If you’re running a home-based business, LLC, or corporation – you’re most likely going to need a registered agent. But for businesses in remote areas that don’t easily get postal mail or home-based businesses that don’t want to post their address in public records, you’ll need a virtual mailing address as well.
Having two separate addresses for business can be frustrating because you’ll be receiving important mail at both addresses. We’re going to go through the details of having a registered agent and a virtual mailing address, and most importantly, if you can use just one address for both.
See How to Register a virtual mailing address for your LLC?
What is a registered agent?
A registered agent is a designated individual or business appointed to represent an LLC or corporation in the same state the company is registered in.
The registered agent needs to be a physical street address and cannot be a PO Box address. The registered agent is filed in official documents with the state, often called articles of organization.
This address will receive government documents, tax files, service of process (SOP like lawsuits, summons, or subpoenas), and any type of legal actions, on behalf of the business.
The registered agent needs to be available to accept any mail during business hours throughout the week’s working days. Mail sent to this address must be handled promptly and must be forwarded directly and quickly to the business owner in order to not miss any deadlines.
The registered agent address is available public record; it can be found by marketers, customers, or other companies.
What is the difference between a registered agent and a virtual mailing address?
A registered agent is used strictly for official government mail; you cannot use it to receive other business mail or personal mail. A virtual mailing address can be used for any type of mail; you can use it on your website, social media, flyers, or business card.
What type of addresses can be a registered agent?
- Home address: You can use your home address as a registered agent but since it will be public information, it’ll be inconvenient and would breach your home’s privacy. For example, if your customers find your home address, they can come to you with complaints at any time instead of reaching out by phone, mail, or email. This can also threaten the security of your home and family.
- Virtual Mailing address: A virtual mailing address is a real street address you can rent from a CMRA (commercial mail receiving agent) which is an authorized company from USPS to receive mail on your behalf.
They have secure mail facilities nationwide, with physical street addresses that can be used to receive business or personal mail. Since this address has a virtual mailbox, you can log in any time, from anywhere, to view and handle your mail. You can have mail and packages forwarded to your doorstep and track your mail status too.
Other actions include shredding mail, package storage, or opening & scanning mail items so you’d know the context of your mail, without even having the item itself! You can use this address as a registered agent since you’ll have direct access to your mail, at all times.
- Private Mailbox address: You can rent a private mailbox at a UPS Store, Postal Annex, or other private mailbox providers. However, the mailbox provider needs to be within your area so you can easily drive there and pick up your mail. They offer limited mail handling services and do not have mail forwarding or scanning services. Not all stores offer registered agent services so contact the store you’re interested in beforehand.
How to get a real street address as your registered agent?
A registered agent can be the physical address of any individual living in the same state as your company; their only job is to accept important mail during working hours and send it to you.
You can be your own registered agent, it can be your neighbor, a friend, a virtual mailing address, or you can look into registered agent services. They are legal companies that have annual subscription plans for a registered agent, among other legal processes.
You can sign up for a virtual mailing address for a commercial street address that you can use as your registered agent AND business address. This way, you only have one address to use for everything and you can keep your home address safe.
Read more about: How to Get a Physical Mailing Address?
Image Credit: By Golffy