’s advantages may outweigh its disadvantages. That said, if affordability is your priority, you might want to look elsewhere.
Like ZenBusiness, IncFile offers a free business formation service. IncFile provides registered agent service at an annual rate of $119, which is a solidly competitive price point.
With more than 30,000 reviews available online, IncFile maintains high average rating scores, making them a popular pick for registered agent service in North Carolina.
However, one drawback of using IncFile is how they can be rather relentless with upsell attempts. IncFile has plenty of add-on features available, and it will certainly remind you of that fact several times as you work your way through their order form. It can also take IncFile a while to respond to customer support messages, especially via email.
Overall, IncFile is a good option for registered agent service, albeit without some of the bells and whistles you’ll find with some competitors.
Rocket Lawyer is one of the industry’s biggest names, with millions of customers served and a robust advertising budget that gets its name out. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing is a bit high, but if you’re looking for ongoing legal assistance, it has an interesting offer.
Rocket Lawyer has a few thousand reviews available, with mostly positive scores. While its registered agent pricing doesn’t jump off the page, subscribers to Rocket Lawyer’s $39.99/month legal services program receive 25% off registered agent service, making its pricing for this service a bit more competitive.
We don’t have any major complaints about Rocket Lawyer’s support network, as its representatives are responsive and helpful. Rocket Lawyer offers extended support availability from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every weekday. If you’re willing to spend a bit more in exchange for a company with tons of experience, or if you’re interested in Rocket Lawyer’s legal services subscription, they could be worth a look.
LegalZoom is similar to Rocket Lawyer in that it’s a company with millions of customers served and offers advanced legal services. However, LegalZoom has an unfortunately high price point of $299 for North Carolina registered agent service. You can get your first year for $249 if you add it to a business formation package, but even that isn’t a great deal.
We are impressed by LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is nearly identical to the ZenBusiness refund policy. Also, they have extended support hours, with 14 hours per day of weekday availability and nine hours on weekends, too.
That said, LegalZoom’s high price tag for registered agent service is a problem. Seeing as this company also excludes valuable features from its business formation packages, the other options in this guide all have better value propositions than LegalZoom.
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Every business entity in the state of North Carolina is required to have a registered agent. In fact, you won’t be allowed to finish the formation process for your company until you designate your registered agent.
The most important aspect of this role is receiving document deliveries from the state government and process servers, then alerting your business of the delivery before forwarding the documents to you. The role of the registered agent is so important because it establishes a point of contact for your business with the state and others so that they have a reliable place to get in touch with an official representative of your company at any time.
You can search through North Carolina’s active registered agents via the Secretary of State’s Business Entity Search page. We will note that because this is a search rather than a list, there is still some legwork to be done because the search only works if you know at least part of the registered agent’s name. But between this guide and the search, you should be set to go.
Each state has its own rules and regulations surrounding registered agents. For the most part, these laws are fairly similar, but it’s always worth taking a look to see what North Carolina requires.
In North Carolina, we’ll need to take a look at the North Carolina Business Corporation Act, which says:
All of the companies we discussed above meet these regulations and are options for North Carolina registered agent service. When you’ve made your choice, you can indicate your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.
As you’ve probably noticed, the registered agent services we’ve listed here serve businesses across the country. But if you Google “North Carolina Registered Agent,” you’ll probably see results for local services, too. These can be local entrepreneurs with a knack for clerical tasks, offices dedicated to serving businesses in their counties, or statewide companies.
On one hand, using a local service can have its advantages. Some will be cheaper than nationwide firms (but not always). And each state has its own nuances for business compliance requirements — North Carolina included. A registered agent service that services North Carolina alone may have detailed knowledge about those requirements. Granted, most national services do an excellent job of understanding local requirements. But they might not give you the same “homegrown North Carolina” feeling as a local agent service.
That said, national businesses like ZenBusiness give you streamlined solutions. Let’s say you’re using a local North Carolina-only registered agent service, but it’s time to add locations in South Carolina. You could search for an additional agent that services South Carolina businesses. But that’s going to require a lot of additional paperwork, including new receipts, new automatic payments, more emails…you get the idea. But if you’re using a national service, you can cut down the “new” paperwork and focus on what really matters: growing your business.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you, and there’s no “wrong” answer. The most important thing is that you appoint one so you can run a compliant North Carolina business.
The role of a North Carolina registered agent is critical to your company’s compliance and legal standing. This position requires dealing with seemingly simple tasks, yet if they’re handled incorrectly, they could cost you a considerable amount of money in fines and could even potentially see the state dissolve your business.
While you can always change your registered agent down the line, we think it’s essential to pick the right registered agent for your business starting at the formation phase. You should also keep an eye on your compliance standing to ensure nothing goes awry along the way.
With ZenBusiness, you can purchase reliable registered agent service at an affordable rate, leaving this role in the hands of experts while you focus on growing your business.
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FAQs About North Carolina's Best Registered Agent Services
In North Carolina, there aren’t many complicated requirements for registered agent eligibility. Any individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in the state can serve as your company’s registered agent. The only requirements are that they have a permanent address in North Carolina and that your company itself can’t serve as its own registered agent (although you or one of your co-owners may assume this role individually).
Like most states, North Carolina does not have an explicit age requirement (some states require the appointed agent to be at least 18 years of age). That said, we do recommend that you pick a responsible individual that you trust or one of the services listed above. If the registered agent does not fulfill their duties completely and accurately, it can cause unnecessary hassle for a business. Most responsible adults can fill this role easily, but we do recommend careful consideration while you make this appointment.
Yes. If your registered agent is an individual, that person must live in North Carolina. If your agent is a business entity, that company must either be a domestic North Carolina business or one with the authority to conduct business in the state.
North Carolina keeps the process of changing your registered agent as simple as possible. All you have to do is download the Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent form, fill it out, and submit it to the Secretary of State along with the $5 filing fee. For more information, see our North Carolina change of registered agent page.
If your registered agent chooses to resign and no longer serves as your agent, they will notify both you and the Secretary of State using a Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent form. The filing date is effective 31 days after the resignation is submitted; during that time, you should find a replacement, so there is no lapse in your registered agent coverage. North Carolina does not charge a filing fee for this resignation.
As long as you file compliantly and don’t let your registered agent coverage lapse, you will not incur any additional penalties or fees. That means your filing fee will stay at just $5 when you change your agent.
One common option is to serve as your company’s own registered agent or enlist the assistance of a trusted friend or family member. The other route is to hire an attorney or accountant to handle this role. Maybe you prefer the added professionalism these people can provide, maybe you have an existing relationship with an attorney or accountant you trust, etc.
The best place to learn more about forming a North Carolina LLC is our step-by-step guide. You might also be interested in checking out our list of the best North Carolina LLC formation services.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
Best Registered Agent Services Reviewed in All States
We break down the best registered agent services in every state. View all of our guides below.
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