How Do You Become a U.S. Registered Agent?

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The keys to become a registered agent include finding a physical location for your business.
The keys to become a registered agent include finding a physical location for your business. (Image: agent image by Mitarart from Fotolia.com)

A registered agent, also known as a resident or statutory agent, is a company, individual or business that is responsible for receiving legal and government correspondence on behalf of another company. Depending on the location, a company can be allowed to act as its own registered agent or is required to designate the responsibility to a third party. In most states, service companies exist whose main business is acting as the registered agent for different companies.

Find a physical location for your company. Having a physical location is a must for a registered agent. This will serve as the legal address for the company that you represent as a registered agent. P.O. Box addresses and hired mail boxes are not acceptable. The physical location of your company is where you will receive the legal and government correspondences for your client company.

Research the requirements for starting a company and register your company with the appropriate local agencies. Get guidelines on how to start a company from the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

Ensure that your office remains open during business hours Monday through Friday to receive government or legal correspondences. This is one of the requirements of a registered agent in all states. Another requirement is for a registered agent to be an adult as defined by the state’s law.

Attract clients by visiting businesses in your state and advertising your business. Registered agents are required to be in the same state as the company they represent. If you are a lawyer or CPA, use this as an attractive feature to give you an edge in this competitive industry.

Register your services with your local Secretary of State office. This is not a legal requirement, but is beneficial for the company as a form of advertisement. Some Secretary of State offices, such as Delaware, warn potential clients that the list they provide is just for convenience and not warranted by the state. However, potential clients usually have faith in a company that has registered with the Secretary of State's office.

Assume the responsibility of receiving service process and any other government notices for your client immediately. Pass the correspondence on to the company for action without delay. Prompt service will ensure that you get referrals from existing clientele who will recommend you to others.

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