If you operate an LLC or corporation in Alabama, you need to designate a registered agent to accept document deliveries from the state. You have a few options regarding who should provide this vital service, our favorite of which is hiring a registered agent service.
These companies will serve as your registered agent in exchange for an annual fee, keeping your business in compliance with state law by receiving documents like service of process, tax documents, reminders when your Business Privilege Tax Report is coming due, and more.
In Alabama, there are quite a few reputable companies offering registered agent service, which can make it difficult to determine which company is your best choice. That’s why we took a deep dive into all of your options to create this list of the best Alabama registered agent services. Which one should you use?
At ZenBusiness, we pride ourselves on providing convenient, easy-to-leverage business services that leave you more time to actually run your business. When it comes to ongoing registered agent service, ZenBusiness has a great $99 rate for the first year and a competitive $199 rate for subsequent years.
If you haven’t yet formed your LLC or corporation, we offer an outstanding bargain. We will form your new business for free — all you have to do is cover the required state filing fee.
Let’s take a look at some of our advantages and disadvantages compared to our top competitors.
- Low $99 price point for the first year
- Great customer feedback
- Strong customer service
- Gives back to socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs
- Not the absolute cheapest option available
There are more than 10,000 reviews of ZenBusiness online, and nearly all of them are positive, giving us one of the best customer satisfaction reputations in the industry. We also have a helpful and knowledgeable customer support department that can answer your tough questions.
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 advantages.
How does Northwest Registered Agent stack up to the competition?
- Personalized customer support
- Volume discounts available
- Free registered agent service with business formation
- Expensive business formation service
- Not many other services offered
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. Everyone who answers the phone for Northwest is a professional who knows their stuff.
Northwest offers a year of registered agent service in Alabama with any business formation service purchase. However, at $225, the price point for this package is higher than most competitors.
We appreciate Northwest’s volume discounts for registered agent service, as 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 annual report reminders.
Overall, if you prioritize personalized customer support, Northwest’s advantages likely outweigh its disadvantages.
Like ZenBusiness, IncFile offers a free business formation service. With IncFile, this includes a year of registered agent service as well. As a standalone service, IncFile provides registered agent service at an annual rate of $119, which is a solidly competitive price point.
- Free business formation service with registered agent service
- Good customer feedback
- Lots of upsells
With more than 30,000 reviews available online, IncFile maintains high average rating scores, making them an impressive pick for registered agent service in Alabama.
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 rock-solid 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 an experienced option, look no further.
- Tons of experience
- Solid customer satisfaction reputation
- Strong customer support
- Somewhat high price points
- Very few features
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, free business formation service for new members, and more.
We are always impressed with Rocket Lawyer’s support network, as its representatives are responsive and helpful. Rocket Lawyer offers extended support availability from 9 am to 9 pm 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, give them 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 for Alabama 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.
- Millions of customers served
- Industry’s longest support hours
- 100% satisfaction guaranteed
- High prices
- Few features in formation packages
We are impressed by LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is nearly identical to the ZenBusiness refund policy. Also, they have the longest customer support hours in this industry, 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.
What Is an Alabama Registered Agent?
Every business entity in the state of Alabama is required to have a registered agent. In fact, you will not be allowed to finish the formation process for your company until you designate your registered agent. Alabama allows you to appoint either an individual or a business to act as your agent.
The most important aspect of this role is receiving document deliveries from the state government, 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 so that they have a reliable place to get in touch with an official representative of your company at any time.
Alabama’s Secretary of State provides a list of frequently used registered agents in the state. Please note that the State does not publicly endorse these agents; this list is simply a helpful list of agents that serve a lot of state businesses. There’s a very good chance you can appoint or find a different one that will serve your business well.
What Does Alabama Law Say About Registered Agents?
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 Alabama requires.
In Alabama, we’ll need to take a look at The Alabama Business and Nonprofit Entities Code, which says:
- Every entity that files with the Secretary of State (both domestic and foreign) must appoint a registered agent
- The agent must be a resident of Alabama or a business registered to do business in Alabama
- An agent must be continuously maintained
All of the companies we’re about to discuss meet these regulations and are great options for Alabama registered agent service. When you’ve made your choice, you can indicate your registered agent’s name and address on your Certificate of Formation.
What About Small, Alabama-only Registered Agent Services?
As you’ve probably noticed, the registered agent services we’ve listed here serve businesses across the country. But if you Google “Alabama 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, Alabama included. A registered agent service that services Alabama alone will have detailed knowledge about those requirements. Granted, most national services do a good job of understanding local requirements. But they probably won’t give you the same “homegrown Alabama” feeling as a local agent service.
That said, national businesses like Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness give you streamlined solutions. Let’s say you’re using a local Alabama-only registered agent service, but it’s time to add locations in Georgia. You could search for an additional agent that services Georgia 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 Alabama business.
The role of an Alabama 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can serve as a registered agent in Alabama?
In Alabama, there aren’t many complicated requirements for registered agent eligibility. Any individual or business entity located within the state can serve as your company’s registered agent. The only requirements are that they have a permanent address in Alabama and that your company itself can not serve as its own registered agent (although you or one of your co-owners may assume this role individually).
Like most states, Alabama does not have an explicit age requirement (a few states require the appointed agent to be at least 18 years of age). That said, we do recommend that you pick a service like those listed above or a responsible individual that you trust. 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.
Must my registered agent be located in Alabama?
Yes. If your registered agent is an individual, that person must live in Alabama. If your agent is a business entity, that company must either be a domestic Alabama business or one with authority to conduct business in the state.
How can I change my registered agent in Alabama?
Alabama keeps the process of changing your registered agent as simple as possible. All you have to do is download the Change of Registered Agent or Registered Office by Entity form, fill it out, and submit the original and one copy to the Secretary of State. Include the $100 filing fee, and you’re set to go. For more information on changing your registered agent in Alabama, look here.
How does the Alabama registered agent resignation process work?
If your registered agent chooses to resign and no longer serve as your agent, they will notify both you and the Secretary of State using a Notice of Registered Agent Resignation form. The form requests information such as the agent’s name, address, and contact information, along with information about the entity they served. Alabama does not charge a filing fee for this resignation.
How much does it cost to change my Alabama registered agent?
Alabama charges a $100 filing fee for the Change of Registered Agent form. Since the form covers both the resignation of your old agent and the appointment of your new one, that’s the only expense you must pay. Even if your registered agent resigns on their own and you’re filing just to appoint the new one, it’ll cost $100. If you’d like a certified copy of the approval for your form, Alabama will send you one for an additional $4 per copy.
What are my options if I don’t want to hire an Alabama registered agent service?
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.
If you’re interested in hiring an attorney but don’t know where to start, we recommend taking a look on Avvo. We also dug through the top-rated lawyers on Avvo to create our own list of the top five business attorneys you could contact regarding registered agent service:
Where can I find more information on forming an LLC in Alabama?
The best place to learn more about forming an Alabama LLC is our comprehensive step-by-step guide. You might also be interested in checking out our list of the best Alabama LLC formation services.
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.
- Best Alaska Registered Agent Services
- Best Arizona Statutory Agent Services
- Best Arkansas Registered Agent Services
- Best California Registered Agent Services
- Best Colorado Registered Agent Services
- Best Connecticut Registered Agent Services
- Best Delaware Registered Agent Services
- Best Florida Registered Agent Services
- Best Georgia Registered Agent Services
- Best Hawaii Registered Agent Services
- Best Idaho Registered Agent Services
- Best Illinois Registered Agent Services
- Best Indiana Registered Agent Services
- Best Iowa Registered Agent Services
- Best Kansas Resident Agent Services
- Best Kentucky Registered Agent Services
- Best Louisiana Registered Agent Services
- Best Maine Registered Agent Services
- Best Maryland Resident Agent Services
- Best Massachusetts Registered Agent Services
- Best Michigan Resident Agent Services
- Best Minnesota Registered Agent Services
- Best Mississippi Registered Agent Services
- Best Missouri Registered Agent Services
- Best Montana Registered Agent Services
- Best Nebraska Registered Agent Services
- Best Nevada Registered Agent Services
- Best New Hampshire Registered Agent Services
- Best New Jersey Registered Agent Services
- Best New Mexico Registered Agent Services
- Best New York Registered Agent Services
- Best North Carolina Registered Agent Services
- Best North Dakota Registered Agent Services
- Best Ohio Statutory Agent Services
- Best Oklahoma Registered Agent Services
- Best Oregon Registered Agent Services
- Best Pennsylvania Registered Agent Services
- Best Rhode Island Registered Agent Services
- Best South Carolina Registered Agent Services
- Best South Dakota Registered Agent Services
- Best Tennessee Registered Agent Services
- Best Texas Registered Agent Services
- Best Utah Registered Agent Services
- Best Vermont Registered Agent Services
- Best Virginia Registered Agent Services
- Best Washington D.C. Registered Agent Services
- Best Washington Registered Agent Services
- Best West Virginia Registered Agent Services
- Best Wisconsin Registered Agent Services
- Best Wyoming Registered Agent Services