- What Is a Delaware Registered Agent
- Why Businesses Need a Delaware Registered Agent
- What To Look for When Choosing a Delaware Registered Agent
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Delaware?
If you’re planning on running a business in Delaware, then you will need a registered agent. A registered agent is a person who acts as a point of contact between you and the state of Delaware. They receive legal communication on your business’s behalf.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about registered agents, including what they are, what they do, why you need one, and what to consider when choosing a registered agent to hire. We’ll also give you our own recommendations for registered agents in Delaware.
What Is a Delaware Registered Agent
A registered agent receives all legal communication (including service of process) from the state of Delaware on behalf of a business. They make sure that the appropriate person at the business is notified of any communication from the state. Registered agents are also known as resident agents or statutory agents.
Delaware law requires businesses to have a registered agent. This is because having a single point of contact ensures that communication will reach the business; such a system prevents confusion and keeps businesses accountable for meeting deadlines set by the state. Usually, a registered agent is appointed upon a business’s formation.
What Are the Requirements To Be a Registered Agent in Delaware?
Just about anyone can be a registered agent, including you. Similarly, a friend, spouse, business partner, or employee could also be the registered agent for your company.
That is because registered agents only need to be 18 or older, maintain a physical address in the state, and keep regular business hours. As you can see, the requirements are not strict, so anyone who can meet these three requirements is eligible to act as a registered agent.
Even though anyone could be a registered agent, many businesses still prefer to hire registered agents from companies specializing in registered agent services rather than just having anyone do it. We’ll explain why in our next section.
Why Businesses Need a Delaware Registered Agent
As we discussed, businesses in Delaware are required by law to have a registered agent. However, registered agents are useful to have for many other reasons. In this section, we’ll explain the many ways registered agents can help your business as well as why you might choose to hire one over being one yourself.
Businesses need to remain compliant with the state. This means meeting deadlines such as those set for annual reports. Similarly, businesses are required to respond to service of process by a set date.
If a business is continuously missing these deadlines, there are consequences. Ignoring service of process often means incurring fees, and missing state due dates can cause a business to lose good standing. This puts protections like limited liability at risk.
Registered agents keep a calendar of important deadlines and send businesses reminders. This keeps businesses on track so that they file annual reports and any other important documents on time.
As a business owner, there’s already a lot on your plate. It’s nice to hire a registered agent so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting a deadline.
Anyone can find a registered agent’s address because it is public record and is easily accessible on the Delaware General Information Name Search. If you value your privacy, then this is one reason why you might choose to hire a registered agent.
If you have a physical location for your business, using its address isn’t always the best option. Should you receive service of process, it may happen in front of employees or clients. Not only would this be embarrassing, but it may lower your worker’s morale as they worry about their job security.
If you hire a registered agent with their own address separate from your business, then they will receive service of process on your behalf. You’ll be notified of the situation privately.
The internet has created new opportunities for both individuals and businesses. Online marketplaces thrive and a lot of work can be done from home. In 2018, 85% of households reported having an internet subscription.
If your business will be run completely online and you do not want your personal address to be made public, then being your own registered agent isn’t going to work. Instead, you’ll need to hire one.
Irregular Business Hours
Remember how we said one of the requirements for a registered agent is to maintain regular business hours? Well, for some people, this is not possible. If you are one of those people, then you won’t be able to act as your own registered agent and will have to hire someone instead.
A good registered agent will keep all of the documents they receive organized; this means both in filing folders and in online data storage. Though you may be too busy to immediately sort through documents from the state, a dedicated registered agent isn’t. They often scan and upload important documents right after they receive them.
As we mentioned before, registered agents also keep track of deadlines and keep a schedule for reminders. All in all, they are very organized people. Even though you could certainly do this type of work yourself, it’s often easier to hire a registered agent service because it saves you time and means less responsibility on your plate.
Locations in Different States
If your business will be operating in more than one state, then you’ll need a registered agent in each state. You can certainly be the registered agent for Delaware should you choose to, but you’ll still need to hire others for any states your business is active in.
What To Look for When Choosing a Delaware Registered Agent
If you’re interested in hiring a service, there are many companies that provide registered agents in Delaware. In fact, you may find yourself wondering how to pick the best registered agent for your company. We recommend that you keep three things in mind when looking to hire a registered agent: price, services provided, and time saved.
Even though registered agents don’t cost all that much, it’s still important to consider your budget. You should also compare and contrast the services you’ll be getting at a given price. Is one company offering more services for the same price as another that offers less?
Speaking of services, it can be worth paying more to get more than just the basics. Basic registered agent services typically include receiving documents on your business’s behalf and getting them to you, maintaining a physical address, and keeping normal business hours.
You can also expect most registered agents to scan and upload documents to a server where you can access them digitally. Some registered agents will do more, like accepting a limited amount of business mail.
If you’re getting registered agent services through a company, you may also have access to perks like a help hotline. These types of hotlines allow you to ask business-related questions and can be great for first-time business owners.
Everyone knows the saying “time is money.” That’s because time is valuable, and as a business owner, you probably don’t have any time to waste. When looking at registered agent services, one of the most important things to consider is how much time a particular service will save you. Any time you save can be used for more important matters or even just to catch a break.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Luckily, registered agents are pretty affordable. Prices usually range between $50 and $300 per year. Of course, should you choose to be the registered agent for your own company, then you won’t have to spend a penny.
If you are hiring, be aware that some registered agents will help you file annual reports, but they won’t do it for free. They’ll charge a fee which is usually more expensive for corporations than for smaller businesses like LLCs. These fees should be made known to you before you decide to hire.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Delaware?
If you’re looking for a registered agent in Delaware, 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 Delaware. 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.