Getting the right Iowa registered agent is an important step for any new business.
The right Iowa registered agent will responsibly safeguard your personal assets and keep your business in compliance with the Iowa Secretary of State.
The wrong Iowa registered agent will expose your personal data and assets, mishandle your critical documents, and overcharge you for the trouble.
I’ve investigated 60+ registered agents, assessed the top 12, and written in-depth reviews of the three best. Here are my picks for the best registered agent service in Iowa:
Table of Contents
1. Northwest Registered Agent – 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
Northwest Registered Agent is my choice for the best registered agent in Iowa because they are the most trustworthy, accountable and knowledgeable registered agent service available in Iowa and they charge a very competitive rate.
Northwest Registered Agent has mastered the essential tasks of acting as a registered agent. They provide an Iowa registered office address, allowing you to keep your own name and address off the public record, and they can be trusted to keep your personal data safe.
As your registered agent, they are also responsible for service of process, other legal documents and communications from the Secretary of State. Northwest Registered Agent takes this responsibility seriously and will promptly forward your mail as well as scan and upload it to your online portal.
Their website is very user-friendly and intuitive, saving your precious time to focus on other aspects of running your business. They also offer compliance alerts and a compliance calendar to help you keep track of filing deadlines and avoid a late filing fee or other penalties.
If you do run into trouble with your Certificate of Organization or anything else related to the company’s paperwork, Northwest Registered Agent has the best customer service team in the industry. Your call will be answered by customer service reps who have experience as lawyers, accountants and small business owners. They have the knowledge to answer any question you may have and the patience to answer that question more than once should things get complicated.
Despite a great reputation, extensive service offerings and amazing customer service, they charge just $125 per year, making them very affordable compared with other reputable registered agent services
As great as their customer service reps are, they can get pretty close to the adage “too much of a good thing…” on occasion.
Sometimes what you assumed would be a short conversation about a fairly simple question goes a little longer than you would hope. It is all a part of their quest to be thorough with their answers, but it can be a little too much sometimes if you’re in a big hurry.
That’s not much of a complaint when you consider how important it is to be accurate and thorough in the registered agent business. A registered agent who misguides you or omits critical information could cost you a pretty penny. This would never happen with Northwest Registered Agent.
If I have to stay on the phone a little longer than I hoped every once in a while in exchange for knowing I’m being pointed in the right direction, so be it.
Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service in Iowa.
For the very competitive rate of $125 per year, they will protect your personal assets and give your business the best chance to stay in good standing with the state of Iowa.
And should you run into any legal, filing or regulatory issues, there’s no one better than the customer service department at Northwest Registered Agent to guide your business through to better days.
If you want a registered agent that will responsibly guard your privacy and personal assets and assure your business remains in good standing with the state of Maine, head to Northwest Registered Agent.
2.Harbor Compliance – 7.92/10 (Best Budget Registered Agent)
Harbor Compliance is a no-frill service that fulfills all of a registered agent’s legal obligations as set out by the Iowa Secretary of State. They provide a registered office address which is available during normal business hours to accept and forward your mail and legal notices.
They also have a fairly simple website with an online portal to which they will upload a scanned copy of any critical mail your business has received. Should you receive service of process or something extremely time-sensitive, they will even alert you with a phone call.
Harbor Compliance also offers compliance alerts, which is pretty rare for a budget registered agent service, but it’s the price ($99) that attracts most of their customers.
Despite their reliability and some premium offerings, Harbor Compliance definitely skimps on some offerings in order to maintain such a low price. They do a lot of things well but nothing jumps out at you as particularly great.
Their website is fully functional but prone to lagging at times, and customer service will help you resolve any issues but they are not particularly fast with their responses. You can do better elsewhere (although not at this price).
In general, Harbor Compliance seems pretty content to stay in the budget lane and is in no hurry to invest in improving their service or offerings. They won’t wow anybody, but they won’t let you down.
If you don’t value customer service or are forced to pinch pennies to keep your business afloat, head to Harbor Compliance here.
3. LegalZoom – 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
LegalZoom is world-renowned for offering accessible legal services. Their registered agent service is expensive but comes with some unique perks.
Everyone has heard of LegalZoom. They’ve served millions of clients and have a great reputation in the business services industry. Since it is imperative that you trust your registered agent, name recognition and reputation can be important factors in your decision.
LegalZoom also offers such a variety of legal services that you can visit their site and handle everything from your last will and testament to forming your Iowa LLC without typing in a new URL. They are the ultimate one-stop, legal shop.
Their registered agent service features everything you’d expect from a registered agent, including an address in Iowa open during normal business hours.
They also feature compliance alerts and their most notable free add-on, a $1 million identity theft insurance policy. That’s an unusual offering for a registered agent to make and can be particularly valuable as identity theft becomes an increasingly common occurrence.
LegalZoom is very expensive. They charge $299 per year, which is more than twice the price of Northwest Registered Agent.
Even if you consider their premium services such as identity theft insurance, LegalZoom seems overpriced. You could easily hire a different Iowa registered agent, purchase the identity theft insurance elsewhere and save a considerable amount of money.
There’s also a downside to LegalZoom’s wide array of other legal products. Finding answers to specific questions regarding your Iowa registered agent service can be difficult amongst so much other information.
LegalZoom offers the convenience of one-stop shopping, the comfort of a trusted name and a few premium perks like identity theft insurance, but they all come at a very steep price.
They’re also so large that your business in Iowa might get lost in the shuffle.
If you’re not concerned about your budget and really value a few perks and a big name, check out LegalZoom.
ZenBusiness offers an excellent LLC formation service but is just getting their registered agent service off the ground. At one time, they served as registered agents only for clients who had used them to form their business entity, but they have now opened their service up to everyone.
As it stands, their registered agent service is still a work in progress. They offer good customer service and a lot of product offerings, but their inexplicable pricing system overshadows the best aspects of their service.
ZenBusiness offers a basic service for $99, but add-ons such as compliance alerts cost extra. If you want their complete registered agent package, you will spend $149 per year, for the same services you can get from Harbor Compliance or Northwest Registered Agent for quite a bit cheaper.
If you’d like a more in-depth review of their products and services, read our full ZenBusiness Review.
IncFile is a national registered agent that offers a very basic, reliable Iowa registered agent service that assigns you an Iowa street address but doesn’t do a whole lot beyond that. They don’t offer compliance alerts and their customer service isn’t the best.
Their price point of $119 doesn’t add to their appeal. If you are only interested in your budget Harbor Compliance is cheaper, and if you want better service you can probably find enough change in your couch cushions to pay the extra $6 for Northwest Registered Agent.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is LegalZoom Lite. They offer almost all the same legal services as LegalZoom, often at a lower price.
Their Iowa registered agent service is indeed cheaper, but at $149 it is still relatively expensive compared with other registered agents, and their customer service is not nearly as personalized as it is at firms that specialize as registered agents.
If you’d like to know more about Rocket Lawyer’s attorney document services, you can read all about them in our Rocket Lawyer review.
7. Sundoc Filings
Sundoc Filings offers a basic, adequate Iowa registered agent service without key add-ons like compliance alerts. They’d be a decent budget option if they offered a budget price. At $159 per year for limited service, however, they aren’t a great choice either for budget shoppers or for those who enjoy a few perks.
InCorp is one tweak away from offering a really good budget service. They offer a great price ($99), fulfill all the obligations of a registered agent and can be trusted to accept service of process and other critical documents on your behalf.
The catch? InCorp’s website has a lot of glitches. Logging in and performing simple tasks is not a pleasant experience. If you’re nostalgic for a time when no one cared about the internet, InCorp might be a good choice for you.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is another company more focused on LLC formation than serving as your Iowa registered agent. They fulfill their minimum obligations but nothing more. At $149 per year, they need to vastly expand their range of services to be worthy of consideration.
If you want to know more about Swift Filings’ business services, read our full review here: Swift Filings review.
10. CSC Global
Someone at CSC Global thought long and hard about how much to charge for their basic Iowa registered agent service. Somehow, they settled on the absurd amount of $299 per year.
They don’t even offer report reminders for that price and there’s nothing about their service that justifies such an enormous expense.
The one perk they offer is that they will cover any fees associated with changing your registered agent, provided that you switch to them. Sounds like a decent offer, but whatever money you save in state fees will quickly disappear thanks to CSC Global’s hefty price tag.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
Registered Agents Inc. certainly won’t win any awards for name originality. Unfortunately, they won’t win any awards for their service or pricing either. For $200 per year, they offer a very basic service. There’s a lot of better options to serve your business in Iowa.
12. Jumpstart Filings
Jumpstart Filings will do enough to keep you out of the Secretary of State’s doghouse, but not a whole lot more. At $129 per year, they’re more expensive than your better budget options.
For the same amount you can afford the brilliant customer service at Northwest Registered Agent and still have enough left over for a side of grilled ham steak at the Hamburg Inn in Iowa City.
Registered Agent Review Summary
I reviewed more than 60 Iowa registered agents, found 12 that deserved an extensive look and ranked them according to five factors. Northwest Registered Agent is clearly the best registered agent in Iowa.
Northwest Registered Agent makes it easy for you to stay in compliance with the Iowa Secretary of State by offering all the essentials, plus compliance alerts, a personalized calendar and an online portal to which they quickly upload all of your critical documents.
And should you run into any complex regulatory or legal difficulties, Northwest Registered Agent has the best customer service team in the business to get you back on the right track.
If you started your business with the goal of being the best in your field, you should only trust the best to help you get there. Head to Northwest Registered Agent today.
Best Registered Agent Review Methodology
This is how I determined the best registered agent.
Why You Should Trust Me
There are few if any business owners out there who have examined registered agents as closely as I have.
When I started my first company I didn’t think twice about who my registered agent would be. I thought of registered agents as nothing more than a glorified mail forwarding service. When it came time to finally appoint one, however, it began to dawn on me just how critical a registered agent could be.
All of the most critical mail I receive, be it a letter from the Secretary of State, service of process or other legal documents would cross my registered agent’s desk before it got to me. I’m extremely hands-on with running my companies, and honestly, it scared me a bit that I would have to trust someone else to handle my most important affairs. It would have to be someone I really trusted.
That thought was what pushed me to think really hard about my choice of registered agent. Once I started looking into it, I was really surprised to discover how many truly terrible registered agents there are out there — companies I wouldn’t trust with my junk mail let alone service of process. That’s when I became really serious about my research.
I started by looking through the marketing materials of more than 60 registered agents. I read everything, from the bold promotional font down to the fine print. This gave me a good idea of which agents were offering actual substance and which were just blowing hot air.
After that, I went through online reviews. Determining facts from fiction in online reviews can be difficult but if you go through enough of them you can start to see some patterns. When one complaint surfaces time and again, it’s pretty safe to say there’s a legitimate issue there.
I also approached the companies themselves. I talked to anyone in the office who would pick up the phone. Sales reps, customer service, CEOs, janitors — it didn’t really matter to me as long as they could give me a real sense of their company’s culture.
At this point, I began exchanging research and experiences with other Iowa business owners. Many of them were as uninformed as I had originally been about registered agents.
They appreciated the work I was doing and encouraged me to publish my findings, which I eventually did on this website.
This site has already helped thousands find their Iowa registered agent, and I hope it can help you too.
How I Selected The Best Registered Agent
I used a four-step process to evaluate the top Iowa registered agents.
Stage 1: Reviews
To narrow down the enormous field of Iowa registered agents, I started with online reviews. Online reviews are always the most trustworthy source but, if you read enough of them, you can definitely identify registered agents that aren’t treating their customers well.
I went through Facebook, Google Business, TrustPilot and the Better Business Bureau, amongst a few others, and I found one extremely common complaint. There are a number of registered agents that use a pretty dishonest bait-and-switch pricing scheme.
They offer a great price, sometimes as low as $39 which you are led to believe is your annual cost. It isn’t, however. The $39 is merely a signup fee and when you add on further monthly fees, you end up paying substantially more than you thought you would.
I eliminated almost 50 Iowa registered agent services for using this dirty trick to lure customers. It is crucial that you find a registered agent you can trust. And if I can’t even trust your advertised price, I am looking elsewhere.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
When I removed the bait-and-switchers, I was left with just 12 registered agents from my original list. I went to the websites of each of these agents. My objective was to figure out exactly what each of them offered with their standard registered agent package.
There’s a surprising variety of services offered by registered agents. Across all 12 remaining companies, I found 24 distinct services.
I made a simple spreadsheet with the services running across the top and the companies listed down the side. If a company offered a particular service, I checked that box.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
I’m very blessed to have a large network of fellow business owners who are willing to share their experiences and answer my questions about their registered agents. First-hand information feels much more reliable than online reviews and I was able to ask specific questions in order to get a very clear picture of how satisfied my friends were with their registered agents.
Now that I have this website, my network is growing even larger and I get a lot of direct feedback that I can constantly use to update my ratings.
Stage 4: Speak With Their Sales Team
As a final step, I called the companies directly and asked them to address specific concerns I’d heard about their service. Sales reps aren’t the best sources for unbiased information, but I was able to learn a lot about a company based on how they responded to complaints.
I really wanted to know how open each registered agent was to feedback and how quickly they addressed specific customer concerns. It was as close as I could come to measuring just how much each registered agent cared about their customers.
I ranked my top 12 registered agents for your Iowa LLC according to five key factors.
Factor 1: Offerings
For what I once thought was nothing more than glorified mail-forwarding, there are actually a surprising number of products and services offered by registered agents.
There are the essential services that every registered agent offers such as a registered office at a physical street address that is open during regular business hours to accept service of process or other legal documents.
They also act as your point of contact with the Iowa Secretary of State and, theoretically at least, should be keeping your personal data and assets safe.
Many registered agents stop there, but the better agents offer a whole lot more.
Additional services can include compliance alerts and LLC Services.
I listed which registered agents offered which services based on what I’d seen on companies’ websites and what I’d confirmed with phone calls. I then ranked the registered agents based on how many services they offered.
Factor 2: Value
With different registered agents offering different services, it’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison in order to assess value.
Further complicating the value calculation is the different pricing schemes used by different registered agents. For example, some registered agents charge a certain amount for a base service and then charge extra as you add on other services.
The simplest solution was to calculate which registered agents offer the most services per dollar in their base packages, but I also tried to account for the quality of the services offered.
It wasn’t an exact science, but I was able to come up with a pretty good measure to determine which registered agents offered the most bang for your buck.
Factor 3: Ease Of Signup
Some registered agents make their signup process way harder than it needs to be. Not only is a complicated signup really frustrating, but it’s also a pretty good indicator that your new registered agent doesn’t really value your time.
A registered agent that makes you jump through hoops just to signup is also a registered agent who keeps you on hold for twenty minutes before trying to direct you back to the FAQ section of their website.
I signed up for all 12 of my top Iowa registered agents and graded them based on how quickly and easily I was able to complete the process.
Factor 4: Ease Of Use
Once signed up with an online account, I also graded each registered agent on how functional, intuitive, and convenient their website was.
For each one, I tried to perform a few simple tasks such as accessing documents, changing my profile information and contacting customer service. I made a note of whenever I got lost or stuck and downgraded the registered agent accordingly.
Factor 5: Customer Service
If you are one of those Iowa business owners for whom everything goes perfectly smoothly all the time, you’ll probably never need to call your registered agent’s customer service department.
If you’re like the rest of us, you might encounter a few bumps in the road from time to time. This is when your registered agent’s customer service team is so important. They can help prevent critical filing errors or help you overcome them if you are calling after the fact.
I called the customer service departments for all of my top 12. I asked similar questions of each department and judged the responses I received based on speed and accuracy. I also awarded a few bonus points for courtesy, which definitely matters when you are in a stressful situation.
The Best Iowa Registered Agent Results Summary
After evaluating 60+ registered agents operating in Iowa, I ranked the best according to five factors. These are the top three.
Best Overall Registered Agent – Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
After all my research, there was a pretty clear winner — Northwest Registered Agent. They have the best services in terms of both quality and quantity. They have incredible customer support. They offer a really competitive price. They are the best registered agent in Iowa.
It starts with their trustworthiness. Whatever fears I had about allowing someone else to handle my most sensitive documents were immediately put to rest by Northwest Registered Agents. Their registered office in Iowa responsibly handles legal notices, filing documents and anything else and will forward everything to you in a timely manner.
Northwest Registered Agent also goes the extra mile to make sure your business stays on track. They offer services such as compliance alerts to keep you from missing a deadline for a biennial report and they know all the regulatory ins and outs for maintaining compliance for your Iowa LLC.
Where Northwest Registered Agent truly sets themselves apart is with their customer service department. Their office is staffed with former business owners, lawyers and accountants. They have the knowledge and experience to guide your Iowa business through any regulatory challenge you may face.
It’s worth noting that there are over 3,000 positive Northwest Registered Agent reviews, so it’s not like I’m the only one who’s had a positive experience with their service.
If you want your business to be guided by the most responsible, experienced and trustworthy registered agent in Iowa, go to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Budget Registered Agent – Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
Harbor Compliance is a decent budget option that doesn’t have the reputation or customer service department of Northwest Registered Agent, but they will save you $26 per year.
Harbor Compliance covers the basics. They will provide you with an address in Iowa that’s open during normal business hours to receive your mail or meet a process server. They also have a decent online portal to which they will upload any critical documents you might receive. And they throw in a few unusual extras for a budget service including compliance alerts.
If your budget is a bigger priority than great customer service, you can save $26 per year by employing Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent – LegalZoom (6.59/10)
On the opposite end of the spectrum is LegalZoom, a service priced for those of you with an unlimited budget.
They’re a national registered agent and legal services company that can help you set up your Iowa LLC or other business entity. They also meet all the legal requirements to serve as your registered agent and are available in every state if you want to operate your business across state lines.
LegalZoom throws in a few add-ons that aren’t included in the service packages offered by other registered agents. They cover the fees to change your Iowa registered agent if you make LegalZoom your new registered agent and also offer a substantial identity theft insurance policy.
These add-ons may not be enough to convince you their service is worth $299 per year, however. But if you value perks more than your budget or personalized customer service, check out LegalZoom.
Choosing a registered agent might not seem like a big decision for your Iowa business, but a good registered agent will protect your personal data and assets, keep you in good standing with the state and help guide your business through thick and thin.
I looked at more than 60 registered agents in Iowa and after a thorough investigation I found Northwest Registered Agent to be the best.
For a very competitive price they offer everything you could want from a registered agent:
- An Iowa street address to serve as your point of contact with the Secretary of State
- Mail forwarding
- Scanning and uploading of your critical documents
- A secure online portal for 24-hour access to all filings and documents
- Help with filings related to the formation of your business entities
- Compliance alerts so you don’t miss key deadlines
- A personalized calendar to keep you on track with all regulatory filings
In addition to all of that, the customer service team at Northwest Registered Agent is the most knowledgeable and experienced in the industry.
It is a premium service without the premium price. At $125 per year, Northwest Registered Agent is not only the best service, they are the best value.
If you want the best registered agent in Iowa, go to Northwest Registered Agent today.