The words “registered” and “agent” are powerful, and when combined and uttered aloud, they have the innate ability to melt someone’s brain. Say we’re out grabbing coffee or at a party and someone asks what we do for work.
“Do you know what a registered agent is?” we reply. Then we watch that someone’s face go slack and eyes glaze over. Brain melted!
The problem is that most of us are good humans and we don’t like melting the brains of others. It’s long been a goal for us to create something that’s easy for anyone to look at and understand the gist of what we do.
But if explaining what a registered agent is in conversation is tricky, doing it with an image is nearly impossible. That’s probably why every single registered agent company out there depends on stock photos and mystifying graphics to illustrate the concept. Every registered agent company, that is, besides us.
Stock Photo Mania
If you were an alien researching registered agents online, you’d think that all registered agents were 30-somethings in black-framed glasses who spent their time opening envelopes in sleek, anonymous offices—smiling vacantly all the while.
Are some of us in our 30s? Yes. Do some of us smile vacantly? Definitely on Mondays. But other than that, the stock photos our competitors do little to reflect reality.
Other companies use cryptic graphics to explain how hiring a registered agent works. We’re looking at you, clip-art mash-up of an envelope, magnifying glass, laptop, and the scales of justice.
These images hint at what a registered agent does, but if you’re new to starting a business (or if you’re an alien starting a business on Mars), they probably wouldn’t help you understand what a registered agent actually does. So we did what we do best—we vanquished the competition, one registered agent avatar at a time.
Our Registered Agent Characters
What is the true essence of a registered agent? To capture it, we’d need details. Luckily, we’re good at details.
Mail, But Not Just Any Mail
Yes, registered agents receive mail on behalf of businesses, but only the most important, sensitive kind of mail: legal mail. This includes service of process (court documents like subpoenas and summons) and correspondence from the Secretary of State meant to keep your business in compliance. Once a registered agent accepts legal mail, they need to forward it to their client, and fast. Our illustrated registered agent has received, scanned, and uploaded legal mail to a client’s secure account—hence the alert “You’ve Got Mail.”
Business Address & Regular Business Hours
Your registered agent must have a physical street address—a PO box won’t work. This is so if a business is sued, the owner can’t say “Aw shucks, I never got the paperwork! It must have gotten lost in the mail!”
Technically, you can act as your own registered agent. To do so, you’d need to be physically present during regular office hours at the address you list and list your own address on public documents. This means taking a significant hit to your personal privacy. Few business owners—especially the ones just starting out—spend 8 hours a day sitting in one place. There’s just to much to do.
As evidenced from the sign on the wall, our cartoon registered agents (and real ones) keep regular business hours in a registered office so you don’t have to.
State Birds and Other Touches
At Northwest Registered Agent, we have a super power that’s as crucial as it is boring: we know the ins and outs of business formation and compliance in every single state. Arizona? Quirky publication requirement. Pennsylvania? The only state that requires a decennial report. Need to change your business address in Connecticut? Don’t file the LLC amendment unless you’re into wasting money.
That’s why our registered agent images vary by state. They’re men and women, young and old, mustached and bespectacled, sporting subtle details that tell you where they’re from. There’s the lei draped around the neck of our Hawaii registered agent. Obviously, our Arizona registered agent eschews an office houseplant in favor of a miniature saguaro. The appropriate state bird appears in each illustration. Have you ever seen Delaware’s state bird? Because it looks a lot like a chicken.
Will the fact that we created clever little registered agent avatars rock the industry? Probably not. But we hope it tells you something about who we are. We’re fun. We like a challenge. And we’re not too busy to solve problems, no matter how small.