If you're starting a new business, there are some things you can do to make your life easier. One of those things is using an incorporation service. Professional business formation services can help you immensely; you can sit back and let the professionals handle it for you. But it can be challenging to decide which service to choose, which is why Northwest Registered Agent will be compared with CT to help you understand which is best for you.

Northwest Registered Agent vs. CT Registered Agent Services: The Verdict

Northwest Registered Agent services are one of the industry-leading providers of LLC formation services. They were founded in the 90s and have already helped millions of customers form business entities. Corporation Trust Company (also known as CT) was formed in 1892 and is one of the global Big Four registered agent service providers. Northwest offers excellent benefits for those wanting to form a new LLC, and you can rely on CT for strong corporate services.

Choose Northwest if:

  • You're running a small business
  • Personal customer service is important to you
  • You're trying to save money

Choose CT if:

  • You're starting a corporation
  • You don't mind paying extra to access an excellent reputation

Services Offered & Pricing

The services offered are pretty similar. You can start doing business as a DBA, Partnership, LLC, corporation, or nonprofit with either provider. Some additional services such as corporate guides, annual report services, and more are also available from both. But pricing sets them apart. Firstly, Northwest is a premium provider, yet CT still manages to be more expensive, perhaps due to its position as one of the "big four."

Northwest's services cost $225 for the first full year $125 after that (not including state filing fees). But you'll pay almost $400 for just the registered agent service from CT. Secondly, CT provides several packages, whereas Northwest has a simpler structure - they only have one package with optional add-ons.

Key Similarities

  • Annual reporting
  • You can set up almost any business entity

Key Differences

  • Northwest is cheaper
  • Northwest only has one package

Northwest Registered Agent Packages & Pricing

Free Account - $0

Northwest's free account is a basic package for entrepreneurs who want some essential assistance but aren't ready to commit to a paid package. You'll be able to access helpful information, including FAQs and corporate guides. If you decide to switch to a paid account, you're free to do so.

A La Carte Services - $225 upfront, variable per year

Northwest offers one paid package with several add ons. If you want to keep them as your registered agent after the first year, you'll need to pay $125 per year. When you place an order with Northwest, you're immediately taken care of. They don't upsell or sell your information.

They can also accept delivery of all of your mail and scan it for you, to be accessed online via your virtual office.

This is a selling point for many small business owners, protecting their business information from prying eyes.

Included in the package are:

  • Corporate bylaws
  • Business name check with the secretary of state
  • Stock certificates
  • Initial resolutions
  • Articles of organization
  • Registered agent services

CT Registered Agent Packages & Pricing

Unlike Northwest, CT offers three comprehensive service tiers for you to choose from, depending on what you need.

Registered Agent Services - $329/year

This basic package lets you use CT as your registered agent; they'll handle all of your legal mail and forward it to you. Additionally, every company that registers with CT gets access to its online portal, a 24/7 hub with up-to-date info on deadlines and other notifications.

At the time of writing, the registered agent services are $329.00 yearly.

Registered Agent & Incorporation Filing - $729/year

In addition to the registered agent services listed above, this package includes a team of experts that will help you incorporate your business. CT will make sure your business's name is available and complete all Articles of Incorporation filing within your chosen state.

At writing, the registered agent and incorporation filing services are $729.00 a year. This cost does not include the cost of state filing.

Registered Agent & Qualification Filing - $729/year

This is an alternate package that helps with the qualification filing of your business. In addition to the registered agent services, this package will assign you a team of experts to handle all qualification filing.

At the time of writing, the registered agent and qualification filing services cost $729.00 yearly. This does not include the cost of state filing.

Document Management & Online Experience

The online document management process is similar; you can easily access your documents and deadline reminders. Northwest goes the extra mile to scan all of your documents through to you, while CT will only do so with government or legal correspondence. Overall, they both offer secure and intuitive online experiences.

Key Similarities

  • Intuitive online interfaces
  • Deadline reminders

Key Differences

  • Northwest scans through more of your mail

Processing Time

CT's processing time is considered overall good; they've had long enough in the industry to fine-tune the process. CT can keep you informed in good time of any upcoming filing requirements and process everything quickly. But processing seems reliant on each state's processing times, and CT doesn't seem to offer expedited filing. On the other hand, Northwest offers expedited filing starting from just $100 and is very transparent with their filing timescales - usually 7-10 business days.

Key Similarities

  • Customer feedback praises turnaround times

Key Differences

  • Northwest offers expedited filing and greater transparency

Compliance & Track Record

Whether you choose Northwest or CT, you'll have no compliance worries. Both have excellent reputations with great customer reviews online, and they offer similar compliance support to keep you and your business in good standing.

Key Similarities

  • Positive reviews online

Key Differences

  • CT has a longer running track record

Customer Service

Northwest shines in this area with personalized customer support being offered to every customer - you can access assistance 24/7, and they take complaints seriously on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. CT has several options available during business hours, with email, phone, and chat options proving popular. Reviews are positive, but it's worth mentioning that the only substantial reviews found online are on the company's own website, so they may be somewhat filtered. Overall, the customer experiences are different, with Northwest offering a smaller, more personal experience and CT offering a larger, more generalized, and efficient experience.

Key Similarities

  • Excellent customer support

Key Differences

  • 24/7 access to Northwest
  • CT has a live chat option
  • The support scale offered is larger with CT and more personal with Northwest

Structure Breakdown

When you're completing your business filings, your experience will also be impacted by the structure you choose, so you should carefully consider how each service company works with each business entity.

LLCs: Choose Northwest

Northwest Registered Agent is one of the best registered agents to form an LLC. They can help you establish your operating agreement and mail forwarding, which you can manage via a secure online account. The price of this is $225 plus state fees. If you choose CT, you'll get a comparable service, but you'll need to pay almost double that.

Corporations: Choose CT

CT offers unique corporate services. They can assist you with legal documents, formation documents, and annual report reminders to keep you in good standing with the IRS. CT helps with paperwork and notifications related to incorporation services.

Partnerships: Choose Northwest

Northwest Registered Agent can help you set up a DBA or partnership agreement. CT can assist you in this area, but it's not worth the additional expense.

Non-Profits: Choose Northwest

Northwest can help you set up a tax-exempt not-for-profit, just like their LLC filing offerings; they can help you with everything required. Nonprofits can be tax-exempt, and they can do many of the same things that most businesses do, like have employees, own assets, and receive income from sales. Nonprofits are complex, so it's recommended that you work with an experienced agency.

The Last Word

CT is one of the 'big four' registered agent services, offering support across various business services, including compliance services. Their reputation is the big selling point. While you can set up a limited liability company, nonprofit, or partnership with the help of CT, their offerings are best suited to corporations. On the other hand, Northwest is ideally suited to assist you with LLCs, nonprofits, and partnerships, encompassing a year of registered agent service (renewable for half of the original fee) and excellent customer service.

Filed under: Head-to-Head

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