Choosing a Registered Agent for your LLC in Florida
Before filing your Articles of Organization with the Department of State, you need to select a Registered Agent for your Florida LLC.
What is a Florida Registered Agent for an LLC?
A Florida Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your Limited Liability Company in case your Florida business gets sued.
What does a Florida Registered Agent do for an LLC?
Florida Registered Agents serve as the general point of contact for receiving legal mail, business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents on behalf of your LLC.
What are the Florida Registered Agent requirements for LLCs?
All Florida Registered Agents must have a physical address in Florida (PO Boxes aren’t allowed).
Registered Agents must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives.
Note: Service of Process for an LLC includes delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, or subpoenas.
Is a Registered Agent required in Florida?
Yes, all LLCs doing business in Florida are required to have a Florida Registered Agent.
Why does my LLC need a Florida Registered Agent?
In short, this is how the Florida court and legal systems work. Requiring all Florida LLCs to keep a Registered Agent on file with the state makes sure that legal mail and court documents can be properly tracked and delivered.
It’s similar to how certified mail with a return receipt works. It creates a physical record that something was delivered.
Who can be a Florida Registered Agent?
You have 3 options for who can be the Registered Agent for your Florida business:
- You can you can be your own Florida Registered Agent (are there risks?)
- A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent
- You can hire a Florida Registered Agent Service, also known as a Florida Commercial Registered Agent.
What’s the best Florida Registered Agent option to choose?
The best Registered Agent for your Florida LLC depends on a few factors:
If you have a physical street address located in Florida (such as a home or Florida business address), and are available during normal business hours, you can be your LLC’s 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 regular 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.
Using a Florida Registered Agent Service can be a more reliable setup, and it also offers more privacy (it can keep your address off public records).
Is a Florida Registered Agent address public?
Yes, all Florida Registered Agents’ addresses are public record.
In fact, all of the information you enter in your Articles of Organization becomes public record with the Florida Department of State: Division of Corporations.
While you do have the option to be your own Registered Agent in Florida (or use a friend or family member), you may not want to have your address listed in public records.
Not only is this information searchable by the public, but other websites download the Florida Division of Corporation’s records and republish them on their website. Then things begin to multiply as other public record websites take that same information and list it on their website again (and the process repeats itself).
Pretty soon your address is listed on various websites and people can easily find it by doing a Google search.
If you’d like to keep your address off of public records, we have a strategy for that.
Florida Registered Agent Services
Note: The terms “Florida Registered Agent Service” and “Florida Commercial Registered Agent” mean the same thing. We will use them both interchangeably.
Florida Registered Agent Services specialize in receiving Service of Process (important legal documents) on behalf of your LLC.
Most Registered Agent Services offer free mail forwarding, so any mail or Service of Process that is sent to your LLC will be forwarded to you, or scanned and uploaded to your online account.
Most Registered Agent Services in Florida cost between $100 and $300 per year.
Who’s the best Florida Registered Agent Service?
The Florida Registered Agent Service that we recommend is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and their customer support team are true LLC experts.
That said, our favorite thing about Northwest is that they help keep your home address private – off public records.
How Northwest keeps your address off public records:
It’s important to know 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 Service that will let you use their business address as your LLC’s address can be very helpful.
Northwest Registered Agent provides this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their business address throughout your entire Articles of Organization.
Then, any mail that is sent to Northwest for your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your secure online account.
You can use their business address in all sections of your Articles of Organization:
- Cover letter address
- Principal Office address
- Mailing address
- Registered Agent address
- Member/Manager address
Any legal documents that are sent to Northwest for your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded by your Registered Agent online.
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 any risks of being your own Florida Registered Agent?
As mentioned above, you can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in Florida. In fact, you, a friend, or a family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in Florida.
But are there any risks to being your LLC’s Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not very 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 (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. 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 Florida LLC’s Registered Agent:
- You, your friend, or family member are not there during regular 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.
If you need to hire a Florida Registered Agent Service, please do so before going to the next step.
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Florida Registered Agent FAQs
How long does it take to form an LLC in Florida?
How long it takes to get an LLC in Florida depends on how you file your Articles of Organization.
If you form a Florida LLC online, it will be approved in 1-2 business days.
If you form your Limited Liability Company by mail, it’ll take 5-7 business days for the state to process your Florida Articles of Organization filing. So it’ll be about 3-4 weeks total before you receive the approval documents back in the mail.
Can a Florida LLC have an out of state address?
A Florida LLC can have an out of state address for their mailing address and/or the Principal Office Address.
However, all Florida LLCs are required to list a physical address in the state of Florida for their LLC’s Registered Agent.
If you don’t want to use your home address, you can hire Northwest as your premium Registered Agent Service.
Northwest Registered Agent will let you use their address throughout your business entity filing. They’ll help you meet state requirements without the headache that comes with having your information on public records – or having to rent office space in Florida.
What is the best Registered Agent Service in Florida?
Northwest is who we use for our own LLCs and we highly recommend them as number one on our list of the best Registered Agent Services. Read our full Northwest Registered Agent review to see for our detailed breakdown about why they’re the best in the business.
- Related article: Best Registered Agent Services in Florida
Can I use a PO Box for my LLC in Florida?
You can use a PO Box for your Florida LLC’s mailing address.
However, you can’t use a PO Box for your LLC’s Principal Office address. The Principal Office address is the main address for your Florida business. This must be a physical address.
You also can’t use a PO Box for your LLC’s Registered Agent address. This must be a physical address and it must be located in Florida.
Can I Iist myself as a Registered Agent in Florida?
Yes, you can be your LLC’s Registered Agent. Florida law allows you to choose any consenting adult resident of Florida to be your LLC’s Registered Agent. That includes you, a friend, or a family member (as long as this person has a Florida street address).
When choosing a Registered Agent, it ‘s important to know that anyone serving as your Registered Agent will have their address made public record as your Florida Registered Office address.
If you aren’t comfortable with your address being on public record, then you can hire Northwest Registered Agent Service as your Registered Agent in Florida.
They’ll let you use their own business address for their Florida office throughout your formation documents. This makes sure your information remains private while still meeting all Florida legal requirements.
Is there a difference between Registered Agent, Agent of Process, or Statutory Agent?
No, there is no difference between Registered Agent, Agent of Process, and Statutory Agent.
These terms all mean the same thing.
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0113
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0114
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0115
Florida Bar: Rules of civil procedure
Florida Bar: Rules of court procedure
Florida Division of Corporations: Division FAQs
Florida Division of Corporations: Search Registered Agents
Florida Civil Practice and Procedure: Section 48.062
Florida Supreme Court: Amendments to Florida rules of civil procedure
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.