by| Featured Contributor
“To act as your own registered agent or to work with a third party? That is the question.” We might have paraphrased this famous quote from William Shakespeare to fit into the present day, but we have a feeling the Bard might have shared similar musings if he had been an entrepreneur.
For those that don’t know what a registered agent (commonly referred to as an RA) does, this is an individual or a company that is designated by an LLC or corporation to accept official documents on behalf of a small business. While many small business owners choose to work alongside a third party, some decide to act as their own registered agent. This is still legally acceptable, so long as you thoroughly understand what is expected of you in this role. Here’s a look at some of the responsibilities that come with acting as your own RA.
A physical address is required.
As a registered agent, you must have a physical street address. A P.O. Box is not considered to be an acceptable address. Furthermore, the street address must be in the same state you do business and the RA must also be a resident of the state. If your LLC or corporation has been formed outside of your home state, you may need to work with an outside registered agent service until (and if) you decide to move the business to that state and work from a physical address within that location.
You must be available during general business hours.
Corporations and LLCs that are formed on a state level must have a designated registered agent in order to accept correspondence on behalf of a business and remain complaint with the state law. Correspondence tends to arrive during general business hours and registered agents must be available at that time to accept service of process. This can prove to be difficult for ‘treps on the go, who may not be available or physically present at their designated address during normal operating hours.
Are you ready to receive this much paperwork?
Registered agents accept quite a few legal documents on behalf of a small business which may include franchise tax forms, annual reports, renewal reminders, and lawsuit paperwork. They also accept official documents from the state. If you don’t mind staying organized with all of this paperwork, then you may be able to be your own RA. However, if you’re concerned that some of the documents might get lost along the way or disorganized you may find it’s a better idea to work with a registered agent service.
I don’t think I have the bandwidth to be my own RA! What should I do?
Reach out to a third party registered agents and work alongside them! You’ll find that it provides peace of mind to work with knowledgeable and reliable professionals that know exactly what they’re doing and are often more affordable than hiring a CPA or attorney. If you need help finding one, visit your state’s Secretary of State website for a list of active registered agents.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.