Limited liability company (LLC) service companies can help you set up a new LLC, but they have different specialties and aren’t equally good in all situations. In this guide, you will learn about the best LLC services currently available and why they made this list while other companies didn’t.

ZenBusiness: Best for most small businesses

ZenBusiness is ostensibly an LLC formation company, although it also supports partnerships, corporations, and even nonprofit organizations. It offers three pricing packages, charged annually and excludes any government fees, to help with different needs.

Its starter package includes an operating agreement, filing articles, one year of registered agent services for managing documents, and a certified public accountant (CPA) assessment to ensure your business follows the correct accounting procedures.

However, the starter package still requires some work for things like registering for an employee identification number (EIN) and similar tasks. ZenBusiness takes over areas like this for its Pro and Premium packages, where it also helps prepare and file annual reports, supports opening business bank accounts, and so on.

The crucial thing to understand about ZenBusiness is that it wants to provide ongoing management services for your business rather than help with your initial setup. Its introductory prices are low because it hopes you’ll continue being a customer over time, and that’s where its real profit is.

Most of its functions are automated, which helps reduce the number of errors and ensure accuracy in all filings. Notably, it also adjusts its speed based on the package you choose. The premium level might have a turnaround of as little as three days, while those in the starter package may need to wait up to two weeks.

Overall, ZenBusiness is a reliable LLC formation service, and it has an excellent customer support team capable of providing personalized advice. However, it’s not as good of a choice if you want to form your LLC and then drop the exterior support. If ZenBusiness sounds like the right choice for your company, check out our full ZenBusiness review.

What We Like Most:

  • Formation in multiple business types
  • No pushy up-sells
  • Annual report filing available

The Downsides:

  • Not a great fit for business owners looking to spend as little as possible and DIY annual report filing

IncFile: Best for affordable formation

IncFile, as its name suggests, is particularly good at incorporating companies under different roles. While it can help with most businesses, it’s not a good choice for forming partnerships, although it can provide compliance services after you start a partnership.

One of the standout aspects of IncFile is how most of its services utilize a variable pricing model. For example, its business formation services have different prices depending on state fees, so you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 for an LLC in Kentucky to $520 for one in Massachusetts.

IncFile also provides optional accounting services, ranging from acquiring an EIN ($70) to help with regulatory compliance. Its overall services aren’t incredibly unique, but the fact that most services are optional means you can save money if you want to do some things yourself.

In that sense, IncFile is an excellent choice for cheap LLC formation. If you go all-in on its services, which you might after the frequent upsell attempts, you’ll probably end up paying similar costs to what you’ll see with most other services.

In other words, IncFile is an excellent choice for partial do-it-yourself (DIY) formation, but there’s no reason to choose it over an all-inclusive service if you want as much help as possible. Its unfavorable history with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it lost accreditation after hundreds of disputes, also makes it harder to recommend the company. If IncFile sounds tempting despite the BBB issue, check out our full IncFile review for more information on it.

What We Like Most:

  • LLC formation on a budget
  • Affordable non-profit formation

The Downsides:

  • Spotty customer service
  • Not the fastest turnaround

Northwest Registered Agent: Best privacy & security

Despite what its name implies, Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t focus specifically on the Pacific Northwest area of the United States. It has more than 200 customer service staff (known as “Corporate Guides”) across the country.

Somewhat unusually, Northwest Registered Agent gives a high amount of independence to its Corporate Guides. This means more variation in activities and services depending on who you work with, but it tries to balance this by having regular training and oversight practices to ensure each agent meets its overall standards. As a paperwork-focused company, Northwest Registered Agent provides help for most types of businesses but does not do anything for sole proprietorships.

The main thing that sets this company apart is its focus on acting as a registered agent and providing support with paperwork and similar issues. It has a relatively high up-front cost compared to some other LLC formation agencies, but the price drops by almost half in later years if you only want it to continue acting as your agent.

As a registered agent, it’ll receive mail on your behalf, which it scans and forwards to you while isolating junk mail. This is especially useful for creating and preserving records of communications, and it’s a nice touch that makes its service more valuable overall.

The downside to this company is that its services are uniform, so you can’t reduce the cost by excluding certain things. This makes it functionally the opposite of IncFile, but there are times when it’s nice to get the full package with no other decisions necessary. For more information on Northwest Registered Agent and it's a la carte services, see the full Northwest Registered Agent review here.

What We Like Most:

  • Top notch privacy
  • Ongoing registered agent services
  • Great customer service

The Downsides:

  • Not great for business owners looking to incorporate on a tight budget

LegalZoom: Best A-Z service

Most people don’t associate legal services with the word “speed,” but LegalZoom aims to minimize delays so that you can file paperwork and turn your attention back to other matters. The most significant difference this company has its focus on legal services through connections with independent attorneys.

For clarification: LegalZoom does not directly provide legal services and cannot provide legal advice on any matter. However, because it can connect you to licensed attorneys, you can go through it to get legal help if you ever need it.

Unsurprisingly, LegalZoom is a good fit for all types of businesses. While individual members may specialize in forming certain types of businesses, it has enough connections to find someone who’s a good choice for almost any type of LLC.

LegalZoom offers two primary pricing areas for its services. The first area is its package setup, which is divided into Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. The Express Gold is only slightly more expensive than the Standard package but adds in rush processing and express shipping, which can help you open your business sooner.

LegalZoom also provides a la carte pricing for other services, ranging from business compliance to trademark registration and monitoring, entity conversion, and more. As mentioned above, it can also connect you directly with an attorney if you want genuine legal advice and not a standard form. That’s a plus few competitors can match.

The main downside of LegalZoom is the cost. It’s often more expensive than most of the competition, especially if you purchase several add-on services. That makes it much harder to recommend unless you’re ready to pay lawyers’ fees. For more information on LegalZoom’s services, check out our full LegalZoom review.

What We Like Most:

  • One stop, A-Z service
  • Lots of options
  • Good privacy & security

The Downsides:

  • Not the cheapest option

Rocket Lawyer: Best for ongoing legal help

Rocket Lawyer is one of LegalZoom’s main competitors. It stands out by providing a monthly subscription plan that offers a 30-minute consultation for every new legal project and unlimited Q&A with an in-house attorney. That’s correct, an in-house attorney. While the lawyer still works for Rocket Lawyer, it does provide actual legal services.

Generally, the monthly plan is its best offer, but it also offers a one-time incorporation service for creating an LLC. That includes support with preparing and filing the articles for the organization, hard copies of the completed versions, a search of state databases, and more.

This is a moderately expensive option, though, and it includes LLC formation in the regular monthly plan. You’ll save money through the one-time route if you don’t need ongoing legal support, but if you expect to talk to a lawyer regularly, there’s something to be said for its monthly subscription. Outside of all of that, it offers registered agent services with a discount for members.

It’s hard to overstate how valuable access to an on-call attorney is, especially with monthly costs that are a fraction of what you’d usually pay per hour for a good attorney. The one downside is that the attorney works for Rocket Lawyer, not for you, but there’s generally no conflict of interest because your legal needs rarely have anything to do with its employer.

Overall, Rocket Lawyer is a good LLC formation option for anyone who needs lots of legal support, but it’s not nearly as notable outside that range. Check out our full Rocket Lawyer review for more information on its services.

What We Like Most:

  • Great for business owners looking for ongoing legal help
  • Comprehensive services

The Downsides:

  • Not great for business owners just looking to incorporate

Inc Authority: Best for building business credt

Inc Authority is an experienced LLC formation company started in 1989. Some other LLC service companies are less than five years old, and the difference in experience shines through its focus on helpful advice. It’s suitable for LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits but not for partnerships or sole proprietorships.

The thing that gets most people’s attention is its “free” package, which includes things like one year of registered agent services, articles of organization, business name availability search, and even one hour of live meeting time with a tax expert. The free is in quotation marks because you’ll still need to pay state fees.

This is a solid offer, especially if you’re on a tight budget, and it knows it. Its main goal in offering this package is to encourage you to continue working with it once you’re more established. The full packages start at several hundred dollars and go up from there.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the paid packages are more expensive than most competitors offer, it also offers some rare and even unique services as part of those costs. For example, its Tycoon package includes things like credit-building software, a credit coach for the business, and registration with a credit bureau.

Inc Authority may have a somewhat unassuming name, but its premium services are certainly worth examining if you can afford them. For more details, check out our full review of Inc Authority.

What We Like Most:

  • Good option for business owners looking to build business credit
  • Low cost during the initial year

The Downsides:

  • Some on-going costs

Swyft Filings: Best for flexible value

Swyft Filings is a relatively affordable option for establishing LLCs, with a basic plan that covers essential services like submitting documents and access to an online account that stores their relevant records.

Like Inc Authority, Swyft Filings is suitable for LLCs, corporations, and nonprofit organizations, but it doesn’t work with anyone forming partnerships or sole proprietorships. It’s not that it’s fundamentally flawed at it. Instead, it doesn’t do it at all.

Its higher tiers include additional business-oriented services like creating and hosting a website, which can be useful if you don’t already have a plan for that. Like other registered agents, it also provides electronic delivery for documents.

While not quite the cheapest option on the market, Swyft Filings is still a low-cost service provider. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include registered agent services as part of any regular package, so you’ll have to buy that separately if you need it.

Generally, it also offers solid customer support and an online learning center with access to many guides, ebooks, and industry reports. Ultimately, Swyft Filings is a high-speed, no-frills service that works well for more straightforward businesses but may fall off somewhat for more complex needs. For more information on whether Swyft Filings is the right choice for your business, check out our in-depth Swyft Filings review here.

What We Like Most:

  • No frills incorporation
  • Flexible options

The Downsides:

  • Not great for partnerships
  • Sub-par registered agent service

Recap: Best LLC Services of 2021

How We Assess LLC Formation Services

We assess LLC formation services by several different measures to determine whether they’re worth a final recommendation or not. A key thing to remember is that businesses specialize in different areas, so we evaluate them based on both how useful they are and on what they’re trying to be. Here are the major things we check.

Services Offered

Most LLC formation companies offer basic services like filing documents and acting as registered agents, but others stand out from the crowd by offering financial advice, legal advice, or even in-person consultations to help your business succeed. We assess LLC formation services both by the variety of services they offer and how satisfied their customers are.

Document Management & Online Experience

Document management is a fundamental aspect of LLC formation services. Indeed, on many levels, this is the single most important part of what they do. There are two parts to this that we consider.

First, we consider their expertise with document submission. This means filing paperwork with states, not having things get lost in the mail, and so on. Any errors in this process can stop you from opening your business on time, so it’s essential that they uphold the highest standards here.

The second thing we consider is how good they are at receiving documents. Many LLC formation companies act as registered agents, which means they get official documents and forward them to you (usually electronically).

On a related subject, we check the company’s experience online. Most people prefer managing their LLC formation process online these days, so the more experience a company has on the internet, the better.

Processing Time

Processing time is a crucial part of business formation. There are some processing times you can’t get around, especially when states are processing documents and have no rush options, but everything else is on the LLC formation company.

The best companies have short processing times, ideally under two weeks for most types of paperwork. A few companies can go 1-2 months, though, and that makes them a lot harder to recommend to new business owners.

Compliance

Compliance refers to an LLC formation company’s adherence to all relevant legal guidelines. That means they’re running their business well and managing all documents well. Some companies can afford to slack a little on processing times, but they cannot have problems in this area and still get a full recommendation.

This is crucial because problems with paperwork can stop you from opening your business. Worse, problems might come back to you later, after you’ve spent money to open your business, but before you’ve had a chance to recover those losses. In other words, this is the least negotiable part of our assessment process.

Customer Service

Having great customer service is a strong positive for any company, but it’s especially useful for LLC formation companies because their activities are essential to yours. Most LLC formation companies can address almost any problem within 24 hours. To a lesser extent, satisfaction guarantees fall into this area.

Price and Value

Finally, is an LLC formation company worth the cost? Companies provide different services, so evaluating this isn’t as simple as finding out who’s the cheapest and the most expensive. Instead, we assess companies holistically to see if they can provide good value for their price. Any company whose value is too different from their price doesn’t get a recommendation.


Filed under: Top Picks

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