Top Registered Agent Services Compared
BEST OVERALL VALUE
BEST FOR ONGOING LEGAL SUPPORT
A registered agent is a person or company designated to receive important legal documents on behalf of a business. Appointing a registered agent is required when forming a corporation or LLC, as the agent's address serves as the official business address for receiving service of process, tax documents, notices, and other legal mail.
We reviewed some of the top online business services that handle legal paperwork, mail forwarding, and more.
Best Registered Agent Services 2023:
- Northwest Registered Agent - Best Overall Registered Agent Service
- LegalZoom - Best for Access to Legal Advice
- ZenBusiness - Best for Worry-Free Compliance Services
- Incfile - Best for Changing Registered Agent Service
- Rocket Lawyer - Best for Additional Legal Services
- Harbor Compliance - Best for Industry-Specific Companies
- InCorp - Best for Multi-Year Service
Get to know each of the best choices for startup registered agents below. By the end of our comparison, you’ll be able to choose which registered agent service provider is right for you and your company.
Top Registered Agent Service: Northwest
Northwest ($125/year) provides the best registered agent services, offering knowledgeable customer support and a large number of features at an affordable price.
1. Northwest Registered Agent
With over two decades of experience helping small businesses meet legal requirements, Northwest Registered Agent is our top choice among national registered agent services. Widely known for their dependability and effectiveness, Northwest goes beyond simply providing a registered agent to receive official state documents. They offer a full suite of business formation services to guide companies through regulatory processes.
Haven't started your business yet? If you form an LLC with Northwest ($29 plus state fees), you'll receive a year of free registered agent service.
- They have made a name for themselves by being the most friendly LLC service available. Out of all the registered agent services we have reviewed and contacted, they're by far the best in regard to phone/email support.
- They locally scan every document you receive. Most registered agent services only scan certain documents like legal summons. Northwest scans all your paperwork, ensuring you never miss a document and eliminating surprises.
- Northwest provides assistance with filing annual reports, helping businesses stay compliant and in good standing.
- Unlike some competitors who have hidden fees, Northwest is transparent about its pricing, giving businesses clear expectations.
- Extra fee for virtual office service
- Same price every year
- Free mail forwarding
- Lifetime support from local business guides
- Data privacy protection
- Virtual mailbox
- Free phone service for 60 days
Despite being more on the expensive side at $249/year, LegalZoom remains popular and competitive due to its extensive platform, experience, and capabilities beyond basic registered agent services. They have successfully served millions of customers and are well-versed in various legal services. If you already have other services through LegalZoom, it may be more convenient for you to have them serve as your registered agent as well.
- User-friendly interface and intuitive platform for easy navigation
- Access to a network of attorneys for personalized legal advice
- Over 4 million customers for 20+ years
- Pricier than some competitors
- Emails about important tax and annual report deadlines via a Compliance Calendar
- Unlimited cloud storage for your company documents
ZenBusiness is another great registered agent service. ZenBusiness is a small business formation service dedicated to helping others launch their businesses. The company was founded in 2015 by a team of entrepreneurs who experienced the barriers that others continue to face today when starting a business. If you have not formed a company yet, registered agent services will cost you $199/year. If you have already formed your company and just need registered agent service, it will cost $99 for the first year and $199/year after.
- Large number of positive customer reviews
- Easy-to-use online dashboard to keep track of important documents
- Beyond registered agents, ZenBusiness offers a variety of packages that include LLC formation services, operating agreement, etc.
- Depending on the time of year and volume of inquiries, some users have reported occasional delays in customer support response times
- Slow checkout process
- Accepts service of process and other tax and legal documents
- Worry-free compliance service: includes annual report and state filing services, compliance tracking, and deadline alerts to help businesses maintain good standing with the state.
Another company on our list is Incfile due to their lower prices, but still high-quality registered agent services. You can get their registered agent services individually for $119/year. Or, you can get free registered agent services for one year with any incorporation filing purchase. So if you haven't formed your LLC or Corporation yet, they're also a good option.
- Learning center packed with free information
- User-friendly website protected by Norton Web Security
- 150,000+ customers served since 2004
- There have been instances where customers felt the response time or quality of support was lacking
- Businesses with specialized needs might find Incfile's offerings lacking in certain advanced features or tailored services
- Automatic mail forwarding
- Customized notifications
- Intuitive dashboard
5. Rocket Lawyer
Similar to LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer is well-known for providing legal support. We even collaborated with Rocket Lawyer to provide our users with registered agent, incorporation, and online legal services for $349.99 + State Fees (Regularly $649.99 + State Fees)! Learn all about the New Business Bundle, which includes a year of free registered agent services.
- Helped form over 800,000 businesses
- The company is backed by Google Ventures
- Norton Web Security Protection & Information Website
- Those who only want a registered agent service might find them pricier than standalone services from competitors
- Legal Services Plan includes consultations with business attorneys
- Access to a vast library of legal documents
Even without the free year, Rocket Lawyer is still a good option to serve as your registered agent thanks to their 100% satisfaction guarantee and partnerships with experienced legal professionals. We work with Rocket Lawyer ourselves and haven't run into a single hiccup yet.
6. Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance is a provider of compliance solutions designed to help businesses and nonprofits manage their statutory requirements. Since its inception, Harbor Compliance has established a reputation for its detailed, industry-specific knowledge and personalized service approach. They offer a variety of services, from business licensing to registered agent services ($99/year), ensuring that organizations remain in good standing with state and federal regulations.
- 10,000+ customers served since 2012
- Website protected by Norton and Trustwave
- Solid customer support team
- Website is a bit confusing to navigate
- Limited additional services for small business owners
- Same-day document scanning and delivery
- Free compliance guides & whitepapers
- User-friendly dashboard
Last but not least on our list is online registered agent service InCorp. One year of service costs $129, but if you purchase registered agent services for five years, you save over $200, paying $87 per year.
- As an industry leader since 1998, they have served 250,000+ customers
- InCorp.com has a user-friendly & McAfee secure website
- Offer many other business formation/compliance services
- Their online portal to be less intuitive compared to other providers.
- Some customers report slower response times
- Real-time tracking of entity status and compliance
- Mail forwarding
In addition, InCorp will absorb any transfer fees and if you do manage to find lower prices, they'll match them. InCorp is a tried and tested choice to provide your registered agent services.
Beyond the big names in registered agent services, there are other noteworthy players in the game. While they might not have the spotlight, their efficiency, reliability, and dedication to customers are commendable. Here are a few honorable mentions that, depending on your specific needs, might be just the right fit for your business.
Swyft Filings is a popular choice for many startups and established businesses looking for affordable and efficient registered agent services. While their main focus is on business formations, they pride themselves on a streamlined process for all their services. The platform offers a personal business specialist to each customer, ensuring that there's always someone to guide you through every step.
Founded in 1999, SunDoc Filings has carved a niche for itself in the world of business formations and registered agent services. With their vast experience, they offer swift document filing services in all 50 states. Their registered agent service ensures timely delivery and prompt notifications, making sure businesses always stay compliant.
With over a century of experience, Incorporate.com is one of the oldest companies in the industry. Over the years, they have helped thousands of businesses navigate the complexities of incorporation and compliance. Their registered agent service is known for its efficiency, ensuring that businesses never miss any crucial paperwork. Their platform is user-friendly, and they have a wealth of resources to help businesses understand and meet their compliance requirements.
BetterLegal differentiates itself by offering a flat rate for its services without any hidden fees. They boast a fast turnaround time for setting up new businesses, often completing formations in just a couple of days. Their registered agent service is reliable and ensures that businesses receive all their crucial documents in a timely manner. BetterLegal’s platform is straightforward and easy to use, making it a favorite among many new entrepreneurs.
Online Registered Agent Services Pros & Cons
- It’s common for independent professionals to charge a bit more than the prices you can get with companies who have a presence in all 50 states. These national providers are far less expensive in most cases.
- You’ll never have important documents delivered in front of clients, employees or customers if you choose to go with professional registered agent services. After all, you don’t want to get a court summons in front of a potential partner or investor.
- There’s peace of mind in knowing you’ll never miss crucial paperwork due to bad weather, someone stealing mail, or because you’re on vacation. These registered agent services have the technology to ensure you don’t miss a beat.
- Because the registered agent’s address or office isn’t going to change, you can freely move your business around wherever you want. This makes them an especially great option for a web-based startup for obvious reasons.
- The penalties for not having a registered agent heavily outweigh the price tag. If you don’t have one, you can lose your business license, pay hefty fines, and potentially even face criminal charges.
- There aren’t many downsides to working with an online registered agent provider, unless you’re setting up shop in one of the few states where you can be your own registered agent. This could save you some money.
Registered Agent Services FAQs
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is an individual or a professional service designated to receive important legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of a business entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. Registered agents serve as a point of contact between the business and the state government. Depending on the state, they might be referred to as a resident agent, a statutory agent, or an agent for service of process.
Why do I need a registered agent?
Having a registered agent is a legal requirement for most businesses. The primary reason for this requirement is to ensure that there is a reliable and consistent way for the state government to communicate with the company. It is crucial for businesses to have a registered agent to ensure they do not miss any critical deadlines or legal obligations.
How much does a registered agent cost?
The cost of a registered agent can vary depending on several factors, including the service provider, the level of service offered, and the state in which your business is registered. On average, registered agent services can range from $50 to $300 per year.
It is essential to carefully evaluate the features, reputation, and pricing of different registered agent service providers to make an informed decision that suits your business needs and budget.
Can I act as my own registered agent?
Yes, in most cases, you can act as your own registered agent for your LLC. However, it's important to consider the responsibilities and potential drawbacks. As a self-employed registered agent, you need to maintain normal business hours at a physical address within the state of registration, be available during those hours to receive legal documents and correspondence, and ensure that you don't miss any critical deadlines.
Additionally, being your own registered agent may mean that your personal address becomes a matter of public record, potentially compromising your privacy. Many business owners choose to use a professional registered agent service to avoid these challenges and maintain their privacy.
Can I change my registered agent?
Yes, you can change your registered agent at any time. The process may vary depending on your state's regulations, but typically involves filing a change of agent form with the appropriate state agency and notifying your current registered agent.
How do I choose the best registered agent service for my business?
To choose the best registered agent service, consider factors such as reputation, experience, pricing, customer reviews, online platform usability, other services offered, and customer support. Compare multiple providers to find the one that aligns with your business needs and budget.
Are there any free registered agent services?
There is no completely free registered agent service. However, several registered agents provide their services free for one year with LLC formation.
At TRUiC, we understand the importance of providing business owners with trusted information to help them make informed decisions. Our review methodology for evaluating and recommending the best registered agent services is designed to ensure thorough research, objective analysis, and unbiased recommendations.
Below are the key factors we take into account:
Reputation and Trustworthiness
We prioritize reliable registered agent services with a solid reputation and a track record of trustworthiness. We thoroughly research the company's background, including its history, customer reviews, and ratings from reputable sources. We look for providers with a proven commitment to serving small businesses and maintaining a high level of professionalism.
We carefully review the variety and quality of the services offered. This includes fundamental services like compliance tracking and notification, document receiving and forwarding, but we also consider additional services such as business formation services, online document access, or virtual mailboxes.
We understand that small business owners often have budget constraints. Therefore, we assess the pricing models and plans offered by registered agent services. We consider the affordability of their packages, any hidden costs or fees, and the overall value for money provided. Our aim is to recommend services that offer competitive pricing without compromising on the quality of service.
Reliable and responsive customer support is key for any service-based business. We examine the support options (phone, email, live chat), hours of availability, response time, and the quality of help provided. We consider customer reviews and ratings for this aspect as well, to ensure that the provider delivers on its promises.
Ease of Use and User Experience
We believe the user experience should be as simple and efficient as possible. We assess the provider's website for ease of navigation, access to support resources, and the overall clarity of information presented. We also look at the process of signing up and managing services online, plus any mobile app availability and usability.
Security and Data Protection
We evaluate the security measures and data protection protocols implemented by registered agent services. We consider factors such as encryption technologies, secure document handling processes, compliance with relevant privacy regulations, and the company's commitment to safeguarding customer data.
Best Registered Agent Services By State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia