Non-Commercial Registered Agent vs. Registered Agent

Gabrielle Sinacola | Mar 3, 2024

Non-Commercial Registered Agent vs. Registered Agent

Many businesses will need a registered agent at the time they file their business registration paperwork. In most states, there is no difference between a noncommercial registered agent and a commercial registered agent. Only 12 states make a distinction between the two types.

If you live in a state that distinguishes commercial registered agents from noncommercial registered agents, here’s what you should know about the differences and how to select the right type of registered agent for your business.

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a professional who receives important correspondence (like government mail, official business mail, and legal paperwork) on behalf of a business. Registered agents are especially useful for foreign corporations that have a primary office in the state outside of where they operate. Registered agents keep important mail safe and allow business owners to access mailed documents at any time, from anywhere.

What Is the Difference Between a Non-Commercial and Commercial Registered Agent?

Noncommercial registered agents and commercial registered agents provide the same services, often at the same level of quality. There are two differences between a noncommercial registered agent and a commercial registered agent. Depending on the nature, size, and scalability of your business, the differences may not be significant.

The first difference is that a commercial registered agent files a listing with the Secretary of State in the state or states where they operate, and a noncommercial registered agent does not. It’s not mandatory that registered agents file a listing with a Secretary of State to be recognized as legitimate agents. It’s perfectly above board to operate as a reputable registered agent without doing so.

The second difference is the amount of clients they serve. Noncommercial registered agents only serve a limited number of clients, possibly only operating in a few states. Commercial registered agents often have national presences and serve a robust roster of clients.

Commercial registered agents are usually a more efficient choice for businesses that want to expand their presence around the United States. Noncommercial registered agents can be suitable for businesses that intend to remain within their home state.

What Are the Advantages of a Non-Commercial Registered Agent?

Some businesses prefer to work with a noncommercial registered agent because they appreciate the fact that noncommercial registered agents don’t take on a wealth of clients. There may be truth to the fact that limiting the number of clients means that a noncommercial registered agent is able to provide personalized attention and support to their clients.

The relationship between a noncommercial registered agent and a small business with one or two locations can be seen as a boutique-to-boutique working relationship. If you intend to keep your business small-scale and local, a noncommercial registered agent can be sufficient for your needs.

What Are the Advantages of a Commercial Registered Agent?

Some businesses prefer to work with commercial registered agents because they like the idea that commercial registered agents have a widely established presence. If you’ve expanded to open foreign corporations all over the country, it’s likely that your commercial registered agent will be portable.

It may be simpler to work with a commercial registered agent because their addresses and information are permanently registered with the Secretary of State. All you need to do is provide the name of your registered agent and the Secretary of State will easily be able to locate them.

When Might You Need a Registered Agent?

When you register your business, you may be required to obtain a registered agent for your licensing or registration paperwork for many types of business structures. You can list yourself as your registered agent if you only have one physical location and don’t intend to travel, but many businesses find that it’s a better business decision to utilize a professional registered agent.

You are allowed to change your registered agent at any time by modifying your filing with the secretary of state. If you’re currently acting as your own registered agent and you’d like to switch to a professional registered agent service, you’re allowed to revise your decision.

Registering as an LLC

Most LLCs are very small companies, and people choose to form LLCs to protect their privacy and award themselves with certain types of liability protection. Utilizing a registered agent for your LLC is typically mandatory, and there are many reasons why you would want to hire a registered agent rather than listing yourself.

The first reason is that utilizing a registered agent keeps your home mailing address off of publicly viewable documents. It’s not pleasant to think about, but small businesses often face lawsuits. If a customer or client intends to serve you with a lawsuit, service will go to the registered agent rather than your personal home.

Obscuring your home address from connections to your business can also prevent unwanted solicitations, junk mail, and customers or clients coming to your house. Most people would prefer not to sacrifice their family’s privacy if given the choice. Leaving things to the professionals can help you feel more secure.

Registering as a Corporation

The requirements and reasons for using a registered agent as a corporation are the same as using a registered agent for an LLC but with an additional layer. You’ll need to include the name and address of your registered agent on your articles of incorporation in your home state. If you decide to conduct business in another state, you’re required to register as a foreign corporation in that state.

Using a registered agent can also spare members of your corporation from having to decide who will be responsible for receiving government mail or accepting legal paperwork.

When you register as a foreign corporation, you’re required to have a registered agent with a presence in that state. If you aren’t physically present, it’s extremely important to have a responsible party who can accept legal notices or government mail on your behalf.

How Can Mosey Help If You Need a Registered Agent?

If you’re establishing an LLC, a corporation, or a foreign corporation, you’re required to have a registered agent. Mosey can act as your official registered agent in your state. Our compliance platform is designed to act as a virtual registered agent.

The best part? Our registered agent service is already integrated into our business compliance platform. There’s no need to hire a third-party registered agent or use an exterior service when you can digitally view your mail from anywhere in the world simply by checking your Mosey dashboard.

Staying Compliant With Mosey

Business compliance is what Mosey does best, and our automated compliance platform provides business owners with all the information and insights they need to maintain compliance. You’re able to spend more time managing your business while Mosey supports you in the background — and our registered agent service is integrated into the platform for convenience and ease of use. Schedule a demo with Mosey to learn how we can make it easier to run your business.

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