All businesses in South Carolina require a registered agent, but finding the best isn’t straightforward.
This blog offers a beacon in the complexity, providing a detailed comparison of the top South Carolina registered agent services based on criteria including price, experience, privacy, and customer support.
Best Registered Agent Services
- Northwest Registered Agent Best Privacy, Best Overall
- Incfile Best Value
- ZenBusiness Best for Compliance Guarantee
- LegalZoom Best for Ongoing Legal Services
- Harbor Compliance Best for Multi-State Compliance
- InCorp Best for Simple Pricing
|The best registered agent for most companies in South Carolina is Northwest Registered Agent $125/yr or 1st free with a $39 LLC formation.|
Compare the Top South Carolina Registered Agents
When creating a new South Carolina LLC or updating your registered agent for an existing business, selecting a good registered agent in South Carolina is an important decision.
My First-Hand Experience With 2 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 South Carolina registered agent services and picked the top 6 services to review and feature.
Many business owners use registered agent services to help make the South Carolina LLC formation process more simple and less demanding.
Learn about the top 16 registered agent services in South Carolina 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 South Carolina Registered Agent
If you want someone who is knowledgeable about the legal process and can help you comply when choosing a registered agent. I think Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent service for most businesses in South Carolina.
Northwest R.A. has been helping small businesses start and grow for over 20 years.
1. Northwest Registered Agent (Best Premium Registered Agent)
First is Northwest Register Agent. This 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.
Northwest Pros and Cons
Northwest Registered Agent is our recommendation. 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.
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 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. Incfile (Best Value)
Incfile’s biggest claim to fame is its free business formation service. This includes a year of registered agent service. Incfile is only one part of their offerings. Let’s see what else they offer.
Incfile Pros and Cons
Incfile has over 30,000 reviews online. This makes them a top choice for registered agent service in South Carolina. We are unaware of any other company that receives this many reviews and the same high-quality feedback as Incfile.
Incfile can be a bit pushy with upsells. Incfile offers many add-on options, which will be a reminder to you several times as you go through their order process.
Incfile has been in business for almost 20 years, and they have assisted with forming over 500,000 businesses.
3. ZenBusiness (‘Worry-Free’ Compliance )
We love ZenBusiness in many ways. ZenBusiness offers a great deal if you aren’t yet forming your South Carolina LLC/corporation. They will create your business entity and provide a full year of registered agent services for $199 This combination of features is at an unbeatable price!
ZenBusiness charges $199 annually for ongoing registered agent services in South Carolina. Let’s look at the pros and cons of ZenBusiness, and then talk about how they can impact your decision.
ZenBusiness Pros and Cons
Although the $199 price tag for South Carolina 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.
ZenBusiness has received over 8,200 online reviews. 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 South Carolina’s best registered agent services.
4. LegalZoom (Best Legal Services)
LegalZoom has many similarities to Rocket Lawyer. However, it is a large company that serves millions of customers and charges a high price for South Carolina registered agent services. LegalZoom’s rates are almost double those of Rocket Lawyer and three times that of ZenBusiness.
LegalZoom Pros and Cons
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 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
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.
We only found 100 reviews online, so while their reviews are very high quality, they are not as numerous.
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
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.
InCorp only has a handful of reviews online. Their average rating is not very high. Their LLC formation service costs $99.
SC LLC Formation Tips
If you’re ready to start an LLC in South Carolina, there are important steps and considerations to keep in mind. Begin by conducting an South Carolina entity name search to ensure that your desired business name is available for registration.
Once you’ve confirmed availability, and you’ve decide whether to be an LLC or S Corp, it’s crucial to draft an South Carolina LLC operating agreement, which outlines the internal structure and operational guidelines of your LLC.
Consider utilizing a good LLC service in South Carolina to streamline the formation process and ensure compliance with all legal requirements. Decide if you plan to be your own registered agent.
Engaging the services of the best registered agent services in South Carolina offers the advantage of efficient handling of important documents and legal notifications.
Don’t forget to acquire a business license in South Carolina, adhering to the specific licensing requirements relevant to your industry and location, and when budgeting for LLC formation, consider the cost to start an LLC in South Carolina, which typically includes filing fees and any additional services you choose.
Finally, should the need arise, understanding how to close and dissolve an South Carolina LLC is vital for properly concluding your business operations.
Seek guidance LLC professionals like Incfile’s LLC dissolution service to navigate the dissolution process effectively, ensuring compliance with South Carolina state regulations.
Additional registered agents
There are many registered agent services available in South Carolina. The top 6 that I just mentioned above are the most popular options. However, I want to highlight a few other services available in South Carolina.
7. Rocket Lawyer
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 South Carolina 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
SunDoc Filings offers basic South Carolina registered agent services at $159. This includes service of process and forwarding legal documents from the South Carolina Secretary of State.
There is also no dedicated customer support system such as ‘Corporate Guides’ offered by Northwest Registered Agent.
9. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings provides registered agent services for your South Carolina LLC or business for $149. Not nearly as good as Northwest’s best-rated customer service.
CSC, aka Corporation Service Company, is a premium South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 an South Carolina registered agent.
11. Registered Agents Inc.
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 South Carolina Secretary of State.
Additional Registered Agents to Consider
What does a registered agent do?
An South Carolina registered agent is an individual/business entity that has been appointed by an South Carolina 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 South Carolina.
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.
South Carolina 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 an South Carolina registered agent
There are two options for choosing an South Carolina 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 South Carolina. They can take care of the job for you.
Choose an South Carolina 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.
South Carolina: How do I appoint a registered agent?
The LLC can appoint the registered agent at the time of the South Carolina 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 Selection Process for Choosing the Best South Carolina Registered Agent
Here is how I determined the best registered agents in South Carolina to help you form your LLC.
When researching information about South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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.
My Rating Criteria
Four key aspects influenced my selection for the best registered agent to represent your South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina.
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 South Carolina business owner should have a registered agent they can trust.
In choosing the right agent to represent a business or LLC within South Carolina, I considered customer service as the final factor.
I assessed South Carolina registered agent services based on whether they could efficiently and quickly resolve customer problems with highly-trained and experienced representatives. South Carolina registered agents are not required for small businesses or limited liability companies in South Carolina. They should be able to answer your calls and provide generic answers quickly.
South Carolina 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.
Although you can always replace your registered agent later, it is important to choose the right registered agent for your company from the beginning. To ensure that nothing goes wrong, you should also monitor your compliance standing.
South Carolina Registered Agent FAQs
What are the key attributes that make a registered agent stand out in South Carolina, especially for businesses that are just starting out?
In South Carolina, the best registered agents provide a holistic set of services that cater to every stage of Business Formation, be it for an LLC or a Corporation. One way to identify such an agent is to look for Top-rated entities based on Reviews that confirm their Reliability and Trustworthiness.
A comprehensive Due Diligence check will confirm if they are authorized as either a Resident Agent or a Statutory Agent by the Secretary of State. They should have a legitimate Registered Office with a Mailing Address where they can manage Document Handling for all State Filings and Annual Reports as per Legal Requirements.
From the get-go, an exceptional agent helps with Business Licenses and even supports the creation of Operating Agreements. For taxation, they can guide you through the process of acquiring a Tax ID and EIN (Employer Identification Number).
Beyond Legal Services, what makes an agent truly stand out is the quality of Professional Services they offer. This extends to unparalleled Customer Support that helps you navigate through complex State Laws, ensuring Business Compliance and Confidentiality.
The agent’s role as Business Advisors is especially helpful when it comes to Incorporation. They can offer insights into choosing the right Business Structure, and their Service Packages often include tools like a Compliance Calendar to keep you on track.
Transparent Fees and a clear Renewal policy are must-haves. Since legal matters like Legal Notices and Service of Process are inevitable in the course of business, a great agent will have systems in place to handle these efficiently.
In terms of Jurisdiction, you’ll want an agent familiar with South Carolina laws, but if your business plans to expand, look for one with National Coverage. They should also be able to assist in acquiring a Certificate of Good Standing, which is often required for various transactions and grants. Moreover, a top-rated agent will make the Change of Registered Agent process seamless if you ever decide to switch services.
By considering all these factors, businesses, particularly those just starting out in South Carolina, can identify an exceptional registered agent who will be a valuable asset for their operations.
What are the essential qualities to look for when choosing a registered agent service in South Carolina to support various types of businesses?
Selecting the right registered agent in South Carolina is an important decision for your LLC (Limited Liability Company), C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, Non-profit Organizations, LLP (Limited Liability Partnership), or LLLP (Limited Liability Limited Partnership). Here are key aspects you should consider.
Legal Requirements and Compliance
Your chosen registered agent should be proficient at interacting with Governmental Bodies such as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) for Business Taxes and Business Audits, the State Secretary of State Office for state-related filings, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office if your business deals with intellectual property. They must also liaise with Local County Clerk, Department of Commerce, and Department of Labor offices when necessary.
Documentation and Record-Keeping
A registered agent worth their salt should be able to manage Legal Documents and Requirements including Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, and Operating Agreement. Your agent should assist in the annual submission of Annual Reports and Statement of Information, help you obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number), as well as aid in getting Business Licenses and Permits essential for Business Operations.
Communication and Legal Support
Your registered agent should offer Compliance Services that cover Legal Notices, Process of Service, and Mail Forwarding. They should also have a network of Legal Advisors, Business Lawyers, Tax Advisors, and Accountants to provide the comprehensive guidance you need.
Technology Interface and Convenience
A top-tier registered agent will offer robust Tech Platforms, including Online Dashboards, Notification Services, Automated Filing Services, and Document Management Systems for a streamlined experience.
Reviews and Reputation
Check Review Websites and Blogs like Trustpilot, Better Business Bureau, Yelp for Business, Consumer Affairs, and Business.com reviews to gauge the reputation and customer satisfaction of potential registered agents.
The agent should have a sound understanding of Related Legal Concepts, such as Due Diligence, Corporate Veil, Corporate Governance, and Fiduciary Duty. Ensure that they abide by Industry Standards and Best Practices, such as those promoted by NASS (National Association of Secretaries of State) and ARMA International, and hold relevant Legal and Compliance Certifications.
Education and Resources
Finally, a good registered agent should offer Educational Resources like Webinars, Online Courses, Books and eBooks, and Tutorials to keep you informed about compliance and other important aspects of running your business.
Considering these elements will help you select a registered agent in South Carolina that is not just a requirement but a valuable asset to your business.
How can I find a good registered agent in South Carolina?
There are many registered agent services in South Carolina. We recommend Northwest Registered Agent.
What is the cost of a registered agent in South Carolina?
A registered agent service typically costs between $99 and $299.
Is a registered agent required in South Carolina?
South Carolina 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 South Carolina business?
Small businesses should hire an South Carolina registered agent.
What is the cost of changing my 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.
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 journalism 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: firstname.lastname@example.org