One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when forming an LLC, corporation, or partnership business is to appoint a registered agent.
Even though you can decide to be your registered agent, hiring a professional resident agent can help you avoid severe consequences such as:
- Penalties for failure to comply with the state’s laws
- Loss of reputation if annual reports aren’t filed timely
- Not receiving legal documents and official notices for your business on time
- Suspension of your company’s licenses for failure to address warnings in advance
Furthermore, in many states, designating a registered agent when filing the formation paperwork for your new business is a legal requirement.
However, not all statutory agents are created the same or offer quality services. When choosing your resident agent, consider the following factors.
1. Consider a Registered Agent with an Office in Your State
As a rule, the registered agent you choose must have a physical address and be legally approved to operate in the state you plan to start your company.
This is so that your registered agent can receive and act on any notices from the state within regular business hours (Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM).
As per this review of Incfile by GovDocFiling, choosing a nationwide registered agent that offers services in most U.S. states can be a great idea. Preferably one that provides a complete set of registered agent services in all 50 U.S. states and tools that enable you to stay updated on new policies and business regulations.
2. Choose a Professional Registered Agent
Appointing a registered agent legally approved to operate within the state you intend to form a business isn’t enough. This is because anyone, including yourself, can be a registered agent in your state.
The next important thing you need to consider is the agent’s competence.
When you designate a professional registered agent service provider, you will not have to worry about getting timely, crucial correspondence.
In this case, you need to choose a registered agent that has been offering services for many years plus has a long track record.
Besides, the agent should have experience working with confidential documents and forwarding them as soon as required.
3. Choose a Trustworthy Registered Agent
Since registered agent service providers handle sensitive documents, you must appoint a trustworthy agent to protect your privacy.
Your registered agent shouldn’t neglect, lose or mishandle crucial paperwork because that can make you face compliance risks.
In addition, your agent must also keep your sensitive information safe from hackers and breach threats.
Your agent must also offer reliable, prompt, and trustworthy customer service.
Better yet, your agent must be able to solve issues fast and always offer help.
To understand the agent’s customer service levels, read customer reviews on their website to see what other business owners who have used them are saying.
4. Focus on Value Instead of Price
Of course, you can act as your registered agent and save a lot of money, but going this route can cause a heavy burden on you and make you face serious consequences.
This is because you already have a lot of work to do and risk missing out on essential notices, which can lead to compliance issues.
Also, while choosing an affordable Registered Agent can be tempting, the price is nothing if you can’t get value for the money you spend appointing them.
You must appoint a registered agent who provides hands-on service and can equip you with extra compliance tools.
For instance, the agent should provide you with state-of-art software that enables you to file timely annual reports to avoid losing your reputation with the secretary of state.
5. Consider The Agent’s Availability
Missing out on official crucial correspondence can make you face severe consequences with your secretary of state.
Since all these are delivered during business hours via mail, you need to designate a registered agent who is available during that time.
This is why it’s recommended to appoint a registered agent instead of doing it yourself because you can’t guarantee that you will always be available to receive official correspondence.
6. Evaluate The Types of Services Offered
Your registered agent must be able to provide a complete suite of services that cater to your business formation to compliance needs.
Ideally, you want to hire a registered agent offering more than just services.
Your agent should have specialists in filing paperwork for LLCs and Corporations, EIN applications, and all other essential business filings required by your secretary of state.
Having a registered agent with all that expertise helps you save time and money and simplify your business formation and compliance process.
Choosing a registered agent for your business doesn’t have to be complicated.
Ideally, you should designate a trustworthy registered agent who will get official correspondence on your behalf.
Another important thing you need to consider is confidentiality because your agent will handle sensitive documents that shouldn’t be mishandled.
Consider all the factors highlighted above to choose a registered agent who can give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.