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Appointing a registered agent is an essential step in every business formation and maintenance. More importantly, a Kentucky entity must always have an official agent at any stage of its existence.
Throughout its existence, your company might need to change its agent multiple times, and it’s crucial to find a new replacement as fast as possible to avoid non-compliance fines. In this article, we will look at the best registered agent services Kentucky has to offer to help you better manage your business.
In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, every formal entity is required to have a dedicated registered agent. Under the Kentucky State Statute (§14A.4-010), any entity that plans to operate in the Commonwealth must provide relevant registered agent information in their formation documents. This includes:
Limited liability companies;
Nonprofits and other entities.
When conducting the preliminary registered agent Kentucky search, consider that your candidate must fit the following parameters:
Individual agents need to be of age and have proof of residency;
Professional agencies must be authorized to operate in the state;
An agent needs to provide an actual physical address—you can’t use a P.O. box as a registered office;
They must always be available to receive documents (on standard work days during standard business hours).
Once you have found an agent that suits you, it’s important to file the necessary paperwork for their appointment. The Secretary of State provides all relevant business forms online (including the registered agent consent form Kentucky (PDF)) that you will need to complete to register your company.
Please note that you can’t switch your agent without alerting the state. If you need to replace your agent, there are forms you will have to file first (you can find the statement of change to update registered agent Kentucky on the official website).
When choosing a dedicated company to become your agent, generally, you have 2 options:
Choose a local company in the city you live in;
Choose a national provider that has representatives in all US states.
We will talk about the most famous national providers a bit later, and before that, let’s see what options you have with local companies in some Kentucky cities.
Kentucky Registered Agent Search: National Providers
And now it’s time to see which bigger companies offer their registered agent services, and what advantages and disadvantages each of them has as of today.
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 4.5/5
As one of the most popular national providers, Northwest Registered Agent strives to maintain their quality of service on a local level, making them the best registered agent for LLC in Kentucky. The cost of their services is slightly higher than your average formation agency in Kentucky, but they have proven time and time again that the high qualification of their in-house agents fully justifies the base cost.
Straightforward fees: The price for Northwest’s Kentucky registered agent for service of process is a rather moderate $125 per year. While far from the cheapest option on the market, Northwest prefers to be transparent about their billing and what exactly goes into their stand-alone registered agent subscription;
Individualized customer care: When it comes to client support, Northwest does not outsource it to call hubs, which are often based outside the country. With NW, you will get your own rep that will know your LLC’s profile and previous history with the company. This means you won’t need to waste time explaining your company’s needs and other aspects of your contract with Northwest;
Same-day scanning: Whereas a typical agency will only bother with scanning a few essentials, Northwest guarantees a more comprehensive approach. They typically scan every physical document their office receives on your behalf, most of the time on the same day, and upload it to your account immediately for your convenience;
Efficient processing: What you can know for sure with Northwest is their speed, specifically how fast they review your application. Once you register with them (and your payment is successfully processed), NW will immediately begin to work with your documents. They will issue you a Kentucky street address, so you could fulfill the Kentucky Secretary of State registered agent information requirements when filing your Articles;
Payment plan: NW also gives you the option to pay your fees monthly, though it’s only possible if you choose to incorporate with them. By forming an LLC or other entity with them, you can enjoy their registered agent and a few other add-ons without paying for all of it in one go, but rather by covering a monthly fee throughout the year.
Above average cost: To be fair, calling this a disadvantage is a bit of a stretch. It’s true that their annual fee is higher than the typical $99/yr registered agent for LLC in Kentucky, but the price difference of $25 is far from a ripoff, especially if you consider how highly-rated Northwest is among customers and professionals alike;
Limited package options: Most NW competitors do provide a free year of registered agent service (with formation packages), whereas Northwest does not, plus they have only one formation plan to choose from.
Despite somewhat limited LLC formation options, Northwest remains one of the leaders when it comes to registered agent services. Not only do they have a long and successful track record spanning over fifteen years, but they have proven their dedication to maintaining impeccable customer care and processing speed regardless of the state you are in. They also avoid pestering new customers with upsells while providing compliance notifications and thorough documents scans.
2. Harbor Compliance — 4.25/5
Harbor Compliance Kentucky registered agent services are known for their time efficiency and more flexible subscription options when it comes to stand-alone purchases and long-term subscriptions.
Affordable rates: Harbor’s stand-alone fee for the agent for service of process is only $99 a year, making it more accessible for customers that don’t need other business-related features;
Accessibility: Hiring a dedicated agent from Harbor gives LLC owners the ability to always have their documents on hand. Harbor scans and uploads relevant correspondence, giving you online access to your company’s paperwork at any time through your account, while the physical copies are being mailed to your business address;
Discount Kentucky registered agent: Purchasing a registered agent outside any formation plan can also be discounted. Depending on the length of service you are subscribing to (1, 2, 3+ years), Harbor is prepared to discount between 5% and 10% from the annual fees.
Confusing application process: Harbor’s recent update significantly altered the accessibility to vital information on their services, prices, and other related policies. To understand what you will be getting by forming an LLC or hiring an agent with Harbor, you might have to create a personal account and then complete a number of forms;
Review numbers: Despite Harbor’s national scope, their user reviews are pretty scarce. This might work against them, as many customers prefer companies with stronger feedback. At the time of writing, Harbor has about a hundred reviews on Google—which is a good number, but there is no data on other review platforms to back it up—and only 6 reviews on BBB.
What makes Harbor Compliance a viable option for a registered agent is their annual rates. If you already have a fully formed business but wish to hire a new long-term Kentucky agent, Harbor offers a pretty good deal for a separate subscription. That said, customers that wish to launch a new enterprise from scratch would be better off working with an agency that offers better formation options since Harbor’s base plans can’t really compete with other LLC companies in the same price category.
3. ZenBusiness — 3.75/5
ZenBusiness is primarily known as a formation company, popular for its incorporation and LLC services. In fact, ZenBusiness’ KY registered agent is an integral part of all their formation plans.
Low service fees: Part of what makes ZenBusiness so attractive to first-timers is how affordable they make their basic plans. Their cheapest package costs only $39/$49 (depending on what business you want to start), and although this plan is fairly basic, it still covers some essential formation points that could be difficult to handle for new business owners;
Free registered agent: The cheapest way to get yourself an agent for your first year in business is to use ZenBusiness to form the company for you. This way, you will only spend $49 for the formation company and the agent. After 12 months of a free trial, their agent will be charging $99 per year, which is a pretty good deal considering the average prices offered by the competition;
Name recognition: It’s not uncommon for business owners to want to avoid obscure providers and instead rely on companies that have built a successful brand name over the years. ZenBusiness was launched in 2015 and has grown into one of the biggest names in the LLC formation industry since then, making it a perfect option for anyone that wishes to work with a more established provider.
Multiple upsells: Although ZenBusiness’ prices attract plenty of customers that have to work on a tight budget, anything that goes beyond the most basic services like the filing of your Articles will likely cost you extra. And unfortunately, ZenBusiness is not at all shy about pestering their customers with upsells along the way even after the initial registration;
Confusing interface: Before you can proceed directly to the info page about their KY registered agent prices and policy, ZenBusiness will want you to first chat with their bot and provide some personal information through a questionnaire. This is presumably to make it easier for them to determine which services you might require from them, but in practice, it only hinders potential customers from understanding how the company works.
ZenBusiness could potentially help you reduce initial costs, as long as you strive for a more minimalist DIY approach to your LLC formation and avoid adding extra services to your base plan. This way, you could get your registered agent for free while also relegating part of your organizing duties to professionals. Aside from that, however, this provider might end up being more trouble than it’s worth if you only need it as a separate registered agent service.
4. IncFile — 3/5
IncFile is another big name in the formation industry, known first and foremost for their free LLC offers and various price bargains. With IncFile, you can start a brand-new Kentucky company from scratch, as well as hire out their registered agent for an already existing entity.
Free business formation in Kentucky: If you don’t really want to file your company certificate/articles yourself but would rather not pay outrageous fees for such a basic service, IncFile could be a perfect solution for this problem. Their Silver plan might be basic, but they won’t charge any service fees for filing your formation documents aside from the mandatory Kentucky state fee;
12-month free registered agent subscription: You can get a registered agent entirely for free with any IncFile formation bundle. Naturally, the most financially sound option is to get IncFile’s free package and enjoy their registered agent subscription for the first year without paying any fees.
Minimal feature set: As already mentioned, IncFile can only be a good money-saving option if you don’t mind starting a company with their bare-bones free formation package and doing everything else by yourself, that is if you want to keep on reducing the initial costs. Given that their $119/yr registered agent is only free if you choose to incorporate with IncFile, there are cheaper solutions for stand-alone agents out there;
Poor customer service: IncFile is quite notorious among business owners for their rather lackluster customer support. Although in recent months the company has improved their overall ratings on multiple platforms including Trustpilot and BBB, the issues with their customer care seem to remain, although it’s become harder to dig them up. The main issue here appears to stem from IncFile’s inability to respond to queries on time or resolve crucial issues, and sometimes they choose to ignore you altogether.
IncFile is a solid option for a registered agent only for those that seek free company formation. After a year of a free agent, you will be paying only $119 annually, which is a solid industry average. However, if you need a more thorough approach to entity formations, or if you prefer to work with companies that have in-house agents, then IncFile is not the most efficient option out of the lot.
5. LegalZoom — 2.75/5
LegalZoom has topped multiple lists of the best business solutions providers for the past two decades, at the very least. Indeed, the company remains the most well-established agency on the list, making it the most natural choice for business owners that prioritize big brand names and don’t really worry about their formation budget.
Comprehensive agent subscription: LegalZoom’s offer for the agent for service of process is pretty extensive, including all the necessary basics such as KY registered and mailing addresses, online database for your documents, document scans, and more;
Experienced team: The company has a rather impressive track record, with their roots going as far back as 2000, giving them over two decades of first-hand experience in the industry of business solutions.
High fees: Whether you plan to use LegalZoom for formation or just as a registered agent, be fully prepared to pay quite a hefty sum upfront. Their cheapest package may only cost $79, but you will still need to pay for your agent as a $299 add-on, so there is really no way to save up with them;
Slow to respond: What seems to plague LegalZoom’s reputation the most is their inadequacy of their response times. Multiple customers cite the company’s odd approach to either reply way too late to resolve time-sensitive issues, while others could never get the company to reply to their queries at all.
LegalZoom is generally viewed as a serious contender in their field and price category, but unfortunately, they are not a viable option for every potential business. Their prices are way too steep for an average small business owner in Kentucky, and their registered agent is considerably overpriced.
Registered Agent Review: General Conclusions
Generally, you won’t find any issue with finding a registered agent in Kentucky, largely due to the far reach of national providers who by now have offices in multiple states and have firmly established reliable channels for quick communication and document delivery.
The majority of individual agents—whose primary occupation is either accounting or tax consultation—are concentrated around Louisville, making it more accessible for businesses based in and around that area.
The safest bet for a Kentucky startup would be to hire one of the bigger names in the business world that offer flexible packages with yearly free registered agent trials. This way, you can start your business smoothly and get an entire year of agent service free of charge.
Benefits of Using a Kentucky Registered Agent Service
Choosing to not hire out for this position is a fairly common practice among small business owners. When you appoint yourself or your friends to do this job, you automatically cut out enormous annual fees required to maintain this subscription professionally.
But no matter how tempting it may be to become your own registered agent and save up to three hundred per year, most industry experts strongly advise in favor of appointing a professional agent. For all the minor benefits you would get through DIY-ing it, a professional agent will likely double that while also removing a great many concerns that come with being your own agent.
By hiring a professional to act as your agent, you will be able to:
Get a separate registered office address in Kentucky;
Go on breaks or holidays whenever it suits you;
Receive your correspondence immediately via email and post without compromising your home address;
Be notified of any relevant compliance filings;
Expand your business to other states.
Kentucky Registered Agent Search – How Do We Choose
To assess the best Kentucky registered agent options, we look at several key factors that tend to define the general effectiveness of a provider. We try not to overcomplicate our scoring system, instead focusing on how exactly each candidate performs in four crucial categories.
Why you can trust our choice
Commercial providers can be tricky to score, largely due to their similarities, market saturation, and sometimes due to the general lack of Kentucky registered agent reviews or the conflicting nature of existing testimonies. We prefer to focus on the long-term costs and user ratings of the providers we assess, as well as their ability to make the subscription process more accessible.
How We Selected the Best Registered Agent Services Kentucky
We evaluate our picks across four key categories. The score is assigned based on how well the company performs in each given category. Each category can earn them five points, resulting in the maximum overall score of 5 out of 5.
Cost: The cost of subscription is the first thing business owners tend to look at when conducting their Kentucky business registered agent search, though it can often be difficult to determine the agent’s fees when you plan to work with them long-term. We look at how affordable each statutory agent is based on their long-term fees rather than their brand name or one-time discounts;
Business Services: A good number of providers market themselves as all-rounders, meaning it can be more affordable to use them for your overall business management in addition to their agent service;
Customer Service: Companies with high ratings can often be a mixed bag. For instance, a low number of reviews with high scores make it harder to determine the quality of the service. Alternatively, it’s easier to bury negative feedback in thousands of generically positive Kentucky registered agent reviews, so it often takes some time to find verified reviews with genuine criticism in order to get a full picture.
Ease of Use
Northwest Registered Agent
Best Registered Agent
Choosing a Best Registered Agent is easy. Select your State to get started.
Thanks to how well-established nationa lproviders have become over the years, it’s fairly easy to get a reliable and affordable registered agent in Kentucky. Given that around 82% of all Kentucky small businesses do not have employees, it puts a certain strain on the owners that can’t viably appoint themselves to perform this job.
Luckily, you can get a decent Kentucky agent for as low as $99 per year, as long as you don’t mind working with a national registered agent. Local options can be rather limited for smaller cities, so most owners rely on individual accounting and tax professionals.
Perhaps the cheapest way to get an RA in Kentucky is to pick a provider that offers formation discounts and to start your company with their help. ZenBusiness offers the best deal for this approach with their $49 formation plans and free registered agent trials.
For separate agent deals, your best option would be Northwest Registered Agent. They train their agents in-house, so you know you won’t be redirected to another company for this subscription.
How to change a registered agent in Kentucky?
To replace your current agent, you must file a statement with the state, so they can update their records. The form is available in PDF format. It applies to all entity types.
Can I be my own registered agent in Kentucky?
Yes. You can appoint yourself as your own agent or assign a friend or family member to do this job. The only requirements for individuals are to be of age (18+) and have an official Kentucky address rather than a P.O. box.
How to find a registered agent in Kentucky?
You can begin your Kentucky registered agent search with the official state websites, where you can learn more about their legal requirements and search agents by name. Although most reviews cater to LLC owners, you can apply the same criteria for your Kentucky corporation search registered agent queries. A good way to find an agent is to sort them by user rating on review platforms such as Trustpilot or BBB.
Do I need a registered agent in Kentucky?
Every entity operating in Kentucky must have an agent. This includes both domestic and foreign LLCs, corporations, nonprofits, and partnerships.