A registered agent service is a crucial organization that helps limited liability corporations with their business and correspondence. They work as a point of contact for businesses in order to help them retain their privacy and contact details.
All states in the US require you to make the name, address and other vital information related to your business accessible on public record. By using a registered agent service, you can avoid making this sensitive information public, and instead, use the registered agent services as a point of contact.
There are many quality agencies available across the US, but we’ve picked out six of the best agencies for your consideration.
Our choice of the best registered agent services are:
If you haven’t yet registered your LLC, have a look at our best LLC services comparison guide. The providers are similar to this guide, and most of them offer a registered agent service as well.
What Are Registered Agent Services?
A registered agent service is an underrated cog, intrinsic to running a successful business in the USA. They help you take care of all the nitty-gritty associated with paperwork and documentation, thereby allowing you to focus on the elements of the business that you’re best suited for.
They are now a vital element of the American business ecosystem, and it has become compulsory for all businesses to designate a registered agent service to their organization.
What Do Registered Agent Services Do?
A registered agent service will assign an entity to send and receive various documentation from the state government. Essentially, they act as a middleman in this process, taking on crucial tasks such as providing reminders for compliance filing, sending tax forms, offering a service of process and so on.
When you’re looking to start a limited liability company, one of the first steps involved in this process is designating a registered agent for your business.
Once you choose an agency, the government will be able to contact you whenever necessary, and you will not miss out on any time-sensitive or crucial documents.
Advantages of Using a Registered Agent Service
Although you have the option of serving as your own registered agent service, there are plenty of benefits to using an external agency. We list some of the most important advantages below:
By using a registered agent service, you will comply with state laws across the nation. Some states do not allow you to operate as your own agency, and if your business expands into these states, it becomes a legal matter to pick an external agency.
Additionally, you will ensure conformity with all legal matters for your business in the future by using a registered agent. The agency will keep a check on all your correspondence and ensure that you’re compliant and protected at all points.
Maintaining your privacy is possibly one of the most significant benefits of using a registered agent service for your business. By assigning an external agency, you can secure your privacy, as your personal address will not be made available to a public database.
Service processes for your business will get delivered to you through your agency instead of coming to your home or office address directly.
If you don’t use an external agency, you may have to stay confined to your place of business through the entirety of your working hours to remain available for correspondence. This can be a real hassle, and it dramatically reduces the flexibility of your operation.
A registered agent will always be available to pick up or drop off necessary documentation on your behalf, giving you the freedom to operate without this inconvenience.
Best Registered Agent Services Online: Top 6
We now present a list of six of the best registered agent services operating in the USA in 2020. All prices mentioned are correct at the time of writing.
ZenBusiness has been one of the leading names in the registered agent service sector since its inception in 2015. They take the top spot on our list for their overall quality of services and reasonable price tag.
If you haven’t created and registered your LLC thus far, ZenBusiness will help you do so and offer you a free registered agent for the low price of $39. They also charge only $99 each year if you’re looking for their registered agent as a standalone feature after registering your LLC.
This business has made steady ripples for a considerable period now, having accumulated close to 4,000 positive reviews online. This attests to their competency and customer satisfaction levels.
You can also expect them to respond extremely quickly if you have any queries. This is thanks to their excellent customer support team.
Their LLC formation service is truly one of the best in the country at this point, and it is one of the biggest reasons you should consider opting for ZenBusiness.
- Excellent customer support team.
- Reasonable pricing.
- Quality reviews.
- Premier LLC formation services.
- Their turnaround times can occasionally be a bit lengthy.
IncFile is yet another top-class agency that is considered more affordable than brands such as Northwest while offering plenty of similar elements to meet your needs.
They have been around since 2004 and are were one of the first online agencies to breakthrough in this sector. They currently serve over 250,000 clients in their extensive portfolio.
Their initial pricing can be highly alluring, as well. If you haven’t set up your LLC so far, IncFile will help you do this and provide you with a free registered agent!
Their registered agent base rate is pretty reasonable too. You can expect to enjoy this service for the price of $119 annually. The best part about this company is that their first year of service is entirely free when you pick up their LLC formation packages.
In terms of their customer support, they are reliable and approachable. This explains the ample positive feedback they have received from their customer base over the years.
- First year of service comes for free.
- Reasonable pricing from year two.
- Great customer service.
- One of the oldest and most experienced brands in this segment.
- They do not offer legal advice plans.
Northwest is widely considered one of the best names in this sector currently, and they have been in operation for over two decades at this point. This lends a significant amount of kudos to this brand.
We do not consider Northwest’s pricing to be economical by any means, but their price reflects their standing as the premier brand operating in this industry.
You will need to pay $225 if you’re looking to form an LLC with Northwest, but you do get a registered agent at no cost for your first year.
After that, they charge $125 per year for their registered agent. This price point is considerably reasonable, especially when compared to some other brands such as the National Registered Agents Inc and CSC.
They also offer volume discounts to their customers if you want to use their services across multiple states.
Northwest is truly thorough in their operation as well. They are the only brand that locally scans all the documents they receive on your behalf. Other agent services scan official government documents only.
We also consider their customer service team to be the best in the market currently, and they’re available round the clock in order to meet your needs.
- Bulk discount for operations across multiple states.
- Excellent customer support team.
- One of the oldest brands in the market.
- Service includes scanning all documents on your behalf.
- The price point for your first year can be expensive.
Rocket Lawyer has been making ripples of late in the world of online business services and has currently helped over 20 million customers from various segments.
This brand has a unique pricing policy, offering their registered agent standalone feature for $149.99 annually. However, if you want to subscribe to their premium legal services, you need to pay $39.99 every month, but you will also get a 25 percent discount on this rate.
Their 100% customer satisfaction rate is an excellent achievement, and you can trust this brand to execute on your behalf competently.
- Unique price point.
- Extensive customer base.
- Absolute customer satisfaction.
- Their non-member price points can be stiff.
With an impressive customer base of nearly 4 million businesses, LegalZoom has been a leading name in the registered agent service industry since they first erupted onto the scene in 2001.
We can consider their price point of $299 yearly a bullish figure, but they still fall short of the prices asked by other big brands such as CT or NRA Inc.
In terms of customer satisfaction, this is definitely one of the best brands in the market, which is evident from their immense customer base. They even have a policy that allows you to get a full refund within 60 days of your purchase.
One of the best features they offer is a convenient compliance calendar that allows you to track important deadlines and milestones for your business.
- Large customer base.
- High-quality operation.
- Reliable customer support.
- Valuable additional features.
- Their economy package is priced at $99 without offering many features.
The last name on our list is also the oldest one in this niche. Having set up operations as early as 1989, Inc Authority has helped over 130,000 businesses over the decades.
Their unique pricing point allows you to avail of their services for free for the first year as long as you pay for your own state fee. Along with their agreeable pricing, they also impress with their service. Happy organizations have posted thousands of positive reviews over the years.
Their paid premium formation plans can be extremely extravagant, but they do offer healthy discounts from time to time on the rest of their offerings.
- Excellent customer feedback.
- Oldest organization on our list.
- Interesting pricing.
- Their premium packages are costly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions that are commonly associated with registered agent services.
Is a Registered Agent Required?
Yes, registered agents are compulsory in all 50 states if you want to form a limited liability company. If you don’t have a registered agent, you could:
- Be dissolved by the state for not maintaining an ideal standing.
- Miss out on a potential service of process, and a court can conclude a case without your presence.
When Do I Designate a Registered Agent for My LLC?
Every state has its own regulations for the designation of a registered agent. However, most of the time, you will need to designate your agent when you’re filling out your formation document.
They usually refer to this as the Articles of Organization, and this is the document that requires you to disclose crucial facts about your business. If you do not include your agent in this document, the state can easily reject it or deem it to be incomplete.
Thus you must wait for the registration process to be completed before you look to earn any income.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in most states. If you intend to take this route, a major benefit is that it is entirely free. There are, however, a few drawbacks of being your own registered agent, and this includes:
- Making your address public and losing your privacy in this matter.
- You will be required to be present at the address you’ve registered during your standard business hours.
- If you’re in the middle of any legal issues, you could be served a lawsuit at your personal or business address. This can be an embarrassing ordeal.
Communication and Correspondence
After reading the above article, we’re hoping we have convinced you about the value of opting for a registered agent service. This crucial ancillary service will ensure that your business functions smoothly over all legal hurdles, all the while protecting your privacy and essential details.
You cannot go wrong with any of the six brands listed on our list. While ZenBusiness takes the top spot on our list for the economical pricing and impressive features, consider the strengths and weaknesses of the rest of the brands, too, in order to find the right fit for your business.
Stay well protected, legal and in the loop at all points with these best registered agent services.