Starting your own business is a rewarding experience, but anyone who has gone down that road can tell you that it’s also a difficult one. That’s where Inc Authority comes in.
Inc Authority is a business services company that helps business owners push through all of the tedious paperwork and confusing legalese to get their businesses up and running. If you’re more interested in getting to work on your products and services and tired of thinking about business filing and credit lines, Inc Authority might be what you’re looking for.
This Inc Authority review will cover everything the company offers to business owners and whether or not its services will be right for you and your business.
Interested in Inc Authority?
About Inc Authority
Inc Authority is a part of a group of businesses that was founded in 1989. The company helps people to open LLCs by offering advice on legal elements of opening a business, assisting with filling out forms and filing them, and giving advice on securing funding and getting business lines of credit.
The company claims to have helped more than 130,000 clients form their own businesses since it opened its doors more than 30 years ago. It’s composed of business experts, legal advisors, and tax and credit experts on staff to help advise new businesses.
Inc Authority offers its basic package for free. Their motivation for this is to gain your company’s trust and bring your company back to Inc Authority for further business down the line. Its free service is also unique among its competitors, particularly Incfile.
The free service tier is also why Inc Authority most frequently serves new business owners and smaller businesses. Businesses with smaller budgets and less capital make up much of the service’s clientele.
Structure Breakdown: Who is Inc Authority Good For?
When you first sign up for an Inc Authority account to create a business, you are presented with two options to file: LLC and corporation.
While these are the only two types of businesses that the company explicitly supports, it does have ways to help support other types of businesses by putting them under the umbrella of one of these two options.
Read on to see if the types of business you're hoping to create can work with Inc Authority’s services.
Inc Authority’s bread and butter are LLCs. The bulk of its services is geared explicitly toward LLC ownership, from sharing business registration files with all owners to articles of organization documents.
These are all elements to starting nearly any type of business, but they are more recognized as LLC necessities. When signing up for LLC services, Inc Authority also notes that 96% of their clients file as LLCs.
Pros of using Inc Authority for your LLC:
- They do not charge fees for basic stuff like signing as your registered agent for the first year or registering your LLC
- Since many of their customers are forming LLCs many of the products are geared towards LLC owners and the company provides excellent support with this.
Cons of using Inc Authority for your LLC:
- Customer support is limited and not always reliable
- Premium packages are pricier than some of the competition.
Inc Authority does offer services to corporations, with a particular focus on S corporations. It discourages C corporations, however, because Inc Authority believes they are less helpful to the owner.
S corporations are one of the major business types that Inc Authority supports. In fact, it encourages potential clients to incorporate as an S corporation on its blog.
It also dedicates multiple articles to describing the requirements an S corporation specifically has for filing and registering, meaning that Inc Authority is dedicating significant assistance to these businesses.
Business owners looking to file as an S corporation can even have their paperwork for this designation filed by Inc Authority in the free tier.
You can open a C corporation with Inc Authority’s help, but they will try to encourage you to open a different type of business.
It describes C corporations as liable for double taxing, which is why they should be avoided, according to the site. So while Inc Authority will technically help C corporations, it will encourage you to reconsider your filing.
Pros of using Inc Authority for forming a corporation:
- They will file your corporation for free.
- They offer a wide variety of services for corporations in their more premium packages.
Cons of using Inc Authority for forming a corporation:
- If you plan to open a C corporation you will be disappointed at the lack of assistance. They will help you file it, but they do not offer as much support as with S corporations.
Inc Authority does not currently have an option to open a business as a partnership, but it will work with business owners to use the partnership model as a starting point for an LLC or corporation. Inc Authority would likely suggest an LLC instead, but its experts are available to discuss forming partnerships outside of this business model.
As with partnerships, sole proprietorships are not expressly covered by Inc Authority’s LLC services.
In fact, visiting their blog will tell you that they are versed in the ins and outs of sole proprietorships, but would likely try to encourage you to open an LLC instead based on legal liability risks associated with sole proprietorships.
Inc Authority does not have an option to open a non-profit with their company, but some previous clients of Inc Authority have noted that they have successfully opened non-profits with Inc Authority’s help. You can instead use Inc Authority’s corporation services to create a non-profit.
Inc Authority Packages & Pricing
Free Package - $0 + state fees
Here are the benefits that come with Inc Authority’s free tier.
- Business name availability search: Inc Authority searches to ensure your chosen business name is available for use in your state.
- Articles of organization preparation and filing: This step has Inc Authority prepare your entity documents and paperwork and submit them to your state.
- Registered agent for one year: Inc Authority will act as your company’s registered agent for a period of one year, notifying you of upcoming filings.
- S corporation form: If you file as an S corporation, Inc Authority will file the appropriate paperwork.
The free tier also offers third-party access to the following benefits:
- Business funding analysis: You can get preapproved for between $50,000 and $150,000 in minutes through a third party.
- Tax planning: This is one hour of live meeting time with a tax expert about deadlines, deductions, inventory, and other questions.
- Business checking account: Inc Authority partners with Bank of America to offer a free business checking account.
Starter Package - $399 + state fees
Here’s what you’ll get with the company’s Starter package. It includes everything from the free tier, plus:
- Operating agreement and bylaws: Each member receives fully drawn up operating agreements and bylaws or their company.
- Record book and company seal: This is a collection of the company’s most important documents, along with a corporate seal.
- Initial meeting minutes: Meeting minute forms for conducting business meetings.
- Ownership certificates: All owners are given a copy of the official paperwork for their business.
- Tax ID Number (EIN): Inc Authority charges $49 for an EIN, but you can get one for free through the IRS.
- Evaluation for business credit and funding: Inc Authority will help you find the best sources for startup capital.
- Success advisor: Inc Authority will give you access to one of its success advisors for a one-year period.
Executive Package - $499 + state fees
Inc Authority’s Executive tier continues to build on the previous tiers, including:
- Business license report: This benefit gives you access to Inc Authority’s license search software, which tells you exactly which documentation you’ll need for your business.
- Website domain: Inc Authority will help you secure a domain for your company website.
Tycoon Package - $799 + state fees
Finally, Inc Authority’s highest tier is the Tycoon package, which is primarily focused on helping to build business credit. It includes:
- Express processing: Express processing lets you and your company jump to the front of the paperwork processing line.
- BizCredit Express: You have multiple different ways to help your business build credit.
- Credit coach for businesses: This feature gives you access to a credit coach for 90 days.
- Business Credit LaunchPad: This is Inc Authority’s credit-building software that serves as a guide for new businesses.
- Registration with D&B Credit Bureau: Dun & Bradstreet, a top credit bureau, will give you an initial credit report.
Overall Value vs. The Competition
On the whole, Inc Authority is more expensive than similar entity formation services like ZenBusiness. However, the additional services they offer, especially in the Tycoon package, are not offered by a lot of other providers. So, if you need credit help Inc Authority might be a good all-in-one option for you. Check out some of the comparisons below for more details on Inc Authority vs. the competition.
Inc Authority Document Management & Online Experience
Inc Authority’s online portal is fairly easy to use, especially when it comes to signing up. There are plenty of prominent calls to action around the site for new clients to sign up. It only takes four steps to sign up, including payment.
Once you begin using Inc Authority, you’ll do much of your work on the site through the company’s online dashboard. The dashboard gives you access to all of the software and tools you have access to with your service package.
Its document management is equally easy. You can access and download copies of your business documents and forms anytime you have online access. Inc Authority’s site also works well on mobile with easy-to-navigate controls and interfaces.
One of the downsides to Inc Authority’s online presence is its lack of a cohesive knowledge base. While it does have blog posts and FAQs that cover some of the basics of LLCs and corporations for newcomers to the business, these do not fill the gap left by a more comprehensive way to learn about forming a company.
Inc Authority Processing Time
Inc Authority’s processing time follows state guidelines, for the most part. This means that paperwork processing varies based on your location. Some states may take a week to file LLC or incorporation paperwork, while others may take as long as six months.
Inc Authority does offer an express processing upcharge of $49, which is free with the Tycoon package. This benefit effectively allows your company to jump to the front of the line when filing paperwork. You’ll still have to wait for the state to process it, but you won’t have additional wait times behind other companies also waiting for their respective state filing processes.
Inc Authority Compliance & Track Record
Inc Authority has 4.8 stars out of a possible 5 on TrustPilot, which is a customer review aggregator. It has nearly 5,000 customer reviews, 93% of which are five-star reviews.
Most negative reviews were unhappy with Inc Authority’s charges for services that are available for free elsewhere, such as EIN numbers, or with Inc Authority’s attempts to upsell customers.
In terms of compliance with state and local regulations, the company has experts to help ensure you are compliant with state regulations as part of their service packages but no compliance element as a whole.
Inc Authority lacks an annual report filing service, meaning that you must keep track of when any reports or documents are due each year. Compared with other similar services, like Incfile, which offers free lifetime compliance alerts, this is a significant negative.
Inc Authority Customer Service
One of the negative points about Inc Authority’s customer service is its limited availability. Customer support is only available between 8 AM and 5 PM PT Monday through Friday.
Reviewers have noted that Inc Authority support members and agents have a very quick turnaround time on signups and requests for support -- as short as 10 minutes, but typically less than two hours to address emails and support requests.
Customer service is available via phone, email, and a chat window right on the homepage. These customer support services are available to all clients, no matter their service tier. The Inc Authority service representatives are also knowledgeable and able to assist with a range of issues or questions.
So while their customer service hours are limited, the requests during operating hours have quick responses and helpful staff behind them.
The Last Word: Is Inc Authority Worth It?
Inc Authority offers a fairly comprehensive free business formation package to clients with form preparation and filing as well as legal and business advice from Inc Authority experts. One of the negative aspects of Inc Authority’s model is that it’s built on upselling.
This is to be expected considering it offers many services for free, but Inc Authority reviews from clients have noted that it really pushes upsells.
Inc Authority is best for LLC and has catered many of its services to this business type, but it will also work for corporations, particularly S corporations, and nonprofits, and sole ownership.
Overall, the company offers a number of service packages that will work for most businesses, but you will likely have to go outside of Inc Authority to get additional legal advice.