Are you looking to start a business but don’t want to deal with the legal requirements? A registered agent service will handle all those matters for you, letting you focus on what you do best.
Like most people who go into business, you are probably driven by a particular passion or expertise that doesn’t involve the minutia of state and legal requirements. That’s where registered agent services come in.
So, do they work, or are they a scam? Here are the best-rated registered agent services.
The 8 Best Registered Agent Services
- Best registered agent service with free filing changes – ZenBusiness
- Best agent service with five-state discounts – Northwest Registered Agent
- Best free agent services with incorporation filing plans – Incfile
- Best free agent services with legal plan – Rocket Lawyer
- Best big-name registered agent service – LegalZoom
- Best dashboard-optimized registered agent – Harbor Compliance
- Best discount registered agent services – InCorp
- Best foreign qualification registered agent services – BizFilings
1. ZenBusiness – Best registered agent service with free filing changes
- Yearly filing reports
- Document completion, submission
- Two free state filing changes per year
- Cost coverage for missed filing deadlines
ZenBusiness offers a free registered agent service for a full year with their LLC and incorporation services, which start at $39.
If you have an existing business, you can get their ala cart registered agent service for only $99 per year. You can also add their worry-free compliance package for the annual price of $149. That package includes annual filing reports and coverage for two-state filing changes.
ZenBusiness has received more than 4,700 reviews from satisfied customers. Founded in 2015, ZenBusiness is operated by a team of entrepreneurs with backgrounds in their customers’ same issues. The company has excellent customer reviews and one of the best overall standings.
2. Northwest Registered Agent – Best service with five-state discounts
- Company data protection
- Compliance calendar
- Limitless cloud storage
Since its founding in 1998, Northwest Registered Agent has consistently been well-rated for its customer service and real-time support.
If your business is yet formed, choose your type of entity (corporation, LLC, nonprofit), and Northwest will register your business, complete with free agent service for one year, all for $225 (plus state fee). If you plan to operate in at least five states, they offer discounts as low as $100 per state.
Whereas most competitors only scan select documents, such as legal summons, Northwest Registered Agent scans every document.
With Northwest, you’ll have an online account where you can retrieve documents at any time. Their website is optimized with tools for easy navigation.
3. Incfile – Best free agent services with incorporation filing plans
- FREE business formation service
- Learning Center with free info
- Secure, user-friendly website
Incfile offers free registered agent services for one year with their incorporation filing services. This is a money-saving perk if you’ve yet to file your LLC or corporation. They also offer superlow renewal rates. Your only other cost would be the state fee.
If you start your business online, Incfile can optimize the experience with add-on features, such as custom documents and contract templates. On their registered agent dashboard, you can access files and track developments.
Since 2004, Incfile has provided agent services and incorporation filing for more than 150,000 customers. Their Learning Center has helped entrepreneurs navigate the legal aspects of running a business.
4. Rocket Lawyer- Best free agent services with a legal plan
- Free services with select plans
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Business lawyer consultations
Rocket Lawyer is one of the most trusted registered agent providers. With their Accelerated Legal Services plan, you’ll get an entire year of free registered agent services. The plan starts at $49.95 per month.
You can also opt for Rocket Lawyer’s Premium Legal Services plan at $39.99 a month. This comes with free formation service and a 25% discount on registered agent service.
Since its start in 2008, Rocket Lawyer has offered its services to more than 800,000 small and large businesses. Most reviews have been positive.
5. LegalZoom- Best big-name registered agent service
- Wide-ranging business services
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Business data protection
LegalZoom is one of the most established names in the field of registered agent services. Their services include unlimited cloud storage and secure data protection.
Despite their relatively high fees, many of businesses choose LegalZoom because of their long track record and market recognition.
LegalZoom has serviced more than four million customers during the past two decades. They back their services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.
6. Harbor Compliance – Best dashboard-optimized registered agent
- Same-day scans, deliveries
- Free compliance guides
- Secure website, dashboard
Harbor Compliance offers agent services with prompt document scans, same-day deliveries, and free compliance guides. If you pay in advance for several years, they offer discounts. Harbor’s service features are laid out on their user-optimized dashboard.
Since 2012, Harbor has helped more than 10,000 customers. At $99 per year, their registered agent services are a good deal for newer businesses that strive for low overhead.
7. InCorp – Best discount registered agent services
- 33% off for five years
- Competitive pricing
- Secure virus-proof website
InCorp offers one of the most low-cost deals for online registered agent services. While their annual fee is $99, you can knock that down to $66 per year when you order five years of service in advance. Over that time, you’d save more than $160.
InCorp has been a leader in the registered agent services industry since 1998, serving more than 250,000 customers. In addition to registered agent services, they offer various additional services for businesses, such as incorporation filing and compliance services.
If you find lower prices elsewhere, InCorp will match them and cover any transfer fees. Their website is McAfee-secure and user-optimized.
8. BizFilings – Best foreign qualification registered agent services
- Discreet legal document handling
- Yearly report filing alerts
- Online compliance monitoring tool (BizComply)
BizFilings offers some of the most reliable agent services for multiple states apart from your home base. They give you six months of free registered agent service if you order their incorporation or foreign qualification packages.
For decades, BizFilings has helped businesses uphold their standing and meet the legal requirements of each state. Their nationwide service is run by attorneys who specialize in state and federal compliance. They monitor changes in state compliance laws to ensure that requirements and deadlines are always met, regardless of the state in question.
Why Should I Get a Registered Agent Service?
Business needs are variable, but if only one of the following reasons applies to your business, it would be wise to get a registered agent service.
1. To focus your time and energy on running your business
Compliance forms are typically lengthy and confusing. As a business owner, your primary focus should be on selling your product or service. A registered service agent will handle all the compliance laws that apply to your company, allowing you to spend more energy on your area of expertise.
2. Avoid non-compliance penalties
You probably didn’t go into business with any forehand expertise in state and federal compliance laws. A registered agent service will know the ins and outs of compliance law and how each policy applies to your jurisdiction. With an agent service on your side, you won’t be at risk of penalties because your business will be in full compliance.
3. Keep legal matters private
If a business is handed a Service of Process, it’s usually done in public by law enforcement officers. As a business owner, you wouldn’t want authorities walking in to hand you a lawsuit in front of your customers and employees. With a service agent, he or she will hand you any such legal papers in a promptly and privately manner.
4. You run a home-based business
If you run things from home, you wouldn’t want marketers flooding your mailbox. With a registered service agent, the address of that service will be available to the public in lieu of your physical address. Therefore, if marketers target your business, all their junk mail will go to the service headquarters, freeing you from the time-consuming hassle of needless mail-sorting.
5. You operate at odd hours
Depending on your lifestyle and type of business, you might favor an overnight work schedule. However, business documents are only delivered from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays. If you’re not available during this timeframe, you will need someone to receive these documents for you. Service agents work normal hours and field these documents, allowing you to operate at your chosen hours.
6. You are incorporating in another state
The law requires a registered agent with a physical address in the state where you incorporate your business. If you operate in California but plan to incorporate in Texas, you will need to have a Texas-based registered agent. Agent services allow you to meet these requirements, regardless of where you live.
7. You don’t operate from a fixed location
If you run a business that has you frequently on the move, a registered agent service could provide you with an address. Even if you have a headquarters but are always out of the office, the registered agent will be available to accept documents at their time of arrival. Either way, you won’t miss crucial documents when you’re out in the field.
8. You operate in multiple states
If your business handles transactions in one or more states beyond the original state of formation, the law requires a registered agent for each state in question. With a registered agent service, all of your out-of-state transactions will be handled by one company.
9. You rely on a PO box for business transactions
If you plan to start a business and handle all snail mail transactions from a PO box, you won’t be able to serve as your own registered agent. A registered agent service will provide the physical address required by law to operate as a business.
10. Your address could change once or multiple times
The law requires a current physical address for the registered agent of each business. Each time you move locations, you must refile with the state and pay a fee. With a registered agent service, the company will handle all these refilings on your behalf. As long as you notify the agent service, you won’t have to deal with the paperwork or fees.
Are all agent services the same?
Registered agent service providers differ in their scope, coverage, and quality of service. When you compare different providers’ pros and cons, choose a company with a proven track record of compliance fulfillment for companies large and small across the country. The company should be equipped to handle businesses in your field with a nationwide office network.
The job of registered agents is to handle legal compliance matters on behalf of business owners. The best registered agent service provider will offer the right service for your business. Do you plan to operate in multiple states? Do you also need an LLC formation package?
When you hire an agent for your business, they should handle things like articles of organization and annual reports. They should also alert you of any state fees. If applicable to your entity, you can sometimes get a full year of registered agent services free as part of certain LLC formation packages.
Another thing to consider about each registered agent provider is their reputation. Only consider those with the best customer feedback. Even if you find an affordable registered agent with lower rates than the competition, check how their online business services rank with other customers.
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