Florida Registered Agent

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Florida LLC Registered Agent

Before filing your Articles of Organization with the Department of State, you need to select a Florida Registered Agent for your LLC.

A Registered Agent in Florida is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC in case your business gets sued.

In Florida, your Registered Agent can 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 street address in Florida (PO Boxes are not allowed).

Your Florida Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process includes delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.

In short, this is how the Florida court and legal systems works. By providing a reliable Florida street address and a Registered Agent of record, the delivery of legal mail and court documents can be tracked. It’s similar to how ‘certified mail return receipt’ works. It creates a physical record that something was delivered.

Can I be my own Registered Agent in Florida?

Yes, you can be your own Florida Registered Agent, as long as you meet the requirements mentioned in the next section.

However, you actually have 3 options when forming an LLC in Florida:

Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in Florida (are there risks?)

Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Option 3: You can hire a Florida Registered Agent Service, technically known as a Commercial Registered Agent.

Important: If your Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual needs to be a resident of Florida and be at least 18 years of age.

What’s the best Registered Agent option to choose?

• If you have a street address located in Florida (such as a home or office address), and are available during business hours, you can be your own Registered Agent.

• If you don’t have a street address in Florida, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They need to have a street address in Florida and be available during business hours.

• If you don’t have a street address in Florida, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Florida Registered Agent Service Company.

Using a Registered Agent Service Company in Florida also offers more privacy (can keep your address off public records) and can be a more reliable setup.

Florida Registered Agent Services

Quick Tip: The terms “Florida Registered Agent Services” and “Florida Commercial Registered Agent” mean the same thing. We will use them both interchangeably.

Florida Registered Agent Service Companies specialize in receiving Service of Process (legal mail) on behalf of your Florida LLC. Most Registered Agent Services in Florida cost between $100 and $300 per year.

Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your Florida LLC and then forward it to you by mail, or scan and upload it to your online account.

Who’s the best Florida Registered Agent?

The Florida Registered Agent Service that we recommend (and use ourselves) is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer service.

However, one of the coolest things about using Northwest is the privacy feature.

It’s important to realize that your Registered Agent address (and all addresses in your LLC’s Articles of Organization) become a part of public record. If you want to keep your address off of public record, using a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address as your LLC’s address can be very helpful.

Northwest Registered Agent is the only company that offers a Registered Agent service where they’ll let you use their address throughout your entire Articles of Organization. And any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.

Northwest also offers an LLC formation service, so if you hire them to form your Florida LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service (and full use of their address) free for the 1st year.

You can use their address in all sections of your Articles of Organization:

  • cover letter address
  • principal office address
  • mailing address
  • registered agent address
  • member/manager address

Risks of being your own Registered Agent in Florida

As mentioned above, you can be your own Registered Agent in Florida. In fact, you, a friend, or a family member can be your Florida Registered Agent.

But are there any risks to being your own Registered Agent?

In short, there are risks. They are not extremely likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection and the Florida Department of State has the power to administratively dissolve and shut down your LLC.

This can happen if you don’t maintain (always have) a Registered Agent on file, or if the Department of State is unsuccessful in reaching your Florida Registered Agent.

Additionally, if a process server (a person who serves court documents and notices of lawsuits) is unsuccessful in reaching your Florida Registered Agent, a court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it.

A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your Florida LLC’s Registered Agent:

  • you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours (the state of Florida requires that your Registered Agent maintain normal business hours)
  • you/they are on vacation or out of town
  • you/they moved and you forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state

Using a Florida Registered Agent Service like Northwest Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and offers more privacy.

It also gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.

Next Step

Once you determine who will serve as your Florida LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Florida LLC Articles of Organization.

If you need to hire a Florida Registered Agent Service (a Commercial Registered Agent), please do so before going to the next step.

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.

21 Comments

  1. Ian lotty June 6, 2017

    Can I change my registered agent after filing? For example I set myself as my registered agent but later I decide to select a Commercial Registered Agent can I do so?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz June 7, 2017

      Hi Ian, yes, you certainly can. You can change your Registered Agent via this form (http://form.sunbiz.org/pdf/inhs18.pdf) and the $25 filing fee, or you can just change/update the Registered Agent information when you file your Florida LLC’s Annual Report (no extra charge).

      reply
  2. Fernando October 11, 2017

    Hey Matt, thank you so much for sharing knowledge with us!
    I am foreign and will open a LLC in Florida for E-commerce. I am confused and have a few questions:
    1- From the beginning May I use Registered Agent address as my company address to open the business or Should I hire a virtual address to receive documents will be sent to my LLC?
    2- Do you know if IncFile or Northwest scan and forward documents to any address I will inform them, of course I will pay for it.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 17, 2017

      Hi Fernando, you’re very welcome. Florida actually allows for a virtual office to be listed as the Registered Office. So you can list your name as the Registered Agent and the address of your FL virtual office. You can also hire a Commercial Registered Agent like Northwest Registered Agent. Hiring Northwest will be cheaper compared to a virtual office, and any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account. The only added benefit of a virtual office would be if you needed to receive packages. Hope that helps.

      reply
      • Matt Horwitz October 18, 2017

        I re-read your comment and wanted to add a followup… 1. You can choose either one, really. In my opinion, the only need for a virtual address/office is if your LLC needs to receive packages. If not, I’d just use a Commercial Registered Agent as both the Registered Agent, and your office address (if they allow it). The company we recommend (which allows this setup) is Northwest Registered Agent. 2. Yes, both companies will scan your mail into your online dashboard. But I’d go with NWRA, as IncFile is not setup to handle foreign accounts very well.

        reply
  3. Shawn November 8, 2017

    Hi Matt,
    My family member is using my name and address as their Registered Agent for all of their/our family LLCs in Florida. Should I be worried? Am I liable for anything?
    Thanks,
    Shawn

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 8, 2017

      Hey Shawn, you are not liable for anything unless you are a Member of the LLC. If you don’t feel comfortable with it though, you can have your family list someone else (by filing a change of FL Registered Agent) or they could hire a Commercial Registered Agent.

      reply
  4. Lisa April 13, 2018

    Can anyone view the name of the owner of the LLC if you ise a,different registered agent than the owner? Is saw that your address could be private at least.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 14, 2018

      Hi Lisa, it’s not just the Registered Agent field that you need to keep an eye out for, but every section of the Articles of Organization (and the upcoming Annual Reports). You should carefully examine each field to make sure you like what you’ll be entering there. If you hire Northwest Registered Agent they’ll let you use their address throughout your filing in order to keep your private. Hope that helps!

      reply
  5. Steven April 23, 2018

    Hey Matt, love your services. I was recommended to you from another blog. I am starting an online business. I currently reside in Florida. I see that NWRA might be my best choice. I have to sign up for NWRA first right? Then sign up for a LLC through INC FILE? I do not think I will be receiving any big packages so I do not think I need a virtual office…but I was wondering what a virtual office was? But thank you for your time and effort in developing this blog, very insightful and helpful on my journey. Any other resources you recommend for someone who is starting an online business? Thank you!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 29, 2018

      Hey Steven, thank you for the nice comment! You’re very welcome :) Yes, you’re correct in the sign up order. Also, NWRA can do the LLC filing for an all-in-one checkout if you’d like. A virtual office may offer registered agent services as well as more mail services, including packages, but not all virtual offices offer registered agent services. Registered agent service don’t accept large packages. Just service of process really, but in the case of NWRA, they’ll also receive regular mail and scan it to you. Regarding other resources, let me get a little more narrow to see if I can help. When you say online business, what type of online business? Who are you trying to reach and via what mediums? Is this your first business? What are your fears and sticking points?

      reply
  6. Cristina May 25, 2018

    Do Corporations need a registered agent or is just LLC’s? Also, I am currently listed as my husband’s company registered agent.. As a registered agent can we sign company documents? For example, tax returns

    Thank you!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz May 30, 2018

      Hi Cristina, yes, Corporations also need to appoint a Registered Agent. No, a Registered Agent, by nature of being a Registered Agent, isn’t authorized to sign on behalf of the company. Hope that helps.

      reply
  7. Ms. Rodriguez June 1, 2018

    without my authorization someone changed the registered agent from my company is this allowed in Florida without the agents authorization?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz June 17, 2018

      A Registered Agent doesn’t have authority over the LLC. If someone with authority, either an LLC Member, LLC Manager, or someone authorized by an LLC Member/Manager has chosen to revoke your company as the Registered Agent, then that is completely okay, and normal.

      reply
  8. Joel June 27, 2018

    Probably a dumb question, can a RA file for workers comp. exemption? Im thinking you would probably have to be an “officer”????

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz July 31, 2018

      The Registered Agent has no authority over the LLC, so no, that would need to be an LLC Member, LLC Manager, or authorized representative if allowed. Hope that helps.

      reply
  9. Samantha October 19, 2018

    Hello,

    If I am starting an online apparel business what is the best route to take as far as a registered agent goes? I see NWRA being brought up but I will be shipping and receiving clothing shipments, as well as returns. So should I go with the virtual office? and what is the best virtual office ? how does it work? I was thinking maybe I’d start with putting myself, I am just unsure if getting a service would be smarter . Thank you

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 22, 2018

      Hi Samantha, your Registered Agent address doesn’t have to be the address you use for receiving shipments. You can receive shipments to any location you’d like. Furthermore, that shipping address doesn’t have to be an address that’s listed on your Florida LLC’s Articles of Organization (you can get items shipped wherever you need). I recommend printing off the Articles of Organization and reviewing it. You have the Registered Agent address, the Principal Office Address, the Mailing Address, and the address(es) of the Member(s)/Manager(s).

      • The Registered Agent address is for service of process. This can be your address or the address of a Commercial Registered Agent (such as Northwest Registered Agent).

      • The Principal Office Address: think of this as your “HQ”. This is where the business is operating from.

      • The Mailing Address is what the FL Department of State will use for sending your LLC mail. This address can be different than the Principal Office Address or they can be the same.

      • The address(es) of the Member(s)/Manager(s). Nothing is mailed here. It’s just for the record.

      Hope that helps!

      reply
  10. Dylan November 27, 2018

    If your friend is your registered agent and he has a registered construction license, does it carry over to your company as an agent or is there a separate step to do so?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz December 4, 2018

      Hi Dylan, it doesn’t carry over. A Registered Agent for an LLC and a registered construction license are two separate things. Hope that helps.

      reply

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