Last updated: November 8, 2022

If you've decided to hire a registered agent service for your California LLC, this guide is for you. Many agent services are available in California, but it is still best to select the one that is most appropriate for your business entity.

Otherwise, you run the risk of losing important legal documents through the mail or failing to meet deadlines, both of which could put you in hot water with the Secretary of State.

Below is a list of the top registered agent services in California.


6 Best California Registered Agent Services (November 2022)

1 - Northwest Registered Agent (Editor's Choice)

Northwest Registered Agents logo with an office worker in the background

Northwest Registered Agent is a top-tier California registered agent service — they do everything from providing the street address you need to scanning and forwarding every document they receive on your behalf.

On top of that, they notify you of future compliance filing deadlines, ensuring that you file your annual report, franchise tax, and other tax documents on time.

To assure quality service, Northwest Registered Agent also have a US-based customer support team comprised of former attorneys, accountants, small company owners, and entrepreneurs.

Service Features:

  • Registered Agent Services: Charges $39 on the first year and renews annually at $125.
  • California LLC Formation: Basic package starts at $125, which includes agent services, Privacy by Default®, Local Corporate Guides®, free mail forwarding/scanning, and same-day local document scanning.
Pros
  • Privacy protection program
  • Excellent customer service
  • 20 years of experience and knowledge
  • No hidden charges
  • One year free registered agent service in their formation packages
Cons
  • Not the cheapest option
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2 - ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness LLC Service logo with an office worker looking at a laptop in the background

Go for ZenBusiness if you're looking for quality California agent services at an affordable price.

They provide complete coverage of registered agent service with the option to upgrade at an additional cost.

ZenBusiness is well-known for its reasonable prices, transparency, user-friendly interface, and customer dedication.

They have over 4,500 customer reviews online with an average rating of 4.7/5.

Service Features:

  • Registered Agent Service Basic Package: The price starts at $99 without LLC formation.
  • Registered Agent Service Worry-Free Compliance Package: Additional $50 per state. Includes annual filing report alerts, filing of legal documents, two free changes to filings, and coverage for any fees incurred if you fall out of compliance with the state.
  • California LLC Formation: Basic package starts at $39, including a one-year California, agent service and a free operating agreement template.
Pros
  • Low-cost and straightforward price tier
  • Extended chat customer support
  • Received a lot of positive customer feedback
  • 60-day money back guarantee
Cons
  • Low name recognition
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3 - IncFile

Incfile logo with an business woman in the background

If you're a startup or a small business entity owner, IncFile will make a lot of things easier for you, especially with your starting budget. IncFile is the only service company to offer free LLC formation service.

Additionally, its California business agent services are also free in the first year, which already includes 24/7 access to your account on the online dashboard, email forwarding, and customized notifications.

IncFile's quality of service is backed by 13,500+ reviews of positive ratings online with only a few poor ones. They are well-known California registered agents for their ease of use and excellent customer service.

Service Features:

  • Registered Agent Services: Charges a $119 annual fee but offers a free agent service with formation packages.
  • California LLC Formation: Free of charge, so you only have to pay for the $85 filing fee due to the California Secretary of State for the first year.
Pros
  • User-friendly online dashboard
  • Free year of agent services with all formation packages
  • Quick processing of orders
  • No hidden fees
Cons
  • Limited support selection
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4 - Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance logo with a business person reading a notebook in the background

Harbor Compliance provides everything you need from an agent service, from assisting with LLC formation to submitting your statement of information.

They charge a one-time fee of $99 to cover the entire process for a year, with discounts available for multi-year subscriptions.

With great service quality and a maintained A+ rating from the better business bureau, Harbor Compliance is one of the top agent services in California.

Their service features are top-notch and highly convenient for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Service Features:

  • Registered Agent Services: Charges a $99 annual fee, which includes complimentary document scanning, same-day electronic delivery of paperwork, customizable notifications, and more. Bulk discounts are available.
  • California LLC Formation: Basic Formation Package costs $399 plus state fees. It includes a free year of agent service.
Pros
  • Has same-day electronic delivery
  • Has automatic process
  • Features specialized services
  • Free registered agent with formation package
Cons
  • Expensive prices for services
  • Average customer support
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5 - LegalZoom

Legalzoom logo with an office worker in the background

LegalZoom is your best choice if you're looking for a premium California business agent as well as a one-stop shop for legal services.

Because they have already established a significant presence in the registered agent services industry, you may anticipate their pricing to be higher than the rest of the competition.

Their agent service includes service features such as business data protection, a compliance calendar, and unlimited cloud storage.

The premium part of their offering is that they also provide you with up to $1 million worth of identity theft protection.

Service Features:

  • Registered Agent Services: Charges a $299 annual fee and includes features such as business data protection, a compliance calendar, and unlimited cloud storage. The premium feature offers up to $1 million worth of identity theft protection.
  • California LLC Formation: Business formation services start at $79 + state fee.
Pros
  • Has high customer volume
  • Offers wide a variety of legal services
  • Great brand power
Cons
  • Mediocre customer reviews
  • High prices
  • No registered agent included with LLC formations
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6 - Rocket Lawyer

Rocketlawyer logo with an office person in the background

The California agent services offered by Rocket Lawyer represent only a small portion of the company's portfolio.

As such, this agent is best suited for business owners or entrepreneurs seeking long-term legal benefits in addition to LLC incorporation.

They have previously served over 80,000 business entities and are known for providing high-quality legal assistance and advice.

Service Features:

  • Registered Agent Services: Charges $149.99 annual fee for non-members. It also includes storing legal papers in an online document repository and submitting the California Certificate of Formation.
  • Business Bundle Plan: Includes agent services for free for the first year.
Pros
  • Excellent customer support
  • Subscription-based pricing
  • Provides legal documentation
  • Provides support from legal experts
Cons
  • Limited service features
  • Credit card for a free trial
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What Are the Benefits of Working With the Best Registered Agent Service in California?

A person doing paperwork in front of the laptop

A common practice of entrepreneurs and startups is to act as their company's own registered agent since it reduces the costs of starting the company. However, we can't ignore the obvious benefits of using one, which make the extra fees worthwhile.

Below are some of them:

  • Convenient. Many entrepreneurs and business owners want to focus on scaling their businesses instead of dealing with administrative tasks. With the assistance of a registered agent service, they can do just that. The registered agents can handle the tedious paperwork and provide their client with an online account that securely saves all company files and documentation in one location.
  • Saves money in the long run. A registered agent can help entrepreneurs with multi-state companies in submitting legal documents and paying state filing fees on time. This way, businesses avoid incurring additional expenses due to being late.
  • Maintains privacy. With a registered agent service, you don't have to worry about exposing your personal address on the public record once you create your LLC in California. Instead, the registered agent service will provide the address, which means that all papers will be served to the registered office address, including if your business is sued.
  • Highly dependable. Things can get complicated quickly if it involves matters of state or corporate law. You may benefit from the services of a registered agent with years of experience working with other business entities. Registered agents can also provide additional legal services that help you run your business well and keep you on the right side of the law.

How Much Does a California Registered Agent Service Cost?

The cost of one of the top California registered agent services could range anywhere from $50 to $300 per year. Many of these registered agent companies offer additional services as well, such as assisting you in filing annual reports, monitoring due dates and renewals, and providing other legal services.

All of this, of course, will come at a higher cost.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

searching for a California registered agent

Like any other state, California allows any company or individual to act as a registered agent for a California business. This is provided they are at least 18 years old, have a physical address in the state in which the LLC is created, and are available during regular working hours on normal business days.

However, when appointing a registered agent for your California LLC, you have four options, and your choice will be based on what works best for you.

Option 1: You can act as your LLC's California Agent.

Option 2: Your LLC can be its own Registered Agent.

Option 3: You can designate a trusted friend or family member as your LLC's Registered Agent.

Option 4: You can use the services of a California Agent Company, often known as a Commercial Registered Agent.

FAQs

Is It Necessary for My California LLC to Have a Registered Agent?

Yes, it is necessary for your California LLC to have a Registered Agent. According to California's LLC Act, every business entity formed and registered with the state must maintain a registered agent and registered office address in California. Without it, the California Secretary of State will reject your LLC formation filing.

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

A registered agent acts as the point of contact for your business. This means they are responsible for receiving service of process, like legal notice of a lawsuit and legal documents from the Secretary of State on behalf of your LLC.

Can I Act as My Own California Registered Agent?

Yes, you can act as your own California Registered Agent and have the option of naming yourself as the registered agent for your California LLC, which means you will be the person in charge of receiving all important business documents on the company's behalf and the service of process.

What Are the Qualities of a Good California Registered Agent?

A good California registered agent should have the following qualities:

  • They have a professional service
  • They provide the best value for money
  • They provide agent services nationwide
  • Excellent service features
  • Ease of use

Can I Use the Registered Agent Office Address as My Business Address?

No, you can't use the Registered Agent Office Address as your Business Address. It is not intended to operate as your business address. In general, it is only intended to receive official government documents relevant to your business to accomplish the service of process.

Can I Use a Registered Agent Office Address With the IRS?

No, you can't use the office address of your registered agent with the IRS. The IRS wants to know where your business is physically located. At the same time, the address does not have to be in the United States but can be anywhere worldwide.

Our TOP Pick for a Reliable Registered Agent Service in California is...

If you plan to expand your business and follow state offices and regulations while saving time and money and protecting your privacy - choosing the best registered agent in California is essential for your continued service of process.

Our top pick for the best registered agent service is California is Northwest registered agent. They are very reliable, up to date with compliance filing deadlines, and offer a client-focused service with former lawyers and experts in the field.

When looking for the best registered agent in California, you should review key characteristics such as service features, ease of use, and customer feedback. Northwest registered agent has mastered it all during their twenty years of experience in the industry.

Our #1 Recommendation

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agents logo with an office worker in the background
Support
5.0
Price
4.8
Turnaround
5.0
Overall Score
4.9
Pros
  • Privacy protection program
  • Excellent customer service
  • 20 years of experience and knowledge
  • No hidden charges
  • One year free registered agent service in their formation packages
Cons
  • Not the cheapest option

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