13 Best Registered Agents in California

Updated: November 16, 2022  

A registered agent will help your business maintain state compliance and accept and manage service of process (SOP) documents. When you file your Articles of Organization or Incorporation with the California Secretary of State, you are required to appoint a service of process agent, also called a registered Agent, to be publicly listed as your point of contact. Your registered agent must have a physical street address in California, not a PO box.

They must be present during normal business hours (9 am – 5 pm) to receive official mail and legal documents on behalf of your business. If you fail to meet these requirements, the California Secretary of State has the power to administratively shut down your business. There are over 100 commercial registered agent services available, and we have evaluated over 30 services to find the most reliable ones that can help you start and grow your business. Rather than spending hours researching these companies, you can read through this guide to find the best registered agents in California.

N.W. Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is the best overall due to its numerous pros and a minimal number of cons. Perfect for all sorts of registered agent work.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness is the ideal choice if you're interested in starting and growing your business with all sorts of registered agent services right at your fingertips.

Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance has very affordable registered agent plans that both small and large companies can benefit from. There are also zero hidden fees.

Inc Authority

If you have an LLC and want to use efficient registered agent services - Inc Authority is your best bet. You'll get the first year free; great if your business is new.

Incfile

Incfile has some of the best-priced plans in the market. But what makes Incfile stand out is that you get the first year free and - there is no cost to business formation.

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service in California?

1. Northwest Registered Agent

Best Overall Registered Agent in California ($125/year)

Northwest Registered Agent will help you run your business with ease and peace of mind at an affordable price. When you order their service, they will provide you with a secure California address for public records as your business point of contact. 

That means they take on the responsibility for you to be available during standard business hours to accept service of process documents. They will scan and upload important documents to your online portal and forward mail to you for free when needed. You can rely on them to notify you about upcoming compliance deadlines and keep your business documents organized. 

They also offer free resources such as pre-filled forms with your corporate data for easy filing, annual reporting instructions, and helpful business maintenance tips. Customer privacy is a given; they will never sell your data. You can also count on quality customer service from real people.

Pros

  • No Hidden Fees: No surprises or sudden increases. You pay the same price of $125 every year.
  • Multi-State Discounts:  Pay $100 if you use their service in 5 or more states.
  • Data Protection and Privacy: Your data will never be sold, and your personal address will not be made public.

Cons

  • Not the Cheapest: Other companies offer lower prices for similar services.
  • Additional Expenses: You will be charged additional fees if you need more than 5 normal business mail documents forwarded per year. 
  • Business Formation Service Fees: Northwest Registered Agent charges a $100 service fee if you form your business with them, while other companies offer this for free. 

Pricing

Registered Agent Service ($125/year): You can count on privacy by default, personable customer service, same-day local scanning, convenient access to all your important documents online, and compliance reminders.

Additional add-on services: 

$20/month for premium mail forwarding

$9/month for law-on-call service

$499 for attorney trademark services


2. ZenBusiness 

Best Registered Agent in California to Start and Grow Your Business ($199/year)

Run your business responsibly with ZenBusiness as your appointed registered agent. If you hire ZenBusiness to help you form your LLC or Corporation, your first year of registered agent services will be included in their formation package.

ZenBusiness will be present during business hours to handle receiving all your business mail and legal documents keeping your business compliant with state requirements. In case of a lawsuit or other legal matter that requires your immediate attention, you will be notified right away. 

Get annual report compliance reminders and pre-filled forms with your corporate data for easy filing. Access digital copies of your important documents on your online dashboard so you can download or print them anytime.

ZenBusiness offers other business services, such as tax and accounting services, funding, bookkeeping, and comprehensive reporting, all in one place. Furthermore, ZenBusiness has a good reputation, and its customer reviews rating averages 4.3 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau website

Pros

  • Low Starter Price: Form your business with them for $49 and get your first year of registered agent services for free.
  • Quality Customer Support: Unparalleled customer service and a library of free resources to help you manage your business. 

Cons

  • Compliance Alerts Not Included: Their basic registered agent annual service fee is $199 and does not include compliance reminders. Compliance alerts cost an additional $50.
  • Add-On Expenses: Their annual reporting service costs an additional $100 + state fees, and they charge $99 for an EIN number which you can get for free through the IRS.

Pricing

Registered Agent Service ($199/year): Run and grow your business with confidence and flexibility with online access to your important documents and fast filing services all in one place.

Get a special discount when you order the starter package, which includes LLC formation support and registered agent services, and compliance alerts for the first year for $49 + state fees.


3. Harbor Compliance

Best Registered Agent in California for Affordability  ($99/year)

Save money and give yourself an extra layer of privacy when you choose Harbor Compliance as your commercial registered agent. Their local Sacramento office will be publicly listed as the point of contact for your business to greet process servers and signs for your documents. This keeps your personal address private and saves you the embarrassment if your business ever gets sued.  

Your registered agent will always be available to receive service of process documents during standard business hours. You can count on them to locally scan and electronically send you important documents on the same day they arrive. Get email alerts, so you never miss an important notice. Your registered agent helps you stay in good standing with state compliance by notifying you about annual reporting deadlines.

When you sign up for their registered agent services, your client portal will have formation instructions and state-required pre-filled and signed forms ready to go for convenient filing. Their client portal system helps you manage business records, licenses, and taxes and stay organized.

Pros

  • Affordable: Quality registered agent services at a lower cost than most other companies.
  • No Hidden Fees: Pay the same flat annual fee for standard registered agent services, with no surprises.

Cons

  • Annual Reporting Service Fee: They charge an additional $175 service fee for annual reporting, not included in your registered agent service.
  • No Refund Policy: If you are unhappy with your services and want to change your registered agent, you won’t get a refund.

Pricing

Registered Agent Service ($99/year): Operate your business with peace of mind, and privacy protection, find all your documents organized in your online portal and receive same-day mail alerts and compliance notifications about state filing deadlines.


4. Inc Authority

Best California Registered Agent Service for LLCs ($99/year)

Inc Authority offers a business formation service that is 100% free and includes one year of registered agent services. You will need to set up your business through Inc Authority to use them as your registered agent service. They do offer several packages, including Entry, Starter, and customized packages for growing businesses, but their entry pack is free; you just pay the state filing fee.

As your registered agent, they will put their local address on file with the state to receive mail and legal documents on behalf of your business during standard business hours. All your business formation documents and incoming legal mail is scanned and uploaded to your portal, keeping you organized. They will send notifications when legal mail arrives, so you never miss an important alert. 

They make it easy to form your business by providing a name check, state filing formation documents, a tax planning consultation, and a business finance and funding review. Once your business is formed, you will receive one year of registered agent services for free.

Pros

  • First Year Free: Free Registered Agent Service for the first year when you form your business.
  • Affordable: Low-cost option to maintain compliance.

Cons

  • Must Form an LLC: Registered agent services are only available for clients who form their businesses through them.
  • No Annual Reporting: They don’t offer annual reporting services, so that is something you need to stay on top of.

Pricing

Registered Agent Service (Free first year, then $99/year): Get your LLC filed plus the first year of registered agent services 100% free. You only pay the state filing fee. Renew your registered agent service for only $99 a year.


5. Incfile

Best Registered Agent Service for Starting Your California Business for Free ($119/year)

Remove the stress of starting a new business by getting started with Incfile. You can form your business with professional support for $0 and get the first year of registered agent services for free. It’s no wonder over 800,000 entrepreneurs have chosen Incfile for their low-cost startup coverage.

Incfile will provide you with a public-facing address for your business that is separate from your home to keep you compliant and protect your privacy. They will notify you when important documents are accepted and upload digital copies to your dashboard for easy viewing and printing. Your registered agent will help you respond swiftly in case of a lawsuit and ensure you are up to date on compliance deadlines and annual reporting to keep you in good standing with the state.

Incfile will save you time and help you meet your business needs in one place. Their business library is full of free downloadable learning guides that make it easy for you to learn and grow your business as you go.

Pros

  • Start your Business for Free: $0 business formation + first year registered agent service for free.
  • Affordability: Low-cost annual registered agent services.

Cons

  • Annual Report Filing Cost: Incfile charges $99 for annual report filing.
  • Customer Service: There are reports that their customer service department could be improved.  

Pricing

Registered Agent Service (Free first year, then $119/year): Incfile provides quality registered agent services with convenient text and email alerts, so you never miss important mail or deadlines. It also offers easy digital access to all your received legal documents online.


6. Rocket Lawyer

Best Risk-Free Registered Agent Option in California ($149.99/year)

Stay on top of compliance and never miss an important legal document with Rocket Lawyer’s registered agent service. They serve as a point of contact for your business and will be available during business hours to ensure official government documents are not missed or lost. They will notify you and scan your documents upon arrival, so you have access to updated information online and never miss an important alert. 

Rocket Lawyer has additional business resources and specializes in legal support. When you sign up, you get a 7-day free trial to explore all their service offerings for free. Their premium membership plan gets you 25% off registered agent services, plus access to legal documents, legal consultations, and attorney help. They have a satisfaction guarantee policy to back them up. If you are ever unsatisfied with your service, they promise a full refund. 


7. LegalZoom

Best Registered Agent in California for Compliance Support ($299/year)

Operate your business with professional support from LegalZoom. They have a registered agent plan which provides you with all the essentials, a physical address for your business to receive legal notices and critical mail, an online portal for easy document access, and added protection with compliance calendar alerts. In addition, they add on identity theft protection and business credit monitoring. Get text and email updates when important mail arrives.

If your business ever gets sued or is in need of legal help, LegalZoom has the resources to help you. The Business Advisory Plan option includes attorney services for an additional monthly cost. You can also form your LLC with them for free. You just pay the state filing fee. LegalZoom has a lot more services to offer that can help you manage your business at all stages. Get help with taxes, annual report filing, legal support, and more.


8. InCorp

Quality Registered Agent Service Provider in California ($129/year)

Sign up with InCorp as your registered agent for business management support and your business startup needs. They provide you with a reliable address for receiving your business mail and a dedicated account representative. 

All your service of process documents will be electronically available to you online and handled in a timely manner. Get notified when important mail comes in and get help online through chat support. Keep track of important legal documents and compliance calendar alerts in the entity management system. You can order additional services such as business licensing, annual report filing, trademarks, amendments, and more. Plus, get a discount when you pay for a few years of registered agent services at a time. 


9. SunDoc Filings 

Standard Registered Agent Service in California ($159/year)

SunDoc Filings registered agent service gives your business a secure physical address for receiving service of process documents, and they provide you with annual reporting and tax information for the state of California. Your registered agent will notify you of important incoming mail and forward you legal and tax documents when they arrive so you can easily forward them to your legal counsel.

Securely view your received legal documents, corporate information, customized reporting tools, and service of process history. Get automated email alerts for filing deadlines to stay compliant with the state. SunDoc Filings also has business formation services, business licensing, tax support, annual reporting, and free self-help articles for running your business.


10. Swyft Filings 

Best Registered Agent in California for Quick Communications ($149/year)

Swyft Filings offers affordable and professional registered agent services and can cover your multi-state service needs. Get your business formed with them or sign up for registered agent services when you are ready to document your business with the state of California. Their physical address will be the point of contact for all your business and legal mail.

Receive email notifications and important mail forwarding, and access all your received and scanned documents through your online portal. Get compliance reminders so you never miss an important deadline. You can also order their annual reporting service for $99 to keep your business compliant. Their website has a free online learning center full of business tips, state guides, and tax and finance information. Get help from customer service by phone or email to make your business life easier.


11. CSC Global

Best Registered Agent in California For Global Business Connections ($299/year)

CSC Global provides registered agent services for new and established businesses in California. Their registered agent service alone is above the average price point. However, CSC Global is a great choice if you are interested in other business services, such as entity management, business licenses, or legal and global financial assistance.

You can depend on your registered agent to be available during normal business hours to manage all your entity data, compliance events, and service of process documents all in one secure place. When they receive important documents, they will scan and deliver the service of process paperwork to your preferred designated contact on file. Get convenient notifications and proof of delivery to ensure information is received and handled in a timely manner.

They also keep you up to date on compliance with an automated alert system for state filing deadlines so you can remain in good standing. Data security is a pillar of their company, and all your business data is securely stored in their world-class hosting facilities.


12. California Registered Agent Service

Local Registered Agent Service in California ($49/year)

California Registered Agent is a low-cost, no-frills service that will provide you with the essentials to ensure your business can receive service of process documents. They charge a flat fee with no add-ons or upsells. Sign up to get a business address to file with the state, access an online portal where you can find all your scanned documents, get new mail alerts and annual report reminders, and keep your address private. 

Your registered agent’s main job is to accept service of process documents and legal notices. They scan it, upload it to your client portal, and notify you immediately. You will also get access to a full database to download California business filing forms and file them yourself whenever you need or order service help through your online account. They do offer a business formation service that includes one year of registered agent service for $170 total.


13. California Corporate Agents

Basic California Registered Agent Services ($75/year)

When you form your business in California, you are required to appoint a qualified registered agent with a physical address that can be reached during regular business hours to perform the essential duty of receiving any important legal and service of process documents. California Corporate Agents will scan and upload all government mail to your account within 24 hours. You can access all your scanned documents in your online portal should they be needed in the future.

Your registered agent will provide business compliance service reminders and state status notices so you can stay on top of reporting and essential deadlines. You can also order business formation services for $95 + state fees for assistance with filing your Articles of Organization or Incorporation. California Corporate Agents offers a low-cost registered agent service, but they don’t provide extra business support for taxes, business licensing, financial planning, and annual report filing that other services offer.


What Is a California Registered Agent?

A California registered agent is appointed to receive service of process and official state and legal paperwork for your company. All Corporations or LLCs in California are required to have a Registered Agent.

How Can a California Registered Agent Help Your Business?

California Registered Agents hold an essential role in keeping businesses in good standing with the state by maintaining all statutory requirements.

Official Address to Represent Your Business 

Your registered agent must be located at the physical address you have on file with the state and be available during standard business hours to receive service of process. This ensures you never miss a legal notice and protects you from legal and financial repercussions.

Convenience and Organization 

Your registered agent receives your mail, scans official documents, and sends you notifications when important mail arrives. They store all your scanned documents online for convenient access and send you compliance notifications to keep you up to date and organized.

Privacy and Compliance

Your registered agent gives you an added layer of privacy by being your point of contact, so your address won’t be publicly listed. They will be the ones to receive a lawsuit notice for you so that you can manage legal issues discretely. 

Is a Registered Agent Legally Required in California? 

All California corporations, LLCs, and other business entities are required to appoint a service of process agent, also called a registered agent. Their agent must be active and have a current Corporate Registered Agent (1505) Application on file with the California Secretary of State. 

California Registered Agent Q&A

N.W. Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is the best overall due to its numerous pros and a minimal number of cons. Perfect for all sorts of registered agent work.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness is the ideal choice if you're interested in starting and growing your business with all sorts of registered agent services right at your fingertips.

Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance has very affordable registered agent plans that both small and large companies can benefit from. There are also zero hidden fees.

Inc Authority

If you have an LLC and want to use efficient registered agent services - Inc Authority is your best bet. You'll get the first year free; great if your business is new.

Incfile

Incfile has some of the best-priced plans in the market. But what makes Incfile stand out is that you get the first year free and - there is no cost to business formation.

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