Last Updated 20 February 2017 | By:

Registered Agent 101

Everything You Should Know

Choose a Registered Agent

For the majority of states in the U.S., hiring or appointing a professional registered agent is a key requirement whether you’re starting a Corporation or an LLC.

 

1) What Is A Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent, or Statutory Agent, is a 3rd party professional who serves as your representative while you operate your business within the state.

They keep official paperwork up-to-date so that your business stays compliant. To maintain good standing, your registered agent will record all your important information and is in charge of accepting and receiving official mail to alert you of any changes in state requirements.

2) Why You Need a Registered Agent

1) LONG-TERM REPRESENTATION

To help you focus on managing your business, a Registered Agent is essential. Their primary responsibility is to receive, sort, prioritize and notify you of your mail and incoming state/federal-level documents. They’ll also forward legal notices and state mandates to the right individuals making your life easier!

2) PRIVACY & BUSINESS REPUTATION

Depending on the nature of your business the probability of facing lawsuits as you operate increases over time, which is why you need to be prepared. Even if you do your best, expect dissatisfied and disgruntled clients who criticize your business. When lawsuits are served, they come in the form of “service of process” notices delivered by local law enforcement.

If you don’t have a registered agent office on record, it’ll be delivered directly to your business address. This is an unfavorable situation. Imagine police officers bringing you a document in front of clients/customers. To protect your privacy, maintain your business reputation, and avoid disruption of your daily operations, hire a professional registered agent so notices will be delivered to their office instead of yours.

3) PROMPTLY RECEIVE DOCUMENTS & PAPERWORK

Your Registered Agent will always be available during business hours from Monday through Friday so you your documents and mail will be promptly received. Your registered agent will also spare you from sifting through time-consuming bulk mail and separating items that need your immediate attention over solicitations and junk.

4) FREE TIME

Whether you want to focus on more important things related to your small business or simply take a break from work, you can depend on your registered agent to continuing taking care of your company mail for you. While you’re on vacation, your agent will alert you if anything important comes up.

5) COMPLIANCE PURPOSES

Staying compliant is essential so you’ll be able to continue operating your small business. Every year, there are documents that need to be obtained, reports to be filed, permits and licenses to be renewed, state taxes to be paid and other government requirements. Your agent can assist you as you complete all these important requirements and legal procedures.

They’ll also alert you of any changes in jurisdiction that could affect your business positively or negatively and handle other additional documents for an additional charge.

  • Hiring a registered agent is a mandatory requirement, but you’re given the freedom to hire an agent of your choice. Hundreds of registered agent service are offered in your most states though, making it difficult to distinguish one company from another.
  • Hiring an incompetent and unprofessional registered agent can bring about many issues. Some of the most typical problems include absenteeism, tardiness and obsolete information, which can cause bigger problems like missed documents or worse.
  • Failure to maintain a registered agent will also cost you your company’s reputation. You’ll find it difficult to get loans, encourage investors and file lawsuits. At worst your company status (LLC, s-corp, Nonprofit, etc.) may be revoked.

3) Requirements & Constraints

Sure, focus on professional qualifications and state requirements, but also on their integrity and reliability. A Registered Agent’s position in your business isn’t something to be taken lightly. That said, these are the requirements in most states to be aware of:

  • (1) a Registered Agent can be an individual or a business entity, either domestic or foreign;
  • (2) if an individual, they should be a resident of the state;
  • (3) if a business entity, it should be duly-registered to operate in the state;
  • (4) a physical street address should be provided;
  • (5) the Registered Agent should be present during office hours of all business days on the physical street address provided.

4) Where To Get A Registered Agent

There are many places to get Registered Agent service, but two of our favorites are IncFile and LegalZoom.

Your business’ compliance is their priority so you can immediately operate as a legal entity. They ensure throughout your entire business life cycle, all legal paperwork and documentation will be sorted and accounted for so you’re never inconvenienced.

Most importantly, IncFile and LegalZoom keep each and every legal document they receive confidential.

Please note that this guide isn’t legal advice and is for informational purposes only. If you have any specific questions about your business, speak with a legal professional.