Before starting a Pennsylvania LLC with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations, you need to select a Registered Office Address for your LLC.
A Registered Office Address is a street address located within the state of Pennsylvania where Service of Process (legal documents) can be delivered in the event of a lawsuit.
In Pennsylvania, the Registered Office Address also serves as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents from the State.
The Registered Office Address you use must be a street address located in Pennsylvania. You cannot use a PO Box address.
Unlike most states that require your LLC to list the name of a Registered Agent, Pennsylvania is unique in that it only requires you to list the address of the Registered Agent (known as the Registered Office). For simplicity, throughout this lesson, we will use the terms “Registered Agent” and “Registered Office” interchangeably.
Someone at the Registered Office Address (technically the LLC’s Registered Agent) needs to be available during normal business hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm, in case Service of Process for your LLC arrives.
Service of Process can include the delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.
It’s important to note, that the Registered Office Address on file becomes a part of the public record. Many people who prefer privacy and don’t want their home or office address listed publicly, choose to hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP). In most states, this is known as a Commercial Registered Agent.
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.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent/Registered Office in Pennsylvania?
When forming an LLC in Pennsylvania, you have 3 options for the address you can use as your Registered Office Address:
Option 1: You can use your home or office address.
Option 2: You can use the address of a friend or family member.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider, also known as a Commercial Registered Agent.
How Do I Know Which One to Choose?
• If you have a street address located in Pennsylvania (such as a home or office), and are available during business hours, you can use your address as the LLC’s Registered Office Address.
• If you don’t have a street address in Pennsylvania, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They need to have a street address in Pennsylvania and be available during business hours.
• If you don’t have a street address in Pennsylvania, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP).
Using a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) offers more privacy (keeps your address off public records) and is a more reliable setup for most people.
Reminder: Most states refer to a Commercial Registered Office Provider as a Commercial Registered Agent, but they are basically one and the same.
Commercial Registered Office Providers (CROPs) in Pennsylvania
A Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of your Pennsylvania LLC. Companies charge anywhere from $100-$300 per year.
Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your Pennsylvania LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also scan and email your documents.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider in Pennsylvania, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use ourselves) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public record.
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in Pennsylvania start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Certificate of Organization get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.
If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider (aka CROP or Commercial Registered Agent) that will allow you to use their address throughout your Certificate of Organization. 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 address throughout your Certificate of Organization.
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.
Are there risks if you, a friend, or family member are your Pennsylvania LLC’s Registered Agent?
In short, there are some risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection. For example, if the state is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to shut down your Pennsylvania LLC.
Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), 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 LLC’s Registered Agent:
- you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours
- you/they are on vacation
- you/they moved and you forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent/Office Address with the state
Hiring a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Office Address with the state if you move.
Our recommendation: We recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Here is a video on how to sign up for their services:
Once you determine the address you will use for your Pennsylvania LLC’s Registered Office, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Office Provider in Pennsylvania, please do so before going to the next step.
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Title 15, Section 1507 (Registered Office)
Title 15, Section 109 (Commercial Registered Office Provider)