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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.**
(to learn more about Northwest, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review)
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 Northwest Registered Agent (for $125 per year).
Northwest will scan any mail that is sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account. They’ll also let you use their address throughout your entire LLC filing for added privacy (keeping your address off of public records).
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.