Since opening in 2015, ZenBusiness has already found a number of ways to stand out from the pack. So far, we’ve already formed 500,000+ businesses. Take a look at what we have to offer for registered agent service!
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 D.C. 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 jurisdictions. 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 D.C.
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 District of Columbia 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 does have a high price tag for a registered agent service. 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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Let ZenBusiness handle this legal responsibility
Every business entity in the District of Columbia 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 District 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 District government and others so that they have a reliable place to get in touch with an official representative of your company at any time.
Washington D.C. actually has two different kinds of registered agents: commercial and noncommercial. There is no difference between these types of agents, except for the fact that a commercial registered agent has filed a listing statement with the District and also paid the $150 filing fee.
Unlike some states, Washington D.C. does not provide a comprehensive (or even partial) list of reputable registered agents that operate within the District, so you’ll have to find one on your own. Thankfully, that’s where this guide comes in.
Each jurisdiction 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 Washington D.C. requires.
In Washington D.C., we’ll need to take a look at the Business Organizations Title of the Code of the District of Columbia, which says:
All of the companies we discussed above meet these regulations and are options for Washington D.C. 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 “Washington D.C. Registered Agent,” you’ll probably see results for local services, too. These can be local entrepreneurs with a knack for clerical tasks or entire companies dedicated to serving the District of Columbia.
On one hand, using a local service can have its advantages. Some will be cheaper than nationwide firms (but not always). And each jurisdiction has its own nuances for business compliance requirements, Washington D.C. included.
A registered agent service that services Washington D.C. 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 Washington D.C.” feeling as a local agent service.
That said, national businesses like ZenBusiness give you streamlined solutions. Let’s say you’re using a local Washington D.C.-only registered agent service, but it’s time to add locations in Maryland. You could search for an additional agent that services Maryland 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 Washington D.C. business.
The role of a Washington D.C. 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 District 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.
FAQs About the District of Columbia's Best Registered Agent Services
In Washington D.C., there aren’t many complicated requirements for registered agent eligibility. Any individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in the District can serve as your company’s registered agent. The only requirements are that they have a permanent address in Washington D.C. 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).
Washington D.C. is a tad unusual because it maintains a system of commercial and noncommercial registered agents. But let’s clear things up a bit: commercial and noncommercial registered agents accomplish the exact same tasks, and they both fulfill the District’s statutory requirements. Commercial registered agents just complete the additional task of registering with the District to be included in the registered agent database, usually so they can offer their services as a business venture. Noncommercial registered agents are appointed on a private basis instead. You can appoint whichever type works best for your needs.
Yes. If your registered agent is an individual, that person must live in Washington D.C. If your agent is a business entity, that company must either be a domestic Washington D.C. business or one with the authority to conduct business in the District.
Washington D.C. keeps the process of changing your registered agent pretty simple; all you have to do is download the Registered Agent Combined Form, fill out the third page, and submit it to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. There is a $50 filing fee. For more information, see our District of Columbia 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 Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs by filing a Statement of Registered Agent’s Resignation form on page 2 of the Registered Agent Combined Form. This form doesn’t become effective until 30 days after it’s filed, giving you time to find a replacement.
As long as you file all your paperwork in a timely fashion and don’t allow your registered agent coverage to lapse, you won’t incur any additional penalties or fees, keeping your filing fee at just $50.
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.
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.
District of Columbia DC Business Resources
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