Wherever you’re starting your business, or whether your business is a corporation or an LLC, you are required to have a registered agent, as well as a registered office. A registered agent is simply a person or an entity that’s appointed to accept service of process and official mail on behalf of your business. In many states, you can appoint your business or yourself to be your own registered agent. But is this better for you, or should you hire a registered agent? In this article we’re going to discuss reasons why you may or may not want to do this.
Your registered agent needs to have a physical address that’s within the state in which the company is registered, and a post office does not suffice for this. There has to be a brick and mortar location that one can go to in order to deliver mail or service of process. You can put down your home address if you’d like, but if you live outside the state your business is in then the need for a separate registered agent becomes all the more pressing. This is also great for small, web-based businesses who don’t have an official single location and don’t want to put down their house.
If you choose to list yourself as your business’ registered agent, you will likely be listing your home address as the business’ point of contact. This puts your privacy at risk, as your home address goes on public record, so anyone who wants to find you can do so with ease. This can be a concern for some people – and if this seems like you it may be a better idea to get a registered agent, as their address will be listed instead.
The cost of a registered agent service is around $100 to $300 yearly. For many business owners, this fee is well worth not having to do various things like track official notices and annual report due dates. Hiring a registered agent means they should have a system in place, to track and notify you when things like annual reports are due, as well as keeping your business in consistency with the state, so that you don’t need to stress over it. Likewise, all significant documents will be kept in one spot and you don’t need to monitor them, so you won’t meet any surprises.
A registered agent is also required to be available during regular business hours, to take service of process and official notices from the state. This can be difficult, especially if you’re a small business owner and you’re not able to stay in the office all day, but can’t afford to hire employees who can either. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, you may prefer to work irregular work hours, and so a registered agent can help fix this problem.
If your business is doing well and you have locations in more than one state, you’ll need to register in every single state. Of course, it may not be possible for you to have employees or a physical location in every state you work in. so for this reason, many businesses choose to hire registered agents instead, in order to comply with state regulations and be sure all important notices are kept in one place, with their registered agent.
For many small businesses hiring a registered agent doesn’t make sense – particularly if you have regular hours, have a storefront or don’t care about privacy, and only operate in their home state. If that’s you, maybe a registered agent isn’t for you. But if any of the reasons above apply to you, maybe you should consider hiring a registered agent.
TRUiC shows many registered agents on their site, along with detailed, neutral reviews. Be sure to visit their site if you want to choose a registered agent for you.