While you are legally allowed to designate yourself for this important role in most states, 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. While there are a plethora of choices available, we narrowed our list down to the 6 best registered agent services online.
Our favorite overall registered agent service is Northwest Registered Agent. Founded in 1998, Northwest is now one of the most popular registered agent service providers in the country.
They have a handful of distinct advantages that make them our preference over every competitor in this crowded marketplace.
Free Registered Agent Offer: If you haven’t yet formed an LLC, Northwest will form your LLC and give you a free registered agent for $39 using our discount. This package usually costs $225 if you pay full price.
- With a price point of $125 per year for registered agent service, Northwest isn’t the cheapest company that provides this service, but their price is still hundreds of dollars per year lower than competitors like CSC and National Registered Agents, Inc. In addition, if you require service in multiple states, Northwest offers volume discounts that make their rates even better.
- Northwest was the first major registered agent service to locally scan every document they receive on your behalf. Most competitors only scan the official government documents that they’re legally required to scan.
- When it comes to customer support, no one beats Northwest. Every client receives support from 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 keeps everything in-house, so you know that whenever you have a question, you’ll be able to talk to someone knowledgeable.
If you want to receive outstanding service that rivals (or even beats) many higher-priced registered agent services, Northwest Registered Agent is a fantastic choice.
Want to learn more about Northwest Registered Agent? Read our review.
ZenBusiness is another one of the top registered agent services online, as they have an offering that’s inviting in a few different ways. Since opening in 2015, ZenBusiness has already found a number of ways to stand out from the pack. So far, they’ve already formed 300,000 businesses.
Free Registered Agent Offer: If you haven’t yet formed an LLC, ZenBusiness will form your LLC and give you a free registered agent for just $39 when you use our discount. That’s $10 off the list price.
- ZenBusiness charges a reasonable rate of $99 per year for registered agent service as a standalone feature, and they also include a full year of registered agent at no extra charge with any of their LLC service packages, which start at $39 with our discount.
- When it comes to customer feedback, ZenBusiness is almost impossible to beat. They have well over 8,200 reviews available online, and about 97% of those reviews have positive rating scores.
- Whether you choose to contact them via phone, email, or their web-based chat application, you’ll receive timely and accurate customer service from the ZenBusiness support team.
Plus, one of the best reasons to use ZenBusiness’ registered agent service is to take advantage of their fantastic LLC formation service that includes a year of free registered agent services. But overall they’re a well-rounded company in just about every way.
Want to learn more about ZenBusiness? Read our review.
Next on the list for top registered agents is IncFile, a company that can save you a little bit of money compared to Northwest, without sacrificing too many features.
Since 2004, IncFile has become one of the most popular online business formation services, serving over 500,000 business clients in that time.
Free Registered Agent Offer: If you haven’t yet formed an LLC, IncFile will form your LLC and give you a year of registered agent service, and all you need to do is pay your state’s fee.
- While their $119 base rate for registered agent service is pretty impressive, IncFile’s most attractive quality is the fact that they offer a full year of registered agent for free when you purchase any of their LLC formation packages, which start at $0.
- If you place a high value on customer feedback, you’ll want to give IncFile a long look. They have thousands of positive customer reviews all over the web, and they’re one of the most popular companies in this industry when it comes to their reputation among their existing clients.
- IncFile can’t compare with Northwest when it comes to customer support, but their service department is still quite good when compared with most other registered agent services. Their helpful reps can help you solve the vast majority of issues you might run into as a registered agent customer.
While they’re not the top registered agent service, they’re affordable, reliable, and a great value.
Want to learn more about IncFile? Read our review.
Clocking in at #4 is Rocket Lawyer, which is one of the most popular and recognizable names in the online business services industry. On their website, they claim to have helped over 25 million customers, making them easily the highest-volume service provider in this guide ― even more-so than LegalZoom.
- Rocket Lawyer offers registered agent as a standalone feature for $149.99 per year, but if you subscribe to their Premium legal services plan for $39.99 per month, you’ll receive 25% off that rate, along with many other benefits.
- While Rocket Lawyer isn’t necessarily the “best” option for registered agent service, they have something to offer in several different areas. They have solid customer feedback, a strong customer support department, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee that ensures everything goes smoothly.
If you find value in their legal services plan, it’s a no-brainer to go with Rocket Lawyer for registered agent service. Otherwise, we usually prefer the other options in this guide.
Want to learn more about Rocket Lawyer? Read our review.
LegalZoom is one of the industry giants in online business services, as they have next-level name recognition and brand power.
LegalZoom has helped form more than 2 million businesses since they started offering web-based legal services in 2001, which is a level of experience few other companies in this field can match.
- While LegalZoom’s $299/year price point is significantly higher than the other options we’ve discussed in this guide, they still offer a far more affordable registered agent service than the “big three” of CT, CSC, and National Registered Agents, Inc.
- 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 expensive offering from LegalZoom.
LegalZoom has plenty of customer reviews available online, and its reputation in this area has improved significantly over the years. While LegalZoom used to receive somewhat mixed feedback, their thousands of reviews are mostly positive today.
Want to learn more about LegalZoom? Read our review.
CorpNet is another good LLC service that also offers registered agent service. They have plenty of experience but still maintain a personal touch that so many competitors lack.
Their ownership group has formed over 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the country, and their registered agent service is of high quality as well.
- CorpNet’s biggest advantage is their excellent customer reviews. With hundreds of positive reviews available online ― and hardly any negative feedback whatsoever ― they have one of the best customer satisfaction reputations in the industry.
- Similar to the reassurances offered by LegalZoom, CorpNet also provides its customers with a satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not entirely satisfied with the service you receive from CorpNet, they’ll refund your service fees with no questions asked at any time within 30 days of your order.
- When it comes to pricing, CorpNet is not quite as affordable as Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness, but CorpNet’s $149 annual rate is still considerably less expensive than LegalZoom.
CorpNet doesn’t stand out in any one specific way, but they offer well-balanced formation packages and have strong customer service, which is always a great combination.
Want to learn more about CorpNet? Read our review.
The Best Registered Agent Service for You?
Depending on the needs of your business, it’s possible that you already have your own favorite from the above options. All of these cheap registered agent services are worthy of your business are good companies in their own right.
Overall, though, we think Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness are the two best picks.
Choose Northwest Registered Agent If:
Is customer support your top priority? Are you looking for a company that provides highly personalized services, where you’ll never feel like you’re “just a number”? If so, Northwest is for you.
Choose ZenBusiness If:
If you want a lower registered agent service price point, or haven’t started an LLC yet and would like an affordable LLC formation service + free registered agent service, ZenBusiness is your best bet. Visit their website to get this service bundle using our discount.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got Registered Agent Questions? We’ve Got Answers.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent (also known as a statutory agent or resident agent) is an individual or business entity that receives document deliveries on your behalf from your state of formation. 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 forming an LLC.
Is It Better to Serve as My Own Agent?
While it is legal in most states to serve as your own registered agent, we almost never recommend doing so. While it can save you about $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.
In addition, 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 Can I Learn More About These Companies?
If you’d like to learn more about the best registered agent services on our list, check out our reviews:
- Northwest Registered Agent LLC Review
- ZenBusiness LLC Review
- IncFile LLC Review
- Rocket Lawyer LLC Review
- CorpNet LLC Review
- LegalZoom LLC Review
Note: Our reviews specifically focus on the LLC formation services for each provider, but they’ll give you an idea of what to expect from each company.
How Do I Change Registered Agents?
This varies by state, but in most states, you will need to file a “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. In some states, you can also change registered agents by indicating the change in your LLC annual report, or by amending your articles of organization.
If you’d like state-specific info for what this process looks like, check out our guides for changing a registered agent.
Why We Recommend Registered Agent Services
Handling registered agent duties can be annoying, and when you’re planning out a new business, you’ve got enough on your plate.
Hiring a registered agent service lets you hand off those responsibilities without giving it a second thought so you can focus your energy where your passion lies: starting and growing your business.
Yes, it’s an added expense to what’s likely a growing list of costs, but these three benefits are totally worth it:
- You’ll be adhering to state laws that require having an agent on file.
- Your service will immediately scan and notify you of any correspondence related to your LLC, keeping it compliant and protected.
- Your personal address won’t be publicly available because you can use their address instead.
- Any Service of Process for your LLC will be delivered through the registered agent service, rather than at your home or office.
Peace of Mind
- Rather than being confined to your registered office between normal business hours (9am-5pm), the registered agent service will be available for you, so you can have a nice coffee out or leave for a long weekend whenever you’d like.
- The documents and notifications you receive will be stored in a secure online dashboard for safekeeping, like a backup.
5 Important Registered Agent Myths
By now, you’re basically a registered agent expert – or at least a well-informed entrepreneur. Still, there are a lot of registered agent misconceptions floating around out there. Make sure your business doesn’t fall victim to any of the following myths:
1) Each business only needs one registered agent
This one is partially true, but only if your LLC operates in just one state. If you execute business transactions in multiple states, or if you want to expand your operations into a new state, your company needs to have a registered agent in each of those states. Most major registered agent services provide service in all 50 states, but if you serve as your own agent, designate an attorney or accountant, or hire a friend or family member, this could cause some problems.
2) It’s easy and practical to serve as your own registered agent
Some business owners successfully serve as their own agents, but the idea that “anyone can do it” simply isn’t true. It requires a thorough knowledge of state guidelines, compliance deadlines, and service of process. Plus, individual agents need to be diligent and dedicated, remaining at the place of business during all regular business hours. Missing state communications or court summons isn’t something you want to risk, so if you’re unsure about the responsibilities, we recommend handing them off to a professional service.
3) Professional registered agent service is costly to acquire and maintain
In reality, hiring a professional registered agent is quite affordable, especially compared to the expense of some other business services. While prices fluctuate from company to company, in general, you can find options for around $10/month or less.
4) It’s not necessary to keep official notices from your state government
This isn’t necessarily a legal requirement, but it’s a good business practice that can save you a lot of trouble in the future, so we strongly recommend it. Any reputable registered agent will hold onto official government notices ― whether they’re for annual reports, tax forms, etc. ― or at least keep a digital record of the delivery. It’s important to be vigilant about keeping records regarding deadlines with your state so you can easily maintain your good standing.
5) Registered agent service is basically just mail sorting
Sorting through junk mail is the least glamorous and most tedious part of a registered agent’s job, but this is just one small aspect of registered agent service. The key aspect of this role is to contact business owners as quickly as possible if the state sends service of process, and also to help keep that business compliant and in good standing.