How to Get a Registered Agent

Learn how to get a registered agent with our guide. Need a registered agent? Form your company and use our service below.

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How to Find a Registered Agent

Starting a business is a life-changing time. But it’s important to make sure you file your business correctly and stay compliant. In order to do so, you’ll likely need to have a registered agent.

In many states, it’s a legal requirement for formal business entities to have a registered agent. A formal business entity is one recognized by the state. A limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation are examples of formal business entities.

If you’ve never heard of a registered agent, want to learn what they do, or are wondering if you’ll need one, then read on. We’ll also detail how to get a registered agent for your business. 

How to choose a registered agent in four steps

If you’ve Googled, “How to get a registered agent for LLC” or “How to find a registered agent” but have come up with little useful information, then check out our guide to getting a registered agent in only four steps. Keep in mind that this is just a general how-to. You may need to complete additional steps depending on your state. 

  • Have you thought to yourself, “Does my business need a registered agent?” It’s true that certain types of businesses are required to have one, and if you’re still deciding which business entity to adopt, then you’ll need to know which ones need a registered agent. 

    Which businesses need a registered agent?

    In most states, a registered agent is required for the following formal business entities:

  • You’ll need to do some research into your state’s requirements before figuring out how to choose a registered agent. We’ll be going over a few general requirements about who can be a registered agent below. 

    Who can be a registered agent?

    Although some states have specific requirements as to who can serve as a registered agent, for the most part, the following must be met:

    • Being an individual at least 18 years of age or a business entity.
    • Having a physical location in the same state the business is operating in. 
    • Being available at their physical location during normal business hours, usually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Having the ability to relay any legal documents or other important forms to the business it represents in a timely manner. 

  • When it comes to figuring out how to choose a registered agent, you should consider finding a service that’s best for you.

    Can my business be its own registered agent?

    LLCs and corporations cannot be their own registered agent. However, you can, as an individual, be your business’s registered agent. There are many reasons why we suggest finding a registered agent service instead. 

    Should I be my business’s registered agent?

    Since you can be your own registered agent, you might be thinking, “Perfect! I’ll save money and handle the job myself.” Remember, though, that you must be present at your registered address during regular business hours. This can make it difficult to leave the office to run errands and meet with clients/customers, take sick days, go on vacation, etc. 

    What could prove to be the biggest downside is that if you’re served with a notice of a lawsuit, it’ll be delivered directly to you in person at your place of business, which could make you look bad in front of your customers and clients.

    If you file your LLC or corporation with us, we can serve as your registered agent service. 

    How our registered agent service works 

    We offer a comprehensive and easy registered agent service for LLCs and corporations in all 50 states. This service is also only available for new business formations, self-filers, and existing LLCs and corporations. At this time, we do not offer this service to nonprofits, professional corporations, and professional limited liability companies (PLLCs). 

    Our service includes:

    • Monitoring all legal notices addressed to your business in a discreet manner.
    • Scanning and uploading these documents to your customer dashboard where you can view, download, and print them. 
    • Notifying you via email when these important documents require your immediate attention. 

    Our team can also assist with:

    • Changing registered agents
    • Mail correspondence
    • Self-filers using the registered agent service as a stand-alone feature
    • Service of process (SOP)

    Keep in mind that our registered agent service only represents your business, no one else. 

    Registered Agents, Inc.

    We’re currently partnered with Registered Agents, Inc. to provide our service in a few states. They accept service of process and compliance mail for our customers. The way they work is simple: they forward documents to us and we relay them to you so that they show up in your ZenBusiness dashboard where they’ll be ready to view, download, and print. For a few other states, we have registered agent offices and conduct the same process. 

  • You now know how to find a registered agent. After choosing one, you’ll next need to name them during your business’s formation. Many formation documents, like Articles of Organization for an LLC or Articles of Incorporation for a corporation, will require a registered agent to be named prior to submission. If left blank, these documents may be rejected depending on the state’s rules. Be sure to coordinate with your registered agent prior to filing your documents with the state. 

    In some states, like Ohio, a registered agent must sign the Articles to serve the business. In other states, like New York, the state’s Secretary of State is named as the business’s registered agent by default. You can still name your own in New York, however. It’s important to check your individual state’s requirements. 

  • A registered agent is an individual or company that receives legal documents, service of process, and other official notices on behalf of a business. This agent must have a physical address in the state where the business operates. It doesn’t matter if the business is domestic, foreign, or alien. New York and Pennsylvania are the only two states where a registered agent isn’t legally required.

    What a registered agent does

    A registered agent acts as the main point of contact between the business and the Secretary of State or other agency that oversees business formations and operations in the state. Like we mentioned, the registered agent’s responsibility is to receive service of process and other official documents on behalf of the business. The agent must also be present at their address during normal business hours.

    What a registered agent does NOT do

    Although a registered agent accepts service of process and other important documents (some of them also legal in nature), this person or entity DOES NOT legally represent the business in court. The agent also DOES NOT advise the business on any matters or responds to the correspondence for the business. They simply accept and inform you of any documents addressed to your business. That’s it.

  • Get started today

    Now that you’ve gone through our guide, you know how to find a registered agent. We want to help you appoint a registered agent with our registered agent service. Simply click the green button below to get started.

    It’s just one of many that can help you start your business and help it remain compliant. We also have additional services to help you run and grow your business.

    Registered Agent Service

    ZenBusiness can serve as your registered agent. Get started below.

    Registered Agent FAQs

  • Yes, depending on the state, a registered agent can also be known as a “statutory agent” or an “agent for service of process. 

  • Having a registered agent is just one of a few requirements for a business to be in good standing with its state. Lacking a registered agent, or losing one without finding a replacement within your state’s allotted time, can result in the following for your business:

     

    • An inability to legally operate in the state
    • Costly fines
    • A loss of liability protection
    • A loss of your business name
  • The cost of having a registered agent will vary depending on which registered agent service you use, so there’s no fixed price for one. You may not have to pay anything if you choose to be your own registered agent, but as we discussed in Step 3, this is something that you may want to avoid.

  • If you change registered agents, you must inform the state or appropriate agency. You’ll likely have to file a form with this updated information for the state’s records. This is typically done with Articles of Amendment or other similar documents.

  • A registered agent may resign for the following reasons:

     

    • No payment received by the business. 
    • The business falls out of good standing with the state.
    • The business requests their resignation. 
    • The business is voluntarily terminated and dissolved. 

     

    Many states require a 30-day written notice before a registered agent can file a resignation. 

  • Get a Registered Agent in These States