After years of honing my research skills, I’ve put my trust issues and need to know everything to good use by searching for the best registered agent in Washington.
In my search I personally signed up with over a dozen registered agent services to compare their services, online presence, and customer service.
With countless hours of investigation behind me, I finally found my own registered agent.
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
Finding the best registered agent took months of scanning online reviews, comparing prices, and annoying customer service departments, but I eventually determined Northwest Registered Agent to be the best registered agent in Washington.
- They only cost $125.
- They have an easy-to-navigate sign-up system.
- They have an address in all 50 states.
- They will scan, process, and upload ALL my mail.
- They maintain an online account where I have 24/7 access to ALL my important documents.
- They send compliance deadline alerts so that I can stay in good standing with the Washington Secretary of State.
Finding a registered agent that offered everything on this list was rare enough. Finding a registered agent that offered everything on this list AND outstanding customer support secured Northwest’s spot at #1.
I don’t use “outstanding” lightly. As a self-proclaimed skeptic, I was suspicious of Northwest at first. So I called their customer service department, which is usually a weak link for a registered agent company.
Not for Northwest. The customer service agent who answered my call listened as I mumbled a few generic complaints I’d gotten from online reviews. From there he gave me pointed answers and advice that actually turned out to be helpful.
Did I happen to call their token overqualified agent? Nope. Every member of Northwest’s customer service team is able to hand out helpful advice because they all have real-life experience in the business world, speaking as previous lawyers, accountants, salespeople, and various other professions.
So while they deliver exemplary registered agent service, Northwest is #1 for their great customer service.
If you’d like your own registered agent to offer personalized guidance, 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 another quality registered agent.
They’re open during normal business hours to receive mail and important documents on your behalf. They’ll provide a Washington street address so that your personal information isn’t on public record.
Besides that, they offer a couple of features that not every registered agent has: a compliance deadline alert system and a dedicated account manager.
While the dedicated account manager only answers questions related to your own registered agent service, it’s still nice to have someone who knows your account. The compliance calendar is handy for staying on top of paperwork.
But Harbor Compliance’s best feature is easily their price. At $99, you won’t find a cheaper registered agent.
So if your Washington business could use a budget-friendly registered agent, head over to Harbor Compliance.
*Prices listed are per state, per year and do not include state fees.
FORMATING NOTE: SEPARATOR
Pinning down the best registered agent in Washington took hundreds of hours online and on the phone, but it was worth it to make well-informed recommendations for myself and for all other Washington business entities.
I wouldn’t call myself a know-it-all. Rather, I’m an individual who likes to get all the facts before I make any big claims.
That means I like to research. Ever since grade school, I’ve felt the need to get a handle on all the information available for myself. Originally, it was for the sake of learning.
As I got older, that impulse to gather the facts for myself became useful in the professional world. I had lots of ideas and the bandwidth to get those ideas off the ground.
But with big ideas comes big anxieties. As in, it became increasingly harder for me to trust anyone’s judgment other than my own. If it wasn’t me experiencing something, I needed opinions from only my most trusted friends or a close family member.
When it came time to form a Washington LLC (or two), I was sure that some of my business buddies would have experience with Washington registered agent services. Every business needs a professional registered agent service to deal with their legal obligations, so they had to know something, right?
Wrong. Every time I asked for recommendations on a registered agent in Washington, I got nothing. Most of my friends thought a registered agent’s name served the same purpose as a PO box.
This was disconcerting to say the least. I had done some precursory searches on what a Washington registered agent service is responsible for. Turns out, they handle all your personal information and keep you in line with the Washington Secretary of State.
That didn’t sound like a business decision to take lightly. My own registered agent would be safeguarding information that I didn’t want on public records and handling court documents on a regular basis. If the people I trusted couldn’t recommend a Washington registered agent service, who should I turn to?
As usual, the answer was me. I’ve always been there for me, after all. I was sure my Washington LLC would thrive once I got past this first obstacle, so I resolved to investigate every Washington registered agent service possible until I found the best.
What I didn’t anticipate was just how many Washington commercial registered agent services were on the market. One Google search and BAM! A whopping 5,000 results in a millisecond.
So I did what I do best: created a system to sift through information. In truth, I ended up evaluating a little over 60 Washington registered agent service options, starting with their online presence.
But soon, that wasn’t enough. Sure, I could read through thousands of online reviews all day every day, but how could I know for sure whether the registered agent service could deliver up to my standards?
The answer: sign up for over a dozen registered agent services on my own. That way I could back up my online research with my own experience.
So here we are. After grueling months of scouring the internet and signing up for each Washington registered agent service in this article, I found the best registered agent service on the market so that you don’t have to put in the legwork that I did.
Like I said, I had a system that led me to the top Washington registered agent service on the market. That system included three criteria.
But before we get to that, I need to outline exactly what a Washington registered agent service is supposed to be doing for your Washington LLC:
- Providing a physical address in Washington to list as a registered agent’s address on public records
- Scanning and uploading important legal documents (like service of process) to your account with all your online filings
- Accepting and forwarding ALL business mail (including legal mail), service of process notices, and official documents sent to your local office during regular business hours
- Serving as a point of contact for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office
- Sending notifications about important deadlines (e.g. annual report filings, formation documents, court dates, etc.)
Every business owner knows the importance of value or getting the most for your money. But it’s hard to evaluate value when you don’t know what you’ll actually be getting.
This leads me to my first rule: no upsells. Most registered agent services offer some features from this list. A fair amount even offer all of them. But some like to advertise the “full package” while hiding fees in the fine print.
These registered agent services make it seem like you’re getting everything on this list for a great price . . . but you aren’t. In a couple of cases, I found this out the hard way. It’s unethical and not a quality I’m looking for in my own registered agent service, so any commercial registered agent that tried to upsell me was off my list.
Next up: a registered agent had to have at least 10 years in business. While having that kind of experience on the registered agent scene doesn’t guarantee that a statutory agent knows what they’re doing, it doesn’t hurt. A new registered agent is more likely to mishandle documents or be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the Washington Secretary of State’s office.
An experienced Washington registered agent has a proven ability to handle legal mail and private information, which my business entity could benefit from. Any new registered agent with minimal experience was off my list.
Lastly, I looked for a Washington registered agent with a smooth online sign-up process and tidy online platform. In this day and age, online presence is crucial to the user’s experience. For Washington registered agents, that means providing an easy-to-use online account.
I don’t need to be wasting time trying to navigate a registered agent service’s online sign-up process, and neither should you. Whether it was overcomplicated sign-up steps or a clunky website, any prehistoric platform was a serious markdown for that registered agent.
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
When I first started searching for a Washington registered agent service, I thought I had a handle on things. Once I figured out their duties beyond providing a physical street address, I thought my search for the best would be a piece of cake.
In some ways, it wasn’t so bad. A lot of Washington registered agent options on my original list were eliminated thanks to the “add-ons” they hid in the fine print. I got really good at reading the fine print.
Other registered agent service options promised “fresh faces.” I saw right through that. I needed reassurance that my resident agent could handle a process server and properly process my business documents. Those newbies wouldn’t cut it.
Another chunk of Washington registered agents had the same price and offered the same services, but their online presence made me want to scream. “Quickly faxing” documents over shouldn’t be a part of a sign-up process.
Some websites just looked scammy. And they required far too much brain power to navigate. I needed my registered agent online account to be simple and accessible so I could view my legal documents whenever necessary. Registered agents that weren’t up to par were swept to the side.
Okay, so my system worked pretty well. It was still a lot of work. Along the way, I even gathered enough information to make a recommendation for the best LLC formation service, the cousin to registered agent services.
At the end of the day, I was left with 13 Washington registered agents that satisfied some, most, or all of my criteria. With one clear winner, of course.
Here’s what I came up with after months of toiling through dozens of results for “Washington registered agent” (from the best to not-the-best):
My Favorite Registered Agent Service: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest is my top pick for a Washington registered agent because they offer all the services I was looking for, can complete all legal obligations on behalf of my business entity, and have excellent customer service.
I was not expecting to find a registered agent service that exceeded my expectations, but Northwest did just that.
To start with the registered agent service basics, Northwest provided a physical street address so that my Washington business could have a local office to serve as a point of contact. The physical address was also listed on public record and on my formation documents under registered agent information.
That office was available during normal business hours to accept service of process, legal notices, legal documents, and all other types of mail addressed for my Washington office.
Northwest has a simple online account system that they update with any official documents that come their way. That means they received, scanned, and uploaded ALL mail sent to my business address, which I could access 24/7 through my online account.
In my time with them, they provided reliable service in handling my private information and sensitive documents. Thanks to the compliance calendar, I also received annual report reminders and notifications about upcoming deadlines for important paperwork.
This feature was especially nice. As a business owner, you have to juggle a LOT of paperwork, whether it’s formation documents, a filing fee, annual reports, or a registered agent form. Those compliance deadline alerts help you stay on top of paperwork and stay in good standing with the Washington Secretary of State.
Their delivery on registered agent duties and additional services boosted Northwest to the top of my list, but what sold me was their customer service department.
Their Corporate Guides, the in-house team of customer service agents, raises the bar for every other registered agent in Washington. Each agent has experience in the business world in fields ranging from marketing to entrepreneurship to accounting.
Thanks to their real-life experience, Corporate Guides are qualified to give advice outside of registered agent service information. When I encountered hang-ups with my new Washington LLC, the Corporate Guides were just a phone call away, helping me shoulder a lot of the pressure every business owner faces on a daily basis.
If you’re looking for a Washington registered agent service that will take care of your legal obligations AND supply small business advice in real time, I recommend Northwest Registered Agent.
Northwest is trustworthy enough to handle all your sensitive information and reliable enough to ease your mind if a process server shows up. They have the quality and personnel to cover all the bases a statutory agent should.
If you’re looking to change from your current registered agent, visit Northwest Registered Agent.
My Budget Pick: Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance is a worthy #2 pick for a Washington registered agent service thanks to their affordable services that get the job done.
Like Northwest, Harbor Compliance was able to check off all the boxes I was looking for in a registered agent service.
They’re available during normal business hours to process your mail, receive service of process, and upload important mail to your online portal. This Washington registered agent maintains a physical address to keep your Washington corporation on the good side of the state’s legal system.
Speaking of compliance, Harbor Compliance also has a compliance calendar that’ll help you file your annual reports on time. You won’t forget state fees or a random filing fee thanks to their notifications.
As far as additional services, Harbor Compliance does supply a dedicated account manager to answer all your questions following the sign-up process. Unlike Northwest’s Corporate Guides, the dedicated account manager can only field questions about registered agent services.
Overall, Harbor Compliance had a solid performance. They didn’t go above and beyond, but they are the most affordable option I could find while meeting all the qualifications I set.
If your company could use a budget-friendly registered agent, Harbor Compliance is the option for you.
They’re available during normal business hours to handle all your mail, receive service of process, and otherwise accept documents on your behalf. They provide a street address to keep on public record and keep your business on top of paperwork.
If your business could use an efficient registered agent in Washington that’ll be easy on your wallet, check out Harbor Compliance.
The Other Registered Agent Services
Other than my top 2 registered agent picks, I investigated 11 other options worth mentioning:
Rapid Registered Agent—A few fun features
This resident agent offers the basic services I was looking for.
They even offered some extras I hadn’t considered, like auto-filling paperwork. By now, you know how much I hate paperwork.
But at $120, they aren’t the most budget-friendly option.
Rocket Lawyer—Great for online legal services
Rocket Lawyer is mid-ranged at $149, but they do have a special feature: their online legal services.
These services include legal counseling and legal documents. If your business anticipates needing these kinds of services frequently, maybe the $149 is worth it.
Team ‘Nothing Special’
While these registered agent options weren’t horrible, they certainly weren’t the best. Each registered agent on this list had some flaw too large to overlook in my search for the best registered agent in Washington: SunDoc Filings ($159), Jumpstart Filings ($150), Swyft Filings ($159), Registered Agents Inc. ($200), IncFile ($119), ZenBusiness ($99), and InCorp ($99)
I picked apart every registered agent on Team “Nothing Special.” The promising ones were overpriced. The not-so-promising ones didn’t offer all the features I was looking for.
Team ‘Big Brand’
Unlike Team “Nothing Special,” Team “Big Brand” is very special. In fact, they specialize in being fancy. Their “premium” services included add-ons you don’t see in any other registered agent in Washington, like $1,000,000 identity theft protection. This Team includes CSC Global ($299) and LegalZoom ($299).
When it comes down to baseline services, these registered agents perform the same functions as many other registered agent options. That’s not to say that they aren’t quality services. They are. I just don’t think their fancy logos warrant their price tags.
If you prefer brand names to more basic registered agent options, Team “Big Brand” might be for you.
Wrapping It All Up
Thanks to years of fine-tuning my research skills and trust issues alike, I was equipped to conduct a thorough investigation into the best registered agent in Washington.
At the end of my search, I can confidently recommend Northwest Registered Agent as the best registered agent on the market.
Northwest is a nationwide registered agent service that provides a street address to keep on public record, serve as a point of contact for your business, and accept ALL your mail.
They are on the more affordable side of the registered agent market, and they have valuable features like the compliance deadline alert system that will keep your business in good standing with the state.
But their real standout feature is their Corporate Guides. These customer service agents can answer any registered agent-related questions you have AND provide small business advice.
When I first interacted with their Corporate Guides, I was skeptical about their credibility. But their advice is backed up with years of real-life experience in business-related fields. I had no complaints after discovering that.
That’s why I recommend Northwest to any business looking for a registered agent in Washington.
If you’re looking to change your own registered agent, visit Northwest Registered Agent today.
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