When forming an LLC, you’ll find that designating a registered agent is required in all states.
While many states allow you to designate yourself, the problem is that your name, address and information will be accessible on public record. This drastically reduces your privacy and increases the amount of junk mail you receive.
If you’d like to retain your privacy and have a registered agent service be listed rather than your personal or business details, choose one of the options below.
This guide outlines the features that set apart the top providers from the rest of the pack. They are all great options and also provide LLC formation services.
Which is the best registered agent service for you? Read on to find out.
Our favorite overall registered agent service is Northwest Registered Agent. Founded in 1998, Northwest is now one of the most popular registered agent service providers in the country.
They have a handful of distinct advantages that make them our preference over every competitor in this crowded marketplace.
Special Offer: If you haven’t yet formed an LLC, Northwest will form your LLC and give you a free registered agent for one year for just $79. (See Details)
- With a price point of $125 per year for registered agent service, Northwest isn’t the cheapest company that provides this service, but their price is still hundreds of dollars per year lower than competitors like CSC and National Registered Agents, Inc. In addition, if you require service in multiple states, Northwest offers volume discounts that make their rates even better.
- Northwest is the only major registered agent service that locally scans every document they receive on your behalf. The competition only scans the official government documents that they’re legally required to scan.
- When it comes to customer support, no one beats Northwest. Every client receives support from one of Northwest’s highly trained corporate guides, who will personally help you whenever you have a question. Instead of contacting a massive call center to receive outsourced support, Northwest provides your corporate guide’s direct phone number, so you know that whenever you have a question, you’ll be able to talk to someone knowledgeable.
If you want to receive outstanding service that rivals (or even beats) many higher-priced registered agent services, Northwest Registered Agent is a fantastic choice.
ZenBusiness is another one of the good registered agent services online, as they have an offering that’s inviting in a few different ways. Since opening in 2015, ZenBusiness has already found a number of ways to stand out from the pack.
Special Offer: If you haven’t yet formed an LLC, ZenBusiness will form your LLC and give you a free registered agent for one year for just $39. (See Details)
- ZenBusiness charges a reasonable rate of $99 per year for registered agent service as a standalone feature, and they also include a full year of registered agent at no extra charge with any of their LLC service packages, which start at $39.
- When it comes to customer feedback, ZenBusiness is almost impossible to beat. They have well over 1,100 reviews available online, and about 97% of those reviews have positive rating scores.
- Whether you choose to contact them via phone, email, or their web-based chat application, you’ll receive timely and accurate customer service from the ZenBusiness support team.
Plus, one of the best reasons to use ZenBusiness’ registered agent service is to take advantage of their fantastic LLC formation service that includes a year of free registered agent services. But overall they’re a well-rounded company in just about every way.
Next on the list for top registered agents is IncFile, a company that can save you a little bit of money compared to Northwest, without sacrificing too many features.
Since 2004, IncFile has become one of the most popular online business formation services, serving over 250,000 business clients in that time.
- While their $119 base rate for registered agent service is pretty impressive, IncFile’s most attractive quality is the fact that they offer a full year of registered agent for free when you purchase any of their LLC formation packages, which start at $0. (See Details)
- If you place a high value on customer feedback, you’ll want to give IncFile a long look. They have thousands of positive customer reviews all over the web, and they’re one of the most popular companies in this industry when it comes to their reputation among their existing clients.
- IncFile can’t compare with Northwest when it comes to customer support, but their service department is still quite good when compared with most other registered agent services. Their helpful reps can help you solve the vast majority of issues you might run into as a registered agent customer.
While they’re not the top registered agent service, they’re affordable, reliable and great value.
CorpNet is another good LLC service that also offers registered agent service. They have plenty of experience but still maintain a personal touch that so many competitors lack.
Their ownership group has formed over 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the country, and their registered agent service is of high quality as well.
- CorpNet’s biggest advantage is their excellent customer reviews. With hundreds of positive reviews available online ― and hardly any negative feedback whatsoever ― they have one of the best customer satisfaction reputations in the industry.
- Similar to the reassurances offered by LegalZoom, CorpNet also provides its customers with a satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not entirely satisfied with the service you receive from CorpNet, they’ll refund your service fees with no questions asked at any time within 30 days of your order.
- When it comes to pricing, CorpNet is not quite as affordable as Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness, but CorpNet’s $149 annual rate is still slightly less expensive than LegalZoom.
CorpNet doesn’t stand out in any one specific way, but they offer well-balanced formation packages and have strong customer service, which is always a great combination.
Clocking in at #5 is Rocket Lawyer, which is one of the most popular and recognizable names in the online business services industry. On their website, they claim to have helped over 20 million customers, making them the easily highest-volume service provider in this guide ― even more-so than LegalZoom.
- Rocket Lawyer offers registered agent as a standalone feature for $149.99 per year, but if you subscribe to their Premium legal services plan for $39.99 per month, you’ll receive 25% off that rate, along with many other benefits.
- While Rocket Lawyer isn’t necessarily the “best” option for registered agent service, they have something to offer in several different areas. They have solid customer feedback, a strong customer support department, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee that ensures everything goes smoothly.
If you find value in their legal services plan, it’s a no-brainer to go with Rocket Lawyer for registered agent service. Otherwise, we usually prefer the other options in this guide.
LegalZoom is one of the industry giants in online business services, as they have next-level name recognition and brand power. LegalZoom has served nearly 4 million customers since they started offering web-based legal services in 2001, which is a level of experience few other companies in this field can match.
- While LegalZoom’s $299/year price point is significantly higher than IncFile and Northwest, they still offer a far more affordable registered agent service than the “big three” of CT, CSC, and National Registered Agents, Inc.
- LegalZoom provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee that’s one of the best in the industry. If you’re unhappy with their services for any reason, they’ll refund all fees paid to LegalZoom at any time within 60 days of your initial purchase.
- They also provide a handy compliance calendar that keeps you informed of important deadlines for things like annual reports, which is a nice way to cap off a well-rounded but slightly expensive offering from LegalZoom.
LegalZoom has plenty of customer reviews available online, but they’re a bit uneven in quality. On some sites, they have a solid reputation (like their 3.3/5 score on Sitejabber), but on others they receive largely negative scores (like the 1.2/5 score on Consumer Affairs).
Which Service Should You Choose?
Depending on the unique needs of your business, it’s possible that you already have your own favorite from the above options. All of these cheap registered agent services are worthy of your business are good companies in their own right.
Overall, though, we think Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness and IncFile are the three best options.
Choose Northwest Registered Agent If:
If you’re just looking to get a registered agent service by itself. They offer the best stand-alone registered agent services online.
Choose ZenBusiness If:
If you want the lowest stand-alone prices or haven’t started an LLC yet and would like an affordable LLC formation service + free registered agent service, ZenBusiness is your best bet. Visit their website to get this service bundle.
Choose IncFile If:
If you’re looking for a registered agent service from a company with a very good track record, choose IncFile.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got Registered Agent Questions? We’ve Got Answers.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent (also known as a statutory agent) is an individual or business entity that receives document deliveries on your behalf from your state of formation. Your registered agent informs you whenever they receive a document for your business, and forwards any relevant forms to you.
While this may sound like a somewhat unnecessary middle man, the registered agent’s role is crucial because the government needs to have a way to reliably contact a representative of your business.
Is a Registered Agent Required When Creating an LLC?
Yes, you must designate a registered agent when forming an LLC.
Is It Better to Serve as My Own Agent?
While it is legal in most states to serve as your own registered agent, we almost never recommend doing so. While it can save you about $100 per year, the biggest issue is that you may be required to make your personal address and phone number a matter of public record, which is a serious privacy concern.
In addition, if you serve as your own registered agent, you will need to be available from 9am to 5pm every weekday, because if someone tries to serve you for a lawsuit and you’re not around, the suit could continue in your absence, without your knowledge.
Can My Accountant Be My Registered Agent?
Some entrepreneurs do choose to designate their accountant (or their lawyer) as their registered agent. This is a better idea than serving as your own agent, because most accountants keep standard business hours at their offices and are therefore available to be registered agents. Plus, because you already do business with them, you know you can trust them.
On the other hand, accountants often charge high rates for this service, and may not have any experience as registered agents. Also, if you want to expand to additional states, you’ll need a different registered agent, because most accountants only have locations in one state.
Will a Registered Agent Help With Ongoing LLC Compliance Requirements?
Absolutely. Many professional registered agent services include some sort of compliance monitor tool that allows you to keep track of your important filing deadlines. In addition, many registered agent services also offer annual report service, taking a major ongoing compliance requirement off your hands.
How Can I Learn More About These Companies?
If you’d like to learn more about the top 5 best registered agent services on our list, check out our reviews:
Note: Our reviews specifically focus on the LLC formation services for each provider, but they’ll give you an idea of what to expect from each company.
How Do I Change Registered Agents?
This varies by state, but in most states you will need to file a “change of registered agent” form with the state you do business in.
This is typically a rather simple form, although there is usually a small fee required. In some states, you can also change registered agents by indicating the change in your LLC annual report, or by amending your articles of organization.
If you’d like state-specific info for what this process looks like, check out our guides for changing a registered agent.