Choosing a Registered Agent for your Alabama LLC
Before filing your Certificate of Formation with Alabama, you need to select a Registered Agent for your LLC.
A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC in case your business gets sued.
In most states, a Registered Agent will also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.
Your Registered Agent must have a physical address in Alabama (PO Boxes are not allowed).
Your Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process for an LLC includes delivery of documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent in Alabama?
When forming an LLC in Alabama, you have 3 options:
Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
How Do I Know Which One to Choose?
If you have a physical address in Alabama (such as a home or office), and are available during business hours, you can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent.
If you don’t have a physical address in Alabama, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They’ll need to agree to be your Registered Agent, have a physical address in Alabama, and be available during business hours.
If you don’t have a physical address in Alabama, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Using a Commercial Registered Agent offers a degree of privacy in most states and is usually a more reliable setup.
Commercial Registered Agents in Alabama
A Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of your Alabama LLC. They typically charge between $100-$300 per year.
Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your Alabama LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents as well.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Note: If you, or a friend or family member will be your Alabama LLC’s Registered Agent, you don’t have to hire a Commercial Registered Agent. However, if you don’t have an address in Alabama, you’ll need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent. You can also hire one if you prefer a more reliable and private setup.
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use) because:
- they have been in business for over 20 years
- they have great customer service
- you can use their address in your LLC filing (keeping yours off of public records)
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in Alabama start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Certificate of Formation get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.
If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address throughout your Certificate of Formation.
Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your Certificate of Formation.
Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.
Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
Are there risks if you, a friend, or family are your LLC’s Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection.
For example, if the state is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to dissolve your LLC.
Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), the court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it. Worse, the court could enter a default judgment against your LLC if you aren’t there to defend yourself.
A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent:
- you, your friend, family member are not there during business hours
- you/they are on vacation
- you moved and forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state
Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.
Many Commercial Registered Agents will also help keep your LLC in compliance by sending you reminders of annual reporting requirements.
Once you determine who will serve as your Alabama LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Certificate of Formation.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, please do so before going to the next step.
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Alabama Secretary of State: Registered Agent List
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.31
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.32
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.33
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.34
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.35
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.36