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Registered Agent Service

Order $89 to $99 registered agent service online for immediate access to our address and state forms. No additional charges.

Registered Agent Costs—What You Need To Know

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Your business must appoint a registered agent to receive documents in legal matters, including notice of lawsuit. Our reliable registered agent service fulfills this requirement. You get:

  • Same-day documents from our local offices in all 50 states.
  • Immediate online access to state forms with our address and, where required, our signature
  • Annual fees from $89Multi-Year Discount to $99 /year per state with no additional charges
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In most U.S. states and territories, having a registered agent is a legal obligation and a way to ensure your business operates seamlessly. A registered agent is a person or institution appointed by a filing entity to receive service of process notices, correspondence from the secretary of state, and other official government notifications on behalf of said entity.

Like most services, hiring a registered agent comes at a cost, which varies based on several factors, including the state and the agent's duties.

This article gives insights into the typical registered agent costs and the implications of being your agent. You'll also learn about Harbor Compliance, a leading provider of registered agent services and a cost-effective solution for your resident agent needs.

Understanding Registered Agent Services

Registered agent services are essential for businesses registered in U.S. states and territories. They help businesses meet statutory requirements by acting as the official point of contact for receiving government notifications.

Beyond receiving and forwarding legal documents, an agent may offer the following services:

  • Reminding you about approaching statutory deadlines
  • Providing business licensing support
  • Helping with annual report filing
  • Expediting document retrieval

Why Do Businesses Need a Registered Agent?

Maintaining an agent ensures your organization has a reliable and efficient way to stay informed about important legal matters. Without a registered agent, there would be a communication breakdown between your business and the state. This could result in the loss of good standing with the state, which carries serious consequences, such as:

  • Loss of the rights to use a specific business name
  • Financial penalties
  • Inability to enter into legal contracts or gain access to the court system
  • Possible administrative dissolution or revocation of the business
  • Default judgment against your business due to missed legal notices

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

The cost of hiring a registered agent can vary depending on the state they operate in and the scope of duties you've assigned them. According to SCORE, a typical registered agent service costs $100–$300 annually. Still, some providers may charge higher fees, sometimes exceeding $400 per unit.

To learn about the typical costs some reputable registered agent services charge, refer to the table below:

Commercial Registered Agent Typical Annual Cost
Rocket Lawyer $124.99–$249.99
Swyft Filings $199–$299
LegalZoom $249
Harbor Compliance $89–$99

These costs are subject to change—for example, an agent may offer discounted rates for companies that sign up for multiple years of service, while some may charge extra for tasks like document scanning and delivery.

Can You Have a Free Registered Agent?

In an attempt to reduce costs, you may designate an individual, such as an employee, a relative, a trusted friend, or even yourself, to act as the resident agent.

The Cost of Appointing an Individual as Your Registered Agent

While appointing yourself or somebody you know can potentially minimize costs or even eliminate them, this option comes with several downsides, such as:

  • Limited availability—A registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive correspondence. An individual may have emergencies or other responsibilities that occasionally force them to leave the registered office, causing your company to miss legal notices and deadlines.
  • Potential loss of privacy—A registered agent's address is a matter of public record. If you use your home address, it will be published on the secretary of state's website, resulting in privacy concerns. For example, you might start receiving unsolicited mail, or in the case of a lawsuit, the process server could show up at your home.
  • Professionalism concerns—Legal documents are often served in person by process servers. If these documents are served at your place of business, it could disrupt your operations and be seen by customers, which might not be ideal for maintaining a professional image.
  • Missed notices if you travel—If you're serving as your own agent, and a legal or tax document arrives while you're out of town, you will miss it, resulting in missed deadlines or responses. If it's a litigation notification, failing to appear in court on the due date because of a missed notice would likely result in a default judgment against you.
  • Restrictions from moving to new states—If you're doing business in multiple states, you'll need a registered agent in each state. One person can't be in multiple offices at the same time, restricting your ability to expand into new jurisdictions.

To eliminate the risks that come with appointing yourself or another individual as your statutory agent, consider a commercial resident agent. Harbor Compliance offers a comprehensive Registered Agent Service that helps you stay on top of regulatory obligations.

Registered Agent Service by Harbor Compliance

If you need a budget-friendly solution to your resident agent needs, our Registered Agent Service can help. Our robust solution provides the essential features you need to help you meet state requirements, including:

  • Local offices in all U.S. states and territories
  • Constant presence in our offices during regular business hours
  • Same-day processing and delivery of notices through our secure Client Portal

Beyond being a commercial resident agent, Harbor Compliance offers various services to help you meet other statutory requirements.

Category Services
Entity lifecycle management
Expedited document filing retrieval
Nonprofit formation
Ownership tracking and reporting
Tax-related services

Appointing an Individual vs. Harbor Compliance as Your Registered Agent

Harbor Compliance eliminates the highlighted risks of appointing yourself or another individual as your registered agent. Some of the benefits of partnering with us include:

  • Privacy—We serve as the public face of your company, keeping your home address off the public record.
  • Reliability—Our team is constantly available to receive government documents and forward them to you on the same day, helping you stay on top of notices.
  • Confidentiality—You can access notifications through our secure Client Portal, eliminating the discomfort that comes with receiving sensitive documents in front of your employees or family members.
  • Security—We use advanced security measures, including access controls, strong encryption, and cloud monitoring, to ensure only you can access your Client Portal.
  • Nationwide presence—We have offices in all U.S. states and territories, expediting the process of moving your business to new jurisdictions.

How To Appoint Harbor Compliance as Your Registered Agent

You can partner with Harbor Compliance in three scenarios:

  1. Forming a new entity
  2. Expanding into another jurisdiction
  3. Changing your registered agent

Forming a New Entity

If you're forming a new filing entity, you must appoint a resident agent in your registration document. This applies when filing any of these three business formation documents:

  1. Articles of Organization for LLCs
  2. Articles of Incorporation for profit corporations
  3. Articles of Incorporation for nonprofit corporations

Without a designated agent, most states won't accept these documents. To eliminate such inconvenience, you can enroll in any of our three formation services, depending on your business structure:

  1. LLC formation
  2. Nonprofit formation
  3. Incorporation

Choose the service that best fits your needs, and we'll complete the registration for you—including appointing Harbor Compliance as your registered agent.

If you're more of a hands-on person and prefer to register on your own, you can Order our Registered Agent Service separately and take three simple steps to appoint us:

  1. Order the service.
  2. Log into the Client Portal to locate the address of our local office.
  3. Complete and submit the pre-filled state forms.

Expanding Into Another Jurisdiction

Due to varying state laws, expanding a business into a new jurisdiction generally comes with regulatory challenges, some of which you might not anticipate. For instance, most states won't recognize foreign qualification filings made without a designated agent, denying you a certificate of authority.

The good news is that our Foreign Qualification Service package makes the process effortless. All you have to do is complete the signup wizard, and we'll gather and file the necessary documents on your behalf. We'll also designate Harbor Compliance as your resident agent and provide the service at no additional cost for a year.

Changing Your Registered Agent

If your current registered agent is unavailable or doesn't meet your needs, consider partnering with us. You can Order our Change of Registered Agent Service in three steps:

  1. Order our Registered Agent Service as previously described
  2. Select Add Change of Agent Service before checkout
  3. Complete the pre-filled form

We'll complete the change and file the documents with the secretary of state on your behalf, freeing you to address other business concerns.

Registered Agent FAQs

Below, you'll find answers to commonly asked questions about registered agent rules and requirements. If you can't find the information you're looking for, visit our Information Center.

A registered agent is an individual or company that receives service of process, legal documents, and official notices on your business's behalf. The agent must have a physical address in the state of registration and be physically present at this location during regular business hours.

All filing entities registered with the state must appoint a registered agent. These include profit and nonprofit corporations, certain types of partnerships, and limited liability companies.

The cost of a registered agent service can be influenced by several factors, such as:

  • Service level—Basic services like only receiving and forwarding mail may be cheaper than comprehensive services that include business formation and compliance scoring.
  • State fees—Some states charge a fee to change your registered agent or when appointing one after forming a new business.
  • Volume discount—If your business operates in multiple states, some services may offer a discount for volume.

Partner With Harbor Compliance for Cost-Effective Registered Agent Services

If you're looking for a reliable and cost-effective registered agent, consider Harbor Compliance. Order our budget-friendly Registered Agent Service, and rest assured our team of seasoned experts will handle your correspondence with professionalism, ensuring you receive timely notifications.

If you have other regulatory concerns, get a free Harbor Compliance Score™. We also provide a robust compliance platform you can leverage to manage your statutory obligations comprehensively—schedule a demonstration to see it in action. If you're interested in our additional services, reach out for more details.

To learn about registered agent regulations in different states and territories, refer to the table below:

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