In Alabama, a registered agent is required to start an LLC. These are my top picks for registered agent services in Alabama.
What does it mean to be an Alabama registered agent?
A registered agent is an individual or business entity that will receive important documentation about your Alabama LLC/corporation and forward important documents such as tax forms, legal documents, and notices of a lawsuit, also known as service-of-process documents, to the right person within the company.
A registered agent is basically a point of contact who can be reached at any hour for your company.
How can an owner choose a registered agent for Alabama?
You can simply use the Certification of Formation to list an individual or company as a registered agent in Alabama.
Who can be an Alabama registered agent?
A registered agent is not only the LLC organizer or business owner but can also be a friend, colleague, neighbor, or registered agent service.
A registered agent in Alabama can be:
- Person who is 18 years or older
- A physical address in the state and not a P.O. Box
- Accepts mail during business hours
Is it possible to be my own registered agent for Alabama?
Yes. Alabama permits business owners to become their own registered agents. Many entrepreneurs list themselves as the registered agent of their company.
Alabama allows several individuals to serve as registered agents, so many options exist.
Why would a company work with a registered agent?
Many entrepreneurs choose to use a registered agent service instead of hiring a person for the job. Selecting a service has its benefits, including:
- A registered agent must always be available during business hours. This is not always possible for some entrepreneurs. A registered agent service is a convenient option for entrepreneurs who travel often or aren’t at the office.
- Managing multiple companies in different states. A registered agent agency ensures that no business is left behind. You might be able to use the same registered agent service to manage multiple businesses in some cases.
- Some entrepreneurs prefer to keep confidential documents received by a registered agent secret.
What does an Alabama registered agent cost?
For their services, registered agent services require an annual fee. Basic services that simply forward any official mail to your company cost around $50. Prices hover between $100-250 per year for more complex services such as mail forwarding, online accounts, and reminders about annual reports.
Alabama Registered Agent Services
Alabama maintains a list of registered agents. Although it does not endorse any particular company, the list contains about a dozen options. There are many options:
Northwest has been a well-known name in the business of registered agents. With decades of experience, the company has local offices located across the U.S. to assist small businesses such as yours. A registered agent service costs about the same as other services. Additional services such as report filing are available to business owners.
ZenBusiness is relatively new to the market but has a strong following. The low rates of a registered agent service are attractive to business owners, starting at $99 per annum. The company provides worry-free compliance to help business owners file required reports on time.
Incfile, another trusted name in business services, offers registered agent services. A registered agent is available for free to business owners for one year. That’s right, free. The price increases to $119 after the first year. The service includes an online dashboard, automated mail forwarding, and customized notifications.
My Research for Choosing the Best Alabama Registered Agent
Here is how I determined the best registered agents in Alabama to help you form your LLC.
When it comes to researching information about Alabama registered agent services, and comparing their respective packages, I’ve been there myself. It all started when I needed to find the best registered agent for my business website.
For my website to receive mail and process service, I needed a street address that was available during normal business hours. To keep my businesses in good standing before the Secretary of State, I needed compliance alerts.
In conversations with small business owners, entrepreneurs aspirants, and friends who own online businesses, I discovered that not everyone has the time or patience to search from website to site for the best Alabama registered agent service provider. However, many required registration agents. They would rather choose the first registered agent available and pay less to avoid this frustrating process.
My knowledge helped me and my colleagues make informed decisions about Alabama registered agent services. It surprised me that my advice would be trusted and make the business formation experience easier for many people who read my website.
How I Chose the Best Alabama Registered Agents
I began with over 10 service providers. After a four-part screening process, I narrowed down the list to 4. I selected my top four best services based upon my four key evaluation steps.
My First Step: Reviews
I began by reading and gathering reviews, the honest voices of thousands of people just like me. I was overwhelmed by reviews on Facebook, TrustPilot and Better Business Bureau that would allow me to classify them according to different criteria (ease of use, affordability, customer service, privacy protection, taxes, fees, etc.
I was able to identify obvious frauds and misleading offers.
My 2nd Step: Website Analysis
After I had eliminated illegitimate providers, I went on to examine the websites of the remaining corporations in order to gain a better understanding about what they stand for, how authentic their advertising is.
I was particularly interested in the optimization of their products, services, customer support, company history, and any awards or recognitions they had received.
My 3rd Step: Talking with actual customers
Websites and sales teams can tell you about the company, but customers will tell you how they deliver it. Are they efficient? Are they efficient? Are they polite? Are they polite?
Online reviews may fill in some gaps, but most reviews are written by people with overwhelmingly positive experiences. This can distort your perspective. Talking to current customers will give you a better picture.
I reached out both to people who I had helped to find a registered agent and to new visitors to my website looking for one. It was great to hear their stories.
This allowed me to get a comprehensive and complete picture of each service.
My 4th Step: Talking with their Sales Teams
I talked to each company’s sales staff to complete my research. After collecting all complaints, files and reviews, I started asking tough questions about their failure to meet customer expectations.
Many companies will simply ignore negative reviews. Others will explain that they have incorporated feedback and improved their operations.
This was the last step that separated the average and the exceptional.
My Rating Aspects
Four key aspects influenced my selection for the best registered agent to represent your Alabama LLC.
Aspect 1: I Checked the Services and Features
The company’s service menu was the first and most important factor that I evaluated. Other factors such as cost and ease of use, customer support, etc. don’t really matter if a company doesn’t offer the required services that Alabama registered agents expect. I reviewed the different companies as a shopper and consumer would.
My own needs for finding a good registered agent were considered. I asked myself, is this a registered agent service that I would be comfortable working with? Do they provide the features that I need for my business?
These were the aspects I considered:
- Is the registered agent able to give you access to documents online? Or can you simply mail them to your Alabama registered street address?
- Is the registered agent able to alert you about compliance dates and filing deadlines for annual reports? Or does the registered agent only give your LLC or business a calendar?
- Is there a privacy guarantee or insurance against identity theft provided by the registered agent?
- Is the registered agent also able to provide a cheap LLC formation service, or is their LLC formation (limited liability company) their best product/service?
- Is the registration agent responsible for filing and paying state fees?
- You have the option of filing the change online or mailing the form.
- Is the registered agent willing to accept the service of process?
Registered agents offering the most Alabama registered agent services were ranked at the top, while those with fewer offerings were placed near the bottom or in the middle.
Aspect 2: I Checked the Pricing
While most people jump to the pricing, it is important to consider the product’s value. This factor can vary greatly from one Alabama registered agent to the next. For a good registered agent, expect to pay $125 to $299 per year. Brand names like LegalZoom charge $299 per year, but most people in the registered agent industry know that the best service and privacy is from Northwest, and they charge an affordable $125 per.
Aspect 3: I Checked the Ease of Use
Your time is valuable when you start a company or LLC here in Alabama.
The ease of signing up was my next factor. The easiest, most efficient, and least intrusive systems rose quickly to the top of my list. If a company asked me to move from one document to another in a slow system, I gave them one of my lowest ranks.
Aspect 4: I Checked Their Customer Service and Support
All customers require support and assistance, no matter how easy, intuitive, and user-friendly a system may be. While not all business owners are tech-savvy, every Alabama business owner should have a registered agent they can trust.
In choosing the right agent to represent a business or LLC within Alabama, I considered customer service as the final factor.
I assessed Alabama registered agent services based on whether they could efficiently and quickly resolve customer problems with highly-trained and experienced representatives. Alabama registered agents are not required for small businesses or limited liability companies in Alabama. They should be able to quickly answer your calls and provide generic answers.