Starting a business can be such an exciting time, but the registration process to create your LLC or Corporation can be overwhelming. The Legal Paige is here to help make this process smoother and easier for you! Oftentimes, when you register for your new business with your state it’s best to have a designated ‘registered agent’ with a physical address to receive business documents on behalf of your business. Choosing the rightperson or company to be your registered agent is extremely important.
A registered agent is a designated person or company that will receive all business mail from the state, accepts service of process, and receives tax notices. For instance, if a client files a lawsuit against your business the documents will be served on the listed registered agent of your company. Additionally, all mail including business information, and filing deadlines, from the state will be sent to your company's registered agent.
When choosing your registered agent you need to follow these two rules: 1) Someone at least 18 years of age; and 2) someone who has a physical address in your state. These rules are pretty broad so you have a lot of options.
A Designated Individual Can Be Your Registered Agent
The first option is that YOU can serve as the registered agent of your company, as can another officer or someone higher up in your company. If you are wanting to designate an individual as a registered agent it is best to designate yourself, a co-owner of the business, or someone who is obligated to have fiduciary duties towards the company. In most instances for solo entrepreneurs, this is best if its you. Its not ideal to appoint, say, an employee as the company’s registered agent because you wouldn't want an employee to see or receive important business documents that could contain sensitive information, and if the employee ever quit you would have to change the registered agent with the state which could cost you money. In sum, if you designate an individual as a registered agent you will want to choose someone you trust.
A Registered Agent Service Can be Your Registered Agent
Another option is for you to hire a registered agent service company to be your registered agent. A registered agent service company's sole purpose is to be your agent so that you don't have to worry about being flooded with mail while also protecting your privacy. A registered agent service company receives any legal or state documents on behalf of your company and then forwards you these documents either by mail or by email. These agencies provide some privacy for you since your business address will not be listed on your secretary of state’s website and allow your company to have more of a secure place to receive sensitive documents. This is a huge benefit to many solo entrepreneurs who exclusively work from home and don’t want their home address to be listed publicly.
When considering how to choose a registered agent service company you want to consider what you are getting for your money.
There are three main things you should be considering:
- Immediate document delivery
- Compliance notifications
- National representation
This means that your registered agent service company should scan and send documents to you thesame day they receive them. Additionally, your registered agent service company should be tracking when your LLC or Corporation renewal fees are due for your business and alerting you to those fees. Finally, having a registered agent service company with a national presence will help you when you decide to expand your business to another state or when you move because you won’t have to find a different company to be your registered agent. Most companies charge anywhere from $125 for a year of service up to $200.
Suggestions on Registered Agents
We have heard from a few of you that you use the company Northwest Registered Agent for this and have had good experiences. Additionally, these companies have been highly rated by Forbes: Zen Business, Better Business, and Harbor Compliance. Let us know if any of these companies or others have worked for you!
Picking your registered agent is an important task when forming your business.Keep in mind what you want out of your registered agent including privacy, less mail, security, filing reminders, etc. when choosing your registered agent. To learn how to set up your LLC yourself, check out our simple and effortless DIY LLC Registration Guides HERE!
THIS BLOG POST IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT & IS FACT-SPECIFIC. A proper legal analysis is necessary based on your location and contract. Consult an attorney in your home state for advice regarding your contract or specific legal situation.