If you decide to set up a business, start a nonprofit, or even get a state license, you must register it in your state. You can do this yourself, but if you want to avoid hassles, you can choose to appoint a registered agent. In most jurisdictions, the registered agent handles legal documents and any other official notices on your behalf. Although any agent that has an office in your state and readily accepts deliveries can serve you, the responsibilities of registered agents transcend the legal formalities of the role they play.
The key among these responsibilities is to serve as vital legal outposts for your establishment, raising warnings of potential risks. To protect your business investment and get value for your money, here are six factors to help you find registered agent that’s a good fit:
One factor to consider when choosing a registered agent is professionalism. On the surface, the tasks that registered agents conduct may appear simple. But this isn’t always the case. Some agents open offices and hire officers to run them during business hours. However, these officers may not always be available to receive correspondence from state agencies.
Hiring such an agent puts you at risk of missing out on notices, which the state can hold you legally responsible for. For instance, if you miss out on notifications requiring legal action, legal repercussions may arise because you failed to respond swiftly to such legal notice.
But a reliable registered agent always has someone physically present in their office during business hours. It means that even though they have other commitments, such as personal emergencies, meetings, and business trips, they never leave the office unattended. Professional registered agents are highly efficient in handling client documents and notices.
They also file contact or office location updates with the state promptly, eliminating the fear of missing out on crucial correspondence or delays in acting on such communication for their clients. Given the risks associated with registered agent failures, it’s critical to invest in a professional service that efficiently handles sensitive documents and sends them to you for immediate response.
Efficiency is another factor you need to consider when picking a registered agent. At the minimum, the registered agent you hire should be able to upload electronic versions of all documents received the same day at no extra cost.
Most businesses prefer agents that provide same-day document processing. Such agents also offer personalized courtesy notices immediately after they forward a document. By sending notifications, the agents allow clients sufficient time to respond to vital messages. For legal issues, each day counts, which is why working with registered agents that offer top-notch services is critical.
Some agents go the extra mile to give nonprofits and businesses access to a compliance team to respond to questions or technical assistance they might have when responding to notices.
Nationwide coverage is another essential factor to consider when choosing a registered agent. Although getting a registered agent is a state law requirement, most business or organization owners plan to expand operations to other states during startup. Picking an agent that only works in your area could mean appointing one in every state where you expand operations.
Dealing with many agents can be tedious and costly. If you hire multiple of them, you’ll most likely spend more time engaging them at the expense of your core business. Avoid this by picking an agent that has nationwide coverage. Doing so allows you to meet the legal requirements in every state where your business operates. An agent with nationwide coverage would also support you as your business grows, ensuring everything works well.
Value For Money
Although it’s important to consider price when picking a registered agent, looking at cost in terms of the value the agent offers you is a more rewarding way to approach the process. Often, the cheapest option is to handle the legal documents yourself without engaging a registered agent. It exposes you to high risk for minimal savings.
An excellent way to assess value beyond price is to look out for registered agents who combine a technological and hands-on approach to service delivery. Opt for agents who use electronic notifications, deliver documents immediately and provide foolproof.
Additionally, check whether the agent offers you extra compliance tools to enable you to meet the requirements for different states. For instance, consider finding out whether they have tools to facilitate the timely filing of annual reports. You risk forfeiting your company’s good standing with any state if you fail to file annual reports.
Further, such a mistake can cause many problems, including getting loans, building a good reputation, and attracting new customers. To prevent this, check the value registered agents offer besides receiving legal documents. Such offers may include filing reminders, software programs, and filing support, including state forms.
The other critical factor to consider when picking a registered agent is entity management in service provision. Ideally, the registered agent you work with should use reliable software that allows timely document transmission in your preferred format. Check whether the agent uses management software and whether clients get access.
Furthermore, it’s critical to know how the software interfaces with government databases to get real-time information on your organization’s compliance level. This way, your employees can have a single user-friendly interface where they can access documents, share notices, generate reports, keep tabs on your company’s status, and even manage other critical filings like annual reports.
Entity management consolidation on a simple portal improves internal reporting and paperwork.
Whether you own a business or run a nonprofit organization, keeping up with compliance requirements, filing dates, and mitigating risks can take a significant amount of time and keep you from focusing on your core business. Registered agents help organizations manage these tasks effectively while establishing alerts for upcoming deadlines.
Although these tasks may appear simple, your choice of a registered agent can make or break your business or organization. By considering the five factors discussed above, you can ensure the registered agent you enlist is a good fit for your establishment.