February 15, 2024

Best Registered Agent Services

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Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent due to its overall service, followed by ZenBusiness and Incfile. Read on for the full list.

Who are the best registered agents in the US?
The 9 largest and best registered agent services are:
  1. Northwest Registered Agent for best overall
  2. ZenBusiness for extra business services
  3. Bizee (formerly Incfile) for automatic mail forwarding
  4. Rocket Lawyer for low-cost legal advice
  5. LegalZoom for identity theft protection
  6. Swyft Filings for hands-on support
  7. Harbor Compliance for highly-regulated industries
  8. SunDoc Filings for fast document delivery
  9. Inc Authority for best value

Being your own registered agent poses its challenges and risks. You may not always be working at an office, or you don't want your address to become part of public information.

That's where the best registered agent services come in. You'll find them reliable in receiving your documents and notify you of such deliveries right away.

While some options focus on dealing with your mail, others offer extra services like LLC formation. The options on this list should be able to help you with your specific needs.

Have you ever switched registered agent services, and if so, why?

9 Best Registered Agent Services

Registered agent services differ in the extra services they offer, ease of use of their online platforms, and state locations served.

That said, it's hard to go wrong with the best of the best. Read on.

Do you need a registered agent to create an LLC in your state?
Yes, a registered agent is required when starting an LLC in your state. You'll have to list your registered agent in your formation documents before filing them. Otherwise, the state will reject your application.

Northwest Registered Agent: Best Overall

Northwest Registered Agent is an established provider with 20+ years of experience. Its main selling point is that it uses its company address on all public forms, so yours stays private.

Northwest Registered Agent also don't sell your data to third parties. It even limits who can access your info within the company.

Why we like Northwest Registered Agent:
Aside from the data privacy protection you get, Northwest also has nationwide coverage, with local offices in every state. The company directs your important legal documents to the nearest branch so you can get them as soon as possible.

Your documents are scanned and uploaded on the same day, which is beneficial for time-sensitive documents. They even call you if you don't read their email within 3 days[1] to make sure you don't miss anything important.

A registered agent-only service costs $125/yr. But if you also need LLC formation services, it will cost you $225 + state fees.[2]

You can get a discount with Northwest Registered Agent if you hire them as a registered agent in 5 states or more. Instead of $125/yr for each state, you only have to pay $100/yr per state.[3]

Downsides:
While Northwest is great for LLC formation and registered agent services, their range of other services is somewhat limited.

If you have any questions or concerns, Northwest has 200+ Corporate Guides ® who can help you out. They're all US-based, so someone is always available to respond when you reach out to the team.

Unlike Northwest, however, ZenBusiness offers other services besides registered agent services and LLC formation.

ZenBusiness: For Extra Business Services

ZenBusiness offers an easy-to-use platform for its registered agent services. You'll also get notified immediately if the company receives important legal mail directed to your business.

ZenBusiness will scan and upload the documents to your dashboard as soon as possible. Just make sure you're content with digital copies—but more on that later.

Why we like ZenBusiness:
Aside from registered agent services, you can also get LLC formation services and business banking assistance with ZenBusiness.

For example, you can get help with your LLC compliance requirements through the Worry-free Compliance services. This includes filling out and filing your annual report. You can also have 2 annual amendment filings at no extra cost.

The registered agent service will cost you $199/yr, while a bundle with Worry-free Compliance will cost you $398/yr.[4]

ZenBusiness is a public benefit corporation. This means giving back to the community is company policy. For example, the company helps new and aspiring entrepreneurs navigate their businesses through the extensive online resource library it offers.

Downsides:
ZenBusiness' registered agent service is on the pricier side. It might not be worth it for business owners on a budget.

Not to mention, ZenBusiness only receives and scans legal mail. It doesn't forward physical copies and will destroy the mail 60 days after upload.[5]

How much does a registered agent service cost?
The average cost of registered agent services is $99 to $300 per year. Some companies offer free registered agent services with their LLC formation.

If it's a must-have for you to get your physical copies, then go for Bizee instead.

Bizee (Formerly Incfile): For Automatic Mail Forwarding

Bizee (formerly Incfile) is well-known for its low-cost LLC formation packages that include a free year of registered agent services. That way, you don't have to pay extra to enjoy both.[6]

Bizee will automatically forward any legal mail they receive on your behalf after scanning and uploading them to your account. You'll get notified immediately of deliveries through email or SMS.

Why we like Bizee:
You'll know right away if someone sends your business important legal documents, especially time-sensitive ones.

Just like ZenBusiness, Bizee also offers a good selection of other business services if you need them.

A registered agent-only service costs $119/yr. But the LLC formation service with free registered agent service may give more bang for your buck. With the cheapest plan, Silver, you only have to pay for the state fees.[7]

Downsides:
One major drawback with Bizee is its slow customer service response. The support team is quicker to respond by phone, but you can only contact them from 9 AM to 6 PM CST.

If excellent customer service is your main priority, then this next option would be better.

Rocket Lawyer: For Low-Cost Legal Advice

Rocket Lawyer offers low-cost legal services to individuals and businesses. It's a great option if you need long-term legal advice for your business but don't want to spend a fortune on a lawyer.

And because they're licensed attorneys, they can better help you with complex LLC compliance requirements when you hire them as your registered agent.

Why we like Rocket Lawyer:
Rocket Lawyer offers long-term savings when you sign up for a membership. As a member, you get 25% off registered agent services and 40% off when you hire one of their lawyers.[8]

The registered agent-only service costs $149.99/yr,[9] while the membership plan costs $39.99/mo or $239.99/yr.[8]

In addition, Rocket Lawyer provides an extensive library of customizable legal forms you can use for your business operations.

Plus, Rocket Lawyer has excellent customer service. They have a 4.7 Trustpilot rating[10] and an A+ rating from the BBB.[11]

Downsides:
Unfortunately, you can only access the perks, like discounts, if you sign up for a membership. But the plan might not be worth it if you can't maximize it.

LegalZoom: For Identity Theft Protection

LegalZoom offers low-cost legal services to its customers, similar to Rocket Lawyer. You get a good selection of business services like LLC formation and registered agents as well.

LegalZoom will receive, scan, and upload all your legal documents into your account. Thanks to its unlimited cloud storage, you won't lose these important documents and can access them at any time.

Why we like LegalZoom:
Besides unlimited storage, LegalZoom helps you prevent identity theft through its Business Data Protection feature.

The company will monitor the data you want protected, like business credit or debit card numbers, personal phone numbers, email addresses, etc.

You'll get notified of any suspicious activity. And if your data is compromised in any way, you'll be compensated for the trouble, thanks to the $1M identity theft insurance coverage.[12]

LegalZoom's registered agent service costs $249 per year.[13] If you're switching from another provider, LegalZoom will handle everything for you, which includes shouldering associated fees.

Downsides:
LegalZoom's main drawback is its price. $249/yr is not cheap. You also have to pay for it separately from the LLC packages, unlike with Bizee.

Given that these services can get expensive, Swyft Filing's guarantee may give you more confidence in subscribing to a plan.

Swyft Filings: For Hands-On Support

Swyft Filings is one of the newer registered agent providers in the industry. But it has quickly gained popularity due to its fast and reliable customer service.

Many customers have praised Swyft Filing's professionalism and helpfulness when it comes to handling their concerns.

Why we like Swyft Filings:
You'll get notified right away whenever Swyft Filings receives crucial legal documents for your business. Swyft Filings also filters the documents for any junk mail, so you can focus on looking at important documents only.

You'll even get alerted of upcoming compliance deadlines so your business can avoid hefty penalty fees. If you opt for their annual report filing service, the company will handle the filing as well.

The company offers registered agent services in all 50 states. This makes it easier to scale your business in case you plan to expand in different states.

Not satisfied with the service? Swyft Filings offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. You can request a full refund within 60 days if you find that its services don't work for you.[14]

Downsides:
Just like LegalZoom, Swyft Filings' major downside is its price. The company charges $199 per year.[15] This is unlike other registered agent services on this list that charge lower for this service.

If this is a problem, you can look into Harbor Compliance instead. The discounts it offers may help with your budget.

Harbor Compliance: For Highly-regulated Industries

If your business is in a highly regulated industry, Harbor Compliance may be the best registered agent service for you. The company specializes in providing compliance solutions to businesses of all sizes and industries.

And as your registered agent, Harbor Compliance will scan and upload all legal documents it receives as soon as it receives them. You can immediately access these documents from your dashboard.

Why we like Harbor Compliance:
You get access to an award-winning entity management software with Harbor Compliance. This lets you monitor all your LLC's compliance due dates.

You get to keep track of renewal deadlines for business permits and licenses, for example. This is critical for highly regulated industries or for those with strict restrictions.

Harbor Compliance will also send reminders before your deadlines. This way, you don't have to monitor everything yourself.

Harbor Compliance costs $89-$99/yr. But you can save 5% to 10% off its registered agent services if you subscribe for 2 years or more.[16]

Downsides:
There are no refunds if you cancel the service. So before you sign up for 2 or more years, make sure it's the right fit for your business.

SunDoc Filings: For Fast Document Delivery

SunDoc Filings is a California-based LLC filing company that also offers other types of services, like registered agent services. Although they're based in California, their services are available in all 50 states.

SunDoc Filings scans and uploads all legal documents the same day they are received. They'll send the originals using FedEx's Second Day Service, which guarantees delivery within 2 working days.

Why we like SunDoc Filings:
The company's a good option if you expect a lot of time-sensitive documents. Electronic copies of your documents are also available 24/7 through your dashboard.

And if you encounter any issues, you can rely on the company's responsive support team to help you out.

Keep in mind that same-day processing is only applicable for documents that arrive by 2 PM PST.

Downsides:
SunDoc's registered agent services cost $159/yr.[17] This might be too costly for business owners with a limited budget.

This price also doesn't include LLC formation packages—unlike Inc Authority, this next option.

Inc Authority: Best Value

Inc Authority offers free LLC formation services and includes a lot of useful freebies. For example, you can get a full year of registered agent services (yes, for free) and an Employer Identification Number (EIN).[18]

Why we like Inc Authority:
Inc Authority has a user-friendly online platform. It's easy to access all your information and documents when you need to.

Like Swyft Filings, Inc Authority also offers great customer service. And thanks to their years of experience, they know the ins and outs of each state's compliance requirements.

Downsides:
The major drawback with Inc Authority is that the company isn't clear about how much it costs to renew the registered agent service. They're also not clear about how they process documents.

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a person or company that receives legal mail and processes these documents on behalf of a business.

Registered agents are also responsible for notifying and forwarding these documents to whoever's in charge of them in your business.

You have several options when it comes to who can be your registered agent. You can appoint yourself or someone you trust as your registered agent. However, hiring a professional registered agent service is usually the best and most convenient option.

Can I be my own registered agent?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent. But it's not advisable. It will limit your schedule's flexibility because you have to stay at the office the entire day. You also risk your privacy because your information will become publicly available.

Is a Registered Agent Service Worth It?

Hiring a registered agent service can be worth it. It helps your business stay compliant without sacrificing your own time, flexibility, and freedom.

Registered agents stay available during regular business hours to receive any legal documents meant for your company. No need to worry about missing important mail while you're out and about.

Aside from this convenience, here are the other benefits of hiring a registered agent service:

  • Protects your privacy
    It's especially helpful if you run a home-based business. You won't have to list your home address and have it part of the public record for receiving legal documents.

  • Has nationwide coverage
    Most registered agent services work in all 50 states. This means you can work with one company even if you have LLCs in several states.

    Pro Tip for New York LLCs: A registered agent service can lower your publication costs if they're in a less expensive neighborhood. You can run your newspaper announcement in their area instead of yours.

  • Preserves your business credibility
    Because documents are delivered to your registered agent service instead of your business address, customers or investors won't see you getting served if someone sues you.

How to Choose a Registered Agent Service

You need to work with a registered agent service you can trust to ensure your business is always compliant.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Supported locations
    If you have several LLCs or corporations, it's best to hire a registered agent service that covers all 50 states.

    Some companies even offer discounts when you hire them for more than one business entity.

    What is a local registered agent?
    A local registered agent is just a registered agent located in the state where your LLC or corporation is.

  • Value for money
    Unlike LLC formation, registered agent services are recurring costs that are usually charged annually.

    Make sure you consider each feature the company offers — if they are worth the price and if you can maximize them.

  • Experience and expertise
    Make sure you go for a registered agent service who's familiar with all the compliance requirements in your state.

    They should be updated on the latest changes in legislation and regulations.

  • Security
    Registered agents will handle sensitive legal documents for your business. So, you'll want to choose a provider that can guarantee their confidentiality.

    Go for a registered agent service with a secure online platform. Or someone who can forward the original copies to you after scanning and uploading them.

  • Customer support
    Look for a provider who can handle your concerns quickly and professionally. This way, you don't end up with penalties or business interruptions.

What is your top priority when choosing a registered agent service?

Methodology

To find the best registered agent service, we compared different companies and evaluated them based on the following criteria:

  • Reliability
  • Affordability
  • Processing time
  • Customer support

All companies listed here have solid reputations in the industry, with mostly positive reviews from their customers. And they offer a good balance between price and features, so they're still accessible to businesses with limited budgets.

We also chose them because of how well they handle customer concerns and how quickly they can process documents.

Bottom Line

For data privacy, excellent customer support, and quick document processing, Northwest Registered Agent is unmatched.

However, if you want a wider range of other services, ZenBusiness is better. But Bizee is your best bet for automatic mail forwarding.

Still, you can't go wrong with any of the services listed in this article. Just make sure you research each one thoroughly to ensure they're the right fit for your business.

References

  1. ^ Northwest Registered Agent. Service of Process 101, Retrieved 12/08/2023
  2. ^ Northwest Registered Agent. How much does it cost to start an LLC?, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  3. ^ Northwest Registered Agent. National Registered Agent, Retrieved 11/11/2023
  4. ^ ZenBusiness. Products & Pricing, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  5. ^ ZenBusiness. Registered Agent Terms, Retrieved 11/11/2023
  6. ^ Bizee. Free LLC, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  7. ^ Bizee. Free LLC, Retrieved 12/06/2023
  8. ^ Rocket Lawyer. Plans and Pricing, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  9. ^ Rocket Lawyer. Membership and Pricing, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  10. ^ Trustpilot. Rocket Lawyer, Retrieved 12/08/2023
  11. ^ Better Business Bureau. Rocket Lawyer, Retrieved 12/08/2023
  12. ^ LegalZoom. Business Data Protection, Retrieved 11/11/2023
  13. ^ LegalZoom. Registered Agent Services, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  14. ^ Swyft Filings. Terms of Service, Retrieved 11/24/2023
  15. ^ Swyft Filings. Registered Agent Service, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  16. ^ Harbor Compliance. Registered Agent Service, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  17. ^ SunDoc Filings. California Registered Agent Services, Retrieved 01/02/2024
  18. ^ Inc Authority. Create Your Free LLC or INC Today, Retrieved 01/02/2024

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