If you run a corporation or LLC in California, you must choose a registered agent to receive state document deliveries. Regarding who should render this crucial service, you have a few possibilities, but we recommend using a registered agent service.
For a yearly fee, these businesses will act as your registered agent (also known as an “agent for service of process” in California), receiving documents such as service of process, and tax documents, reminding you to file your initial report and statements of information, and more to keep your company in compliance with state law.
It can be challenging to choose the best registered agent because there are so many reliable businesses in California that provide this service. Because of this, we investigated every option available to you in order to compile this list of the top California registered agent services. Which one ought you choose?
Registered Agent - WikipediaIn United States business law, a registered agent (also known as a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process) is a business or individual designated to receive service of process (SOP) when a business entity is a party in a legal action such as a lawsuit or summons. The registered agent's address may also be where the state sends the paperwork for the periodic renewal of the business entity's charter (if required). The registered agent for a business entity may be an officer or employee of the company, or a third party, such as the organization's lawyer or a service company. Failure to properly maintain a registered agent can affect a company negatively.
It is crucial to choose the right California registered agent when creating a new California LLC or updating an existing registered agent.
I’ve researched and tested 11 California registered agent services and selected the top six services to feature and review.
These are my top picks for the best California registered agent service
- Northwest Registered Agent
- Harbor Compliance
This article will help you choose the right registered agent to represent your business. This article will explain the basics of registered agents and answer common questions regarding California registered agents.
|If your LLC hasn’t yet been created, you can get one year free of charge registered agent services if your LLC was formed with Northwest Registered Agent (39 + state fees).|
Best California Registered Agent Service
When choosing a registered agent, you want someone who is familiar with the legal process and can help ensure compliance. Northwest Registered agent is the best registered agent service available for California businesses.
They provide everything you need to create an LLC or register as a Registered Agent. For over 20 years, this company has helped small businesses to grow and get started.
1. Northwest Registered Agent (Best Premium Agent)
First, Northwest Register Agent. This company provides a premium registered agent service. Northwest provides free mail forwarding as part of its registered agent service. This is an integral part of the company’s service.
Visit Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Pros and Cons
2. Incfile (Best Budget Registered Agent)
Incfile’s most famous claim to fame is its free business formation service. This includes one year of registered agent services. Incfile is just one of their services. Let’s take a look at what else they have to offer.
3. ZenBusiness (Best New Registered agent)
ZenBusiness is a great business. ZenBusiness has a great deal for those who are still not forming their California LLC/corporation. For $39, they will set up your business entity and offer a year of registered agent services. This is an incredible combination of features!
ZenBusiness charges $99 per year for California registered agent services. Let’s take a look at ZenBusiness and discuss how it can affect your decision.
ZenBusiness Pros & Cons
4. LegalZoom (Best Brand Name Registered Agent)
Rocket Lawyer has many similarities with LegalZoom. It is however a large company with millions of customers. California registered agent services are expensive. LegalZoom’s rates are almost double that of Rocket Lawyer, and three times those of ZenBusiness.
LegalZoom Pros & Cons
5. Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance is a premium service for business formations. This service is only available to large businesses.
They provide outstanding value for registered agent service and have one the lowest national prices that we’ve ever seen. Is it worth the effort?
Harbor Compliance charges $89 to $99 per year for registered agent services, depending on the state. This is an excellent price point. You can get volume discounts or prepay for multiple year’s service in multiple states.
Harbor Compliance was established in 2012 and is one the newest companies within this sector. Harbor Compliance, a brand new company, has been in existence since 2012. Harbor Compliance has served more than 10,000 clients and is a rising star within the industry.
Harbor Compliance is a great company that offers an affordable price and reminds you about annual reports well in advance of the due date. This is a great bonus for registered agents. Harbor Compliance is highly rated by clients. They even offer volume discounts.
There were only 100 reviews available online. They are high-quality reviews, but not as many.
InCorp might be the best choice for you if your goal is to get the lowest price for nationwide registered agent services. Although the base rate is high, you can reduce your annual cost to $87 by using volume discounts.
InCorp will charge only $129.95 per year for registered agent services. If you’re willing to prepay for additional years of registered agent services, InCorp will offer deep discounts.
With over 125,000 customers, InCorp is America’s fourth most-respected registered agent service provider.
InCorp was founded in 1998 and started offering registered agent services in 2001. Since then, they have served thousands of clients across the country.
You can access our lowest rates for registered agent services through their prepaid discount program.
They are highly sought-after because they have a large client base.
Customers receive a compliance calendar as well as their EntityWatch program which monitors your business for signs of identity theft.
InCorp has only a few reviews online. Their average rating isn’t very high. Their LLC formation cost $99.
Additional registered agents
California has many registered agent services. These six services are the most sought-after. However, I would like to highlight some other services that are available in California.
7. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer offers a more affordable option than LegalZoom. Their product offering includes a limited number of registered agents. Online legal services are also offered, including talking with an attorney, document review, and ongoing legal services.
California offers $149 for a physical address. This will ensure that state mail forwarding is possible. Rocket Lawyer accepts service of process for your behalf but offers fewer services than Northwest Registered Agent.
8. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings provides basic California registered agent services starting at $159. This includes service and forwarding of legal documents from the California Secretary of State.
Northwest Registered Agent does not offer a dedicated customer support system like the ‘Corporate guides’.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Files offers registered agent services to your California LLC/business for $149 It is not nearly as good as Northwest’s top-rated customer service.
CSC is a premium California registered agent service that costs $299 per annum. You must pay state fees to change your California registered agents. They do not have any premium features.
Switching to Northwest Register Agent could be an easy way to save money. CSC has a long and distinguished history. They are an option when searching for California registered agents.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
Registered Agents Inc. Costs $200 and includes the same features of Northwest Registered Agent at $125, including online account access and compliance alerts to keep you in good standing before the California Secretary-of-State.
What is a registered agent?
a California Registered Agent is an individual/business entity that has been designated by a California LLC/corporation in order to receive tax and legal documents such as service of process or compliance documents.
Although they can perform a number of tasks, registered agents have a larger role that is much more significant. They are the link between your business and the state where you do business.
First, the registered agent must be named as the recipient of any California tax documents or legal documents.
To receive legal documents, the registered agent must be present.
The registered agent must report the delivery to your company and then forward the documents.
They should agree upon a set of processes for receiving and delivering the documents. They will decide whether the documents will be sent to the business by the registered agent via email, mail or fax.
California Business Compliance
A registered agent can help you ensure that your business meets all state-required continuing support filings.
Each state has its own rules regarding maintenance filings. These include annual reports and franchise tax payments.
These rules may change at any time, so your registered agent should keep current in order to maintain good standing with the state for your business and avoid dissolution or fines.
How to select a California registered agent
Two options exist for selecting a California Registered Agent. You have two options when it comes to choosing a California Registered Agent.
You could also become your own registered agent. This job is best done by a professional. It is not expensive and they will finish the job in a year.
Internal Registered Agent
Any member of the LLC can serve as the registered agent, which could include you or your employees. The Registered Agent will be your home or office address. Each LLC must provide its mailing address and principal office address to the state’s online public system.
It will be much easier to hire a registered agent because you can use their address as a post office address.
Registered Agent Services
For a reasonable price of $100-$299 per year, professional registered agent services can be arranged. This will ensure your business is represented by the best service provider.
We’ve compiled a list of the best registered agent services in California. They can handle the job for your benefit.
Choosing a California Registered Agent
These are some of the things you should keep in mind when choosing a registered agent.
- Service Fee: Many states require that formal businesses register agents. It is therefore important to select the best-registered agent. An annual cost for a registered agent is $99-$300 It is a small price to pay considering the time savings.
- Experience and tenure of a registered agent: Registered agents should have tested and established procedures for handling documents. Register agent services should have been in existence for some time. They are able to handle all your documentation.
- State Jurisdiction Limit: It is better to have one registered agent for each state than it is to deal with multiple registered agents. This will reduce administrative burdens. Each state has one of our recommended registered agents.
- Monitoring and Follow-up Services: To ensure you’re fully informed about all laws, rules and regulations that impact your company, it is important to quickly obtain the most current information from your registered agent.
How can I appoint a registered agent in California?
An LLC can appoint a registered agent to act as the California Certificate of Organization. It can be done online or by post. No cost is required to appoint a registered agent. Only the state filing fee needs to be paid.
My research to find the best California registered agent
Here’s how I found the top California registered agents to help you form an LLC.
I was able to compare the packages and research information about California registered agents. I was looking for the best service when I tried to find the right registered agent for my website.
To allow my website to receive mail or process service, I needed a street address that was open during business hours. To keep my businesses in good standing with the Secretary of State, I needed compliance alerts.
As I spoke with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and friends who have online businesses, it became clear that not everyone has time or patience to look from site to site to find the best California registered agent service provider.
My knowledge enabled me and my colleagues to make informed decisions about California registered agent services. My advice was trusted by many who have read my website, which surprised me.
How did I choose the best California registered agents?
I started with more than 10 service providers. After my screening, I narrowed the list down to 4. Based on my four main evaluation steps, I chose my top four services.
My First Step: Reviews
I started by reading reviews and collecting, the honest voices of thousands of people just like me. Trustpilot, Facebook, and Better Business Bureau reviews overwhelmed me. They allowed me to categorize them according to various criteria (ease of use, affordability, customer support, privacy protection, taxes, etc.).
I was able to identify obvious frauds as well as misleading offers.
Second Step: Website Analysis
After I had removed the illegitimate providers I began to look at the websites of the remaining corporations to get a better understanding of what they stand for and how authentic their advertising is.
I was especially interested in optimizing their products and services, customer support, and company experience, as well as any recognition they received.
Third Step: Speaking with real customers
Websites and sales representatives can tell you a lot about the company. But customers will tell them how they deliver it. Are they efficient? Are they efficient? Are they polite? Are they polite?
Although online reviews can fill in some of the gaps, most reviews are written by people who have had overwhelmingly positive experiences. This can cloud your view. You can get a better understanding of your customers by talking to them.
I reached out to people who I helped find a registered agent, and new visitors to my site looking for one. It was wonderful to hear their stories.
I was able to see the entire service from every angle.
My fourth step: Talking with the Marketing and Sales Teams
To complete my research, I spoke with the sales representatives of each company. After gathering all customer complaints, reviews, and files, I began to ask tough questions about the company’s failure to meet their expectations.
Negative reviews are often ignored by many companies. Others will tell you that they have taken feedback into consideration and have improved their operations.
This was the final step that separated the ordinary from the extraordinary.
My Rating Criteria
These are the four key factors that influenced my choice for the best registered agent to represent California LLC.
#1: I checked the services and features
First, I looked at the company’s services and features. Other factors such as ease of use and cost don’t really matter if the company doesn’t provide the services California registered agents require. I viewed the companies in the same way a consumer and shopper would.
I was able to identify my own requirements for finding a good registered agent. I was curious if this registered agent service would be a good fit for me. Are they able to provide the features I require for my business?
These are the things I thought of:
- Do you have access to online documents through the registered agent? Or do they mail them directly to your California street address?
- Are you able to get alerts from the registered agent about compliance deadlines and filing deadlines for annual reporting? Is the registered agent able to give you a calendar for your LLC/business?
- Does the registered agent provide privacy guarantees?
- Is it possible for the registered agent to offer affordable California LLC formation services?
- Is the state fee filing and payment responsibility of the registration agent?
- You can choose to file the change online or mail it in.
- Is the agent available to accept the service of process?
The top-ranked registered agents in California were those offering the most services, while those who offered fewer options were at the bottom or middle.
#2: I checked the pricing
Although most people focus on the price, it is important that you consider the product’s worth. This can differ greatly from one California registered agent. A good registered agent will cost you between $125 and $299 annually. LegalZoom is a brand name that charges $299 per annum. However, most registered agents know that Northwest offers the best service and privacy at a reasonable $125 per.
#3: I checked the ease of use
When you set up a business or LLC in California, your time is valuable.
My next consideration was the ease of signing up. My top choice was the easiest, most efficient and least intrusive system. I would give one of my lowest ranks to a company if they asked me to move one document from another in a slow system.
#4: I checked their customer service and support
No matter how user-friendly, intuitive, or simple a system is, all customers need support. Although not all business owners can be tech-savvy, California businesses should have a registered agent they trust.
When choosing an agent to represent a company or LLC in California, I took customer service into consideration.
California registered agent services were evaluated based on their ability to efficiently and quickly solve customer problems using highly-trained, experienced agents. California registered agents do not need to be required for limited liability businesses and small businesses in California. They should be available to answer calls quickly and give generic answers.
California registered agents are crucial to your company’s legal compliance. These tasks may seem easy, but if they are not done correctly, they could lead to substantial fines or even the dissolution of your company.
While you can always replace your registered agents later, it’s important to choose the right agent for your company at the beginning. You should also keep an eye on your compliance status to ensure nothing goes wrong.
California Registered Agent FAQs
Where can I look for a California registered agent?
Registering as a registered agent can help you manage your time and privacy. There are many registered agent services. We recommend using a trusted national registered agent service.
What is the cost for a registered agent in California?
A registered agent service usually costs between $99-$299
Are you searching for a California registered agent?
California law requires that all LLCs, corporations, or nonprofits elect and maintain a registered agent.
Hire a service or be my registered agent?
Registering as a registered agent can make a significant investment in your privacy and peace of mind.
Am I required to have a registered agent in California to represent my California company?
California registered agents are recommended for small businesses.
How much does it cost to change my registered agent?
It can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 to change the registered agent depending on how many states your LLC has to do business in.
Business808, a renowned consulting organization that aids startups in scaling and growing, is led by Andy Brooks as Editor-in-Chief.
Andy has over 12 years of consulting experience and is a pro at creating and managing profitable businesses. He has experience working with several LLCs and Registered Agent services and has a degree in business management. He has assisted clients in achieving their objectives.
In addition to writing for Business808, Andy is a well-known author and speaker, and an active contributor to several online business publications, imparting his knowledge on how to grow an LLC.