Establishing and running a business is an extremely tricky task to pull off successfully, hence the fact that over 20% of businesses fail within the first year of their life. However, before one can even become concerned with ensuring their business not only survives, but thrives – one must first ensure all the legal requirements of their business are in order.
All states in the US require that each business has a registered agent so that the state has an official contact in every company. Whilst it is typically legal for someone to act as the registered agent of their own company, this is not usually optimal. Registered agent services are third-party individuals that assume these responsibilities for a business.
How Registered Agents Services Help
A registered agent is an individual or business that is designated to receive legal and other documents on the behalf of another business. Other documents it is responsible for receiving include tax and regulatory notices, subpoenas, and process and official government notices (including any communication from the Secretary of State).
All formal business entities, such as LLCs and corporations, require a registered agent; sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not though. All states require that businesses formed within them have a registered agent so that the state has an official contact within each and every company.
Registered agent services are preferable over doing it yourself for several primary reasons. Firstly, registered agents are required by law to have a physical address in the state they are operating in. Owners who live out of state will be unable to satisfy this condition therefore. Secondly, registered agents have to maintain business hours, which circumvents one of the core benefits of becoming one’s own boss: being able to set one’s working hours.
Top Registered Agents
ZenBusiness is a solid option as far as online registered agent services go. Since their company was founded in 2015, ZenBusiness has already established a plethora of ways in which it stands out from the pack.
In terms of customer feedback, ZenBusiness is essentially the industry standard. About 97% of the 6000 reviews available online describe their experience with the company using positive rating scores.
Next on the list for top registered agents is IncFile, a company that can save you a little bit of money compared to Northwest, without sacrificing too many features.
Since 2004, IncFile has become one of the most popular online business formation services, serving over 500,000 business clients in that time.
IncFile can’t compare with Northwest when it comes to customer support, but their service department is still quite good when compared with most other registered agent services. Their helpful reps can help you solve the vast majority of issues you might run into as a registered agent customer.
LegalZoom is one of the industry giants in online registered agent business service, the name of their brand has become synonymous with power and industry leading quality. Having served nearly 4 million people and businesses since they began to offer legal services online in 2001, they have acquired a level of experience few other companies in this field can match.
What sets them apart from the rest on this list is the 100% satisfaction guarantee LegalZoom offers – it’s one of the best in the industry. Anyone who is unhappy with their services for any reason can apply for a refund of all fees paid, at any time within 60 days of your initial payment.
Another widely popular registered agent service, Northwest Registered Agent is this article’s favourite overall. Having been founded in 1988, Northwest has since become one of the most famous service providers across the US.
For the price of only $125 per annum for registered agent service, it of course isn’t the cheapest option available that provides this service, but their price is still far cheaper than competitors such as CSC and National Registered Agents, Inc. Furthermore, customers requiring service in multiple states will find particular utility in Northwest, which offers volume discounts that only improve their rates further.
On balance, whilst it is possible for businesses to act as their own registered agents, it is highly advisable that they hire a third party to do so due to their numerous benefits.
For more suggested reading regarding this topic, please see the aforementioned link.