When opening an LLC in California or incorporating a business entity in this state, you’ll have a number of formalities to follow and state requirements to observe. A registered agent is one of the law requirements for LLCs and corporations alike.
You should choose and appoint an agent before filing with the state. Registered agent data are to be entered into your formation documents and will appear in the state registry after your business entity formation or incorporation is approved by the state.
The main role of a registered, resident, or statutory agent is to receive business mail addressed to your company, thus, maintaining consistently smooth communications between your business and state authorities, public organizations, and governmental bodies. As such, a registered agent for an LLC in California is an essential element of your business's compliance status with the state.
To fill in the role of a registered agent in Los Angeles, CA, or any other city in the state, you can appoint an adult person or legal entity with a registered address in California. You can even serve your own registered agent. Yet, our recommendation is that you hire a professional service for that purpose.
You can either refer to the California Secretary of State's registered agent list or do your own California registered agent search. Or you can keep on reading our article to check our choice of registered agent services in California we’ve made based on thorough market analysis and investigation.
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With an array of companies providing agent services in California, it might be hard to pick the one that will match your needs straight away. Some of the companies operate across all US states while others deliver services locally. If you prefer a CA-based company to be a resident agent for your LLC in California, below, you’ll find our best local suggestions.
Sacramento is home to many statutory agent companies in the state of California including both national and local operators. To save you the trouble of searching high and low and navigating through multiple options, we’ll narrow down your choice to two alternatives we deem appropriate for this area.
Sundoc Filings is a national formation service with a head office in Sacramento, CA that could become your California registered agent for service of process. Sundoc offers an annual subscription at $159 that will cover all the essentials you expect such as:
We consider Sundoc Filings an optimal choice for those Sacramento entrepreneurs who only start their businesses and need both formation and statutory agent services. Sundoc can match all your needs in this concern, and a statutory agent service will come at a discount if you order it within a formation pack.
It’s a local company providing formation services in California. Located in Sacramento, it operates throughout the area of the state. What will get you hooked on this company is the fair cost and the scope of service it offers. Thus, at a flat rate of $50 per year, you’ll get more than just mail receipts, scanning, and forwarding.
Via a digital client portal, you’ll also get access to generic state forms and templates you might need and a compliance calendar to monitor and trace your filing or reporting deadlines. More than that, you can use the provider’s address as your company’s business address. And you are free to cancel the service at any time, with no extra charge.
All in all, this company is one of the best representative services in California that delivers more for less money.
Clevver is an international player established in Europe in 2013, supported by over 10,000 customers, and present in about 130 locations in Europe, Asia, and the US. This company brings modern experience and advanced digitalized service to all the markets it operates in. And it’s a great alternative for mailing assignees in San Francisco, CA too.
You can’t but appreciate the convenience of the Clevver mobile app making your service of process accessible on the go and ensuring the ultimate convenience of using your online account from anywhere. At $119 per annum, along with permanent online access to your well-organized business mail, you’ll also get an opportunity to use Clevver to register your business and can set up a digital mailbox to obtain all types of correspondence and packages.
What’s more, should you need to change or update your registered agent in California, Clevver will do it for you for free. You just need to inform your current representative’s name, and the company will complete the registered agent consent form in California and file it for you.
Despite a variety of local services, most often than not, customers still rely on brand power and popularity, thus, tending to choose between companies that are the talk of the town and are ranked high by other users. If it sounds like you, our choice of the best California registered agent services that covers top-of-the-line national operators will speak to you for sure.
Northwest is our number one service for California registered agent reviews for a reason. Lingering on the top of formation company ratings, this provider is not only by far the best resident agent service in California but also the best agent’s service overall. See for yourself.
Northwest has a lot going for it. The biggest benefit of this company is that it was initiated as a registered agent service (hence the name) and eventually expanded to business formations and incorporations. Add to this huge professional expertise of about 25 years and you’ll get a highly professional service backed by a solid brand name.
Being a dedicated mail-handling service, Northwest has its own agent network in every US state. So, unlike many other companies that often rely on third-party partners in different states, this company relies on its own in-house teams. As a result, along with a physical address in California, you’ll get a representative who will be always present under that address during working hours.
With a strong focus on customer privacy and security, Northwest will ensure that all your papers, documents, and sensitive info will be handled only by its specialists. They will directly work with state agencies and public authorities, with no intermediaries engaged, thus, minimizing the risk of identity theft for you.
A registered agent for your LLC in California will receive and scan your correspondence to make it available to you via your online account while keeping it safe and protected from scammers. The agent can also file your California Articles of Organization, submit your papers for getting a foreign qualification in another state and will send you compliance alerts to catch up with important deadlines.
Yet another feature that sets Northwest apart from competitors is its stellar customer support. Not only will you get prompt and comprehensive responses from knowledgeable help reps on any formation-related issues but also you can contact Northwest's exclusive corporate guides to get advice on business-related issues, be it accounting, logistics, business strategies, etc.
Northwest representative service in California comes at $125 per year, which is in line with market average rates and is a fair price, given the level of service you get for this money.
Strange though it might sound, the Northwest's biggest plus is its minus at the same time. We are talking about the company’s excellent customer support.
The thing is that while providing comprehensive responses and detailed solutions, the specialists will literally bombard you with a whole number of clarifying questions. It’s a good strategy to reveal any hidden issues and problems that are not on the surface. Yet, it might be a bit frustrating and confusing when you need some quick help. It’s not a big flaw, of course, but rather a minor inconvenience.
What makes Northwest a leader on our list is its excellent service quality combined with top-of-the-line customer support. Besides, the company’s online platform is a breeze to use and navigate both for beginners and for experienced users. All of this demonstrates the provider’s professionalism, diligence, and focus on the customer’s ultimate convenience.
Currently, ZenBusiness is at the peak of its popularity. Operating since 2015, this company is a relatively young market player. However, it has managed to carve itself a solid position among the industry leaders and gets customers hooked on its cost-to-value ratio which makes this service a runner-up on our list.
What sets ZenBusiness apart from its rivals is its feature-rich basic formation plan that comes at a fairly affordable price. At $49, the plan covers filing services and enlists a custom Operating Agreement and a whole year of representative service. Thus, if you are just about to start your business in California, ZenBusiness's basic plan is presumably your best alternative. At the price below $50, you’ll set your business up and running and get a California registered agent for the service of process for a whole year. That’s a real bargain.
An annual service subscription as a one-off option costs $99 in ZenBusiness. This price is a bargain as well. All your sensitive mail will be handled by the company professionals, scanned, and forwarded to you. You’ll also get immediate access to the scanned copies and digital copies of all your important business documents via your personal electronic dashboard.
Well-trained support specialists will be there for you to answer all your questions and help you out in different situations. You can contact them via phone, email, or a welcoming online chatbot.
With an annual compliance feature, you’ll enjoy prompt compliance alerts that will help you catch up with your state filing requirements on a regular basis. Should you miss some deadlines, ZenBusiness experts will help you regain your compliance status and avoid any problems.
While most companies clearly specify the price for their registered agent services, ZenBusiness will take you through a kind of interactive questionnaire before you’ll get the price for your California representative service. It’s a bit weird we think.
Yet another unpleasant surprise will hit you as you learn that a $99 rate doesn’t cover the annual compliance that ZenBusiness claims as one of its main benefits. When completing your California business registered agent search with ZenBusiness, you’ll find out that the agent service with annual compliance will cost $149, thus, throwing ZenBusiness behind Northwest.
ZenBusiness is one of the best alternatives for business formations since the pricing it offers will fit most budgets, and you’ll get maximum value for your money. That said, choosing it as your California registered agent, you should be ready to pay more for premium features.
We bet you’ve seen LegalZoom on the top of many LLC service ratings, and it takes a decent position in our California registered agent service reviews as well.
Strong brand power backed up by a long track record and reliable service is the main LegalZoom’s asset. The company is an industry old-timer distinguished by high proficiency and high level of loyalty among customers.
With your California mail-handling representative from LegalZoom, you’ll get immediate notifications of any important mail, prompt emails about critical deadlines and reporting dates, unrestricted cloud storage for your business documents, and free-of-charge agent change if you want to switch to LegalZoom.
Yet where LegalZoom’s representative service really shines is the $1,000,000 identity theft protection guarantee that comes along with a credit monitoring service. It’s something that you won’t find in other companies, and that further contributes to LegalZoom’s trustworthiness.
With all the good to it, LegalZoom registered agent service in California has several offputting minuses:
LegalZoom is a premium provider with a recognizable name. If that’s what you look for in your California registered agent search, you can’t go wrong with this company. However, premium services come at premium prices that might hit your budget quite a bit.
InCorp is a less popular formation service than those mentioned above. However, it’s on our list for a reason. First of all, founded in 1998, the company has enough expertise to be called professional, and over 250,000 clients in its business portfolio further prove it. Yet, what really makes it stand out is its high-quality representative service with unique features.
Few people know that despite being advertised as a formation company, InCorp was initially established as a registered agent service. And this service is still its bread and butter today. Similar to Northwest, the company has an in-house team of registered agents present in all US states including California. So, it’s a solid nationwide operator.
To make its service attractive to its customers, InCorp comes up with a few exclusive values:
With all of this, there is more to come. InCorp offers discounts for bulk orders. Thus, its regular representative service subscription cost is $129 per year. Yet, each next year will come at a reduced price and discount California registered agent service will cost only $87 per annum subject to a 5-year order.
Last but not least, as an InCorp customer, you’ll be assigned a personal support manager to handle all your issues.
Should you hire InCorp to be your formation service, it will turn out quite expensive. Its basic formation pack at $99 is pretty barebone and lacks key features. To make it complete, you’ll have to add representative service and an Operating Agreement draft, thus, bumping up your price far above $200. As far as other added service prices are concerned, they are at a higher end of the price range as well.
With some lack of brand power and recognizability to it, InCorp offers the top-of-the-line registered agent service in California and all other states. Though business formations are not at the center of its attention, you can’t but appreciate welcoming volume discounts, exclusive premium features, and superb customer support.
In our opinion, the best California registered agent overall is Northwest which smartly combines brand power, service quality, and reasonable pricing. InCorp stands right behind it if you seek only mail-handling service and want to get the most for your money.
Meanwhile, those who seek affordable business formation and a statutory agent in California will get it all in one pack with ZenBusiness. Its $49 formation pack with an annual representative service subscription included is a great deal.
At a glance, an agent’s role looks formal, yet, it’s not worth underestimating its importance. Being a point of contact between your company and state authorities, a registered rep is an essential element of your business structure.
While you can serve as your own agent in California or delegate this function to some of your relatives, friends, colleagues, or employees, hiring one of California representative services for that purpose is a much better option since it will bring a number of benefits:
Below, we’ll describe our review methodology and explain why you can trust us.
Choosing a Best Registered Agent is easy. Select your State to get started.
Doing an efficient California registered agent search will take a lot of time and effort. We’ve already done it for you and come up with the final results.
The services we’ve included on our best California registered agent service list are not some random companies. We’ve scrutinized multiple service ratings, checked tons of customer reviews, and even talked to former service users to get unbiased opinions.
To add more, we’ve already done a whole number of formation services reviews before and know all the details and nuances about the companies engaged in that business. In other words, we know where to look for and how to estimate those services.
Californian registered agent service market abounds in operators. In fact, you’ll spot a few dozens of companies. To cut down this number to a few services, we’ve used the following selection system:
When we’ve got a list of about a dozen of California service companies we deem appropriate, to further reduce it to the few best options, we’ve used such criteria as the range of services they offer, added values, pricing, ease of use, and customer service quality.
Compare the conditions for opening an LLC in California with other states:
Below, you’ll find answers to the most common questions customers usually have when doing a California registered agent search.