Choosing the best registered agent service for your company is one of the most important business decisions you’ll ever make.
The right registered agent will make sure that your company’s legal obligations are met, will keep your personal information off the public record, and will safeguard your assets.
The wrong registered agent will be careless with your information, all but giving it away to hackers and scammers. Worse, if the agent isn’t serious about keeping your company up to date with its compliance filing deadlines, you could be subject to lawsuits and other legal actions.
Why is a registered agent so important? A registered agent receives service of process, legal and tax documents, and legal mail from various government agencies on your behalf. An incompetent or negligent one could be absolutely catastrophic for your business.
I've investigated 60+ registered agents, assessed the top 12, and written in-depth reviews of the 3 best. Here are my picks for the best registered agent service for a sole proprietorship:
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
The best registered agent service is Northwest Registered Agent because it provides all the professional registered agent services your sole proprietorship needs, it charges the second-cheapest fee on my list of the best registered agent services, and it has the best customer support in the online business services industry.
You’ll find a lot of reasons to love Northwest Registered Agent.
It delivers all the registered agent services that your business entity needs (on top of LLC formation services), including the vital registered agent address with an individual or business entity representative to accept service of process, legal and tax documents, and legal mail during standard business hours. Northwest also provides a portal that gives you online access to your legal documents as well as compliance alerts for annual reports and other important filing deadlines. It’s the only registered agent service I found that scans ALL your mail and uploads it to your portal. Most registered agent services only scan and upload the legal documents and service of process.
Northwest Registered Agent’s registration process is painless and seamless, and its system is easy to use because its user interface was designed for people with average technological skills. A notable feature of its system is that you can easily sign up for registered agent services in multiple states through the same portal. This isn’t a common feature among registered agent service providers.
The #1 reason that Northwest won its spot at the top of my best registered agent services is its customer support.
In this era of convenience, many registered agent services outsource their customer service departments overseas to save a few bucks. They hire locals who they don’t adequately train and who don’t have any experience in the business industry. But Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t follow that trend.
Instead, Northwest has a US-based team of customer support specialists who were once lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, or small business owners. They listen patiently to your questions and provide creative solutions to your technical issues. But they go above and beyond answering your registered agent service questions by also providing business advice. They use their decades of experience and knowledge to answer questions you have regarding how to start, manage, and get your business to the next level.
If these skilled consultants don’t know the answers to your questions, they’ll do their best to find them. They’re more than capable of helping you deal with any challenges your business is facing. For customer convenience, the customer support team is available during all business hours on weekdays.
Because Northwest is the only registered agent to provide this top-tier customer support and business advice, it was easy to choose them as the best registered agent service. Small businesses face so many challenges that the added business advice from skilled professionals is a boon for any business owner.
On top of all of this, Northwest charges a reasonable $125 (plus state fees) per state, per year for its singular registered agent service. With so many services and features, you’re sure to find a reason to love Northwest Registered Agent.
Northwest Registered Agent has fallen victim to the same issue that many high-quality, polished services do. Its biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage: customer service.
No matter the situation, there’s no way to call their customer support team and initiate a quick question-and-answer service so that you aren’t stuck on the phone when you’re pressed for time.
Northwest’s customer service team is so committed to providing excellent support that they apply the same patience and attention to detail to every contact. This means that they’ll patiently listen to your question or problem, then ask a bunch of questions about it. It’s an attempt to fully understand the minutia of your issue, but when you’re in a hurry it’s more efficient to just Google your question.
This is only one small complaint against Northwest Registered Agent because it can be a little frustrating to deal with when you’re in a hurry.
Northwest Registered Agent is hands down the best registered agent service because it delivers all the registered agent services that business entities need, its system is so simple to navigate that anyone can use it, it has reasonable rates, and its services are supported by a team of US-based former accountants, lawyers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who are enthusiastic about delivering outstanding customer support and helping you with the business challenges you face.
If you want a registered agent service with great customer service and the technology necessary to support your company as it grows, all for an affordable fee, hire Northwest Registered Agent today.
2. Harbor Compliance — 7.92/10 (Best Full-Service Registered Agent on a Budget)
Harbor Compliance is one of the best registered agent services thanks to its full catalog of registered agent services for the best price I’ve seen from any full-service registered agent.
Harbor Compliance is another full-service registered agent service, and it’s a lot like Northwest Registered Agent. It supplies everything that business entities need from registered agent services: a registered agent address and someone to accept legal documents and legal mail on behalf of your company during business hours, an online portal to manage and access your documents, forwarding and scanning of your documents, and compliance notifications for crucial filing deadlines like your annual reports.
It’s easy to finish the sign-up process with Harbor Compliance, and you can easily sign up for registered agent services in multiple states. But to many sole proprietors, the most attractive feature is its price. Harbor Compliance charges only $99 (plus state fees) for its registered agent service package. This means it’s the most inexpensive full-service registered agent service on the market, and $26 less than Northwest Registered Agent.
Harbor Compliance’s biggest downfall lies in its services, unfortunately. While they’re all good, none of them are anything out of the ordinary, nor do they include any premium services, or anything fancy. Its customer support team is able to answer questions about your registered agent service and walk you through issues with its system, but it certainly doesn’t provide business support or advice, and it isn’t as helpful or patient as Northwest Registered Agent’s.
So, while Harbor Compliance’s services are great overall, they won’t blow your mind.
Harbor Compliance is a trustworthy registered agent provider that covers all your legal needs. It delivers all the registered agent services that you could want for your sole proprietorship at the cheapest price offered by any full-service registered agent, without any premium or luxury packages or additional fees.
If you’re comfortable trading away Northwest Registered Agent’s out-of-this-world customer service to save only $26 per year, you can learn more about Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
3. LegalZoom — 6.59/10 (Best Premium Service)
If you’re interested in premium registered agent services, then LegalZoom is the best option in a sea of disappointing options.
Premium registered agent services can be thought of as sort of “full-service plus” because they offer all the same services that full-service registered agents do, with the addition of some significant improvements, such as specific insurances or paying for state fees.
As a premium registered agent service, LegalZoom offers all the services you’d get from a full-service agent, including a physical address with someone to accept legal documents during business hours, an online dashboard, compliance alerts, etc., with the addition of up to $1 million in identity theft protection.
LegalZoom presents two major drawbacks.
First: its cost. LegalZoom charges $299 for its premium registered agent services, which is a typical price for premium registered agents. But at $175 more than Northwest Registered Agent, it really isn’t worth it when the only additional service you get is the identity theft insurance.
Second: its registered agent services make up only a small portion of its total service package. It also provides online legal services, business contract templates, and business formation services. Because of this, its registered agent services are overlooked and don’t get the attention they need.
LegalZoom’s system is difficult to use, and its customer support isn’t up to the same quality as some of the other providers on my list of best registered agent services.
LegalZoom is a reputable company in the business world and it offers inferior but premium registered agent services that are so expensive it would be cheaper to buy premium options separately from a different company.
Premium registered agent services aren’t worth it, unless you’re already using some of LegalZoom’s other services, such as online legal services or business formation services, or if you’re so determined to choose a registered agent that also provides identity theft protection that you don’t care to pay its steep prices.
If you want to learn more about LegalZoom, visit its website here: LegalZoom.
I didn’t go into as much detail with the reviews about the remaining registered agent service providers on my list because, while I did look into their services as part of the research for my best registered agent services list, I found them to be so dissatisfying that they didn’t garner further explanation.
ZenBusiness is a good national registered agent service option, as well as a good choice for online registered agent services and legal services. It charges $199 (plus state fees) per state, per year for its registered agent services.
For that price, they'll receive any official documents on behalf of your business including service of process notifications, a banking resolution template, annual report compliance alerts and mandatory filing, and access to an Employer Identification Number.
However, since they are more costly compared with Northwest Registered Agent , you don’t even get the same customer service quality. You do however get a complimentary accounting session to help you enhance your bookkeeping skills.
If you’d like to learn more about ZenBusiness’ other services (legal services, business formation service and more), read my ZenBusiness review.
IncFile is another company that offers business formation services as well as bare-bones registered agent services that don’t even include compliance alerts. The biggest flaw is that it charges $119 (plus state fees) for these unsatisfactory services. If you’re a fan of paying more for services than they’re worth, then IncFile is a good option.
IncFile is another registered agent provider that offers a complimentary year of registered agent service when you sign up for its LLC formation service, just like ZenBusiness, but even with this promotion its services aren’t worth the price.
You can learn more about IncFile’s services on its website here: IncFile.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a cheap imitation of LegalZoom, meaning that its registered agent services aren’t the primary focus of its business, and they get lost among the other services (primarily its legal services and LLC formation service). Rocket Lawyer charges $149 for some pretty disappointing registered agent services that include little more than basic mail forwarding and the physical address and statutory agent you need to meet compliance regulations. Its customer service isn’t up to snuff for that price, either.
You can read about Rocket Lawyer and its other features and services in my Rocket Lawyer review.
7. Sundoc Filings
Sundoc Filings continues the trend of businesses that primarily offer formation services but provide bare-bones registered agent services as well and charges $159 per year for these unsatisfactory services.
InCorp is also a company that specializes in LLC formation services but also supplies registered agent services. This registered agent service confused me when it came time to rate it.
InCorp charges the same $99 fee as Harbor Compliance and has the same registered agent service offerings, so one would think that would put the two companies in direct competition.
But the difference is evident when you inspect the quality of the registered agent services that InCorp delivers. Its system is fiendishly difficult to navigate. The user interface isn’t well laid out, it’s confusing, and the entire experience is frustrating. What’s more, its customer service is only adequate, which isn’t enough when a company has a system that’s so headache inducing, which is why I don’t recommend it highly as one of the best registered agent services.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings does offer a full range of registered agent services—complete with compliance alerts—but it charges $149 per year.
It offers other services, too, which you can read about in my Swyft Filings review.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is another premium registered agent service, like LegalZoom, and it isn’t one of the most unsavory premium options out there, but it definitely seems disappointing when you compare it to LegalZoom and abysmal when you compare it to Northwest Registered Agent.
The only premium registered agent service it provides is covering the state fees you’re charged if you switch from your current registered agent to CSC Global. But it costs $299 per year, so you’d save loads of money by choosing Northwest Registered Agent and pay for the state fees out of your own pocket.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
When it comes to rating Registered Agents Inc., it receives high scores for its services. It has the same registered agent services as Northwest Registered Agent. The problem is that it charges $200 for the same services that Northwest only charges $125 for, and its customer service isn’t nearly as good.
12. Jumpstart Filings
This is a formation service that moonlights as a mediocre registered agent service provider. Unfortunately, it charges $150 per year for these lackluster services.
Interestingly, though it does have formation services, it doesn’t offer a promotion for a year of free registered agent services when you sign up for its formation package—not that such a promotion would help much with a price like that. With that in mind, Jumpstart Filings definitely isn’t worth the money.
Registered Agent Services Review Summary
Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service for your sole proprietorship because it provides a full range of registered agent services for only $125 per year.
It has a US-based team of customer service representatives made up of lawyers, accountants, small business owners, and entrepreneurs to answer questions regarding your registered agent service, which is great. But they exceed expectations by also helping you with any challenges you face during your business journey. Their years of experience and the knowledge they’ve picked up along the way make them uniquely qualified to provide you with quality advice about starting and managing a business, as well as helping you with all the problems that business owners face.
Northwest’s online system has a simple user interface, and its sign-up process is easy to complete, which makes it a great option for business entities looking for a professional registered agent service that will reliably meet their legal obligations and protect their personal information.
If you’re in the market for registered agent services and want a registered agent that will deliver all the services your company needs, as well as supporting your company no matter how big it grows, then hurry up and get the best registered agent service here: Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Registered Agent for Sole Proprietorship Review Methodology
There are tons of registered agent services online, which can give you a diverse list of options. Too many options, though, leads to a phenomenon known as “overchoice” or “choice overload,” which can prevent you from choosing any service at all, no matter how desperately you need to purchase registered agent services. Just as bad, it can cause you to panic buy and either choose the first registered agent service on the list, or choose one at random, neither of which is a good way to choose your company’s registered agent or statutory agent.
To keep you from the temptation of being your own registered agent (a dangerous notion), I created this article to serve as a handy reference guide on the best registered agent services for your sole proprietorship. Here’s how I reached my conclusion.
Why You Should Trust Me
When it comes to recommending the top registered agent services, you can trust me because I’ve spent more time dealing with and researching the registered agent service industry than nearly anyone else, which means that sometimes I now know more about it than some of the employees of the companies on my best registered agent services list.
The origin story of my expertise started when I set out to find the best registered agent services for my two businesses—a cafe and a health website. Eventually, I sold those businesses and took time out to ponder my next career move. The answer revealed itself to me in an unexpected way when I spoke to my friends and colleagues and realized that not only did they not have the knowledge of registered agent services that I did, they didn’t have the time to pour into researching registered agent services, either. It turns out that making registered agent service recommendations is sort of my superpower. And that’s when I began giving them registered agent service recommendations.
These recommendations transformed into an online company where I now provide advice about registered agents to thousands of random online friends, like you.
How I Selected the Best Registered Agent
I used a four-stage research process to reduce a list of over 60 registered agents down to my list of 12.
Here’s my process.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage was to look at thousands of online reviews. These reviews were spread out across several different online review platforms, like TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau, and Facebook. I sorted through countless reviews to save you the trouble.
Honestly, there were so many reviews that to read through every last one would have taken me years, so I didn’t do that. Instead, what I did was read the reviews that were longer than a paragraph or two and provided enough information that I could determine whether the registered agent service discussed was worth further research, or whether I could eliminate it as an obvious fraud. I was also quick to disqualify any agents who used deceptive pricing practices (which I’ll discuss in further detail in the “Value” section).
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After I’d eliminated the second-rate (or even third- or fourth-rate) services from my list, the next stage of my research consisted of a thorough analysis of each company’s website.
Some of the details I looked for included the offerings of each registered agent service, the number of contact methods available for customer service, the company’s history, its displayed awards and honors, and its location, particularly whether they were national registered agents or if they only had local offices.
This stage gave me a better understanding of the types of services each provider supplied, the company’s history and where it came from, and the types of claims they made about their services.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Unfortunately, the information gathered from reading online reviews and company websites is incredibly limited. To find out how a company REALLY serves its customers, you have to speak with the customers directly. That’s why I spoke to customers as the third stage of my research.
To ensure that I received a broad section of customer feedback that wasn’t tainted by overtly positive customer reviews or company bias, I reached out to customers I’d recommended registered agent service to, as well as those visiting my site who already had registered agent services and were shopping for new ones.
The questions I asked them involved the services that each company delivered them, the quality of the services, the quality of support they received, and how satisfied they were with the services. This provided me with a LOT of detailed information about the quality of the services these providers supplied, as well as a lot of dirt on these companies.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
During the last stage of my investigation I gathered up all the negative customer feedback, comments, and dirt I’d collected on each company during the previous stages of my research and called the sales teams. I asked them direct questions about these issues and their failings.
This stage provided me with a lot of information about how companies handled negative criticism, and how open they were to innovation and changes based on the needs of their customers. Some of these companies had the nerve to imply that the customers who’d left negative reviews were just kind of “crazy” and that I shouldn’t pay them any mind. Then there were other companies that listened to the complaints levied against them and then provided me with a detailed explanation of how they’d already been made aware of those complaints and problems and used that feedback to provide a solution, so that the problem no longer existed.
This stage really highlighted the best performers and solidified my choices for the top registered agent services.
I used these five rating factors to rank the 12 remaining registered agent services on my list, and choose my top 3.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first rating factor I considered was the list of service offerings supplied by each provider.
It doesn’t matter if you find a registered agent who has an enticing price and simple user interface if it doesn’t have the services your company needs. Simply put: if a company doesn’t do what you need it to, then you shouldn’t choose it as your company’s registered agent.
Some of the factors I was looking for here were an online document portal to manage your legal documents or just basic mail forwarding, compliance notifications or a compliance calendar prefilled with important filing deadlines that could be easily forgotten, identity theft protection or vague promises about the protection of your personal information, and cheap LLC formation services, or even the best LLC formation services.
The companies with the best range of services were awarded with the top positions on my list, while those whose services were lacking received lower scores.
Factor 2: Value
My next consideration was the value for money that each company provides. This was a matter of GREAT disparity among the registered agents I researched.
What I mean when I say “value for money” is how much value the services provide for the cost. This is a factor determined by considering both the number of services offered, and the price of the services.
The companies who had a large collection of services and low prices rose to the top of my list, while those with lackluster service catalogs and extortionate prices fell to the bottom of the list.
During research for this rating factor, I found that most registered agent services use one of three pricing tiers: budget, full service, and premium.
Budget registered agents charge $39–$59, full-service registered agents cost $99–$199, and premium registered agents start at $299 and can go up from there.
While looking into registered agent service pricing tiers I found that even though budget registered agents seem to be a great option because of the low prices advertised, they’re not the value they appear to be.
It’s true that it only costs $39–$59 to sign up for these services. But to receive some essential services like compliance alerts, same-day forwarding or document scanning, you’ll be charged so much in additional or hidden fees that it would be cheaper just to choose a full-service agent.
Because of this, I disqualified budget services from my list entirely.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
Finding a registered agent service with great prices and all the services you want only to be held up for days or weeks during the registration process is a real fly in the ointment.
To ensure that you choose a registered agent service with affordable rates, a full range of services and a simple sign-up process, I chose to rate each service according to how easily and quickly their sign-up process can be completed.
The companies with simple, streamlined sign-up processes received high ratings, while those whose sign-up processes were time-consuming and required tons of paperwork sank to the bottom of my list.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Sadly, the sign-up process isn’t the only time a registered agent can waste your time. If their system is needlessly complicated or outdated, you could spend hours learning how to navigate it. This is why I chose to rate each registered agent service based on how easy their systems are to use.
The companies with the most user-friendly interfaces and simplistic layouts found themselves in higher positions on my list, and those with complicated, antiquated, glitchy systems found themselves lower down the list.
Factor 5: Customer Service
It really doesn’t matter how user-friendly an interface is, or how many millions of dollars a company has spent to update its servers, technical issues and questions are inevitable with any system. Because these issues can be so frustrating and registered agent service is so important, quality customer service is crucial.
If you receive good customer service, your issues will be resolved quickly and efficiently and you’ll be free to return to your workday. But if you receive poor customer service you could waste hours on the phone waiting on someone to answer your question or give you a solution to your technical issue.
This is why I rated each registered agent service based on the quality of its customer service.
The companies with speedy, efficient, and courteous customer service were ranked higher than the companies who are slow to respond and provide solutions so convoluted that you leave the call more confused than ever were ranked lower.
The Best Registered Agent Service for a Sole Proprietorship Results Summary
Once I completed my four-stage research process and used my five rating factors, it was obvious that Northwest Registered Agent was the best registered agent service.
Best Overall Registered Agent: Northwest Registered Agent (9.13/10)
Northwest dominates my list of the best registered agent services because it provides all the services your company needs, it has a reasonable price, and it provides next-level customer service.
For only $125 per state, per year, you’ll get a physical address (which saves your personal information from being listed on the public record), an online portal where ALL your mail is scanned and uploaded for you to manage, and compliance notifications.
But its stand-out feature is its US-based team of customer service representatives made up of former small business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants who are available during business hours on weekdays to expertly and efficiently provide masterful solutions to your technical problems and answer your questions regarding your registered agent service. They also offer consultant-level business advice, which means that on top of answering everyday customer support questions they’ll answer questions you have about running your business and provide you with business advice to help you navigate the obstacles you encounter.
There are more than 3,000 positive customer reviews online for Northwest Registered Agent, so I’m positive that my experience wasn’t just a fluke.
Head over to Northwest Registered Agent now to get the best registered agent service for your business: Northwest Registered Agent.
Read my guide on the best LLC services to learn more about Northwest Registered Agent’s formation services.
Best Registered Agent on a Budget: Harbor Compliance (7.92/10)
If you’re looking for an affordable registered agent service that provides all the services you need, then Harbor Compliance is a solid choice.
It provides the same service list that Northwest Registered Agent does, at only $99 per state, per year.
Its customer service team isn’t as skilled, knowledgeable, or efficient as Northwest’s, but they’re still able to handle registered agent-related questions and sufficiently provide solutions to technical issues.
Harbor Compliance also offers a range of other features and services that I can’t feasibly stuff into this article, so if you’re interested in learning about them you can read my Harbor Compliance review.
If industry-leading customer service doesn’t sound good to you and you’d rather save a modest $26 per year, you can read more about Harbor Compliance here: Harbor Compliance.
Best Premium Registered Agent: LegalZoom (6.59/10)
If you’re looking for a premium registered agent, then LegalZoom is a good choice. It offers the same services that Northwest Registered Agent does, plus $1 million in identity theft protection, and they’ll cover any state fees you’re charged for switching over to its services.
This identity theft protection will cost you—it’s $175 more per year than Northwest Registered Agent—but it still offers reliable registered agent services and is the best option if you’re looking for a premium agent.
You can learn more about LegalZoom here: LegalZoom.
It’s important that you choose the best professional registered agent service for your company to ensure that your personal information and assets are kept safe and that your company’s legal obligations are met. You may be tempted to act as your own registered agent, but this is a bad idea.
I conducted an investigation of more than 60 different registered agent services and used my four-stage research process and five rating factors to review the top 12.
This investigation, along with thousands of positive customer reviews online, concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service for sole proprietorships.
It offers all the services that your company could need and backs them up with industry-leading customer service with representatives that have the experience to guide you through any situation you find yourself in. Its system is easy to use, and it allows you to sign up for registered agent service in multiple states from the same portal, which means that Northwest can support your company as it grows and take it to new heights.
If you want a reliable registered agent that not only delivers a variety of high-quality services but also provides the best customer support in the industry, head over to Northwest Registered Agent right now.