A registered service agent accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of your business and must be appointed wherever one is looking to incorporate an LLC or corporation. According to Daniel Murray at Seton Hall University, registered agents often act as “hired guns” with two hundred registered agent services sometimes representing over one million businesses in a single state. It is therefore important to make sure you choose the right one.
Each state has their own requirements for registered agents. There are several considerations when choosing a registered agent; nature of the business, cost, services on offer, experience and customer satisfaction. To find a provider compare these considerations against the five top rated registered agent services
Type Of Business
Some agents specialize in certain types of businesses. Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom specialize in legal services. Therefore, if you’re looking to incorporate and run a legal business, these may be the best options for you.
Once you have determined which agent best serves your type of business, you need to determine whether you are able to afford the agent’s services. This is what the top five rated registered agents charge per year.
- ZenBusiness – $99/year
- Northwest Registered Agent – $125/year. Northwest offers a discount where its services are required across over five states of $100/year per state.
- Incfile – $119/year
- Rocket Lawyer – $149.99/year
- LegalZoom – $159-299/year. While this cost seems high, LegalZoom offers a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, for whatever reason, you have 60 days to request a refund and they’ll refund the fee.
- Yourself – completely free. It is possible to be your own registered agent which saves on costs. However, there are downsides to this. Your address will become public record, and you will be required to accept delivery at that address during business hours every Monday to Friday.
Services On Offer
Any additional services may or may not be offered by different registered agents and if offered may alter the agent’s fee. ZenBusiness offers an incorporation service for $39 which includes the registered agent fee for one year. Northwest also offers incorporation services at a higher price of $225. This price too includes a year’s worth of registered agent services. Northwest’s services include scanning every single document they receive on your behalf and not only those they are legally required to scan. They are the only registered agent that provides this service. Incfile offers incorporation services at no additional cost. The only costs involved are those required by the relevant state. Rocket Lawyer, in addition to registered agent services, provides premium legal services. These come at a price tag of $39.99 per month. However, should you choose this service, you will get 25% of the registered agent service fee of $149.99 per year and incorporation services free of charge. Rocket Lawyer does also offer incorporation services independently of its registered agent services, however these are changed separately. LegalZoom also has experience in the legal services field. Furthermore, it does offer incorporation services but charges for these separately.
Experience And Customer Satisfaction
Knowing that a registered agent is well-established and that its previous customers are satisfied with its services may provide peace of mind to new business owners looking to choose a registered service agent. ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent are the top registered agent services as of September 25, 2021. ZenBusiness, while not necessarily as experienced as the other agents, having only been established in 2015, has during its existence accumulated a wealth of positive customer reviews, touting the agent’s reasonable costs and ease of use. Northwest is the longest running agent with over twenty years of experience and having serviced around two million business clients. Their customer service feedback is also outstanding. Incfile has been operating since 2004 and has serviced sound 500 000 business clients, with the vast majority of customer feedback being overwhelmingly positive. Rocket Lawyer, established in 2008, has already served around 20 million customers, and the majority of customer feedback is positive. Legal Zoom has been in operation since 2001 and has assisted over 3.6 million clients. Their customer support team is available seven days a week, however, customer feedback is somewhat mixed.
Other registered agents that are worth considering include Harbor Compliance, InCorp, and state specific registered agent services. All registered agent services come with pros and cons. These, as well as other requirements for starting a business must be considered in light of what is best for you and your business.