If you are considering starting an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation in the United States, you must register your business in the state (or states) in which you plan to do business. In order to register, you will need to list the name and address of your registered agent.
But what does a registered agent do, how do you find one, and what happens if you don’t get one for your small business?
Here is a quick guide to registered agents and what you should consider when choosing yours.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person you designate to receive legal documents on behalf of your business. When you need to be reached with a subpoena or another regulatory or tax notice, the law says that someone has to be reliably present to receive such documents.
If your business has an office that is reliably staffed, you can use that office as your registered agent. But if you work from home or cannot guarantee that someone will always be available to receive these documents, it is advisable to hire a third party.
Why Do You Need a Registered Agent?
Simply put, if you run a business that requires a registered agent and you don’t have one that can serve the function reliably, you risk forfeiting the right to do business in your state.
Typically, sole proprietor businesses do not require registered agents, but any other legal-entity does. If the state or a representative of the court cannot deliver vital documents when it needs to, you will be held legally responsible for the contents of those documents, anyway.
In the worst-case scenario, failure to have a reliable registered agent can mean that the government has the authority to dissolve your business.
How Do You Choose a Registered Agent?
When you register your business, choosing the right registered agent is important. Here are a few things to consider when looking for the right fit.
Hire a Professional Service
It may be tempting to choose a friend or family member to serve in this role for you. But a professional service means you can have peace of mind knowing that you won’t miss something vital to your business.
Don’t risk missing a document delivery or missing out on an opportunity to save money.
Look for Experience
Even if you choose to select an individual to act as your agent, make sure that they’ve had that role in the past. That experience will help your agent know what to do should he or she ever be called upon.
Above all, timeliness is vital to the role of a registered agent. Ensure that your choice can promise same-day delivery of important notices either in person, via email, or through dedicated software.
You can’t risk missing a legal window or deadline due to delivery delays.
If you are starting a corporation or another legal entity business, you must find a quality registered agent to act on your behalf. The right choice can make all the difference in the life of your business when the time comes.
For more about how you can make your small business successful, head back over to our homepage and read more.