When you want to incorporate a business in any state in the US, you need a registered agent. These agents act as the point of contact between your business and the state.
That may bring up the question — can you be your own registered agent?
The short answer is yes.
It may seem favorable too. After all, why should you pay someone to do something you can do yourself?
While this may seem like the ideal scenario for you, the answer isn’t that simple. There are numerous pros and cons to becoming your own registered agent.
Before we delve into them, though, let’s quickly understand who registered agents are.
Who is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or agency that you appoint to receive all the official notices on the behalf of your LLC or corporation in a particular state. They also agree to accept legal mail on your behalf, including documents related to lawsuits, renewal notices, and more.
The registered agent needs to be available at a registered office in the state and should be accessible during regular business hours. It’s important to note that the office needs to have a physical address and not just a PO Box.
For instance, if your business is located in New York, but you also operate in California, there should be a way to get in touch with your business in California. This is where the designated registered agent comes into the picture.
Now that it’s clear who a registered agent is, let’s take a look at the various pros and cons of becoming your own registered agent.
Pros of Becoming Your Own Registered Agent
Let’s take a look at the advantages of becoming your own registered agent.
1. Saves Money
If you choose to become your own registered agent, you’ll save money on the fees that you’d have to pay to a registered agent.
Even if it is just a few hundred dollars a year, it will still reduce your business expenses. It can be a good idea if you’re on a shoestring budget.
2. Is Convenient
As a registered agent, you’re required to be present at your registered office during regular business hours. If you’re already available during this time, things would be quite convenient for you.
Additionally, you will receive all legal documents directly, instead of someone passing them to you, thus, saving time.
3. Home Can Be a Registered Office
One of the other pros of being your own registered agent is that you don’t need to go out of your way to set up a registered office. You can use your home address as your registered office address.
While there are certain disadvantages of doing this, it can still help you save some money.
Cons of Becoming Your Own Registered Agent
There are numerous drawbacks to becoming your own registered agent. Here are some of the most notable ones.
1. Being Present During Business Hours
One of the biggest cons of becoming your own registered agent is that you need to be present at your registered office during working hours on every weekday.
This may not seem like a big deal if you’re present in your office most of the time. However, you risk missing out on document deliveries if you’re stepping out for some time.
2. Need to Receive Confidential Paperwork
If you’re your own registered agent, you may receive confidential papers such as legal notices, court summons, etc. When this happens at your office, in front of others, or at your home, it may not be an ideal situation.
You need to ensure that you’re comfortable with receiving such confidential documents in public. If you are likely to get embarrassed, it’s best to hire a registered agent.
3. Minimal Savings
If you run a multi-state business, you’ll need a registered agent in every state. You can only become a registered agent in your state.
For the rest of them, you’ll still have to hire a registered agent. This means that you’ll save only a small portion of the money that you spend on registered agents, which is not worth the hassle.
4. Risk of Missing Notices
If you choose to become your own registered agent, you’ll need to be extremely organized. Otherwise, you may risk missing some of the notices.
Some documents could also be time-sensitive and you need to be organized enough to meet all the deadlines. This could prove to be very expensive for your company.
A registered agent service makes sure that this doesn’t happen, by helping you remain on top of things.
5. Address Change Must Be Notified
One of the requirements of being a registered agent is that you have to notify the state of any address change.
It’s likely that you may have to pay a fee for the same. Such fees would effectively nullify the cost savings you’d get by becoming your own registered agent.
Can you be your own registered agent? Yes, of course, you can.
Well, that depends on your priorities, and you can make that decision after weighing the pros and cons mentioned above.
If you become your own registered agent, you can save some money, but you also need to be available during business hours. You may miss some document deliveries if you’re not careful and you’ll be personally liable for meeting all deadlines.
The choice that you have is whether it is worth the hassle to become your own registered agent to save money or not.
Now that you know the pros and cons of becoming your own registered agent, you can decide whether it’s worth it or not. All the best!