If you want to start a business in Ohio, in most cases, you need a registered agent. A registered agent manages the paperwork and filing responsibilities of your business and needs to list their address and personal information. That said, registered agents are important and necessary in Ohio.
If you're unsure about how to become a registered agent or where to find one, you're in the right place. We’ll take you through everything you need to know about Ohio registered agents. Read on to learn more.
What is an Ohio Registered Agent?
A registered agent in Ohio is required by law. If you want to own or operate an LLC, you must have a registered agent who will handle paperwork from the state and manage filing duties. When it comes to registered agents, they can either be an individual or business entity as long as they have an address in Ohio.
The duties of a registered agent aren't significant, but they do represent your company. Here is a look at what they do:
- Communicate with the state of Ohio
- Make sure the company is in good standing with annual reports
- Handle the Ohio certificate of good standing
- Manage the process of receiving lawsuits — instead of the filing parties coming to your door
Can the Owner be the Registered Agent?
Many LLC owners elect to become their own registered agent. If you're over 18 and have a residency in Ohio, you can be a registered agent. Moreover, you can choose friends, family, and other members of the LLC to be the agent.
Still, being the resident agent along with managing the company is a lot to handle. This can lead to missed deadlines, failing to be available during business hours, and more. Therefore, it's always best to use a professional registered agent service.
Why Do Businesses Need An Ohio Registered Agent?
While registered agents are required by law, this is due to a few reasons. First and foremost, someone must be responsible for the paperwork and handling the legal process if situations present themselves. Therefore, it's good to know what registered agents do and why LLCs benefit from having them.
We'll begin with privacy. When a company uses a registered agent that isn't the owner or a member of the company, it hides the address of the owner and other members. This prevents your address from becoming public, preventing people from sending you mail, showing up at your home, or even harassing your family.
Privacy also shields you from being served a lawsuit at your home or place of business. This can save you from embarrassing moments and prevent customers from seeing the legal process unfold in one of your locations.
According to Ohio law, registered agents must be available during regular business hours. While this excludes some holidays, it fails to account for vacations and other times of the year you need off – like the birth of a child or the passing of a loved one.
When you work with a professional registered agent service, the company has a staff of registered agents who are always available. This gives you time to focus on yourself, your social life, and the business.
Registered agents are required to be compliant with Ohio's LLC regulations. That said, there are other compliance factors to consider. For example, registered agents are responsible for handing in or sending paperwork to the state. This can be the annual report and other important documents.
For this reason, registered agents provide value by keeping your LLC compliant and up to date. This prevents fees from piling up and allows you to focus on other things.
A registered agent also handles your data storage needs. While this varies, it includes important documents and anything you must send to the state. This makes it easy for you to have access to the documents, especially when they're saved digitally or on the cloud.
Working with a registered agent service comes with many benefits. You can focus more on your company than on the mundane tasks of remaining compliant with the state.
What to Look for When Choosing an Ohio Registered Agent
Not all registered agents are equal. You should always look for the best registered agent service in terms of value, service, data storage, and customer service. While these things are a given, there are specific features to look for in registered agent companies.
We'll start with the most obvious: professional service. When considering a registered agent service, you want the person to be professional. While you can choose family or friends, agencies that have a staff full of registered agents is almost always the better option. Still, you want to make sure you work with a big-name firm like Zen Business to ensure they have the resources to help you.
You also need to consider reviews and the value that the firm adds. Moreover, you should be able to work with them in multiple ways and they should go above and beyond to meet your needs.
When considering a registered agent, you need to look at the cost. While you might be tempted to work with the most affordable registered agent service, this isn't always the best move. This is because more affordable firms lack the resources and additional benefits that more expensive firms have. Therefore, it’s best to choose a registered agent company based on how much value they bring.
If a company is more expensive but provides top-notch data storage and annual filing, that's a company you want to work with. While the cost is higher, you can't put a price on peace of mind.
When working with registered agent companies, you also want to choose a national company. This is because national companies have proven records of success; otherwise, they would not have been able to move across the country. This is a green flag.
Still, national companies are better than local agencies – for the most part – because they can move with your company if you change states or locations. Overall, it makes the process easier.
Another factor to look for is data management, which is important because it sets registered agent companies in Ohio apart. For example, one company might store data at an office location or charge you extra for cloud services, while another company will provide cloud storage for free.
This is something you want to compare because it can be the difference between additional fees if you can't provide the state with all your paperwork.
The last thing to look at is the type of software a company uses. If they are using outdated software, there’s a chance your information is at risk. This is because it's easier to hack old software, which can put your personal information in harm's way.
For this reason, you want to look for a company that has modern systems for security, cloud storage, and more. The last thing you want is for your business to be exposed to extra risk.
How Much do Registered Agents Cost?
Registered agents in Ohio vary in price, especially if you work with a company. This is because some companies charge more than others for unique services, software, options, and additional data storage. For these reasons, it's important to slow down, see what a company offers, and make sure it's everything you need.
That said, the average registered agent service costs between $50 and $300. This is usually charged to your account annually, but some companies provide other options. When considering a registered agent firm, we recommend choosing an option that's in the middle.
As a general rule, you don't want the cheapest companies, but you also don’t want the most expensive options to give you unnecessary services.
What's the Best Registered Agent Service in Ohio
If you're looking for the best registered agent service in Ohio, you have a few options. There are great companies in the state, each with its own benefits, premium agents, and stellar customer service. That said, one company stands out from the rest: Zen Business.
Zen Business delivers state-of-the-art software and data storage while charging a small fee that's below the top competitors. The company also has different service options. This allows you to customize your plan to fit your needs. Zen Business can also help your company get started and handle all your filing needs (for the state).
Overall, Zen Business is in a league of its own. When you compare pricing options and services to other registered agent companies, Zen Business always comes out on top. The company even has customer service that's available around the clock to answer questions or concerns you might have.