Choosing the right South Carolina registered agent is an essential step to forming your LLC or business in South Carolina. There’s a wide variety of options available and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for, so today I’m going to help you find the best registered agents in South Carolina.
The right South Carolina registered agent will provide all of the right services to ensure that your LLC or business complies with all the regulations established by the South Carolina Secretary of State, keep your personal information safe and off the public record, provide you with compliance alerts for your annual report, and may even provide assistance with LLC formation.
The wrong South Carolina registered agent will barely provide the bare minimum. They may neglect their duties and could jeopardize the operational capacity of your business in South Carolina.
I've investigated over 60 registered agents in South Carolina, assessed the top 12, and written in-depth reviews of the 3 best. Here are my picks for the best South Carolina registered agent service:
1.Northwest Registered Agent – 9.13/10 (My Top Pick)
Northwest Registered Agent is my #1 pick for best South Carolina registered agent service. Not only do they provide all the basics you’ll need from a South Carolina registered agent, they’ll ensure you meet all of your legal requirements. On top of that, they have an amazing customer service team.
Northwest Registered Agent is also a national registered agent, meaning they have offices in every state. This makes them an excellent choice if your business grows and expands across the country.
A lot can be said about how great Northwest Registered Agent’s services are.
To start, they raise the bar on quality standards. They provide everything you need from a South Carolina registered agent, such as receiving your service of process and other important legal documents, mail forwarding, and providing the necessary registered street address (to keep your information off the public record) and an agent that’s available during normal business hours; they also scan and upload all of those documents the same day they are received. On top of that, they provide a compliance alert system to ensure you never miss an important filing date, such as the due date for your annual report.
But the real star is their customer service.
As we all know, a poor customer service team can leave you feeling frustrated or confused. But that doesn’t happen with Northwest. Their US-based team of former lawyers, business owners, accountants, and entrepreneurs go above and beyond, drawing from their own experiences to provide you with some of the most excellent customer service and support I’ve ever received.
Advice like this can normally run at rates higher than $5,000/day. But with Northwest Registered Agent, you gain access to this expert-level advice for their rate of only $125/state/year.
The one thing that’s frustrating about Northwest is that their customer support team is a bit too thorough.
There were a few rare circumstances where I felt they were asking more questions than what was really necessary. I ended up feeling like I would have gotten faster results from Google.
If you want a South Carolina registered agent service that sets new quality standards for the industry, will provide you with the services your business needs, and will make compliance with South Carolina LLC laws a breeze, then look no further than Northwest Registered Agent. They provide the highest quality service at a fantastic value with phenomenal customer service.
If you’re in the market for a new registered agent, want to change your South Carolina registered agent, check out Northwest Registered Agent today.
2.Harbor Compliance – 7.92/10 (Best Budget Registered Agent)
Harbor Compliance is a great choice to consider if you’re working with a small budget. Though they aren’t on the same service level as Northwest Registered Agent, they do still provide a fair standard of service at a more cost-efficient rate.
Harbor Compliance is also a national registered agent, making them a good choice to consider should your business expand into multiple states.
Harbor Compliance provides your LLC with all of the services it needs to meet its legal obligations, and they do it at a budget price.
They provide your LLC with a registered office and an agent’s name and address in the state of South Carolina to use, become the point of contact for your LLC and accept mail and legal notices during business hours on business days on your behalf, scan your important documents and upload them to an online portal, keep your personal details off the public record, and give you compliance filing alerts.
It’s pretty easy to navigate their online system and it’s sufficiently user-friendly, as well.
While Harbor Compliance will provide your LLC with decent registered agent services, none of them really shines or excels.
They fail to provide the extra services and features of other companies like Northwest. Some glitches in their system could be ironed out to make it easier to use. And their customer service team isn’t as good as Northwest Registered Agent’s team.
Harbor Compliance doesn’t truly excel at anything.
If you're working on a tight budget, then Harbor Compliance is a great choice.
They’ll offer all the agent services you need to keep your LLC or business in good standing with the South Carolina Secretary of State and charge a decent rate.
If you don’t want the extra features offered by Northwest Registered Agent, then click here to learn about Harbor Compliance.
3. LegalZoom—6.59/10 (Best Premium Registered Agent)
LegalZoom also gets an honorable mention as the best premium South Carolina registered agent service.
LegalZoom has a long-established reputation and is a trusted business entity, making them a strong choice to consider when appointing a South Carolina registered agent. They’re a national registered agent service, allowing them to remain as your point of contact as your business expands outside the state of South Carolina. LegalZoom’s reputation means you can trust them to deliver on their promises, and they’ll help your LLC stay compliant with all the laws and regulations that apply to LLCs in South Carolina to remain in good standing with the Secretary of State.
In addition to the basic services (receiving service of process and mail during business hours, providing a registered office, name and address, etc.), LegalZoom also packages a $1,000,000 identity theft insurance policy with their resident agent services, which can provide you with peace of mind as a business owner. With the technology dependence of the market today, this kind of protection is essential to any business, which is why LegalZoom ranks so highly on my list.
LegalZoom has also withstood the test of time, so you won’t have to worry about your resident agent company going under and leaving you without a critical element of your business structure.
Sadly, LegalZoom’s “Premium Service” isn’t quite as “premium” as you’d expect. Their service package isn’t as all-encompassing or feature-packed as some others, and they seem to rely heavily on their reputation and market presence to attract clients. Basically, you’re paying expensive fees for your registered agent’s name if you go with LegalZoom for your business.
Although they offer an identity theft protection plan with their service, comparable plans are available for less than the difference between their $299 price tag and Northwest Registered Agent; that difference is an astounding $176. In this instance, it’s probably best for you to choose a different agent service and find identity theft protection for your business elsewhere.
LegalZoom also does not specialize in registered agent services. Their market niche is providing templated legal documents, and this shows when it comes to their online system and customer support. Their support teams typically aren’t as knowledgeable on registered agent services and their system is poorly optimized and can occasionally be troublesome to use.
LegalZoom is a sizable presence with a long-established reputation in the business industry. You can trust them to deliver on their promises. If your registered agent must include identity theft insurance as part of their business services, then LegalZoom is a great choice to consider.
However, if you’re looking for a better value for your business, higher quality service, or more user-friendly online systems, then perhaps consider looking elsewhere.
To read about LegalZoom, click here.
Now that I’ve covered the top three South Carolina Registered Agents, let’s take a quick look at the next nine candidates.
If you’re looking for an LLC formation service to help with the Articles of Organization for your business as well as act as a South Carolina registered agent, then ZenBusiness might be worth a look. They offer two levels of service.
ZenBusiness’s first level comes priced at $99 per year and includes the basics you should expect from a registered agent business. They’ll provide you with a registered address in South Carolina and receive service of process and other documents for your business during regular business hours. You get a similar overall service to Northwest Registered Agent’s services, minus the compliance alert system to keep your business in good standing.
Their second level includes all of the previously mentioned services but adds compliance alerts for filing deadlines for your business for an additional $50.
ZenBusiness is focused on LLC formation services; therefore, their systems seem to be less optimized and their customer service is less than helpful when it comes to registered agent services for your business.
For my full review of ZenBusiness, click here.
IncFile is a commercial registered agent that doesn’t offer much more than the minimum for their registered agent services. As a South Carolina registered agent, they’ll provide you with the basics like mail forwarding and receiving mail, documents, and service of process for your business. But beyond that, they offer little in the way of quality of life enhancements like compliance alerts and they won’t help you draft the Articles of Organization for your business.
With their services carrying a price of $119 per state per year, IncFile’s services come at a cheaper rate than most; however, since they don’t offer any additional features for this price I can’t recommend them for your South Carolina registered agent.
6. Rocket Lawyer
Offering similar services to LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer advertises itself as a low-cost alternative for those looking to save some money.
Their “low-cost” alternative is still priced at $149 per state per year and although you will get the necessary South Carolina street address and they will be available to receive mail, documents, and service of process during regular business hours for your business, Rocket Lawyer fails to provide any services offered by companies that charge less. For that reason, I don’t recommend them as your South Carolina registered agent.
7. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings fails to provide anything noteworthy or remarkable as a South Carolina registered agent. They only provide the basic business services that a registered agent must, such as receiving the service of process, documents and mail for your business, and providing a registered street address. They charge a rate of $159 per year for this bare-bones level of service.
If you’d like a registered agent who provides your business with the bare minimum, click here to learn about Sundoc Filings.
A bit of a curveball, InCorp is a national registered agent service in South Carolina that presents itself as a more budget-friendly option similar to Harbor Compliance; their services are even priced at the same price of $99 per state per year.
However, the reason InCorp ranks so low on my list is their frustrating online computer system. It is easily the clunkiest, most poorly-optimized, and confusing system I’ve ever had the misfortune of navigating. For that reason alone I cannot recommend them as your South Carolina registered agent.
To deal with InCorp's annoying computer system, click here.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is another LLC formation service in South Carolina (to help draft the Articles of Organization for your business) that has decided to dive into the registered agent market. They provide a minimal service package at a steep rate of $149 per state per year.
10. CSC Global
CSC Global is another so-called “premium” SC registered agent service, pricing their service package at a rather steep $299 per state per year. Like any other SC registered agent, CSC Global will provide you with a registered office address and be available to receive your legal documents (such as service of process) during regular business hours. One feature worth mentioning is that CSC global will cover any state filing fee you’re charged when you change your registered agent service.
They don’t offer any kind of compliance alerts or any other features that other South Carolina registered agents do, so they don’t bring much value to the table.
Considering that the cost of the state filing fee to change your registered agent is less than the $176 difference between CSC Global and Northwest Registered Agent, I wouldn’t recommend CSC Global’s services for your SC registered agent needs. It’s cheaper to just pay the state filing fee yourself to change agent services for your business.
Click here to read about CSC Global’s services.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
Registered Agents Inc. is unique in that they are the only company in the state that specializes in providing registered agent services. That specialty comes with a hefty price of $200 per state per year and despite claiming to be specialists, they don’t provide much more than the minimum (registered office address, receive service of process, documents and mail for your business, etc.). This means that they are hardly the best registered agent South Carolina has to offer, and as such, I can’t recommend them as your SC registered agent.
To learn about Registered Agents Inc.’s expensive specialty services, click here.
12. Jumpstart Filings
Finishing out the list is Jumpstart Filings, which provides the absolute bare minimum that an SC registered agent must for your business. Like every other entry on my list, they’ll provide your registered office address and receive your service of process, mail and documents for your business; however, they charge $129 per state per year for the bare minimum. Considering that you get exponentially more for less with Northwest Registered Agent, don’t waste your time with Jumpstart Filings.
Click here to read about Jumpstart Filings and the minimal services they can offer your business.
Registered Agent Review Summary
With over 60 candidates that I investigated, Northwest Registered Agent came out on top as the best South Carolina registered agent.
They’ll provide everything you need from a South Carolina registered agent, and offer their services at a great value. They’re backed by an incredible customer service team that offers your business outstanding lifelong support. With their same-day scanning of your mail and documents and compliance alerts included at a price of only $125 per state per year, Northwest Registered Agent is the best choice for South Carolina registered agent services.
If you need a South Carolina registered agent and want nothing short of the best for your business, or want to change your South Carolina registered agent, check out Northwest Registered Agent today.
South Carolina Registered Agent Reviews Methodology
The process for refining this list down to the top twelve South Carolina registered agents and determining which of those was the best for your LLC was lengthy, to say the least. I devised the following process to save you the time it took me to figure all of this out.
Why You Should Trust Me
The biggest reason you should trust me and my process is that I’ve had to go through all of this myself. I have experience in finding the best registered agent for my two businesses.
I didn’t want to deal with the formation process myself, so instead I invested hours into researching the right registered agent service for my businesses.
This process wasn’t easy. I spent hours reading online reviews for each business, interviewing customers, and speaking with sales teams and customer service to find out which option was truly the best for me.
I’ve also helped guide thousands of others through this process, to make sure they find the right registered agent that will allow their business to thrive.
Since my website launched, I’ve helped thousands of people just like you save time looking for the right agent, and I can help you find the right fit for your business as well.
How I Selected the Best Registered Agent
My process for selecting the best South Carolina registered agent business has been refined to these four stages:
Stage 1: Reviews
The process for finding the best registered agent in South Carolina begins with online reviews for each business. I spent hours scouring through sites like Trustpilot, Google, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau to see what people were saying about all the registered agent services out there. This allowed me to get an idea of which registered agents offered the best business services and which ones weren’t worth my time.
This stage of the process helped me eliminate nearly 50 noncommercial and commercial registered agent services that were engaging in a pricing structure that I found to be ethically unsound (more on that below).
Stage 2: Website Analysis
This stage was spent reviewing offers on their websites, reviewing their ‘About’ sections, and speaking to each registered agent service’s customer support teams. This allowed me to get a feel for what each registered agent business was offering, and how much value each provided.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
The next stage was to reach out to other customers of these registered agents and hear what they had to say.
I spoke to several people I had helped find registered agents in the past to see how they rated their chosen service for their business.
With their help and experience, I was able to get a much clearer idea of what each South Carolina registered agent business offered, and how well they compare to each other.
Stage 4: Speak With Their Sales Team
The last part of the process was to speak with each South Carolina registered agent company’s sales team. It’s a worthwhile investment to see how each team responds to criticism. I paid careful attention to which teams responded well to feedback, and which ones attempted to shift the blame to their customers.
This was essential to determine which companies valued improving their customer experience and which ones only cared about their business’s bottom line.
With my list narrowed down to the top 12 and a clear picture of what each South Carolina registered agent offers, I ranked them according to the following criteria:
Factor 1: Offerings
The sheer volume of services offered by some of the South Carolina registered agent companies can be a bit overwhelming, so it was important to rate each South Carolina registered agent business based on what they offer. Did they go above and beyond? Did they only provide basic service, such as providing a physical address in South Carolina?
This is why offerings are such an important factor in determining which registered agent service is the best for your company in the State of South Carolina.
Factor 2: Value for Money
Some registered agent services in South Carolina offered rates as low as $39 per year, but left the range of services vague. Others were charging nearly $300 for premium services, and others treated the word “premium” as a novelty.
This is why value is such an important part of my rating process.
During this part of the process, I discovered that several registered agent services in the state of South Carolina were charging prices in the $39-$59/year range; however, when I examined what services they offered and checked their reviews, it became apparent that this price was misleading. It turns out that to get even the most basic services for your company (such as compliance alerts or an online document management system), you end up paying more than some premium services charge.
That kind of deceptive marketing practice is highly unethical and therefore any registered agent service found using this strategy was removed from this list.
Factor 3: Ease of Signup
The sign-up process is definitely a factor you should consider for your company. How painless is it to sign up for registered agent service with the South Carolina registered agent company? When it takes days or weeks to get signed up with a registered agent service, it’s understandably frustrating.
Therefore, one of the factors I used to rate each South Carolina registered agent service company on my list is ease of signup.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Some of the South Carolina registered agent service companies had systems with really steep learning curves, while others were so glitchy you could barely use them.
To test this, I actually signed up and logged into each system, then performed simple actions within the systems and took note of how easy it was to complete the action, or where I got hung up within the system.
I noted which systems were user-friendly, easy to learn and navigate, and which ones froze or glitched so much it made simple tasks difficult to perform.
Factor 5: Customer Service
No matter how user-friendly and optimized the online system of a registered agent service is, you’ll eventually need to contact their customer service team. If you’ve ever encountered truly bad customer service, then you know that one bad customer service experience can be frustrating enough to make you want to change to a different registered agent service.
I called each of the South Carolina registered agents’ customer service teams and asked them some fairly simple questions or asked them to walk me through some common problems. I rated each of the customer service teams based on whether they responded to me quickly, if they efficiently answered my question or solved my problem and if they were polite while talking to me.
It’s important that you get a great registered agent service in South Carolina not only to avoid legal trouble from the South Carolina Secretary of State but because a good registered agent can keep your personal information safe and off public record and make your business workload lighter.
I’ve created a list of the best registered agents services in South Carolina by investigating over 60 different registered agents in the state of South Carolina and then rating and reviewing them.
My extensive investigations concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service in South Carolina.
Northwest provides all the services that a good registered agent must, such as:
- A registered office along with your agent’s name and address in South Carolina so that your information remains off the public record
- Becoming the point of contact for your LLC and receiving mail, legal notices, and service of process from the South Carolina Secretary of State on behalf of your LLC during normal business hours on business days,
- Scanning all of your mail and legal documents for your LLC for you to access with an online account,
- Mail forwarding,
- LLC formation services,
- Compliance filing alerts to keep your LLC in good standing with the South Carolina Secretary of State.
On top of all of this, their online system is very user-friendly and easy-to-navigate, you can sign up for registered agent services in multiple states or for multiple years through the same portal, and you get lifelong customer service from their industry-leading customer support team.
You get all of this for only $125 per state per year.
If you want the best registered agent South Carolina has to offer, sign up with Northwest Registered Agent today.
Registered Agent FAQ
What are registered agents?
A registered agent is an individual or a business that is licensed to provide services such as receiving official mail, legal documents, and Service of Process on behalf of your LLC or other business entity.
What are registered agents required to do?
A registered agent in South Carolina (AKA resident agent) must be available to receive Service of Process and other legal documents on behalf of your LLC or business during normal business hours, and also must have a physical address in South Carolina. Your registered agent’s name must be listed on your Articles of Organization during the LLC formation process.
Are there different types of registered agents?
When it comes to South Carolina registered agents, there are typically two varieties: commercial and noncommercial. A commercial registered agent, or commercial registered agent service, is an individual or company that offers registered agent services and has chosen to list themselves with the South Carolina Secretary of State. A commercial registered agent service doesn’t necessarily provide different or additional services compared to noncommercial agents. Noncommercial South Carolina registered agents are still licensed to provide the registered agent services you need. They just choose not to list themselves with the South Carolina Secretary of State in this manner. Regardless of whether you choose a noncommercial or commercial South Carolina registered agent, both types of registered agent must be available to receive your Service of Process and other important legal documents during regular business hours.