Registered Agent: What Is It & How To Get One

Blake is an award-winning adviser, writer, and speaker. As a adviser, he helped over 700 game owners start and grow their clientele. His expertness is featured across Fit Small Business in starting a business content. A register agentive role ( RA ) is a clientele ’ s official contact to receive authoritative documents—a summons, subpoena, or registration refilling. While every department of state requires a business to have a register agent, regulations may differ. several states allow the occupation to be its own RA, and others don ’ thyroxine. If you ’ d like to hire a ship’s company to serve as your register agent, it will cost around $ 100 to $ 300 per year .
What is a Registered Agent

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

A registered agent has a couple of primary responsibilities. One responsibility is to serve as the official contact to receive legal documents. If your occupation gets sued, the lawsuit won ’ t begin until the summons is formally delivered in-person. Because of the in-person requirement, the department of state requires all businesses to have a contact available Monday through Friday from 9 ante meridiem to 5 p.m .
If your Secretary of State ’ second function is unable to find person at your location, you may face consequences—such as loss of occupation adjustment or a all right.

The other province for the cross-file agent is to be your touch for state of matter agreement such as commercial enterprise registration reclamation. All states require LLCs and corporations to renew and pay a tip every year to be registered in that express. The state will reach out to you when it ’ second clock time to renew .
Suppose your mail gets misplaced and you don ’ t re-register until after your renewal date. In that case, you will owe a fine or, if you wait excessively long, lose your legal entity condition with the state .

Tip: only LLCs and corporations need a register agent. If your business is a sole proprietorship ( or you ’ ve registered a DBA tied to a sole owner ), you don ’ t need an RA. As a sole owner, there is full transparency to the state that you are the owner .
It ’ s besides authoritative to note that depending on the state you ’ ra doing business in, a register agent may go by a different identify. other names include :

  • Statutory agent
  • Resident agent
  • Agent for service of process

It ’ mho always best to check with your state ’ mho official business registration web site to get your record agent ’ s specific requirements. For exercise, Virginia requires the RA to be an lawyer, a member of the business entity ’ mho management, or a accredited business in the state—it can not be the occupation itself or a family penis not in the clientele .

Should You Be Your Own Registered Agent?

You may be considering making yourself your own register agent. Doing this would save you at least $ 100 a year. If allowed in your express, the requirements to be a register agent are reasonably straightforward :

  • Resident individual: You must be a resident of the state where your business entity is registered or incorporated in.
  • Physical address: You must have a physical address within your state of incorporation. A P.O. Box does not qualify as an in-state address. Some states require you to designate a “Registered Office” in addition to naming a registered agent.
  • Normal business hours: You or someone in your company must be available to accept mail and other documents on your behalf during “normal” business hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

however, even if you meet the above qualifications to be your own RA, there are several downsides of being your own registered agent :

  • Receive junk mail: Many companies send promotional offers to your public-facing registered agent address. If you work from your home, you may not want this mail to be delivered to your home.
  • Served legal documents at your office: If you have customers or employees in your office, you may not want to be served a legal notice in front of them.
  • Complicated if doing business in several states: If you do business in several states, managing forms and submissions for every Secretary of State can be involved.
  • Need to be in the office: Being your own RA means you need to be in your office (or home) during normal business hours.
  • May miss correspondence: If you receive a business renewal notice or tax notice and you miss the communication, you may face consequences such as a fine.

If the downsides above make you think doubly about being your own RA, you may be concern in hiring a caller to be your register agent, which is called a cross-file agent avail .

What Does a Registered Agent Service Do?

A registered agent service is a company that serves as your reach with the Secretary of State. They will receive your legal, tax, and state notification-related mail and forward it to you electronically. The RA service will besides accept your trash mail and throw it away for you. typically, a register agent servicing will cost anywhere from $ 99 to $ 350 per year .
Benefits a register agent service may provide include :

  • Physical office: Some legal documents are required to be delivered to a physical address and cannot be sent to a P.O. Box.
  • Mail forwarding: A registered agent can ensure that critical mail is delivered even when you change locations.
  • Privacy protection: Registered agents ensure that information, such as your home address, is protected and reduces the risk of potentially embarrassing situations like being served a summons while you are in front of potential clients or neighbors.
  • Compliance monitoring: Registered agents help to ensure that you file documents within legal deadlines and requirements.
  • Document organization: A registered agent can also help you keep track of your filings and help you stay organized.

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Pros & Cons of Hiring a Registered Agent

Pros of a Registered Agent Service

The pros of hiring a record agent serve include :

  • Reliable: Hiring a third-party registered agent service means your business will always receive essential documents in a timely fashion.
  • Private: RA services are a great option if you work from home or have other reasons for not making your contact information public. Having a registered agent to receive service of legal process documents can also eliminate the risk of embarrassing interactions, like getting served a summons in front of potential clients.
  • Flexible: A registered agent service can allow you to operate a business in a state where you do not have a physical address during normal business hours. This flexibility is helpful for businesses that are primarily online or that travel around, like a food truck.

Cons of Registered Agent Services

The cons of hiring a register agent service include :

  • Expensive: Hiring a registered agent service costs more than doing it yourself or having a friend or family member serve as your agent.
  • Requires additional paperwork: Using a statutory agent service requires you to sign up and pay for a service.

Where to Find a Registered Agent Service

There are dozens of companies available that will serve as your read agent. One of the factors to keep in take care when selecting an RA is fees. You may find companies that are release or low-cost. however, before signing up for a cheap RA servicing, make sure you know if they charge fees for services like document forward or sophomore refilling .
hera are a few of our recommended registered agent companies that are reliable with an low-cost price :

Northwest Registered Agent

northwesterly Registered Agent chiefly offers RA-based services. It specializes in making sure your business data is private and guarantee. If they can put their address on a form or submit a simple text file on your behalf, they will. For its register agent services, Northwest costs $ 125 per class .


If you ’ re looking to register your clientele as a legal entity in addition to getting an RA service, IncFile is your best batch. It provides a free business registration ( LLC or pot ) and a free first class of register agentive role services. After your foremost year, IncFile ’ randomness RA services are $ 119 per year .

Rocket Lawyer

What makes Rocket Lawyer unique is its monthly membership for ongoing legal services. If you have multiple legal steps to take to start your business, such as customizing legal documents or answering specific legal questions, consider using Rocket Lawyer as your RA. The standard price for a register agentive role with Rocket Lawyer is $ 149 per year. however, if you sign up for its $ 39.99 per calendar month legal services, you ’ ll save 25 % per year on your RA .

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About a Registered Agent

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

Registered agent requirements vary by state, but it by and large must be a person 18 years or older with a physical address in the LLC filing state. Your RA must be available at that address during normal business hours. You can hire a file agent servicing or identify a acquaintance or family penis who meets the requirements .

Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?

If you ’ re starting your business on a budget, you may be tempted to assign yourself the function of registered agent for your clientele. Before you do this make indisputable that you or person in your company will be available in the position during normal commercial enterprise hours. besides remember that except for a few states, you may not name your LLC as its own registered agentive role .

Can the Organizer of an LLC be the Registered Agent?

The organizer of an LLC can be the RA if they have a physical address within the state, and person can accept mail at that address during normal clientele hours. We recommend hiring a register agent service to prevent miss mail, inconsistent business hours, or other issues that might result in a fail delivery.

Can a UPS Store Be a Registered Agent?

A UPS memory can not be a file agent. register agents must have a physical address in the state where your business is organized .
additionally, person must be available to accept mail during unconstipated occupation hours. Because of these requirements, a P.O. Box or rented box at a UPS storehouse international relations and security network ’ t an acceptable register agent .

Bottom Line

You likely can serve as your own file agentive role if you feel convinced that chain mail won ’ metric ton get misplaced, and you ’ re available in an office during normal occupation hours. If you ’ re frequently traveling, don ’ thyroxine want junk mail, or are doing clientele in several states, consider using a registered agent service. The $ 100 to $ 300 fee per year for an RA service will provide you with peace of mind and keep you on lead of crucial legal and state matters .

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