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Choosing a suitable registered agent for a New York company is simple in theory, but the process can quickly turn complicated if you don’t evaluate your options well. Every business has a set of specific needs, most of them determined by the size of the company, its location, and its industry.
We have compiled a list of the top registered agents operating in New York today to help you determine which option is the most compatible with the requirements of your business.
Over 99.8% of all New York businesses are classified as small businesses, with their overall number reaching 2.2 million as of 2022. All of these businesses and new startups are required to employ local resident agents to be able to operate in New York. You can find out more about the role of the New York registered agent on the Corporations and Business Entities FAQ page.
While some entrepreneurs choose to be their own agents, most owners prefer working with professionals. Fortunately, most of the top agents in the country offer their services to New York-based companies, regardless of their size and location in the state.
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 4.5/5
Perhaps rather predictably, our first choice for the registered agent for an LLC in New York is the Northwest Registered Agent. While not the cheapest available option in New York, Northwest proves to be an indisputable leader in terms of quality of service.
Pricing transparency: Although they ask for a pretty high fee off the bat — their New York registered agent for service of process costs $125 as a stand-alone service — Northwest more than covers that fee in service. They will appoint an agent to your entity, provide a New York state street address, get a registered office address ready for your Articles, notify you about compliance filings, and do local doc scans;
Personalized customer care: With Northwest, each customer will get a personal assistant, as it were, so you won’t have to deal with outsourced call center operators. When you purchase the NW registered agent service, you will be granted access to personalized customer support for as long as you stay with the company;
All documents are scanned: The NW office will scan and email each document that your statutory agent receives on behalf of your New York state company. While a few registered agent companies do offer document scans, they tend to only scan the bare minimum;
Speed of service: Northwest also stands out for their efficiency. In most cases, they review your application immediately and issue all your documents shortly after, though it generally depends on the type of additional services you purchase along with the registered agent;
Monthly payments: One of the fastest ways to start an LLC is to let the Northwest do it for you. They offer 1-day filing of New York formations that include their registered agent service and other helpful features. What’s rather neat about NW is they let you pay in monthly installments over the next 12 months instead of paying a fortune upfront.
Not as affordable: Their biggest drawback is their service fee. Unfortunately, there are quite a few formation services that offer registered agent subscription for free (for the first year or half a year) or for half the price. Northwest’s competitors also have more discount options when it comes to formation packages.
What makes Northwest such a balanced choice is their consistency. Their experience, pricing, customer support, and quality of services are all consistent throughout. Unlike some of their competitors, Northwest are very detailed with their prices prior to billing, and they keep upsells to a minimum. Bottom line is, even their resident agent’s $125 annual fee is worth the money for the security they offer with it.
2. Harbor Compliance — 4.25/5
One of the best affordable national business services, Harbor Compliance provides effective and fast New York formations and registered agent solutions in the entire state. Harbor also offers discount options and fast delivery speeds from and within Albany.
Cost-effective subscription: Harbor’s registered agent costs only $99 per year, which is a below-average industry price for this service if you purchase it separately;
Discount New York resident agent: If you buy multiple years of registered agent, Harbor offers a 5-10% discount off the total cost. Naturally, you can save more by purchasing a longer subscription;
Easy access to documents: Once your entity gets its own Harbor resident agent, you will be able to access all documents that they receive on your behalf. Harbor will scan them and upload them to your personalized online account, as well as forwarding the hard copies to your business address.
Complicated order forms: The only way to get full access to Harbor’s subscription features and policy is by creating an account. Any customer that wishes to browse will have to sign up and fill up multiple online forms with personal information before they can get a full picture of Harbor’s services;
Review scarcity: Although Harbor have been around since 2013, they have little to show for it in terms of review numbers. Their presence on Google reviews is better than some of their competitors (100+ individual reviews), but their BBB profile only shows 6 user reviews, with two of them only giving the service one star out of five.
Harbor Compliance is one of the best candidates for a standalone resident agent subscription if getting a registered agent is the only thing you wish to get from a formation service. Their annual rates are affordable and straightforward, not to mention the package includes online library access. Harbor’s main selling point is their attractive pricing, but if you are looking for full formations in New York, we would advise choosing another provider with more flexible basic packages.
3. ZenBusiness — 3.75/5
Perhaps one of the most recognized brand names in the industry, ZenBusiness might seem like a no-brainer choice for New York business formations.
Cheap plans: ZenBusiness’ basic formation plans start at a surprisingly low $39 price point ($49 for some entity types), allowing small business owners to better manage their budget while still enjoying professional business support;
Free trial: All of ZenBusiness’ plans include a free trial of their registered agent. The free subscription is valid for the first 12 months, after which the annual fee will be $99 which is lower than other companies in this category;
Strong brand: If you prefer to work with providers with experience and well-established brand, ZenBusiness might work exceptionally well for you. They have been around since 2015 and managed to make a name for themselves.
Upselling: ZenBusiness’ low rates are virtually meaningless if you need even a bit of extra support. Their cheapest $39/49 plan is extremely limited, so if you need other essential services such as compliance notifications in addition to the statutory agent, you will have to pay $50 extra;
Impractical registration: Unfortunately, once you choose to order their registered agent service, ZenBusiness redirects you to a chatbot. The only way to access any pertinent information is to provide your personal information via this webchat questionnaire. This is a non-problem if you have already firmly settled on ZenBusiness as your choice, but this tactic can hardly be called appealing for most customers.
It’s true that ZenBusiness’ pricing is very budget-friendly to start an LLC in New York, including their registered agent, but the efficiency of the service could fluctuate rather noticeably based on your location, as well as your company’s specific needs. That said, ZenBusiness makes for a good option if you prefer working with companies based on their brand name recognition.
4. IncFile — 3/5
You are likely to have heard of IncFile before. They are primarily known for their free formations across the country, including the state of New York. Aside from entity registration, IncFile also provides registered agent services and other related business solutions.
Free New York formations: The best way to benefit with IncFile is to start your company with them. Their Silver package is completely free, meaning you will only be paying the basic filing fee to the state;
Free registered agent trial: IncFile also offers a whole year of registered agent without charge. After that, you will be paying $119 per year. While it’s not the cheapest fee out there, it’s still considerably better than LegalZoom or similar service.
Fewer features: If you buy IncFile’s agent for serive of process separately, they will provide you with the absolute basics, but hold out on other features that quite a lot of their competitors include, namely compliance notifications and document scanning;
Issues with customer service: Though affordable, IncFile loses quite a lot of points when it comes to customer satisfaction. Their overall ratings are quite high across several platforms, but this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, up until very recently, the company had quite poor ratings. Whether the new high scores are a product of long-awaited internal reorganization or something else entirely, it’s still worth pointing out that a good number of customers confess to bad experience with IncFile’s response times and general client care.
As the only technically free formation company on the list, it may seem like IncFile should automatically be a leader of your options for dealing with the New York Secretary of State registered agent filings. And while they are one of the very few providers that offer free formations nationwide, their registered agent service is not the cheapest option on the market if you buy it separately.
5. LegalZoom — 2.75/5
LegalZoom is by far the most recognizable name on this list. They are also the most expensive option of the lot. Still, if high rates don’t deter you, you might be tempted to choose their services based on their experience alone.
Well-rounded plan: When you purchase a LegalZoom registered agent, the company provides you with everything you might need to run your business smoothly, including New York street address, document scanning, online access, compliance alerts, and mail forwarding;
20+ years of experience: LegalZoom has a long history on the business formation market. The company was started in 2000 in Delaware and has since grown to become one of the biggest business providers nationwide.
Expensive: LegalZoom’s annual rates are, frankly, outrageous. To get a full year of their registered agent service, you will have to pay $299 upfront. Granted, they do their best to justify this price, but paying almost three hundred dollars for a series of standard features is still far from ideal;
Bad response times: The biggest complaint among LegalZoom’s customers is the company’s propensity to respond extremely late or not respond at all. This can be a real problem for time sensitive cases, issues with billing, and other queries that need to be solved efficiently;
Inflexible packages: If you want to start your New York business with LegalZoom, get ready to pay double. This is because they choose not to include their registered agent with any of their formation plans. As it stands, you will have to pay between $79 and $149 (plus state fees) for the business filing, as well as $299 for the New York registered agent.
To be upfront, LegalZoom is not the best New York registered agent option for startups that work on a limited budget. Their registered agent can only be purchased separately, and their formation plans can be somewhat unwieldy. However, the company does cover quite a lot of fine details when it comes to business management and protection, including New York publication, DBA, and more. If you don’t mind paying double or sometimes triple for your business support, then LegalZoom could be worth your while.
Given the sheer number of national providers currently operating in New York, you won’t have any trouble finding a budget-friendly and feature-packed registered agent service in your location. A few of these companies even base their regional headquarters in New York capable of speeding up the mailing process, such as Harbor Compliance.
The biggest issue with New York registered agent search is finding a well-rounded service. Some of the cheapest companies will be good for reducing your costs, but they won’t be able to get you the best possible feature set. On the other hand, companies like LegalZoom will ask for a fortune just for the fact that they cover most of the basics.
Then there is the trouble with local requirements. The main difference between starting a company in New York and most other states is publication. This is a rather outdated formation step that requires all business owners to announce the formation of their company in a local periodical. What qualifies for a successful publication run varies based on your area, so it’s always best to solicit professional help. Thankfully, most formations companies that offer statutory agent also cover this feature for an additional fee.
Benefits of Using a New York Registered Agent Service
New York is one of the many states that allows business owners to serve as their own agents. Curiously, you may also be able to form a company without an initial registered agent by virtue of the New York Secretary of State acting as your agent for the duration of formation.
However, once your company becomes operational, you will be required by law to find an actual agent. When you update registered agent New York, the state required you to file the Certificate of Change along with the $5 service fee (see more NY fee schedules here). You may also need to file the registered agent consent form New York (Form U-2).
As mentioned before, some owners choose to skip New York business registered agent search in order to save money. Instead, they fill in their own details and choose to do this job themselves.
This method has its benefits, namely the cost-efficiency, but it’s far from perfect, especially in the long-run. If you choose to be your own agent, be aware that you will be faced with quite a few drawbacks:
Inability to take breaks during the day;
No regular vacation days;
Breach of privacy (every agent is required to make their address and email public);
Constant spam mail and unwanted calls.
Additionally, you will still be forced to get a separate registered agent for other states if you choose to expand your New York business to other jurisdictions.
By contrast, using New York registered agent services will completely eliminate these risks. When you hire a professional, whether it’s an independent agent or a company, you will be able to:
Take breaks and extended holidays fully knowing you won’t miss any documents since your agent will always be there to receive them;
Get notifications about any upcoming filings related to your compliance and general business maintenance;
Request new agents for expanding your business to other states.
Order Processing Time
Best Registered Agent Review - How do we choose
To support the ranking of our New York registered agent reviews, we prefer to assess each featured service based on several main qualifiers. The rules are pretty simple, but we find that it’s easier to get a clear understanding of any company’s efficiency is through looking at their performance in basic categories.
Why you can trust our choice
To help you narrow down your registered agent New York search, we have placed more attention on several key categories, including pricing and customer feedback. We like to go through negative reviews, as well as positive, to assess each company’s weak points and hopefully help you decide which service is worth the risk.
How We Selected the Best Registered Agent Services New York
For the state of New York, we assessed the top companies through four main categories—price, features, ease of use, and customer service:
Price: Every service on the list charges customers on a yearly basis. We compare their annual fees to determine which service is the cheapest;
Features: When New York corporations search registered agents, they pay close attention to what these services have to offer. We evaluate these companies based on how extensive their support is for their price;
Customer Service: Even the best-reviewed companies have weak points. We look through the honest feedback provided by verified clients to establish how well these services are doing in terms of their customer care.
Ease of Use
Northwest Registered Agent
Best Registered Agent
Choosing a Best Registered Agent is easy. Select your State to get started.
When it comes to small business statistics, New York shows truly impressive numbers. In fact, the vast majority of all state businesses are small businesses. This means that the local market has adapted to the needs of the business owners, offering a wide range of options when it comes to registered agent services.
Here, you can find local companies that charge as low as $49 per year or opt for national providers like Northwest Registered Agent with their impeccable service quality or IncFile if you want free New York entity formations.
If you balance it right, it’s perfectly possible to get your company launched for as low as $39 plus $200 New York state fee and get a year of free registered agent to boot.
To replace a registered agent, every business owner must file the Certificate of Change as per Section 805-A(b) of the Business Corporation Law. The state fee for this filing is only $5. You can pay it through money order or debit/credit card, in which case you will also need to file the Credit Card/Debit Card Authorization Form. Just like all other filings related to business operations in New York, this form must be mailed to the Divisions of Corporations at: New York Department of State, Division of Corporations, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231.
Can I be my own registered agent in New York?
The state of New York allows business owners to appoint themselves to this position, however you should be aware of severe restrictions this job entails. Another perk specific to New York is that the authorities let you handle the initial registration with the Secretary of State serving as your own agent.
How to find a registered agent in New York?
The best way to find an affordable NY agent is by searching national services by location. Most of them have offices based in Albany or other regional centers.
Do I need a registered agent in New York?
Every formal entity in New York must have a registered agent at all times. It’s illegal to run a business without a valid registered agent, and doing so will inevitably lead to massive fines, as well as a possible dissolution of your company.