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For a business to thrive well in California, it must be duly registered with the secretary of state. However, keeping up to date with registering the business combined with a tight work schedule may be tiring for entrepreneurs. Hence, there's a need for hired registered agents.
Quite unfortunate, in a haste to choose an agent, many entrepreneurs have become victims of fraud and incompetent services. This is why we have taken our time to compile a list of the best California registered agent services to guide you through the decision processes.
This piece reviewed the pros and cons of each agent and the exceptional features that meet your business needs.
A Quick Preview:
Best Overall - Editor's Choice — Northwest Registered Agents ($125/year) Best Affordable California Registered Agent — ZenBusiness ($99/year) Top-rated California Agent for new business owners — Incfile ($119/year) Best for Reputation — Legalzoom ($229/year) Best Premium Customer Support Services — Rocket lawyer ($150/year)
Our Review of the 5 Best California Registered Agent Services
Best Overall - Editor's Choice — Northwest Registered Agents ($125 per year)
- Customers' details and business data are secured against hackers and scammers.
- It offers phone service, and it's free for the first 60 days
- Experienced and knowledgeable staff to provide answers to any hiccups about business.
No one does it better than Northwest registered agents when it comes to a registered agent with fantastic customer service and relationships. Since the establishment of the agent in 1998, the company has successfully won the hearts of most business owners in California and beyond. Northwest has a great team of knowledgeable and skilled experts when it comes to business. They have been able to help so many entrepreneurs overcome the challenges that come with business operations.
Apart from the excellent track record Northwest RA has made for itself, the agent is trustworthy and protects personal and business data shared with them. Vital business information is not sold or shared with third parties. And for this precise reason, the agent has earned first place in our list of the Best California Registered Agent review.
For a fixed fee of $125 throughout a year, Northwest RA provides valuable answers to the burning questions in the hearts of their customers. They offer helpful tips on business logistics and how to set attainable business goals.
Based on Our Review
I liked the responsive customer support during my review. I also found that this service offers improved security features that keep my data safe from theft.
- Customer support services and rapport is top-notch.
- Northwest RA is trustworthy and will not sell its customers' information to a third party.
- Document delivery both manually or via emails is fast.
- The yearly price is fixed; hence no additional expenses are incurred during the annual subscription.
- Northwest package fees may be unaffordable for upcoming business owners.
- Customers have to pay extra for an Employee Identification Number.
Northwest registered agent in California has a working knowledge of owning a business in California. Hence, who better to give entrepreneurs the value for their money if not those who have gained experience and can provide success-proven advice to help achieve business goals. Northwest is the go-to option for growing a business hassle-free.
Best Affordable California Registered Agent — ZenBusiness ($99 per year)
- Affordable and budget-friendly package fee.
- The registration for the first year is free.
- High customer satisfaction with remarkable turnarounds.
- Swift LLC formation processing times.
ZenBusiness is one of the newest California Registered agents in the market. This agent is relatively cheap, and it's gradually gaining ground among business owners. Apart from registering the business, ZenBusiness also helps form a new company.
ZenBusiness not only offers the cheapest package fee, but the first-year subscription for all customers is also free. Hence, one gets to test the agent before hiring them altogether. In addition, they give excellent customer satisfaction and are ever ready to offer phone services. Their customer service representatives can take clients' calls for extended hours daily, even on weekends.
Apart from being a registered agent, ZenBusiness is an excellent choice for small-scale businesses in California. One of the visions of the company is to build up small businesses and keep them afloat by providing grants to such upcoming companies.
When it comes to registering new businesses, entrepreneurs go through the stress of choosing a brand name that is not similar to others. The team at ZenBusiness have you covered. As part of their bonus offer, they carry out a brand name availability check for all their clients to make the state's LLC application. Not only that, but they also provide business addresses for Californian new businesses.
Based on Our Review
I noticed that Zenbusiness offered competitive pricing and their extra features also cost lower than competing apps. The 60-day money-back guarantee was also one of the lengthiest I reviewed.
- ZenBusiness sends regular notifications on compliance filing deadlines and provides support if a deadline is missed.
- Conducts a business name availability test for clients during LLC application.
- Preparation and filing of business paperwork to the appropriate authorities.
- Excellent phone support services are available from 8 am - 8 pm.
- They have over 5000 cheerful customer's review.
- It is a new registered agent.
- It does not encourage installment fee payment.
For upcoming or new businesses working on a tight budget, ZenBusiness California corporate agent is the viable option. Their services are not only affordable, but they have other incentives in their package that help small-scale businesses start and blossom into successful and more significant enterprises.
Top-rated California Agent for new business owners — Incfile ($119 per year)
- Quick business formation for new owners.
- The first 365 days of Incfile registered service is free.
- Available in 50 States, it offers interstate recognition for business.
- User-friendly online dashboard.
Here's one of the top-rated California Registered Agent Services for business owners, especially newbies. Incfile was launched around 2004 and has since gained appearance in 50 States, including California. This registered agent has used efficient technology to hasten new business formation processes, as evident in the numerous positive feedback the agent has gotten.
Incfile designed its website so that it is easy to use, and the dashboard is personalized. This California registered agent is a dependable intermediary between new business enterprises and the Secretary of State (SOS) of California. It forwards crucial information from the states via emails or locally to business owners. Not only that, constant notifications on the compliance filing and IRS documentation are also offered. New business owners are therefore in safe hands.
Another excellent quality worthy of mention is its interstate presence. The agent allows business owners to expand their business to other states without going through the stress of hiring another registered agent. Also, when it comes to the pricing of Incfile, it is relatively fair to the clients. The total package fee is about $119, and customers also get the first year subscription free without paying a dime.
Based on Our Review
The unlimited phone and email support was a feature I liked during my review. I also found that online storage helped keep my documents safe and easily accessible.
- The dashboard is personalized and easy to access.
- The agent is a reliable intermediary between California's secretary of state and business owners.
- It offers free valuable nuggets on bookkeeping and accounting in business.
- Customer support is short-lived. It is limited to only business working hours.
- Getting a refund after the cancellation of a plan is a stressful procedure.
- Services such as EIN, and IRS documentation are offered only once.
Starting up a new business is stressful as it is. Ensuring business owners have a sure footing in forming their business and getting the correct information from the Californian SOS is even more stressful. However, with Incfile, the formation of a new company is made easy for a reasonable fee alongside other superb services.
Best for Reputation — Legalzoom ($229 per year)
- Over one million large customer base.
- Access to cloud storage of documents is unlimited.
- Handling of paperwork needed to switch from one registered agent to another.
- Compliance calendar, so users never miss deadlines.
- Lifetime customer support
LegalZoom is easily the best agent for reputation on the best California registered agents review. And here's why?
Legalzoom was established in 2001 and has been around in the business world for a long time. The agent has been able to amass a great wealth of experience in business and can give battle-tested tips that have been of great help to their extensive client base. Legalzoom agent has gained its place among top-rated California registered agent services with millions of customers and intense online ads.
The agent is well known online; hence, it's an excellent choice for business owners seeking online recognition. Legalzoom offers its services at $299 with constant reminders on compliance and tax deadlines. It also provides legal advice for the business. Therefore, the extra cost of hiring a legal service attorney is eliminated.
Another quality that makes Legalzoom stand out is the 60-days free trial it offers. If a customer has a change of mind or is unsatisfied with the service, there's an option to opt-out of a full refund of the subscription plan. Finally, with LegalZoom, the process of changing registered agents is easy and hassle-free. The agent will handle all necessary paperwork required from the switch.
Based on Our Review
I was most impressed by the availability of Legalzoom’s customer support. Customer support was usually reachable during my review, and my questions were answered quickly and thoroughly.
- Provision of a legal plan and unlimited access to an attorney.
- It provides a 60-days free test and trial.
- If a customer is unsatisfied, there's is room for a refund seamlessly.
- Legalzoom gives a business online brand awareness.
- Business data are secured against identity thefts.
- This service features an easy-to-use online platform.
- Responsive and available customer support.
- The subscription plan is more expensive than other registered agents.
- Refund does not include state fees.
For creating an online appearance for a business in California, choose Legalzoom. This agent has been around for a while and is competent in exceptional RA services.
Best Premium Customer Support Services — Rocket lawyer ($150 per year)r
- Free trial period for seven days.
- 25% discount for premium customers.
- Customer support service is excellent.
- Free LLC services for customers.
- Access to experienced attorneys for guidance.
Rocket Lawyer RA is known for its excellent customer service, and this sole feature is one of the reasons the agent made the list of best California Registered Agent services. Since the inception of the service, they have assisted several million customers. It reaches out to the clients through emails, phone calls, and even live chats. The customer care agent reps are always by the phone from dawn to dusk to offer solutions to their customers.
At $150 per annum, rocket lawyer provides entrepreneurs with secured online spaces where valuable documents can be stored, a Californian business address, and compliance deadlines reminders that help customers to keep up with the state's affairs. Services rendered on this platform are open to both members and non-members. However, members have access to the freebies, such as a 25% discount on the original price.
Also worthy of mention is the subscription plan of rocket lawyer. Subscriptions are available monthly and annually. A business owner could subscribe for a month and quickly cancel the plan after a month is exceeded. In addition, the agent also has a team of legal experts that offers legal services both business- and non-business- related to the members.
Based on Our Review
I liked the quick processing times when reviewing Rocket lawyer. I was also impressed by the free LLC services and attorney assistance of this service.
- Provision of both business-related and non-business related legal services.
- Availability of lots of freebies and discounts for subscribed members.
- 30-day cash refund guarantee for a canceled subscription.
- Phone service support is from dawn to dusk.
- Multiple customer support channels for customers.
- It requires credit card details for a free trial. If an uninterested entrepreneur forgets to opt-out, money will be deducted.
- Most of the benefits and freebies are unavailable for non-members.
Rocket Lawyer has been reputed for helping entrepreneurs overcome business challenges for over a decade, especially on legal grounds. With a team of attorneys on board, the cost of hiring a separate business attorney is eliminated. Hence, business owners can save up more money. For excellent customer service at a reduced price, choose rocket lawyer, California corporate agent.
Checking out the customer's review on honest platforms like Trustpilot, Yelp, and LinkedIn will help new business owners in hiring the best registered agents for their business.
How to choose the Best California Registered Agent Services
Apart from affordability, business owners should choose trustworthy registered agents. Trusted and tested agents are reliable, dependable, and able to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and the state. (1) Therefore, the selection process for registered agent services should not be done in a hurry. A team of competent registered agents will grow a successful business.
Here are some of the factors to consider before choosing the best California registered agent services:
The agent must have a physical address in California
One of the requirements for qualifying as a registered agent in California is a physical address. During business formation, entrepreneurs are expected to document the official address of their registered agent; else, they would be denied access to start the business.
In my opinion, a physical office also makes it easier for customers to communicate with professional agents and attorneys.
Choose agents with an impressive track record.
To a more considerable extent, what others say about a person is what he is. It is expedient for business owners to research registered agents before trusting them with their business thoroughly. Reviews from satisfied clients will further attest to the agent's competence and credibility.
Use the criteria below to check for a track record;
- Customer's reviews
Look out for customer reviews on the agent's website. However, such assessments may be compromised. Other platforms like Trustpilot, LinkedIn, etc., give more honest feedback.
I think customer reviews offer a good insight into the value of the service, so ensure you check multiple review pages for a clearer picture of the service.
- Registered agent's rating
A good registered agent rating should be at least about 3.5 and a B on Better Business Bureau.
- Company's success rate history
Carefully browse through the history of the company's website before doing business with them. Also, for RA with free trial options, use the free trial period first to help study the agent better before business.
Choose a Nationwide registered agent.
Every business owner desires the exponential growth of their businesses. Expansion of business, especially interstates, is one of the indicators that a business is thriving. When choosing a registered agent, do not limit your business by selecting an agent that can only provide business services within a state. Instead, choose an agent that influences all 50 States.
Why is this such a big deal? When it's time for expansion, the stress of looking for another registered agent will be avoided. State requirements and filing could be quickly done with a single provider with a Nationwide agent.
I think a service with nationwide reach opens the door for further expansion of your business.
Value vs. Price: Choose value
When choosing the best California registered agent, considering the cost is essential. Some agents bill as high as $300. However, beyond the price, value is much more crucial. Ensure you'd get the value for your money before hiring a RA.
A registered value-added agent would provide the following services;
- Fast documents delivery both locally and electronically
- Precise compliance management (2) to encourage a good rapport between the business owner and the California secretary of state
- Prompt receipt of important documents such as lawsuits.
Choose the optimal privacy level.
This is another factor that must be carefully considered before hiring registered agent services. The agent will handle important paperwork concerning the business. Hence, there must be 100% assurance that your files are in safe hands and the websites are secured against identity thefts.
Availability of registered agents
Business owners who are always on the go may not have the luxury of time to review paperwork or be available when the state contacts them. Choosing an agent who is always open would be a great lifesaver. During busy days, such agents can stand in the gap for the entrepreneurs.
Can anyone be a California-registered agent?
Yes, anyone can be a California-registered agent. However, requirements such as at least 18 years of age and provision of a physical address in California must be met.
How much does it cost to change a California-registered agent?
A business owner who wishes to change a registered agent in California with the secretary of state is expected to pay a token of $20. Filing the necessary paperwork is also essential.
How much does it cost to hire a California-registered agent?
Hiring a registered agent in California costs about $50 to $300 per annum, depending on the type of services rendered.
Now that you know the different registered agents in California. It's time to spring into action and select the best California registered agent services for your business.
Each registered agent services have outstanding features they offer their clients. However, our overall best California registered agent service is Northwest registered agent. Northwest RA provides exceptional customer satisfaction and does not disclose your business and personal details to a third party. Their A-team has a working knowledge of business ventures and is known to give success-proven tips.
What feature do you look forward to the most for a California registered agent service? We'll love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.
- Mike Enright. (2020, November 28). What is a registered agent, and why do I need one? Retrieved from https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/expert-insights/what-is-a-registered-agent-1
- Lisa Deschamp. (2021, June 1). A Quick Guide to Compliance Management. Retrieved from https://mco.mycomplianceoffice.com/blog/guide-to-compliance-management
Hours of Research