Before filing your Articles of Organization with the Department of State, you need to select a Registered Agent for your Florida 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 also serves 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 aren’t allowed).
Your Florida 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 legal documents such as complaints, summons, or subpoenas.
In short, this is how the Florida court and legal systems work. By providing a Registered Agent of record with a reliable Florida street address, 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.
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.
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?) if you’re a Florida resident over age 18.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent if they’re a Florida resident over age 18.
Option 3: You can hire a Florida Registered Agent Service, technically known as a Commercial Registered Agent.
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
Note: 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 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.
How to keep your address off public records:
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.
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
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.
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 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 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.
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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Florida Supreme Court: Amendments to Florida rules of civil procedure
Florida Civil Practice and Procedure: Section 48.062
Florida Division of Corporations: Search Registered Agents
Florida Division of Corporations: Division FAQs
Florida Bar: Rules of court procedure
Florida Bar: Rules of civil procedure
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0113
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0114
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0115