Getting the best registered agent is critical for your Ohio company.
The right Ohio registered agent will safeguard your personal data and assets, guide your company through complicated regulations and responsibly handle your critical documents.
The wrong Ohio registered agent will be reckless with your personal data, risk your company’s good standing with the state and misplace your crucial legal documents.
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 Ohio:
1.Northwest Registered Agent – 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
After all my research and evaluation, I concluded that Northwest Registered Agent offers the best range of services, the best value and the best customer service of any Ohio registered agent.
Northwest Registered Agent has mastered all the essential tasks of being a registered agent and they take the responsibility of safeguarding your assets and personal information very seriously.
Like all registered agents, they issue you a street address in Ohio, but unlike some of their competition, Northwest Registered Agent is extremely responsible with any mail, service of process or other legal documents that you may receive.
They are also very prompt in forwarding your correspondence to you, via the old-fashioned way through the post office and by scanning and uploading copies to your online portal, giving you near-instant access.
Northwest Registered Agent also make it easy for you to maintain compliance with the State of Ohio by creating a personalized filing calendar for you and setting up compliance alerts so that you never miss a key deadline.
They also keep you up to date on any regulatory changes that may impact your company, making it very easy for you to relax and focus on the other aspects of running your business.
The true value of Northwest Registered Agent lies in their customer service department. Their staff consists of former lawyers, accountants and small business owners. They are the most experienced, helpful team in the industry and they can help you clear whatever regulatory hurdles you may come across.
Despite their world-class service and stellar reputation, Northwest Registered Agent has very competitive rates. At $125 per year, they are fantastic value.
It is hard to find a true con without nitpicking a bit, but the experience and knowledge of the Northwest Registered Agent customer service team can occasionally be a double-edged sword.
There were times, for instance, when I had a very quick question that turned into a longer conversation because their service rep was more thorough than quick.
Of course, thoroughness is a great quality for a registered agent to have so losing a few minutes here and there is a minor sacrifice for the peace of mind of knowing that your registered agent isn’t going to drop the ball.
Northwest Registered Agent will protect your personal assets, handle your legal notices responsibly and give your business all the tools you need to maintain compliance.
Their customer service team is the best in the industry and is experienced enough to guide your business through whatever complications you may come across.
And $125 per year is a surprisingly competitive price for the best registered agent in Ohio.
If you want a registered agent that will guide your company through regulatory requirements, protect your personal assets and help keep you on the path towards success, visit Northwest Registered Agent.
2.Harbor Compliance – 7.92/10 (Best Budget Registered Agent)
If your business is operating on a shoestring budget and you can do without great customer service, Harbor Compliance is a dependable option that offers $26 annual savings vs. Northwest Registered Agent.
Harbor Compliance offers a basic, reliable registered agent service that won’t win any beauty contests, but also won’t let you down.
They offer the standard physical address in Ohio that is open during business hours to receive critical documents on your behalf and they will also both mail and scan and upload anything you should receive to your online portal. They will even give you a call if something seems urgent.
They also offer compliance alerts which is pretty rare for budget registered agent services. Their website is fairly straightforward and user-friendly.
Nothing about Harbor Compliance’s registered agent service is going to blow you away. They are content to offer a good-but-not-great service for one of the best prices you’ll find.
Their website is certainly serviceable but could use a few tweaks and certain tasks can be difficult to complete without running into a few hiccups.
The customer service department at Harbor Compliance isn’t lightning quick and their service representatives lack the experience of their counterparts at Northwest Registered Agent. They are not inept by any means but can get in above their heads if you need help with some complicated filing issues.
With Harbor Compliance you get what you pay for, which is not all that common in the realm of registered agents. Many registered agents charge far more than Harbor Compliance and deliver quite a bit less.
For just $26 more per year, you’ll get substantially better customer service at Northwest Registered Agent, but Harbor Compliance is a solid option if you are really pinching pennies.
If your budget is your number one priority, visit Harbor Compliance here.
3. LegalZoom – 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
LegalZoom has built a big name for itself by helping millions of people access affordable legal services. They also offer a premium registered agent service for a premium price.
LegalZoom can serve as your one-stop, legal shop. You can use them for everything from a “Pet Protection Agreement,” whatever that is, to your last will and testament to, yes, your Ohio registered agent service. If you want to take care of all of your legal needs on one website, LegalZoom is your best bet.
If you are not familiar with the registered agent world, there’s also some comfort in seeing such a familiar name. LegalZoom has a good reputation for a reason — they’ve been around forever and they’ve literally served millions of clients.
Their registered agent service includes just about everything you could possibly need, including all the basics to keep you in compliance with the Ohio Secretary of State, plus compliance alerts.
LegalZoom also offers a substantial identity theft insurance policy as part of their registered agent service. This is not a common offering and can be extremely valuable these days as cyber criminals grow increasingly sophisticated.
LegalZoom takes advantage of their name recognition by charging a hefty fee ($299 per year. On an annual basis, LegalZoom is three times more expensive than Harbor Compliance and more than twice as costly as Northwest Registered Agent.
The identity theft insurance accounts for some of the price difference between LegalZoom and other registered agents, but LegalZoom still seems overpriced. For example, Identity theft insurance can be purchased elsewhere for less than the price difference between LegalZoom and Northwest.
LegalZoom falls victim to its own success in some ways. They are so big and offer so many different services that their Ohio registered agent service can get lost in the shuffle. Accessing answers to a question you may have about your individual policy can be difficult.
If the budget for your business is unlimited, and you like the idea of going with a famous name that can handle all of your legal needs, LegalZoom is a great option.
If you are more budget-conscious, enjoy the benefits of individualized service and don’t need a big name, you can find better value at other registered agents.
LegalZoom’s identity theft insurance is a nice perk that can offer peace of mind for those who fear they are vulnerable to cyber attacks, although it is something you could purchase independently of your registered agent service.
Check out LegalZoom here.
ZenBusiness is making a big splash in the LLC-formation business, where they have really streamlined the process for starting an Ohio LLC.
For a time, their registered agent service was only available to those who formed a business entity with ZenBusiness, but recently they have opened their registered agent service to anyone. As such, it is sort of a work in progress.
ZenBusiness can be trusted to receive service of process and your other legal notices and they will keep you in good standing with the Ohio Secretary of State. They do a good job covering the basics.
Where ZenBusiness falters is in their pricing policy. Extras such as compliance alerts, which are free at other registered agents, cost an additional $50 annually at ZenBusiness. Adding compliance alerts to your package would bring your total cost up to $149 per year, making them more expensive than a better service such as Northwest Registered Agent.
Since ZenBusiness still seems to be perfecting their Ohio registered agent service, I’m hopeful they will change their pricing policies which would make them a much more attractive option.
If you want an thorough breakdown of their services, read our full ZenBuziness review.
IncFile is a reliable but basic registered agent service that covers the essentials well but does not offer any extras like compliance alerts.
Their price point is problematic as they come in at $119 per year, making them more expensive than Harbor Compliance which offers a better budget service and is only $6 less than Northwest Registered Agent, which has the best customer service in the industry.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a lesser-known version of LegalZoom that has many of the same offerings.
Like LegalZoom, they can help with the Articles of Organization for your Ohio LLC or other business entity and they offer registered agent services as a sort of continuation of their formation services.
Their registered agent services are $100 cheaper than LegalZoom but don’t offer complimentary identity theft insurance. They also suffer some of the same shortcomings as their more famous cousin in that they have so many offerings your Ohio business may get lost in the shuffle.
Read our full Rocket Lawyer review to learn more about the services they offer.
7. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings offers less than your typical registered agent but charges more. Perhaps the ‘sun’ has gone to their heads.
For $159 per year, SunDoc offers a basic service with an Ohio registered office that is open during normal business hours but they don’t offer compliance alerts or any other add-ons that would justify such a price.
InCorp offers a really solid, national registered agent service that includes compliance alerts for a budget price ($99). They can also help form your Ohio LLC and will keep you in good standing with the Secretary of State.
Unfortunately, InCorp has a pretty glaring flaw. Their online system is really difficult to use, turning simple, everyday tasks into frustrating exercises of your patience.
If you have never had an online account and are reading this article on a physical piece of paper that someone else printed out for you, InCorp might be a great option to be your Ohio registered agent.
Otherwise, let’s hope InCorp can fix their online glitches because the other aspects of their service are really quite good.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is another registered agent that has a high price point ($149) for just a pretty basic service.
They can help you start your business in Ohio, no matter which entity you choose and they offer a registered office at an Ohio street address open during normal business hours to accept documents on behalf of your business. They will also alert you to upcoming due dates for annual reports and other deadlines.
Their customer service isn’t great, however, and you can find an Ohio registered agent with a better range of offerings.
Ultimately, Swyft Filings doesn’t offer enough bang for the buck.
If you’d like to know more about Swift Filings and their services, read our full Swyft Filings review.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is very ambitious when it comes to their pricing ($299 per year) but not so much when it comes to being a good Ohio registered agent.
For such a steep price, they really skimp on some pretty important aspects of the registered agent business such as compliance alerts and an experienced customer service team.
The one perk they offer is that they will pay the state fees if you change your Ohio registered agent and choose CSC Global as your new provider.
That will save you $25 in the state of Ohio, money that you will immediately put back in the pockets of CSC Global thanks to their excessive rates.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
As their name suggests, Registered Agents Inc. is pretty focused on the registered agent business. Unlike LegalZoom or some of the other agents on this list, Registered Agents Inc. doesn’t have any side gigs.
It is a little mystifying then that they don’t do a better job with their Ohio registered agent service. Their service is pretty average and their price is pretty steep ($200 per year)
You can get better service at cheaper rates elsewhere.
12. Jumpstart Filings
Jumpstart Filings is another commercial registered agent that offers a budget service but didn’t quite get the budget price point right.
Jumpstart Filings charges $129 per year for a substandard service. At that price, you can afford Northwest Registered Agent and have enough left over for four items off the dollar menu at your favorite fast food place.
Registered Agent Review Summary
I started with more than 60 Ohio registered agent services, narrowed the list down to my top 12 and thoroughly kicked the tires on all of them.
Northwest Registered Agent was my clear choice as the best registered agent in Ohio.
They are extremely trustworthy and competent and will protect your personal data and assets, keep your business in good standing with the Ohio Secretary of State and responsibly handle all of your company’s most critical documents.
Throw in the best customer service team in the industry and the very competitive price of $125 per year and it becomes obvious that they are the best choice in Ohio.
If you want to entrust your business with the most responsible, trustworthy, experienced and helpful registered agent in Ohio, go to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Registered Agent Review Methodology
This is how I determined which was the best registered agent service.
Why You Should Trust Me
I have a pretty wide network of fellow business owners, and no one that I know has spent more time researching registered agents.
When I started my first company, I thought of registered agents as little more than glorified P.O. Boxes, but when it came time to choose my Ohio registered agent I began to realize how much was at stake.
I’m very self-sufficient and used to handling every little detail of my company’s existence. A registered agent would suddenly be a middle man of sorts and would, in fact, be responsible for handling the most important documents my company would receive. Legal documents, notices about changes in regulations, service of process — all of that would filter through my registered agent.
It had to be someone I could trust.
I also encountered a few horror stories about registered agents who mishandled legal notices, causing business owners to miss critical court dates. The consequences can be dire — a late filing fee, large fine, or even bankruptcy.
Once I realized how important my registered agent would be I started my research in earnest.
As a first step, I read through the marketing materials, from the promo fonts to the fine print for more than 60 Ohio registered agents. I wanted to get a sense of what different registered agents were offering so I could determine which companies were more interested in hype than real substance.
I also went through page after page of online reviews and followed that up with phone calls to the companies themselves.
As I was researching I was also talking to other Ohio business owners, many of whom were just as clueless about registered agents as I had been. They shared their experiences with me and encouraged me to dig deeper.
When I realized there was a real need for more in-depth research on registered agents, I dedicated even more time to my search with the idea that I could eventually publish my opinions on the internet.
Now that this site is live, I’ve already helped thousands of people find their Ohio registered agent. I hope I can help you too, and save you all the time and effort I put into this research
How I Selected The Best Registered Agent
I used a four-step process to select the best Ohio registered agent service.
Stage 1: Reviews
Once I was familiar with the registered agent landscape, I started reading online reviews. Online reviews aren’t always the most trustworthy source as they are often written by people who have very extreme opinions and sometimes are actually manipulated by the registered agents themselves. However, if you read enough of them you begin to see something that resembles the truth.
I went through the reviews on Google Business, TrustPilot, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau just to name a few, and I was surprised by a lot of the complaints I read. It seems that there are a large number of registered agents who employ a bait-and-switch pricing scheme which struck me as extremely dishonest.
It works like this – the registered agent would advertise an extremely low price, usually in the $39-$59 range. What they don’t make clear is that this price is not your annual rate. It’s actually just a signup fee. Once the annual rate kicks in, you end up paying substantially more than advertised.
Since, first and foremost, my registered agent must be someone I can trust, I eliminated any agents who used this deceptive pricing scheme.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
Once I’d eliminated the bait-and-switchers, I was left with only 12 registered agents. This was a bit of a blessing in disguise as I was able to really focus my efforts and look very closely at the remaining 12.
I started with their websites. My main objective was to determine exactly what services each registered agent was offering. This can vary greatly between companies. Some registered agents offer the bare essentials like a local Ohio address that is open during business hours, but some offer substantially more.
Once I’d tallied them up, I found 24 distinct services. By reading through the offers on their websites and calling customer service if I needed clarification, I was able to determine exactly who offered what.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
I also wanted to talk to real customers and have a conversation rather than just read a review that someone had anonymously posted online.
I’m fortunate that I have a wide network of local business owners so I was able to get some very honest opinions and ask some specific questions.
Now that this website is live, I am getting even more feedback from real customers who contact me with their own experiences.
Stage 4: Speak With Their Sales Team
As a final step, I went back to the companies themselves. At this point, I had a ton of information about all of them and I was able to approach them with some very specific questions and concerns.
I was particularly curious about how they would react to specific complaints I had heard. Of course, anyone in the sales department is going to try to sugarcoat things, but their responses were very telling.
The better registered agents were very open to feedback, eager to correct mistakes and determined to improve their service. Others were more dismissive or simply ignored my toughest questions.
In the end I learned a lot about the corporate cultures at each registered agent.
I ranked my top 12 registered agents for your Iowa LLC according to these five factors.
Factor 1: Offerings
As I said above, I found 24 different services offered by the top 12 registered agents. They range from the basics like a registered office in Ohio to the more exotic like the free identity theft insurance that LegalZoom offers as part of their Ohio registered agent service.
I made a simple spreadsheet with the companies listed down the side and the services listed across the top. If a company offered that particular service, I simply put an X in the corresponding box.
I then ranked the registered agents based on how many LLC services they offered.
Factor 2: Value
Of course, value is critically important to a young company. As every owner knows, you have to stretch each dollar as far as you can.
This wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it would be because there is such a wide variety both in terms of prices and services offered. Some registered agents offer a myriad of services but charge a hefty fee, while others offer next to nothing but somehow also charge a hefty fee.
I ranked the registered agents in accordance with which of them offered the most services per dollar charged and then adjusted the ranking to try to reflect the quality of the services offered as well.
Factor 3: Ease Of Signup
This shouldn’t even be a factor, but it is thanks to some really archaic signup procedures utilized by some registered agents. This process shouldn’t be any more difficult than signing up for Netflix, but it can be a real challenge which is incredibly frustrating.
I signed up for an online account with all 12 of my top registered agents and judged their process based on how much they made me want to pull my hair out. The registered agents that kept my follicles undisturbed got a higher ranking.
Factor 4: Ease Of Use
Once I had signed up with each company, I also judged their websites based on how efficient, user-friendly and intuitive they were.
I tested out my online account at each site by trying to perform a few simple tasks and used the same pull-my-hair-out scoring method I had used to judge the signup process.
As any owner of a small business in Ohio will tell you, you simply don’t have time to get bogged down on simple tasks. A registered agent must value your time and try to make your experience on their website as efficient as possible
Factor 5: Customer Service
If you’re lucky, you won’t ever have to use your registered agent’s customer service department. But even the luckiest business owner knows that you have to be prepared in case things go wrong. That’s when the customer service department comes in.
An experienced customer service rep can talk you through the most complicated regulatory issues, help you untangle a paperwork mistake and even give you general small business advice.
It wasn’t an exact science, but in order to assess each customer service department, I called and asked some fairly simple questions and followed up with some that were a little more challenging.
My ratings were based on how quick, efficient, accurate and courteous they were.
The Best Ohio Registered Agent Results Summary
After evaluating more than 60 registered agents, I narrowed the field down to a top 12. These are my picks for the best of the best.
Best Overall Registered Agent – Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
Northwest Registered Agent won by a pretty large margin thanks to their general trustworthiness, extensive product offerings, amazing customer service and competitive price ($125).
You can trust them to serve as your point of contact with the Ohio Secretary of State, handle service of process and other legal notifications and keep your name and address off the public record.
Additionally, they do everything they can to guide your company over whatever regulatory hurdles you may encounter. They offer compliance alerts and a personalized filing calendar and they have the most experienced customer service team in the industry should you run into any problems.
It’s worth to acknowledge that there are over 3,000 positive Northwest Registered Agent reviews online, so it’s not like I’m the only one who’s had a positive experience with their service.
If you want the confidence of knowing that your business is being protected by the best registered agent in Ohio, go to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Budget Registered Agent – Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
Harbor Compliance will save you $26 per year compared to Northwest Registered Agent. Those savings come at the expense of a really good customer service department, but as long as you don’t have any complications, Harbor Compliance is a reliable, budget option.
They cover all the basics including an Ohio office address, mail forwarding and are reliable enough to serve as your point of contact with the state.
For a budget service they also have some impressive add-ons such as compliance alerts to keep you from missing the deadline for your annual report or other filings.
If you prioritize your budget over all else and think you can avoid the type of complications that would require a great customer service team, head to Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent – Legal Zoom (6.59/10)
LegalZoom is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Harbor Compliance. They are expensive ($299) but include some unique extras with their registered agent service.
Their most heavily-promoted add-on is free identity theft insurance which can be very comforting to have in these times. Another nice perk is they will pay the filing fee associated with changing your registered agent.
These extras are nice but still don’t make up for such a high price tag.
If you have an unlimited budget and appreciate a big name and some nice perks over more personalized customer service, check out LegalZoom.
Choosing a registered agent might not seem like such a big decision, but once you consider the fact that every critical legal or government document your company receives will pass through your registered agent’s hands first, you begin to see what is at stake.
A good registered agent will keep your business in good standing with the state of Ohio and protect your personal data and assets. It’s important that you find a registered agent that is up to those critical tasks.
I examined more than 60 registered agents operating in Ohio, and then reviewed my top 12 using a four-stage process and ranked them according to five factors.
After all that, Northwest Registered Agent came out on top.
They go above and beyond to cover the basics, including:
- An Ohio office address to handle legal documents and notices from the state of Ohio
- Prompt mail forwarding
- Scanning and uploading of incoming documents to your online account
- Help with Articles of Organization
- Compliance alerts so you don’t miss key deadlines for an annual report or other filings
- An individualized filing calendar to keep you on track
- Efficient signup process
- User-friendly website
Northwest Registered Agent also has the most experienced customer service department in the industry, which is an invaluable asset should you run into any complicated legal or regulatory issues.
If you want the best, most experienced, most trustworthy registered agent in Ohio, go to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Registered Agent by State
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