A Washington Agent or Washington Registered Agent Service is required by law for every business entity in the state of Washington. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that will accept legal papers (documents) on your behalf if it is sued. The registered agent or registered agent service must have a physical street address in Washington and be available during regular business hours.
In my Washington Registered Agent guide, I’ll walk you through the detailed process of when you should get a registered agent or registered agent service for your Washington business, how to pick one, if they are required and how to change one if needed. Typically you’re getting a registered agent when you setup your Washington LLC. Check out my guide on how to setup a Washington LLC so you can make sure you’re following all the right steps in the process. If you are just looking for the professional service to help you – use Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness.
Best Washington Registered Agent Service
ZenBusiness will be the best option for setting up a registered agent service in Washington. They can also help you with getting your LLC formed so if you’re looking for the best option, check them out today!
The best registered agent service you should use is Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness. Both of these are great options for your Washington business but since NW Registered Agent is based in Seattle I think you know which one to go with.
The team is fantastic and they are a national provider that helps a great deal of business owners make sure they have what they need covered. There are other options you could use like finding a local law firm in Washington or trying to do this on your own.
Northwest Registered Agent has worked with the Washington Secretary of State’s office to make sure they are following what’s needed for your business.
I have been using a local Oregon registered agent but the easiest and best solution (especially in Washington) is to go with ZenBusiness.
What is a Washington Registered Agent?
A Washington Registered Agent is no different than other registered agents that come up for business owners across the country. Every registered agent is required to help you with four main things:
1. They help you keep your business in compliance with the state
2. They act as a point of contact for your business
3. They receive any legal documents or important correspondence on behalf of your company
4. They forward this information to you in a timely manner
A Washington Registered Agent is someone who will do all this and be able to respond during normal business hours. One of the key things to remember is that you need to be able to respond during normal business hours and if you try and do this on your own – that’s going to be a challenge. One of the biggest reasons that you want a registered agent service is because they will do the four things above and make sure you’re in compliance too.
This is not a mailbox service like going to FedEx or the UPS Store. That is a virtual mailbox service which you should consider but a registered agent is something completely different like we’ve been talking about. Even if you get a mailbox at a UPS Store location, it doesn’t count – you need a full registered agent service to accept legal papers on your behalf.
Why do I need a Washington Registered Agent?
The reason you need a registered agent is for a few reasons that we’ve been talking about but the most important is that it’s legally required to do so in Washington.
The reason it’s legally required is because it helps business owners keep a filter between them and any legal ramifications that come up. It’s possible to go to the Washington Business Name search portal (found here) to look up a business and on that you’ll see the registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address. Think about that for a moment. If you’re going to be your own registered agent, your name and address will be on file with the Washington Secretary of State’s office and for anyone to look up the details about your business.
I would highly recommend that you think about using a registered agent service in Washington that’s going to help you with this. If you don’t, there is a risk that you’ll have your physical mailing address be on file (which could be your home) and that’s the last thing you need.
When should I obtain a Washington Registered Agent?
The best time to setup a Washington registered agent is when you’re forming your Limited Liability Company, foreign LLC or domestic LLC. Typically the state is going to require this for you to have a valid business so it’s better if you just do this from the beginning.
If you try and setup a Washington business without a registered agent there is a chance you’re going to end up having a dissolved business due to the nature of how it’s required by law. You may even have the state garnish wages and put a lien against any property you own.
You’ll have help from your Washington Registered Agent service with this to make sure you’re not responsible for getting this done and will be setup the right way from the start.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Washington?
Technically yes. The better question is should you be your own registered agent or not. The answer is traditionally no – unless you are a lawyer and have a law firm with a team to help support you do this. The best way to handle this is to just get a Washington registered agent service setup so you don’t have to worry about being your own registered agent.
If you decide this is something you want to do remember that your name and address are going to end up in the Washington Secretary of State’s business name search portal and will be public record. This means that if someone needs to serve you legal papers for whatever reason, they will be coming to your house or whatever physical address in Washington you put on file.
Another major thing that registered agent services can help you with is keeping track of the annual compliance that’s required for business owners in Washington. There are compliance deadlines on an annual basis and you’ll want to figure out in the beginning of your LLC formation process what you’ll need to do.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
The cost of a registered agent is going to vary from $0 (plus state filing fees) up to $300 per year depending on which service you go with. Traditionally if you’re going to form an LLC with one of the formation businesses they will add in the first year of a registered agent service for you. You’ll need help getting your LLC setup so it’s important to pick the right LLC formation service where they also can help you with the registered agent service too.
If you want to figure out how much it will cost for your LLC + Registered Agent service, we’ve put together a pricing table that shows how much each service costs. Simply find the LLC formation business you want to use and then find their registered agent service to see how much it costs.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Washington?
To elect your registered agent in Washington, you’ll need to go through the Washington Secretary of State’s office where you’ll need to fill out the Certificate of Formation. The Certificate of Formation is what the state of Washington looks for when forming an LLC.
You can find the details by setting up an account and logging into the state portal here: https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Washington?
This step is important if you have started off your business as your own registered agent or are looking to move it into a more official national provider vs. a Washington local law firm.
You’re going to need to download the Statement of Change/Designation of Agent and either submit it online or go and drop off the paper form provided.
If you want to do it online – you’ll need to login to your account here and get the details filled out.
If you want to get the PDF / paper form – here is a direct link to it.
Once you’ve filled out the details, you’ll need to drop it off at the physical location here:
801 Capitol Way S
Olympia, WA 98501-1226
Washington Registered Agent FAQ
Does Washington require a registered agent?
Yes – it’s required for you to have a registered agent. You’ll want to find a national provider, law firm in Washington that has services for this or act as your own registered agent.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No. An owner is someone that owns a piece of your business where a registered agent is responsible for handling the legal paperwork on behalf of your business.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is when a business / person handles the legal paperwork on behalf of your business. This means that if someone needs to serve you papers, they will go through the registered agent.
Best Registered Agent
The best option for your registered agent service