Iowa Registered Agent

If you’re going to start a business in Iowa, you need a registered agent. Why? Because this special representative receives all communication from the state of Iowa on behalf of your business. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about registered agents, including what they are, what they do, and why you need one. We’ll also provide tips on what to consider when hiring a registered agent and provide recommendations for a registered agent service.

What Is an Iowa Registered Agent?

A registered agent acts as a point of contact between a business and the state of Iowa. They receive all communication from the state, including service of process. They then notify the business of this communication and get important documents uploaded to a digital server for easy access. Businesses in Iowa are required by law to have a registered agent. The benefit is that they prevent confusion since the state knows exactly who to contact. Businesses are held accountable for meeting deadlines as they cannot pretend that the wrong person received their mail. Registered agents are elected upon the formation of a business but can be changed down the line.

What Are the Requirements to Be a Registered Agent in Iowa?

The requirements to be a registered agent are not strict. One must be 18 or older, maintain a physical address in Iowa, and keep regular business hours. Therefore, one option is for you to be the registered agent for your business. Similarly, a family member, friend, business partner, or employee could also be your registered agent. However, many companies prefer to hire registered agent services, and we’ll talk about this more in our next section.

Why Businesses Need an Iowa Registered Agent

smiling woman pointing at grey background As we explained, businesses in Iowa must have a registered agent because doing otherwise would be breaking the law. However, registered agent services are very useful and would be worth taking advantage of even if the law didn’t require it. In this section, we’ll explain the many perks of having a registered agent. We’ll also share some reasons why you might prefer to hire a registered agent service rather than be a registered agent yourself.


Every year, the state of Iowa requires businesses to submit certain documents, such as annual reports. It’s important that businesses file these on time or they could lose their good standing. Losing good standing could also mean losing limited liability protection. In the worst-case scenario, a business could be banned from operating in Iowa. Therefore, it’s essential to meet deadlines and remain compliant. Similarly, businesses must also respond to service of process by the given deadline. Not doing so could incur fees and certainly wouldn’t do the business any favors for winning the lawsuit. Registered agents help businesses by keeping calendars of due dates and sending reminders. They make sure businesses have every opportunity to stay on track and submit annual reports on time.


A registered agent’s address is public record and easy to find on the Iowa Business Entities Search. If you don’t like the idea of your personal address being easy to find, then you’ll want to hire a registered agent. If your business is based at a physical location, you may be tempted to use its address to be a registered agent. However, this may not be without issue. For example, if you receive service of process, it can happen in front of employees and clients. Not only would this be embarrassing, but it may lower morale by causing workers to question their job security. On the other hand, if you hire a registered agent, they act as your representative and get served at their location on your business’s behalf. Therefore, you’ll be notified discreetly.

Online-Only Business

It’s no secret that the internet has taken the world by storm. In fact, according to the 2018 U.S. Census, 85% of households reported having an active internet subscription. Because of how prolific the net is, it’s possible to have a successful business completely online. However, if your business does not have a physical address and you’re not comfortable with yours becoming public, then your best bet is to hire a registered agent.

Irregular Business Hours

One of the requirements to be a registered agent is to keep regular business hours so that it is easy for the state of Iowa to reach you. For some business owners, working regular hours just isn’t realistic. Aside from that, you may also need to do things like take business trips or visit different company locations. Both would prevent you from keeping regular hours. Hiring a registered agent gives you the freedom to work whenever you want, wherever you want. Registered agent services always have someone available to receive communication.


Part of a registered agent’s role is keeping documents well organized, especially on digital servers. It’s vital that businesses can easily access all their important files. It’s certainly true that anyone could do this type of clerical work, but a hired registered agent service will always have someone available to scan and upload documents to a digital server. If you act as your own registered agent, you may be too busy to organize files immediately. Aside from that, registered agents also keep track of important due dates and send reminders. Hiring a registered agent takes this weight off your shoulders.

Locations in Different States

If your business operates in different states, you need to have a registered agent in each one. Hiring a registered agent service with locations in many states tends to be a great option as you only have to deal with one company rather than several.

What to Look for When Choosing an Iowa Registered Agent

man in front of white background If you’re interested in hiring a registered agent in Iowa, then you have plenty of options. In fact, it may be hard to choose between them. In order to pick the best registered agent for your business, we recommend keeping three factors in mind: price, services provided, and time saved.


Budgeting is important, but registered agents are pretty affordable. When thinking about price, you’ll want to compare registered agent services side by side. How many services do they offer for the price? Are there any services you feel aren’t worth paying for? Does one company cost more but offer the same amount of services, and if so, is there any reason why? As you can see, there are many considerations to make when thinking about price.

Services Provided

All registered agents offer the same basic services: they accept documents on your business’s behalf and get them to you, maintain a physical address, and keep normal business hours. Some registered agent services offer more. They may offer to accept a limited amount of business mail, for example. Others come equipped with hotlines where you can ask business-related questions. The latter can be a great help to someone new to business ownership.

Time Saved

As the famous saying goes, “time is money.” This is because time is incredibly valuable. When choosing between registered agent services, think about which one will save you the most time. Having more time means you can use it to grow your business or even just catch a break.

How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?

Believe it or not, registered agents are fairly inexpensive. They only cost an average of $50 to $300 per year. That’s right, per year. If you decide to be the registered agent for your company, then you won’t have to pay anything at all. Though registered agent services are reasonable, you should be aware of potential charges. For instance, while many registered agents are happy to help a business file annual reports, they’re not doing it for free. Typically, they charge larger businesses like corporations more than smaller businesses like LLCs. If registered agents have fees for services, they should be made known to you before you even commit to hiring them.

What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Iowa?

If you’re looking for a registered agent in Iowa, we recommend ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness’s registered agent service costs only $99 per year, and the company is upfront about all 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 Iowa. 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 the best registered agent services.

Team BusinessNerd

Our team of legal experts and business professionals have years of experience and are dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information to our readers.

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