If you're starting a new business, one of the most important things you can do to streamline the process is to rely on a professional incorporation service. But it can be challenging to choose the right service provider, which is why Northwest and CSC will be compared side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you.
Northwest Registered Agent vs. CSC: The Verdict
CSC is a corporate giant that provides services to more than 90% of fortune 500 companies and 65% of the most popular global brands. They are responsible for billions of dollars of intellectual property and the formation of business entities for the best-of-the-best. They have been in business for more than 100 years, which is pretty unique.
Northwest Registered Agent services were formed in the 90s, but they've already helped millions of customers, with largely positive customer reviews to show for it. Northwest is committed to continually improving and modernizing, and their offerings increase year on year. But they don't have the same high net worth clientele that CSC attracts. With that said, Northwest does offer a premium service of its own with outstanding customer service.
Choose Northwest if:
- You're looking for a more affordable service
- You want more personalized customer service
- You’re an entrepreneur with a small business
- Complete mail forwarding is crucial to you
- You’re forming an LLC, partnership, or non-profit
Choose CSC if:
- You're setting up a corporation or responsible for a higher net worth business entity
- You're looking for additional services such as digital asset protection
Services Offered & Pricing
There are significant crossovers in their services, but CSC goes one step further. Northwest's primary offerings revolve around its registered agent service - everything else is built around that. But CSC has a range of services available, including law firms and capital markets services.
They are the true professionals of this comparison. But they may be found lacking in small business services because most of their services are for large corporations. Northwest may be better for you in this area. Pricing is quite unclear with both providers, but it's clear that CSC is much more expensive.
- Business formation services for all entity types
- Annual reporting and other compliance services are offered
- CSC is geared towards larger corporate clients, whereas Northwest is better suited to smaller clients
- CSC offers packages geared towards other areas that a smaller business may not use - digital asset protection, legal services, and market capital services
CSC Packages & Pricing
CSC provides an array of services; their services cover more than most, with law services, lenders, and alternative investments being covered in addition to company formation.
Corporation Services - Various prices
CSC offers a lot for corporations, including:
- Entity management services to safeguard and store your data
- Registered agent services, including certificates of Good Standing, annual reporting, and corporate filing
- UCC searches and filings
- Uses their subsidiary Delaware Trust for assistance with pre-closing
Several large companies, including Apple, Twitter, United Airlines, and Air China use CSC for their services. You should expect to pay four figures for big-tech and other industries' services.
Law Firm Services - price varies
CSC provides dedicated law firm services including:
- Certificate of Good Standing, corporate filings, and the SOP manager for document management
- Annual reports for compliance
- The use of the Delaware trust
- Digital asset protection
CSC requests contact information for a quote based on your state for pricing. Pricing is usually high-end.
Small Business Services - price varies
CSC does provide some services for small businesses, including:
- Assistance with LLC formation
- Registered agent services
- Non-profit assistance
- Help with registering your business in multiple states
- Ongoing compliance assistance
Prices may vary, but you can expect to pay between $300 and $500.
Lender Services - price varies
CSC offers services to lenders to reduce the risks:
- Digital asset protection
- Portfolio management
- Delaware trust
- Solutions for submitting real estate
- Providing registered agent services
Using all of these services may cost above $1000 per year.
Capital Markets Services - price varies
CSC provides services to various capital markets across the globe, including:
- Independent director needs
- Trustee commitments
- Accounting requirements
- Corporate trust and agency services
More services are available; you need to send in a request online to receive an accurate pricing estimate.
Alternative Investments Services - price varies
CSC provides global solutions for:
- Private equity
- Venture capital
- Real estate
- Private debt
- Fund of funds
- Other alternative investment strategies
For accurate pricing, contact CSC for more details.
Northwest Registered Agent Packages & Pricing
Free Account - $0
The free account doesn't include formation services but does include some helpful assistance and information, including corporate guides; you can always upgrade to a paid account without any hassle.
A La Carte Services - $225 upfront, variable per year
Northwest Registered Agent only offers one pricing package with optional add-ons. For $225, Northwest will act as your registered agent for one year and incorporate your business. After the first full year, you'll pay $125 to continue this service. The annual maintenance fee makes them a good deal.
For just $225, you'll receive essential documents such as corporate bylaws, stock certificates, and initial resolutions. After you've exhausted your first year of service, you can still use Northwest to submit your annual report for $100.
Document Management & Online Experience
This is an area where Northwest stands out, and they can manage all of the correspondence you receive (even non-government mail). Northwest is an innovator in the industry for its efficient document services. But CSC goes one step further with the CSC navigator. Using the CSC navigator, you can view time-sensitive deadlines in a calendar, track order status, review invoices, use live chat, and more. You can also download and track licenses, litigations, and legal documents online.
- Secure and easy-to-use document management
- You can do more with CSC's navigator, including compliance support, registering foreign qualifications, and more
CSC's processing time is a little unreliable compared to Northwest, as it varies considerably by season. During the busy months of the year (generally considered March, December, and June), turnaround time maybe 3-4 weeks compared to 3-4 days in other months. Northwest's processing times seem fairly steady, with processing times taking under a week.
Rush processing is available with both providers; services start at $100 for same-day filing with Northwest, depending on your state. CSC has more options available.
- 30-minute service before 9 pm: $1,500
- One hour before 9 pm: $1,000
- Two hours before 7 pm: $500
- Same day before 2 pm: $100 minimum, $200 maximum
- Processing time varies by state
- Processing can be expedited for an additional fee
- CSC has more variable processing times
- CSC has more expedited services available
Compliance & Track Record
CSC is quite difficult to find information about, surprising given their superstar clientele. Still, with 100+ years in the industry and billion-dollar clients, you can suppose that they've got no significant compliance issues. Northwest has more clients and a stronger reputation, reporting no compliance issues and a clean BBB page.
- No noted compliance issues
- Excellent track records
- It's easier to find feedback for Northwest
Northwest offers excellent, personal customer support. When you work with Northwest, you get 24/7 customer service, and your data is protected. Once you become a Northwest customer, you can access their chat app and a customer service phone number for immediate assistance. CSC lacks in this area, which is a shame for a premium service provider.
Some online customers expressed frustration with CSC's customer service, stating it takes a long time to receive emails, with one person waiting more than 30 days. Other users receive tons of marketing emails without getting the chance to speak with someone.
- Responsive phone lines
- Northwest has some of the best customer support, but CSC could improve
When considering which offers the best registered agent services, several key factors are to consider, including ease of use during and after the formation process, customer feedback, and price point. But your experience with a company will vary depending on the type of entity you're creating. Let's take a look at a detailed breakdown for both providers.
Northwest is well-rated for its LLC formation services; not only are their LLC formation packages affordable, but they also have a free account that will walk you through various steps, including an FAQ for free.
They can assist business owners with the articles of organization and other required documentation then provide additional support, including annual report services. While CSC can help you set up an LLC, the cost is difficult to justify.
This is the area where CSC excels, with multiple additional corporate services that Northwest cannot compete with, including legal services and finance, capital market assistance. The downside is the higher price, but it's worth the investment if you're looking to start a corporation.
Northwest Registered Agent services can help you register a DBA or partnership agreement for a fairly low price (beginning at $225 plus state fees) which is quite a bit cheaper than CSC.
Northwest is much cheaper than CSC. A non-profit entity is designed for charitable purposes and is unlikely to have the required investment to use CSC's services.
However, Northwest is much more affordable and has an excellent track record for assisting non-profits in achieving charitable tax status.
The Last Word
CSC is an excellent service provider but is perhaps best described as a corporate service company. They are too costly to be a good value for a limited liability company or not-for-profit; generally speaking, Northwest Registered Agent is a more affordable service provider with great benefits and premium customer service.