Do you need to form an LLC or corporation, and you prefer to have a professional service handle the paperwork for you? Direct Incorporation is one of several companies that can get the job done.
In this review, we’ll talk about the important details you need to know before choosing their service. Alternatively, you can check out our comparison guide of the top online incorporation services.
Why We Scored Direct Incorporation 6/10
When it comes to online incorporation services, here’s what matters most:
- Does the company offer good value for what you pay?
- Do they have a track record for providing high-quality service?
- Do they offer good customer support if you need help or something goes wrong?
- How easy is it to place and create an order?
- How quickly is your business formed?
Based on these criteria, Direct Incorporation gets a 6/10. There is value in what they provide for entrepreneurs who can take full advantage of their advanced features, but their service isn’t nearly as widely recommendable as some competitors.
In addition, they are one of the smaller national incorporation companies, and while it’s great to have a narrowed focus, their website is definitely a bit lacking compared to the competition’s highly professional sites.
Overall Pricing and Value
Considering their price points, we have mixed feelings regarding the value you’ll get from their formation packages. For example, their entry-level Standard package with six months of registered agent service feels pretty threadbare for $147, especially when you consider that some competitors have price points under $50 and include a full year of registered agent.
On the other hand, their more expensive packages include some features that very few competitors offer, like full-service website design, trademark protection service, and even custom logo design. We’re also big fans of their “Executive Club,” which includes access to a lawyer and an accountant, which is a great deal for an additional $13.99 per month.
The issue is that not everyone truly needs the advanced features offered by Direct Incorporation, and because their baseline package just isn’t that valuable, they’re hard to recommend to a wide audience.
Direct Incorporation began in 2003 and is celebrating over 15 years in business. At first, they operated as a lower-cost alternative to legal firms that help businesses.
As they learned more about their clients’ needs, Direct Incorporation began adding onto their offerings until they became a ‘one-stop shop’ for entrepreneurs starting a business. By 2014, they had formed over 50,000 businesses and hosted more than 5,000 websites. Their business grew by 20% three years in a row from 2014-2016, which is impressive progress in any industry.
When it comes to customer reviews, Direct Incorporation has a few dozen scattered across the web. Most of them are quite positive in nature, so overall, customer feedback is a plus for them.
Direct Incorporation offers customer support via phone or email. For phone support, you can either call their primary number, or contact one of their employees directly by looking up their extension on the “Our Team” page on their website. As for email, every Direct Incorporation employee’s email address is listed on their site.
When we called, we made our selection from the main menu, and then we were placed on hold for about three minutes before speaking to a representative. At that point, our question was answered thoroughly, and the rep was quite pleasant and professional.
Ease of Placing an Order
Placing an order with Direct Incorporation to form an LLC or corporation takes between 10-15 minutes. The screens in the order form are explained clearly, and they’re also easy to follow. The only somewhat confusing aspect is that they don’t indicate the inclusion of registered agent service until you reach the bottom of the second page of the order form.
If you haven’t finalized your business name, your purpose statement, and your leadership, you’ll want to do those things before beginning the order process. Their FAQs are a great resource if you have questions as you’re looking at packages. They appear on the left side of the screen, and you can click on any topic to read more.
Overall Turnaround Time
Direct Incorporation has a page on their website (which can be accessed via the FAQ section on their incorporation packages screen) that lists the estimated turnaround times for each state. These estimates include turnarounds for standard and expedited service, in states where that is an option.
Direct Incorporation is typically able to prepare your formation documents and submit them to your state of formation by the following business day. Overall, their turnaround times are as quick as any competitor’s.
Pricing & Features of Each Service
Since Direct Incorporation is a smaller company, they have a more narrowed focus. Similar to a lot of other services, they added some “fluff” into their packages like customer service and prompt shipping of documents that we consider more of a given than a highlighted package feature.
One of the most important notes we can make is that they DO offer what they call resident agent service, which is much more commonly referred to as registered agent service. It isn’t listed as a feature on their website until you get a couple pages into the order form, but it is included for six months in every one of their packages.
For the most part, these packages are the same whether you’re forming an LLC or a corporation, but there are a few minor differences that we’ll note along the way.
Best for: Entrepreneurs wanting to form an LLC or corporation with a well-rounded suite of basic features.
The Standard package costs $147 plus state fees. This package includes:
- Preliminary name check – Direct Incorporation will search your formation state’s business database to ensure that your desired company name is available for use, and isn’t already claimed by another business entity.
- Business formation documents – They will prepare and file your articles of organization (LLC) or articles of incorporation (corporation), and submit them to your state to officially form your new business.
- Federal tax ID number (EIN) – This is the business equivalent of a social security number, and it can help you open business bank accounts, pay your business taxes, hire employees, and more.
- 3-week Executive Club trial – This feature includes access to their compliance program, as well as advice from attorneys and accountants. After your trial period ends, you can extend your Executive Club membership for $13.99 per month.
- 6 months registered agent service – Direct Incorporation will receive your important business mail, scanning it and forwarding it to you. This service keeps your personal information private, and also cuts down on your junk mail. After your first six months, this service costs $159 per year.
Best for: Entrepreneurs who want to form an LLC or corporation, and also want some business documents.
The Premier package costs $297 plus state fee. This package includes everything from the Standard package plus:
- Binder and seal – You will receive a boxed corporate records binder, along with an embossed seal customized with your company name.
- A wide variety of sample documents and forms including minutes, resolutions, agreements, and contracts.
- Corporation bylaws – This document explains the rules and regulations which the company will abide by when operating. The bylaws include information like how shareholder votes are held, how often the board of directors will meet, procedures for resolving intra-company disputes, and more.
- Stock certificates and ledger – 20 certificates to distribute to your stockholders, and a transfer ledger to keep track of them in.
- Operating agreement – This is a private agreement between the members or owners of the LLC, and it details the ownership, rights, and responsibilities of each person.
Best for: Entrepreneurs who want a logo and website builder to go with your new LLC or corporation.
The Elite package costs $329 plus state fees. It includes everything from the Premier package, and adds:
- Website builder software – With Direct Incorporation’s website builder, you can create your own professional business website, with no programming skill or experience required. Along with the website builder, you will also receive the following features:
- 12 months domain name registration
- 3 months website hosting
- 5 free email accounts
- Stock logo – A professionally designed logo that you can use according to the terms of a shared license.
Best For: Entrepreneurs who want a full-service package, including everything they could need when forming an LLC or corporation.
The Venture package costs $873 plus state fee. This package includes all features from the Elite package, then adds the following:
- 12 months Executive Club
- Trademark protection – This feature includes Direct Incorporation’s trademark protection service, which gives you everything you need to research and register your business trademarks ($295 if ordered separately). You will also receive a comprehensive conflict search and report, and three months of their real-time trademark protection monitoring service.
- Professionally designed website – Instead of creating your own site using their DIY website builder tool, Direct Incorporation will make one for you. Like the trademark protection, this also retails for $295 if ordered separately.
- 12 months website hosting
- Custom logo design – A professional graphic designer will create a logo specifically for your business, which you will retain the exclusive rights to. This includes three concepts and three revisions. This feature costs $374 if purchased separately.
Final Thoughts on Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation is a solid midsize company with a track record of success. While their base formation package may be a bit more costly than those offered by some competitors (especially those that offer a full year of registered agent service), their top-tier packages truly give you everything you need to start your business.
While not everyone actually needs the advanced features included with Direct Incorporation’s more expensive packages, it’s important to note that very few competitors offer any of those features, like trademark protections, logo designs, website packages, etc.
Overall, their services aren’t as widely recommendable as many competitors, which is the main reason their score wasn’t higher. However, if you’re interested in their services and think your business could get significant value out of them, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Direct Incorporation.