The Pros & Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent

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Being your own registered agent brings both advantages and disadvantages. Read on and learn about the possibilities and potential pitfalls of each option.

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Running a business and being your own registered agent at the same time is possible. But should you really do it? Well, there are certain pros and cons that come with doing that.

For this blog, we aim to tackle this topic so do read on if you want to learn more.

What is a registered agent – and what makes a great one

A definition by Wikipedia tells us:

“A registered agent is a business or individual designated to receive service of process when a business entity is a party in a legal action, such as a lawsuit or summons.”

Furthermore, the agent’s address “may also be where the state sends the paperwork for the periodic renewal of the business entity’s charter (if required).”

So again, the big question: Is being your own registered agent possible?

The short answer to this, of course, is a “yes”.

Basically, you need to be at least 18 years old or older. You also need to have a physical address in the state where your business is incorporated. You can start being your own registered agent right away. You can even assign a lawyer or an employee of your company to fill the role. Meanwhile, business owners that are incorporated in another state will need to hire a registered agent to represent their company.

If you’re determined about functioning as a registered agent for your business, take note of the following pros and cons:

Pros of being your own registered agent

Now let’s take a look at the possible advantages of functioning as your own registered agent.

1. It’s less expensive

First and foremost, it can help you save money – in the short term. If you’re the frugal type or simply can’t afford the costs of hiring professional services just yet, this can be an option. You can certainly take on being your own registered agent – as long as your busy schedule allows it. 

2. You take full control of your documents and requirements

Love doing paperwork? Want to stay on top of everything yourself? Well then, being your own registered agent can be a rewarding experience. You get to keep track of all your requirements, ensuring that due dates aren’t overlooked.

photograph of folders filled with documents and records relating to being your own registered agent
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As every business owner knows, promptness is important when it comes to dealing with time-sensitive documents. You have to fill requirements and renewals before the deadline if you want to avoid paying expensive fees and penalties. 

3. You can safeguard sensitive company information

Since you’re not hiring a third-party provider, you can personally make sure that all your confidential communications stay protected. You won’t have to share your business documents with other eyeballs. With that, you won’t have to worry about accidental information leaks because you will do all the work of protecting your data. (Although, of course, a reputable business agent will automatically safeguard your information.)  

If you’re comfortable with the idea of receiving and completing legal paperwork on your own, you can definitely serve as your own business’ registered agent.

So yes, there are certain perks that come with being your own registered agent. If you’re a well-organized person who doesn’t mind taking on more responsibilities, you’ll likely manage.    

Cons of being your own registered agent

Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to serving as your own registered agent. Cases in point…

1. Your personal information will be publicly accessible

The most obvious catch here is that your personal details become a matter of public record. This means that your name and address will be made available on public records. Anyone can look your details up using any search engine.

2. You might end up getting lots of junk mail

With your information made public, it’s possible that you’ll end up getting a lot of unsolicited letters in your mailbox. Since your contact details are out in the open, marketers will be able to find you easily. They’ll know where to send you spam mail.

As you’re probably already aware, this can be pretty annoying.

3. You need to be available during regular business hours      

Next, you also have to be available daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Letters and documents will be delivered to you in between those hours. You might end up missing important mail if you are not physically present at your specified address.

This can be challenging for entrepreneurs who often go on business trips or family vacations.

4. Law enforcers will come knocking on your door

Service of Process (SOP) records are typically served by law enforcers in person. This can be an awkward situation, especially if other people are around when officers of the law drop by to hand you the document.

Just imagine how your customers, employees, or neighbors would react during the sudden visit, right?  

5. You need to be aware of different due dates

Different documents have different deadlines so you have to be ready. One idea here, of course, is to create a compliance calendar. This will allow you to monitor different requirements and their corresponding due dates with greater ease.

6. You have to stay updated about regulation changes in your industry

Being your own registered agent, staying constantly updated about regulation and policy updates is your personal responsibility. That said, you will need to regularly read the news especially when it’s related to your industry. You can do this by following relevant business news outlets on social media and by joining industry-specific groups where such subjects are being discussed.  

7. When changing your address, notifying the state is a must

Finally, you will need to inform the Secretary of State if you’re moving to another area. Address changes must be reported immediately. In most cases, that can require additional paperwork. Still, you definitely need to comply so the government can stay in touch with your business. Or you run the risk of missing important documents and facing the consequences of non-compliance. A registered business agent can take care of all this for you.

Final thoughts

As you can see, being your own registered agent has its positives and negatives. If you don’t mind the added responsibility, then by all means feel free to fill the position.

Otherwise, those who want to free up their time and devote their energies to their business may instead tap professional services.

There are companies out there that offer registered agent services to interested clients. Sure, this will cost you money but it can be a worthwhile investment in the long run. Just make sure to find a trustworthy provider that offers the services that your business needs. 

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