The 5 Best Registered Agent Services Available
When forming an LLC, you’ll find that designating a registered agent is required in all states.
While many states allow you to designate yourself, the problem is that your name, address and information will be accessible on public record. This drastically reduces your privacy and increases the amount of junk mail you receive.
If you’d like to retain your privacy and have a registered agent service be listed rather than your personal or business details, choose one of the options below.
This guide outlines the features that set apart the top providers from the rest of the pack. Which is the best registered agent service for you? Read on to find out.
If you’re looking for the best registered agent service overall, look no further than Northwest Registered Agent. They have been in business since 1998 and have been hyper-focused on building a great service since then.
While there are cheaper services than Northwest ― they charge $125 per year for registered agent ― they’re the only major registered agent service that locally scans every document they receive on your behalf. Plus, if you require service in multiple states, they offer volume discounts that make their rates even more competitive.
Special Offer: If you haven’t yet formed an LLC, the will form your LLC and give you a free registered agent for one year for just $69 + state fee. (See Details)
Northwest’s big claim to fame is their personalized customer support. Every client receives support from one of Northwest’s highly trained corporate guides, who will personally help you whenever you have a question.
Instead of contacting a massive call center to receive outsourced support, Northwest provides your corporate guide’s direct phone number, so you know that whenever you have a question, you’ll be able to talk to someone knowledgeable.
Our runner-up for registered agent service is IncFile. Since 2004, they’ve become one of the most popular online LLC creation services and have formed over 150,000 companies.
Special Offer: Similarly to Northwest, IncFile will form your LLC and give you free registered agent service for a full year for $49 + state fee. (See Details)
However the main difference is that their customer support is not nearly as on-point as Northwest. While there’s nothing wrong with IncFile’s support, it’s just not on the same level of personalization as Northwest provides.
In addition to their registered agent plus LLC formation package being $20 less expensive than Northwest’s, IncFile’s registered agent service on its own is only $119 compared to Northwest’s $125. Throw in IncFile’s fantastic customer reviews, and they’re clearly one of the best options for registered agent service.
While LegalZoom’s $159/year price point is significantly higher than IncFile and Northwest, they do have some advantages of their own ― LegalZoom is one of the industry giants in online business services, as they have next-level name recognition and brand power.
LegalZoom has served nearly 4 million customers 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 provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee that’s one of the best in the industry. If you’re unhappy with their services for any reason, they’ll refund all fees paid to LegalZoom at any time within 60 days of your initial purchase.
They also provide a handy compliance calendar that keeps you informed of important deadlines for things like annual reports, which is a nice way to cap off a well-rounded but slightly pricey offering from LegalZoom.
CorpNet is one of our favorite companies in general in the online business services industry, as they have plenty of experience but still maintain a personal touch that so many competitors lack. Along these lines, it’s no surprise that they provide a strong offering for registered agent service.
CorpNet’s biggest advantage is their excellent customer reviews. Their feedback is so positive that it makes them a bit of an outlier (in a good way) in this industry ― they maintain really impressive average rating scores on review websites.
When it comes to pricing, they’re not quite as affordable as Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile, but CorpNet’s $149 annual rate is less expensive than LegalZoom. Like LegalZoom, they cover your purchase with a money-back guarantee.
Rounding out our top 5 is Rocket Lawyer, another company like LegalZoom that has plenty of brand power. They have over 7 million clients, making them the highest-volume service provider in this guide ― even more so than LegalZoom.
Rocket Lawyer charges $149.99 per year for registered agent, but for subscribers to Rocket Lawyer’s Premium legal services plan, you receive 25% off that rate, along with many other benefits.
Rocket Lawyer also provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they’re just a generally well-rounded company in our opinion. They’re always a solid choice for any of their online business service offerings.
Which Should You Choose?
It’s possible that you already have your own favorite from the above options, and there’s nothing wrong with that! All of these services are worthy of your business, and they’re all reliable companies in their own right.
Still, in general we think Northwest Registered Agent is the best option for registered agent service. Their low prices and top-notch features provide a great service for any business in need of a registered agent.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or business entity that receives document deliveries on your behalf. Your registered agent informs you whenever they receive a document for your business, and forwards any relevant forms to you. While this may sound like a somewhat unnecessary middle man, the registered agent’s role is crucial because the government needs to have a way to reliably contact a representative of your business.
Is a Registered Agent Required When Creating an LLC?
Yes, you must designate a registered agent when you form your LLC.
Is It Better to Serve as My Own Agent?
While it is legal to serve as your own registered agent, we almost never recommend doing so. While it can save you $100+ per year, the biggest issue is that you may be required to make your personal address and phone number a matter of public record, which is a serious privacy concern. Plus, if you serve as your own registered agent, you will need to be available from 9am to 5pm 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.
Can My Accountant Be My Registered Agent?
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.
Will a Registered Agent Help With Ongoing LLC Compliance Requirements?
Absolutely. Many professional registered agent services include some sort of compliance monitor tool that allows you to keep track of your important filing deadlines. In addition, many registered agent services also offer annual report service, taking a major ongoing compliance requirement off your hands.
How Do I Change Registered Agents?
This varies by state, but in general you will need to file an aptly named “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.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Registered Agent
When it comes to designating a registered agent for your business, you have quite a few options.
You can serve as your own agent, you can designate your accountant, you can hire a professional registered agent service, etc. Even if you do decide to hire a registered agent service, figure out which one has the best offer for you.
For most of our readers, Northwest Registered Agent is the best option. We generally recommend hiring a professional registered agent service over serving as your own or designating your accountant, and Northwest has a great combination of features and pricing.Visit Northwest