Best Registered Agents in California

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Best Registered Agents in California

Running a business in California calls for a good California registered agent – an essential partner who handles your service of process notices, compliance-related documents, and official government correspondence. 

Hiring an incompetent California registered agent can lead to significant expenses, both financially and otherwise.

An unsuitable California registered agent may overcharge for their offerings, mishandle your sensitive data, and potentially expose it to hackers.

Such negligence can result in legal complications, putting you at risk of personal litigation.

After evaluating more than 43 registered agent services in California, I have ranked the top 16 and provided detailed evaluations of the top 6 picks.

Below are my recommendations for the most reliable California registered agent services.

List of Registered Agents in CA (Our Top Picks)

Best Registered Agent Services

Join us as we dissect these aspects, providing you with a roadmap to finding the ideal registered agent for your business in the heart of California.

The best registered agent for most companies in California is Northwest Registered Agent $125/yr or 1st free with $39 LLC formation.
Drawing of a California registered agent at a desk

Compare the Top California Registered Agents

#1 BEST
Northwest R.A.
$125
3,000,000 Clients
900+ Employees
Registered Agent Free 1/yr with Formation
Best Privacy Policy
Best Customer Service
Family-Owned Business
Multi-State
Bizee
$119
1 Million+ Businesses Formed
Registered Agent Free 1/yr with Formation
Virtual Office
No Hidden Fees
Since 2004
Less Expensive Than Others
Multi-State
ZenBusiness
$199
300,000+ Businesses Formed
Worry-Free Compliance
Registered Agent $199
Business Website, Email
Offers Many Features
Multi-State

When creating a new California LLC or updating your registered agent for an existing business, selecting a good registered agent in California is an important decision.

List of Registered Agents in California (My Top Picks)

My Personal Experience With Registered Agents Back in 2007, when I owned a business in state that I didn’t visit often, I decided to use LegalZoom as my first registered agent service. It was a solid three-year partnership, with no major gripes to speak of.

Yet, I couldn’t help but notice they were a bit steep in pricing compared to other providers on the scene.

Fast forward to 2010, and I found myself entrusting my business needs to Northwest Registered Agent.

The very first time I called them up, I was greeted not by an automated machine, but by a real human. The voice on the other end belonged to a friendly Northwest representative, and that initial positive interaction laid the foundation for the satisfaction I’ve felt with their service ever since.

I have researched and tested 16 California registered agent services and picked the top 6 services to review and feature.

Many business owners use registered agent services to help make the California LLC formation process more simple and less demanding.

Learn about the top 16 registered agent services in California that we hand-picked based on independent research.

If your LLC has not yet been formed, you can receive one year of registered agent services for no cost if your LLC is formed with Northwest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees).

Best Registered Agent Service in California

Best registered agent in California If you want someone who is knowledgeable about the legal process and can help you comply when choosing a registered agent.

Northwest Registered Agent is our top pick in California. Their success is achieved through best-in-class privacy, pricing and customer support.

Northwest R.A. has been helping small businesses start and grow for over 20 years.

1. Northwest Registered Agent (Best Premium Registered Agent)

Northwest Registered Agent's office building in Spokane, WA.

Price: $125

Northwest Registered agent

giphy-editors-top-pick

First is Northwest Register Agent. This California registered agent company offers a more premium registered agent service.

Northwest provides free mail forwarding with its registered agent service, and the importance of client privacy is expressed in their motto, ‘Privacy by Default’, a core part of the company’s service.

Visit Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Industry-best customer support
  • Family-owned business
  • 900+ employees, 3 million clients
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Northwest has 50 offices in 50 states
  • US-based customer service
  • Volume discounts available
  • Registered Agent 1st year free with the business formation
  • Google reviews are a very positive 4.7/5

Cons

  • I can’t find any worth mentioning

Northwest Registered Agent is our recommended service for California. They offer everything you need to start your LLC, including an EIN, LLC operating agreement, and top-notch registered agent services. This company has been helping small businesses grow and start for over 20 years.

Cartoon drawing of 2 types of registered agents, a robot voice recording vs a real human representative. Northwest Registered Agent Rep

Northwest offers a 100% error-free guarantee. This guarantees outstanding customer service, extraordinary services, and prices that match. Northwest Registered Agent is a great option for your business if data privacy and customer support are important to you.

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.

Northwest offers a one-year California 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.

2. Bizee (Best Value)

Bizee Houston

Price: $119

Bizee’s biggest claim to fame is its free business formation service. This includes a year of California registered agent service. Bizee is only one part of their offerings. Let’s see what else they offer.

Visit Bizee

Bizee Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Register agent for free business formation
  • I like their prices and 20-year history of experience
  • Excellent customer feedback

Cons

  • I don’t like that they are known for many upsells. It starts cheap but can add up.

Bizee has thousands of reviews online. This makes them a top choice for registered agent service in California. We are unaware of any other company that receives this many reviews and the same high-quality feedback as Bizee.

Bizee can be a bit pushy with upsells. Bizee offers many add-on options, which will be a reminder to you several times as you go through their order process.

Bizee has been in business for almost 20 years, and they have assisted with forming over 1,000,000 businesses.

3. ZenBusiness (‘Worry-Free’ Compliance )

ZenBusiness Registered Agent. ZenBusiness personnel with image of Austin, Texas in the background.

Price: $199

zenbusiness logo

We love ZenBusiness in many ways. ZenBusiness offers a great deal if you aren’t yet forming your California LLC/corporation.

They will create your business entity and provide a full year of California registered agent services for $199 This combination of features is at an unbeatable price!

Visit ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness charges $199 annually for ongoing registered agent services in California. Let’s look at the pros and cons of ZenBusiness, and then talk about how they can impact your decision.

ZenBusiness Pros and Cons

Pros

  • I like the price point of $199
  • I like the “worry-free guarantee” compliance feature
  • Great customer feedback
  • Strong customer service

Cons

  • ZenBusiness might outsource the registered agent service
  • Registered agent service is a $199 add-on with LLC formations
  • Some competitors have more experience than others.

Although the $199 price tag for California registered agent service is not the lowest, it is still very affordable. ZenBusiness offers a $199 package which includes an annual report service. This is a great deal.

Nearly all of these were positive. This gives them one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry. ZenBusiness also has a knowledgeable and helpful customer service department that can answer any of our difficult questions.

While ZenBusiness is a newer service. They have less experience than many competitors, including LegalZoom and Northwest. ZenBusiness is one of California’s best registered agent services.

4. LegalZoom (Best Legal Services)

LegalZoom registered agent, LegalZoom's website, registered agent page

Legalzoom logo

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 almost double those of Rocket Lawyer and three times that of ZenBusiness.

Visit LegalZoom

LegalZoom Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Millions of customers served
  • The longest hours of support in the industry
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed

Cons

  • Customer reviews are often negative but improving recently
  • I don’t like LegalZoom’s very high prices

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.

5. Harbor Compliance (Best Multi-State Compliance)

Harbor Compliance

Price $99

harbor Compliance, best registered agent service

Harbor Compliance is, in fact, a more premium service when it involves business formations. They only offer this service to large enterprises.

They offer outstanding value in registered agent service and have one of the lowest national prices we’ve ever seen. Are they worth the effort?

Harbor Compliance charges $89-$99 per year for registered agent service, depending on the state. This is a great price point. They offer volume discounts for service to multiple states or prepay for multiple years.

Harbor Compliance was founded in 2012 and is one of the newest companies in this sector. Harbor Compliance is a new company that has been around since 2012. They have served over 10,000 clients and are a rising star in the industry.

Harbor Compliance Pros and Cons

Pros

Harbor Compliance offers a great price and reminds you of annual reports well before the due date. This is a nice bonus for registered agents. Harbor Compliance has received high reviews from clients and even offers volume discounts.

Cons

We only found 100 reviews online, so while their reviews are very high quality, they are not as numerous.

6. InCorp

InCorp Home Page

Price: $129

InCorp logo

InCorp may be the best option for you if you are looking for the lowest prices for nationwide registered agent services. The base rate is quite high, but you can get your annual cost down to $87 with volume discounts.

InCorp will only charge $129.95 for a year of registered agent services. InCorp will offer deep discounts if you are willing to prepay additional years of registered agent service.

InCorp is America’s fourth most popular registered agent service provider, with over 125,000 customers.

InCorp was established in 1998 and began offering registered agent services in 2001. They have served thousands of customers across the country since then.

InCorp Pros and Cons

Pros

Their prepaid discount system allows you to access some of our lowest prices for registered agent services.

They have a high volume of clients, making them one of the country’s most sought-after registered agent providers.

Customers also receive a compliance calendar and their EntityWatch program, which monitors your business for identity theft signs.

Cons

InCorp only has a handful of reviews online. Their average rating is not very high. Their LLC formation service costs $99.

Other registered agents

There are many registered agent services available in California. The top 6 that I just mentioned above are the most popular options. However, I want to highlight a few other services available in California.

7. Rocket Lawyer Review

Rocket Lawyer logo

Rocket Lawyer is a cheaper option than LegalZoom. Registered agent service is a small part of their product offerings. They also offer online legal services, including talking to an attorney, documents, and ongoing legal services.

You can get a physical address in California for $149 to ensure state mail forwarding. Rocket Lawyer also accepts service of process on your behalf, but they offer fewer services and lower customer support than Northwest Registered Agent.


8. SunDoc Filings Review

SunDoc Filings logo

SunDoc Filings offers basic California registered agent services at $159. This includes service of process and forwarding legal documents from the California Secretary of State.

There is also no dedicated customer support system such as ‘Corporate Guides’ offered by Northwest Registered Agent.


9. Swyft Filings Review

Swyft Filings logo

Swyft Filings provides registered agent services for your California LLC or business for $149. Not nearly as good as Northwest’s best-rated customer service.


10. CSC Review

CSC logo

CSC, aka Corporation Service Company, is a premium California registered agent service that costs $299 per year. They don’t have any premium features, except that you must pay the state fees to change your California registered agent.

You could easily switch to Northwest Register Agent and save money. CSC has a long history; they are just another option to consider when shopping for a California registered agent.


11. Registered Agents Inc. Review

Registered Agents Inc.logo

Registered Agents Inc. costs $200 and includes the same features as Northwest Registered Agent at $125: online account access and compliance alerts that keep you in good standing with the California Secretary of State.


Additional Registered Agents to Consider

Legalinc

LegalInc logo


URS Agents

URS Agents logo


Cogency Global

Cogency Global logo


First Corporate Solutions

First Corporate Solutions logo


LegalCorp Solutions

LegalCorp Solutions logo


What does a registered agent do?

A California registered agent is an individual/business entity that has been appointed by a California LLC/corporation to receive tax and legal documentation such as service or process of process and compliance documents.

A registered agent does a variety of small tasks, but they have a greater role that is more important. They act as the link between your company and the state in which you do business.

Service of Process

First, the registered agent must be designated as the recipient of any tax documents or legal documents that are sent by California.

For legal matters, the registered agent must be present in order to receive the hand-delivered service of process (SOP) paperwork about legal proceedings against your company.

The registered agent must then effectively report the delivery to your company and forward the documents.

They should agree on a set of procedures for receiving and delivering these documents. They should decide whether documents will be sent by the registered agent to the business via email, mail, or fax.

California Business Compliance

A registered agent can also help ensure your business is current and compliant with all state-required continuing maintenance filings.

Each state has its own laws about maintenance filings, usually annual reports or franchise tax payments.

These rules can change at any moment, so your registered agent must keep up-to-date in order for your business to remain in good standing with the state and avoid fines or dissolution.

How to choose a California registered agent

There are two options for choosing a California Registered Agent. You can either appoint someone internal that you know or hire a professional registered agent.

You can also be your own registered agent. It is better to have a professional service do this job. It doesn’t cost very much, and you know they will get the job done for the year.

Internal Registered Agent

The registered agent can be any member of the LLC, including yourself, or an employee. Your home or office address will become the Registered Agent’s address. Each LLC must share its principal office address and mailing address with the state’s public online system.

Hiring a registered agent service will be easier as you can use the registered agent’s address as a postal address.

A Registered Agent Service

Professional registered agent services are available for a reasonable cost of around $100 – $299 per year. This will ensure that your business is represented by the best possible service provider.

We have listed the top registered agent services in California. They can take care of the job for you.

Choose a California Registered Agent

These are some things to keep in mind when selecting a registered agent.

  • Service Fee: Since many states require that formal businesses have registered agents, it is important to choose the best-registered agent. A registered agent can be hired for between $99 to $300 per year. This is a very small price to pay when you consider the time savings.
  • The experience and tenure in business of a registered agent: You want the registered agents to have established and tested procedures for handling documents. Registered agent services should be in operation for a while. They have the experience and ability to handle all of your documentation.
  • State Jurisdiction Limit: To reduce the administrative burdens of dealing with multiple registered agent providers, it is best to use one registered agent in each state. Our recommended registered agents are available in each of the 50 states.
  • Follow-up and Monitoring Services: You want to get the most up-to-date information from your registered agent as quickly as possible, so you are fully informed about all statutes, rules, and regulations that affect your company.

California: How do I appoint a registered agent?

The LLC can appoint the registered agent at the time of the California Certificate of Organization. You can do it online or by mail. Appointing a registered agent is free of charge. Only the state filing fee must be paid.

Our Review and Selection Process

Selection Process. A team of office researchers evaluating registered agent services.

Here is how I determined the best registered agents in California to help you form your LLC.

When researching information about California registered agent services and comparing their respective packages, I’ve been there myself. When I needed to find the best registered agent for my business website, I searched for a good service.

For my website to receive mail and process service, I needed a street address that was available during normal business hours. I needed compliance alerts to keep my businesses in good standing before the Secretary of State.

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 like me. I was overwhelmed by reviews on TrustPilot, Facebook, 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 of what they stand for, how authentic their advertising is.

I was particularly interested in optimizing their products, services, customer support, company experience, and any recognition 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 to people I had helped to find a registered agent and 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 to the Sales and Marketing Teams

I talked to each company’s sales staff to complete my research. After collecting all complaints, files, and reviews, I asked 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.

Best Registered Agents: Popular States

My Rating and Review Criteria

Four key aspects influenced my selection for the best registered agent to represent your California LLC.

#1: I Checked the Services and Features

The company’s available services and features were the first things 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 online documents? Or do they 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 provided by the registered agent?
  • Is the registered agent also able to provide an affordable LLC formation service, or is their LLC formation service any good?
  • 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.

#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.

#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.

#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 answer your calls and provide generic answers quickly.

California Business Tips

If you’re looking to form an LLC in California, it’s crucial to understand the necessary steps and requirements. To begin, conduct a California LLC name search to ensure the availability of your desired business name.

Once you’ve confirmed its availability, you can proceed with preparing the essential formation documents, including registering your business name and drafting a California LLC operating agreement, which outlines the internal structure and management of your LLC.

Additionally, you have the option to be your own registered agent in California or enlist the services of a professional registered agent. It’s worth noting that the length of time to get an LLC in California can vary, but typically ranges from a few weeks to several months.

To streamline the process, it’s advisable to gather all required information and submit your filings promptly. Furthermore, obtaining a California Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is essential for tax purposes.

Detailed guides and online resources are available to help you navigate the steps involved, and various California LLC services and registered agents can assist you in forming your LLC efficiently. Additionally, ensure compliance with any necessary business licenses in California, and consider the California LLC cost while budgeting for the formation process.

Lastly, should the need arise, understanding how to change your California registered agent the steps to dissolve an LLC in California is crucial for closing your business properly.

Review Conclusion

California registered agents play a critical role in your company’s legal compliance. Although these tasks seem simple, if done incorrectly, they can lead to significant fines and even the possibility of your company being disbanded by the state.

California Registered Agent FAQs

How can I find a good registered agent in California?

There are many registered agent services in California. We recommend Northwest Registered Agent.

What is the cost of a registered agent in California?

A registered agent service typically costs between $99 and $299.

Is a registered agent required in California?

California law requires all LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits to elect and maintain a registered agent and registered office.

Should I be my own registered agent or hire a service?

A registered agent service provider can be a great investment in your time, privacy, and peace of mind.

Do I need a registered agent to represent my California business?

Small businesses should hire a California registered agent.

What is the cost of changing my California registered agent?

Depending on how many states you have to do business with your LLC, it can cost between $0 and $50 to change your registered agent.

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email:   info@llcradar.com Phone: 972-776-4050

Registered Agents by State

8 Comments

  1. Avatar Samantha Rodriguez says:

    As someone who recently formed an LLC in California, I can attest to the significance of having a registered agent.

    I chose Northwest Registered Agent as my service provider, and they have exceeded my expectations with their prompt and professional handling of all legal correspondence.

  2. Avatar Mary Johnson says:

    Finding a good registered agent service is vital for maintaining the privacy and professionalism of your company. The article offers practical advice on what to look for and how to make an informed decision.

  3. Nice article on California registered agents, I will check these out.

  4. Avatar Joshua Garcia says:

    Hey Brian, great article! Your insights really got me thinking.

  5. Avatar Ashley Thomas says:

    Hey Brian, I couldn’t agree more with the importance of using a registered agent service for an LLC or corporation in California.

    Having a reliable and professional registered agent like Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness can make a world of difference in ensuring legal compliance and peace of mind.

    I particularly appreciate your emphasis on the benefits of using a registered agent when forming an LLC in San Diego, California.

  6. Yesterday, I went to Northwest Registered Agent and received an email right away. They guided me through the steps of establishing an LLC and registered agent service. It was simple. They offer a variety of business services that I didn’t know existed, but I soon realized that they were necessary to my business. They made my life easy and prevented me from spending a lot of money versus working with an attorney.

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  Information provided on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to offer legal advice specific to your business needs. If you need legal advice, you should consult with an attorney. Rankings and reviews are the personal opinions of the authors and/or editors. For questions, while starting a business, we recommend consulting with an attorney or accountant.