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Launching a business in Washington is a fairly simple process, but certain things must be done to get up and running. Entrepreneurs must pick a company name, select a registered agent, file LLC formation documents, file for an identification number, and learn about the state’s requirement to file an annual report.

While that might seem like a lengthy list, it’s fairly simple to work through. To help, we’ll explore how to start an LLC and explain terms like a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that accepts official documents on behalf of your company. Usually, these documents are confidential and are delivered by registered mail or in person.

Let’s discuss how a registered agent fits into setting up a Washington LLC and what steps to take to become a business owner in the state.

What is a Washington registered agent?

A Washington registered agent is a person or company that is responsible for accepting official documents for your company. Whether it’s a person, like an owner or the company accountant, or a registered agent service that’s paid to fill the role, it’s an important choice that only an owner can make.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Washington?

A registered agent is listed on the official LLC formation documents, or the Certificate of Formation. This document requires the name and address of the registered agent selected to serve your company.

Who can be a registered agent in Washington? 

A registered agent can be the owner, a trusted friend, an employee, or another company – that includes a registered agent service. A registered agent service is a company that receives documentation on your behalf, for a fee.

In Washington, the person or company must have a physical street address and be available during normal business hours. Additionally, any individual serving as a registered agent must be at least 18 years old.

Can I be my own registered agent in Washington?

The owner can be the company’s registered agent. Many owners do so, especially those who are just starting out and work from home or from an office. However, there are other choices.

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

There are advantages of working with a registered agent service, which includes:

  • Convenience. In some cases, owners find registered agent services more convenient than filling the role themselves. The registered agent service is open during regular business hours and always has someone on staff to accept documents, which, for some owners, is worth paying for.
  • Time savings. A registered agent service often offers additional services that can save owners time. For example, a registered agent service can file the annual report and other compliance records, which is less an owner has to do.
  • Privacy. Some of the paperwork that registered agents receive isn’t something you’d want your employees or customers to know about. If your company is sued, for example, it’s best that the paperwork is served at an off-sight location.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Washington?

The cost of a registered agent depends on what kind of services a business owner wants. A registered agent service that offers basic features, like mail forwarding, can cost about $50 a year.

For more features, like same-day document scans, enhanced notifications, or assistance filing annual reports, the fees increase. A registered agent service that offers all the bells and whistles costs upwards of $150-250 a year.

List of Washington registered agent services 

You should have no problem finding a registered agent for your Washington LLC, 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.

Washington registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Washington?

Yes. A business owner can not file the Certificate of Formation without adding a registered agent. Every state requires LLCs to have a person’s name and address on file with the state. Think of this person as the company’s official point of contact.

Can a company change its registered agent?

The registered agent can be changed at any time. The state has a change form that can be filled out and submitted. The agent of record can also be changed when the annual report is filed. There is no filing fee associated with this document.

What’s a statutory agent?

Some states use the term “statutory agent” interchangeably with registered agent.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

A commercial agent or a commercial registered agent refers to a registered agent service or a professional company that a business owner pays to serve as its registered agent. A non-commercial agent is a person, like an owner or an employee, who serves as the registered agent.