How to Become a Registered Agent (The Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 21, 2024
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Every state has its rules and requirements regarding who can serve as a registered agent.

If you plan on being your own registered agent, you must know how to do this legally.

Our team has successfully navigated the complexities of becoming registered agents for our own business, acquiring a comprehensive knowledge of the process.

In this article, we will discuss who can be a registered agent, what a registered agent service does, and how you can become a resident agent.

Quick Summary

  • To become a registered agent, you must be over 18, reside in the state, be available during business hours, and provide a physical address.
  • Requirements for a registered agent include having a physical address in the state, being available during business hours, and being at least 18 years old.
  • According to the National Business Association, over 60% of new businesses will use a registered agent service to ensure compliance and proper legal document handling.
  • Using a professional registered agent service, in my opinion, provides peace of mind and helps avoid potential legal and operational oversights.

What Is A Registered Agent?

A registered agent working on a laptop

A registered agent is an individual or service entity designated by a business entity to receive and process legal documents, notices, and other documents on behalf of the business [1].

The business is in charge of ensuring that the statutory agent's physical address is up to date.

The registered agents must give the documents to the correct person once received, and they must be available during regular business hours to accept documents.

To become the registered agent, you must file a written acceptance that includes the registered agent's address and zip code along with a signature.

You can also appoint registered agents online when completing formation paperwork.

What Is Needed To Become A Registered Agent?

A person doing paperwork to become a registered agent

To become a registered agent, there are several qualifications that service companies or an individual must meet:

  • Must be a resident of the state
  • Must be available during regular business hours every day of the year
  • Must provide a physical address, name, and other information that will be made public

Every business is required to maintain a registered agent in the state the company was formed to conduct business.

From my experience as a business advisor, I've observed that one key reason a limited liability company opts for a commercial registered agent is their guaranteed availability during required business hours and the provision of a registered office address in the state.

"As a registered agent, you need a physical address within the state where you can receive official documents and notices; P.O. Box addresses are not permitted because legal documents are usually served in person."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

Who Is Qualified To Provide Registered Agent Services?

Anyone age 18 or older or a business located within the state is qualified to provide professional registered agent services.

Specific requirements can vary by state; however, there are some commonalities.

The registered agent's address needs to be a physical office address located within the state so that they can receive mail, and a post office box is not allowed.

A registered agent needs to be reachable every day of the year during normal business hours to act as the company's registered agent. According to recent surveys by the Corporate Service Providers Association, nearly 85% of businesses emphasize the necessity of having a dependable registered agent to ensure continuous legal compliance and efficient handling of official documents.

You can choose an employee to be your registered agent, or you can use a lawyer or accountant as your professional registered agent service company.

If you are creating limited liability companies in the state, you can act as your own registered agent.

However, being your own registered agent might be difficult if you aren't available during required business hours.

You should consider the risks of being your own registered agent.

What Is A Commercial Registered Agent Service?

A commercial registered agent in an office working

A commercial registered agent service is a registered agent business that represents multiple companies.

These services receive and forward mail from the Secretary of State, legal services, legal notices, and more.

What Services Does A Registered Agent Provide?

A registered agent provides the service of receiving legal, tax, and other official notices.

They also accept service of process or lawsuit notifications for your business.

Statutory agent providers also provide additional services, including:

  • Providing a physical address for the registered agent service
  • Being reachable during regular business hours for the company
  • Accepting legal services and lawsuit notifications for the business
  • Forwarding mail, lawsuit notices, or tax notices to the company
  • Filing annual tax reports


What Are The Drawbacks Of Becoming My Own Registered Agent?

The drawbacks of becoming your own registered agent are that you have to be available every day of the year during regular business hours; if you miss filing deadlines, this can result in fines or court summons, and more. You will also need to have your private information on the public record.

How Much Does A Typical Registered Agent Service Cost?

A typical registered agent service can cost between $50 to $300 per year. Different services have different costs. Some services roll in a free year of registered agent service with their filing packages.

Is The Registered Agent Office And The Principal Business Office The Same?

No, they are not the same. The registered office is the registered agent's physical address, and the principal office is the office address of the business where books and records are kept.



About The Author

Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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