Business Basics: A Closer Look at Registered Agent Services

If you’ve been following our Business Basics series, you’ll know we’ve already covered registered agents, and briefly explained what it is they actually do. However, people still had questions about registered agents, as well as the benefits and pitfalls with choosing a third-party service like registered-agent.com. So we decided to re-visit the topic and dedicate a post to answering some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received. Also, if you haven’t read it already, we recommend first reading our last post on registered agents as it answers the more basic questions.

In what situations would I need to designate a third-party as my registered agent?

A registered agent is needed anytime you form an LLC or incorporate, and you typically will want to name a third-party as your registered agent if:

  • You formed your LLC or Corporation outside of your home state.
  • You don’t have a physical address
  • You cannot guarantee you’ll be in your office from 8 AM to 5 PM

States require that a registered have a physical address in the state you do business in and that the agent is available during normal operating hours.┬áNaming a third-party registered agent solves these issues since it is their job to be available to receive important paperwork. And, if the registered agent service has a multi-state presence, you’ll be able to go with that central agency even if you decide to expand outside of your home state, which makes the whole process much simpler.

Couldn’t I just have a friend who lives in-state act as my registered agent?

You sure can! Like we said above, anyone with a physical address in the state you do business in can act as your registered agent. However, there are some pitfalls with choosing a non-professional to provide RA services. The first is that you really, really have to trust this person – not only will they be responsible for receiving services of process, but the state usually delivers important reminders and forms to your registered agent. If they blank on passing those forms off to you, you could find yourself falling out of compliance with the state. Sometimes it is just worth paying for professional services.

What are the benefits in choosing a professional registered agent outside of my business?

Everyone in your company, including you, is going to be insanely busy as the business is being built and grown. Since you don’t need many qualifications to be a registered agent, most business owners assume that isn’t a very important role and that they, or someone else in the company, can handle it. However, do you have the time to sit down and separate junk mail from important notices? Do you know how to respond to state and legal notices? Do you know when, exactly, everything needs to be filed by? These are things you can learn, but if you’re already busy running a business, it is all too easy to forget about that growing pile of mail. A good, trustworthy, professional registered agent can file all necessary renewals, keep you up to date on what the state is asking from you, and discretely inform you of any legal matters.

Registered agents perform an important, but largely misunderstood, role in a business. They act as confidant and gate-keeper, sorting through the mail and notices sent in by the state and helping keep your business in compliance. Because of the role they play, you really need to consider your options carefully before choosing a registered agent.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or call us at 1 (877) 692-6772 – we’re happy to help out!

About Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.