New Jersey is a great place to start a business, there are plenty of opportunities, and you have many options, especially if you want to go the LLC route. That said, you're going to need a registered agent if you want to start a business in New Jersey.
While choosing a registered agent can be challenging, we're here to make the process simple. We'll take you through everything you need to know about registered agents in New Jersey.
What is a New Jersey Registered Agent?
In New Jersey, you're required to have a registered agent by law. A registered agent is someone who acts as the official point of contact between your business and the state of New Jersey. A registered agent can be a singular person or a business entity (a hired service) as long as it represents your LLC.
While registered agents have different roles from state to state, registered agents are an important component of an LLC. They represent the company in court, provide documentation and addresses, and handle filing duties with the state and federal government.
The duties of a registered agent in New Jersey include:
- Managing documents
- Maintaining a compliance calendar
- Listing their address to help you maintain privacy
- Receiving service of process for a lawsuit
- Storing documents online
Who Can Be a New Jersey Registered Agent?
New Jersey also has similar rules to most other states when it comes to choosing a registered agent. For example, a registered agent can be the owner of the company, someone within the company, or even a friend or family member. The only requirements are that the registered agent must have a primary physical address within the state of New Jersey (not a PO Box) and must be at least 18 years old.
This gives you flexibility when choosing a registered agent. That said, most business owners choose to work with a registered agent from a reputable organization to avoid hassles down the road.
Why Do Businesses Need a New Jersey Registered Agent?
Aside from avoiding legal issues and tax implications, having a registered agent provides you with other benefits. Having a registered agent can also protect you from compliance issues and more.
First and foremost, a registered agent can help you with privacy concerns. This is because registered agents must list their addresses, and it becomes public information. If you want to keep your business life and personal life separate, having a registered agent is a great way to do so.
Another privacy benefit is that registered agents are responsible for handling lawsuits, specifically the process of being sued. Therefore, the person serving your company will go to the registered agent instead of you. This helps you avoid the risk of your customers seeing the lawsuit process and shields you from that negative publicity.
When it comes to privacy, a registered agent is necessary to help you separate your personal and professional life.
Registered agents also offer flexibility. Registered agents need to be available all day during regular operating hours. Unfortunately, if you miss an important call or notice during these hours, it could negatively affect your company. This is why working with a registered agent service can free up your time.
Registered agent services have staff on hand that work around the clock during business hours. With quality service, you don't have to worry about being available personally, which gives you more freedom to focus on the business.
Registered agents also help your business stay compliant. This is hard to do on your own or with an employee acting as registered agent, because there is a lot to do each year. For example, you have to file an annual report and manage legal complications if or when they come up.
When you work with a registered agent, these issues are avoided. The agent will manage a compliance calendar for you, file your annual reports, and address any legal issues or fees that come up. Again, this allows you to focus more on your business than the mundane takes.
The last thing to note is data storage. While many people store documents in filing cabinets, there has been a shift to online data storage because it makes things more accessible. When you work with a registered agent service, you gain access to data storage that makes pulling up documents a breeze.
While having a registered agent is required by law in New Jersey, working with a registered agent service comes with added benefits for your business. Instead of thinking of it as an expense, consider it an asset.
What To Look for When Choosing a New Jersey Registered Agent
Registered agents are great for your company and legally required, but that doesn't mean you want to pick just anyone. Choosing a registered agent deserves some time and thought. For this reason, we've come up with five factors to look for in a registered agent.
Use a Professional Service
First and foremost, you want to use a professional service. A professional service will handle all of your legal, tax, and compliance issues. While using a friend or family member is fine, it's not the same as having a professional handle the process.
Plus, using a professional service mitigates risk and prevents you from ruining relationships between friends and family. We all know that friends and business don't always mix well.
Consider the Cost
When choosing a registered agent you need to consider the cost and value. While some services are inexpensive, that doesn't always mean they're good. When it comes to a registered agent, you should be shopping for results, good reviews, and good service.
Even if the cost is higher than some other services, reliability is everything when someone is acting on behalf of your company. Therefore, make sure you're shopping for value and not just the best price.
Work With a National Organization
We always recommend working with a national organization. This makes it easy to move between states, and the agents will know all of the information for each state –it just makes answering questions much easier.
National organizations also tend to have more staff and better coverage. For example, it might be easier to get in touch with a big company versus a small one when you need to.
Evaluation of Data
Another thing you should look for is how well the service handles data and extra fees. You want a company that can get you things the same day without asking you for a ton of information, wasting time, or costing you additional money.
You also want to make sure the company provides its agents with enough information. For example, a registered agent for a big firm should be able to answer almost any question, even if they need to take a moment or ask someone else. Overall, you want to consider the quality of the service you're getting.
Lastly, it's necessary to look at the company's software. Reputable registered agents should have efficient software that should be able to send and receive documents quickly. Any less, and it's not worth the time and money spent trying to transmit data.
While it seems unlikely that providers can have all of these factors, that couldn't be any less true. Take some time to ensure that the registered agent service meets your standards.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Registered agents seem like they should cost a lot, but this isn't the case. When it comes to paying for a service, most fees you pay are annual. You'll pay for your service once per year, and the cost varies based on the company you work with. High-end providers might charge $300 per year, but you can find decent registered agents for about $50-100 per year. That said, you can expect to pay between $50-300 for a full-service registered agent in New Jersey.
Still, you can always go the personal route (which we don't recommend). If you use yourself, a friend, or a family member, you won't have to pay anything, but you expose yourself to potential risks.
What's the Best Registered Agent Service in New Jersey
There are a ton of registered agent services across New Jersey. That said, the best-registered agent service is ZenBusiness, and it's not even close. ZenBusiness has a comprehensive service that includes many qualified registered agents. Moreover, the company also manages all compliance aspects with a system that alerts you if there are any issues.
ZenBusiness is also one of the best agencies because of their customer service and online database. Representatives are available around the clock, and they're always happy to help you if you have needs or questions.
ZenBusiness also offers exceptional services and online support. The company offers an online document management system and ensures everything is sent and received ASAP. ZenBusiness can also help you start your LLC, and their annual fee is lower than most competitors that offer similar services.
If you're struggling to find a registered agent or simply want someone that's qualified and affordable, ZenBusiness is your best option.
To learn more about ZenBusiness and other registered agent services, read our in-depth guide