Forming a separate business entity like a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a great way to look professional while also protecting yourself from liabilities arising from your business. Plus it gives you a lot more tax freedoms.
But one thing that scares many new business owners is the idea that LLC formation is complicated. You have to check state laws and learn about registered agent services (or be your own) and then go through the formation process making sure you don’t miss anything.
Enter the best LLC service.
LLC formation services online like ZenBusiness, Rocket Lawyer and Swyft Filings have sprung up all over the internet offering business formation services at low cost with excellent customer service.
The best LLC service also helps out not just with business formation services but additional legal services like an Employer Identification Number (EIN), an Operating Agreement and other worry free support.
Of course finding the best LLC service with so many options available is no easy task when you have to compare pricing, ease of use, additional legal services and ongoing compliance.
But we’ve saved you time and condensed a wide array of best LLC service providers complete with their own additional legal services so you can find out which business formation services suit you best.
ZenBusiness – The Best Online Incorporation Service
Set up in 2015 in Texas, ZenBusiness quickly became the country’s best online incoporation service available online. One of the reasons for their rapid growth is that they offer a comprehensive portfolio of services.
ZenBusiness goes beyond standard online incorporation services
As the best online incorporation service, ZenBusiness takes care of its clients’ domain name registration and administration, and its team can even build your LLC’s site.
Depending on your registration plan, ZenBusines can also open a business bank account for your company or find a suitable business insurance broker.
How much does ZenBusiness cost?
As the top online incorporation service on our list, ZenBusiness offers attractive pricing plans, each including a wide variety of services. State fees apply to each plan.
Starter – $49 per year
This plan includes a standard online incorporation and document filing speed. They will also write your LLC’s Operating Agreement, where the business’ ownership and primary duties are listed. The plan also includes a standard accuracy checkup.
Pro – $249 per year
You get everything in Starter, plus a worry-free compliance guarantee and an EIN. The Employer Identification Number is your company’s primary identification document and something you can’t do without.
It is possible to apply for and get one yourself, but the process is both nerve-racking and time-consuming. Typically, EIN handling is not included in a incorporation service’s standard service.
The Pro plan also includes a banking resolution. This is a document authorizing one of your employees to manage the company’s bank accounts.
Premium – $349 per year
The highest price point includes everything in the Pro package, plus thesetup and administration of a domain and a business website. I think this plan provides the best value for your money, because you do not need to hire a separate company to get your business online.
- One of the best online incorporation services online
- A wide service portfolio
- You can build your own pricing plan
- Fellow reviewers have pointed out that registration times are shorter than expected. One ZenBusiness client had his LLC registered in 3 days in Colorado, albeit the registered agent had said two weeks. I don’t think this is precisely a disadvantage.
Rather than specializing in online incorporation services, Rocket Lawyer is a legal service website. Rocket Lawyer offers a business formation service, along with contracts and legal documents preparation, regular paper reviews and analyses, and one-to-one sessions with a lawyer: online or over the phone.
How much does Rocket Lawyer cost?
Rocket lawyer’s legal services are available a-la-carte. For example, you need a legal form created on behalf of your business, which will cost you just over $40.
A 30-minute consultation with a lawyer over the phone costs $60. The business formation service of Rocket Lawyer costs just under $100 per business entity, plus any state fees that may apply. This best online incorporation services cost $150 per year.
Membership plan – $40 per month
Rocket Lawyer’s membership plan is a far better deal. It comes with a 7-day free trial. If you are not happy with your purchase, you can take advantage of the company’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
The online incorporation service is 25% cheaper, your first LLC will be set up for free, and you’ll only have to cover the government fees.
The membership plan also includes one 30-minute phone consultation with a layer per month. Unfortunately, Rocket Layer’s plan does not give you online access to a business tax specialist, which is a serious drawback.
Stellar customer care
Rocket Lawyer is known for its outstanding customer support. You can reach their customer service agents via email, phone, or live chat. The phone lines are open Mon-Fri from 6 am to 6 pm P.T.
- Outstanding customer support
- 7-day free trial
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Almost all services are available with a one-time payment
- Expensive online incorporation service
- Users forget to cancel their subscription after the free trial and get billed every month
- No tax consultations
Incfile is one of the best online incorporation services, and their business formation service is also at a very high level. The company was founded in 2004 in Houston, TX. Since then, it has developed a strong network of loyal clients across the country.
Worry free compliance guarantee
With Incfile, you can rest assured that all of your corporate documents and tax declarations will be filed on time. This will give you the peace of mind to focus on your small business’s growth.
While forming an llc, this incorporation service gives its clients free guidance and tips during the sign-up process. Every step is personalized based on the client’s location and the type of small business they wish to start.
Incfile registered agent has many affiliates
As you progress through the registration process, you’ll see promotional offers from Incfile’s partners. The Bank of America will offer you a cheaper business account, while SnapWeb will offer to build your company’s site at a bargain price.
With every add-on, your membership fee will go up because of the added affiliate commissions. Let us now have a look at Incfile’s membership plans.
How much is Incfile per month?
The Incfile registered agent is free for one full year. That’s right, their Silver plan costs $0, and you’ll pay only the business registration fee in the respective state. After the first year, the online incorporation service will cost you $119 a year.
Incfile offers two paid pricing options: Gold and Platinum. To determine how much each of these packages will cost you, you have to specify what type of business you’d like to open and where.
Let’s say you’d like to open an LLC in Alabama; then you’ll get the following quotes:
- Silver – $215 ($0 + $215 state fee)
- Gold – $364 ($149 + $215 state fee)
- Platinum – $514 ($299 + $215 state fee)
The Gold and Platinum packages include a fee operating agreement and banking resolution. Still, only the most expensive plan includes a business contract template and a free domain name, and email service.
- The silver plan costs $0 a year
- One year of free online incorporation services
- Reliable customer support
- No one-to-one consultations with an attorney
- Frequent upsells
Northwest Registered Agent
The Northwest Registered Agent is your best online incorporation service if you’d like to set up an LLC and contract a registered agent to represent it before the taxation authorities at the same time. You can be sure that your HQ address will remain off public records.
How much does Northwest Registered Agent Charge?
This registered agent offers two pricing options:
- Registered Agent service – $125/year
- LLC setup service $39 + state fee
If you hire Northwest to set up your LLC, you’ll get one year of free registered agent services. The fee of $125 applies for every year after that.
We’re just not annoying
This is Northwest Registered Agent’s pledge of transparency. As one of the market leaders in business formation, Northwest does not rely on upselling to increase its profit. Instead, they have a steadily growing number of loyal customers.
The best thing about setting up your first limited liability company through Northwest is that you will be using their physical address from the onset. Keeping your H.Q. address off public records means that you aren’t going to receive junk mail.
Personal approach to every customer
Northwest Registered Agent does not use an external customer care agency. Instead, every official takes incoming calls from current and potential customers.
They are ready to answer all questions that you may have patiently. To say that Northwest’s customer support is the best in the field certainly isn’t an overstatement.
While writing this post, I called them several times to inquire about different aspects of their service and test their customer support’s response time.
I was pleasantly surprised because not once was my call put on hold. The standard for good customer service is between three and five minutes wait time.
All documents emailed to you
When Northwest receives a document on your behalf, they scan it and email it to you as a pdf file. At the same time, you’ll get a reminder on your mobile that new mail has arrived.
- The initial price includes LLC setup
- Excellent customer support
- Timely reminders about oncoming payments and submission deadlines
- With the optional add-ons, the annual fee can reach $335
- For over 20 years in Business, Northwest Registered Agent has got suspiciously few reviews
Launched in 1999, LegalZoom is one of the veterans in the best online incorporation services business. This online provider of legal services can help you set up an LLC, act as your registered agent, and take care of your trademark and copyright protection.
The largest trademark filer in the U.S
Legal Zoom CEOJohn Suh says his company’s the largest trademark filer in the U.S. and has also registered the largest number of small businesses since its establishment.
If you are a LegalZoom’s client, you can turn to them for legal help whenever life throws you a curveball. You can be sure that their reaction will be swift and adequate.
Their legal experts can handle the unexpected – draft wills and write divorce claims, but also proactively help you stay on top of your company’s paperwork, including taxes, licenses, and permits.
The LegalZoom controversy
In 2008, the North Carolina State Bar declared LegalZoom’s services illegal and requested that they be discontinued immediately.
It is already possible to open an LLC in N.C. with LegalZoom’s assistance. In 2015, the company published a statement saying that they no longer were at loggerheads with the state regulator. Currently, LegalZoom is among the most popular online incorporation services in North Carolina.
How much does LegalZoom cost?
LegalZoom offers three pricing options:
- Economy – $79/year
- Standard – $329/year
- Express Gold $349/year
Whichever you may choose, state fees always apply. Given the negligible difference between the Standard and the Gold plan, I think the latter is their best deal. It has the shortest delivery times, and all of your orders are handled with the highest priority.
Regardless of the plan you choose, LegalZoom will take care of the business filing procedure as your online incorporation service. Their team will also handle articles of organization and conduct their Peace of Mind review before the registration of your business is finalized.
- One of the oldest registered agents in the U.S.
- Wide service portfolio
- Online access to various document templates
- LegalZoom’s customer support can improve further
- Few services are available a-la-carte
Harbor Compliance is a top provider of LLC formation, registered agent services, and compliance solutions in the United States. Since the company was founded in 2012, Harbor Compliance has helped over 25,000 businesses overcome various legal challenges.
Sign up for an introductory phone call
Harbor Compliance has developed a unique sign-up process. The registered agents reviewed above ask you to fill in an online questionnaire or an order form.
By contrast, Harbor Compliance asks you to sign up for an introductory phone call with one of their representatives. This personal approach makes the company’s potential clients feel really special. Once you sign up, you can expect a call within 24 hours.
Harbor Compliance’s most popular services
The company is mostly famous for its compliance services. These include compliance documents, foreign qualifications, licensing, and annual reports.
Of course, they can set up your LLC, and their registered agent service costs just $99 a year. You can cancel the subscription at any time without any penalties.
If you’d like to set up an NPO, Harbor Compliance is your best choice of an online legal consultant. They have tailored a unique portfolio of services for NGOs and not-for-profit entities.
These include consultations with a third-party team of attorneys and patented software that automatically notifies the user of oncoming license renewals. Harbor Compliance guarantees that all of the filed nonprofit applications will get a 501(c)(3) approval.
How much does it cost?
Harbor Compliance offers two pricing plans:
- Formation – $399 a year
- Compliance – $799 a year
Each plan includes a free registered agent service for the first year. After that, you can add it to your plan for $99/year.
- Offers special services to NPOs & NGOs
- The best registered agent for compliance procedures
- Uses external attorneys
- Registered agent service is not included in the plans
The superpower of this affordable online incorporation service provider is business formation. And if you need a long-time registered agent service, you can take advantage of Incorp’s fantastic volume discounts. If you sign up for five years, your fee gets as lows as $67 a year.
If you suspect this may be a hoax, consider that Incorp has been given an A+ rating of credibility by the Better Business Bureau. Incorp’s customer support is OK, but the waiting times are a bit longer than what I expected.
Incorp charges an extra $18 for shipping, which brings the total price up to $117. Apart from that, Incorp is very good at handling business documents in a timely manner.
Key services & add-ons
Incorp’s subscription plan of $99 a year.It includes a company name availability check and articles of incorporation filing. Obviously, business owners will have to add some a-la-carte legal services to their business formation packages.
LLC Kit and Seal ($69 + $18-24 shipping): You definitely can do without this overpriced slipcase binder. There are cheaper ways to organize your business documents. As to your company’s seal, you can have it made elsewhere either.
Federal Tax ID Number or EIN ($69): This is something your business just can’t do without. You will be using your company’s EIN to hire or dismiss employees, file tax papers, and open business bank accounts.
Limited Liability Companies For Dummies” Book ($24.99): Really?! I mean, this is one of the most shameless upsells I have seen online.
The “For Dummies” book series is in every bookstore across the globe. I suspect that most of their staunch readers are jacks of all trade, but masters of none. If you want some professional advice on LLC formation, just ask Incorp’s experts.
- Great customer feedback
- Incorp charges some of the lowest rates in the industry
- You have to pay extra for an EIN and other essential services
- Beware unwanted upsells and affiliate commissions
- Extra shipping charges
As its name suggests, this registered agent offers a super fast filing and incorporation service. Swyft Filings guarantees same-day filing of all forms. Yet, it sits at the bottom of our list because none of their pricing plans includes a registered agent service. It costs an extra $149 per year.
Is Swyft Filings worth it?
This online legal services provider has been around since 2012. Their customer support is reachable via chat, email, or phone. The agents are available Mon-Fri from 10 am to 7 pm E.T. The response times are great, but the advice you can expect is somewhat superfluous.
They have three pricing options:
- Basic – $49 a year + state fees
- Standard – $149 + state fees
- Premium – $149 + state fees
Choose the basic plan if you only need an LLC formation service. All of the Standard and Premium plans’ services can be added to the Basic plan with a one-time payment.
The Standard plan includes an EIN and a Banking Resolution. Depending on whether you’d like to have an LLC or a corporation set up, this plan also includes a Custom operating agreement or Custom bylaws.
With the Premium plan, you get a free business site and web hosting, and electronic delivery of state documents. You’ll find an ownership ledger in the Customized Digital Corporate Kit, a customizable digital seal, and 20 custom stock certificates.
- Swift filing of all documents and forms
- Good customer service with fast response times
- Outstanding online reputation
- None of their plans includes registered agent services
- Most of their competitors offer cheaper standard and premium options