Free Registered Agent
As you look for a registered agent service, you will likely come across offers for "free registered agent" service. Typically, free service is included when you purchase an online incorporation or LLC formation package. Other times, you might see standalone advertisements for "one year of free registered agent service." To get the service, you are typically required to provide your billing information.
Are these offers too good to be true? Service providers must find a way to cover their costs and turn a profit and they go to great lengths to do so. You are left with unpredictable and potentially higher costs, and perhaps worse. Read on to learn more about this unfortunate side of the industry.
Is Free too Good to be True?
Registered agent companies exist to make money and they incur costs in providing registered agent services. Costs include leasing or owning a commercial office, paying their staff, and maintaining secure document management software, just to name a few. Companies that offer free registered agent service must cover their costs somehow and they do so by charging their customers in creative ways.
The True Cost to You
As the popular saying goes, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." When the fees for the service are hidden, it's uncertain what the true cost is to you, the customer. Here are some creative ways we've come across that are used in the industry.
- By saving your billing information, companies can charge you hidden or unexpected fees throughout the duration of your "free service," such as receiving a document for your business.
- Once your free registered agent service is over, they immediately bill you their agent subscription for the next year (often much higher than you anticipate).
- Many companies sell your business information to their affiliates, who in turn market their products and services to your business.
- If you try to cancel or terminate your service at the end of the free period, many companies make the process difficult, charge you a cancellation fee, or are downright unresponsive when you call.
Registered Agent is a Legal Appointment so Choose Your Partner Wisely
Your responsibility is to appoint a registered agent when you incorporate or qualify your entity. The agent is then responsible for receiving legal documents and service of process for your business. You are literally trusting your agent with your important legal documents! If you need to change the agent at any point, if they are unreliable or are charging you too much, you have to file a change of agent form with the state. Not only does submitting this filing take time but it also requires you pay the state's fee. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship with your agent, you can get a divorce but that requires effort!
Honest Registered Agent Service from Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance does not offer free registered agent service. Why? Because we make our money from the service fee itself, not from hidden fees, affiliate fees, or other dishonest tactics many companies use. We believe in giving you the fees upfront and letting you decide prior to signing up if this is the right service for you, rather than misleading you and hoping you don't take the effort to change agents.
Our service is a flat-rate, no-gimmick $99 / year.
Perhaps best of all, you get dedicated account support from a knowledgeable person along the way. We look forward to earning your business.