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If you’re an entrepreneur with a great idea who’s ready to launch a Maine business, you’ll need to first understand how to legally set up a company in the state. Just like in other states, Maine start-ups are required to file documents with the Maine Secretary of State (Division of Corporations) in order to formally establish a business. This is true whether you plan to form a partnership, non-profit, Maine corporation, or a limited liability company (LLC).

Although you’re probably pretty eager to get your idea off the ground, you must follow particular steps to establish your business. One of the tasks on your to-do list will include selecting a registered agent. This designated person or company will be in charge of accepting official paperwork and legal documents from process servers or the government on behalf of your company.

Start by reading through these common questions and answers to help get your business launched and start doing business in Maine.

What is a Maine registered agent?

As mentioned earlier, every Maine LLC (or other business entity)  is required to select a registered agent to have on public record with the state. This point of contact is either an individual or business entity that will be charged with accepting service of process (SOP) and any other important legal notices on behalf of your company.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Maine?

A registered agent must be chosen when a business is formed in the state, but how do you officially declare a registered agent? When an entrepreneur is filling out the formation documents for their business entity, there is a form called a Certificate of Formation (sometimes called Articles of Formation or Articles of Incorporation).

These documents will ask you to declare the company’s registered agent so it can be formally listed on public record. You will need to list their name and the agent’s address, which will be used as your company’s official “registered office.”

Who can be a registered agent in Maine? 

Wondering who qualifies to be a registered agent in the state of Maine? It’s essentially the same criteria that other states use, which is:

  • The registered agent must be at least 18 years old
  • The person or entity must have a Maine street address (must be a physical address, a P.O. box will not suffice)
  • The registered agent must be available to accept legal documents in person during regular business hours

Can I be my own registered agent in Maine?

Yes, you can list yourself as a registered agent in Maine. It’s quite common to do so, but remember, you’ll be required to have a physical street address in Maine to list as your registered office and be available during all normal business hours.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

It’s understandable that you’d wonder if you can just represent yourself as a registered agent to save money. But consider the advantages of paying a registered agent service:

  • Local options.  Entrepreneurs who don’t have a business office or mailing address in Maine can’t fulfill the requirements to be their own registered agents. But there are plenty of very affordable registered agents in Maine that you can hire to solve this problem.
  • Availability.  Your time is incredibly valuable as a new business owner. You will probably spend a lot of time attending meetings, running errands, and traveling, making it difficult to commit to being available every weekday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for in-person document delivery.
  • Privacy.  You may not be aware that sometimes law enforcement is used to deliver important papers, such as those related to lawsuits. Even if the documents aren’t anything to be embarrassed about, customers, employees, and neighbors may not realize that. By using a registered agent, you’ll be guaranteed privacy from prying eyes.
  • Experience.  Are you up to speed on important compliance matters such as state and federal regulations, or the Maine annual report? Chances are, a registered agent service will know far more than you do about corporate filing, LLC formation, and what is needed to keep your LLC or corporation compliant and in good standing.
  • Time savings.  Assuming you do have the expertise to fill out confusing forms, do you have the time? By using a registered agent service, you’ll never have to worry about finding time to handle these tasks.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Maine?

The cost of one of the best registered agent services in the state could range anywhere between $49-150 per year. Many of these services offer add-ons as well.

For example, entrepreneurs can take advantage of LLC formation or incorporation services, which provide assistance in filing all the paperwork needed to create your  LLC, corporation, or non-profit.

They can also assist with:

  • Filing annual reports and other important business filings
  • Providing legal services
  • Monitoring due dates and renewals so your LLC or other business entity doesn’t acquire any unnecessary state fees or risk its good standing with the state

List of Maine registered agent services 

The state of Maine offers a list of commercial registered agents on its Secretary of State page, so you should have no problem finding a registered agent, but here are a few choices to get you started:

  • Northwest Registered Agent is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but it’s grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company also offers worry-free compliance to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

Maine registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Maine?

Yes, the state of Maine requires all businesses to have a registered agent listed on public record at all times.

Can a company change its registered agent?

For a $35 filing fee (this fee varies depending on the business entity type), you can change your commercial registered agent with the Maine Secretary of State by filling out a Statement of Appointment. The process may take a few business days to become official.

What’s a commercial clerk?

In Maine, a registered agent is sometimes called a commercial clerk or a resident agent. All terms refer to the same thing.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

You may run into a question about whether your registered agent is considered commercial or non-commercial. As a general rule, a commercial agent is someone you pay to accept legal documents on your behalf. If you represent yourself as a registered agent, choose non-commercial.