- What Is a North Dakota Registered Agent?
- Why Businesses Need a North Dakota Registered Agent
- What To Look for When Choosing a North Dakota Registered Agent
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in North Dakota?
If you’re interested in running a business in North Dakota, then you will need a registered agent. A registered agent acts as a point of contact between the state of North Dakota and your business.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about registered agents, including what they are, what they do, and why you need one. We’ll also share tips on choosing between registered agent services and offer our own recommendations.
What Is a North Dakota Registered Agent?
Registered agents are also called statutory agents and resident agents. They receive all communication from the state of North Dakota on behalf of a business. This includes service of process.
The registered agent is responsible for getting communication to the appropriate person at the business. They usually upload documents to a server where they can be accessed immediately.
North Dakota law requires all formal businesses to have a registered agent. This is because having a specific point of contact prevents confusion and makes it easy for the state to reach out to a business. Registered agents are typically elected upon the formation of a business.
What Are the Requirements to Be a Registered Agent in North Dakota?
The requirements to be a registered agent in North Dakota are not strict, and just about anyone can be one. To be a registered agent, you must be 18 or older, maintain a physical address in the state, and keep regular business hours.
This means it is perfectly legal for you to be the registered agent for your business. Similarly, a business partner, employee, friend, or family member could serve as your registered agent. However, many businesses prefer to hire registered agent services, and we’ll talk about why in our next section.
Why Businesses Need a North Dakota Registered Agent
As we discussed, North Dakota law requires businesses to have a registered agent. Aside from that, businesses need a registered agent because they can be quite helpful. Let’s talk about exactly what registered agents can offer as well as the perks of hiring instead of being a registered agent yourself.
The state expects businesses to fulfill certain duties every year, such as filing annual reports. When businesses fulfill these expectations, they are considered compliant and in good standing with the state.
It’s important that businesses remain compliant because the opposite can have negative consequences. Businesses in bad standing can lose their limited liability protection. In the worst-case scenario, they can even be banned from operating in North Dakota.
Similarly, businesses cannot ignore service of process. Doing so can result in fines and certainly won’t do them any favors for winning a case.
Registered agents help businesses remain compliant by keeping track of important due dates. They will then send reminders of these due dates so that businesses have plenty of time to file documents expected by the state.
If you like your privacy, then you may not want to be the registered agent for your company. This is because registered agents’ addresses are public record and easy to find on the North Dakota Business Search.
If your business has a physical location, then you could use that address to be your company’s registered agent. Just know that there may be a few disadvantages when doing this.
The first is that legal mail will be mixed in with everything else that gets sent to the business. The second is that you’ll have to be cautious about who is taking care of the mail so that important documents don’t get misplaced.
The third disadvantage is the most important to consider, and it’s service of process. Should you get served, it will be at your business location, possibly in front of clients or employees. This would be both embarrassing and could lower the morale of workers as they wonder if a lawsuit will affect their job security.
For this reason, it can be worthwhile to hire a registered agent. Service of process would instead happen at the agent’s office, away from workplace witnesses. You would be notified discreetly.
According to the U.S. Census, in 2018, 85% of households had an active internet subscription. The internet isn’t just popular in the U.S., obviously. It has a worldwide reach.
Because of the internet, businesses can successfully operate without the need for a physical building. The only downside to this is that you may not have an address to use if you want to be a registered agent and are reluctant to use a personal address. In this case, you’ll likely want to hire a registered agent service.
Irregular Business Hours
One of the few requirements to be a registered agent is to maintain regular business hours. Of course, working 9 to 5 isn’t realistic for everyone.
Not only that, but as an entrepreneur, you may need to take business trips or visit other company locations. So, you would not be able to keep regular office hours in these instances.
Registered agent services always have someone available to receive communication from the state. Hiring a registered agent can give you the freedom to work whenever you want, wherever you want.
Part of a registered agent’s duties is to keep digital and paper documents well organized. Business owners need to be able to easily access what they’re looking for. Registered agents also have to keep track of important dates and create a schedule of reminders for those dates.
Technically, just about anyone could do this type of work. However, hiring a registered agent to do it has its advantages. The registered agent will be able to handle correspondence immediately after it’s received, whereas you as a business owner may be busy and have to put it off for later.
Registered agents can also save you a lot of time. Letting someone else do the clerical work can free up your schedule for more important things.
Locations in Different States
If your business will operate in several states, then you will need to hire a registered agent for each state. It’s best if you can hire a registered agent service with locations in most states. This way, you’ll only have to communicate with one provider instead of many.
What To Look for When Choosing a North Dakota Registered Agent
Now that you know more about registered agents, you may be wondering how to go about hiring one. There are many options available, so it can be difficult to choose. When searching for a registered agent, you should consider three things: price, services provided, and time saved.
It’s important to consider the value of the registered agent services. How much are you getting for your money? Are there services you feel are worth paying extra for? Are there any services not worth the money? Does one company offer the same services but for less? As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to price.
All registered agents will provide three basic services: accepting documents on your business’s behalf and getting them to you, maintaining a physical address, and keeping normal business hours.
Many registered agents will go above and beyond these three things, however. For example, they may offer to receive a limited amount of business mail. They can then upload this mail to a server just as they would legal mail.
Some registered agent services provide hotlines where you can ask business-related questions. These are especially helpful to first-time business owners. Once you figure out what services you want, you can compare prices between registered agent companies.
There is nothing more valuable than time. As a business owner, you likely have a lot on your plate which may be eating up your free time. When looking at registered agent services, consider how much time each one can save you. You may just want to hire whoever can save you the most time.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Registered agents are affordable. They cost about $50 to $300 per year on average, though some services in North Dakota cost as little as $30 per year. There’s obviously no cost if you choose to be the registered agent for your company.
Though the yearly price of registered agents is inexpensive, there may be extra fees. For example, most registered agent services will offer to help with filing annual reports, but they won’t do so for free.
Typically, they charge larger businesses (like corporations) more than smaller businesses (like LLCs). Any such fees should be made known to you before you agree to hire the registered agent service.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in North Dakota?
If you’re looking for a registered agent in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota. 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.