- What Is an Illinois Registered Agent?
- Why Businesses Need an Illinois Registered Agent
- What To Look for When Choosing an Illinois Registered Agent
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Illinois?
If you’re planning on starting a business in Illinois, 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.
We’ll teach you everything you need to know about registered agents. You’ll learn what they are and what they do as well as why you need one. We’ll give you tips on what to look for when hiring as well as our recommendations for registered agent services.
What Is an Illinois Registered Agent?
A registered agent (also known as a resident or statutory agent) receives all communication from the state on behalf of a business. This includes service of process, as well. Registered agents make sure that the business receives this communication, often by immediately uploading documents to a digital server.
It’s important to know that Illinois law requires businesses to have a registered agent. This is because registered agents provide a single point of contact which prevents confusion.
Businesses can’t make any excuses about not knowing who received important notifications, either. Registered agents are elected by businesses upon their formation.
What Are the Requirements To Be a Registered Agent in Illinois?
The requirements to be a registered agent are not strict. One must be 18 or older, maintain a physical address in Illinois, and keep regular business hours.
It is perfectly legal for you yourself to be the registered agent for your company should you meet all these criteria. Similarly, a business partner, an employee, or a friend could be the registered agent for your business.
However, most businesses prefer to hire a registered agent service. We’ll go more in detail on that in our next section.
Why Businesses Need an Illinois Registered Agent
As we explained, it is against the law for businesses in Illinois not to have a registered agent. That aside, registered agents can be invaluable because they can save you time as well as provide certain other perks. Let’s talk about the many reasons why businesses need a registered agent, as well as why you might prefer to hire a registered agent.
The state has certain expectations of businesses, and it’s important that those expectations be met in order to remain compliant. For instance, LLCs must file annual reports; should businesses fail to do so by the given deadline, they can lose their good standing.
Good standing is important because with it comes protections like limited liability. In the worst-case scenario, a business that loses its good standing could eventually be prohibited from operating in the state of Illinois.
Similarly, businesses must respond to service of process before the given date. If they don’t, they may incur fees, and it certainly won’t do them any favors for winning a lawsuit.
Registered agents help businesses remain compliant by keeping track of important due dates. They send businesses reminders to ensure that important documents are filed on time. Some registered agent services are even able to help businesses get back on track if they do lose their good standing.
A registered agent’s address is easy to find. This is because it becomes public record and is searchable on the Illinois Business Search. If you value your privacy and don’t want your own address to be public, then hiring a registered agent is the best solution.
Aside from personal privacy, there are some sensitive business matters that you’ll likely want to keep private as well. For instance, it would be embarrassing to receive service of process in front of clients or employees.
A registered agent will receive service of process on your behalf at their office. They’ll make sure you’re notified discreetly.
According to the 2018 U.S. Census data, 85% of households had an active internet subscription. The internet has become part of our day-to-day lives and could even be considered more of a necessity than a privilege.
The internet has opened so many doors, one of them being online business. It’s easy to operate a business 100% online. Obviously, these businesses do not have any physical addresses.
That’s where registered agent services come in. If you’re not comfortable using your personal address to be a registered agent for your company, then your best option is to hire a registered agent service.
Irregular Business Hours
One of the requirements to be a registered agent is to keep regular business hours. For some business owners, this isn’t realistic, especially if they have multiple locations to run.
Similarly, you may want to take trips, either for business or pleasure; in this case, you won’t be at a single location or keep regular hours.
This is one reason to hire a registered agent service. They always have trained professionals available to receive important communication for your business.
Registered agents receive a lot of documents on behalf of businesses. They have to sort both the paper versions and the digital versions of these documents so that they are easy to find and access.
Not only that, but they have to keep track of important deadlines and create a schedule for reminders. This way, they can help businesses remain compliant.
While anyone could do this type of clerical work, it can be somewhat time consuming. Business owners tend to be busy people with full schedules. It’s a load off of their shoulders to let someone else worry about organizing files and keeping track of deadlines.
Locations in Different States
If your business is going to operate in different states, then you will need to hire registered agents for each state. Even if you’re happy to be the registered agent in Illinois, you likely won’t have physical addresses in other states.
However, many registered agent services do have locations all around the U.S., which means you only have to hire one service, keeping things streamlined.
What To Look for When Choosing an Illinois Registered Agent
If you’re looking to hire a registered agent service in Illinois, then you’ll have plenty of options. In fact, it can be a lot of work to sort through and choose a registered agent service. In order to pick the best one for your business, we recommend considering three factors: price, services provided, and time saved.
Sticking to a budget is important. Luckily, most registered agents are relatively affordable. Still, you need to consider what you’re getting for your money.
Is it worth it to you to pay more for extra services? Does one company offer the same services for less? Are there any additional fees? Be sure to keep these questions in mind when choosing between registered agent services.
Cost is often a determining factor for any type of purchase one makes. But when it comes to registered agents, you also need to think about which services will benefit you the most.
All registered agents will do these three basic things: accept documents on your business’s behalf and get them to you, maintain a physical address, and keep normal business hours. Most will upload important documents to a digital server for you to access immediately.
Some registered agent services offer more: they might receive a limited number of business mail for you or provide a help hotline where you can ask business-related questions. The latter can be especially useful for first-time business owners.
Is there anything more valuable than time? When choosing between registered agent services, you might want to pick the one that will save you the most time. If you’re a business owner, then you may not have a lot of time to yourself.
The more time a registered agent can save you, the more time you have to put back into your business. That, or you can use the extra time for some well-deserved relaxation!
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Registered agents are quite affordable. They typically cost between $50 and $300 per year. Of course, being your own registered agent is free. Though the yearly price is cheap, registered agents may charge fees.
For instance, many registered agent services can help businesses file annual reports, but they will charge for this service. The price varies by business structure but is usually more expensive for corporations than LLCs. Fees and extra charges should be made known to you before you hire the registered agent.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Illinois?
If you’re looking for a registered agent in Illinois, 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 Illinois. 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.