A registered agent is a person or entity who receives and sends legal documents on your company’s behalf. Anyone can act as a registered agent if they:
- Have a physical address in the state where the company was formed or conducts business
- Are physically available to receive documents at the given address during regular business hours
- Are 18 years or older
Registered Agent Options
Because there are several options when choosing a registered agent, the process can seem complicated. For help, we suggest visiting our What Is a Registered Agent guide.
Once you understand the role of a registered agent, it’s time to begin examining the various registered agent options available to your business.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?
You can be your own registered agent if you choose to be. As an alternative, you can designate a member of your LLC or a trusted friend if they:
- are 18 years or older
- have a physical address in the state where the business is conducted
- are available during normal business hours
You can also hire a professional registered agent service. Although a professional service will cost you a small annual fee, it has significant benefits that are worth the cost for most businesses.
In particular, a service helps you avoid financial penalties or other legal problems caused by missing or misplacing an important document or notice. Over time, this can save you money.
For detailed reviews of registered agent services, visit our Top 7 Best Registered Agent Services review.
Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?
Hiring an affordable, national registered agent service provider has several benefits. These include:
Compliance With the Law
A registered agent service can help your businesses stay current with state requirements by sending regular filing reminders. This means you will avoid penalties and other sanctions for missing these deadlines.
A professional service can help you find state-specific accountants and legal professionals. It also can keep copies of your corporate documents for backup if the originals are damaged, lost, or stolen.
Peace of Mind
A registered agent service lets you focus your time, energy, and attention on growing your business without worrying about receiving official documents. It also can help keep your work and personal lives apart by separating business and personal mail.
A registered agent must be available every day during regular business hours to receive documents. If you hire a service, they will fulfill this requirement, and you can work other hours.
Finally, a registered agent service will keep your home address out of the public record if you act as your own registered agent. (All registered agent addresses must be public.) If you have a separate office, it will prevent someone from serving you with a lawsuit or other embarrassing documents in front of employees and customers.
What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?
In addition to having an office in the state of your LLC, we encourage you to find a national registered agent service with the following features:
- Compliance management: reminders for filing annual reports and other important deadlines
- Document management: local scanning of all official documents so you can access them from your online account
- Availability: a reliable customer service team who can answer any questions you may have
- Thorough coverage: the ability to provide registered agent services in all 50 states
ZenBusiness Registered Agent
ZenBusiness provides the most comprehensive registered agent services you can get for the price. Not only is their service included with LLC formation, but their fee is only $119 annually after the first year of formation.
The Complete Registered Agent plan includes the ZenBusiness “Worry-Free Compliance” guarantee. This feature includes annual filing report alerts, documents submitted on your behalf, two free changes to your filings per year, and it covers the costs required to regain good standing if your company should miss a deadline.
Additionally, ZenBusiness offers a user-friendly, intuitive dashboard for all its services. You can keep track of important business documents in real-time for convenience.
For a list of other top-rated registered agent services, see our guide to the best registered agent services.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is a person or business who receives and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. In some states, a registered agent is called a statutory agent, resident agent, or an agent for service of process.
Most states require that you appoint a registered agent when you form a limited liability company (LLC). To learn more about your state’s requirements, visit our state-specific guides.
How much does a registered agent cost?
A registered agent service can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, but hiring a registered agent service will save you time and money in the long run.
How much does it cost to change my registered agent?
Changing your registered agent can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 per state depending on the number of states you’re registered in to do business with your LLC.
What is a statutory agent?
A statutory agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a resident agent. Although most states use the term registered agent, Arizona and Ohio refer to registered agents as statutory agents.
What is a resident agent?
A resident agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a statutory agent. Although most states use the term registered agent, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island (LLCs only) refer to registered agents as resident agents.
What is a service of process agent?
A service of process agent is another name for a registered agent, a resident agent, or a statutory agent. Although most states use the term registered agent, California and West Virginia refer to registered agents as service of process agents.