A registered agent must be appointed to any legal business entity forming in Florida. If you are a first-time business owner, you may be confused by the notion of appointing a registered agent or unsure what a registered agent even is. Thankfully, we’re here to help you understand the importance of this role.
Below, we discuss the specifics of a Florida registered agent and why your business needs to appoint one. We’ll also give you an idea of what to look for when choosing an individual registered agent or a registered agent service for your business.
What Is a Florida Registered Agent?
A Florida agent is an individual or authorized business appointed to act as a contact between your business and the state or federal government. The registered agent you appoint is responsible for receiving all official notices on behalf of your business, including any notices of lawsuits. They may also be responsible for filing, or notifying you to file, ongoing forms to meet state compliance.
Your registered agent can be any individual in Florida older than 18 and possesses a valid street address; however, the address cannot be a P.O. box. You can appoint yourself, a close friend or family member, or another outside individual as your registered agent, but you should remember that this person needs to be available during regular business hours.
Alternatively, you can appoint a registered agent service to accept notices for your business. Any service authorized to conduct operations in Florida can be your registered agent, and many individuals find this a very convenient option. A registered agent service, such as our recommended provider ZenBusiness
, can keep your business compliant while notifying you about documents received in real-time.
It is important to note that failure to appoint a registered agent for your Florida business can result in the state refusing to establish your business. You may also encounter penalties, fines, or a drop in good standing for your business if you do not keep your registered agent’s information up to date on state documents.
Why You Need a Registered Agent Service In Florida
There are several benefits your Florida business can receive by using a registered agent service as opposed to an individual registered agent.
One of the most helpful things a registered agent service can do is ensure your business stays compliant. It may be hard to track each filing deadline and state requirement for compliance when you’re acting as your own registered agent, but a service will generally keep a calendar of deadlines and notify you to file documents or file the necessary paperwork on your behalf.
Any registered agent you appoint in Florida is required to be available at all business hours. This means if you appoint yourself or a close friend or family member to the position, they must ensure they are available most hours during the week to receive notices. This can, understandably, cause certain issues when it comes to flexibility in schedules. Conflicts can arise if you or a close individual needs to be ready to receive documents, and the stress may take away focus from running your business.
That said, a registered agent service may be the perfect option for those business owners looking for more flexibility. With a dedicated service, employees are available during all business hours to receive documents and can communicate the content to you in real-time. This opens your schedule and can prevent conflicts between you and any friend or family member you appoint as a registered agent.
Another beneficial thing about using a registered agent service is the document storage procedure they offer. Instead of storing paper documents in stacks, you will likely have access to an online document portal. All the important notices and mail are uploaded by the registered agent service so you can view them when they are received and access them any time, all without the hassle of keeping track of paper.
When you appoint a registered agent, the state of Florida requires that you put down the agent’s name and mailing address on official establishment paperwork. If you appoint yourself or a close individual, this means you must put personal addresses down. These addresses will generally become public record as they are the point of contact for your agent.
If you want more privacy and an extra layer of protection between yourself and your customers, a registered agent service is the way to do this. When you use a service, you put the company’s contact information down as your agent’s address, thereby protecting your personal contact information from public eyes.
Occasionally, a notice of lawsuit or other sensitive documents are delivered to your registered agent. This may not be a bad thing if you are acting as your own registered agent, though any notice delivered in front of customers may create a stir. Alternatively, if you have a close friend or family member acting as your agent, this can create an uncomfortable situation.
A registered agent service accepts all notices discreetly, even the highly sensitive ones, and will notify you about them in a private manner – usually through email or an online document portal. This allows you to review the document and handle the situation as subtly as possible.
As your business grows, you most likely want to expand operations into different states. The process for doing this generally involves registering your business as a foreign LLC in the state, something that requires you to appoint a local registered agent. If you are acting as your own registered agent, this can be a major problem as you won’t have a valid state address to register yourself. In these cases, a registered agent service is essential in helping you to expand your business; most services have offices in all states that allow for easy expansion opportunities.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Florida Registered Agent?
There are a few things that you need to look out for when appointing a registered agent, no matter if it is a service or an individual.
Professionalism is an important factor to consider, whether you are appointing a friend, family member, yourself, or a registered agent service. You should make sure that whoever acts as your registered agent can complete the responsibilities of the job without conflict and understand every aspect of the role.
Additionally, if you appoint a registered agent service, you should check to see if they have a friendly customer service base and what their procedures are for dealing with customers, as this will give you an idea of whether their services are worth it.
How much a registered agent or service costs is important to take into consideration. You should choose a registered agent that fits your budget but also gives you the value you need. For instance, appointing yourself or a family member may cost you nothing, but it can be stressful and make it hard to run your business. A registered agent service may cost more upfront, but it can give you added value as it saves time and stress.
This item applies more to registered agent services, but you should look for a company with a national presence. This allows you to easily expand your business into other states whenever you feel the time is right. Additionally, companies with a strong national presence may be more reputable and will likely offer you good value and professional services in the long run.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
How much your registered agent costs depends on the type of registered agent you employ. If you appoint yourself, a friend, or another close individual, this likely costs you little to nothing. On the other hand, appointing a registered agent service may cost a yearly fee of $99 to $300 annually, depending on the company and services included.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Florida?
In Florida, the best registered agent service is one that meets all your business needs and fits within your budget. We recommend ZenBusiness
for this, as the service gives you access to friendly customer service, expert support, online document management, and worry-free compliance tracking for one low annual cost.