Registered Agent Service: Do I Need One?

Incorporating a business is no easy task. There are several details you need to iron out before finishing the process. One of these is your registered agent, who will act as the intermediary between your new company and the government.

However, the question is, do you really need one for your business? The short answer is yes, you do. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that every US state requires it from all business legal entities operating in their state.

With that said, aside from being mandated by law, why else would you need a registered agent? Moreover, do you really need to hire one, or could you serve as one yourself?


What Do Registered Agents Do for Companies?

Registered agents are persons or businesses that serve as intermediaries between your company and the government. They are responsible for accepting essential documents on your behalf and forwarding them to you later on.

They are required to keep a physical address and operate in the same state your corporation was formed in, allowing the government and other parties to contact them if they need something handed to you.

Aside from this, registered agent services should be present at their office during business hours to receive any necessary documents for you. This is because the state can only deliver these documents during typical business hours (usually around 9 AM to 5 PM), and someone needs to receive them.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

Being a registered agent entails few restrictions, but this can vary from state to state. However, the general qualifications for a registered agent are:

  • Has a physical address within the state of formation
  • Is at least 18 years old
  • Can be physically present in that address during business hours

Considering these, it’s entirely possible for you to serve as your company’s registered agent. However, this can result in various issues, which is why most advise against doing it. 

There are plenty of companies offering registered agent services. Most incorporation service providers even include the service in their packages for a limited time. 

Some incorporation services include this in their packages, usually around six months to a year. Meanwhile, others have this service as an add-on to their existing packages. 


Do You Need One?

As mentioned, the answer to this is yes, you do. This is because all US states require this from businesses seeking to incorporate and form their companies. In fact, some states won’t accept your articles of incorporation if you don’t have a registered agent.

As such, if you want to incorporate and continue operating as a company, you need a registered agent for your business. There are other benefits to hiring a registered agent service, some of which will be highlighted below.


Benefits of a Registered Agent Service

Besides needing one to comply with state requirements, why else would you need a registered agent for your newly formed company?

a) Privacy Concerns

Hiring a registered agent service from outside your company can help ensure your privacy and secure your identity. 

This is because a registered agent’s address is accessible in public records, which can pose a problem if you want to keep your private and work life separate.

Moreover, an outsourced registered agent can mean fewer potential embarrassing moments for you and your employees. You can avoid scenarios like being served legal action while dealing with clients or employees.

b) Ongoing Compliance

Running a business can be challenging as there are many aspects of the company you need to supervise. Because of this, it can be easy for compliance deadlines and reminders to fall through the cracks. 

A registered agent can help you keep track of deadlines and remind you when you need to file the documents to meet state requirements.

Moreover, professional registered agents are inherently familiar with the ins and outs of compliance requirements, allowing them to optimize the system and ensure you stay on track while running your business.

c) Flexibility

One of the perks of running a business is that you don’t strictly conform to regular business hours. However, if you decide to serve as your own registered agent, you will have to do so.

Hiring an external company for registered agent services can give you more flexibility with your time and schedule, not needing to stay in the office during business hours. 

This can allow you to utilize this time and direct your energy to more critical aspects of your business.

d) Organization

Essential documents aren’t the only types that companies receive; they also receive junk mail and spam. 

With a registered agent, they can sort through all your mail for you, making sure that you receive only crucial documents needed for the business.

You can just focus on running your business and leave the hassles of sorting through mail to your registered agent.

e) Versatility

If you’re conducting business in states beyond your original state of formation, you will need a registered agent in every state. They can help you keep things in order in every state your business is operating, allowing you to focus on other and more critical aspects of your company.

f) Consistency

States require that businesses update their registered agent’s information whenever there’s been a change in their address or identity. If you appointed an individual, it could be challenging for them to remember to do this.

With a registered agent service, you don’t have to worry about updating the information yourself, as they will be the ones to do it for you.

g) Professional Services

Suppose you appoint yourself or another individual to handle this task. In that case, some details may fall by the wayside, especially if they have other obligations. 

Hiring an external registered agent service will ensure that the job is being done well. You don’t have to micromanage everything they do. You can just focus on running your business and making sure it’s successful and thriving.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to the question “do you need a registered agent service,” the answer is usually yes, you do.

However, if you’re incorporating in the US, then you absolutely need a registered agent for your company. Not only is it a requirement by US states, but it can also help you address several concerns you may encounter as a newly formed company.

From sorting through your junk mail to ensuring that you comply with state requirements on time, a registered agent service can help you conserve your time and energy so you can direct it towards other vital aspects of your business.

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent

Pricing: $125/year

Who Should Use It: 

If you are willing to pay a little more for top-notch customer support and want to combine virtual office and mail forwarding services with registered agent service.


  • Top-notch customer service. Great Phone Support. 
  • Focus on Privacy.
  • Documents are scanned on the same day they are received. Mail forwarding is also available.
  • Money back refund possible within 90 days
  • No hidden charges. They handle all fees associated with the change in RA (good if you plan to change your registered agent).


  • Not the cheapest. Zenbusiness is slightly cheaper.
Get Best PriceFull Review


Pricing: $99/year

Who Should Use It: If you need a basic reliable registered agent service at a great price, ZenBusiness is a good choice.


  • Affordable pricing. Plans start from $99/year. Offers free registered agent service with its incorporation service
  • Convenient online dashboard for documents
  • Offers business formation services
  • It is a public benefit corporation.
  • BBB accredited (A-) and positive word of mouth on internet communities.


  • Does not forward mails.
  • No pro-rated refunds.
Get Best PriceFull Review


Pricing: $119/year. Free for the first year if you use their incorporation service.

Who Should Use It: If your objective is to minimize the startup costs in the first year, Incfile is a decent choice.


  • Automatic mail forwarding service. Email and SMS notifications
  • Free for the first year if you also incorporate your business with Incfile.
  • It will cost you $119/year as a standalone service.


  • Customer reviews and word of mouth is mixed. Many customers complain about slow TAT and long waiting time for customer support.
  • Lots of upsells. You may just choose to ignore it.
Get Best PriceFull Review


Pricing: $299/year

  • One of the oldest brands with a high number of customers.
  • 60 days money-back guarantee. 
  • The price is very high as they charge $299/year for standalone registered agent service.
Get Best PriceFull Review
Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance

Pricing: $99/year. It is reduced to $89/year if you opt for a 3+ years package.

Who Should Use It: If you are looking for reliable registered agent services that help track regulatory requirements and promptly notify about lawsuits, Harbor Compliance is a good choice.


  • Affordable pricing and no hidden fees. Price starts from $99 a year. Multiyear discounts.
  • Annual reports notification.
  • Same-day document scanning and delivery.
  • You get phone notifications of lawsuits. Other companies generally notify via email.


  • No refund if you cancel the service.
  • They do not offer physical delivery of mail


Get Best PriceFull Review
Rocket Lawyer

Rocket Lawyer

Pricing: $150/year

Who Should Use It: Medium-sized or Start-up Business owners who want to take advantage of Rocket Lawyer’s legal subscription services and don’t mind paying to pay a little extra to get their legal needs fulfilled in one place. 


  • Support from legal experts. You can avail all kinds of legal services in one place.
  • Prompt customer service and Money-back guarantee
  • You do not get free registered agent service with the business formation.
  • Good customer support. Good reputation among users.


  • Price is on the higher side.
  • No pro-rated or full refund option even if you cancel.
Get Best PriceFull Review

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: