Do I Need a Registered Agent in Florida?


Having a registered agent in Florida is not just a smart move, it’s necessary for any business entities registered as a Florida corporation, sole proprietorship, or limited liability company. 

Florida registered agents play a major role in the business formation process, and they’re crucial for ensuring that your Florida business meets its compliance filing deadlines with the Florida Department of State. 

But precisely what is a registered agent, how do you find the best one for your business, and do you really need one?

What Is a Registered Agent in Florida?

The term registered agent means an individual or business entity that is available at your Florida business address to receive service of process, legal documents, and mail from government agencies and law firms on behalf of your company during regular business hours. 

You might wonder how you ever see your mail and documents if a Florida registered agent accepts service of process and legal mail on your behalf somewhere else. That’s where the second half of a registered agent’s duties comes in: mail forwarding. 

Free mail forwarding ensures that you’re able to get your hands on your company’s mail and that you’re notified of upcoming compliance deadlines (like your Florida annual report) with the Florida Department of State. 

In the United States, if you register your company as a business entity, you’re required by law to have a registered agent. Additionally, if your company operates in multiple states, you must have a registered agent in each state in which your company conducts business. This means you’ll either have to designate someone who’s present at these locations as your registered agent or hire a registered agent service.

Sometimes a registered agent in Florida is referred to as a statutory agent or a resident agent, so if you run across these terms on your formation documents just know that they’re all words for the same business service.

What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent in Florida?

If a registered agent’s only job is accepting service of process and other official documents, then you’re probably thinking this job could be fulfilled by setting up a PO box for your company and checking it yourself routinely. But this won’t work. 

Your Florida registered office address must be a physical street address, not a PO box. Plus, a service of process almost always has to be hand-delivered to a person, not left in a box. But beyond that, a Florida registered agent service does a lot more than simply provide your company with a business address and receive service of process and legal notices. 


One fundamental service that registered agents provide is keeping you, the business owner, aware of your annual report deadline and other upcoming compliance filing deadlines. This is accomplished by sending you compliance notifications. 

Think of your registered agent in Florida as a sort of envoy between you and government agencies and law firms. Because of the significant legal consequences of missing a compliance deadline, one of your registered agent’s most crucial responsibilities is keeping you informed about these deadlines. Designating a Florida registered agent means that you’re guaranteed to learn about problems when they pop up so that you can swiftly deal with them. 

Management of Important Documents

Business owners with only a PO box or no physical location find the stipulation of a physical address inconvenient. But whichever address you list on your formation documents is listed on the public record, so listing your home address isn’t the best option, especially if you value privacy. 

All your important documents and mail will be sent to the address you list, too, and it’s important to keep those organized. A lot of Florida registered agents (or at least the best ones) offer online document management portals to which they upload your documents and where you can access them with an online account to view and manage them. Sorting through your mail online and storing your documents digitally is obviously a lot easier and more convenient than doing it all by hand. 

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Florida?

There are a handful of requirements that every Florida registered agent must meet. Here’s a few of the requirements your Florida registered agent or registered agent service will need to fulfill:

  • Who you can designate. As long as they meet the rest of the requirements, you can designate anyone as your Florida registered agent, including family members, friends, employees, or even your lawyer. Don’t pick someone prone to wandering, though, because they must be present at your Florida business address during normal business hours.
  • 18+ years old. Your Florida registered agent must be at least 18 years old. 
  • Physical address. A registered agent in Florida must have a physical street address in the state—no PO box. 
  • State laws. Some states have laws and regulations specifically for registered agents. So to make sure that you’re complying with the laws in your state, you should brush up on Florida’s laws regarding registered agents.

What Happens If My Business Operates Without a Registered Agent?

If there’s no one around to receive service of process when a process server comes to serve your business with one, then it’s likely that they’ll deliver it to the Florida Department of State instead. If this happens, the lawsuit will proceed—without your knowledge and without a defense. This could result in a default judgment against your business, which could be devastating. 

Another unpleasant result of ignoring Florida registered agent laws or missing compliance deadlines is the loss of your company’s good-standing status. This could make you ineligible for business loans, prohibit you from expanding to other states, and bar you from legally conducting business in Florida. 

The fallout doesn’t end there either. Without good-standing status, the state may automatically dissolve your LLC. An LLC that’s been dissolved doesn’t have legal rights to use its name in the state anymore. Next thing you know some other business is using your business name. Even if you quickly rectify this legal snafu, it’s possible that you’ll lose your business name and never be able to get it back. 

Without legally recognized LLC status, the business owner is legally and financially liable for the Florida business. The limited liability protection that they ordinarily enjoy is gone, which means that their personal and financial assets are wide open and vulnerable to lawsuits and damages.

The consequences of failing to maintain a Florida registered agent aren’t limited to LLCs. Many of these outcomes can also happen to a Florida corporation, sole proprietorship, or other business entity type as well. 

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Florida? 

In no state in the United States are you categorically prohibited from being your own registered agent, so in short, yes, you can be your own Florida registered agent. But before you choose to do so, you should know about the pros and cons of being your own registered agent as opposed to hiring a Florida registered agent service.

Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent


One significant downfall of being your own Florida registered agent is all the legal and financial risks associated with missing a service of process or other bit of official correspondence intended for your business. 

A devastating default judgment could be issued against your company if you miss a service of process, and because you won’t know anything about the court proceedings you won’t be able to defend your company. You’ll just have to abide by the ruling—no matter how unfair you may think it is. 

Lack of Privacy

Another disadvantage of choosing to be your own registered agent instead of hiring a Florida registered agent service is that if your business doesn’t have a street address, you’ll be forced to list your home address on the public record. 

By hiring a registered agent service, you’re able to list its name and registered information on your formation documents, and it will be the address listed on the public record under your company’s business address, not your own Florida address. If you’re your own registered agent and you don’t have a separate business address, this luxury isn’t available to you.. 

Instead, your personal mailing address will be listed, which isn’t great because on top of the privacy concerns that causes, it could leave you vulnerable to cybercrime and identity theft. 


Another downside to forgoing a Florida registered agent service is the time you’ll have to devote to it. 

Being a business owner is hard enough. Adding registered agent duties is, for some, difficult, if not impossible. This is especially true for complex businesses where the owner is either away from the address a lot (plumbers, electricians, etc.) or operates their business at night (bar owners, restaurateurs, etc).

Pros of Being Your Own Registered Agent

There is really only one advantage to being your own registered agent: you won’t have to pay fees to a Florida registered agent service. 

But when business owners find out how much time a Florida registered agent service can save them, and the risks they can mitigate, they typically choose to pay for the convenience and peace of mind. 

Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?

There are a lot of reasons people choose to use a Florida registered agent service: 

  • You’re guaranteed to be notified about compliance filing deadlines (for things like your Florida annual report) because most registered agent services issue compliance alerts or annual report reminders. 
  • Registered agents minimize the risk of losing your company’s good-standing status, as well as the risk of default judgments against your company. 
  • Because you aren’t obligated to manage your business and perform Florida registered agent services, you’re free to run your business without added constraints.
  • A Florida registered agent service can make compliance a lot easier for companies that operate in multiple states—especially if you choose a national registered agent. 
  • If your business operates outside of normal business hours, you won’t have to burn the candle at both ends. Your Florida registered agent can be available during regular business hours, and you can sleep!
  • For companies with no physical registered office address, or with only a PO box mailing address, a registered agent service can keep your information off the public record by allowing you the use of their own registered office address. 
  • No doubt your business gets tons of junk mail. If you use your own address, all this junk mail will be sent to your home and you’ll have to sort through it yourself. If you use a Florida registered agent service and their registered agent information, it will all be sent to their registered office and you won’t be troubled with it. 
  • You can hire a registered agent that supplies premium registered agent service features, such as specialty insurances (like identity theft protection) and payment of state fees. 
  • You can choose a registered agent company that doubles as a business formation service and take advantage of bundle promotions, like free registered agent service for a year when you sign up for formation services. 

So, should you use a registered agent service? In the end, only you can answer that question. But I recommend that every new business use a registered agent service.

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

These are a few of the criteria you should use to determine which registered agent is best for your company:

Service Features

I’ll put this as plainly as possible: don’t hire a registered agent service if it doesn’t do everything your Florida business needs. There are so many registered agent providers out there with a variety of services and features that there’s no reason to settle. 

Some companies only provide mail forwarding, while others offer state-of-the-art online document management systems that allow you to view and manage your legal documents and service of process conveniently. 

Some providers only offer compliance calendars with filing dates listed on them, but they’re easy to lose or forget about, and others issue compliance notifications for things like your annual reports. 


One tried and true method to assess whether a registered agent company is a good value is to compare their service catalog to their price. Do they have a lot of great services and a low price, or a high rate and bare-bones services? 

With that in mind, you should stay far away from “budget agents.” These companies use prices as low as $39–$59 to entice new customers, and then surprise them with ludicrous additional fees for fundamental services your Florida business needs, like compliance alerts for annual reports and a document management portal to access your documents and legal notices. So give these agents a miss. 

Easy Sign-Up 

Nobody wants to feel like their time is being wasted, and that’s especially true during the sign-up process, which is stressful enough already. The sign-up process for some Florida registered agent service providers is not only laborious but can take weeks, or even months, to complete. Ain’t nobody got time for that! 

User-Friendly Interface 

You’ll use your LLC’s registered agent system quite frequently, so it’s vital that it be easy to use. Some providers have prehistoric servers with confusing layouts and frustrating navigation which are full of technical problems and bugs. Make sure you choose a registered agent with a user-friendly interface, instead. 

Customer Service 

No matter whether you choose a registered agent with a lightning-fast sign-up and an idiot-proof system, technical problems and questions will inevitably arise. And because your registered agent has the power to either keep your company in the Florida Division of Corporation’s good graces or contribute to its downfall, good customer service is incredibly important. 

I used these factors and my four-stage investigative process to determine that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service. If you’d like to learn more about registered agent services and how to choose the best registered agent for your company, read my guide on the best registered agent services.


Business owners have a ridiculous workload when it comes to all the new things they have to learn, such as business management techniques, updates in equipment and software, laws and regulations, and a dizzying amount of legal and business terms. 

Beyond that, they’re also expected to keep track of annual reports and other important filing deadline dates with the Florida Division of Corporations. But registered agent services can ease much of this workload and make running your business less stressful. 

If you’ve yet to choose a business structure for your company and would like to learn more about LLC formation, check out my guide on how to start an LLC. If you’d like some assistance with the complex formation process, then read my guide on the best LLC formation services

Florida Registered Agent FAQs

What’s the Difference Between a Commercial and a Noncommercial Registered Agent?

The Model Registered Agents Act was an attempt by the American Bar Association to create a universal set of regulations for registered agent services across the country, and it’s also where the difference between commercial registered agent services and noncommercial registered agent services was established. Basically, a Florida commercial registered agent service is one that has registered as a commercial agent with the Division of Corporations. Some states require that every professional registered agent service register as a commercial registered agent service. 

A noncommercial registered agent is a person or provider that hasn’t registered as a commercial registered agent. This means that if you’ve designated your boyfriend as your Florida registered agent, then your paramour is now a noncommercial registered agent. Congrats!

How Do I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC?

If you’ve become dissatisfied with your current registered agent, you’ll be happy to know that it’s easy to change your registered agent service. All you have to do is file your Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent form (yes, I know it’s a long name but it’s right. I checked three times!), and add your new registered agent’s information. You’ll be charged $25 in state fees to submit the form, but you’ll legally have a new registered agent! 

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost? 

This depends on a few factors, like the provider you choose and the services your company needs. In general though, a registered agent service will cost somewhere between $39–$299 per state, per year (plus state fees). If you’d like to learn more about registered agent pricing, read my guide on the best registered agent services

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