Getting the best registered agent, also known as a Commercial Registered Office Provider, in Pennsylvania is critical for any business.
The right Pennsylvania registered agent will securely receive and forward legal notices, protect your personal data and privacy, and keep your business compliant with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The wrong Pennsylvania registered agent will overcharge you for basic services, fail to inform you of critical filing deadlines and rob you of your valuable time and resources.
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 Pennsylvania:
1. Northwest Registered Agent – 9.10/10 (My Top Pick)
Northwest Registered Agent is my pick for the best Pennsylvania registered agent because they capably fulfill all the responsibilities of a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) and do so with fantastic customer service.
Northwest Registered Agent excels at the essential services you’ll need from your registered agent. They provide a Pennsylvania mailing address, receive legal documents on your behalf, keep you up-to-date on any changing regulations, and help your business stay in compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
They are also very efficient and will scan your important documents in a timely fashion and upload them to your online portal, which is very intuitive and easy to access. Mail is quickly forwarded and you can rest easy that your personal information is secure.
Northwest Registered Agent also creates a compliance alert calendar specifically for your business, to ensure that you do not miss any critical filing deadlines. Their attention to detail allows you to focus on the bigger picture of running your company.
This product mix alone is enough to make Northwest Registered Agent a great registered agent service, but where they truly set themselves apart is with their customer service. Your calls will not be answered by disinterested operators nor an endless loop of recorded messages trying to push you to use their website. Instead, the customer service team at Northwest Registered Agents consists of former lawyers, small business owners and those with significant experience as accountants and entrepreneurs.
The agents at Northwest are so knowledgeable that they feel more like small business advisors than just registered agents. They can help with complicated queries that go beyond filing deadlines or the latest regulations to come out of Harrisburg. They have enough experience to capably answer the questions you are asking and even answer the questions you should be asking. You won’t find another Pennsylvania registered agent that comes close to this level of customer service.
Any good registered agent will strive to ensure your business is compliant, but Northwest Registered Agent will also strive to ensure your business is a success.
Northwest Registered Agents’ final advantage is their competitive price point. At $125 a year, they charge only slightly more ($26) than their cheapest competitor on this list, and they are significantly more affordable than “premium services” such as LegalZoom.
Believe it or not, there are times when great customer service can feel like a downside. If you have a very quick question and need a swift answer, sometimes the agents at Northwest seem overly thorough with their answers. In these instances, you may spend a few more moments on the phone than you had hoped.
It’s a minor complaint and one that you will easily forget when your more complex questions are answered by a service rep who takes as much time as necessary to make sure you’re satisfied with his/her answers.
Northwest Registered Agent is easily my pick for the best Pennsylvania registered agent service.
Their service includes all the basics to keep you compliant with the Pennsylvania Department of State, and their experienced customer service reps are a tremendous asset should you run into any complications.
If you need a registered agent that will not only ensure you meet your legal obligations but will also support you through your small business challenges, sign up with Northwest Registered Agent now.
2. Harbor Compliance – 7.45/10 (Best Budget Registered Agent)
If you are on a very tight budget, Harbor Compliance is a reliable, no-frills registered agent service that will help keep your business compliant with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Harbor Compliance is a dependable Pennsylvania registered agent service that will save you $30 when compared with Northwest Registered Agent but won’t offer any of the perks. You’ll receive the all-important physical street address in the state of Pennsylvania, which will receive a service of process or any other legal document on your behalf during normal business hours.
Harbor Compliance will also forward your mail and upload any important documents directly to your online portal where you can access them from the comfort of your home. If a service of process or other mailing is of particular urgency, they will take the extra step of notifying you with a phone call.
Compliance alerts regarding upcoming filing deadlines are also included as part of Harbor Compliance’s service, which can prevent a critical paperwork mistake. Their website is fairly user-friendly.
Harbor Compliance won’t wow you with any aspect of their registered agent service. Their customer service is a bit underwhelming and they seem content to offer the bare minimum amount of support.
The Harbor Compliance website reflects the company as a whole. It’s functional and meets minimum standards, but would greatly benefit from some upgrades.
Harbor Compliance is a basic registered agent service that will help keep your business in good standing with the state of Pennsylvania. You won’t be impressed with any aspect of their service, but you won’t be hung out to dry either.
If your budget is tight enough that you can’t put aside an extra $30 a year for Northwest Registered Agent and their superior offerings and service, Harbor Compliance is a reliable second choice.
3. LegalZoom – 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
LegalZoom is a national registered agent with a strong reputation for offering affordable, legal services of all kinds, any our pick for the best premium registered agent.
LegalZoom is probably the most widely-known company on this list and has a solid reputation in the Pennsylvania business community. They offer an enormous array of legal services, so they can serve as a one-stop shop if you use them for your Certificate of Organization or have additional legal requirements.
When only considering their registered agent service, LegalZoom offers most of the basics including a registered office address in Pennsylvania, mail forwarding and a point of contact for communication from the state.
They’re best known, however, for one highly-promoted significant add-on. LegalZoom offers a $1,000,000 identity theft insurance policy as part of their registered agent service. This is a perk you won’t find with other Commercial Registered Office Providers; a policy of that magnitude can offer significant peace of mind in an age when hackers and cyber criminals are becoming increasingly dangerous to your business.
The most obvious fault with LegalZoom is their price point. They are expensive. LegalZoom charges $299 per year per state, which is more than double the price of Northwest Registered Agent. Unfortunately, these rates are more reflective of their fame and reputation than they are of their actual service. Other registered agents will offer you a way more personalized service at a fraction of the price.
Even the $1,000,000 identity theft insurance seems overpriced when you consider that you could purchase that insurance separately, hire a better registered agent and still save money compared with LegalZoom.
LegalZoom’s enormous array of legal services can also be a negative when looking at them through the narrow perspective of someone who only needs a registered agent. LegalZoom handles everything from last will and testaments to copyright law to divorce cases, so answers to specific questions about your business in the state of Pennsylvania can be difficult to access.
LegalZoom has served millions of clients over the years and maintains a great reputation. They will do everything required of a Pennsylvania registered agent and offer a valuable identity theft insurance policy on top of that. They don’t come cheap, however.
You could save a substantial amount of money and receive more individualized service if you look elsewhere, but if you like the benefits of a one-stop, legal shop, you can check out LegalZoom here.
ZenBusiness made this list on a technicality — they do indeed offer a registered agent service, but only if you use them to form your Limited Liability Company (LLC).
If you did use the $49 LLC formation service that ZenBusiness offers, they will serve as your registered agent free of charge for a year. If you used a different company to form your LLC, however, there is no way to enlist ZenBusiness to be your Pennsylvania registered agent.
After the first year, ZenBusiness charges $119 per year to continue as your agent, offering roughly the same level of product and service as Harbor Compliance for $20 more per year at current rates.
The customer service team at ZenBusiness falls well below the standard set by their counterparts at Northwest Registered Agent, and since their prices are nearly the same, you’re essentially paying Northwest prices for Harbor Compliance service.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of their services, check out our ZenBusiness review.
5. IncFile Review
IncFile is also a very basic registered agent service. They offer a Pennsylvania street address for your business, and they handle a service of process or other legal documents during normal business hours, but little more.
They don’t offer compliance alerts or any other perks, nor do they have a customer service term experienced enough to justify their $119 per state per year price tag. If you’re looking at budget options, you can find cheaper commercial registered office providers, and if you’re looking for a more comprehensive service, you can find it elsewhere for around the same price.
6. Rocket Lawyer Review
Rocket Lawyer was founded to compete directly with LegalZoom. They offer the same enormous variety of legal services albeit at lower prices.
For their registered agent service, Rocket Lawyer charges $149 per state per year, which is a substantially lower price point than that offered by LegalZoom, but still not cheap enough to justify hiring them. There are cheaper alternatives that offer more product options and substantially better customer service.
Even though their registered agent service is not a market leader, they do have a huge range of legal services, including legal documents and attorney services. If you’d like to know more about them, read our Rocket Lawyer review.
7. SunDoc Filings Review
SunDoc Filings is another Pennsylvania CROP that provides a very basic level of service at a premium price. They will give you a physical address and handle a service of process should one come your way, but little else. For that, you pay $159 per state per year.
8. InCorp Review
InCorp offers a pretty solid, budget-friendly registered agent service and would be competing with Harbor Compliance for the top spot in that category were it not for a flawed online account system. Anyone starting a business in Pennsylvania doesn’t have time to figure out a ‘buggy’ website when you just need quick access to your documents, which is what you may end up doing if you employ InCorp.
9. Swyft Filings Review
Swyft Filings is yet another entrant in the crowded competition for the registered agent that can charge the most for the least amount of services. They fulfill the minimum requirements prescribed for commercial registered office providers by the Pennsylvania Department of State, but won’t offer filing alerts or any of the other perks offered by the better agents on the list.
If you want to read a detailed breakdown of their services, read our Swyft Filings review.
10. CSC Global Review
Like LegalZoom, CSC Global hopes to wow those in need of a new Pennsylvania registered agent with one unique, free benefit. They will cover the filing fee required to change from your current registered agent to CSC Global.
This benefit makes them appear to be a good choice if you are dissatisfied with your current service, however, the money you save on the transfer ($176) will soon be eaten up by CSC Global’s hefty rates. They charge $299 per state per year, one of the highest rates on my list. For that price, you’d expect superior service or, at the very least, compliance alerts, but CSC Global offers neither.
11. Registered Agents Inc. Review
As suggested by their name, Registered Agents Inc. has a very narrow focus. They don’t offer LLC formation services or provide legal advice if you’re going through a divorce. They just operate as a registered agent.
It can definitely be an advantage to have an agent that isn’t trying to be a jack of all trades, but Registered Agents Inc. does very little to separate themselves from budget agents like Harbor Compliance and they charge $200 per state. Registered Agents Inc. doesn’t offer substantial savings or any significant advantages.
12. Jumpstart Filings Review
Jumpstart Filings is another Pennsylvania registered agent that doesn’t offer anything beyond the basics. You’ll get your Pennsylvania address and a physical location to receive service of process, but not much more. Their prices aren’t outrageous, but you can still find cheaper and better from the agents listed above.
Registered Agent Review Summary
Of the 60 or so Pennsylvania commercial registered office providers I looked at, I found that only 12 deserved more extensive reviews. Northwest Registered Agent was far and away the best of the best.
From covering the basics to advising you on your most complex filing complications, Northwest Registered Agent does it all. Their registered agent services are truly second to none.
If you want a registered agent that ticks all the boxes as well as supporting you through the inevitable challenges of building a new business, head to Northwest Registered Agent now.
Best Registered Agent Review Methodology
This is how I identified the best registered agent.
Why You Should Trust Me
I doubt there are many others out there who have done as much research on Pennsylvania registered agents as I have.
I first began by looking into registered agents for my other businesses (which I have now sold) and was surprised by how vast the disparity was between good registered agents and bad ones. This disparity makes your choice of registered agent a very important one.
After all, there’s a lot at stake. After putting in countless hours starting my new venture, filing my Certificate of Organization, and trying to do everything right in accordance with the Secretary of State, I wasn’t going to risk my business by entrusting it to the wrong registered agent. So I did exactly what I had done to make my previous businesses into successes — I did exhaustive research.
My first step was to identify the major players and go through their marketing materials. Comparing various offerings made it much easier to determine which registered agent services offered concrete value and which were just trying to lure you in with dubious promotions.
From there I waded through countless online reviews, trying to determine which were genuine and offered the best perspectives. Finally, I actually got the phone and called the registered agents themselves. I heard more sales pitches and talked to more customer reps than I can count, but I ended up with a real sense of the individuals behind each company.
Talking with others who were starting a business in Pennsylvania, I realized that they were just as overwhelmed by the number of registered agent services as I had been, so I began to share my research. All my work was greatly appreciated by my peers which led me to believe that a website sharing my findings could be a great asset to others in the Pennsylvania business community and across the country as well.
So far the site has been quite successful as I’ve already helped thousands of business owners in Pennsylvania make the best choice for their registered agent. I hope my insights and recommendations will help you too.
How I Selected The Best Registered Agent
Stage 1: Reviews
Online reviews are an obvious starting point when selecting your registered agent in Pennsylvania. I went to Facebook, TrustPilot, Google Business and the Better Business Bureau, amongst others.
While it can be difficult to determine which reviews can be trusted, once you’ve gone through as many as I did, you start to notice some patterns. A lot of complaints emerged about a deceptive pricing structure that is surprisingly common amongst registered agents.
Many agents show one price, often in the $39-$59 range, but charge you substantially more per year when all is said and done. I eliminated any registered agents that used this dishonest pricing scheme to lure business owners to their service and was left with just the 12 companies that I reviewed above.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After I was confident that I’d removed the worst of the lot, I reviewed the websites of the remaining companies offering Pennsylvania registered agent service to determine what services they offered.
I found 24 distinct services that registered agents offered with their yearly subscriptions. To keep track of them all, I made a simple spreadsheet with the names of the 12 registered agents in the columns and the 24 services listed in the rows.
I then went back to the companies’ sites and talked with their sales reps if I needed clarification, and found out exactly what services each Pennsylvania registered agent service offered. When I was done, I had a great visual showing me exactly which companies offered which services.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
It was also important to me to determine not just what services each registered agent offered, but how well they executed their offerings. For this, I wanted to go beyond the online reviews because they are often skewed to extremes by customers with very strong opinions or manipulated by the companies themselves.
Talking to actual Pennsylvania customers also helped me ask in-depth questions such as whether a national registered agent service was familiar with state regulations. To do this, I initially just followed up with my fellow Pennsylvania business owners with whom I’d already shared some of my research. They were able to divulge very specific details of their own experiences and whether or not they aligned with mine.
Now that this website is live, I’m also able to converse with you all about your Pennsylvania registered agent choices and I’m constantly updating these rankings with your input.
Stage 4: Speak With Their Sales Team
After I had assembled all my research, I went back to the registered agent’s sales reps as the last step. With the amount of information I already had, I was able to ask very pointed questions and address specific concerns.
Anytime you talk to someone in sales, you’re going to get a pretty glossed-over version of the truth, of course, but I learned which companies take complaints seriously, which ones are most responsive to customer feedback and which are dedicated to continuously improving their product.
Through these calls, I was also able to put together a pretty good sense of each company’s corporate culture and how they interacted with their customers.
After I cut 60+ Pennsylvania certified registered office providers down to my top 12, I ranked my favorites based on five key factors.
Factor 1: Offerings
When you think of a commercial registered office provider, you might think of a company that provides your business entity with a physical address in Pennsylvania, keeps your name off the public record and does little else, but different registered agents actually offer a wide variety of products and services.
So while every Pennsylvania registered agent must offer a registered office address and will receive service of process or other documents on your behalf, the good ones are more proactive in keeping you in good standing with the state.
Good registered agents will, for example, offer compliance alerts, help you with your Certificate of Organization, immediately upload your documents, provide a cheap LLC service or even the best LLC service, and even offer general business advice.
Some registered agents also offer more unusual add-ons such as LegalZoom’s identity theft insurance or CSC Global’s rebate of the change of address fee.
The first factor by which I rated each registered agent was which companies offered the best products and the most helpful services.
Factor 2: Price
Costs are obviously always a key factor when you are just starting a company, and what you end up paying for your registered agent isn’t always as clear-cut as it should be.
As mentioned above, I eliminated a number of registered agents operating within the state of Pennsylvania because they employed a bait-and-switch pricing strategy that I thought was quite unethical. Basically, they’d advertise one price, leading you to believe that would be your annual costs, when in reality, the promoted price only covered sign-up fees, and your annual costs were much higher.
Once I disqualified these registered agents, the remaining companies were much more transparent with their prices. It was then much easier to look for value in terms of who offered the most services for the lowest prices.
Factor 3: Ease Of Signup
In reading reviews of all the various agents in the state, I discovered some complaints about the signup process which surprised me. You’d think they would make it as easy as possible to register your business entity, but some business owners ran into problems. Obviously, your time is extremely limited and valuable when you’re first creating your LLC, so any hiccups in the initial signup process are a significant drawback.
To best judge for myself, I signed up for each of my top 12 registered agents and judged the process based on how simple and quick it was to register.
Factor 4: Ease Of Use
After signing up, I continued my evaluation by wading through each registered agent’s website. I judged the sites based on how intuitive they were and how quickly I could navigate my way through simple tasks.
Again, time is money, especially for a business owner, so if I had a difficult time accessing my documents, finding a form, or locating an annual report, I reduced my rating for that particular registered agent.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The last factor I considered in my evaluations was customer service. In a perfect world, you would never need to deal with the customer service team of your commercial registered office provider, but should a problem arise, knowledgeable service reps can save you from making costly mistakes. And the knowledge that you have friendly, experienced advisors can keep you a happy and satisfied customer.
I called each Pennsylvania registered agent on this list and asked a series of questions designed to test how courteous, knowledgeable, efficient and helpful they were.
The Best Pennsylvania Registered Agent Results Summary
After analysing the 60+ registered agents in Pennsylvania through my 4-stage, 5-factor analysis process, these are my recommendations.
Best Overall Registered Agent – Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
Northwest Registered Agent was the clear winner after I had completed my analysis. They offer the most comprehensive service at one of the best rates in Pennsylvania and they don’t skimp on their website or their customer support.
Northwest does a great job with the essentials, from a registered office address to keeping your personal information off the public record, to handling your legal documents. The real value of their service, however, comes from extras like compliance alerts, same-day uploading of legal documents and their very user-friendly, online system. That range of services would come with a hefty price tag at other registered agents, but at Northwest it is all included at the competitive price of $125.
The final, most pronounced advantage Northwest holds over other registered agents is their incredible customer service team. They staff their offices with experienced entrepreneurs, along with former lawyers and accountants. There are very few if any queries that they can’t answer, and many are willing and able to provide business advice far beyond their responsibilities as your registered agent.
And with more than 3,000 positive Northwest Registered Agent reviews, you know this level of service is consistent across the board.
If you need a registered agent service that will give you peace of mind without breaking your budget, head to Northwest Registered Agent now.
Best Budget Registered Agent – Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
If you are extremely budget-conscious and can make do with a lot less experience on the customer service side, Harbor Compliance is a reliable, cheaper option to serve as your commercial registered office provider.
They will help you maintain compliance with state regulations, provide you with a physical address within the state of Pennsylvania, accept documents on your behalf during regular business hours and will forward and scan your mail. Their website is serviceable and their customer support is adequate. Harbor Compliance won’t bowl you over, but they won’t let you down.
If you need a registered agent and are willing to forgo outstanding, experienced customer service for $26 savings, check out Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent – LegalZoom (6.59/10)
If you’re not budget-conscious and really appreciate a one-stop, legal shop that has a good reputation and offers a few extra frills, LegalZoom is a good option for you.
LegalZoom will handle the basics. They’ll provide you with a Pennsylvania mailing address, help you stay in compliance with the state and scan and forward important documents. What LegalZoom does that others don’t is provide you with a $1,000,000 identity theft insurance policy as part of their registered agent service. That’s a valuable perk in today’s world, even if you can save significant money by hiring a different registered agent and separately purchasing a similar identity theft insurance policy.
If you don’t mind spending $300 each year for your registered agent service and won’t miss things like compliance alerts and experienced customer service, LegalZoom might be a good choice for you.
Check out LegalZoom here.
At its most basic, a registered agent is simply a provider of a Pennsylvania address that is open during business hours to accept and forward your mail. However, various product offerings, add-ons and complex pricing policies make choosing your registered agent a much more complicated decision than it should be.
Further muddying the waters is the fact that there are more than 60 companies offering registered agent services in Pennsylvania. The intense competition brings out the worst in some agents, like those that show you one price, but charge you another.
But the intense competition also brings out the best in some companies, like Northwest Registered Agent, who clearly earned the top spot on my rankings by going above and beyond in every phase of their business and hiring experienced customer service reps.
All my analysis points to Northwest Registered Agent as the best registered agent service in Pennsylvania. I’m doing you and your business a disservice if I point you in any other direction.
A final summary of everything Northwest offers;
- Pennsylvania street address for receiving important paperwork and information from state regulatory bodies
- Document scanning and uploading
- Instant online access to your documents
- Compliance alerts
- Assistance with setting up your LLC
- Mail forwarding
- An intuitive website
These services are complemented by a smart, experienced, friendly customer service team who can become a tremendous asset to your business.
If you are looking for the best registered agent in Pennsylvania head to Northwest Registered Agent today.
Additional Pennsylvania Services
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