Updated on: February 23rd, 2024

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? (Pros & Cons Revealed)

As a business owner, you may be considering the option of being your own registered agent. Although this could save you approximately $10 each month compared to hiring a professional service, it is important that you take into account several different aspects and potential risks before making any final decisions.

The answer to the question “Can you be your own registered agent?” is yes, but it’s essential that you consider all potential pitfalls before making a definitive choice.

If you want to skip the hassle of doing all the paperwork yourself — you should hire a professional service for your Registered Agent needs:

What is a Registered Agent?

When launching a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation, it is essential to designate an authorized agent. This person or business entity will be your go-to for receiving all crucial legal documents and forwarding them to you in a timely manner in due time.

The state wants a trusted and consistent way to connect with each business’ ownership. This is essential particularly when your company faces a lawsuit, or needs to meet ongoing compliance regulations.

If you have no registered agent, the chances of missing out on important paperwork are higher. A registered agent ensures that these documents don’t get lost in transit and reach their destination safely!

Should I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Despite the fact that you’re legally allowed to become your own registered agent, should you choose to do so, there are multiple upsides and downsides to consider. After all, if your business was formed in the state of residence where you live then nothing is stopping you from doing it. In addition, while some advantages come with serving as your own registered agent these may be shadowed by certain drawbacks too.

Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent

To help clarify the advantages and disadvantages of acting as your own registered agent, here are some key points to consider:

Pros

  • Saving Money: When it comes to registered agents, though they aren’t too costly, you can still save up to $100 or more annually if you become your own. That’s why many entrepreneurs opt for self-service and make their business even more cost-efficient.
  • Convenience: If you’re already in your workplace from 9am to 5pm Mondays through Fridays and don’t mind if employees or customers witness documents being delivered, then having yourself as the registered agent may be suitable for you.

Cons

  • Present During Business Hours: As the registered agent of your business, you are required to be at your workplace from 9am to 5pm on weekdays except for federal holidays.
  • Missing Deliveries: Being your own registered agent brings with it a potential downside: you could miss out on crucial documents if you’re not available when they arrive. Even though standard business hours may typically work for most people, taking just one step away from the office can result in missing an important document delivery.
  • Being Served at Work: If your company faces a lawsuit, you will be required to formally accept service of process documents. When serving as your own registered agent, the papers must be served at your place of business where employees or customers may witness it. This is far from ideal and can put your brand reputation in jeopardy.
  • Losing Lawsuits by Default: Alongside the danger of missed deliveries, there is also a chance that you may fail to receive service of process documents and be unaware when being sued. If this occurs, your business will suffer serious financial consequences, as you are unable to adequately defend yourself in court without knowledge of the lawsuit against you.
  • Personal Address, Public Record: If you’re a small business owner who works from home, odds are that your residential address must be made available to the public. That can leave some feeling concerned about their personal privacy – which is entirely understandable!
  • One-State Operation: Attempting to serve as your own registered agent makes it practically impossible for businesses to scale into multiple states, since each state obliges organizations to have a local address associated with the registered agent.

6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Your Own Registered Agent

Naming yourself as the registered agent for your company might seem like a straightforward solution, yet it is not recommended.

You may think that taking on this responsibility of conducting business would be more economical and easy to manage, however there are various reasons why this choice could prove to be disadvantageous.

1. Sharing Your Address

When you formally register your business with the Secretary of State, you must provide a name and address for your Registered Agent. This information then becomes available to anyone searching the public record – meaning that if you are running a home-based enterprise or don’t have an office space open to the public, having your residential or registered office address or business address publicly accessible could potentially put your privacy at risk.

By enlisting the services of a Registered Agent, you can keep your personal address protected from public view by using the company’s address instead. This way, you can safeguard your privacy and maintain anonymity.


2. More Mail to Process

If you want to go the route of being your own registered agent, chances are that you’ll need to use your home address – particularly if running a business online is part of the equation. This carries the risk of privacy concerns and an influx in junk mail. By employing a Registered Agent service, not only can these issues be avoided but they will also help sort through all of the correspondence for important legal notices that mustn’t get lost among other clutter. It’s time to rid yourself from extra obligations and ensure critical documents are received quickly so don’t hesitate – hire a professional today!

With a Registered Agent service, you can avoid the possibility of having an unwelcome process server or disgruntled litigant show up at your doorstep with notice of a lawsuit – certainly not something anyone would want to deal with. The potential presence of such individuals is both disruptive and intimidating, but by employing this service, those unpleasantries become unnecessary.


3. Address Change Notices Must be Made Promptly

Are you asking yourself, “Should I be my own registered agent?” If so, keep in mind that relocating your business carries the burden of informing each state about your address change. This tiresome task may also incur a fee for every notification – fees and time add up quickly! Hence, it might be easier to hire a registered agent service instead. Not only will this save you time but could potentially cost less too!


4. Agents are Required to Keep Regular Business Hours

For businesses that cannot sustain a full-time employee to accept service of process and be available during regular business hours, hiring a Registered Agent is essential. This allows you to remain free from the restrictions of having to stay in an office all day waiting for your mail – instead, you can focus on running your business while someone else takes care of ensuring important documents are always received.


5. You Must Have an Agent in Every State

To remain in compliance with the law, it is essential to have a registered agent for your company in each state you do business. Rather than going through extensive legal and financial consequences and stress by maintaining a physical location throughout all of these states, why not make use of a reliable registered agent service? Through this route, you will be able to keep an official representative without having to hire employees or maintain any type of physical space – saving both time and money!


6. You Never Want to Miss an Important Notice

Annually investing in registered agent services to manage service of process notices and other communications is more than worth it, allowing you much needed time to focus on your business instead of constantly scanning mail for official documents.

This type of service guarantees that you won’t fail to spot or remember an essential notice, which could cost your business a fortune if you ignore pending legal action or neglect to pay taxes on time.


Should I Hire a Registered Agent Service?

By engaging a business services company to act as your registered agent, you can stay away from the majority of cons mentioned earlier. You’ll feel secure knowing that all documents are received in due time since these agents will use their own address rather than yours for greater privacy protection.

Moreover, by utilizing such professional help, you won’t need to be available during standard working hours any longer and have endless opportunities for expanding your business into multiple states!

Furthermore, registered agent services can assist you in meeting the compliance requirements of your state. For example, if necessary to submit annual reports – they will keep track of due dates and remind you when it’s time to file.

If you want to skip the hassle of doing all the paperwork yourself — you should hire a professional service for your Registered Agent needs:

Northwest Registered Agent ($125/year) (best support & service)

ZenBusiness (from $99) (best price)

The only downside to employing a professional registered agent is cost. Prices may vary, yet you should anticipate shelling out at least $100 each year for this service.

Whether you’re launching a business in your own state or abroad, forming an LLC or corporation comes with certain compulsory requirements–a registered agent and a registered office. However, this does not necessitate that you enlist the services of a professional registered agent.

A registered agent is an individual or organization designated to accept service of process and other official mail relating to your business.

Do you know that many states allow your business to become its own registered agent? So then why bother hiring a third-party service for this task?


Why Do States Require Business Entities to Have Registered Agents?

The registered agent requirement is a crucial element of the due and legal process here. Without it, legal action taken against your business can’t progress in court without first properly notifying you through an address within the said state and being accessible during operational hours to easily reach those taking legal actions. This precludes any possibility for massive corporations to conceal behind thousands of employees while also giving courts swift access to contact you swiftly.

A registered agent is the designated point of contact between your business and state authorities and serves as a secure means for the service of process. The purpose behind this requirement is to guarantee that you have an accessible way to be contacted at all times.


Reasons Why Businesses Hire Registered Agent Services

While many small businesses (less than 10 employees) opt to forgo the services of a registered agent, there are some very compelling reasons why certain small business owners do choose to hire one. Here are the primary benefits associated with hiring a registered agent:

  • No desire for extra paperwork. For some, many small business owners though, the cost of registered agent services – between $100 and $300 annually – is more than worth it to skip worrying over state-mandated notices and annual report due dates. If you use a registered agent service provider, their system will automatically track these deadlines for you so all your important documents are kept in one place without having to chase them down yourself. As such, not only do you save time but also peace of mind knowing any crucial notifications won’t slip through the cracks!
  • Privacy. As the registered agent for your business, you will be required to provide a point of contact – most likely your home address. However, this means that anyone who wishes to officially reach out or send notifications about your company (which usually involves copious amounts of spam mail) can easily obtain access to it due to its public record status.

Although some don’t fret over this, if public records are a source of anxiety for you, then hiring a registered agent to represent your business’s behalf is an ideal solution. In the current digital landscape where ‘Big Data’ gathering and selling is rampant, it’s increasingly likely that your personal information will live on the web forever in state databases. This could be unappealing 10 years from now; therefore making sure your name and address aren’t featured publicly can provide peace of mind today.

  • No physical address. Small, web-based businesses may struggle to meet the bureaucratic requirements of business registration when their company has no physical location. Thankfully, a registered agent service can help keep your home address off public records and allow for official state mail and process services to be delivered in its place. In this way, entrepreneurs are able to maintain their privacy while still adhering to all necessary legal protocols.
  • Odd business hours. Appointing a registered agent is essential to guarantee that official notices and legal documents are accepted during normal business hours. For those running businesses with varying work hours, utilizing a registered agent service may be the ideal solution so you don’t have to worry about missing important notifications or official correspondence from the state.
  • Business locations in multiple states. For businesses that operate in multiple states, registering with the state and having a registered agent situated there is non-negotiable. This can be burdensome for many business owners, which is why many of them opt to hire registered agent services to comply with regulations and keep important notices centralized. With these services, you can rest assured that all your notifications stay organized under one roof—your registered agent’s office.
  • Registered Agent Market Share. If you’re considering enlisting the help of a registered agent service company, it is important to understand the market share. Additionally, gain insight into what each individual registered agent provides for services. Here’s a list of common offerings that all registered agents should have:  [list]. Of course, if saving money is your primary objective and being your own registered agent works better for you financially then simply include yourself on formation or registration documents; no vendor search necessary!
  • The Bottom Line. If your small business has a shopfront, is open during normal hours and operates solely within the home state, then hiring a registered agent service might not be necessary. For those who aren’t worried about confidentiality, it’s best to register the business owner as their own registered agent information so vital correspondence isn’t missed by employees. However, if any of these issues apply to you or seem concerning, consider investing in a reliable registered agent: they can save you time and trouble down the line!

Here are our recommended Agent service providers:

  • Northwest Registered Agent service is the perfect choice for those seeking to establish a new business and gain access to a registered agent, with full LLC creation package starting at only $39 + state fees.

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