Setting up your new business entity can feel like you're lost in a new world of rules, regulations, and legal jargon. One of the ways that you can make your life easier is by relying on a professional incorporation service. But it can be hard to know which is best, so Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com will be compared side-by-side to help you analyze which is best for your business.
Northwest Registered Agent vs. Incorporate.com: The Verdict
Incorporate.com has a long history going back to the early 1900s; during decades in the business, they've successfully formed almost a million business entities. They offer expert assistance in drawing up and filing legal documents, helping to keep their clients' licenses valid and current. Northwest Registered Agent is a family-owned company with over 200 corporate guides (customer service agents) strategically placed around the USA.
Northwest Registered Agent helps businesses launch with ethical practices; they never sell your data or use bait-and-switch techniques. Northwest Registered Agent has been in business since 1998. Northwest is well known for being the only registered agent service to locally scan all mail that you receive - unlike their competitors, who will only scan government mail.
Incorporate is BBB accredited, but Northwest has more online customer feedback, representing two different though reliable reputations.
Choose Incorporate if:
- You value BBB accreditation above reviews
- You want a lower-priced package
- You want an incorporation service that's been in business longer
Choose Northwest Registered Agent if:
- You want all documents scanned through - even junk mail
- You value reviews over BBB accreditation
- You prefer simplified pricing with a no-hassle service
Services Offered & Pricing
Northwest offers no-nonsense pricing with just one package, though you can add on additional services such as annual reporting (included in the first year). Their registered agent service is included for the first full year, though you'll pay an annual fee of $125.
Incorporate.com offers an array of packages; some are cheaper than Northwest's single package; however, you won't necessarily save any money, as you'll need to pay extra for registered agent services. The cost for this is $235, quickly wiping out any savings made by choosing a lower-priced package.
- You can incorporate any business entity
- Incorporate has lower-priced packages, but Northwest may still be cheaper
- Northwest only has one package
- Northwest has complete mail forwarding
- Annual reporting is included with Northwest
Incorporate.com Packages & Pricing
Incorporate.com offers a multi-tier package system, but you should remember that none of the packages include a registered agent, unlike Northwest. You'll need to pay $235 a year in addition to your package fee for this.
Starter Package - $99 (plus state fee)
The budget option with Incorporate is just $99, but it doesn't actually include that much:
- Preparation and filing of your articles of organization: The articles of organization are legally required to officially register your LLC
- Compliance alerts: With this package, you'll get compliance alerts via the CSC navigator
- Business name availability search: They will complete a search in the database of the state you incorporate in to ensure your LLC name is available
Essentials Package - $249 (plus state fee)
In the Essentials package, you'll get the Starter package, in addition to:
- EIN (Federal Tax ID Number) - an EIN is a bit like an SSN. You use it to pay business taxes, open bank accounts, or hire employees. Incorporate will get it from the IRS for you in this package.
- Seal and LLC Kit - you'll receive a custom binder with a seal.
The Works - $349 (plus state fee)
This package includes everything from the above two packages in addition to:
- Research packages for business licensing
- Operation agreement
Northwest Registered Agent Packages & Pricing
Northwest only offers one package for business owners, on top of which you can purchase additional a la carte services.
Formation services - $225 upfront, variable per year
Northwest Registered Agent does things a little differently, with one core package and optional add-ons. For $225, Northwest will do everything to incorporate your business in addition to acting as your registered agent. After the first year, you can retain this service for $125 annually.
For $225, Northwest can help you incorporate as a corporation or LLC by offering corporate bylaws, initial resolutions, stock certificates, operating agreements, etc. Northwest also offers excellent customer service and additional compliance services, including annual reporting for $100 (after the first year).
Document Management & Online Experience
Incorporate.com and Northwest offer fully automated and digital systems, all of your documents are available online for download and viewing. You can breathe easily with both service providers offering secure websites. You can trust Northwest to handle your formation documents without any upselling or data breaches.
However, Incorporate.com is a little slower than Northwest, with documents sometimes taking several business days to be updated online. If time management is crucial for you, you should consider this and buy an expedited membership.
- You can manage everything 100% online
- Northwest is faster
- Northwest scans all of your mail for you
Precise turnaround time varies by state. However, expedited filing is available with both. Unfortunately, it's hard to compare them in this area because you'd need to enquire directly for a quote based on your state, but Northwest's expedited services start at around $100, and Incorporate.com can offer you expedited filling starting from $150.
- Processing times vary by state
- Expedited service is available
- Expedited filing is more expensive with Incorporate.com
Compliance & Track Record
Both offer compliance services, and they can keep you fully legally compliant throughout the formation process and for years to come. Incorporate.com offers the CSC navigator, which provides compliance alerts, but you'll need to pay extra for that.
Both companies also have an excellent track record with customer reviews revealing that Northwest is reliable, affordable, and offers great customer service. Incorporate.com strangely doesn't have much online feedback despite being in the business for around a century, but they are accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- You'll remain legally compliant
- Annual report services
- Good track records
- Incorporate.com has an A+ rating with the BBB
- Northwest has more customer reviews online
Northwest shines in this area, and its 200+ corporate guides are dedicated to offering excellent customer support. You'll have 24/7 help with Northwest. Incorporate.com offers quite average customer support for the price charged, so they can't really be rated well in this area. As a business formation service, they should provide more.
- You can contact them by phone and email
- Incorporate.com doesn't offer the best customer service
The exact experience you have with a business formation service will vary based on the business entity that you're creating. Both companies offer similar formation services, but we'll break down the individual business structures to take a deeper look at what each filing service offers you.
You'll have a lot to consider when you're setting up your new LLC. Northwest's biggest selling point is the free registered agent service ($125 after the first year). While Incorporate.com sells LLC formation packages, you'll need to pay extra for this from the get-go, meaning that even if you choose their most basic package, you'll pay upwards of $300 just to form your limited liability company. Paying extra wouldn't be such a problem if not for the mediocre customer service and lack of a reputation.
In terms of company formation, Northwest is one of the best in the business for ease of use and customer service. Incorporate.com has over 100 years in the business but still doesn't come close to what Northwest can offer you for a more affordable price.
This is one category in which Incorporate.com may stand a chance - you don't necessarily require a registered agent service for a partnership, so Incorporate.com may be considerably more affordable than Northwest if you're starting a business as a partnership. The CSC navigator and 100+ years in business are also a good perk, but Northwest has better customer service and more online reviews to compensate.
For a non-profit, keeping costs low is usually crucial. So it stands to reason that a non-profit would choose Northwest - reliable, experienced, affordable, and with good customer service... and also cheaper than Incorporate.com.
The Last Word
If you're looking for a new business formation service, you can't go far wrong with Northwest Registered Agent services. However, Incorporate.com may not be the best idea as they offer mediocre customer service and basic formation services at considerably more than what their competitors charge. They're heavily reliant on their long-running reputation but don't necessarily focus on what customers want.