Registered agent services can cost anywhere from $99 per year to $300 per year or more. It’s possible to get a registered agent for less, but the low cost is usually due to an introductory rate that will go up after a year or as part of a service bundle that includes things like LLC formation.
Costs of Registered Agent Services
You can expect to pay between $99 and $300 per year for registered agent service.
A registered agent service ensures that someone is always available during normal business hours to receive legal documents and state documents at a physical address. It’s a fairly basic service, but the costs can vary quite a bit depending on which company you choose.
Some services offer more than just receiving and forwarding your mail. Same-day scanning and emailing, other business mail forwarding, online dashboards to review your documents – there are a variety of features that such services can include. Generally, the more full-featured the service, the greater the cost.
Recommended Registered Agent ServiceNorthwest Registered Agent is a top-rated premium LLC formation service with great customer support and a commitment to data privacy.
NorthWest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees)
Acting as Your Own Registered Agent
One of the first things many small business owners think of when they see the cost of a registered agent service is, “Maybe I can just do it myself.” It’s a reasonable assumption, and it’s not wrong. You can act as your own registered agent and save $100 per year or more.
There is a pretty big catch to this money-saving arrangement, though. Are you ready to be available during normal business hours, all week, every week, to receive documents in person? And if you are, do you think that is the best use of your time as a business owner?
The truth is, most entrepreneurs have plenty to do already when starting and growing their businesses. It’s usually worth a little money upfront to have someone else serve as the registered agent. There is the added benefit that a professional service will make sure you don’t miss any important state or legal documents and will keep them organized and accessible on your behalf.
Read our Can I Be My Own Registered Agent guide to learn why it’s advisable not to act as your own registered agent.
Appointing an Individual as a Registered Agent
Anyone can serve as a registered agent as long as they have a physical address in the state and are available during normal business hours. That means that even if you don’t want to commit to being your own registered agent, you can assign the job to someone else like a friend, family member, or business associate.
If you can find someone to do the job for less than $99 per year, you could save some money and still have a registered agent as required by state law. However, it is important to ask yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Even if you trust the individual completely, can you rely on them to keep your state and legal documents organized and available at all times? Will they always be available to receive documents as needed – or will they sometimes be sick, late, or otherwise indisposed?
Upon closer examination, appointing an individual as your registered agent is unlikely to save you much money and can introduce the additional risk of missing documents or late documents.
Using a Registered Agent Service
A registered agent service offers the best balance of cost, convenience, and reliability. Because these are large, national services, there will always be someone there to receive your business documents. Granted, there is a yearly fee, but you get a lot for that fee.
Tip:We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers a year of its registered agent service for free when you use the company to form your LLC ($39 + state fees).
Some of the main benefits of using a registered agent service include:
- Privacy. If you work out of your home, serving as your own registered agent puts your address on the public record for solicitations. If you work out of an office and you are sued, you could be served at the office. But if you use a registered agent service, everything will go to the address of the agent.
- Legal compliance. A registered agent service ensures that you meet the legal requirements for having a registered agent in every state you do business. It also guarantees that you get your most important state and legal communications as quickly as possible.
- Flexibility. Using a service frees you to set your own work schedule, take vacations, and otherwise live your life as you wish.
- Peace of mind. You know that all state and legal mail will be received the day it arrives, scanned, and uploaded for you to access right away.
Recommended Registered Agent Service
We have looked carefully at the majority of registered agent services out there. After weighing the pros and cons, we have determined that Northwest Registered Agent is the ideal choice for most small business owners.
Best Registered Agent Service of 2022 – Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest offers all the features you want from a registered agent service for a reasonable price. Some of the things we like the most about Northwest include:
- Locally-scanned documents. The company states that it is the only national registered agent service that locally scans every document you receive.
- Corporate guides. You can call and speak to a local expert on state bureaucracy for business guidance.
- Privacy by default. Northwest never sells your data, and you don’t have to opt-out to keep your data private.
- Free limited mail forwarding. Most services only scan state and legal documents. Northwest will also scan up to five other pieces of business mail per year.
- Annual report compliance. You get notifications each year that it’s time to file your annual report, and Northwest will even file it for you.
Recommended Registered Agent ServiceNorthwest Registered Agent offers its registered agent service for one year when you form your LLC ($39 + state fees) with them.
NorthWest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is an individual or business service that accepts legal and state documents on behalf of a business. The agent must be available in person Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to receive documents. They must also have a physical address in the state where the business is operating.
Can I be my own registered agent?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent. However, keep in mind that as your own registered agent you must meet the above criteria. Serving as your own registered agent can make it difficult to have a flexible schedule, take vacations, and use your time as you would prefer.
Should I pay for a registered agent?
We think paying for a registered agent service is a good investment. The money you pay is not much compared to the benefits you get. As we mentioned above, paying for a registered agent gives you privacy, legal compliance, flexibility, and peace of mind. It allows you to focus on running your business — not waiting around for documents.
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated on June 2022.
Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. StateRequirement and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. StateRequirement is not affiliated with any state, government, or licensing body. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.
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