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There are so many registered agent services available today that it can be difficult to find the single best-registered agent service for your company’s needs. That’s why we’ve put together this article. It covers the top professional registered agent service options of 2023 to help you identify which option is right for your business. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is A Registered Agent?
A registered agent is like an official point of contact for your business. They receive state and legal mail on your company’s behalf and respond to official legal correspondence and inquiries during normal business hours.
Small business owners have to list a registered agent when applying to become an LLC. If you want, you can frequently act as your own registered agent. But it may be easier to hire professional registered agent services that can fulfill the role for you so that you can conduct business instead of having to worry about legal documents or maintaining a valid registered agent address while providing online business services.
Do I Need A Registered Agent For My LLC?
Yes, when you start an LLC, you need to have a valid registered agent address and name on the legal documents and forms you complete. This must include a physical address and point of contact for your business entity during standard business hours.
Registered agent service providers do all of this for you. This can help to simplify your life so that you can focus on running a great business entity and spend less of your time worrying about compliance. Many registered agent services offer other services as well, such as legal services and LLC formation services.
Registered Agent, Registered Agent Service, And LLC Service – What’s The Difference?
Before we get into our best-registered agent service reviews, it’s worth clarifying some terms. A registered agent is a person or company that acts as the official point of legal contact for your business. You can be your own registered agent or hire a provider.
A registered agent service is a company that can assume the role of a registered agent for you. They serve as registered agents for local small businesses across the nation so that owners don’t have to.
LLC services help small business owners form business entities like LLCs and corporations. You’ll find that most business formation services offer registered agent services as well. In other words, you can typically hire one company to do both jobs. You might even get free registered agent services if you hire a company to help you form your LLC. But this will vary based on the registered agent service provider that you decide to hire.
Read more: Best LLC Services In 2023
Top 7 Best Registered Agent Services 2023
- ZenBusiness: Best Overall
- Northwest Registered Agent: Most Affordable
- Incfile: Best Online Tools
- Better Legal: Best Reviews
- Rocket Lawyer: Best Legal Services
- Inc Authority: Fastest Turnaround Times
- Harbor Compliance: Easiest to Use
7 Best LLC Service Companies September 2023
ZenBusiness offers professional registered agent services for free for a year if you also pay for business formation services. The company can also provide ongoing support with a physical address for legal documents and help with accounting and tax services, among other types of support. The company also offers after-hours customer support, unlike many of its competitors.
Compared to most registered agent services in the market, this registered agent is more comprehensive and provides more support. The only real downside is that you only qualify for a year of registered agent services for free if you pay for another service first.
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest offers one year of free registered agent assistance if you pay for help forming an LLC. If you need a registered agent but want to pay as little as possible for one, they could offer the best registered agent services for you, as their registered agent fee is generally quite affordable.
The main downside to Northwest Registered Agent is that you may only receive basic registered agent services or essential registered agent services depending on the package you purchase. If you want other services, such as help with legal and tax documents or unlimited cloud storage and a personal address, you may need to pay a bit more.
If you’re looking for a registered agent service that offers a wide variety of helpful online business growth tools, Incfile could be the right registered agent for you. It can help with everything from identity theft protection to storing important legal documents with business data protection plans for business owners.
Reviews from customers highlight the company’s quality service offerings and helpful customer support agents. This is also another provider that offers a year of registered agent service for free if you pay for another form of business support.
If you’re looking for reliable registered agent services from a company that has good customer reviews, Better Legal could be a good fit. Based on feedback from previous clients, it ranks among the best-registered agent services. You also get access to a variety of support services and exceptional customer service agents when you choose this provider.
The main drawback is that the company’s customer service representatives are not as accessible or through as many channels as those provided by other services. But this may not be a dealbreaker for you, depending on your contact preferences.
If you want help with reviewing and creating legal documents, as well as other legal services, Rocket Lawyer could be right for you. It offers a subscription-based accelerated legal services plan that keeps upfront costs low. The company can also act as your registered agent and has strong customer support.
The main downside to Rocket Lawyer is that you need to provide your credit card to access its free trial. Additionally, a different registered agent might be a better choice because it might be less expensive if all you want is the best registered agent services and don’t need ongoing legal assistance.
If you want to complete the process of forming an LLC and hiring a registered agent as quickly as possible. Inc Authority could be the best registered agent service for you. It offers LLC formation assistance with very fast turnaround times and can get you set up with helpful registered agents who are able to provide ongoing business support.
That being said, if you purchase registered agent services from Inc Authority, be prepared for lots of upselling. The company seems to support its low costs with add-on services that are constantly marketed to those who purchase registered agent services from the provider.
With Harbor Compliance, you get a low-cost registered agent service that’s also extremely easy to use. The company even has an option for free registered agent services that you may qualify for if you use it to form your business. Plus, it has a national reputation as one of the best-registered agent services on the market.
The only potential drawback to this registered agent service is that it doesn’t offer as many premium services as some of the other best-registered agent services on our list. If you want more help with things like free digital mail forwarding and setting up a registered agent’s address, this wouldn’t be the recommended registered agent service for you.
Benefits & Drawbacks Of Using Registered Agent Services
Now that we’ve covered some of the best-registered agent services in the registered agent industry, let’s consider the pros and cons of using these companies generally. Remember, you can always be your own registered agent if you aren’t willing to pay the professional registered agent cost.
The main advantage of using one of the best registered agent services is that you have less to worry about as a business owner. The registered agents you hire will take care of this important ongoing compliance mandate for you so that you can focus on running your business.
However, being your own registered agent is more affordable than hiring even the best registered agent service on the market. So the trade-off is one of cost versus convenience. If you value convenience, choosing the best-registered agent service could be the right move. If you value saving money, acting as your own registered agent would likely make more sense.
It’s also worth mentioning here that registered agents can help you with more than just registered agent services. Many of these providers will also provide ongoing support with things like legal documents and legal services. You might even be able to get help with growing your limited liability company or figuring out the state fees that you owe when you choose a recommended registered agent service.
How To Choose A Registered Agent That Suits Your Business?
Choosing a great registered agent service is about understanding what your business needs. For example, are you looking for a low-cost online registered agent? Or do you want to partner with a best-registered agent service that can provide ongoing support to your company? The answer will impact your choice.
Consider whether you require any additional services that a registered agent service might be able to offer. For example, if you want some help with forming an LLC, hiring one of these companies could allow you to qualify for free registered agent services for a year.
As you search for the best-registered agent service for your requirements, keep the following additional factors in mind.
Pricing is a good way to separate similar registered agent services from one another. You might also want to look at whether a registered agent service lets you pay on a monthly basis instead of requiring full upfront payment, as many of the top registered agent services do.
Just remember, there are often ways to qualify for free online registered agent services for a year from providers like Harbor Compliance or Rocket Lawyer. You may want to try taking advantage of these as doing so could keep your registered agent fee as low as possible for the time being.
Customer Support Offerings
It’s also important to consider the customer support offerings of each registered agent provider on your list. Even if it’s after regular business hours, you want to be able to get the assistance you require.. Be sure to check for contact methods as well as business hours when evaluating this point.
You can also look for positive customer reviews when comparing registered agent services. Registered agent providers with poor customer reviews may provide no more value to business owners than your current registered agent.
Other Services Offered
Finally, consider the other services offered by your registered agent. Some providers offer expansive help with legal services, accounting, and even business growth. Other registered agent services only offer registered agent services. The best option for you will depend on your needs and budget.
How Much Do Registered Agent Services Cost?
Registered agent services can charge as much as several hundred dollars annually or as little as nothing. It depends on the registered agent service provider you choose and how they manage their pricing.
You should also keep in mind that free registered agent services don’t usually remain free forever. You may have to start paying for a registered agent service after the first year, even if you qualify to have the first year of registered agent services for free.
Registered Agent Requirements
Each state sets its own requirements for a registered agent. But the agent you choose will often need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid, active address in the state that your business is registered in. Be sure to check your state’s requirements before making a hiring decision.
That being said, any company that offers registered agent services will make sure that all requirements are satisfied so you don’t have to worry about it yourself. That’s another reason why people hire registered agent services. A registered agent service is already familiar with all applicable state fees and laws so you don’t have to worry as much about them yourself.
The bottom line of choosing a registered agent service is that your needs will determine the best option for you. If you need a registered agent, be sure to consider each company’s registered agent fee, customer support offerings, and additional services, as these will help you decide.
For example, Rocket Lawyer is great for companies that want ongoing legal support. But you likely wouldn’t want to choose Rocket Lawyer if you don’t need that kind of assistance because it may cost extra to do so.
If you want more guidance with choosing a registered agent service, take a closer look at the many guides covering the topic on BizReport. We have state-specific guides that contain more information about your registered agent fee and support options.
Our registered agent review methodology encompassed the most important factors to consider when choosing an agent, such as state fees and service availability. But there may be other things you want to consider before making your final selection. If so, further research may be required.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A registered agent service is a company that can act as your business’s registered agent. This means they become your official point of legal contact so if the state needs to contact your business for any reason, they will reach out to the provider, who will share the information with you.
The cost of a registered agent can be as little as nothing or as much as several hundred dollars per year. It depends on the provider you choose. Additionally, your costs could be impacted by the other services that you purchase from the company. For example, you can often get a year of registered agent service for free if you pay the same company to guide you through the LLC formation process.
Yes, you can typically act as your own registered agent, but the specific rules for doing so will vary from state to state. Just keep in mind that you have to assume the role of the registered agent if you decide to do so. This may take attention away from your standard business activities.
Yes, every LLC needs to have a registered agent attached to it. This is a requirement that every state in the country has. But the specific qualifications of the registered agent that you nominate can vary based on the state you’re in, so be sure to read your state’s guidelines before making a decision.
The best way to choose is to consider what you hope to get out of a registered agent service. There are low-cost options and higher-priced providers that offer more services and better customer support availability. You will want to consider how much you’re willing to pay for add-on services and better support when making your decision.
Registered agents act as the official point of legal contact for your business. They respond to official requests from the state and help you stay on top of your annual compliance requirements to avoid fines and penalties.
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What is a registered agent and why do I need one? IN.gov. Accessed July 6, 2023. https://faqs.in.gov/hc/en-us/articles/360034159931-What-is-a-registered-agent-and-why-do-I-need-one
U.S. Small Business Administration. Choose a business structure. Choose a business structure. Published 2022. Accessed July 6, 2023. https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/choose-business-structure
IRS. Limited Liability Company LLC | Internal Revenue Service. Irs.gov. Published 2019. Accessed July 6, 2023. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/limited-liability-company-llc
Get a Registered Agent for Your Business. ZenBusiness Inc. Accessed July 6, 2023. https://www.zenbusiness.com/registered-agent/
What is a Registered Agent? Hire a Service or Be Your Own. Northwest Registered Agent. Accessed July 6, 2023. https://www.northwestregisteredagent.com/registered-agent