As a business owner, you have to choose from four structures to legally register and establish your business. These four structures are sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships, and corporations. Business registration and requirements would differ, depending on the structure chosen.
For example, in LLCs and corporations, the business needs a registered agent to file paperwork and documentation upon registration with the state. The registered agent also handles all legal communication for the LLC or corporation.
On the other hand, sole proprietors and partnerships don’t need registered agents since they are generally not required to register with the state. What they do need, however, is to acquire licenses or permits.
Therefore, you should first determine what your business structure should be before you look for a registered agent. If your business is a partnership or sole proprietorship, you don’t need one. But if your business is a corporation or LLC, you need the services of a professional registered agent to set up your business.
The easiest way to find professional registered agents is by reading reviews online or scouring through various directories. For example, this LegalZoom LLC service review helps you determine if they’re the right match for you.
What Is A Registered Agent
A registered agent is primarily responsible for receiving official notices and documents on behalf of another business. A registered agent can either be a person or a firm, and they have an office that your business can use as an official address. In addition, your chosen agent must be operating in the same state as your business.
Registered agents are essential for businesses because they serve as the first point of contact if the company is sued or receives legal documents from the state. They accept service of process notices on behalf of the business and then forward the documents to the business or its legal team. They’re also responsible for notifying the company of any documents they have received, and they’re required to file an annual report with the state.
Why Your Business Needs A Registered Agent
A registered agent can help you set up your business legally and receive official documents on your business’s behalf. Aside from that, below are some more reasons why your business needs one:
1. For Privacy
Privacy is essential for businesses. It offers several advantages, like data protection, reputation management, and protection from competitors.
When you have a registered agent, you can use their address upon registering your business. As a result, your business’s address isn’t made public. That protects your business from receiving unwanted solicitations, unwanted visitors, or even spies.
Additionally, if your business is sued, complaints and notices are delivered to the registered agent instead of your office. Therefore, your business is protected from public scrutiny that can come with a lawsuit.
2. Manage Multiple Branches
It’s good if your business grows to a point where you have branches in other states. However, more branches mean more responsibilities. This can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, a registered agent can help ease the work. Having a registered agent in each state allows your business to receive documents such as legal notices, state tax forms, annual report filings, and other crucial documents.
That’s beneficial because it allows your businesses to stay informed of their legal and tax obligations in each state and act quickly to ensure compliance. Moreover, having a registered agent in each state helps protect the business from potential liability in any legal proceedings.
3. Provides A Physical Office Address
If you own an eCommerce business or any type of business that is purely run online, having a physical office address will give you more legitimacy. Customers are usually vigilant online and will look for your business’s contact information such as emails and office addresses. Having a physical address boosts your business’s credibility because customers will be at ease—knowing that they’ll know how to reach you if they have concerns.
Since registered agents have a physical office, you can use them as the point of contact for your online business. This will allow you to receive important mail and correspondence without renting an office space. Therefore, having an agent will also help you save on overhead costs.
4. For Better Organization
A registered agent allows you to centralize and control documents related to the business, whether they come through the mail, in person, or by electronic means. That makes tracking and managing documents much easier, as they’re all coming to and from a single point. That also eliminates the need to assign multiple people in multiple locations to check and respond to legal documents, as it’s the registered agent’s responsibility to do so.
5. Easier Method For Changing Business Address
If you’re thinking about changing your business address, you need to inform your clients and the state so official documents and correspondence can be mailed to you efficiently. This process requires paperwork and payment of additional fees. With a registered agent, you can change your address without worrying about going through this tedious process.
A registered agent can come through if you’re moving to a different state and need to update your business address. They can act as a forwarding service, ensuring that any legal documents or tax forms sent to your business are forwarded to your new address.
That allows you to keep up with legal or tax obligations without worrying about missing an important document due to an outdated address. Aside from that, your clients and creditors can also reach out to you at your new address.
Summing It Up
Being a business owner is not easy. Aside from creating a unique product or service, you need to choose a suitable and beneficial business structure. LLCs and corporations offer advantages for you as a business owner because it protects your assets from liabilities and obligations that may be incurred from the business.
To successfully set up your business as an LLC or corporation, a registered agent can facilitate the process. They can help prepare documents and even provide a physical address that your business can use officially. Aside from that, a registered agent provides privacy, management, and protection.