If you’ve decided to start your own business, LLC, or nonprofit, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of paperwork to take care of. And you’ve probably heard that you need to have a Registered Agent to file in the state where you’re doing business.
We’ve done some research on helping people start their own LLCs, and that’s how we found out about Registered Agent services. It turns out you can knock out two birds with a single stone. With the right Registered Agent, you can not only fulfill the State’s requirement to have an agent on file for contact, but they can also take care of a lot of your filings for you.
We broke down the five best Registered Agent Services, and reviewed them for you. Each one is a little different, with some better at some things like filing out of state, so make sure you read all the reviews to find the one that’s best for you. If you still have some questions, we included an FAQ section at the end.
Do I Need a Registered Agent?
Just in case you’re not sure, you absolutely do need a registered agent. That doesn’t mean you need to hire a service, but it does help. A registered agent is a legal requirement so that the state in which you are doing business has a contact for legal proceedings.
In the best of worlds, your registered agent is only contacted once a year when your annual filings are up for renewal. But in an imperfect world, in which unfortunately we all live, the registered agent is also who is contacted if your company is ever sued or involved in a lawsuit.
Why Should I Hire a Registered Agent Service?
Outside of having someone to take the terrible mail in the case of legal action, professional Registered Agents have expanded their services to include filing all your paperwork for you, and helping you keep ahead of required renewals.
One of the top reasons we selected the five Registered Agent Services we have is that all of them offer exceptional business services, some of which you may have not yet realized you need, like helping you file for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS.
We recommend hiring one of the five Registered Agents below because they’re all cost effective, offer great customer service, and you can customize what services you get from them to tailor them to your costs and needs.
The Right Agent for You
We recommend reading through all the reviews, to find the perfect Agent Services for you. Some of these Agents specialize in low cost, some on their full menu of services. We encourage you to follow the links to their websites, but we’ll include the base price for each company.
ZenBusinesss: Best All-Around
If you’re in the market for a full-service LLC Registered Agent, then ZenBusiness is the service for you. They can walk you through all the filings you need, all the services they can provide, and bundle it all into one easy checkout process.
When you first go to the website for ZenBusiness, you’ll see right away that you can check if your preferred business name is available, or not. From there, ZenBusiness can take you through a step-by-step process, asking with their virtual agent all the right questions to find the service you need.
We took a tour with the virtual agent, and came away with a comprehensive set of services for a one-time charge of $547. This price doesn’t include them taking care of $200 worth of state fees.
For total Registered Agent Services, we found ZenBusiness to be the best All-Around. While the other services we reviewed have a lot to recommend them, and while some are more inexpensive, ZenBusinesss heads our list.
Northwest Registered Agent: Best Customer Service
Sometimes when we want a service done, we don’t want the bells and whistles. If you need your oil changed, having the technician ask about your brakes could just be a waste of everyone’s time. Northwest Registered Agent has a tagline, “We’re Just Not Annoying®.”
Their website gets right to the point. When you click their “Hire Us” button, you select from popular services. If you click Registered Agent, they don’t try to talk you into hiring them to do other things. If you click on “Form a New Company,” then all of their prices are listed right up front.
What really sets Northwest Registered Agent apart, though, is their customer service. They're based in a small town in Eastern Washington State, and they have real people on the other end of the phone when you call. If you ever have any questions about Northwest Registered Agent, you should always feel free to give them a call.
Including a three-day turnaround on the paperwork, the total from Northwest Registered Agent came to $225. We skipped some of the add-ons, but with Northwest you can always back out and start over. And remember, their customer service is absolute tops.
Incfile: Most Affordable
Many of the Registered Agent sites we looked at for our reviews said that they had low fees, but none of them actually had a $0 option—except for Infile.com. With their Silver Package, you can get preparation of your paperwork, filing, and a free year of Registered Agent services, for $0. All you have to pay is the State fee for wherever you’re doing business.
One of the great features of Incfile is that you can look at all their payment plans and options right up front. For instance, if you decided to go with the step up from free, their Gold Package, you would still only pay $199 plus the state fee, and you’d get a whole host of options.
Incfile is a start-up, just like you’re probably going to be. So they have had experience with what small business owners and innovators have to face. You know you’re working with like-minded people when you’re with Incfile.
For all the services you get for just under $200, Incfile was the clear winner for affordability.
Swyft Filings: Fastest Process
Saving money is nice, but sometimes saving time is even better. If you’re in a hurry, and you just want to get the filing process over with as soon as possible, then like their name implies, Swyft Filings should be your choice.
Swyft Filings has a decently low price, coming in on their basic option at $49, plus state fees. Where they really pull ahead in their own respect is how quickly and easily their website is laid out.
From the homepage, you click your type of business, the state you’re filing, and the very next thing you see is a breakdown of pricing options and where you’re at in the process. You can select up to a Premium plan for $299 plus state fees, or you can stay basic.
Their speed is built in to every step of the process, with each form going right to the next. One thing to note, filing with Swyft Filings is so fast you may miss the box to check if you want them to be your Registered Agent. This fee isn’t processed until you’re granted the Certificate from your state, and it is $149.
Swyft Filings is quick and easy. We went through the entire process and we got to the payment screen almost before we realized we were done with the questionnaires. If you want more services it will obviously take a little more time. But for being in and out in under five minutes, Swyft Filings can’t be beat for time.
Inc Authority: Most Trusted
In some circles they say to put “your money where your mouth is,” and Inc Authority does just that: they have a 60 day money back guarantee. That means if you’re not satisfied with the services they provide, you can get your money back.
Not only that, but they have a Trustpilot review of 5 stars—across almost 11,000 reviews. That’s a lot of small business owners just like you having a great experience with Inc Authority.
The process at Inc Authority is simple and easy. They ask you a few simple questions, offer you some add-ons like EIN, Operating Agreement, and website registration, and then you’re done. They even have a free year of Registered Agent Service available.
In the end, not only is Inc Authority trustworthy, not only are they affordable, but they also have a money-back guarantee. It’s the trifecta of trust, and Inc Authority has it.
For all the services they offer, they’re also one of the best reviewed Registered Agent Services out there, which means they can deliver on everything they offer. They get our vote for Most Trusted.
Only you know what’s best for you and your business. After all, your expertise is part of what got you started out on your own in the first place. No one here is going to tell you how to start your own business, just like no one out there can tell you how to run it.
But if you’re interested in a full-service Registered Agent, we recommend the five above for all their expertise, speed, and affordability. In the end, you can always change who the registered agent is on your business, but you can’t ever start over again with the best filing service. Picking the right one from the beginning can make all the difference, and you won’t go wrong with any of the ones we’ve reviewed.
No, you don’t. But almost all of the filing and Registered Agent Services we reviewed recommend filing for the first time as an LLC. It saves you time and covers your liabilities in the future.
Absolutely not. It’s your businesses. The State only requires that you file paperwork, and separately, that you have a registered agent. Many people simply find it more affordable and time-saving to file with the same people that will be their Registered Agent.
It’s not really possible to file without one. So you can’t actually get your business going unless you’re prepared to be your own, or you hire one ahead of time.
Yes, you can. Anytime you like you can log in to your State’s filing system and change what you need to.
Certain things are essential to filing with the state, like Articles of Incorporation. You don’t need to pay a Registered Agent to prepare these things for you, but it can save you invaluable time to let someone else take care of that paperwork.