Register Agent: What is it and how to get one

A registered agent (RA), is the official contact for a business to receive important documents such as a summons, subpoena or renewal of registration. Although every state requires businesses to have a registered agent in order to receive important documents, regulations can differ. Several states allow a business to have its own registered agent, while others do not. It will cost you between $100 and $300 to hire a company as your registered agent.

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

There are two primary responsibilities that a registered agent must fulfill. The official contact for legal documents is one of the primary responsibilities of a registered agent. The summons must be delivered in person before the lawsuit can begin against your business. The state mandates that all businesses have a contact person available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

You could face penalties if your Secretary of State’s Office is unable find someone at your address, such as losing business registration and a fine.

Another responsibility of the registered agent is to serve as your contact for state correspondence, such renewals of business registrations. Each state requires that LLCs and corporations renew their registrations each year and pay a fee. When it is time to renew, the state will contact you.

Imagine your mail is lost or stolen and you fail to renew your registration by the due date. If that happens, you could be fined or lose your legal entity status if the state waits too long.


Tip Registered agents are required for corporations and LLCs. An RA is not required if your business is sole proprietorship or if you have registered a DBA tied with a sole proprietor. You are the sole proprietor and the state is fully transparent.


Important to remember that a registered agent can go by different names depending on where they are doing business. You can also use the following names:

  • Statutory agent
  • Resident agent
  • Agent for the service of process

To find out the requirements of your registered agent, it is a good idea to consult your state’s official website for business registration. Virginia, for example, requires that the registered agent must be an attorney or a member the management of the business entity. It cannot also be the business or a family member.

Do You Need to Be Your Own Registered Agent

It might be worth considering becoming your own registered agent. This would help you save at least $100 per year. If you are allowed to register as an agent in your state, it is fairly easy.

  • Resident individual You must reside in the state where your entity is registered or incorporated.
  • Address in person: A physical address must be provided within the state where you are incorporated. A P.O. A P.O. Box is not considered an in-state address. Some states require that you designate a “Registered Office” along with a registered agent.
  • Normal business hours You, or someone within your company, must be available to receive mail and other documents for you during “normal” hours of 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Even if you have the qualifications required to become your own registered agent, there are still some downsides to being your own registered representative.

  • Get junk mail:Many businesses send promotional offers to your public-facing Registered Agent address. This mail may not be addressed to you if you work at home.
  • You may not wish to serve legal documents at work: Customers or employees might be served with legal notices.
  • Complex if you do business across multiple states. When doing business across several states, it can be complicated to manage forms and submits for each Secretary of State.
  • You must be at the office during business hours.
  • You may miss correspondence: A business renewal notice or tax notification can be missed and could lead to a fine.

You may want to consider hiring a company as your registered agent. This is known as a registered agent service.

What does a registered agent service do?

A registered agent service is an organization that acts as your contact with Secretary of State. They will accept your tax, legal and notification-related mails and send it electronically to you. Your junk mail will be thrown away by the RA service. A registered agent service typically costs between $99 and $350 per annum.

A service of an agent may offer the following benefits:

  • A physical office: Certain legal documents must be delivered to a physical location and cannot be sent to P.O. Box.
  • Mail forwarding Registered agents can make sure that important mail gets delivered, even if you move.
  • Privacy protection: Registered agent ensures that your personal information (such as your address) is kept private and minimizes the chance of embarrassing situations such as being served with a summons in front of clients or neighbours.
  • Compliance monitoring – Registered agents assist you in ensuring that documents are filed within the legal deadlines.
  • Document organization A registered agent is also available to help you keep track and stay organized.



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The pros and cons of hiring a registered agent

The benefits of a Registered Agent Service

There are many benefits to hiring a registered agent.

  • Reliable:Hiring third-party registered agents service ensures that your business receives all necessary documents promptly.
  • Private:RA is a great choice if you work remotely or have other reasons to keep your information private. A registered agent can be used to serve legal process documents. This will help avoid embarrassing interactions such as being served with a summons in front potential clients.
  • Flexible:Registered agent services can be used to allow you to run a business in any state that does not require a physical address. This flexibility is beneficial for businesses that operate primarily online, or those that move around like a food truck.

Cons of Agent Services

There are some cons to hiring a registered agent.

  • More expensive: Hiring a registered agent is more expensive than either doing it yourself or having someone you know serve as your agent.
  • Additional paperwork required: To use a statutory agent service, you must sign up and pay.

Where can I find a registered agent service?

Numerous companies are available to serve as your registered agents. Fees are an important consideration when choosing an RA. There may be companies that offer low or free fees. Before you sign up for a low-cost RA service, find out if there are any fees such as document forwarding and second-year renewal.

These are some of the recommended registered agent companies we recommend that are reliable and affordable:

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent mainly offers RA-based service. It is a specialist in ensuring that your business information remains private and secure. They can submit simple documents or put their address on a paper form on your behalf. Northwest charges $125 per annum for its registered agent services.


IncFile offers the best deal if you want to register your company as a legal entity and also get an RA service. This service offers a free LLC or corporation registration and a first year of free registered agent services. IncFile’s RA service is $119/year after your first year.


Rocket Lawyer is unique because it offers ongoing legal services as a monthly membership. Rocket Lawyer is a great choice if you have many legal steps to follow, including customizing legal documents and answering specific questions. Rocket Lawyer charges $149 per annum for a registered agent. You can save 25% on your RA by signing up for the $39.99 per month legal service.

FAQs about registering agents

Who can be a registered agent?

While requirements for registered agents vary from one state to the next, they must be at least 18 years old and have a physical address within the LLC filing state. Your RA must be at the address during normal business hours. You can either hire a registered agent or find a friend or relative who meets these requirements.

Are You a Registered Agent?

You might be tempted to take on the role of registered agent if you are just starting your business. Be sure to make sure you and someone from your company are available during business hours before you do this. Except for certain states, your LLC may not be named as its own registered agent.

Can an LLC’s Organizer be its Registered Agent?

If the LLC’s organizer has a physical address in the state, the RA can accept mail at the address during business hours. To prevent mail being lost, inconsistent hours of business, and other problems that could lead to a failed delivery, we recommend using a registered agent.

Is a UPS Store a registered agent?

An UPS store cannot be registered as an agent. A registered agent must have a physical address within the state in which your business is located.

A person must also be available during normal business hours to receive mail. These requirements are why a P.O. A registered agent is not allowed to register a box or rented box at UPS.

Bottom line

If you are confident that your mail will not be lost, and you are available during business hours, you may be able to serve as your own registered agents. A registered agent service is a good option if you travel frequently, don’t need junk mail, or do business in multiple states. An annual fee of $100-300 for RA services will give you peace of mind, and help you keep track of important state and legal matters.

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