I researched 10 California registered agent services, then I picked the top 4. These are my top picks for the best California registered agent service.
California entrepreneurs who want to start a business must register a registered agent. The state law requires that you choose a registered agent before you can set up a new business entity
For your limited liability company (LLC), or other business entity, it is important that you select the best California registered agent.
A registered agent in California will protect your privacy. It will provide you with a physical address to your California business, and ensure that you don’t miss any compliance deadlines or receive correspondence from the state offices.
Choosing the wrong California registered agent could endanger your financial security and cause you to pay more in the long-term. You risk being sued, missing important notices, and having critical information stolen by hackers and scammers.
I have researched and tested 10+ California registered agent services, and I have rated the top 4.
These are my 4 picks for best California registered agent service
#1 – Northwest Registered Agent
First is Northwest Register Agent. This company offers a more premium registered agent service. Northwest offers free mail forwarding with its registered agent service. This is a core part of the company’s service.
What is the Northwest Registered Agent’s performance compared to the rest?
The outstanding customer service is the calling card of Northwest Registered Agent. Northwest does not outsource its support to a call center with untrained representatives. It is not unreasonable to assume that every Northwest representative who answers the phones is an industry expert.
Northwest offers a one-year registered agent service with a $39 business formation.
Northwest offers volume discounts on registered agent services. They’ll reduce your rate by $125 to $100 per year if you need service in more than five states. They also have strong customer reviews and free annual report reminders.
LegalZoom has many similarities to Rocket Lawyer. However, it is a large company that serves millions of customers and charges a high price for California registered agent services. LegalZoom’s rates are double those of Northwest.
I liked LegalZoom’s 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. It is much more robust than many other companies’ refund policies. They also have the longest customer service hours in the industry, with nine hours of availability on weekends and 14 hours on weekdays.
LegalZoom’s extremely high cost of registered agent service is a problem. LegalZoom does not offer registered agent services as part of its business formation packages. This means that the value propositions for other options in this guide are significantly better than LegalZoom.
What does it mean to be a California registered agent?
The registered agent, also known as a corporate agent, is responsible for receiving and processing any important documents on behalf of your company. This contact will be able to receive all official documents. These documents could include tax notifications, legal documentation, and notices. Service of process papers are sent to the registered agent address of a company in case they are sued.
How can I choose a California registered agent?
The business formation documents in California, also known as Statement of Information, are created by the registered agent and include the name of the registered agent.
These forms can be submitted online, or mailed to Sacramento’s Secretary of State. This document will need to include the information of the registered agent, such as their name, contact information and address. To confirm their knowledge and understanding of their duties, registered agents often need to sign the document.
Who is a registered agent for California?
This role can be filled by many people, including family members, business owners, and employees. This role can be filled by a registered agent.
The state provides some guidelines for those who are unsure about the requirements to be a registered agent. The following requirements must be met by a registered agent:
- At least 18 years old
- Register your office at a street address and not at a post office. Box or virtual office
- Be available during regular normal business hours on normal business days
Is it possible to be my own registered agent for California?
Yes. Yes. The registered agent can be the California LLC owner or California Corporation business owner. They agree to act as the registered agent and receive all legal documents on behalf of the company.
Can my California business entity act as my registered agent?
California law prohibits a business entity from acting as a registered agent.
My Research for Choosing the Best California Registered Agent
Here is how I determined the best registered agents in California to help you form your LLC.
When it comes to researching information about California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 California.
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 California business owner should have a registered agent they can trust.
In choosing the right agent to represent a business or LLC within California, I considered customer service as the final factor.
I assessed California registered agent services based on whether they could efficiently and quickly resolve customer problems with highly-trained and experienced representatives. California registered agents are not required for small businesses or limited liability companies in California. They should be able to quickly answer your calls and provide generic answers.