As a business owner, hiring people to help you is all part of growth. Recruiting talented team members is obviously important. Beyond that, you should also consider tapping professional services that can help you run your business smoothly.
Case in point, a registered agent can make your life much easier.
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent, also known as statutory agent or resident agent, is an individual or a service authorized to represent your business.
A Forbes definition further tells us that a registered agent is “designated to receive legal correspondence on behalf of the company.” To be a little more specific, this includes “government, tax, and legal correspondence.”
Businesses are usually required to assign someone as their registered agent upon business registration - especially if they’re registering outside their home state.
Qualifications of a registered agent
Generally, a registered agent should be a resident in the state where the business is registered. If you’re using a provider, you want to make sure that the company is authorized to conduct business in the state of registration.
In any case, your registered agent needs to have a street address in the state. Businesses are not permitted to use P.O. boxes when registering a company. Additionally, your registered agent should be available during regular business hours to receive mail and documents on your behalf.
Business entities that need to have their own registered agents include corporations, limited liability companies (LLC), limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships. Meanwhile, sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not required to appoint one since they’re not registered with the state.
Of course, it is worth noting that different states may have different rules and regulations regarding registered agents. To find information specific to your area, your best bet is to check out local and state government websites.
While it is possible to appoint yourself, a business partner, or your lawyer, hiring a professional registered agent is more practical.
Why do you need a registered agent?
You can reap a lot of benefits if you choose to work side by side with a third party provider as your registered agent.
Here are some of the most obvious advantages:
1. You can easily be contacted by the government
First off, government agencies will be able to get in touch with you whenever needed. If you’re someone who often goes on business trips or if you operate outside normal office hours, you’ll appreciate this benefit. Your registered agent will receive any important communication while you’re away.
Long story short, you won’t miss any vital messages or compliance requirements.
2. You can stay legally compliant
Meeting compliance requirements, including the correct service of process, is always a priority for responsible business owners. With a registered agent, you’ll get notifications as soon as official documents arrive, including those that are affiliated with the service of process. This means that you won’t have to sort through your mail just to find essential paperwork, streamlining your document management.
3. You get to save time and money
Completing compliance paperwork can be challenging, especially if you’re a busy entrepreneur. In fact, it can often be confusing and time-consuming.
Well, you can easily get that huge burden off your shoulders with your registered agent’s help. They will provide you with valuable insights as you work on your requirements. As a result, you’ll be able to avoid the hefty fines and penalties that come with non-compliance.
4. You can protect your privacy
When you have a registered agent, you won’t have to publicize your personal information. This means you won’t have to worry about receiving tons of junk mail in your inbox.
More importantly, you’ll be able to receive lawsuit notices and other legal documents in private. Can you imagine being served a Service of Process by officers of the law in front of your customers or neighbors? You can avoid that awkward scenario if you hire a registered agent. Instead, they will receive the documents for your business and then forward them to you discreetly.
5. You can spend more time growing your company
With all these advantages, you, as a business owner, can focus more of your time and attention on your business.
Legal paperwork doesn’t have to consume your energy. You can get them done in shorter periods of time with the help of an expert agent. In turn, you can spend greater time dealing with your customers, attending your investor meetings, and simply boosting your small business. That’s what you do best as an entrepreneur, so don’t let all the red-tape requirements pull you away from that.
When hiring a registered agent, you want to find the best one out there.
“The biggest thing to ensure is that the registered agent you choose is legitimate,” Unapologetic Wealth Management CEO Natalie Bullen told TIME.
You definitely want a reliable service that brings the best results without breaking the bank.
Mark Rosario is a content specialist who regularly writes for Registate, a Delaware-based registered agent. He has a passion for thorough research and converting business concepts into compelling, informative content.