Choosing the right registered agent service or resident agent is an important decision that can have a major impact on your Maryland business.
The right Maryland registered agent will make sure that your personal information is kept safe and off the public record and will ensure that your LLC meets its legal obligations.
The wrong Maryland registered agent will cause problems for your business. The wrong registered agent service can be careless with your personal information and it can end up in the hands of scammers and hackers. The wrong agent can also cause legal problems if they aren’t making sure that your business is meeting its legal obligations.
I started with a list of over 60 different registered agents or resident agents in Maryland, rated the top 12 and then wrote detailed reviews about the top three. Here my choices for the registered agent in Maryland:
1.Northwest Registered Agent – 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
My choice for the #1 best registered agent in Maryland is Northwest Registered Agent. They provide all of the services your business needs in order to meet its legal requirements, they charge a competitive fee and their customer service is not only the best in the state but also in the entire registered agent industry.
There are a lot of perks to Northwest Registered Agent’s services.
They provide your business with all of the services that a Maryland resident agent must in order to meet the legal requirements of LLCs according to laws in the state of Maryland. As your point of contact, they will provide your business entity with a physical address in Maryland, accept mail and legal documents on behalf of your business during regular business hours, receive service of process and forward all of your mail.
They also have all of the services you want from a Maryland registered agent service. They’ll scan ALL of your mail and legal documents (not just the legal documents) the same day they’re received and upload them to an online portal which you can access with an online account. And, they give you compliance filing alerts to let you know about important filing deadlines (like your annual report) to keep your Maryland LLC in good standing with the Secretary of State and the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation.
You’ll find that their system is both easy to set up and to navigate. It’s even easy to sign up for registered agent service in multiple states or for multiple years and it can all be done through the same online system.
Northwest Registered Agent is a national registered agent with offices in every state, which means that as your Maryland LLC grows and expands beyond the state of Maryland, this registered agent can grow along with it and continue to support it.
But their best feature was the one that made me decide to list them as my #1 choice for best Maryland registered agent: their customer service.
In today’s business climate, it’s becoming more common for companies to outsource their customer service, or hire customer service teams that are inexperienced with the service that they’re providing support for. But this isn’t the case with Northwest Registered Agent’s customer service team. They’re US-based and consist of former lawyers, entrepreneurs, business owners and accountants with extensive business knowledge.
What’s more, they actually take the time to listen to your questions and the description of your problem and then ask questions so that they can get you an accurate response or efficient solution the first time. This is quite a refreshing difference from the usual generic, scripted responses you typically receive from customer service teams elsewhere.
Aside from simply providing customer service, they also offer business support. That means you can call and ask them any sort of business question and they’ll do their best to answer it.
They charge a fee of only $125 per state per year for their Maryland registered agent service, so between their affordable price and the invaluable customer service and business support they offer, it was easy to choose them as the best Maryland registered agent.
There’s only one real complaint you’ll find with Northwest Registered Agent. Their biggest flaw is also their best feature: their comprehensive approach to customer service.
The fact that they ask so many questions and are so patient with customers is amazing – most of the time. However, if you’re in a hurry, it can be a real pain. There’s no real way to get a quick answer to a simple question from their customer service team. In fact, if you’re pressed for time it’s often simpler to just look up your question on Google.
This is really only a small knock against Northwest Registered Agent that only comes up when you need to call their customer service team, but can’t wait for a detailed answer..
Northwest Registered Agent will provide your Limited Liability Company (LLC) with all of the registered agent services it needs to meet its legal obligations, while also providing your business with an easy-to-use, online system – all for only $125 per state per year.
When you also consider their industry-leading, customer service team and business support that are both vital to helping budding businesses, it’s easy to see why I chose them as the best Maryland registered agent service.
If you need a Maryland registered agent service that will provide your LLC with support through all its stages of business development while still offering a low price, head to Northwest Registered Agent.
2.Harbor Compliance – 7.92/10 (Best Budget Registered Agent)
If you’re more concerned about spending the absolute least you can on a Maryland registered agent service than you are about the quality of services the agent provides, Harbor Compliance is a solid choice.
Harbor Compliance provides all of the services that a Maryland resident agent must. They are available during normal business hours to accept service of process from a process server, mail, legal notices and documents for your Maryland LLC, provide your business entity with a registered office address in the state of Maryland, scan the legal documents and upload them to an online portal which you can access with an online account and forward your mail.
Their agent service includes compliance alerts to let you know about important deadlines (like your annual report) to keep your business in Maryland in good standing with the Secretary of State and the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation.
You’ll also notice that their online system is easy to set up and to use.
My biggest complaint about Harbor Compliance is that all of their services may be good, but none of their registered agent services are exceptionally great.
While they provide you with all the registered agent services you need to meet in order for your business to meet compliance regulations, there aren’t any services provided that feel like perks or extras. Their online system is fairly easy to use, but it could use a few changes to fix a few glitches and make it even easier to use. And their customer service team will answer questions about their registered agent services adequately, but they aren’t as helpful as Northwest Registered Agent’s team and they won’t answer your business questions.
So, while they offer good registered agent services, they don’t provide great registered agent services.
Harbor Compliance is a Maryland registered agent service that will provide your company with all of the services it needs in order to meet its legal obligations, at the lowest price of any legitimate registered agent service on my list, but the quality of their services feels lacking when compared with Northwest Registered Agent.
If you can happily trade away Northwest Registered Agent’s quality services and stellar customer service team in order to save a mere $26 per state per year, then you can read about Harbor Compliance’s Maryland registered agent service here: Harbor Compliance
3. LegalZoom – 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
LegalZoom is third on my list of best Maryland registered agent services, and my #1 pick for best premium Maryland registered agent service.
LegalZoom is a big company that is known and respected throughout the business world because of their reputation for the other services they provide (for example, templates for legal documents). They’re also a premium Maryland registered agent service.
As a resident agent they will provide your business in Maryland with a street address in the state, as well as accept mail, documents and service of process during normal business hours and mail forwarding to keep your Limited Liability Company (LLC) in compliance with the law.
On top of all the usual services you expect from a registered agent service, LegalZoom offers up to $1,000,000 in identity theft protection. This is a handy service because of the prevalence of hackers in this day and age.
The fact that LegalZoom is a large company with a good reputation seems to be what they use in order to get away with charging such steep prices for their premium Maryland registered agent service.
They charge $299 per state per year for their registered agent services and the only premium service you get for this price is the identity theft protection. However, that’s $176 more than Northwest Registered Agent charges so you could register with Northwest, purchase identity theft protection from a third party and still not pay quite $176 per year.
The other problem with their resident agent services is that LegalZoom doesn’t specialize in registered agent or resident agent services. They specialize in legal document templates, so their registered agent services aren’t optimized, and they definitely aren’t prioritized. Because of this their customer service team isn’t as knowledgeable about the registered agent service as they are about LegalZoom’s other services, which results in a customer service team that’s less than useful.
While LegalZoom is a well-known name in the business world, their premium Maryland registered agent service leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re already doing business with LegalZoom for something else, or if you have some logical reason to require your identity theft protection and your resident agent be on the same bill, then LegalZoom may be worth it to you. But otherwise, it’s unnecessarily pricey.
If you’d rather pay more for a registered agent than their services are worth, you can learn about LegalZoom here: LegalZoom.
ZenBusiness is a tricky registered agent service to rate, which means that it’s hard for the average person to determine the value of their services as well. For starters, they offer two different price tiers.
The first price tier covers some of the most basic resident agent services that a registered agent must provide, like providing your company with a street address in the state of Maryland, accepting mail, documents and service of process for your LLC, scanning your important documents and uploading them to an online portal for you to access with an online account, and mail forwarding. This tier costs $99 per state per year.
The second price tier covers things that you’d think would be covered with their basic services. But to get some of the more crucial registered agent services, like compliance alerts to keep your LLC in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, you’ll have to pay an additional $50 per state per year.
ZenBusiness focuses primarily on their LLC formation services, which is probably why their resident agent services are so unimpressive. As an LLC formation service, they help to form your LLC as well as draft and file the Articles of Organization for your LLC.
You can read our full ZenBusiness review and learn about the services they offer
IncFile is what I consider to be a registered agent in Maryland that provides the bare minimum services that a registered agent must provide in order to keep LLCs out of legal hot water. Of course, they provide your LLC with an address in the state of Maryland and accept mail and service of process on your behalf, but they don’t provide compliance alerts or any “extras”.
They charge $119 per state per year for these minimal services, which is almost as much as Northwest Registered Agent’s fee and you won’t receive nearly the same quality of services from IncFile for the price.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a cheap knockoff of LegalZoom that isn’t that much cheaper.
Just like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer offers registered agent services, their agent services aren’t the focus of their business. As your registered office, they provide your LLC with an address in the state of Maryland, accept mail and service of process for your company and provide mail forwarding. But, they charge $125 per year and they don’t provide the same quality or quantity of services that Northwest Registered Agent does.
If you’d like to know more about Rocket Lawyer and their services, you can read our full Rocket Lawyer review.
7. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings is yet another agent service in Maryland that offers very little but charges a lot. Your LLC will get little more from their services than an address in the state and mail forwarding. They don’t even offer any sort of compliance alerts but they have the audacity to charge $159 per state per year for their services.
InCorp was an interesting agent business to review. It’s another registered agent company that makes it difficult for the average person to determine whether it’s worth the cost.
They provide the same type of full-service agent services that you would expect. That means they provide your LLC with an address in the state of Maryland, accept mail and important documents on behalf of your LLC, scan your documents and put them on an online portal, provide mail forwarding and issue compliance alerts. And they only charge $99 per state per year for their services which puts them in the same price range as Harbor Compliance.
So, you’re probably wondering why they’re so far down the list if they offer so many services for such a low price. Their system is so confusing, hard to navigate and outright frustrating to use that I had to put their services towards the bottom of the list to indicate how fervently I believe that people shouldn’t waste their time or money with InCorp’s services.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is an LLC formation service that also provides registered agent services in Maryland. They provide your LLC with the all-important address in Maryland and accept mail and important documents on behalf of your LLC. However, other than the fact that they can help your LLC draft its Articles of Organization, the registered agent services they provide are beyond minimal, yet they charge $159 per state per year for these minimal services.
If you’d like to know more about Swift Filings’ services, please read our full Swift Filings review.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is a “premium” registered agent. They offer the full-service options you’d expect from them as your Maryland registered office, like providing your company with an address in the state of Maryland and accepting mail on behalf of your LLC, but they don’t offer compliance alerts. Shockingly, they charge $299 per state per year for their simplistic services.
The only “premium” service that they offer for this price is they cover any state fees or filing fees you may incur when you file to change your Maryland registered agent and sign up for their services. This is $176 more than Northwest Registered Agent charges. Since there aren’t any state fees (or a filing fee) that I know of that cost $176 just to change your registered agent, it definitely isn’t worth that price.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
Registered Agents Inc. is the only agent on my list that focuses solely on registered agent services which seems exciting, right? The problem is that they charge $200 for basic services and I can’t find any justification for that price when they provide little more than an address in Maryland for your LLC.
12. Jumpstart Filings
Jumpstart Filings is yet another registered agent in Maryland that provides scant services. They charge $129 per year, which is $4 more than Northwest Registered Agent’s $125 per year and the service you receive from Jumpstart Filings is not even half the quality of Northwest Registered Agents.
Registered Agent Review Summary
I started with a list of over 60 different registered agent services in Maryland, then whittled that list down to the best 12, which I rated and then wrote detailed descriptions of the top 3. The highest-rated registered agent service in Maryland is Northwest Registered Agent.
They provide your business with all of the services it needs to remain a legally functioning LLC, and also have the best US-based, experienced and courteous customer service team in the registered agent industry.
You won’t find any premium services with Northwest, but there are a few “extras” that they provide which most premium agents don’t even provide. Many premium agents don’t offer compliance alerts and they don’t scan ALL of your mail and documents, but Northwest does. What’s more, they do all of this for only $125 per state per year.
So if you’re a new business and you need to appoint a Maryland registered agent, or you’re an established LLC considering changing to a better registered agent service, sign up for Northwest Registered Agent to get the best registered agent service in the state here: Northwest Registered Agent
Best Registered Agent Review Methodology
These are the methods and logic I used to determine the best registered agent.
Why You Should Trust Me
You should trust me because I’ve spent more time researching and dealing with the registered agent industry than most people. I’d even wager that I know more than some people who work for registered agent companies.
It all started when I had to find a registered agent for my two businesses.
I knew I didn’t want to deal with the legal ramifications I’d face if I happened to miss a service of process and I wanted the best registered agent I could get. So I did a ton of research and read loads of promotional pamphlets.
I read more online reviews and spent more time on the phone with customer service teams than was reasonable.
I’ve also helped thousands of people to find the right registered agent to suit their business needs.
The process of advising some close friends in my business community about registered agents led me to the conclusion that not only did I know more about registered agents than the average person, I also had more time to devote to researching the industry, which makes me the perfect person to advise other people on the subject.
Since the creation of this site I’ve helped save thousands of people countless hours of research as well as helping them choose the right registered agent for their business, and I can help you too!
How I Selected The Best Registered Agent
This is the 4-stage investigative process I used for the list I started with of over 60 registered agents in the state.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage of my investigative process led me to read online reviews for over 60 different registered agent businesses. You can gain a surprising amount of information from online reviews!
I read reviews left on Facebook, TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau, and Google Business. This initial stage was important because it helped me to identify over 50 different registered agent businesses that were either all-out scams or used unethical pricing practices. (More on that later.)
Stage 2: Website Analysis
The next stage was to find out what sort of services came with a subscription to each company’s registered agent services.
Admittedly, this stage was fairly simple. I logged onto each company’s business website and took note of their “About” page, checked out their service packages on their sales pages, made sure they had a local Maryland location, noted how many methods of contact they displayed for their customer service teams (phone, email, chat), and then called their customer service team if anything was unclear.
Once I completed this stage, I had a spreadsheet with 13 rows and 24 columns that detailed each company’s service offerings.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Reading online reviews only gets you so far. In order to get the full story about how well a company delivers on its promises, you have to talk to their customers.
So I reached out to people who had visited my site, both new visitors and those whom I’d helped to find a registered agent. I asked them about their experiences with their registered agent and how satisfied they were with that company’s services. This was a pretty revealing stage as well because it gave me an idea of what it’s like to deal with each company.
Stage 4: Speak With Their Sales Team
In the final stage of my investigation, I called some members of each agent’s sales team.
You can learn a lot about the behind-the-scenes culture of a company by speaking to their sales team. So, I gathered up all of the negative comments, feedback and issues I’d found with the services and asked them very direct questions about them. The answers they gave let me see how they dealt with feedback.
Does the company use feedback to change, grow and continue to provide better services? Or does it avoid taking blame or blame everything on the customer?
Once I completed my 4-stage investigation process, I was left with only 12 different companies. Here is the system I used to rate the best registered agents for your Maryland LLC.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first rating factor, offerings, is arguably the most important. If the registered agent you’re considering appointing doesn’t offer the services your company needs, the rest of the factors are inconsequential.
Many companies provide mail forwarding, scanning documents and uploading them to an online portal and keeping your personal information off the public record. Others offer things like compliance alerts and provide LLC formation services. Still others offer premium services like paying any filing fee you incur from changing to their registered agent service and identity theft insurance.
Factor 2: Value
Of course, the monetary fee that an agent charges for their services is worth considering, but the more important factor is whether their services are worth the fee they charge. Which services give you the most bang for your buck?
Unfortunately, the price range of registered agent services varies widely from $39 basic services to $299 for premium services, making it difficult for the average person to determine what a good price is and which companies provide the best value.
During the course of my research, I found that the companies that offered services for $39-$59 per year used a deceptive pricing technique. For that price, you get services that are less than minimal. In order to get the services you actually need from these companies, you have to pay additional fees that sometimes cost more than an additional $120 per year.
You’ll notice that none of these companies are on my list. This is because I believe these pricing practices are confusing and unethical, so I’ve excluded them.
Factor 3: Ease Of Signup
There’s nothing more frustrating than finding your ideal registered agent with a perfect service selection and a great price, only to find out that signing up and then setting up their system can take weeks and require mountains of paperwork.
I actually signed up for each of the 12 registered agent services on my list in order to test this factor.
Did the agent have an automated, simple, signup process, or did they require biometric identification confirmation and heaps of paperwork be sent to some sketchy-seeming P.O. Box in a foreign land? I saved you the headache of finding out the hard way how difficult it is to sign up with each of these registered agents.
Factor 4: Ease Of Use
Imagine thinking you’d found the best possible registered agent for your company. They have the best features, price and even have a quick and easy signup process. But then you try to log in and learn to navigate their online system only to find out that it’s ridiculously hard to use!
I saved you (and your office) a headache by finding out for myself how difficult each system was to use.
I logged into each agent’s system to determine how easy they were to navigate. I did this by performing relatively simple tasks and took note if I got stuck during the tasks.
Factor 5: Customer Service
It doesn’t matter how simple a registered agent’s online system is, you or someone in your office will eventually have a question about it. Good customer service is really crucial in these instances.
The quality of customer service you receive can determine whether you’ve had your problem solved and your questions answered, leaving you free to go back to work and get on with your day, or whether you’re stuck on the phone for hours with work backing up and your anxiety levels rising. If you’ve ever attempted to call the MVA during lunch hour on a weekday then you know what bad customer service feels like!
The way I tested each agent’s customer service team was to call them and ask them a fairly simple question. I noted whether they solved my problem efficiently, how courteous the team was, how quickly they responded to me, and how many people I had to speak with in order to resolve my problem or answer my question.
The Best Maryland Registered Agent Results Summary
I investigated over 60 different registered agents and then rated the top 12. Here are the best three registered agent services in Maryland:
Best Overall Registered Agent – Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
The reason I chose Northwest Registered Agent for my #1 spot is they offer all of the services your company needs, all of the services you want, they only charge $125 per year and they provide the best customer service in the industry.
They provide your company with a point of contact and address in the state, receive mail, documents and service of process on behalf of your Maryland LLC, and keep your personal details off the public record.
They also provide a few services that other agents don’t. For instance, they scan ALL of your mail (not just the legal documents) and upload it to an online portal for you to access the same day they’ve received it, they provide compliance alerts and they offer discounts when you sign up for registered agent services for multiple states or multiple years.
But their biggest draw is their customer service.
Their customer service team is US-based and made up of former accountants, lawyers, business owners and entrepreneurs who have enough experience to answer any business question you bring to them. With their business support service, their team offers you sound advice that will help you get and keep your business on the right track and moving forward in the future.
If you don’t believe me about the quality of their services, there are over 3,000 positive Northwest Registered Agent reviews online that indicate that my experience with them wasn’t just a fluke.
If you want a registered agent that can help support your business from formation to expansion and beyond, sign up for Northwest Registered Agent today here.
Best Budget Registered Agent – Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
Harbor Compliance is a good option if you’re low on funds.
They offer all of the same basic services that Northwest Registered Agent does, such as the address, mail forwarding, scanning of documents and uploading them to an online portal and compliance alerts. However, you won’t get all of the same features, and their customer service team isn’t on the same level as Northwest Registered Agent.
Their online system is relatively easy to learn to navigate, and their customer service team is adequate, but they don’t offer business support so they only answer questions about their registered agent services.
If you’re completely determined to trade away Northwest’s excellent services and stellar customer support team in order to save a measly $26 per year, you can read about Harbor Compliance on their website.
Best Premium Registered Agent – Legal Zoom (6.59/10)
LegalZoom is a good option if you’re looking for a premium registered agent. A lot of the other premium agents I researched didn’t offer services that were as good as LegalZoom’s.
They provide all of the basic services your company needs in order to remain in good standing, like an address in the state, a point of contact, accepting mail and service of process for your LLC, and mail forwarding. However, they don’t provide compliance alerts.
The only real premium service they offer is up to $1,000,000 in identity theft protection for your LLC. However, they charge $299 per year for this service, which isn’t worth it. You could easily spend less money by choosing Northwest Registered Agent’s services and purchasing identity theft protection elsewhere.
If you don’t mind paying too much for registered agent services and don’t mind that you won’t get compliance alerts, you can learn more about LegalZoom here.
Making sure that you appoint the right registered agent is crucial to ensure business success, keeping your company in good legal standing and keeping your personal details off the public record.
I investigated over 60 different registered agent services, then rated the top 12 and wrote detailed reviews about the best 3.
My investigation concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent in Maryland.
This is because they include all of the services you need for your LLC, including an address in Maryland, acceptance of mail and documents on behalf of your LLC, mail forwarding, mail and document scanning (not just documents), uploading mail and documents to an online portal and online portal access, LLC formation services, and compliance alerts.
Their online system is easy-to-navigate and they have an industry-leading quality customer service team made up of former lawyers, business owners, entrepreneurs and accountants with a lot of experience who can answer nearly any question you have about running your business.
To top it all off, they provide all of these services for only $125 per year.
If you want the very best registered agent that Maryland has to offer, head over to Northwest Registered Agent today.