Are you ready to form a business, and you’re considering using Incfile to help you, but you also want to look into some alternatives to make sure you’re making the right choice?
We believe it’s important to consider your options before making a final decision on what’s right for you and your business. That’s why we put together this comparison for the top two alternatives to Incfile: Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses, so we’ve put together a brief overview of each service to make your decision easier.
Northwest Registered Agent – $49
Why They’re On This List: Northwest impresses us with their well-balanced LLC and corporation formation packages. Their customer support is fantastic and highly customized to meet your company’s needs, and their prices are very inviting. If you’re looking for a provider that will be there for you to answer questions and help you along the way, Northwest is a strong contender.
Price: In comparing many of the best incorporation services available, Northwest ended up topping our list as one of the elite options. At $49, they’re dead even with Incfile as the most affordable service that provides a full year of registered agent service. Once the first year is up, the registered agent service will renew at $125 per year.
Ease of Use: The application process with Northwest is streamlined and easy to follow. You simply select your package, enter your personal info and business details, and pay for the order. It doesn’t get more straightforward than this.
When to Use: While they may not have the track record of some competing business formation services, this midsize company does just about everything at a high level. Their prices are equal to Incfile’s, and they have next-level customer support to assist with any problems you may have with the formation or ongoing operation of your company. Northwest is one of the best in the business.
LegalZoom – $99
Why They’re On This List: LegalZoom is the best-known of all online incorporation services. They’ve helped more than 3.6 million customers over the years, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. When it comes to brand power and name recognition, there’s no one in this industry above LegalZoom.
Price: LegalZoom is one of the most popular LLC and incorporation services available, but we found that does not translate into better value for their customers. While LegalZoom does offer an affordable $99 starting package to form an LLC and a $149 package to form a corporation, the number of upsells can get overwhelming — and expensive. Furthermore, they do not include registered agent service with any of their formation packages, and they charge a variable fee of $159-299 per year to add on.
Ease of Use: Unlike most competitors, LegalZoom doesn’t give you your package options to begin the application. Instead, you enter your personal info first, then navigate through a series of rather costly upsells before you select your formation package. It’s a bit convoluted, and it can result in some surprisingly high price points by the time you work your way through the order form to the package select screen.
When to Use: Use LegalZoom if you care about using the most popular and widely known service available, even if it means paying a premium price.
Incfile, Northwest, and LegalZoom are all highly popular LLC and incorporation service providers. Depending on your preferences and the unique needs of your business, you may find that one of them meets your requirements better than the others can.
When it comes down to making a choice between these services:
- Northwest is the best option if you want excellent customer support, and prices that compete on a level playing field with Incfile.
- LegalZoom is the best option if you prefer the most well-known incorporation service, and you don’t mind paying more to get it.
They Scored 6/10
- *Massive Brand Power
- *Decent Customer Reviews
- *Decent Overall Value
They Scored 9/10
- *Excellent Overall Value
- *Great Customer Reviews
- *No Up-Sells
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m Looking for the Cheapest Possible Way to Form a Business. Which Service Should I Choose?
Both Incfile and Northwest Registered Agent are great options for entrepreneurs on a budget. Both of these companies offer the combination of formation service and registered agent service for just $49 (plus state fee), which is the lowest price point we’re aware of in this industry for this combination of features. For example, if you purchased formation and registered agent from LegalZoom, you’d be on the hook for at least $258.
Does One of These Services Have an Advantage for Customer Support?
There’s nothing wrong with the customer support you’ll receive from LegalZoom or Incfile, and they both have some attributes that we really enjoy, like LegalZoom’s extended availability hours. However, overall Northwest Registered Agent has a big advantage in this area. With their “Corporate Guide” system, each client is assigned to a dedicated account representative. This means that every time you have a question or concern, you can contact that same employee directly. None of their competitors can match this high level of support at such reasonable prices.
My State Requires Publication to Form a Business. Do Any of These Services Offer This Feature?
In some states, you need to publish your company’s formation in a regional newspaper. For example, Arizona and Nebraska require publication for LLCs and corporations, New York requires it for LLCs only, and Pennsylvania and Georgia have this requirement for corporations only. If you’re forming a business in any of these five states, you should know that while none of these three services offers to take care of your publication step on your behalf, Northwest does at least provide a set of step-by-step instructions to help you complete your own publication requirement.
I Need My Business Formed ASAP. Which Service Is the Fastest?
In general, we don’t like how LegalZoom structures their turnaround times, as they speed up or slow down the processing of your order based on how much money you spend on their services. Incfile and Northwest Registered Agent both have reasonable processing speeds, but in general Incfile’s turnaround times are a bit quicker in many states. If time is of the essence for your LLC or corporation formation, we think you’ll be quite pleased with Incfile.
I Might Need to Request a Refund. Which Is My Best Option?
If you think you might need a refund at any point, we think LegalZoom is easily the best of these three options. That’s because their refund policy is the best in this industry. With LegalZoom, you have 60 days to determine whether or not you’re pleased with their services. If not, all you need to do is request a refund, and they’ll provide a full refund of your service fees. When Incfile has an extremely limited 24-hour refund availability window, and Northwest charges a $25 cancellation fee for all refund requests, LegalZoom is an easy winner in this area.
Do I Need to Use a Professional Formation Service?
If you would rather form your own company than receive assistance from a professional formation service, you have the option to try the DIY route. In fact, we have our own how-to guides available for both LLCs and corporations. Before you give it a shot for yourself though, we would like to mention that each of these business types has some complications that make us prefer hiring a formation service. For the LLC, each state has its own formation process, and it’s not always obvious what your specific state requires. For the corporation, this is a complex business structure that requires careful attention to the formation process, and we only really recommend it if you’re already experienced with incorporations.