When an entrepreneur goes to form a Virginia limited liability company (or corporation), one of the three or four required bits of information for the Articles of Organization is a designation of a registered agent of the LLC. The duties of a registered agent are purely ministerial–to serve as an official point of contact for the LLC. Can anyone serve as registered agent for your LLC? No, not in Virginia. The good news is there are several options: (i) an individual owner or manager of the LLC who is a resident of Virginia, (ii) an attorney licensed to practice law in Virginia, or (iii) a company that provides registered agent services in Virginia.

Options (ii) and (iii) typically will cost in the vicinity of $75-$350 per year, depending upon the firm and whether any additional services are included. So if an entrepreneur is particularly cost conscious, then it is common for him or her to serve as registered agent of the LLC.

What can go wrong with that approach? Well, there are several reasons why a business owner might not want to serve as registered agent. First, SCC correspondence (and correspondence from other state government agencies) directed to an LLC is typically sent to the registered agent. This would include SCC annual fee assessments. The risk is that a business owner lets a little detail such as opening mail and paying the annual fee slip through the cracks as a low priority item. If the annual fee is not paid, then after a limited grace period, the SCC involuntarily terminates the existence of the LLC. The bad news is that such an occurrence could have several negative consequences to the business owner (loss of limited liability protection, falling into default under important business contracts). The good news is that a terminated LLC can get reinstated through a relatively simple filing if the problem is addressed within five years (other states are not so forgiving…one of many reasons why Virginia is such a great place to do business). Second, in the unfortunate event that an LLC gets sued, the sheriff (or process server) typically serves process on the registered agent of the LLC. For some, the prospect of having the sheriff show up at their house or place of business would be embarrassing and stress-inducing.

The Perkins Law flat fee LLC startup package includes registered agent service for the first year of the LLC’s life. Email or call anytime to chat about your Virginia LLC questions.