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Since opening in 2015, ZenBusiness has already found a number of ways to stand out from the pack. So far, we’ve already formed over 500,000 businesses. Take a look at what we have to offer for registered agent service!
Another popular registered agent service is Northwest Registered Agent. Founded in 1998, Northwest now has thousands of registered agent service subscribers across the country.
They have some intriguing attributes that help them stand out in this crowded marketplace.
If you want to receive personalized registered agent service at reasonable price points, Northwest Registered Agent might be worth a look. However, keep in mind that Northwest charges at least $225 to form an LLC, so there are many cheaper options for that service.
Since 2004, IncFile has become one of the most popular online business formation services, serving more than 1 million business clients in that time.
IncFile can’t quite compete with ZenBusiness or Northwest when it comes to customer support, as their response times are quite a bit slower and they often respond without much detail.
Clocking in next is Rocket Lawyer, which is one of the most popular and recognizable names in the online business services industry. On their website, they claim to have helped more than 25 million customers, making them easily the highest-volume service provider in this guide ― even more so than LegalZoom.
If you find value in their legal services plan, Rocket Lawyer is an intriguing choice for registered agent service. If you don’t need its subscription service, you can probably find a more suitable option elsewhere.
LegalZoom is one of the industry giants in online business services, as they have next-level name recognition and brand power.
LegalZoom has helped form more than 2 million businesses since they started offering web-based legal services in 2001, which is a level of experience few other companies in this field can match.
LegalZoom has plenty of customer reviews available online, and its reputation in this area has improved over the years. While LegalZoom used to receive somewhat mixed feedback, their thousands of reviews are mostly positive today.
CorpNet is another good LLC service that also offers registered agent services. They have plenty of experience but still maintain a personal touch that so many competitors lack.
Their ownership group has formed more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the country, and their registered agent service is of high quality as well.
CorpNet doesn’t stand out in any one specific way, but they offer well-balanced formation packages and have good customer service.
MyCorporation has been around for over 20 years, and they’ve served more than a million business clients. They receive solid customer reviews, and they also offer good support. While their LLC formation service offering has some flaws, we appreciate their registered agent service’s reasonable price point.
MyCorporation offers customer support by phone or email, and we’ve never waited long to hear back from them. Their reps are friendly and knowledgeable. Overall, we have no complaints about their support system.
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Let ZenBusiness handle this legal responsibility
Handling registered agent duties yourself can be annoying, and when you’re planning out a new business, you’ve got enough on your plate.
Hiring a registered agent service lets you hand off those responsibilities so you can focus your energy where your passion lies: starting and growing your business.
Yes, it’s an added expense to what’s likely a growing list of costs, but these three benefits are totally worth it:
By now, you’re basically a registered agent expert — or at least a well-informed entrepreneur. Still, there are a lot of registered agent misconceptions floating around out there:
This one is partially true, but only if your LLC operates in just one state. If you execute business transactions in multiple states or want to expand your operations into a new state, your company needs to have a registered agent in each of those states. Most major registered agent services like ZenBusiness provide service in all 50 states, but if you serve as your own agent, designate an attorney or accountant, or hire a friend or family member, this could cause some problems.
Some business owners successfully serve as their own agents, but the idea that “anyone can do it” simply isn’t true. Individual agents need to be diligent and dedicated, remaining at the place of business during all regular business hours. Missing state communications or service of process isn’t something you want to risk, so if you’re unsure about the responsibilities, we recommend handing them off to a professional service.
In reality, hiring a professional registered agent is quite affordable, especially compared to the expense of some other business services. While prices fluctuate from company to company, in general, you can find options for less than $20/month.
This isn’t necessarily a legal requirement, but it’s a good business practice that can save you a lot of trouble in the future, so we strongly recommend it. Any reputable registered agent will hold onto official government notices ― whether they’re for annual reports, tax forms, etc. ― or at least keep a digital record of the delivery. It’s important to be vigilant about keeping records regarding deadlines with your state so you can easily maintain your good standing.
Sorting through junk mail is the least glamorous and most tedious part of a registered agent’s job, but this is just one small aspect of registered agent service. The key aspect of this role is to contact business owners as quickly as possible if they receive a service of process delivery (and forwarding it and other important notices to them as quickly as possible).
With any of the registered agent services discussed in this guide, you’ll need to provide them with some essential information about yourself and your business. You will also need to designate which state you need service for and pay the service fees. From there, you can sit back and relax.
Whenever your agent receives government documents or service of process on your behalf, they will alert you of the delivery and immediately forward you the forms. Usually, you will need to renew your registered agent service once per year. Aside from that, there aren’t many requirements to keep this service going.
Designating yourself as your company’s registered agent is a simple process. First, you’ll need to fill out your own information when asked to provide registered agent info in your Articles of Organization or equivalent document for your state. Alternatively, if you use an LLC filing service, it can guide you through the process.
Of course, you’re only eligible to do so if you have a physical street address within the same state your business operates in. Just enter your own name and address in this space, and you’re ready to go.
Once your business is formed, you’ll need to be present and available to receive document deliveries every weekday during standard business hours. If you’re not present, you run the risk of missing a service of process delivery. This could result in a lawsuit progressing against your business without your knowledge.
If your business is already formed, and you want to replace your current registered agent with yourself, the process looks a little bit different. In this scenario, you’ll need to file what’s usually called a “Statement of Change of Registered Agent” form. Just like with forming a new business, you’ll need to enter your own name and address on this form to become your own registered agent.
Keep in mind that we do not typically advise that you serve as your own registered agent. In addition to needing to be present at your listed location during all standard business hours, serving as your own agent means that you could be served with notice of a lawsuit in front of clients.
You’re also likely to receive much more junk mail than you ever have before. Especially considering how low-cost many of these services are, we strongly recommend hiring one instead of being your own agent.
FAQs About the Best Registered Agent Services
A registered agent (also known in some states as a statutory agent or resident agent) is an individual or business entity that receives document deliveries on your behalf from your state of formation. Your registered agent informs you whenever they receive a document for your business and forwards any relevant documents to you.
While this may sound like a somewhat unnecessary middleman, the registered agent’s role is crucial because the government and process servers need to have a way to reliably contact a representative of your business.
Yes, you must designate a registered agent when forming an LLC.
While it is legal in all states to serve as your LLC’s own registered agent, we almost never recommend doing so. While it can save you around $20/month, the biggest issue is that you could be notified of a lawsuit at your place of business in front of customers, which is bad for business.
In addition, if you serve as your own registered agent, you will need to be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday because if someone tries to serve you for a lawsuit and you’re not around, the suit could continue in your absence, without your knowledge.
Some entrepreneurs do choose to designate their accountant (or their lawyer) as their registered agent. This is a better idea than serving as your own agent because most accountants keep standard business hours at their offices and are therefore available to be registered agents. Plus, because you already do business with them, you know you can trust them.
On the other hand, accountants often charge high rates for this service and may not have any experience as registered agents. Also, if you want to expand to additional states, you’ll need a different registered agent because most accountants only have locations in one state.
In some cases, yes. Many professional registered agent services include some sort of compliance monitor tool that allows you to keep track of your important filing deadlines.
If you’d like to learn more about the best registered agent services on our list, check out our reviews:
Note: Our reviews specifically focus on the LLC formation services for each provider, but they’ll give you an idea of what to expect from each company.
This varies by state, but in most states, you will need to file a “Change of Registered Agent” form with the state you do business in.
This is typically a rather simple form, although there is usually a small fee required. In some states, you can also change registered agents by indicating the change in your LLC annual report or by amending your Articles of Organization.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at the process, check out our full guide to changing a registered agent.
Nope. If you try to form an LLC without designating a registered agent, the state will reject your filing as being incomplete. You would then need to get a registered agent and re-file your business formation documents to be able to form a compliant company.
While not all registered agent services provide ongoing compliance assistance, some of them do. Usually, this is in the form of an online compliance dashboard, where you can track due dates for your important business filings and access digital copies of scanned documents.
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.
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