California Registered Agent

Andrew C. McGuire

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A California Registered Agent or California Registered Agent Service is required by law for any business entity (nonprofit or corporation) in California. A registered agent is going to accept legal papers on behalf of your business if you are sued. They will have a physical address in the state of California and be available during business hours.

In my guide on the California registered agent, I’ll spend time walking you through all the detailed questions you’ll have to get a registered agent service setup for your business.

I’ll talk about how to obtain one, where to get the right forms and what it really means if you decided to be your own registered agent. If you really want to get into the details of how to do this for an LLC you want to start, I would highly recommend reading my guide on how to setup a California LLC.

This guide will make sure you’re following the right steps in the process. If you’re just looking for the quick and easy way of getting this done, I would highly recommend you use ZenBusiness who will do all the hard work for you.

Best California Registered Agent Service

When you consider registered agent services and whether they have a California business address you can do your own due diligence or just go with ZenBusiness. The other option I typically recommend is looking at Northwest Registered Agent because they specialize in just the Registered Agent service vs. using a service for a full LLC incorporation. Either way you go, you’ll need to make sure it’s all processed with the California Secretary of State’s office and the physical street address you use will be in public record.

What is a California Registered Agent?

A California Registered Agent is no different than any other state. A registered agent is going to accept business mail on your behalf if you’re sued. They are required to be accessible during business hours and most registered agent services will do this across the country but you can also find a law firm in California that may offer services like this too. Either way it’s important that you look for the best registered agent service that you can find that will follow what’s needed by the California Secretary of State’s office to make it official. Every small business is going to need to have their registered agent’s name and make sure they are open during normal business hours.

Why do I need a California Registered Agent?

The state of California requires that any business entity (corporation or LLC) have a registered agent. The state wants to be able to get in touch with your business if there are any legal issues and this is the way they will do it. You’ll need to list the name and address of your registered agent on all public filings whether it’s a California LLC or another type of business entity. Registered Agents may seem like overkill and you can handle it on your own but being your own registered agent isn’t the best. You’d have to be available during regular business hours and your home address would show up in public record. You don’t want that. Use Northwest or Harbor Compliance to help you.

When should I obtain a California Registered Agent?

Getting your business documents in order and doing this while you’re incorporating your business is when you should do this. If you’re doing this after the fact it’s going to be an issue. California registered agents are going to be an important piece of incorporating your business so please go do it as you incorporate your business and pay whatever filing fees you need to. You can use your registered agent’s address as a part of the process just like many other business owners have done over the years. They will accept legal documents on your behalf and should respond in a timely manner. If you’re getting legal notices and your registered agent isn’t responding or notifying you then you have an issue and should get a new service to help you.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In California?

Technically you can be your own registered agent but as I’ve said – it’s not a good idea. Doing this will cause personal issues and if you try and do some type of mail forwarding to your business address that’s an issue too. You want to have another entity that’s responsible to accept legal mail and make sure you’re not having to deal with this. You should be focused on building your business.

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

The cost of a registered agent is going to be different based on the service you use but it’s going to be around $100 – $300 per year. This is a nominal fee to pay considering you’re getting help with your business and making sure you’re doing everything correctly. If you try and do this on your own it’s going to cost you a lot more in the long run.

What Happens If I Don’t Have a Registered Agent?

If you don’t have a registered agent then your business isn’t going to be in compliance with state law. You could get fined or your business could be shut down if you’re not following the law.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In California?

You’re going to want to use a service like Northwest or Harbor Compliance because they will help you with this process and make sure it’s done correctly. They will also help you with the rest of your incorporation so that everything is seamless and you’re not having any issues.

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In California?

If you need to change your registered agent you’re going to have to file a statement with the Secretary of State’s office. You can go here to get the right forms to do this. You can do this yourself or you can use a service like Northwest or Harbor Compliance to help you.

Registered Agent FAQs

Does California require a registered agent?

Yes, California requires a registered agent for businesses.

Does registered agent mean owner?

No, a registered agent is not the same as a business owner. It also doesn’t mean you’re a managing member of the business. These should not be the same.

What is a registered agent service?

A registered agent service is a company that will help you with the process of incorporating your business and make sure you’re in compliance with state law. They will also accept legal documents on your behalf and notify you if something comes up.

Best Registered Agent

The best option for your registered agent service