What is a Registered Agent?

Andrew C. McGuire

Disclaimer: I may receive affiliate commissions for recommending certain products or services, but this does not affect my opinion of them.  Please do your research before investing in any of the companies mentioned, as I have done my best to give you the top-rated companies I've researched.

registered agent can be you as an individual or business but they are responsible for accepting tax and legal documents.  Sometimes they are called a resident agent or statutory agent.  As you get more familiar with the term it will be helpful to understand what others may call this.

Many states are going to require that you have a registered agent so make sure you check my state by state guide here for your state rules.  You can be your own registered agent but I always recommend using Northwest Registered Agent who acts as the top registered agent service in the country.


As you get started on your journey to start a business it’s important to really think about what you’re going to do for the registered agent you’ll need for it. You’ll start to think about whether you can act as your own registered agent or if you should use a professional registered agent service. I take you through all the details below and you’ll be able to make a decision of what to do for your Limited Liability Company or whatever type of business you’re setting up.

Why do you need a registered agent?

A registered agent is an important part of your business because this is the person that will be served legal papers on behalf of your company. Every state requires that LLCs have a designated registered agent who is available during normal business hours at a physical address in the state. The state needs to know that there’s someone they can contact at the business address during business hours. If you’re business entity is going to have legal documents that are served it’s important that your registered agent information is easily accessible as you decide on your LLC registered agent.

Can I be my own registered agent?

Yes, you are allowed to be a registered agent for the business you are working for. You could also choose identifying a person as a registered agent if the person elected is eligible for such a job as the official representative. Whether you should do this is a completely different thing. If you think about being your own registered agent, you’ll want to make sure it’s something you’re ok with having legal documents served at whatever business address you’re including. You’ll also need to always have someone during business hours available in case something does happen. This can be really difficult for small business owners and especially those that are not necessarily going to be at a physical location or will be traveling through multiple states.

Should I use a Registered Agent Service?

If you think about all the options for a registered agent that’s required for your business entity or business entities, it will be much easier to use a service for this. You’ll have less stress of worrying about what the registered agent requirements are and if your company’s registered agent is going to be getting legal notices. As professional registered agents, you’ll have a service that helps you with this vs. trying to figure out what you need to do on your company’s behalf during regular business hours.

How do I know if a Registered Agent Service is good?

A good registered agent service should have certain things. First, they should be affordable. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a registered agent when you can get quality service for less. Second, the customer service should be excellent. I always recommend using Northwest Registered Agent because they’ve been forming LLCs for years and they typically include the first year of the registered agent service as a part of that process. They are a national registered agent service that you’ll feel good about using as you build your business. I highly recommend using their registered agent services.

Who can serve as your appointed agent?

Each state gives the option to appoint yourself as an employee within the company, as long as it satisfies the above requirements and all other state-specific requirements. There’s no restriction in naming a business for its registered agent. It requires a separate competent entity. You may serve as one or more of the above: Your partner, employee, or member. The business you name as your registered agent may be another LLC, LLP, or corporation. The business named as the registered agent must have a physical address within the state and be available during regular business hours.

When do I need to update my Registered Agent information?

You should keep your registered agent information up-to-date with the state to avoid any penalties or issues. You will also want to make sure that you keep your registered agent information up-to-date with the business address as well as the contact information for the registered agent.

What happens if you don’t have a registered agent?

If you don’t have a registered agent, your company may be at risk of being dissolved. This is because the state needs to have a way to contact you for important legal documents and notices. If you don’t have a registered agent, you may also be subject to late fees and penalties. If you’re going to have registered agents that help you build your business but you’re using your home address because you decided to act as your own registered agent – that means that you’ll have your home address on public record.

How do I change the registered agent for my LLC?

If you wish to switch agents with your local agency or company you can simply send a copy to the Secretary of State. Upon change in registration agent, you must submit the consent of the new registered agent if necessary. These steps are varied in each state. You may find more info regarding changing your LLC’s Registered Agent here..

Best Registered Agent

The best option for your registered agent service