Appointing a registered agent for your business entity isn’t terribly difficult, but it does require a little effort on your part. Whether you’re starting a brand new business and need to designate a registered agent for the first time or you want to change your existing registered agent services provider, it’s important to do it right. Here are the five steps to guide you through the process.
1. Compare and Choose a Registered Agent
While some states allow individuals or business owners to serve as registered agents, that’s often not the wisest path. States have minimum requirements for serving as a registered agent and it’s unlikely that an individual or business owner can comply with these conditions. For example, a registered agent must be available at all times at the address reported to the state from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accept service of process and other critical documents on behalf of the business entity. Individuals appointed as registered agents might find it challenging to comply with that requirement because they will want to go out for lunch or even go away on vacation.
For those reasons and others, I recommend business owners find a commercial registered agent that serves their state. Commercial registered agents understand the state’s rules and have systems and processes to comply with them.
Not all commercial registered agents deliver the same level of service and value, so research your options carefully. As you compare them, tune into the qualities that will alleviate extra work for you while ensuring your LLC or Corporation doesn’t miss critical legal paperwork or compliance filings.
- Electronic service of process delivery
- Annual report and franchise tax filing alerts
- Unlimited document scanning and forwarding
- Free online portal for managing compliance and free compliance monitoring
- Volume discounts for multiple entities and multiple states
- Business formation and compliance filing services
- Authorized to provide registered agent services in all 50 states
- Trustpilot rating of nothing less than Excellent
It’s important to note that a commercial registered agent that does more than just receive and forward service of process can provide immense value to your business. Appointing a registered agent like CorpNet, which offers LLC and Corporation formation, compliance, and state tax registration filing services, helps to streamline starting and growing a business. Moreover, choosing a registered agent services provider that offers its services in every state means you have just one contact and one user portal for managing all your LLCs and Corporations, no matter how many you have or where they are located. That can save an immense amount of time upfront and make renewing registered agent services contracts hassle-free.
3. Sign up for Registered Agent Services
After you decide on the commercial registered agent that will offer the most value to your business, place an order to establish them as your provider. Typically, you can order registered agent services via an online form that collects your contact details and information about your company (e.g., business name, entity type, business address, filing state, and filing date). Most providers collect payment for their services online when the order is placed. Businesses that bulk-order registered agent services for multiple LLCs or Corporations or multiple states will want to talk with a customer service representative to discuss how to place their order.
4. Complete the State’s Paperwork
After registered agent services are confirmed, entrepreneurs forming a new LLC or Corporation must add their registered agent’s information to their Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation.
If changing a registered agent for an existing LLC or Corporation, it’s important to follow the state’s procedures. Some states have a specific form for changing a registered office, while others require a general amendment form (e.g., Articles of Amendment) that are also used for other types of changes to an entity.
5. Act Promptly on Notifications and Documents
Service of process and compliance due date notices require fast attention. So when your registered agent sends you a summons, subpoena, annual report notice, or other correspondence, give it prompt attention. Failure to respond to lawsuit-related documents can compound legal issues, and ignoring business compliance filing deadlines can put your LLC or Corporation in jeopardy of falling out of good standing with your state.
6. Renew Your Contract
Most commercial registered agents have one-year contracts. You should receive a notice from your provider when your contract is nearing its expiration date and the renewal fee is due. At that time, you should either renew or change your registered agent before the contract with your existing provider ends.
I cannot stress this enough: do not let your registered agent contract lapse without having another in place!
LLCs and Corporations are required to have a registered agent at all times. Failure to maintain one could mean losing your business entity’s good standing status with the state. And the loss of good standing can potentially result in fines and penalties, losing access to the court system in the state, forfeiting the right to use the business name, or even dissolution of the LLC or Corporation (or revocation of the entity’s certificate to conduct business in other states).
Appoint CorpNet as Your Registered Agent
CorpNet can act as your company’s registered agent in any state ensuring your corporation or LLC stays compliant with any service of process, legal notices, or official mailings.