- What Is an Alabama Registered Agent?
- Why Businesses Need an Alabama Registered Agent
- What To Look for When Choosing an Alabama Registered Agent
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s The Best Registered Agent Service in Alabama?
If you’re planning to start a business in Alabama, then you will need to hire a registered agent. This is someone who acts as a point of communication between your business and the state.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about registered agents, from what they are and what they do to why you need one. We’ll also help you figure out how to choose a registered agent and offer a recommendation for a registered agent service in Alabama.
What Is an Alabama Registered Agent?
A registered agent receives communication and notices from the state, including service of process, on behalf of a business. Other names for registered agents include resident agents and statutory agents.
Registered agents serve as a single point of contact so that there can be no confusion as to where the state directs communication. Of course, it is a registered agent’s duty to relay state communication to the business. Businesses are required by law to have a registered agent in the state of Alabama.
What Are the Requirements To Be a Registered Agent in Alabama?
Just about anyone can be a registered agent. Anyone who is over the age of 18, has a street address within the state of Alabama, and can maintain regular business hours can be a registered agent in Alabama.
This means that you, your spouse, business partner, friend, or an employee could act as the registered agent for your company. Of course, many businesses prefer to hire a registered agent, and there are many reasons for that. Let’s talk about them.
Why Businesses Need an Alabama Registered Agent
Though a registered agent is required by law, there are other reasons that it’s worthwhile to have one. We’ll explain the perks of having a registered agent as well as why hiring one can be preferable to being one yourself.
In order to retain good standing with the state of Alabama, businesses need to meet any deadlines set forth by the state. This includes responding to service of process on time, as well.
Losing good standing isn’t worth it as the consequences are quite undesirable. A business in bad standing can lose protections such as limited liability; they may also owe fees for missed due dates.
A registered agent can help businesses stay on top of deadlines and remain compliant with the state. Registered agents keep track of important due dates and set up a schedule of reminders to ensure that a business has every chance to file important documents, such as annual reports, on time. Many registered agents will even help with filing, though they may charge an extra fee.
A registered agent’s address is public record and is easy to find on the Alabama Business Entity Search. If you would like to keep your own address private, then you may prefer to hire a registered agent.
Aside from keeping your address private, you may want to keep certain business matters private. Should you receive service of process, it would be embarrassing for it to happen where employees could witness it. Not only that, but such an event could lower morale as employees wonder whether or not a lawsuit could affect their job security.
Registered agent services receive all correspondence at their own office and forward it to you discreetly.
The internet is a force to be reckoned with, and it has changed our lives both for the better and perhaps for the worse. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 85% of households reported having an internet subscription.
Companies can run their businesses completely online. There’s no longer a need for a brick and mortar building as most work can be done from home, and online storefronts are increasingly popular.
If you plan to operate your business 100% online, then you may not have an address to use. In this instance, hiring a registered agent is often the best course of action.
Irregular Business Hours
Registered agents are required to keep normal business hours so that it is easy for the state to contact them. Even if you want to be your own registered agent, it may not be possible if you typically work irregular hours.
Perhaps one of the most valuable services registered agents provide is keeping legal documents well organized. When they receive something from the state, they upload it onto a server so that you have easy access. On top of that, they also have to keep track of important due dates as well as a schedule of reminders.
Though this is work you could do yourself, it can be quite a headache on top of an already heavy workload. Many businesses prefer to hire registered agents to take care of this type of clerical work.
Locations in Different States
If your business will operate in multiple states, you will need to have a registered agent in each state. There are some registered agent services, such as ZenBusiness, that operate in multiple states. So, rather than hiring several different people, you could instead choose to use a service like ZenBusiness.
What To Look for When Choosing an Alabama Registered Agent
If you’re planning on hiring a registered agent in Alabama, you won’t be without options. But, sometimes, it can be tough to sort through the numerous companies offering registered agent services.
So, how do you go about choosing the right registered agent service for your company? We suggest thinking about three things: price, services provided, and time saved.
Just because registered agents don’t cost that much doesn’t mean it’s any less important to follow a budget. You need to consider how much you’re willing to spend as well as whether or not the amount of or quality of services offered seems fair for the price.
Some registered agents cost more because they provide more than just basic service. But first, let’s explain what basic is.
Every registered agent should accept documents on your business’s behalf and get them to you, maintain a physical address, and keep normal business hours. This is the bare minimum. Many registered agent services will also scan and upload documents immediately and send reminders of important due dates.
Extra services typically include things like organizing a limited amount of regular business mail and forwarding it. Some registered agent services also offer hotlines where you can connect with professionals that will answer business-related questions. This type of service is great for new business owners and may be worth spending extra for.
Though registered agent work is something you could do yourself, there is value in saving time. As the saying goes, “time is money.” What is your time worth to you?
When you look at the services a registered agent provides, think about how much time they will likely save you. From there you can compare services: which will save you the most time for the best price?
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Luckily, registered agents are relatively affordable. They usually cost between about $50 and $300 per year. Of course, acting as your own registered agent is free.
Should you choose to hire, you’ll want to be aware of any extra fees. Many registered agents charge extra on top of the yearly price for doing things like filing annual reports. They tend to charge corporations more for this service than LLCs.
Similarly, there may be fees involved if you ask them to forward any business mail they receive. You should be able to find out about any fees or special charges before hiring a registered agent.
What’s The Best Registered Agent Service in Alabama?
If you’re looking for a registered agent in Alabama, try ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness’s registered agent service costs only $99 per year, and the company is upfront about all of the features you will receive as well as any potential charges.
ZenBusiness also has a Worry-Free Compliance service that ensures you don’t miss any deadlines for annual reports required by the state of Alabama. You will receive alerts and updates to keep you on track. Should you somehow miss a deadline, you’ll be provided with the support you need to get your business back in good standing with the state.
ZenBusiness is one of the best options for registered agents, but if you’re looking to compare services, we’ve got your back. Check out our article comparing all of the best registered agent services.