Martin Eckler | May 24, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: Hiring a registered agent service offers many benefits and protections for your LLC, but before doing so, consider pricing, customer reviews, customer support, other services offered, and cancellation policies to ensure you make the best decision for you and your LLC. The minimal cost of a registered agent service is well worth the convenience and peace of mind that it offers.
If you’re preparing to form a limited liability company (LLC), before you do so, you’ll need to select a registered agent for your LLC. All states require that you disclose your registered agent information on your LLC formation documents.
While you can elect to be your own registered agent, many entrepreneurs choose to hire a registered agent service. A registered agent service offers many benefits and provides a level of protection for your LLC.
Here, you’ll find details of how a registered agent service can protect your LLC, and what to look for in a registered agent service.
A registered agent is an individual or company authorized to accept any official correspondence on behalf of your LLC, including state, legal, and tax documents. Every state has certain requirements for a registered agent, but generally:
Check with your state for specific registered agent requirements.
As mentioned, you can choose to be your own registered agent, but that requires you to physically be at your registered address during normal business hours to accept correspondence. That prevents you from going on sales calls or to meetings or leaving your office to handle any business matters. This can seriously impact your ability to grow your business.
By hiring a registered agent service, you’re free to handle all your business matters wherever you need to be.
A registered agent service also ensures that no official correspondence for your business is missed or misplaced. They will notify you when correspondence is received, and generally will make your documents available to you online immediately. This will ensure that you don’t miss deadlines or legal notices that need attention.
Additionally, if you expand your business to another state, most registered agent services can represent you in any state. This saves you the time and money that it would cost to find and hire a registered agent in all the states where you do business.
Finally, a registered agent service can protect your privacy. If you’re your own registered agent, you risk getting a service of process at your business address, which could occur in front of customers or employees. This can seriously damage your reputation, as they will know that you have a legal issue.
With so many registered agent services available, it can be difficult to choose one. Selecting the registered agent service that’s right for you involves some homework. There are several things you should look for when researching registered agent services.
Prices for registered agent services can vary greatly, and generally range from $100 to $500 annually. You’ll want to shop for the best price, but also look at what you’re getting for your money. Some registered agent services offer a few extras with their service, such as identity theft protection and credit monitoring.
You’ll also want to ensure that the lower priced services offer unlimited online document access.
The best way to check the reliability and reputation of a registered agent service is to read customer reviews. The Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot are great resources. Don’t just look at the company’s rating – read the reviews and look for red flags, such as reviews about missed documents or delayed correspondence notifications. Also look at the positive reviews carefully. Sometimes companies solicit positive reviews from customers, which means you should take the reviews with a grain of salt.
Also, look for professional reviews of the registered agent services online. Many business resource companies review services by testing the service personally, and researching the services thoroughly, comparing them to other services.
The company reviews should give you much information about the quality of the service’s customer support, but you should also test it yourself. Ask questions through chat, email, and phone and see how quickly you get a response. Beware of getting hit with high pressure sales tactics when you’re just asking a simple question.
Also look at the usability of the site. Make sure it’s easy to navigate and find information.
Many registered agent services offer other services that you may need as well. Most offer an LLC formation service to file your LLC formation documents with the state for you. They also offer services like an operating agreement template, an EIN application service, annual filing reminders, and business license services.
Most of the services offer these individual services in packages for a fixed price. Some even offer packages that include free registered agent services for 6 months or a year.
If you need any of these additional services, it can be very convenient and cost effective to choose a registered agent service that can meet all your business needs.
You may at some point need to cancel your registered agent service, so thoroughly review each services’ cancellation policy. Some companies make it a difficult process, requiring you to make certain state filings before the company will stop charging you the annual fee. Also, check what the policy states about any residual fees that you may be responsible for.
When you look at the customer reviews, check for any that discuss issues with cancellation. It’s a common challenge faced by entrepreneurs who don’t research cancellation policies before they hire a registered agent service.
Hiring a registered agent service offers many benefits and protections for your LLC. The minimal cost of a registered agent service is well worth the convenience and peace of mind that it offers. Just take your time researching your options so that you choose the service that best meets your needs, to give your business the best chance of success.
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