Registered agent (RA) services are mostly similar—they accept legal and state documents on your behalf. Where they differ is pricing, customer service, and additional legal service plans. When choosing the best registered agent service for your business, consider your company’s legal needs and overall budget.
The six best registered agent services for 2020 are:
Registered Agent Services
(Best Overall) Business owners that need a reliable and simple RA service
$125 per year
New business owners on a tight budget looking for the best registered agent deal
$119 (first year free with new business formation)
Creating a custom registered agent and business formation pricing package
$99 per year (first year $49 with new business formation)
A large selection of additional online legal services
$299 per year
Ongoing legal advice in addition to a registered agent service
No-cost (with its $89 per month plan)
Affordable legal services—registered agent, business formation, legal advice, and legal docs
$149.99 per year (save 25% as a member)
Tip: If you’re unsure what precisely a registered agent does for your business, read our in-depth beginner guide to a registered agent.
How We Evaluated Registered Agent Service Companies
To evaluate, we reviewed:
- Cost: What is the yearly cost for RA services and are there any first-year discounts?
- Services included: Are there any additional services included in the standard registered agent service?
- Online reviews: How has the experience been of other customers?
- Software quality: What will the signup process be like and software ease-of-use?
- Legal services available: If you use a company for RA services, can you use them for other legal services such as business formation to start your business and attorney advice?
- Customer service: When can you contact the companies, and how can you reach them?
Northwest Registered Agent: Best RA Service for a Small Business
What makes Northwest unique is it specializes in registered agent (RA) services. This focus allows them to perfect the RA service with locally scanned documents and customer service reps (called Local Guides) that are experts in registered agent services. In addition to being your RA, they can also assist with business formation and maintaining your business with the state.
Northwest Registered Agent Pros
Northwest Registered Agent Cons
Talk to a “Local Guide” for free
Lacks comprehensive legal services
Enhanced customer privacy
Highly-rated customer service
Northwest Registered Agent Pricing
$125 a year
Northwest Registered Agent Features
- Local Corporate Guides: When you call Northwest, you’ll talk to a “Local Corporate Guide” with expertise in your specific state. This benefit is helpful with RA services as they can guide you through the process. Depending on your state, a registered agent often goes by different names and has varying business requirements.
- Locally-scanned documents: When your registered agent’s location receives a document, Northwest will scan and upload it from that location. Other companies may forward the mail to a hub location, which increases the likelihood of it getting lost.
- No sale of personal data: Some larger online legal service companies will sell your personal data. Northwest has pledged to never sell any customer’s data.
- Customer service: Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time by phone, email, and online chat.
Why We Like Northwest Registered Agent
Frankly, Northwest has one of the most customer-centric About Us pages ever written. Their tagline is “We’re Just Not Annoying.” One of their guiding principles is, “Money should never get in the way of our relationship.” Who says that? If you’re not happy with your service, then you don’t have to pay. Northwest has no investors, no debt, and owns their commercial real estate. Its owners can run the business without outside oversight, unlike other legal services.
IncFile: Best Registered Agent Deal for a New Business
What separates IncFile from other registered agent services is its initial low cost. The first year of RA services is free when you form a business (LLC or corporation). After the first year, it’s $119 a year. Included with the RA service is a digital dashboard that reminds you of important dates such as business registration renewal.
IncFile Registered Agent Pros
IncFile Registered Agent Cons
First-year free with business registration
No legal form builder
Free business registration
Online dashboard specifically for RAs
IncFile Registered Agent Pricing
$119 a year—however, it’s free for the first year if you register a new business.
Additionally, what makes IncFile unique is its business registration (LLC, C-corp, and S-corp) is free.
IncFile Registered Agent Features
- Low initial cost: IncFile leads in pricing with the first year free for registered agent services when also forming a business.
- Additional legal services: In addition to the RA services, IncFile provides unique legal services, including IRS filings and a trade name search.
- Online dashboard: You can log in through an online portal to see important information about your registered agent service such as the scanned documents and renewal date.
- SMS notifications: When IncFile receives a document on your behalf, it will send you a text message.
- Customer service: Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time by phone or email.
Why We Like IncFile as a Registered Agent
You can’t beat IncFile when it comes to pricing for online legal services. While the price is lower-cost, the delivery of services are high quality. IncFile has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on third-party review sites. Customers enjoyed the overall customer service experience, and the clear and easy process to sign up for legal services.
ZenBusiness: Most Flexible RA and Business Formation Packages
What separates ZenBusiness from competitors is the ability to combine RA services with a custom business formation package—create one that fits your needs. Also, similar to IncFile, it provides a first-year discount on RA services when you combine them with a business formation. ZenBusiness is highly rated online. With any negative reviews, it tries to resolve the customer’s complaint.
ZenBusiness Registered Agent Pros
Zen Business Registered Agent Cons
Quality customer service
Length of customer response time has increased recently
Worry-free compliance offering
Unique additional legal services
Multiple plans to choose from
ZenBusiness Registered Agent Pricing
$99 per year
There are also several plans for new business owners. The lowest cost business formation and registered agent plan is $49 for the first year and $119 per year thereafter.
- Worry free compliance: If you sign up for the $179 per year business formation and registered agent plan, ZenBusiness includes a worry-free compliance. This offer guarantees compliance with the state, or it will work at no cost to fix it.
- Unique service plans: All three of ZenBusiness’s business formation and maintenance plans include a registered agent. Choose the best plan for you, depending on your business needs, such as an expedited filing or EIN.
- Highly rated user reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars on third-party review sites. Customers liked how easy and simple it was to work with ZenBusiness. They also appreciated the quick response time.
- Customer service: Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time by phone, chat or email.
Why We Like ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness offers a unique package with its registered agent plan. For any business owner concerned about staying up to date with state documents, ZenBusiness’s worry-free compliance provides reassurance. While IncFile offers the best deal business formation and RA deal, ZenBusiness comes in second with a $49 first year fee ($119 thereafter).
LegalZoom: Best for Selection of Additional Legal Services
What separates Legal Zoom from the other registered agent service competitors is the additional features. Every RA service includes business data monitoring and up to $1 million in identity theft coverage through Experian. Additionally, LegalZoom provides a compliance calendar to keep you up to date with any RA-related deadlines in your state.
LegalZoom Registered Agent Pros
LegalZoom Registered Agent Cons
Business data monitoring
$1 million in identity theft coverage
Large selection of additional legal services
LegalZoom Registered Agent Pricing
$299 per year
LegalZoom Registered Agent Features
- Large selection of legal services: In addition to the registered agent, you can get services such as customized legal docs, legal advice, file trademarks, and personal legal services.
- Data monitoring and Identity theft coverage: All RA services come with Experian data monitoring and up to $1 million in identity theft coverage—quoted at a value of $239 per year.
- Compliance calendar: LegalZoom provides a customized compliance calendar that alerts you to any deadlines for annual reports and tax returns.
- Customer service: Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. by phone, email, or chat.
Why We Like LegalZoom as a Registered Agent
One benefit of LegalZoom is the high quality and easy-to-use software, which is one of the reasons it’s more expensive. Additionally, LegalZoom has the most available customer service with weekend hours—which may be important if you have a side-business.
BizCounsel: Best Registered Agent Deal With a Legal Advice Plan
What separates BizCounsel from the other companies on this list is that its registered agent service is free. However, to get the free RA, you need to sign up for its $89 per month legal advice and document review plan. If you have a business that needs documents reviewed by an attorney frequently, or ongoing legal questions, BizCounsel has the best registered agent service deal.
BizCounsel Registered Agent Pros
BizCounsel Registered Agent Cons
RA’s for three businesses with Pro plan
Must purchase its legal advice plan
Unlimited attorney consultations
Custom legal document drafting
Highly rated online reviews
BizCounsel Registered Agent Pricing
$89 to $189 per month (RA service included with legal advice and document review plan)
BizCounsel Registered Agent Features
- Multiple registered agents: If you have several businesses, you can get three separate registered agents with BizCounsel’s Pro plan.
- Customer support team: Members have a client success specialist that assists them book appointments and facilitate meetings with an attorney.
- Responsive customer service: Negative online reviews have been followed up by a BizCounsel representative, including by the co-founder.
- Customer service: Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time by phone and email.
Why We Like BizCounsel
The founders of BizCounsel helped start LegalZoom over 20 years ago—they know the online legal services industry well. If you need a registered agent and assistance with legal questions and document drafting, BizCounsel is an excellent choice.
Rocket Lawyer: Most Affordable Combination of Registered Agent and Legal Services
What separates Rocket Lawyer (RL) from the competition is the combination of lower-cost ongoing legal services such as customizable forms, legal advice, and a registered agent service. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing for a RA is slightly more expensive than most companies on this list. However, with the 25% member discount, the price is comparable.
Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Pros
Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Cons
100% satisfaction guarantee
RA service slightly more expensive
Mailed documents available online
Low-cost additional legal services
Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Pricing
$149.99 per year—save 25% with its $39.99 monthly membership
Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Features
- 100% satisfaction guarantee: While it’s possible other registered agent companies may provide a refund if you’re not happy with its service, Rocket Lawyer is the only company to say explicitly it will give a refund.
- Documents organized online: All documents will be scanned and uploaded online. You will be promptly notified via email when you receive a document.
- Premium membership: Rocket Lawyer provides a single, comprehensive legal services membership, including customizable legal documents, legal advice, a free business formation, and a discount on a registered agent service.
- Customer service: Monday thru Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain time by phone, chat, or email.
Why We Like Rocket Lawyer as a Registered Agent
The 100% satisfaction guarantee makes Rocket Lawyer very appealing. If, for example, you didn’t receive a document promptly, and you were unhappy with your RA services, you could ask for a refund. Additionally, Rocket Lawyer’s wide selection of legal services makes it easy for you to handle multiple legal tasks without using several companies—which may be a deciding factor if you have to take many legal steps to start your business.
Most registered agent services provide the same service: a reliable location for important documents to be dropped off or mailed. However, when choosing an RA company, consider all the legal services it provides—which company best fits your business’ needs? Also, if you’re starting a business on a budget, factor the yearly cost into your final decision.