Choosing your company’s registered agent is a monumental decision for any business entity, one that can affect the incorporation process of your business in myriad ways.
The right registered agent will make sure that all the legal obligations of your company are met, as well as keeping your personal information safe and off the public record.
The wrong registered agent could carelessly leave your information vulnerable to threats from hackers and scammers. A negligent or inept registered agent could also leave your company at risk of litigation.
How can a registered agent wield all this power? Well, a registered agent is an individual or business entity that receives important legal documents and mail on behalf of your corporation. One mistake and your whole business is in jeopardy.
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 for incorporation:
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
Northwest Registered Agent is my registered agent service of choice because it supplies all the registered agent services that business entities need, at the second-lowest price on my list, and it has the best customer support in the industry.
Northwest Registered Agent has a lot of things going for it.
It offers LLC formation services as well as a full range of registered agent services that include a physical address, which is of paramount importance to many business entities for privacy reasons. You’ll also have someone to accept mail and legal documents during standard business hours, a convenient registered agent dashboard and online document management system, and compliance alerts to remind you of important filing deadlines (like your annual reports).
Northwest is also the only registered agent service on my list of national registered agents to provide free digital mail forwarding and scanning and uploading of ALL your mail to the online portal (most registered agent services only scan the legal documents).
It’s simple to use Northwest’s sign-up system, which allows you to sign up for registered agent service in multiple states from the same portal, a feature that most registered agent services don’t offer. This means that Northwest Registered Agent can support your company as it grows.
The online system is also easy to navigate once you’ve completed the sign-up process. It was designed to be intuitively navigated even by users who lack strong technological skills.
But the deciding factor in naming Northwest the best registered agent service for incorporation is its customer support. Many registered agent services these days outsource their customer support to foreign countries, where they’re staffed with inexperienced and untrained agents. But Northwest defies that trend.
It provides a crew of US-based representatives. Each customer-service representative is a former lawyer, accountant, small business owner, or entrepreneur and they all patiently listen to your problems and go out of their way to understand your questions so that they can efficiently guide you through any issue you have with their registered agent service. But they also go above and beyond by answering any business questions you may have.
Northwest’s customer-service reps have years of experience in starting, managing, and growing businesses, which they use to answer your burning business questions. If you do happen to throw them a question that they don’t know the answer to, they do their best to track it down for you. You can contact them throughout the workweek during standard business hours.
Because no other registered agent service offers this level of customer support, it was pretty easy to choose Northwest as the best registered agent service.
When you add this to the fact that Northwest charges only $125 per state, per year for its full range of registered agent services, which is only $26 per year less than the least expensive registered agent service on my list, there was no doubt in my mind that it was the best registered agent service.
As can be said of many high-quality services, Northwest Registered Agent’s best feature is also its biggest drawback: customer support.
Unfortunately, when you call the customer-support team, you can’t really pose a quick question and get an equally quick answer. They’re committed to providing exceptional customer service, which means that they ask lots of questions to ensure that they completely understand your question or problem before they give you answers or offer up solutions.
They use this practice every time, even when you just want a quick question, which means that in these instances the call may take longer than you prefer. Because of this, it may actually be more efficient to just Google your question.
Of course, this is an incredibly high-quality issue and only a small complaint against Northwest that only happens when you want a quick answer to a simple question.
Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service because it provides all the registered agent services that you need, has an intuitive user interface, charges the second-cheapest fee of the registered agents on my list, and backs its registered agent services up with an exceptional customer-service team.
If you want a registered agent service that’s able to grow with your company as it expands, as well as providing stellar customer service for only $125 per year, check out Northwest Registered Agent here: Northwest Registered Agent.
2. Harbor Compliance — 7.92/10 (Best Full-Service Registered Agent on a Budget)
The reason that Harbor Compliance made the #2 spot on my list of the best registered agent services is that it offers all the services you need and it’s the cheapest full-service registered agent service on my list.
Harbor Compliance is another full-service registered agent service, like Northwest. It offers all the registered agent services you need, like the all-important physical address where someone will be available to accept mail and legal documents during business hours, an online document management portal, your documents all scanned and uploaded, mail forwarding, and compliance alerts (for important filing deadlines like your annual reports).
It’s quite easy to complete Harbor Compliance’s sign-up process, and you can easily sign up for registered agent service in multiple states through the sign-up system. But the standout feature at Harbor Compliance is its cost. Harbor Compliance charges only $99 per state, per year for its registered agent services, which makes it the cheapest full-service registered agent on the market. This is $26 cheaper than even Northwest Registered Agent’s reasonable rate.
The biggest drawback of Harbor Compliance is that while all its registered agent services are satisfactory, none of its services are outstanding.
Harbor Compliance has a range of registered agent services but you won’t find any premium registered agent service options among them. The customer support is adequate and can answer questions you have about your registered agent service, but they won’t answer business questions the way that Northwest does.
So while Harbor Compliance competently delivers all its registered agent services, none of them are extraordinary.
Harbor Compliance offers reliable registered agent services that include a full range of service options to meet your needs. And it delivers all these services for the cheapest price of all the full-service registered agents on the market, without any fancy bells and whistles.
If you’re comfortable sacrificing industry-leading customer support to save $26 per year, then you can check out Harbor Compliance here.
3. LegalZoom — 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
If you’re looking for premium registered agent services, then LegalZoom is the best option among a sea of disappointing premium options. You can think of premium registered agent services as “full service plus” because they include all the services that full-service registered agents offer with the addition of providing extras like identity theft protection or paying for state fees.
As a premium registered agent, LegalZoom offers all the same services that the full-service registered agent services on my list offer, like online access to your documents, compliance alerts, and mail forwarding. But it throws in up to $1 million in identity theft protection, as well, which is a premium feature.
LegalZoom has two very big drawbacks.
The first is its price. It costs $299 per year for LegalZoom’s registered agent services. This isn’t a terrible price for premium registered agent services, and in that regard it’s quite average. But when you compare it to some of the prices of the best registered agent services on my list, it’s quite expensive and the only real benefit you get for the additional price is identity theft protection. It’s $175 more than Northwest, and for that price you could easily choose Northwest and pay for identity theft protection through a third-party company for less.
The second drawback is the fact that LegalZoom’s registered agent service makes up only a portion of its overall services. Because of that, the registered agent services aren’t as highly prioritized as the other services (which mostly consist of legal services such as templated legal documents). With a focus on legal services, LegalZoom’s registered agent service just isn’t very optimized.
The online system is difficult to use when compared to the other two top registered agent services, and the customer support is nowhere near as effective, patient, or knowledgeable as some of the other registered agent services on my list.
LegalZoom is a professional registered agent service with premium services that are ultimately more expensive than simply purchasing services from third-party dealers, and its customer support is less effective than that of other registered agent services.
If you’re already using LegalZoom’s legal services or you want identity theft protection from your registered agent bad enough that you don’t mind paying too much for it, then LegalZoom may be a good option for you. Otherwise, Northwest is the better option.
If you’d like to know more about LegalZoom, then you can go to the website here: LegalZoom.
The rest of the nine entries on my list of the best registered agent services that I looked into while evaluating service providers were not nearly as impressive as the first three, so I didn’t go into as much detail with them.
ZenBusiness is a good choice if you’re looking for national registered agent services online. Its registered agent service costs $199 per state, per year. This package offers an expedited filing process (this means you can jump the line and have your documents filed fast), worry-free compliance notifications, annual report filing, an online dashboard to store your documents, Service of Process forwarding, and a custom Operating Agreement template.
However, if you choose ZenBusiness’ LLC formation services, they don't provide free registered agent services for a year, but even if they had this promotion, their registered agent services are far more expensive than they’re worth in the long run.
If you’d like to know more about ZenBusiness’ other services, read my ZenBusiness review.
IncFile is a business formation service that also provides registered agent service. However, its registered agent service offerings are rudimentary, and it charges $119 per year for these minimal services. So if you’re keen on paying more for scant services than you should then IncFile is your best choice.
Like some of the other entries on my list of the best registered agent services, IncFile offers a year of free registered agent services when you sign up for its business formation service. But when you are eventually charged for your registered agent service, you’ll pay too much for them.
If you want to learn more about IncFile, visit its website here: IncFile.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a cheaper clone of LegalZoom. Its registered agent services make up only a small fraction of its services, much like LegalZoom. Rocket Lawyer charges an extortionate $149 per year for its scant registered agent service offerings, and the level of customer service you get for that price is disheartening.
You can get a thorough account of Rocket Lawyer’s services in my Rocket Lawyer review.
7. Sundoc Filings
Sundoc Filings is one of many business formation services that also adds registered agent service to its list of offerings. But it charges a steep $159 for its meager service offerings, so I couldn’t rate it highly among the best registered agent services.
InCorp provided me with an interesting challenge when reviewing its registered agent service. Like many other entries on this list of the best registered agent services, it also provides business formation service or incorporation service.
InCorp offers the same services as Harbor Compliance and the same price of $99 per state, per year. However, the difference is in the quality of the services. InCorp’s system is troublesome to navigate and even though its customer-service team is sufficient, you really want support that’s better than fair to middling when dealing with such a difficult system, which is why InCorp got such a low rating.
9. Swyft Filings
Unlike some of the other registered agent service companies on my list, Swyft Filings does offer a free annual report service. But it charges an unreasonable fee of $149.
Swyft Filings also offers a range of other services, and if you’d like to read more about them you can read my full Swyft Filings review here.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is another premium registered agent service, but it doesn’t offer much in the line of premium services. It charges $299 per state, per year for its services, and the only premium service it offers is covering any state fees you’re charged for switching over from another registered agent. It’s far cheaper in the long run to choose Northwest and pay for the fees yourself—you’ll receive far superior support.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
Registered Agents Inc. provides the same registered agent service options that Northwest Registered Agent does but charges an excessive $200 per state, per year for its services while Northwest only charges $125, and their customer support isn’t anywhere near the same level as Northwest Registered Agent’s.
12. Jumpstart Filings
Jumpstart Filings continues the trend of LLC formation service companies that offer scant registered agent service offerings, but charge far too much for them. It charges $150 for the same full-service registered agent catalog that everyone else has, which is why it’s at the bottom of my list.
It’s also interesting to note that unlike some of the other providers on my list, Jumpstart Filings offers incorporation service, but it doesn’t offer a year of free registered agent service along with it.
Registered Agent Review Summary
Northwest Registered Agent is my choice for the top registered agent service for a corporation because it offers up all the essential services you need, and it charges a reasonable $125 per state, per year for them.
What makes that price even better is that Northwest provides a customer-service team that’s US based and made up of former small business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants who go above and beyond their duties to answer not only questions you have about your registered agent service or technical issues with the system, but also about owning and managing your business.
Northwest’s registration process is painless, and it has an intuitive system that even the least technologically skilled users can quickly learn to navigate, so it’s a good option to ensure that your compliance requirements are met.
If you want a great registered agent service that will not only provide all the services that your corporation needs but can also support your company as it grows, then head to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Registered Agent Review Methodology
There are loads of registered agent services online these days, and there are a lot of registered agent service options that can meet your needs, but trying to choose the best one for your company from the sea of options can be overwhelming. Since hiring a registered agent is safer than being your own registered agent, I created this guide to the best registered agent services for your corporation. Here’s how I chose the best registered agent service.
Why You Should Trust Me
The reason you should trust my recommendations for the best registered agent services is that I’ve spent more time and energy researching the messy world of the online business services industry and registered agent service providers than nearly anyone else alive.
My experience began when I needed a registered agent for my two businesses: a cafe and a health website. I eventually sold both businesses and then began to search for my next business idea. It came to me unexpectedly when I was talking to my friends and colleagues and quickly learned that they not only didn’t have the knowledge about the registered agent industry that I do, and they didn’t have the time to look into various registered agent options to find the best one to meet their needs, so I began providing recommendations for them.
This practice eventually grew into this website and I now help thousands of business owners to find the best registered agent to meet their needs.
How I Selected the Best Registered Agent
I used a four-stage fact-finding process to discover the best registered agent. I put over 60 different registered agent services through this process, but the list gradually dwindled down to the 12 you see on this list.
Here’s how I did it.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage in my process was reading online reviews and scouring the internet for customer feedback. I found these reviews on platforms like Facebook, TrustPilot, and the Better Business Bureau. By reading more reviews than I could count and sifting through all the information provided in the valuable customer feedback, I saved you the headache of doing so yourself.
In truth, there was no way that I could read every last online customer review because it would have taken me years. Instead, I read the reviews that were more than a paragraph or two and provided enough information to eliminate the more unsavory options from my list, as well as those that used deceptive pricing practices. (More on that later!)
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After I’d eliminated the weakest links from my list, I analyzed the websites of the registered agent services that remained.
Some of the things I looked for included each company’s list of service offerings, the variety of contact methods for their customer service, company history details, awards the companies had won, and the company’s location (namely whether they were a national registered agent able to support your company as you expand beyond state borders).
This gave me a better grasp of what each company provided and what they were about.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Reading online reviews and analyzing company websites is a good start, but the information from these research methods is limited. To get a real sense of how a company operates, you have to go directly to the source and talk to their customers. This is why I chose to speak to customers as the third stage of my fact-finding process.
So that I spoke to a broad cross section of customers, I used my website to reach out to customers to whom I’d made recommendations, as well as visitors to my site that already had registered agents and asked them to provide customer feedback. I asked them about the services they received, their customer satisfaction levels, and more, and they provided me with detailed accounts of the sort of support and the quality of services that each provider delivers.
This customer feedback gave me an honest account of the level of service that customers could expect and overall customer satisfaction levels, regardless of the claims that were made on the company website.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
The last stage of my fact-finding process was to call up the sales teams. I collected all the customer feedback, online reviews, comments, and problems I’d found during the previous stages of my investigation and asked the teams hard-hitting questions about the company’s failings and why these issues existed.
This stage provided me with some really insightful information. Some companies told me that they’d actually taken the feedback I mentioned and used it to improve on their services, so the problems I referenced were resolved. Others dismissed my concerns, some even claiming that the customers who complained were just “crazy” and that I shouldn’t pay them any mind, passing their failures off to their customers.
This stage really highlighted the A-list companies from the rest and instilled great confidence in me about my recommendations.
Here are the rating factors I used to rate each of the 12 registered agent providers on my list.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first rating factor I used was the product offerings of each company.
It doesn’t matter if you find an affordable registered agent service with a simple-to-use system because if it doesn’t provide the professional registered agent services your corporation needs then there’s no reason to choose them.
Some of the aspects I considered for this factor included whether the companies provide an online document management system or simply offer basic mail forwarding service, whether they issue compliance alerts or just give you a calendar with compliance filing deadlines on it, whether they provide identity theft insurance or just make vague claims about protecting your information, and whether they provide any LLC services, or possibly the best LLC formation services.
The providers with the biggest lists of quality services made it to the top of my list, while those with meager service offerings were given lower ratings.
Factor 2: Value
The second factor I used to rate each provider was the value for money that they provide, which is an aspect that varied greatly from provider to provider. Specifically, what I looked for here was a combination of the greatest number of high-quality services and the lowest prices.
So companies with a slew of great features at low rates soared to the top of my list, while those with scant offerings and overpriced rates fell down the list.
While looking into the prices of registered agent companies, I found that there are three different price tiers that registered agents tend to use: budget, full service, and premium.
Budget registered agents cost between $39–$59, while full-service agents cost $99–$129 and premium agents start at $299 per year and go up.
I found out that even though budget agents seem like a good value, you have to pay excessive additional fees to receive basic services (like compliance alerts) which wind up costing you more than many full-service agents charge, and can sometimes cost more than even premium services.
In light of these deceptive pricing practices and my opposition to them, I chose not to include any budget services on my list.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
It’s not helpful to choose an affordable agent with all the services you want only to find that they waste weeks or months of your time during the sign-up process.
To ensure that you choose a company that won’t waste your time, I rated each provider based on how simplistic their sign-up process is.
The companies that provide a low-effort, automated process earned higher positions on my list than those that have lengthy, labor-intensive processes.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Unfortunately, the sign-up process isn’t the only area where a company’s system can waste your time. Once you’ve made it through the sign-up process, it can be a real pain to be saddled with a complicated, headache-inducing system with ancient servers, which is why I chose to rate each provider based on the ease of use of their systems.
I rated the providers with simple and intuitive systems more highly than those with confusing and problematic systems.
Factor 5: Customer Service
No matter how automated the sign-up process is or how intuitive the system is, you’ll eventually have a question about your registered agent service or encounter a technical problem that requires you to call customer support. It’s during these trying times that the quality of an agent’s customer support is critical.
If you’re able to get speedy, competent, and efficient customer service, then you’ll be able to leave the call with your problems resolved and questions answered and get back to your workday. If you encounter bad customer service, however, you’ll be on hold for hours and leave the call with unanswered questions or solutions that leave you more confused than you’d been before you placed the call.
I placed the companies who provided prompt, efficient, and well-informed customer service at the top of my list, while those who took hours or days to respond to inquiries, provided confusing solutions or answers, and didn’t help resolve issues were placed in lower positions on my list.
The Best Registered Agent for Incorporation: Results Summary
After evaluating service providers to find the 12 best registered agent services using my four-stage fact-finding process and five rating factors, I discovered that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent for corporations.
Best Overall Registered Agent: Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
Northwest Registered Agent earned its title as the best registered agent service because it offers a catalog full of quality registered agent services, competitive fees, and the best customer service in the industry.
When you choose to purchase registered agent services from Northwest for $125 per state, per year, you get the requisite business address, an online portal that contains ALL your mail (not just the documents), and compliance alerts. And as a business owner you’ll love the fact that Northwest will keep your personal information safe and off the public record.
But Northwest Registered Agent’s most valuable feature is its US-based customer service team of former small business owners, entrepreneurs, accountants, and lawyers. They not only thoroughly and skillfully answer your questions about your registered agent service and technical issues with their system, but they’ll also use all the experience and knowledge they’ve gained over the years in things like starting, growing, and managing businesses to answer the questions you have about running your own business. They’re also conveniently available during normal business hours instead of relegated to a few odd hours a week.
There are more than 3,000 positive customer reviews for Northwest online, so it’s clear that my experience wasn’t just a coincidence.
To get the best registered agent service for your company, visit Northwest Registered Agent.
Northwest Registered Agent also provides LLC formation service. To find out more about that, check out my guide on the best LLC services.
Best Full-Service Registered Agent on a Budget: Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
If you’re looking for a registered agent that provides all the essential registered agent services for a low price, then Harbor Compliance is a good choice.
It offers the same registered agent service offerings as Northwest Registered Agent, and it charges $99 for them.
Harbor Compliance’s customer-service team can adequately answer your questions about its registered agent service or help you with technical issues, but they don’t go out of their way to find solutions to your problems and answer business questions like Northwest Registered Agent.
Read all about Harbor Compliance’s services in my full Harbor Compliance review.
If you’d rather save $26 than receive outstanding customer service, then you can learn more about Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent: LegalZoom (6.59/10)
If you’re looking for a premium registered agent service, then LegalZoom is your best option. Because it’s a premium registered agent service, it provides all the full-service options that Northwest Registered Agent does, with the addition of providing up to $1 million in identity theft protection and paying for any fees that the state charges you for switching from another registered agent service.
LegalZoom charges $299 for its premium registered agent service, which is $175 more than Northwest Registered Agent charges, but if you’re looking for a registered agent service that also offers identity theft protection then LegalZoom is the best alternative.
To learn more about LegalZoom, visit its website here: LegalZoom.
It’s extremely important that you choose the best registered agent service for your corporation because you need one that you can trust to meet all your business’s legal requirements and keep your personal information and assets safe.
I looked into more than 60 different registered agent services and then ranked and reviewed the 12 top registered agent services using my four-stage investigation process and five rating factors.
This investigative process as well as the thousands of positive customer reviews online led me to the conclusion that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service.
Northwest supplies all the services you need from a registered agent provider, and its stellar customer-support team is competent and experienced enough to guide you through any situation you may face on your business journey. The system is easy to navigate, and it provides a simple and convenient way to manage registered agent service for multiple states from the same dashboard, which means that it can support your company as it expands.
If you want to ensure that you receive the best registered agent services for your corporation, with an abundance of quality services and top-notch customer support from a US-based team of former lawyers, accountants, small business owners, and entrepreneurs, head over to Northwest Registered Agent today.