Registered Agent

Choosing Your LLC’s Registered Agent

**Short Answer: Most companies trick you into hiring them as your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll give you the truth about what a Registered Agent is, tell you what your options are, and how to save some money.**


Video Transcript:

Most companies trick you into hiring them as your LLC’s registered agent, will give you the truth about what a registered agent is, tell you what your options are, and tell you how you can save some money. There needs to be a reliable street address, and a reliable point of contact where legal documents can be served, in case your LLC is sued. This is known as your registered office, and your registered agent. Your registered office must be a street address. It can not be a PO box located in the state where your LLC is formed. Think of your registered office as the home base for your registered agent. Your registered agent, which is your LLC’s point of contact, should be available at this address during normal business hours to receive documents on behalf of your LLC. Your registered office can be an actual office address, or it can be your home address, or even the address of a friend or family member. Again, your registered agent must agree to accept delivery of legal documents related to any lawsuits against your LLC. Delivery of legal documents related to a lawsuit is known as ‘service of process,’ and service of process includes items like complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas. Many states will also use your registered agent as a general point of contact for mailing you business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents. If you’re wondering who can be your registered agent, 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, and option 3, you can hire a commercial registered agent for a fee. Note that there are a couple states that allow your LLC to serve as its own registered agent, but this is the exception to the rule. In 90% of the states, your LLC cannot be its own registered agent. Choosing a registered agent depends on whether or not you have a street address located in the state where you’re forming your LLC. If you have a street address in the state, then choose option 1, you serving as the LLC’s registered agent. Option 1 is the most convenient and the least expensive. It’s free. This is what the majority of our customers do. If you don’t have a street address in the state, then choose option 2, a friend or a family member, or choose option 3, and hire a commercial registered agent. Choose option 2 if you have a trusted friend or family member who has a street address in the state. If you or friends or family members don’t have an address in the state, then you’ll need to choose option 3, and hire a commercial registered agent. A commercial registered agent is a company that specializes in receiving service of process on behalf of businesses nationwide. They typically charge between $100 and $300 per year. Once hired, they’ll receive service of process on behalf of your LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents if preferred. If you decide to hire a commercial registered agent, we recommend a company called ‘Northwest Registered Agent.’ They’ve been in the business for more than 20 years, and their support is top notch. If you Google ‘Northwest Registered Agent,’ you’ll be able to find their website. As I mentioned at the beginning of the video, we’re going to tell you the truth about the registered agent industry. Unfortunately, many LLC formation companies trick you into hiring them as your registered agent. These companies hide this information in the fine print during the checkout process. Most people don’t even realize that they’re paying extra fees that are being automatically charged to their credit cards each and every year. These companies use language like, ‘Your LLC is required to have a registered agent,’ and then they don’t give you any additional information. While you’re LLC is required to have a registered agent, they don’t tell you that you have other options outside of their company. Options like you being the registered agent for your LLC, or using a friend or family member as your LLC’s registered agent. Even if you do need to hire a commercial registered agent, you should use a reputable company. Not companies that have to trick you into hiring them. Once you determine who your LLC’s registered agent will be, you will then list their name and address when you file your LLC formation documents with the state. Don’t worry about being locked down to 1 registered agent. If you ever need to change your registered agent or your registered office, you just file a simple form with your state and pay a small fee. I hope this information has been helpful for you. Again, once you determine who your LLC’s registered agent will be, you’ll then be able to file your documents with the state and move forward with your LLC formation.
If you need to hire a Registered Agent, we recommend IncFile ($99 per year) or Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year). IncFile is cheaper, but Northwest has better customer service.

What is a Registered Agent & Registered Office?

There needs to be a reliable street address (and a reliable point of contact) where legal documents can be delivered in case your LLC is sued.

This is known as your Registered Office and Registered Agent.

Your Registered Office must be a street address located in the state where your LLC is formed.

Your Registered Office cannot be a PO Box address.

Think of your Registered Office as the “home base” for your Registered Agent.

Your Registered Agent should be available at this address during normal business hours to receive any documents on behalf of your LLC.

Your Registered Office can be an actual office address, or it can be your home address, or even the address of a friend or family member.

Service of Process

Again, your Registered Agent must agree to accept delivery of legal documents related to any lawsuits against your LLC.

Delivery of legal documents related to a lawsuit is known as Service of Process.

Service of Process includes items such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.

Many states will also use your Registered Agent as a general point of contact for mailing you business & tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.

Who Can Be Your Registered Agent?

You have 3 options for designating your LLC’s Registered Agent:

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 for a fee.

Note: There are a couple states that allow your LLC to serve as its own Registered Agent, but this is the exception to the rule. In 90% of the states your LLC cannot be its own Registered Agent.

How Do I Know Which One to Choose?

It depends on whether or not you have a street address located in the state where you are forming your LLC.

If you have a street address in the state, then choose Option 1.

Option 1 is the most convenient and least expensive (it’s free!). This is what the majority of our customers do.

If you don’t have a street address in the state, then choose Option 2 or Option 3.

Choose Option 2 if you have a trusted friend or family member (who has a street address in the state).

Since you won’t need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, you’ll save yourself some money.

If you (or friends or family members) don’t have an address in the state, then you will need to choose Option 3 and hire a Commercial Registered Agent.

Commercial Registered Agent

A Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of businesses nationwide. They typically charge between $100-300 per year.

Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents if preferred.

If you need a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend IncFile (for $99 per year) or Northwest Registered Agent (for $125 per year).

IncFile is cheaper but their support is not as good as Northwest Registered Agent.

Registered Agent Myths Exposed

Unfortunately, many LLC formation companies trick you into hiring them as your Registered Agent.

These companies hide this information in the fine print during the checkout process.

Most people don’t realize they are paying extra fees that are being automatically charged to their credit cards each year.

These companies use language like, “Your LLC is required to have a Registered Agent.” (and then give no additional information).

While your LLC is required to have a Registered Agent, they don’t tell you that you have other options outside of their company…

Like you being the Registered Agent for your LLC, or using a friend or family member as your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Even if you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, you should use a reputable company… not companies that have to trick you into hiring them.

Registered Agent Recap

Once you determine who your LLC’s Registered Agent will be, you will then list their name and address when you file your LLC Formation Documents with the state.

Don’t worry about being “locked in” to one Registered Agent…

If you ever need to change your Registered Agent (or Registered Office), you just need to file a simple form with your state and pay a small fee.

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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.
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