7 Best Registered Agent Services in Washington DC (2023)
Hiring a registered agent service is key to successfully starting your Washington, D.C., business. The right registered agent will ensure that you are complying with local regulations to keep you compliant.
To save valuable time for your business, I incorporated my 6 years of legal experience to research and study over 60 registered agent services and narrowed it down to the 7 best options.
In cooperation with my fellow colleagues in the legal field, we evaluated these Washington D.C. registered agent services by assessing customer support, price, turnaround time, and more.
Read on to find out the best registered agent service in this state that you can hire today.
The 7 Best Washington D.C. Registered Agent Services (November 2023)
1 - Northwest Registered Agent (Best Overall)Would you recommend Northwest Registered Agent (Best Overall)?
Northwest Registered Agent is acclaimed for its two decades of expertise in LLC formation and registered agent services.
Renowned for secure and outstanding customer support, they offer a Washington D.C. address for all your essential business correspondences.
Northwest Registered Agent also provides compliance alerts, annual report filing deadline alerts, a simple system, and a team of registered agents who’ve had experience working as lawyers and accountants.
Drawing from our firsthand experience with Northwest Registered Agent, we can confidently attest to their exceptional service quality.
Throughout our interactions, we were pleased to note the absence of response delays or the need for frequent transfers to other representatives.
Their team of registered agents consistently remained accessible, offering invaluable guidance on paperwork submission and promptly addressing our inquiries.
- Registered Agent Service ($125): Includes Washington DC registered agent services for free during the first year if you opt for Northwest Registered Agent to form your LLC.
- Basic Package ($39 + $200 State Fee): This Northwest Registered Agent package includes a Washington DC LLC, an LLC operating agreement, a membership certificate, and a free registered agent for a year (if you opt for Northwest Registered Agent).
- Formation Package ($225 + $200 State Fee): Same business day filing is included in this package, next to free limited mail forwarding and operating agreement.
- A free year of registered agent service in their basic LLC formation package
- Simple setup
- Over 20 years of experience
- Top-notch customer service
- Transparent pricing
2 - ZenBusiness (Best Premium)Would you recommend ZenBusiness (Best Premium)?
ZenBusiness stands out for its comprehensive LLC formation and registered agent services, tailored for businesses establishing themselves in Washington, DC.
They offer a robust package that includes worry-free compliance, customer service excellence, and a suite of tools to help entrepreneurs stay on top of filing deadlines.
Before submitting our LLC registration application in Washington DC, ZenBusiness conducted a name availability search to ensure that the entity name we selected was available.
Their customer support was prompt, extremely helpful, and thoroughly clarified crucial legal questions we were curious about.
We were impressed with the competitive pricing and fast turnaround times of ZenBusiness's registered agent services in Arizona, and our overall experience with their services was positive.
We also recommend ZenBusiness's registered agent services in Washington to other entrepreneurs.
- Registered Agent Service ($199): Includes a Washington DC registered agent, online document access, and expert customized support.
- ZenBusiness Starter Package ($0 + $200 State Fee): The Starter Package helps you start your LLC, usually taking 2 to 3 weeks. It also includes a free month of banking. If you want more services without spending too much, this package is great. You can choose to follow all the rules without worry for the first year at no extra cost. After this period, this worry-free compliance is $199 per year. It makes sure you remember important dates for your business.
- ZenBusiness Pro Package ($199 + $200 State Fee): The Pro Package makes the Starter option even better and finishes the basic paperwork in just 1 to 2 business days. Besides making your business start faster, the Pro option also gives you an EIN for legal purposes. It also includes an operating agreement that explains who does what in the business and keeps business operations well-structured and smooth.
- ZenBusiness Premium Package ($349 + $200 State Fee): The Premium Package builds on what the Pro package offers. It adds ready-to-use business document templates, which make it easier to talk and keep things the same across your business. Also, you get to try a website builder for a month, which helps your business grow on the internet. This builder has lots of easy-to-use designs and tools that make your website show up better on search engines and plan when things get posted on social media.
- Affordable pricing
- Money-back guarantee for 60 day
- Positive customer feedback
- Great customer support
- Fewer advanced features
3 - IncFile (Most Affordable)Would you recommend IncFile (Most Affordable)?
Incfile offers a cost-effective registered agent service in Washington, DC, notable for its comprehensive support and user-friendly dashboard.
Their packages, while affordable, include a range of complimentary services that competitors often charge for.
Although their basic package lacks an operating agreement, IncFile's attentive customer support and prompt responses make up for it.
Overall, our experience with them was extremely positive. We were impressed with the affordability of their registered agent service, which was lower than we anticipated.
Their customer support team was knowledgeable and eager to answer all of our questions.
- Registered Agent Service ($119): This service comes with a personalized Dashboard that enables instant access to online documents. With the Formation package, this service can be free for the first year.
- Silver Formation Package ($0 + $200 State Fee): Includes free registered agent service for 12 months, unlimited name searches, as well as unlimited phone and email support.
- Gold Formation Package ($199 + $200 State Fee): Gold LLC Package includes everything from the Silver package plus an LLC kit with a stamping seal and binder, an employee identification number, an operating agreement, express LLC filing, and a contract library. An EIN is also included.
- Platinum LLC Formation Package ($299 + $200 State Fee): Platinum Plan includes everything from the previous two packages plus a business domain and website, expedited delivery, and a Platinum LLC Kit, which includes everything from the Gold Kit and domain name and a business email.
- They have an extremely useful online dashboard
- All formation packages include a free registered agent service
- Quick order processing
- There are no hidden costs
- Quite a few upsells
4 - Rocket Lawyer (Best Essentials)Would you recommend Rocket Lawyer (Best Essentials)?
Rocket Lawyer is known for providing legal services and support to business owners.
With a track record of over 800,000 business formations, their services include on-demand legal consultations, document defense, and legal document creation.
Additionally, their mobile app provides a seamless experience for creating legal documents on the go.
We found the app easy to download and use, allowing us to create various legal documents with a straightforward interface that significantly simplified the process.
We appreciate the prompt and professional responses from their specialists.
- Registered Agent Service ($149.99): You can enjoy the lower price of this service if you choose the membership option. For $39.99 monthly you can get a 25% discount (this is an option for only members).
- Formation Package ($99.99 + $200 State Fee): This package includes free LLC formation services, free legal documents, and attorney services which come in extra handy if you are just stepping into business waters.
- Free 7-Day trial membership
- 30-Day money back guarantee
- Excellent service team
5 - MyCompanyWorksWould you recommend MyCompanyWorks?
MyCompanyWorks, formerly known as My New Company, has helped form over 60,000 businesses so far.
Customers often compliment their quick and easy process for Washington DC LLC formation service.
They also offer a free business tax consultation, unlimited name searches, compliance alerts, online access to documents, and more.
We put them to the test and we are very pleased with the results.
Their customer service is readily available via phone and email, and they promptly responded to our inquiry by providing us with several links to their website that elaborated on their response.
The application process is straightforward and swift once you've selected a package and any add-ons your business requires. If you have all the necessary information, it should take no more than 10-15 minutes.
- Registered Agent Services ($99 per year): Includes a Washington DC registered agent, online document access, and expert customized support.
- Basic Formation Package ($59 + $200 State Fee): Includes a business entity name search, District of Columbia LLC filing, business meeting minutes, an LLC checklist, Ebooks, digital documents, and operating agreements.
- Entrepreneur Formation Package ($179 + $200 State Fee): Entrepreneur Package includes everything from the basic package plus registered agent services, an EIN, and lifetime access to online forms.
- Complete Formation Package ($279 + $200 State Fee): Complete Package includes everything from the previous package and adds the Premium upgrade, which provides for annual report filing, compliance checks, and business monitoring for good standing.
- Business entity monitoring
- Exceptional customer service
- Over 20 years of experience
- Expensive compared to other services
- The lower package doesn't include a commercial registered agent
6 - Harbor ComplianceWould you recommend Harbor Compliance?
Harbor Compliance is a well-respected expert firm that can provide you with compliance services to keep your business in good standing and perform the traditional duties of a commercial registered agent.
They offer a program designed to assist businesses in monitoring critical annual report deadlines and quickly identifying where they are registered to operate.
We were genuinely impressed with this program, and they even provided us with a 10 percent discount when we purchased an additional service.
Harbor Compliance is an excellent option if you want to launch your business quicker. Their fast response times make it easy to get up and running in no time.
If you opt to work with Harbor Compliance, they will assign you a friendly compliance specialist who will handle the setup of your LLC and address any questions you may have about your business.
- Registered Agent Service ($89 to $99): This service includes same-day delivery of documents and immediate access to the registered agent's physical address.
- Formation Package($99 + $200 State Fee): This registered agent service bundle comes with a year of free registered agent service, articles of incorporation, an operating agreement, an EIN, and a name search.
- User-friendly online system
- Quick service
- Dedicated account managers
- The website can be confusing
- Fewer services are offered with formation packages
7 - LegalZoomWould you recommend LegalZoom?
LegalZoom understands the critical need for comprehensive legal support in the corporate world, so they have assembled a team of impartial lawyers to provide essential assistance.
Our experience with LegalZoom was very good. We found their customer service very knowledgeable, and they offer more generous support contact hours compared to their competitors.
Their do-it-yourself site is user-friendly, offering a simple and effective interaction from start to finish. Although LegalZoom charges more than its competitors, its established reputation and expertise may make you feel more at ease using its service.
However, they are very pricey, and their LLC formation packages don’t include registered agent services, which means you’ll have to purchase the service as an add-on.
- Registered Agent Service ($299/Year): The cost of their LLC formation service is $249 for the first year, and thereafter there is a renewal fee of $299. This service package includes valuable features, such as a 1 million-dollar identity theft protection coverage, unlimited online storage, notifications on important emails, and a Compliance calendar.
- Basic LLC Formation Package ($0 + $200 State Fee): This package offers a comprehensive suite of services including a business name lookup feature, a website powered by WIX, articles of organization, and a digital onboarding kit.
- Pro LLC Formation Package ($249 + $200 State Fee): The package includes all the functionalities available in the Basic package plus an Employer Identification Number, initial sessions for tax and insurance consultation, an operational agreement, and an in-depth guide on acquiring business licenses.
- Premium LLC Formation Package ($299 + $200 State Fee): The package comprises all the features that come with the Pro package. Moreover, you will receive a 30-minute infinite consultation with a qualified attorney and updated LLC formation documents during the first 90-day subscription period. Additionally, a proficient business lawyer will provide you with a practical and personalized LLC formation guide.
- Years of experience
- Positive customer feedback
- Lots of services
- Very expensive
- No registered agent is included with LLC formation packages
How We Chose The Best Registered Agent Services In Washington DC
In our pursuit to pinpoint the premier LLC services in Washington, DC, we meticulously evaluated over 30 providers. This extensive review process was conducted anonymously to ensure an unbiased assessment of their services.
Additionally, we sought insights from legal professionals who specialize in the intricacies of DC's business regulations.
We scrutinized the affordability of each service, the breadth of their offerings, their standing in the industry, and their proficiency with Washington DC-specific legalities, among other factors.
The cost of LLC formation services is a pivotal consideration for entrepreneurs, as it directly impacts the initial investment required to launch a business.
Affordable pricing can make a difference in a highly competitive market, especially for startups working within a tight budget.
Our analysis found that IncFile offers an exceptional deal with its free package, which includes a year of registered agent service. On the other hand, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom also provide competitively priced basic packages.
Northwest Registered Agent offers a comprehensive package at $39, which is remarkable for including a free first-year registered agent service.
2. Services Offered
The range of services offered is crucial as it determines how well an LLC service can cater to the diverse needs of different businesses. Services like operating agreements, EIN registration, and compliance alerts are fundamental for smooth operation.
ZenBusiness scores highly with its worry-free compliance and extensive package options. Northwest also offers a robust suite of services, including mail forwarding and same-day filing.
A service that didn’t measure up as well was LegalZoom, which, while offering a wide array of services, often does so at a higher price point.
3. Turnaround Time
Quick turnaround time is essential for businesses eager to starting an LLC in Washington DC. The faster an LLC service can process and deliver legal documents, the sooner a business can begin functioning.
Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness were impressive with their expedited filing options, ensuring that documents are processed the same or the next business day.
A service that did not perform as well in this category was Harbor Compliance, which had a slightly slower document processing time despite offering quality service.
Customer support is the backbone of any service-oriented business, especially when it comes to navigating the complexities of LLC formation. Effective support can save clients time and prevent costly mistakes.
To choose the services with the best support, we contacted representatives at each service, made basic inquiries, and noted their response time and efficiency.
ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent stood out with their rapid, human-centric support across multiple channels. A company that lagged in this area was LegalZoom, which, despite a broad support network, had longer wait times and mixed reviews on the responsiveness of their customer service.
5. Reliability and Reputation
A company's reliability and reputation give potential clients confidence in the quality and dependability of the service. We examined customer feedback across various platforms, including TrustPilot and Better Business Bureau.
Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness again stood out with high ratings and positive customer feedback for their consistent service.
On the flip side, LegalZoom received more mixed reviews despite its long-standing presence in the industry, reflecting a disparity in customer satisfaction.
6. Ease of Use
The ease of use of an online platform is critical, as it can significantly affect the efficiency of the LLC formation process. A user-friendly interface can simplify complex legal procedures.
ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent offer intuitive, streamlined platforms that facilitate a hassle-free experience.
In contrast, Harbor Compliance's website was reportedly less navigable, potentially leading to a more cumbersome user experience.
7. Local Expertise
Local expertise is invaluable for ensuring compliance with state-specific laws and regulations. Companies like Northwest Registered Agent, with agents with prior experience as lawyers and accountants, bring a wealth of local knowledge.
This expertise is crucial for businesses to navigate the unique legal landscape of Washington, DC.
Companies without a strong local presence or specialized knowledge of DC's regulations may not provide the same level of tailored service.
Steps to Start an LLC in Washington DC
Here are the steps you can follow to help ensure that your LLC is properly formed and compliant with Washington DC's business regulations.
- Choose a Unique Business Name: Your LLC's name must be distinguishable from other business names on file with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).
- Designate a Registered Agent: Select a registered agent with a physical street address in Washington DC. The agent must be available during normal business hours to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization: Submit the Articles of Organization to the DCRA, along with the required filing fee. This can typically be done online or by mail.
- Create an Operating Agreement: While not required by law in Washington DC, it's a good practice to have an operating agreement to establish the ownership structure and operating procedures of your LLC.
- Obtain an EIN: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is necessary for tax purposes and to open a business bank account.
- Register for Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain specific business licenses and permits from the DCRA.
- File a Biennial Report: Washington DC requires LLCs to file a biennial report with the DCRA to keep company information up to date.
- Comply with Local Tax Requirements: Register for any necessary state and local taxes, such as sales tax or unemployment insurance tax, through the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR).
Who Can Be A Registered Agent In The District Of Columbia?
You, any LLC members, friends, or anyone can be a registered agent in the District of Columbia. The two requirements are that you are a state resident that is 18 years or older.
How Can I Change The Registered Agent Address In Washington, DC?
You can easily change the registered agent address in Washington DC by filing an RA change form with the DC Secretary of State through the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs here.
How Do I Lookup A Company's Registered Agent In Washington, DC?
You can look up a company's registered agent on the Washington DC SOS website. You can search by company name and find the listed Washington DC resident agent.
How Do I Change My Washington D.C. Registered Agent?
You can change your Washington DC registered agent using an RA change form with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. It costs $50 to change your registered agent on file.
Can An LLC Be Sued If There Is No Registered Agent?
An LLC or corporation can be sued if there is no registered agent. If there is no registered agent, there isn't a designated representative to receive legal documents; however, if there is a lawsuit, it will proceed regardless.
What is the Best Registered Agent Service In Washington DC?
Choosing the best-registered agent can benefit your business, including flexibility, privacy, saving valuable time to focus on your business, and more.
Among the registered agent services in Washington, DC, these seven companies stood out for their pricing value, turnaround, and customer support.
After detailed research, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent as the best agent in Washington, DC.
Not only do they provide the best price with their registered agent service by including it in their base package for LLC formation, but they also have over 20 years of experience in the industry, high-quality customer support, and a user-friendly system.