How to find a registered agent in Delaware

Delaware registered agent requirements

Certain requirements must be met in order to be a registered agent in Delaware. Below, we’ve outlined the requirements you must achieve if you want to be your own registered agent and those that are necessary for professional registration services.

Being your own registered agent

There are several advantages to being your own registered agent and the main point of contact for your business. One of these benefits is that you will receive any service of process mail right away. If you want to be your own registered agent, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18
  • Have a physical Delaware address (one that is not a P.O. box)
  • List your contact information when forming and incorporating your new business
  • Maintain regular business hours

Hiring a Delaware registered agent service

In Delaware, according to state law, registered agents must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a street address located in the state of Delaware (P.O. boxes are not allowed)
  • Be available during normal business hours on business days
  • Receive service of process on behalf of your client and forward it in a timely manner
  • Be in full compliance with Delaware state law

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

Any company looking to be incorporated as an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation in the state of Delaware needs to have a registered agent.

What does a registered agent do? Their job is to receive mail for your business. Most importantly, they need to have regular business hours and a permanent street address (not a P.O. Box) so that they can receive critical service of process mail. This is important mail, including legal documents, that your business absolutely must see in a timely manner.

In order to remain in good standing with the Delaware Secretary of State, it is important to accurately list your registered agent’s name, local address, and business hours.

When you need a registered agent

The LLC formation process in Delaware is fairly straightforward. It starts with the selection of your business name. This needs to be a unique name, which means you have to go through the name search database on the Secretary of State’s website to be sure that your name isn’t already taken.

After this, you can nominate your registered agent and add their contact information to the necessary forms that you will be filing with the Secretary of State. You’ll also prepare your corporate bylaws.

Finally, after submitting your formation documents and filing fees to the Delaware Division of Corporations in Dover, you should receive a Certificate of Incorporation, which will complete the Delaware incorporation process. You will also get an employer identification number, or EIN, for your business.

Why use a registered agent service

In order to save yourself time, energy, and sometimes money, you might consider hiring a professional registered agent service to act as your Delaware business’s registered agent. The best Delaware registered agent service will provide you with a long list of benefits:

Privacy

When you hire a registered agent to represent your business, their name and address will be on public record. Then, if you were, for example, to be served with court papers, these papers would go directly to your registered agent address.

While this may seem like an unimportant service, it’s actually very important for your personal privacy. Registered agent addresses are listed publicly so that anyone can search through them should they need to send service of process (legal documents used in lawsuits) to a business.

For a number of reasons, you don’t want your personal address to be associated with your registered office address where lawsuit forms are being sent. You may not even want to have your business address be associated with being served papers. Not only do you want to keep your personal life and business life separate, but you also don’t want law enforcement arriving at your place of business to serve you with legal summons.

Time

As a small business owner, you are rare among working Americans. It has likely required a lot of thought, time, energy, and money to start your business. You want to see it grow and prosper. For this reason, you want to make sure that your time is used wisely every day. Unfortunately, being your own registered agent means you’ll need to devote adequate time to this role, which really isn’t very important in the grand scope of your company.

The role of the registered agent is to simply be available at a reliable address during normal business hours on business days. If your role at your business s the owner and manager means you need to travel frequently, however, you can’t be available during normal business hours. And this could put you in a difficult situation as the registered agent.

For this reason, many company owners decide to hire a commercial registered agent service to fill the role of registered agent. This frees them up to focus on the important aspects of cultivating and growing their company.

Flexibility

Hiring a professional registered service agent is the most flexible decision you can make for your company. First, it allows you to travel and move around at your leisure. You’ll always have your professional registered service agent available at their address to receive any legal or government documents that may need to be sent to you.

Additionally, you’ll enjoy the flexibility of incorporating your business in other states if you like. If you were to be your own registered agent, you’d have to maintain physical addresses in all of the states where you operate. A nationally recognized registered service agent company, however, will be able to incorporate your business in whatever state you’d like with ease.

Compliance

Lastly, a professional service that acts as your Delaware company’s registered agent is sure to be an expert in compliance. Registered agent service companies should be intimately cognizant of compliancy matters according to state. The company you hire will be able to make sure your company stays in compliance without putting that burden on you.

Delaware registered agent costs

Businesses in Delaware should expect to pay between $50 and $300 per year if they want to hire a service to act as their registered agent.

Most registered agent contracts are filed by the year, but businesses can sometimes save money by prepaying for two years or even three years.

Many registered agent services in Delaware will offer to include company formation services in the fee for their first year. That way, you can form your business and have a built-in registered agent for at least the first year that your LLC or corporation is in business. After that, the yearly rate usually stays the same, and your business has already been incorporated.

Other legal services can sometimes be added on to your contract as well, including an alert when your annual report or annual franchise tax is due.

How to change your Delaware registered agent

  • If you decide to change your Delaware registered agent, a document must be completed and filed, then sent to the Delaware Department of State, Division of Corporations.

  • The form is called a Certificate of Change of Agent form. There is a cost to file this form, and it can be sent in via fax or mail or delivered in person.

Generally speaking, if you decide to make your new agent a registered agent service, the service company can file the necessary paperwork on your behalf and and effectively change your registered agent for you.

List of forms

Below, you’ll find a collection of useful links and forms. These will be instrumental as you work on the incorporation of your business in the state of Delaware.

FAQs

Does Delaware require a registered agent for all businesses?

Yes, all Delaware LLCs and corporations need to have a listed registered agent. If you wish, you may choose to act as your company’s own registered agent, or you can hire a registered agent service.

How do I set up an LLC in Delaware?

Starting an LLC (limited liability company) in Delaware requires following a list of steps, which are outlined according to state and federal regulations. First, you must select a name for your limited liability company. Then, you will need to select a registered agent, get a business license, file your Certificate of Formation, create an Operating Agreement, and pay state fees.

How much does it cost for a registered agent in Delaware?

If you decide to be your own registered agent, there are no filing fees. If you want to have a separate entity be your registered agent, however, you will need to pay an annual fee. Fees range from about $50 to $300, depending on your needs. You may be able to include LLC incorporation services with your first year fees.

Why is service of process important?

Service of process is documentation that initiates a lawsuit. If your company receives service of process notifications, it is of the utmost importance. The government wants to know that your business will always receive service of process mail if it is sent to you. This is one of the main reasons why choosing a reliable registered agent is so important.

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