California Registered Agent
Do Business the Right Way
A California registered agent–also called an agent for service of process–is a third-party appointed by a business for the purpose of accepting legal notices and official correspondence. A registered agent in California must have a physical street address in the state (called a registered office) where documents can be served during regular business hours. State law requires that every business entity appoint a California registered agent when forming or registering a business.
With our registered agent service, get Privacy by Default®, free mail forwarding, free Phone Service for 60 days, and local Corporate Guides®—only at Northwest.
Everything You Need To Know About California Registered Agents:
- Get California Registered Agent Service
- What Do California Registered Agents Do?
- Legal Requirements for California Registered Agents
- How Do I Change My California Registered Agent?
- What Makes Northwest Different From Other Services?
- California Registered Agent FAQs
- How To Order Registered Agent Service
What Do California Registered Agents Do?
At minimum, your California registered agent will be the main point of contact between the state of California and your business. Your agent (in California, registered agents are sometimes referred to as “agents of process” or “statutory agents”) accepts all services of process and official mail from the state on your business’s behalf. Upon receipt of any notifications or lawsuits, the agent is then responsible for notifying you, the business owner.
However, the right registered agent service can do much more. At Northwest, we go above and beyond the minimum to ensure top speed, security, privacy and support.
What Are the Legal Requirements for California Registered Agents?
Per California Corporations Code 1700-1702, a California registered agent has the following requirements:
- Your business’ agent of process can be a registered agent service or any adult individual who is a California resident. Your corporation cannot be its own agent.
- The registered agent must maintain normal business hours and be able to accept hand-delivered service of process (no P.O. boxes).
- If a corporation is going to be a statutory agent for another business, it must first file a Section 1505 Certificate with the secretary of state.
- LLCs cannot be registered agents in California.
How Do I Change My California Registered Agent?
Already have a registered agent but want to switch? It’s a simple filing with the secretary of state, which we explain in detail on our change registered agents in California page.
What Makes Northwest Different From Other Services?
At Northwest, we do business the right way. We’re dedicated to getting you your docs fast, protecting your privacy and offering you support. Here’s how:
- Same-Day Scans, Instant Notifications: We accept and scan your docs at our local office the same day. We notify you instantly and reach out to you if your essential mail goes unread.
- Privacy by Default®: We automatically minimize the exposure of and access to your personal data. If we can put our address on a public doc instead of yours, we do. If we don’t have to list your personal info, we don’t. We have tough privacy policies to keep your data safe and private. And we never sell your data.
- Free Limited Mail Forwarding: Of course we’ll get you your state and legal mail. That’s our job. But what if we get some of your regular business mail? It happens a lot—clients and businesses trying to connect with you via your registered agent. We scan 10 documents per year for FREE. We can also scan additional mail at a per document rate of $15.
- Northwest Phone Service: We know your business needs don’t stop at formation. That’s why we now offer Northwest Phone Service, a feature-packed virtual phone line that allows you to call and text your customers from any device. Our in-house Phone Service is just $9 monthly, with the first 60 days included FREE of charge when you hire us as your registered agent.
- Free Credit Card Processing Consultation: Considering accepting credit and debit card payments? We can help you sort that out. When you hire us, you have the option to sign up for a complimentary in-house call with our card industry specialists who work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts on your behalf. Check out our Payment Processing Service page to learn more.
- Corporate Guides®: Have questions? We have answers. Our guides are business experts whose sole job is to provide phone and email support for all your toughest business questions.
California Registered Agent FAQs
Why Do I Need A California Registered Agent?
- State law requires all legitimate, registered businesses to appoint one.
- The secretary of state will reject your business filing if you don’t appoint a registered agent.
- A registered agent requirement gives the public and the state a reliable way to contact your business.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In California?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in California. With that said, however, after considering the registered agent requirements most business owners elect to hire a registered agent service instead. Why? Well although being your own registered agent will cost you $0, an California registered agent’s name and address becomes part of the public record. Additionally, the registered agent is required to be available to accept service of process during normal business hours 5 days a week.
Why Would I Hire A Registered Agent Service?
- If your business is web-based or doesn’t have a physical presence in California, the business needs an agent of process located inside state lines.
- Some California business owners hire registered agent services because their business doesn’t keep regular business hours, so they are unable to receive notices and services of process in a timely fashion.
- Many business owners desire privacy and don’t want their home or business address listed on public record as a point of contact, so they hire a registered agent.
- Listing an employee or family member as your statutory agent could create a lot of unwanted distractions and tension. Do you really want your employee or relative knowing the intimate details your business’ lawsuits? Do you trust this person to notify you immediately if they receive a service of process? If not, you could miss a court deadline before realizing it.
- If you don’t want the added responsibility of tracking mail and notices from the state, you can hire a registered agent to track important paperwork for you. Having an online account to help maintain your business is often worth the registered agent fee.
What If I Never Get Sued? Is It Still Worth Hiring A Registered Agent Service?
That depends on you. Some people rest easier knowing they’ll be notified right away if something urgent arises. An agent of process should also help keep you updated on any business reports due to California. And if you hire Northwest Registered Agent, in your online account, we’ll also provide you with great customer service, any form you could file with the state, and helpful tips for filing forms and paying the state with no additional fees. Plus, a registered agent service will simplify your life if you plan on operating in multiple states (you’ll also receive a discount with Northwest if you have registered agent service in multiple states).
What If I Get Sued All The Time?
We don’t charge more for high volume clients. However, if you know you’re going to get served hundreds of times a year, we should create a custom price for you that makes sense for both of us. Our typical clients receive less than 15 lawsuits a year and never pay additional fees.
What Kind Of Service Do I Get For $125?
We have the most thorough alert system in the business. No joke. If you want us to bug you, or anyone else you elect, until you actually look at the documents we’ve uploaded to your account, we can accomplish this. We do not take our responsibility as your statutory agent lightly. When we receive a document for you, it starts a serious timeline and over the course of the next week, you’ll receive regular emails, phone calls, faxes, texts, and lastly mailed notices to look at your lawsuit. We can notify your California attorney for certain documents. You can customize the whole experience and decide who gets notified about what type of document. For heavy volume lawsuit clients, we have a special management portal where all your docs are OCR’d and customizable to meet your needs.
When we receive a notice from the state or a service of process for your business, within minutes we will scan the documents at our California office and upload them to your account. When this happens, you’ll instantly receive an email prompting you to log in to view the documents. We’re the only national registered agent service that uploads everything locally at our California office to your account in real time. We also send you reminders when any business reports to the California secretary of state are due. We don’t upsell your annual report or dupe you into having us file it so we can charge more fees. We give you the link, the form, and the instructions to do it yourself and save money. Once you hire Northwest Registered Agent, you will also have instant access to your online account. There, you’ll find every California state form you could file, and each form is pre-populated with our information to make filing simple. We also include ordering sheets and all kinds of California state forms that aren’t easy to find. We’ve worked with the California secretary of state for years. They know us, we know them. We’re great at helping smooth out any bureaucratic wrinkles your business may encounter with the state.
Where Is Northwest’s Registered Office In California?
Our office is in Redding, CA. From there, we scan and upload your documents in real time.
Is there a difference between registered agent, agent of process, or statutory agent?
Only in the name. All three come with the same job description.
Can I Use Your California Registered Office Address For Everything On My Business Filing?
Definitely! We’re the only national registered agent service that allows our clients to list our address for everything when you’re doing a filing to keep your private address off public records.
Can I Have My Business’s Mail Delivered To Your California Office?
We don’t want ALL of your business mail. It’s not what we do. And it wouldn’t serve you well. You wouldn’t have unique address or suite number. Any mail we receive on your behalf would come to to Northwest Registered Agent, care of you.
But we understand that businesses and clients sometimes reach out to you through your registered agent. Through us. That’s why we give you 5 FREE scans of regular business mail a year. You can request any additional documents to be forwarded at a per document rate of $15.
Do I Hire A Registered Agent Before I Start My Business In California?
Yes. You will be unable to form your California LLC or corporation if you don’t have a designated registered agent (aka: statutory agent or agent of process) when forming your business.
How Do California Registered Agents Get Served?
A process server will deliver a summons form and a complaint form to the registered agent’s address. The registered agent will sign any of process server’s documents acknowledging receipt of the lawsuit. If you’ve hired Northwest, we’ll scan the documents, upload them to your account, and notify you immediately.
How Do I Search For A California Registered Agent?
You can do a California business name search.
- Type in the name of the company you’re searching for.
- In the results, you’ll find the registered agent’s name and registered office street address.
If you want to legally notify a business through their California registered agent service, just send a certified letter directly to the registered agent name and registered office address.
How To Order California Registered Agent Service:
You sign up online, clicking on one of the buttons or links that says “HIRE US.”
We collect the first year of the registered agent service fee up front.
For new businesses, we’ll become your California registered agent service once your business registration filing with the California Secretary of State is complete.
About a year later, we’ll send you an invoice for another year of California registered agent service. If you want to keep using us, great; if you don’t, you can easily cancel.
With offices in every state, we make it easy to add registered agent services anywhere in the country. We don’t farm out work (or your info) to other companies—wherever you are, WE are your registered agent.
We make your account a real go-to resource for you, not just for California registered agent service or paying a bill but for keeping up with California corporate compliance.