If you’re looking to start a business in Georgia, then you’re going to need a registered agent. This is someone who acts as a point of contact between your business and the state of Georgia.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about registered agents. You’ll learn about what they are and what they do, why you need one, and how to go about choosing the perfect registered agent for your company. We’ll also share our own recommendations for registered agent services in Georgia.
What Is a Georgia Registered Agent
A registered agent receives all communication, including service of process, from the state of Georgia on behalf of a business. They then make sure the appropriate person at said business is notified of any communication. Registered agents are also known as resident agents and statutory agents.
Registered agents act as a single point of contact so that there is never any confusion as to who the state should reach out to when attempting communication. Their existence also helps keep businesses accountable for filing annual reports since there can be no excuses about notices being “sent to the wrong person.”
In fact, businesses in Georgia are required by law to have a registered agent. Registered agents are elected upon a business’s formation.
What Are the Requirements To Be a Registered Agent in Georgia?
The requirements to be a registered agent in Georgia are not all that strict. In fact, you, your business partner, an employee, your spouse, or a friend could be the registered agent for your business.
A registered agent must be 18 or older, maintain a physical address within the state, and keep regular business hours. Anyone who meets these minimal criteria can be a registered agent. Of course, there are reasons why many business owners hire registered agents rather than doing it themselves or asking a friend, and we’ll explain why in our next section.
Why Businesses Need a Georgia Registered Agent
As you know, businesses in Georgia are required by law to have a registered agent. However, registered agents can be very helpful and would be worth having even if the law didn’t require it.
Let’s talk about the many ways registered agents can benefit your company as well as why you might choose to hire a registered agent instead of acting as one yourself.
In order to remain in good standing with the state, businesses must file annual reports and respond to any service of process in a timely manner. Meeting deadlines is incredibly important.
If a business fails to do so, it can lose protections such as limited liability. In the case of a lawsuit, a business may accrue fines for not responding to service of process.
Registered agents keep compliance calendars and send businesses reminders of upcoming due dates. This type of help is invaluable and allows businesses to stay on top of their responsibilities to the state.
If you value your privacy, then you may not want to be the registered agent for your business. A registered agent’s address is public record and easy to find on the Georgia Business Search
Aside from this type of personal privacy, there are some company problems you’d probably prefer to keep on the down-low. For instance, it would be pretty embarrassing to receive service of process in front of clients or employees. Not only that, but employees may end up worrying about their job security.
A registered agent will receive service of process on your behalf. Should a lawsuit come up, you’ll be notified privately.
The internet has taken the world by storm. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 85%
of households had an internet subscription. The internet has become a viable way to do business, and thanks to it, you no longer need an office or physical store.
If your business is run completely online, then you will not have a physical address aside from your own. If you want to keep your own address private, then you’ll definitely need to hire a registered agent.
Irregular Business Hours
As we mentioned earlier, registered agents need to keep regular business hours so that they are easy to contact. Of course, this isn’t realistic for everyone. If you tend to keep irregular working hours, then you’ll likely want to hire a registered agent.
Registered agents receive communication from the state often in the form of mail. This means that they have to keep documents organized both in their paper form and online. Most registered agents take the time to upload documents into organized folders on a digital server that you can easily access.
It is true that you could do this type of clerical work yourself, but it can be somewhat of a headache. Having a registered agent do it for you helps you save time, which is especially important if you already have a heavy workload. You won’t have to worry as much about keeping track of important due dates, either, because a registered agent can do that for you.
Locations in Different States
If your business will operate in different states, then you will need to have a registered agent in each state. Even if you act as the registered agent in Georgia, you will still need agents with physical addresses in the other states your business is active in.
What To Look for When Choosing a Georgia Registered Agent
There are plenty of registered agent services available in Georgia, which can make it difficult to choose one. In order to figure out which would be the best for your business, we recommend thinking about three factors while considering your options: price, services provided, and time saved.
It goes without saying that price is an important factor whenever you’re purchasing a service. You have to decide on a budget: do you want the cheapest possible option, or are you willing to pay more for services that exceed the norm? Many registered agents offer extra services, and it’s up to you to decide if those services are worth it or not.
All registered agents provide three basic services: they 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, but it would be fair to say that most
registered agents also upload documents to digital servers and provide deadline reminders.
Some, however, offer more than just this. You can hire a registered agent who will receive and organize a limited amount of business mail (mail that isn’t from the state). Some registered agent services even provide help hotlines where you can ask business-related questions. This can be especially useful for first-time business owners.
As the saying goes, “time is money.” For many, investing money to save time is well worth it. This is one of the major reasons that business owners decide to hire registered agents. Although you could do a registered agent’s work yourself, you’ll likely be adding hours of extra work onto an already busy schedule.
As we explained, registered agents can offer a variety of services. When looking at these services, think about how much time they will likely save you. If an agent is able to save you time at a fair price, then they’re worth considering.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Hiring a registered agent is relatively inexpensive. Being your own registered agent is, of course, free, but hiring one won’t break the bank, either. Registered agents typically cost between $50 and $300 per year.
However, you’ll need to take into account fees as well. Many registered agents are happy to help you file your business’s annual reports for a price. They’re very upfront about these costs, though, and you can find out about such fees before hiring your registered agent. Agents typically charge more to file for corporations than for LLCs.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Georgia?
If you’re looking for a registered agent in Georgia, 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 Georgia. 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.