If you’re starting a business or changing your company’s registered agent, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether to hire a commercial or noncommercial registered agent.
A registered agent is a person or company that receives legal documents and notices on behalf of a business. The agent then forwards these documents to the business owner.
Commercial registered agents are typically larger companies that provide registered agent services to many businesses. They often have offices in multiple states and can handle a high volume of legal documents.
Noncommercial registered agents, on the other hand, are usually smaller businesses or individuals that provide registered agent services to a limited number of clients.
The decision to hire a commercial or noncommercial registered agent depends on several factors, including the size of your business, the number of states where you do business, and your budget. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between commercial and noncommercial registered agents and help you decide which one is right for your business.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a designated individual or entity that receives legal and official documents on behalf of a business entity. This includes service of process, which is the delivery of legal documents such as lawsuits and subpoenas.
Registered agents are required for all business entities, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and partnerships. They serve as the point of contact between the business and the state government, ensuring that the business is informed of important legal and regulatory matters.
Registered agents must have a physical address within the state where the business is registered. They must also be available during normal business hours to receive legal documents and other important communications.
While most businesses can act as their own registered agent, many choose to hire a professional registered agent service.
This is especially true for businesses that operate in multiple states or do not have a physical presence in the state where they are registered. Professional registered agent services can provide a physical address, receive legal documents on behalf of the business, and forward them to the appropriate parties in a timely manner.
Overall, a registered agent is a crucial component of any business’s legal and regulatory compliance. By designating a registered agent, businesses can ensure that they receive important legal documents and stay informed of important legal and regulatory matters.
Commercial Registered Agents
A commercial registered agent is an individual or entity that has filed a special listing statement with their state’s corporations authority.
This statement confirms that the registered agent is authorized to accept legal documents on behalf of a business entity.
Commercial registered agents are typically larger companies that offer registered agent services to multiple businesses.
- Availability: Commercial registered agents are typically available during regular business hours, which can be helpful if you have a busy schedule or if you are located in a different time zone.
- Professionalism: Commercial registered agents are typically larger companies with more resources, which can help ensure that your legal documents are handled professionally and efficiently.
- Privacy: Using a commercial registered agent can help protect your privacy by using their address instead of your own on public documents.
- Cost: Commercial registered agents typically charge a fee for their services, which can be an added expense for small businesses.
- Less Personalized Service: Because commercial registered agents serve multiple businesses, they may not be able to provide the same level of personalized service as a noncommercial registered agent.
- Less Control: Using a commercial registered agent means that you are relying on an outside company to handle your legal documents, which can feel like less control over the process.
Overall, commercial registered agents can be a good option for businesses that value professionalism and privacy, but may not be the best fit for businesses that prefer a more personalized or cost-effective approach.
See here and below for our recommendations on national commercial registered agents that will look after creating and maintaining your LLC.
Top five table:
Price: $99 per year
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|Northwest Registered Agent|
Price: $125 per year
Price: $119 per year
Best no frills
Price: $99 per year
Price: $299 per year
Non-Commercial Registered Agents
A non-commercial registered agent is an individual or small company that provides registered agent services within one or only a few states and do not have a listing agreement in place with the state.
Unlike commercial registered agents, non-commercial registered agents do not charge for their services. Non-commercial registered agents are typically used by small businesses or individuals who do not have the resources to pay for registered agent services.
Non-commercial registered agents are also commonly used by non-profit organizations.
- Non-commercial registered agents are typically less expensive than commercial registered agents.
- Non-commercial registered agents may provide more personalized service to their clients.
- Non-commercial registered agents may be more willing to work with small businesses or individuals who have limited resources.
- Non-commercial registered agents may not have the same level of expertise or resources as commercial registered agents.
- Non-commercial registered agents may not be available in all states.
- Non-commercial registered agents may not have the same level of accountability as commercial registered agents.
Overall, non-commercial registered agents can be a good option for small businesses or individuals who do not have the resources to pay for commercial registered agent services. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of using a non-commercial registered agent before making a decision.
The Model Registered Agents Act
The Model Registered Agents Act (MRAA) sets out the procedures for registering as a registered agent and creates a definition of both commercial registered agents and non commercial registered agents,
The Act is a model law created by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) to provide a framework for regulating registered agents, who are responsible for receiving and forwarding legal documents and other important communications on behalf of businesses and other entities.
The MRAA includes provisions for registration and regulation of registered agents, as well as requirements for maintaining accurate records and providing timely notification of changes in registered agent information.
The MRAA has been adopted in whole or in part by many states in the United States.
Choosing Between Commercial and Non-Commercial Registered Agents
Factors to Consider
When choosing between a commercial and non-commercial registered agent, there are several factors to consider. These include:
- Cost: Commercial registered agents typically charge more than non-commercial registered agents. See here for the typical cost of a registered agent service
- Availability: Commercial registered agents are available in all states, while non-commercial registered agents may only be available in one or a few states.
- Experience: Commercial registered agents may have more experience and resources to handle legal documents and compliance requirements.
- Responsiveness: Non-commercial registered agents may be more responsive and provide more personalized service.
|Factor||Commercial Registered Agent||Non-Commercial Registered Agent|
|Availability||Available in all states||May only be available in one or a few states|
|Experience||May have more experience and resources||May have less experience and resources|
|Responsiveness||May provide less personalized service||May provide more personalized service|
Ultimately, the decision to choose a commercial or non-commercial registered agent will depend on your specific business needs and budget. Consider the factors listed above and do your research to find the best option for your company.