Thanks to my inner skeptic and personal trust issues, I was able to dive into the world of South Dakota registered agent services and come to my own conclusions.
I performed months of online research and personally signed up with over a dozen South Dakota registered agent services to find the best registered agent in South Dakota.
If you’re frustrated by the lack of reliable information about South Dakota registered agent services, look no further than this article.
The Best Registered Agent Service: Northwest Registered Agent
- Easy sign-up process
- Mail scanning, forwarding, and uploading
- Alerts for important upcoming compliance deadlines
- $125 per state per year
- Corporate Guides who can answer your small business questions
- No dedicated account manager
Thanks to endless hours of price comparisons, navigating sign-up processes, and calling customer service agents, I found Northwest Registered Agent to be the best South Dakota registered agent on the market.
- They are a nationwide registered agent service with physical addresses in all 50 states.
- They will scan, upload, and forward ALL my mail.
- They maintain an online account where I can access all my important legal documents and mail 24/7.
- They cost $125.
- They have a simple sign-up system.
- They are available to serve as a point of contact during normal business hours to accept service of process and other legal correspondences.
- They send notifications about ALL compliance dates I need to meet to stay in good standing with the South Dakota Secretary of State.
When I drew up a list of expectations for my ideal South Dakota registered agent, it looked a lot like this one. That was enough to get me both excited about and suspicious of Northwest Registered Agent.
After all, no registered agent would offer everything I was looking for without a catch, right? Expectations for my own registered agent were high, so I was hesitant to put Northwest at the top of my list without investigating every inch of them.
So I targeted the department that’s usually a weak spot with South Dakota resident agents: customer service.
But as soon as the customer service agent picked up the phone, I knew I’d found the best South Dakota registered agent out there. He listened to problem after problem as I recited common complaints I’d found online.
After listening to my complaints and questions, he offered advice that was actually helpful. It wasn’t just registered agent-related material, either. He was able to provide small business advice, too.
That’s because Northwest’s customer service department is full of past professionals in fields like accounting, marketing, and law.
So while that list of services caught my attention, their customer service secured their spot at #1.
If your South Dakota business is searching for a registered agent, visit Northwest Registered Agent.
Best Budget Option: Harbor Compliance
- Simple online system
- Fast and prompt service
- All the basics
- Only $99*
- Dedicated account manager
- No small business advice
Harbor Compliance is the most budget-friendly South Dakota registered agent service I found that offered all the services I was looking for.
They handle and forward your mail and legal documents, are available to accept service of process during the day, scan and upload your documents to your online portal, and perform all the other basic services I searched for.
Another feature I didn’t see in other South Dakota registered agent services was their dedicated account manager. She was there to answer my questions after I finished signing up with them, though she didn’t have the experience to offer small business advice.
At the end of the day, Harbor Compliance is a South Dakota registered agent service that can get the job done for a price that’ll make your wallet happy.
If your South Dakota LLC is looking for a budget option that’ll complete all your legal duties, head over to Harbor Compliance.
*Prices listed are per state, per year and do not include state fees.
FORMATING NOTE: SEPARATOR
Researching and identifying the best South Dakota registered agent took months of online research and first-hand experience with over a dozen commercial registered agents.
Being a skeptic isn’t easy.
You don’t just sit back and critique. No, your mind is constantly scanning your surroundings for flaws and inconsistencies.
This isn’t the best trait when it comes to my personal life. I take forever to make the simplest decisions, like what ice cream flavor to get on a night out on the town. I have to weigh the pros and cons of each flavor, which ones I consistently like, whether new flavors are worth the risk, yada yada yada.
You can probably guess that choosing a South Dakota registered agent wasn’t the easiest decision for me to make. I was eager to start my limited liability companies, and I even did enough research to make an article for the best LLC formation services around.
But when it came to a commercial registered agent for my South Dakota business, I drew a blank. Being a skeptic means not trusting easily, especially when it comes to spending money.
So I turned to people I did trust: my friends. My circle of friends has their fair share of experience with business entities, so I figured a recommendation from them on a good South Dakota registered agent service would be a piece of cake.
I was wrong. They knew as little about South Dakota registered agents as I did, mostly thinking of it as a fancy mailbox service.
When my friends failed me, I had to turn to my own unique skill set, in which “skepticism” turns into “pragmatism” and “thoroughness.”
That’s right. It was time for me to research South Dakota registered agents all on my own, and I didn’t pull any punches.
That is, the first rounds of research went toward searching “South Dakota registered agent service” and reading all the advertisements, “About Me” pages, and online reviews I could find.
But I couldn’t stop there. To earn my stamp of approval, a South Dakota registered agent would have to pass my personal inspection. On my own time and dime, I created 13 LLCs with 13 different South Dakota registered agents.
Through my time and personal experience, I identified and categorized until I found the best registered agent on the market. Now your business entity can benefit, too.
Like I said, I’m a skeptic. That means I had no problem drawing up criteria to judge each South Dakota registered agent by.
First, I had to build a foundation about what responsibilities a registered agent service should be taking care of. If you don’t know what the job description is, how can you know whether you’ve found a quality South Dakota registered agent service?
In my relentless internet searches, I found a wide range of service that the ideal South Dakota registered agent would be responsible for:
- Providing a physical street address in South Dakota to list on business documents, formation documents, state forms, and public record
- Accepting, scanning, and uploading important legal documents (like service of process) to your online portal
- Maintaining an online portal with 24/7 access so that your limited liability company can keep business information in one place
- Receiving and forwarding ALL mail sent to your South Dakota registered office during normal business hours
- Serving as a point of contact for the South Dakota Secretary of State
- Staying available during regular business hours to receive service of process
- Sending reminders to file annual reports and otherwise maintain corporate compliance with a compliance deadline alert system
As you can see, a South Dakota registered agent service deals with sensitive information on a regular basis. They accept legal documents, accept service of process, keep you in line with the South Dakota Secretary of State, and maintain your company’s good standing with a compliance calendar.
It’s when a South Dakota registered agent advertises any of these features as “add-ons” that you should be worried. That leads me to my first rule: no upselling.
Registered agent services should be transparent about what they offer and how much their services cost. Any South Dakota registered agent service that hid “add-ons” in the fine print only for me to pay extra after signing up wasn’t going to cut it.
Another rule: at least 10 years in business. Registered agent services receive correspondence from the South Dakota Secretary of State, not to mention protecting your private legal information. It’d be a shame for a brand new registered agent to misplace your documents or screw something up, which would cost your business big time.
The final factor that guided my search for the best South Dakota registered agent was online presence. Any registered agent service can give you a physical street address, but not every registered agent has a smooth online platform.
Having an easy-to-use website and sign-up process is important for all business entities because time is money. Also, you’ll be accessing that online portal often. If the website is confusing or the sign-up process is outdated, the whole experience becomes a waste of time and energy.
While I do enjoy analysis, I didn’t anticipate the massive amount of brainpower and willpower that would go into this project.
Finding the South Dakota registered agent services was easy enough—there were over 60 search results from the get-go. It was weeding out the incompetent and scammy options that ate up my time and mental energy.
The first step was using rule #1. Once I got past the nice advertisements, I realized just how many South Dakota registered agents weren’t offering the whole package. They said they were, but they didn’t offer every service I was looking for.
Some would make it seem like they checked off all my boxes only for me to squint at the fine print and read about “minimal” extra charges for certain features. I wanted a South Dakota registered agent that didn’t have to hide extra fees. Any option that did was off the list.
Another chunk of competitors was eliminated thanks to rule #2. They tried to advertise their newness as an asset, saying they were “eager” and “fresh faced.” My limited liability company needed more than a South Dakota registered agent’s name and address, though. I needed a registered agent service with a history of responsibility. Not one looking for experience.
Lastly, any registered agent service with a clunky website or outdated sign-up process was off my list. In a day where business entities file online, I didn’t need a registered agent that required faxing in their sign-up steps. I wanted to appoint my registered agent online without getting a migraine.
At the end of the day, I had 13 notable registered agent services on my list—and one clear winner.
These are the 13 registered agents that made my final cut (from my favorites to least favorites):
My Favorite Registered Agent Service: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is a nationwide registered agent service that has all the qualifications I was looking for while exceeding my expectations in the customer service department.
As far as the legal obligations a registered agent service should fulfill, Northwest Registered Agent has everything covered. They provide a physical address for public records, a South Dakota registered agent’s name to list on all paperwork, and a local office to receive all legal correspondence on behalf of your business.
That means if a process server comes around, they’re available during normal business hours to accept service of process and any other legal documents that come your way.
Any new business could benefit from a user-friendly online account. I found Northwest’s online presence to be simple and effective. Your online account is available 24/7, and they scan ALL your mail, not just legal documents. That means your online account has all the information your business needs.
Speaking of mail, they forwarded ALL my mail in a timely manner. If I can trust them with the little things, I’m sure I could trust them with service of process.
Speaking of timeliness, Northwest has a compliance calendar that sends reminders for annual reports along with other deadline reminders. These notifications will help you file paperwork (like your annual report) on time, keeping your business in good standing with the South Dakota Secretary of State.
They’re available during normal business hours to monitor certified mail and basically keep all your ducks in a row. BUT there’s another feature available during regular business hours that most other South Dakota registered agent options slack on: customer service.
Northwest Registered Agent’s customer service team, the Corporate Guides, is a unit of professionals with real-life experience in the business world. These are former lawyers, accountants, salespeople, small business owners, you name it.
Their expertise allows them to hand out small business advice ON TOP OF normal resident agent counseling. They were there to answer my questions about LLC formation, marketing, and whatever other concerns popped up throughout the early days of my business entity.
I recommend Northwest Registered Agent to anyone looking for a South Dakota registered agent that truly cares about the success of your business.
They will provide a registered agent’s address to keep on file, send annual report reminders with their compliance deadline alert system, and everything else in their power to help you with corporate compliance.
If you’re looking to change registered agents, visit Northwest Registered Agent.
My Budget Pick: Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance is the best value option for a South Dakota registered agent because they’ll provide all the services you need in a registered agent for $99.
Harbor Compliance is #2 on my list for a reason.
Similar to Northwest, they have features that you don’t find with every other South Dakota registered agent, like sending timely reminders about annual filing deadlines and accepting service of process.
Those annual report reminders come in handy. It’s the little push that will keep you in good standing with the South Dakota Secretary of State.
Other than those services, Harbor Compliance takes care of the basics: providing a physical address, staying available during normal business hours as a point of contact, and forwarding mail that’s sent to your business address.
Another feature I wasn’t expecting was the dedicated account manager. She was there after I signed up with my new South Dakota registered agent to walk me through the next steps.
While she could answer any questions I had about my own registered agent, she wasn’t able to offer the small business advice that Northwest’s Corporate Guides could.
In fact, Harbor Compliance is all about meeting the bar. They can complete all the duties you need from a South Dakota registered agent, but they don’t have any single features that rise above the bar.
In comparison to other South Dakota registered agent services I investigated, Harbor Compliance covers all the bases your business needs from a statutory agent.
They’re the cheapest resident agent on the market AND they offered all the services I was looking for, though they didn’t have any particularly groundbreaking features.
If you’re ready to file a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form, look into Harbor Compliance.
The Other Registered Agent Services
Other than my top 2 picks for a South Dakota registered agent, I had my eye on 11 other registered agent service options. Here they are:
Rapid Registered Agent—A few fun features
Rapid Registered Agent isn’t a bad choice.
They’ll provide a street address, accept service of process, and do most other duties I looked for. They even have some extras I didn’t expect, like auto-filling forms and not charging for text reminders.
BUT they’re more expensive ($120) than Harbor Compliance for performing the same tasks. Not the best value choice in my book.
Rocket Lawyer—Great for online legal services
Rocket Lawyer is notable for its online legal services.
Sure, they’re a registered agent service, but they also have a team of licensed attorneys ready to provide legal advice.
However, if you don’t see your business needing that level of legal attention, Rocket Lawyer isn’t especially worth the $149 for its registered agent services.
Team ‘Nothing Special’
As far as South Dakota registered agent services go, Team “Nothing Special” is . . . nothing special. These are the commercial and noncommercial registered agent services that didn’t quite make the cut for one reason or another.
Some had mind-numbingly slow websites. Others did well enough to keep me in line with the South Dakota Secretary of State, but their prices were too high for me to label them a “value option.”
Without further ado, Team “Nothing Special” includes Swyft Filings ($159), Registered Agents Inc. ($200), IncFile ($119), SunDoc Filings ($159), Jumpstart Filings ($150), ZenBusiness ($199), and InCorp ($99).
Feel free to look into each of these South Dakota registered agents for yourself, but none of them blew me away.
Team ‘Big Brand’
You know those popular gym clothes that everyone raves about but you found dupes online that work just as well? Team “Big Brand” runs along those lines.
This team includes CSC Global ($299) and LegalZoom ($299). These are the South Dakota registered agent services that have a brand name well known enough to carry weight in the business world.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best option for all or even most South Dakota LLCs. Sure, they can write nice emails, cover your filing fees, and plaster fancy logos on everything. But I was looking for value options.
If you’re looking for a South Dakota registered agent that’s well established and offers “premium” services, Team “Big Brand” might be for you.
Wrapping It All Up
Once I realized nobody in my inner circle could recommend a South Dakota registered agent service, I decided to put my inner critic to the test. Over the course of the next few months, I researched every South Dakota registered agent I could find—and now have my own recommendations!
Speaking of, I recommend Northwest Registered Agent to any South Dakota business looking for a quality, trustworthy registered agent service.
Northwest Registered Agent fulfills all the legal obligations your business needs in a South Dakota registered agent service. They provide a South Dakota street address to file on your annual reports.
Once the physical address is taken care of, they’ll receive your important mail, upload it to your online portal, and forward it to you.
Besides receiving mail and acting as a point of contact for the South Dakota Secretary of State, Northwest also has a compliance deadline alert system to keep you on top of your annual report, filing fees, and court dates.
But these aren’t the features that sold me on Northwest. That would be their Corporate Guides.
Corporate Guides make up their in-house team of customer service agents that go above and beyond questions about your statutory agent. These agents are previous small business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and any other business-related professional you can think of.
These Corporate Guides saved my South Dakota business in the early days of LLC formation. When I hit snag after snag in my business day, they were a phone call away to help troubleshoot.
That’s why I’ll recommend Northwest Registered Agent to anybody looking for an affordable, dependable registered agent service for their South Dakota business.
You can check them out for yourself at Northwest Registered Agent.
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