How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Virginia

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Launching a business is a big deal. For entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Virginia, kudos. The journey ahead will be both exciting and challenging.

Out of the gate, owners need to learn how to set up an LLC in the state. The process is fairly easy, but the owner needs to work through several steps, which includes selecting a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that will accept official documents on behalf of your company. These documents are usually confidential notices that are delivered in-person or via registered mail.

In addition to filing paperwork and selecting a registered agent, business owners must create an operating agreement, obtain an identification number, and be prepared to pay annual registration fees.

To help soon-to-be business owners like yourself, we’ve created a guide that explores how to set up an LLC in the State of Virginia. 

What is a Virginia registered agent?

A Virginia registered agent is a person or company that receives documents on behalf of your business. The documents are usually sensitive in nature and may include tax notices or lawsuit documents. 

The business owner selects a registered agent, which must be listed on the company’s LLC formation paperwork. If the registered agent changes, an updated form must be filed with the state. 

How does an owner select a registered agent in Virginia?

A registered agent is selected by listing the person’s name or the company’s name on the Articles of Organization. After that, if the registered agent changes, there’s a special form to fill out to update the agent on file. 

Who can be a registered agent in Virginia? 

A Virginia registered agent can be the owner, but it can also be a friend, coworker, or neighbor. A registered agent can also be a registered agent service. A registered agent service is a professional company that serves as your company’s registered agent for an annual fee. 

The State of Virginia has a few other rules about naming a registered agent, which include:  

  • The person must have a physical street address, not a P.O. box
  • The company must be in good standing with the state and have a physical street address, not a P.O. box
  • The person or company must be available during regular business hours

Can I be my own registered agent in Virginia?

Yes. A company owner can serve as his or her company’s registered agent, and many do. The job is fairly simple. You have to be at a certain address regularly, that’s about it. For an owner who works in the office, it’s a fairly simple gig. However, there are certain instances where an owner prefers to appoint another person or hire a registered agent service. 

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

There are many reasons that people decide to hire a registered agent service. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Convenience. For some business owners, it’s just easier to hire a registered agent. Some entrepreneurs simply can’t work out of one location and be “on-call” to accept documents. For that reason, business owners put a registered agent service in charge. 
  • Peace of mind. A registered agent service gives many owners peace of mind. The owner can work outside the office, travel, and take care of day-to-day tasks all while knowing that a registered agent service is ready and willing to accept documents. 
  • Privacy. As mentioned, many of the documents received by a registered agent are confidential. Due to the nature of these documents, some owners prefer to have them sent offsite to preserve privacy.

How much does a registered agent service cost in Virginia?

Like many business owners, you might be concerned about costs. Fortunately, the cost of a registered agent is fairly affordable. The cost can be as low as $50 a year. For that amount, you’ll likely find a company that accepts documents on the company’s behalf, notifies you of delivery, and forwards the original documents in the mail. 

There are registered agent services that are more expensive and hover around $200 a year. These companies offer more features though. They’ll help you file reports with the state government, for example. 

List of Virginia registered agent services 

There are a number of registered agent services in the state to choose from. While a quick Google search can provide a great list of possible options, here are a few to browse through to see what’s out there: 

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Northwest 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: ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but they’ve 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 offers worry-free compliance too, to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Incfile: Incfile is another trusted name for business services, including its registered agent services. Business owners can get a registered agent free for a year. That’s right, free. After the first year, the price kicks in at $119. An online dashboard, automatic mail forwarding, and tailored notifications also come with the service.

Virginia registered agent FAQs

Yes. The State of Virginia requires every LLC to continually maintain a registered agent on file. 

Yes. To make a change, the business owner must submit a change form to the Virginia State Corporate Commission. Unlike other states, Virginia does not charge a fee to file this document.

Statutory agent is another term for a registered agent. The name varies by state. Some states also use resident agent or service of process agent, since the agent is responsible for accepting documents served during a lawsuit. 

If you hire a registered agent service, the company has a commercial registered agent. If the owner or another person holds the position, the company has a non-commercial registered agent. Some states ask an owner which kind of registered agent they’ve elected. 

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