If you’re a new entrepreneur or you run a business entity that deals with a lot of mail and legal correspondence, you may have considered a registered agent service.
Registered agent services can help you with many facets of your business, from LLC formation packages to document scanning and service of process.
But is hiring a registered agent worth that extra cash?
Here we look at the best registered agent services online, comparing their price, popularity, formation services, customer feedback, and more.
Let’s get to it!
6 Best Registered Agent Services
- Best Overall – Incfile
- Cheapest Registered Agent Service – Zen Business
- Great for unlimited document scanning – Northwest Registered Agent
- Best for new businesses – INC Authority
- Good value for ongoing legal services – Rocket Lawyer
- Well known service, but very expensive – LegalZoom
1. Incfile – Best Registered Agent Service Overall
If you’re looking to form a new business and you want a top registered agent to look after your mail for a year after opening, you should look into Incfile. This top registered agent service is one of the best for forming an LLC, S Corp, C Corp, or any other kind of business entity thanks to its free formation packages.
Yep, free. Well, mostly.
You pay $0 plus the state fee, and you also get a year of free registered agent service thrown in too. Once it’s time to renew, you pay an affordable yearly fee of just $119. There are some add-ons and upsells thrown into this deal, so just bear in mind that you’ll probably be paying more than you think in the long term.
Should You Use Incfile?
You should use Incfile if you’re forming an LLC or any other entity in the US and you want to take advantage of a year of registered agent services included free of charge. They handle all the articles of organization for you, making the setup very easy.
2. Zen Business – Best Cheap Registered Agent Service
- $49 LLC formation package
- $99 per year registered agent package (existing businesses)
- $149 pro coverage with many add-ons
If you’re looking for packages that cost a little extra but guarantee good standing with the law, then Zen Business is a good option. Their $49 LLC and incorporation service comes with a year of registered agent services included for free. This is a great option for business newcomers in need of help.
However, the real meat of Zen Business is in its premium packages.
For $199 per year you get a year of registered agent services with worry-free compliance, making sure that your entity is compliant with all relevant tax regulations and state laws. For the pro $299 per year package, you get add-ons such as annual filing report alerts and coverage of costs to keep your business in good standing if anything goes awry.
Still, the company has only been operating since 2015, so it’s not got the longest track record.
Should You Use Zen Business?
You should use Zen Business if you’re an established business looking for advanced registered agent service providers with experience in legal services and online business services.
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3. Northwest Registered Agent – Most User-Friendly Registered Agent Service
- Not the cheapest registered agent
While their prices aren’t as affordable as some of their competitors, NorthWest Registered Agent makes up for it with its great customer support. If you read their customer reviews, the outstanding customer service is frequently lauded as one of their top qualities. The systems are also very easy to use, even for those with limited experience.
Customer support goes a long way!
Northwest Registered Agent scans every single document they recieve for you – not just the ones they’re legally required to. If you’re the sort of person who likes to have a detailed record of all your correspondence, then you’re in luck. The team uploads all of your scanned documents to the cloud with unlimited storage – that’s pretty darn convenient.
Should You Use Northwest Registered Agent Services?
Great customer service is frequently cited as one of the best reasons to hire Northwest Registered Agent, and it seems that all of these stellar customer reviews are indeed true. If you’ve got a business that has a presence in 5 or more US states, you can also take advantage of their brilliant $100 per year discount!
4. INC Authority – Best for New Business Owners
INC Authority is one of the best registered agent services for new businesses, with their free LLC formation service package aiming to win your trust and get you to become a regular customer for years to come. As you probably guessed, “free” isn’t exactly how it pans out. You have to pay the regular state fees, plus there are plenty of upsells and add-ons too.
Nonetheless, INC Authority is partnered with Bank Of America and has been operating since 1989, giving them over 30 years of experience in the industry. In addition to the great customer support and customer service, you get free name checks in the state(s) of your choice, as well as free registered agent services for a year with their LLC formation plan.
Should You Use INC Authority?
You should use INC Authority if you’re forming your LLC and you want a full year of registered agent services included for free. They’ll handle all the articles of organization for you when establishing your business… just prepare for upsells and add-ons down the road.
5. Rocket Lawyer – Best Registered Agent for Ongoing Legal Services
- $149.99 annually
- Backed by Google Ventures
- $39.99 per month legal services plan
- No registered agent service for free with formation
Rocket Lawyer offers a wide spectrum of legal services, most notably their $39.99 per month plan which covers various complex services for your company while also giving you a 25% discount on a Rocket Lawyer registered agent service. They do a lot more than just simple RA service, though.
These guys promise a satisfaction guarantee, serving over 20 million customers since forming in 2008. Backed by Google Ventures, the high customer volume of Rocket Lawyer speaks for itself. However, if you’re just looking for a professional registered agent and don’t need all the extras, then you might want to choose a cheaper competitor.
Should You Use Rocket Lawyer?
You should use Rocket Lawyer if you require ongoing legal services and don’t mind paying the $39.99 monthly fee. If you just want a professional registered agent service and nothing more, then there are cheaper services available like Incfile.
6. Legalzoom – Most Popular Registered Agents Service
- Over 4 million customers
- $299 per year for registered agent service
- 60 days to request a refund for any reason
Not to be confused with the video-calling app we’ve all got used to in 2020, LegalZoom is a legal service that provides you with a professional registered agent for the fairly high price of $299 per year. They have business formation packages too, but you don’t get a LegalZoom registered agent as part of the package unless you pay extra.
So yeah, you’ll be shelling out the big bucks for this one.
However, the LegalZoom registered agent service comes with perks such as business data protection, unlimited cloud storage, and a compliance calendar, so you can really keep on top of your mail. There’s even a 100% satisfaction guarantee that allows you to request a refund within 60 days for basically any reason, so that’s a nice plus too.
Should You Use LegalZoom?
If you want to work with a registered agent service provider that has 4 million customers and nearly 20 years of experience, try LegalZoom. If you like having money, look elsewhere.
Best Registered Agent Service FAQ
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent (often called a “registered agent service”) is a person or team that receives important mail and documents on behalf of your business. This is handy if you run an online business or if you have limited office space, for example.
Important mail could cover things such as:
- Official federal & state correspondence
- Tax notices
- Lawsuit documents
- Wage garnishment notices
- Legal notices
- and more
Registered agents must have a physical office in the state that your company is registered in. If your business is registered in 20 different US states, you would need a dedicated registered agent for each of the 20 states.
Many registered agent services have offices in multiple states for this reason.
Registered agent services must also be open during regular business hours in their location, though the best ones might stay open beyond the office hours that they’re legally required to stay open for.
Why Should You Use a Registered Agent Service?
Your Home Address Stays Private
If you use your home address as your business mailing address, it will be posted online as part of the public records in your state. This means that anyone on the internet can go online and look up your home address by searching for your business.
Obviously, there are privacy and safety concerns here.
By using the best registered agent service for your LLC or corporation, you get to keep your private residence address away from public records and prying eyes on the web.
Your Online Business Will Get a Physical Mailing Address
If you run a strictly online business, you would have to put your home address as your physical mailing address. Privacy concerns aside, it simply looks more prestigious for your business to have a separate mailing address than your home.
It looks better for clients to send mail to registered agent services rather than simply your house.
Peace of Mind
Put simply, registered agents take some of the responsibility off your shoulders when it comes to running your LLC or corporation. If there’s anything important such as tax notices, lawsuits or compliance deadlines, you’ll be notified by your registered agent service in advance.
Never miss anything important!
You Can Operate in Multiple States
If you want to run your business in more than one US state, you need a physical mailing address in each state so as to comply with local laws.
You can hire a registered agent service provider for each state you operate in, making it easier to expand and grow your business.
The Price Is Very Competitive
Registered agent services like Incfile and ZenBusiness are very competitively priced.
If you’re forming a business from scratch, then hiring an Incfile registered agent will cost you $0 plus state fees, while hiring a ZenBusiness registered agent will cost just $49 if you’re forming your LLC.
With such cheap prices, it’s easy to see why people hire registered agent services to help.
You Can Form Your Business With Many Registered Agent Services
As you’ve probably seen, many registered agent services come with packages that allow you to form an LLC or corporation from scratch.
If you’re just starting a new company and you need help to get things up and running, registered agent services can help to get the ball rolling and take care of initial legal hiccups while you stay busy laying the groundwork for your new company.
They Keep Regular Business Hours
Many people start their own business because they’re a night owl that likes to work unsociable hours or because they simply want more flexibility with their schedule.
No matter what hours you work personally, registered agent services keep to regular office hours, so someone is always on hand to receive important mail no matter what you’re doing personally.
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Is a Registered Agent Service Worth It?
It all depends on you and the type of business you’re running. If you don’t like to handle too much of the legal stuff, tax notices, and paperwork that comes through your business, then hiring a registered agent makes sense for you.
Lots of new business owners and entrepreneurs with little experience use a “free registered agent” service to help them set up their company and then take care of basic compliance issues for cheap.
However, if you’ve got a simple operation or you’re just more experienced with the ins and outs of running a business, you might prefer to keep your mail in-house or handle it personally in order to save money.
How Do I Choose a Registered Agent?
When choosing the best registered agent service for your needs, you first need to consider price. A lot of services claim to be “free”, but they will charge state fees and upsell you with add-ons. Consider the realistic price you’re willing to pay annually within your budget constraints.
After price, you need to take the following factors into consideration:
- Customer feedback & reviews
- Track record & industry experience
- Formation services (if you need them)
- Customer service
- Legal services (if you need them)
- Add-ons like document scanning, cloud storage, annual reports
- Which state(s) they operate in (if you’re looking to expand)
With this information in mind, it should be relatively easy to figure out which registered agent to use, whether it’s your first year or whether you’ve been operating for decades.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?
Yes, you can usually be your own registered agent.
It varies from state to state, but you can usually select you or your business itself as a registered agent. In other words, you can often have mail sent to either your home address or your business address (if there is one) without needing a registered agent at all.
Check your local state laws to find out.
Many business owners choose to avoid registered agent services in the early days of their business, but features such as compliance calendars and an annual report can be very helpful if you’re inexperienced.
Top Registered Agent Services: The Main Takeaway
If you’re looking for the best registered agent service, I would have to recommend IncFile above all else.
Incfile’s formation package comes with one year of registered agent services for free, costing $0 plus state fees and occasional add-ons. If you just want their registered agent services, they charge a reasonable fee of $119 for one year.
When it comes to registered agent services, ZenBusiness is also a worthy recommendation thanks to its extensive packages that offer worry-free compliance coverage to already-established businesses whose owners just want peace of mind.
Whichever registered agent service you choose, we hope you find the right fit for your needs. Good luck!
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