Choosing your company’s registered agent is one of the most significant decisions you’ll face as a business owner.
The right registered agent will make sure your company meets its compliance requirements and will safeguard your information and assets.
The wrong registered agent will be costly in many ways. It could carelessly list your personal information and lead to attacks from cybercriminals and scam artists. It could also be lax in its compliance notifications, leaving your company vulnerable to lawsuits and other legal action.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a registered agent, it’s an individual or business entity designated to receive legal mail and legal documents on behalf of your company during standard business hours.
I've investigated 60+ registered agents, assessed the top 12, and written in-depth reviews of the 3 best. Here are my picks for the best registered agent services to answer the question “What’s the best registered agent for my business?”
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
There were three main factors that influenced me to choose Northwest Registered Agent as the best registered agent service. You’ll find all the registered agent services you need in its service catalog, it offers affordable rates, and it’s supported by the best customer service in the whole registered agent service industry.
Northwest Registered Agent’s registered agent services have a lot of positive aspects to admire.
Northwest offers a whole range of registered agent services (as well as LLC formation services), including the crucial registered agent’s address to keep your personal information off the public record, someone to receive legal mail during standard business hours, a convenient registered agent dashboard to access your legal documents, and compliance alerts to remind you when it’s time to file your annual reports. One notable facet of Northwest’s services is that it scans and uploads ALL your mail, and most registered agent services only upload the legal documents.
Northwest Registered Agent’s sign-up system is super easy to navigate. This system was designed to be intuitive even for people with weak technology skills. One of its unique features is the ability to sign up for registered agent services in multiple states from the same dashboard, which is a feature that many registered agent services don’t provide.
But the key reason I chose to name Northwest the best registered agent service is its customer support.
These days, most registered agent services outsource their customer service overseas and then employ under-trained representatives who have no experience in the business world to run them. However, Northwest turns that trend on its head.
The US-based customer service team at Northwest is staffed with former small business owners, entrepreneurs, accountants, and lawyers. These professionals patiently listen to your questions about your registered agent service and efficiently provide solutions to your technical issues. But what’s truly remarkable about this industry-leading customer support team is that they go beyond the typical registered agent support to supply business advice and answer questions about starting, managing, and growing your new business entity.
They use their years of experience and knowledge to answer any question you may come to them with, and they’ll find the answer for you if they don’t already know it.
Because it’s the only registered agent service that provides this particular feature, and because new business owners face so many challenges starting out, it was easy to award Northwest the #1 spot on my list.
On top of all this, it has a reasonable fee of $125 (plus state fees) per state, per year, which is only $26 more than the cheapest registered agent service on my list. So, as you can see, there are a lot of reasons for business entities to choose Northwest Registered Agent.
The sole drawback of Northwest Registered Agent is one that’s apparent in many high-quality services. Its biggest asset is also its biggest flaw: customer service.
Calling Northwest’s customer service isn’t as simple as a rapid-fire Q&A session that only lasts a few seconds. Each customer service representative is devoted to providing exceptional customer service.
To make sure they fully understand all the details of your technical issue or questions and to make sure they give you the right answer or solution to solve your issue the first time, they ask a ton of questions. In the end, it’s quicker to just Google the answer to your question when you’re in a rush.
Again, this is only a small criticism of Northwest’s singular registered agent service, and you’ll likely only encounter it when you’re in a hurry.
The reason I named Northwest Registered Agent the best registered agent service is that it provides all the registered agent services that business entities need as well as a simple system that allows you to purchase registered agent services in multiple states from the same portal, an affordable price, and a team of experts to give you the best customer service in the business.
If you want a great registered agent service that can support your company no matter how big it grows and only charges $125, head to Northwest Registered Agent today.
2. Harbor Compliance — 7.92/10 (Best Full-Service Registered Agent on a Budget)
Harbor Compliance graces my list of the best registered agent services not only because it supplies all the essential registered agent services, but also because it’s the cheapest full-service registered agent on the market. For those looking for high-quality full-service registered agent service at the absolute lowest price possible, you can’t beat Harbor Compliance.
Harbor Compliance is another full-service registered agent, quite a lot like Northwest Registered Agent. Some of the registered agent services it provides include scanning and uploading your legal documents, providing you with an online document management portal, and sending compliance alerts for your annual reports and other important dates.
Harbor Compliance’s sign-up process is fairly streamlined, and you can sign up for registered agent services in multiple states easily. But by far the best aspect of its registered agent services is its price. Harbor Compliance charges only $99 (plus state fees) per state per year, which means it’s the most affordable registered agent service in the full-service price tier. In fact, it’s $26 per year cheaper than Northwest Registered Agent.
The catch is that even though all of Harbor Compliance’s registered agent services are good, none of them are extraordinary. Its range of registered agent services covers all the basics, but it doesn’t offer any premium service options. Its customer support team can do an adequate job of answering questions about your registered agent service and technical issues, but it doesn’t cover business advice the way Northwest Registered Agent does.
So, while Harbor Compliance provides good registered agent services, none of those services are great.
Harbor Compliance is a good choice for reliable registered agent services, and it will supply all the service offerings you need to meet the legal obligations of your business. It also charges the cheapest price of any of the full-service registered agents on the market, without making you pay extra for any useless luxury services or gimmicks.
If you’d rather save $26 per year than receive expert-level customer service, you can learn more about Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
3. LegalZoom — 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
If you’re still eager to find premium registered agent services despite the benefits you’ll get with Northwest or Harbor Compliance, LegalZoom is the best premium registered agent service among droves of unsatisfactory premium options.
You can think of a premium registered agent service as the next tier after full-service registered agents. A premium registered agent provides all the registered agent services that full-service registered agents offer, with the addition of extras like insurance or the covering of certain state fees.
LegalZoom offers online access to your legal documents, basic mail forwarding service, and compliance alerts, all of which you can expect from a full-service registered agent service. But as a premium registered agent service, it also provides up to $1 million in identity theft protection.
There are two big flaws when it comes to LegalZoom’s registered agent service.
The first flaw is its price. Legal Zoom’s services cost $299 (plus state fees), which is twice as much as Northwest. There’s a difference of $175 between LegalZoom and Northwest, and the only additional service you get from LegalZoom is identity theft protection, which you can purchase elsewhere for far cheaper.
The second flaw is that registered agent service is only one small component of LegalZoom’s service catalog, so it gets lost among its other services, such as its online legal services and LLC formation services. Because its registered agent service doesn’t get the attention it needs, it isn’t as optimized as it could be.
In addition to those considerable drawbacks, you’ll also find that LegalZoom’s system isn’t as user friendly as some of the other registered agent service providers on my list of best registered agent services, and its customer service isn’t as good as it should be for the price.
While LegalZoom is well known throughout the business world for its legal services and business formation services, its premium registered agent service costs far more than you’d spend if you purchased premium services yourself from a third party and it isn’t as well-supported as some of the other registered agents on my list of the best registered agent services.
It could still be a good option for you if you’re already using LegalZoom’s other services, or if you’re dead-set on choosing a registered agent service that supplies identity theft protection—no matter the cost.
You can find out more about LegalZoom at its website here: LegalZoom.
From this point forward, the companies on my list of best registered agent services are less detailed because while I did research and review them as part of my process, they just didn’t measure up to the three best registered agent services above.
If you’re looking for a national registered agent or a provider of registered agent services online, ZenBusiness is a trustworthy option. It charges $199 per state, per year.
This will get you an online portal to store your official documents, they'll receive and forward all official documents to your address including Service of Process, a complimentary accounting consultation, a banking resolution, worry-free compliance alerts that remind you of filing deadlines, and mandatory annual report filing on your behalf.
ZenBusiness also offers LLC formation services. However, they don't provide a year of free registered agent services as a promotion when you sign up for registered agent services. Their customer support, although effective, is not at par with Northwest's small business advisory program.
If you’d like to learn more about ZenBusiness and its other services (like legal services or business formation services), check out my ZenBusiness review.
IncFile is another business formation service that also offers a minimal registered agent service package that doesn’t offer compliance alerts. And it charges an exorbitant $119 for this bare minimum of features. So, IncFile is a good option for people who are interested in paying more and receiving less.
Like ZenBusiness, IncFile also offers a business formation service package and a year of free registered agent services along with it, but even with that promotion its prices aren’t worth it in the end.
You can learn more about IncFile here: IncFile.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is like a cheaper knockoff version of LegalZoom. What I mean by that is that its registered agent services take a backseat to its other services (like legal services and business formation services). The registered agent services are scant, and the level of support you receive leaves a lot to be desired. But it charges $149 for these minimal services.
You can get a more detailed breakdown of Rocket Lawyer’s other services (legal services, business formation services, and more) in my Rocket Lawyer review.
7. Sundoc Filings
Sundoc Filings is another business formation service that offers squat in terms of registered agent service, but charges a steep $159 per year for its minimal services.
InCorp is a business formation service that proved difficult to rate for its registered agent service.
Like Harbor Compliance, it charges $99 per year, and it provides the same list of registered agent services. The catch is that the quality of InCorp’s registered agent services pales in comparison to some of the best registered agent services on my list. It’s incredibly difficult to use its system. It’s got a confusing layout and it takes a lot of brainpower and frustration to use it. Its customer support is adequate, but when you’re dealing with a system that’s this complicated and frustrating you’d really hope for more than “adequate” support. This is why it didn’t win a higher position on my list of the best registered agent services.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings offers all the essential registered agent services, including compliance alerts. But it charges $149 per year for them, which was enough to land it in a low position on my best registered agent services list.
If you’d like to learn more about the other services that Swyft Filings offers (like formation services), read my Swyft Filings review.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is one of the few premium registered agent services on my list. It actually offers very little in terms of premium services. For $299 per year, the only premium registered agent services you receive are paying for state fees you’re charged when you switch from your current registered agent service over to CSC Global. For that sort of price, you’d save money by choosing Northwest Registered Agent’s excellent registered agent service and paying the fees from the state yourself.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
Registered Agents Inc. offers the same registered agent services that Northwest Registered Agent provides. The drawback is that Registered Agents Inc. charges $200 (plus state fee) for the exact same registered agent service list that Northwest charges only $125 for, and its customer support isn’t as good, either.
12. Jumpstart Filings
Jumpstart Filings is yet another LLC formation service that also provides registered agent service. But it charges $150 per year for what amounts to the bare minimum of registered agent services.
This registered agent provider doesn’t offer free registered agent service for a year, unlike some of the other providers on my list of the best registered agent services.
Registered Agent Review Summary
Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service because it does everything you need and it does it all for a reasonable $125 per year.
It backs its registered agent service up with a US-based customer service team that comprises former small business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants who not only efficiently answer your questions about registered agent service but will also answer your burning business questions, as well. These representatives will even go out of their way to find an answer to your questions if they don’t know it off the top of their head.
It’s easy to complete the registration process, and it provides a simple user interface, which makes Northwest a solid choice to ensure your legal obligations are met and your personal information remains off the public record.
If you want a registered agent service that will provide all the services you want, meet your legal compliance obligations, charge a reasonable rate, and supply consultant-quality customer service, head to Northwest Registered Agent today.
Best Registered Agent Review Methodology
There are countless registered agent services online, and while options can be great, too many can make choosing the best registered agent service for your business overwhelming. This can lead to what’s known as “paradox of choice,” “choice overload,” or “overchoice,” which can leave you paralyzed and unable to make a decision. Because of this, I developed this article as a comprehensive guide and quick reference tool to help you find the best registered agent service for your business. Here’s how I did it.
Why You Should Trust Me
When it comes to evaluating service providers, you can trust my recommendations because I’ve spent more time learning about the registered agent service industry and dealing with it than pretty much anyone else.
This knowledge started when I set out to find the best registered agent service for my two businesses (a health website and a cafe). Those two businesses were eventually sold, and I began thinking of new business ideas to figure out my next move. Eventually, the answer was thrust upon me. When I talked to my friends and colleagues it was pretty obvious they didn’t have the same knowledge of the registered agent service industry that I do, and they didn’t have the time to do the research I had already done. Because of that, I began doling out recommendations for registered agent services.
Eventually, that practice evolved into this website and online company, where I can now help thousands of new online friends (like you) find the best registered agent service for their businesses.
How I Selected the Best Registered Agent
I performed a four-stage investigative process, which gradually trimmed a list of over 60 registered agents to only the best registered agent services.
Here’s my process.
Stage 1: Reviews
I kicked off my investigative process by reading through thousands of online reviews. These reviews were posted on several online review platforms, including TrustPilot, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau. I sorted through all these reviews (both positive customer reviews and scathing criticisms calling businesses out) so that you wouldn’t have to.
I have to be honest here, there’s no way I could have read through every last online review for each of the registered agent services on my list because that would have taken years. What I did instead was read substantial online reviews with more than a paragraph or two.
These reviews provided me with enough information to effectively sniff out the obvious scams as well as the companies that employ deceptive pricing practices, which you can read more about under the “Value” section below.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After I eliminated the second-string options from the list, I went on to analyze the websites of the remaining companies.
Some of the website components I looked at were things like their range of registered agent service offerings, the variety of methods that customers can use to contact their support teams, the companies’ histories, any awards or honors they’d won, and their locations (particularly if they’re a national registered agent service).
This stage gave me a better understanding of each company and what they offer.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
The amount of information you get from online reviews and analyzing websites is limited. To get the whole picture, you have to get customer feedback straight from the horse’s mouth. This can provide you with information about the quality levels of the registered agent services each company provides. So, I reached out to customers of all the companies on my list.
To make sure I got unbiased customer feedback aside from the positive customer reviews online, or company websites, I spoke to customers I’d recommended registered agent service to previously, and visitors to my website who were already using one of the registered agent services on my list.
I asked these customers about their customer satisfaction levels, the quality of the registered agent services, and the quality of support that the company supplies. This customer feedback provided me with nitty-gritty details about how each registered agent service actually operates—regardless of the claims they make on their websites.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
The last stage of my investigative process was to call up each company’s sales team. I put together the customer feedback, negative comments, detailed reviews, issues, and all the tea that I’d uncovered during the course of my investigation and asked the sales teams direct questions about where the registered agent service providers were failing.
This stage highlighted how well each of the companies handled negative feedback and criticism, as well as how they develop their services and products around such feedback. Some companies had the audacity to imply that the customers who had left negative reviews were just “crazy” and I should take their reviews with a grain of salt. But some of the best registered agent services acknowledged those failings and explained how they’d taken the feedback and used it to fix the problems I was addressing.
By the end of this stage I was able to eliminate the rubbish providers from the good ones, and it gave me the confidence to soundly name the best registered agent for your business.
After completing my investigative process, there were 12 registered agent companies left, and these are the rating factors I used to rank them.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first rating factor I examined was the service list of each registered agent company on my list.
The affordability of the company and the intuitiveness of the user interface are inconsequential if the registered agent you choose doesn’t deliver the services you require. In other words, you shouldn’t choose a registered agent if it doesn’t do what you want it to do.
Of course, the best registered agent service is going to do more than just supply you with an address and accept mail for your company during standard business hours.
Some of the things I looked at include whether they offer an online document management portal or just forward the mail sent to the physical address they provide you with, whether they actually provide compliance notifications or just supply you with a compliance calendar loaded with important filing deadline dates, whether they provide identity theft protection or just ambiguous assurance about the protection of your information, and whether they provide cheap LLC formation services, or even the best LLC formation services.
The companies that had the best service catalogs flew to the top of my list, while the companies with bare-bones service lists fell further down the list.
Factor 2: Value
The second rating factor I evaluated was the value for money that each company provides. This is an area that differs from company to company to a great degree.
When I say “value for money,” what I mean is whether the breadth of services is worth the amount of money you pay for them. The companies with loads of services and features and low prices are a great value for money, while companies with meager service offerings and extortionate prices aren’t a good value for the money.
While conducting research for this rating factor, I found out that there are three different pricing tiers that registered agent companies use: budget, full service, and premium.
Budget registered agents cost between $39–$59, full-service agents cost $99–$129, and premium registered agent companies cost a minimum of $299 (or more!).
Obviously, the registered agent services with the best prices were awarded better positions on my list than those with high prices and few services—to an extent.
Another thing my research turned up was the deceptive pricing practices of budget registered agent services. Budget registered agent companies may look like a good idea at first if you’re looking for affordable registered agent services, but upon closer inspection they only seem like a good idea due to deceptive pricing practices.
While it initially costs $39–$59 to sign up with these companies, to get services that your small business actually needs (like document scanning, compliance alerts, and same-day scanning), you’ll have to pay additional fees that add up. In fact, these additional fees can cost you more than a full-service registered agent would, which means they’re not the value they appear to be. Instead, they’re just scams.
Taking this into account, I decided to remove budget services from my list.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
It can be really disheartening to find affordable registered agent services, as well as all the service offerings you need, only to find that the company you chose wastes days or weeks of your time during the sign-up process.
To ensure that you choose a registered agent that doesn’t waste your time, I rated each company according to the ease and automation of the sign-up process.
The providers with the easiest, most streamlined processes took the top spots on my list, while those whose sign-up processes are unnecessarily lengthy and require a lot of work on your end took up lower positions.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Unfortunately, getting through the sign-up process doesn’t mean you’re done. Learning to use a poorly laid-out and confusing system can take up even more of your time. This is why I chose to rate each company based on how easy its system is to use.
The professional registered agent services with sleek, user-friendly systems were rated more highly than those with ancient, confusing, glitchy systems.
Factor 5: Customer Service
In spite of the user-friendliness of a company’s system and its simple design, questions about your registered agent service and technical problems are inevitable. When you have a truly frustrating issue, customer service really counts.
Receiving good customer service can be the difference between getting a solution to your issue and quickly being able to terminate the call to get back to your work, or spending hours on the phone only to receive the wrong information or a solution that doesn’t work from an inexperienced or under-trained customer service representative.
That’s why I chose to rate each registered agent according to the quality of the customer service it provides.
The customer service teams that respond quickly to inquiries and are able to quickly and effectively solve problems scored higher than companies that were slow to respond (some took hours or days!), and then provided vague solutions for problems that only further added to the confusion.
The Best Registered Agent Results Summary
After I investigated and rated the 12 registered agents on my list using my four-stage investigative process and five rating factors, I concluded that Northwest Registered Agent was easily the best registered agent service.
Best Overall Registered Agent: Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
With industry-leading customer support, competitive prices, and a full service list, Northwest Registered Agent landed the top position on my list.
When you sign up for registered agent services for $125 per state per year, you’ll get the essential business address and someone to accept your business’s mail during business hours, an online document management system, ALL your mail scanned (not just the documents), and compliance alerts. Northwest also does an excellent job of protecting the information of small businesses.
But most remarkably, it has a US-based team of customer service representatives made up of experts in the industry who formerly owned small businesses, or were lawyers or accountants, and do a stellar job of answering questions about your registered agent service and guiding you through technical issues. But they go the extra mile to apply their experience and employment histories to answering questions about starting, managing, and running small businesses.
There are more than 3,000 positive reviews online from happy Northwest customers, so I’m convinced that my experience with its professional registered agent service wasn’t coincidental.
If you want to get the top registered agent services for your business, go here: Northwest Registered Agent.
Northwest Registered Agent also provides LLC formation services. If you’d like to read more about them, read the best LLC services.
Best Full-Service Registered Agent on a Budget: Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
If you’re a business owner looking for top registered agent services for less, then Harbor Compliance is a good choice.
Its service catalog is identical to Northwest Registered Agent’s, but it charges only $99 per state per year.
Its customer service isn’t as knowledgeable, efficient, or experienced as Northwest Registered Agent’s, but it does provide professional service to answer your service questions and walk you through technical problems.
Harbor Compliance offers a lot more services than I can feasibly list here, so if you’d like to learn more about them read my Harbor Compliance review.
If you want to save an extra $26 per year, and you’re willing to sacrifice great customer service to get it, check out Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent: LegalZoom (6.59/10)
If you’re interested in finding a premium registered agent, LegalZoom is your best bet. It delivers all the services that Northwest Registered Agent does, as well as up to $1 million in identity theft protection, and it covers any state fees you may incur from switching from your current registered agent service to theirs.
It charges $299 per state per year for its services, which is a difference of $175 more than Northwest Registered Agent. Considering the only additional service you get for that price is the identity theft protection, you’re probably better off choosing Northwest Registered Agent’s excellent services and buying the identity theft protection from a third party because it will be cheaper in the long run. However, if identity theft protection is a key concern for you, it’s still a good option.
If you’d like to learn more about LegalZoom, you can check them out here: LegalZoom.
It’s important to choose the right registered agent for your business to protect your personal information and assets, as well as maintaining the legal obligations of your business.
I took it upon myself to investigate and rate more than 64 different registered agent services, using my four-stage investigative process and five rating factors.
This analysis led to the conclusion that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service for your business.
It delivers a comprehensive range of services as a full-service registered agent and provides a spectacular team of friendly and helpful customer service representatives who are there to help you address any problem you may encounter. It also has a simple online document system and you can easily sign up for registered agent service in multiple states, which means you can count on them to support your business as it grows.
If you want a registered agent service that meets all the needs of your business and backs all its services up with a US-based, expert team of customer support representatives, hire Northwest Registered Agent today.