By Lars Lofgren
Every state has a legal requirement for businesses to have a registered agent. This holds true for startups, small businesses, LLCs, and corporations alike.
What is a registered agent?
Registered agents are sometimes referred to as an “agent of process” or a “statutory agent.”
These services help to ensure full compliance with your state during the startup process and for the long-term of your operation as well. They are available during business hours to handle correspondence with government agencies on your behalf.
If your business gets sued, the physical address of your registered agent will be the place where this happens (instead of at the office in front of customers, employees, etc.).
Failure to maintain a registered agent service can be detrimental to your company. In some instances, the state can dissolve a business for letting their registered agent services lapse.
In some states, you can act as your own registered agent. But this means you’ll have to take on those responsibilities, and always be available during business hours. It also exposes personal details about yourself to the public, which most people want to avoid.
That’s why registered agent services are so popular. Whether you’re launching a new business or need to switch registered agents, this guide will help you find the best registered agent service for your business.
The Top 6 Best Registered Agent Services
- Northwest Registered Agent
- Swyft Filings
After extensive research, we’ve narrowed down the top six registered agent services on the market today. This guide contains the benefits, plans, pricing, and additional services offered by each option on the list.
#1 – Northwest Registered Agent — Best For Customer Service
Visit Northwest Registered Agent
- Starts at $125
- Free mail forwarding
- Corporate guides
- Pre-filled state forms
With “registered agent” in the name, it’s no surprise to see Northwest Registered Agent rank so high on our list.
From starting your business to maintaining your business with corporate guides, the registered agent services from this provider are second to none. For LLCs and corporations alike, Northwest Registered Agent will be a top choice for you to consider.
They have everything you could possibly want or need in a registered agent service. The plan comes with benefits like:
- Pre-filled state forms
- Annual report reminders
- Document scanning and storage
- Self-service online access
- Free mail forwarding
- Same-day local scans
You’ll also get lifetime support from Northwest Registered Agent’s corporate guides. These business experts will help you start and maintain your business with assistance that goes beyond the traditional scope of a registered agent.
The service costs $125 per year. If you need a registered agent in five or more states, the rate drops down to $100.
#2 – Incfile — Best Free Registered Agent Services
- Free registered agent for 1 year
- Renews at $119
- Automatic mail forwarding
- Email and SMS alerts
Start For Free!
Incfile is a business formation service with a wide range of offerings. It’s been used by more than 250,000 businesses over the past 15+ years.
One of the reasons why Incfile is so popular is because you can use them to get a registered agent for free.
That’s right. If you use Incfile to form your LLC or corporation, you’ll get a free registered agent for the first year.
They have an entry-level Silver package that literally costs $0. You only have to pay the state fees. The Gold and Platinum plans start at $149 and $299, respectively. But all three come with a free registered agent.
Here’s an overview of some of the features and highlights of Incfile’s registered agent service:
- Available to receive IRS mail correspondence and legal proceedings on your behalf
- Email and SMS notifications when documents are received
- 24/7 online access
- Simple and intuitive online dashboard
- Automatic mail forwarding
Incfile’s online dashboard definitely stands out from others on the market today. Between the mail forwarding and alerts, it’s really an exceptional service.
The standard price for Incfile’s registered agent service is $119. If you sign up for one of the business packages, your plan will renew at this rate after the first free year.
For those of you with an existing business, the change of agent fee from Incfile starts at $49.
#3 – Swyft Filings — Most Versatile Registered Agent Services
Visit Swyft Filings
- Registered agents from $149
- Simple sign up
- Online document access
- Privacy and compliance ensured
Swyft Filings is another well-known and reputable name in the world of registered agents. They provide services for LLCs, C-Corps, S-Corps, and nonprofits.
So regardless of your entity type, business size, or industry, this will be a top option for you to consider. Swyft Filings has registered agent services available in all 50 states.
Getting started is simple. Just fill out a quick questionnaire online to sign up. Once you’re registered, Swyft Filings uses automated technology that sends you timely reminders to ensure compliance.
The service starts at $149 and renews automatically. So you won’t have to worry about your service lapsing.
You only have to pay a flat fee and won’t have to worry about hidden costs or upcharges.
Swyft Filings makes it easy for you to view official documents that have been uploaded online by your registered agent. The service is secure, reliable, and protects your privacy.
It’s also worth noting that Swyft Filings has several different business formation plans for you to choose from as well. Those packages start at just $49 plus state fees. A registered agent is not included in those services.
#4 – ZenBusiness — Best Registered Agent Services For LLCs
- Starts at $99
- Included in formation plans
- Online document access
- Privacy and protection
ZenBusiness is one of the most popular and reputable names in the business formation space. While the company is definitely known best for its LLC formation services, they provide excellent registered agent services as well.
If you’re using ZenBusiness to launch your LLC, it makes sense to get a registered agent from them as well.
These registered agent services will ensure compliance for your LLC. It also adds a layer of privacy and protection to your business.
ZenBusiness will accept all important legal documents on your behalf. Everything will be uploaded to an organized online dashboard for you to view, print, or download at any time.
The registered agent services start at $99 per year.
But if you’re using ZenBusiness to start your business, their registered agent services are included with every plan. Those plans start at $129, so it makes sense to bundle the services together.
If you’re starting an LLC need and need a registered agent, look no further than ZenBusiness.
#5 – MyCorporation — Best For Small Businesses
- Starts at $120
- Free EIN filing with formation
- RA included with select formation packages
- Automatic renewals
MyCorporation has been around for more than 20 years. Since 1998, they’ve helped form 1+ million businesses across all 50 states.
As a pioneer and leader in this industry, the registered agent services from MyCorporation are perfect for small business startups.
Getting started is simple. Just navigate to the website and fill out a quick form online. MyCorporation has registered agent services for LLCs and corporations alike.
Here’s what you’ll get with this service:
- Accept official and legal documents on your behalf
- Organize your paperwork
- Pass legal documents to the business owner
- Added privacy
- Receive service of process for your company during legal action
The registered agent services at MyCorporation start at $120. The rate renews automatically every year. You can also add MyIncGuard to your plan, which comes with year-round reminders and tools.
For those of you starting a new business, the registered agent services come standard with the Deluxe and Premium packages. These start at $224 and $324, respectively. If you use MyCorporation to form your business, you’ll get a free EIN filing.
#6 – MyCompanyWorks — Best For Switching Registered Agents
- Starts at $99
- No change of agent fees
- Business formation for LLCs and corps
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
MyCompanyWorks is another popular choice in the business formation space. They provide formation services and registered agent services for LLCs, c-corps, and s-corps.
Since 2001, more than 60,000 businesses nationwide have trusted MyCompanyWorks for their services.
MyCompanyWorks offers registered agent services in all 50 states. I like MyCompanyWorks because they are so versatile. The services are great for anyone forming a new business as well as business owners who want to switch registered agents for their existing company.
Benefits of the registered agent services from this provider include:
- Ensure statutory compliance
- Receive mail on your behalf
- Simple online updating
- Instant notifications for delivery of process, forms, and more
- Additional layer of privacy between your personal information and business
The registered agent service starts at $99 per year.
If your business is already established and you’re looking to switch registered agents, MyCompanyWorks doesn’t charge extra fees for the change.
Registered agent services are also included in the Complete business formation package, starting at $279. Alternatively, you can add-on the service to any of the other formation plans, which start as low as $79.
MyCompanyWorks plans are backed by a 90-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
How to Find the Best Registered Agent Services For You
Contrary to popular belief, not every registered agent service is the same. Some of these options are undoubtedly better than others. With so many choices to consider, narrowing down the best registered agent service for your business can be tough.
There are certain factors that you need to take into consideration as you’re evaluating different services. Keeping the following elements in mind as you’re browsing will make your life much easier:
Business Entity Type
What type of business are you starting? Or what type of organization do you currently have?
Most registered agents will work with all entity types, but some are clearly suited for one over another. LLCs might not use the same registered agent service as an S-Corp. Certain registered agents are better for nonprofits.
Do some digging to see what types of entities the registered agent you’re considering works with. If they work with businesses similar to yours, it should be a good fit.
The best registered agent services will help you maintain compliance with state and federal law.
Look for a service that will send you reminders via text or email to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines or requirements. Some services will provide extra materials and compliance guides. It’s fairly easy to spot the difference between a registered agent service that just does the bare minimum and those that go the extra mile.
Privacy and Security
Privacy is one of the top benefits of a registered agent. The registered agent’s address will be listed as public record, not your home address or office address.
Legal documents and government correspondence can be facilitated through your registered agent. Some will offer mail forwarding as opposed to just mail storage. Others will securely upload documentation to an online dashboard for you to access remotely.
Business Formation Services
The vast majority of people seeking a registered agent service are starting a new business. It makes sense to use one company for both services.
In fact, many business formation services will provide you with an incentive to use them as a registered agent as well. Some will offer a free year of registered agent services when you sign up for a business formation plan.
If you already have an existing business and just need to switch registered agents, the business formation services won’t be as important to you.
The price for registered agent services typically falls around $100 per year. You might find some that are $50 higher or lower. But generally speaking, you shouldn’t be paying significantly more.
Some businesses use their attorney as a registered agent. But that will be much more expensive compared to the services reviewed in this guide.
If you bundle your registered agent service with a business formation plan (as previously mentioned), it’s usually the best bang for your buck.
Your registered agent should be there to provide you with assistance if you have questions or need help.
Whether it be over the phone, in person, or through an online portal, this is an important and often overlooked aspect of a registered agent service evaluation. I’d recommend reading customer reviews before you make a final decision. Most reviews will mention something related to support (whether it be good or bad). These remarks can help sway you in one direction or another if you’re on the fence between a few options.
What’s the best registered agent service? It depends on what you’re looking for.
Northwest Registered Agent is our top pick for customer service, as they go above and beyond to satisfy your needs. Incfile offers free registered agent services when you sign up for a business formation package. Swyft Filings has plans to accommodate all business entity types.
If you’re forming an LLC, check out the registered agent services provided by ZenBusiness. Small businesses should look toward MyCorporation’s services. For those of you looking to switch registered agents, MyCompanyWorks does not impose a change of agent fee.
Regardless of your business type or needs, you can find the best registered agent service for you by following the recommendations in this guide.