Do you need to incorporate a business online and you prefer to have a professional service handle the paperwork for you?
Incorporate.com 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 Incorporate.com Scored 4/10
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?
- How easy is it to place and create an order?
- How quickly is your business formed?
Based on these criteria, we scored Incorporate.com 4/10. While we were impressed with their customer service and their longevity, their formation packages are overpriced compared to other services, and they have some significant additional fees required to access the “included features” in their top two packages.
Plus, their registered agent service isn’t included in any package, and costs $235 per year extra, which is a much higher price point than many of their competitors charge. By comparison, most competitors price registered agent service at $150 per year or less.
Considering the lack of registered agent in their formation packages, you can beat Incorporate.com’s prices quite easily, and they just don’t have the features to make their higher prices justifiable. And that’s before we’ve even discussed their rather steep hidden fees…
That said, if you’re looking for the best value possible in an incorporation service, we recommend ZenBusiness. This service is $60 less than Incorporate.com, has comparable features and hundreds of positive online reviews.
In Depth: Incorporate.com Review
Incorporate.com Overall Pricing and Value – 2/10
This particular business formation service ranks at the bottom of our list following a review of many similar companies. Overall, their prices are much more expensive than their competitors’ offerings, without enough added value to balance out the increased cost.
We also put a lot of weight on registered agent service, which is not included in any of their formation packages. Furthermore, their $235 price point for registered agent as an add-on is a total non-starter, especially considering most competitors price this service under $150, and some even break the $100 mark.
Besides the fact that the packages are all more expensive than those with other incorporation services, we also felt their package setup was misleading. Two of their prize features ― their compliance dashboard and their annual report service ― are listed on the package select screen as included features, but are not actually included unless you also purchase their registered agent service as an add-on.
Furthermore, the annual report service costs an extra $150/year on top of the $235/year registered agent fee, so it’s not really an “included” feature at all, even if you do buy registered agent service.
Even if these features justified the higher price for their registered agent service (which they don’t), we would have liked for their package options to be more transparent. It would be very disappointing to think you’re spending a certain amount for the listed features, only to find out you have to pay an additional $235 to access them, plus another $150 every year for the annual report service.
Track Record – 6/10
Incorporate.com certainly has plenty of experience, as they’ve been around since way back in 1899. Since then, they’ve helped form over 750,000 corporations and LLCs, which makes them one of the industry leaders when it comes to both longevity and customer volume.
However, despite being in business since the 19th century and boasting nearly a million customers, there is very little customer feedback available online for Incorporate.com. We found just a couple dozen reviews on third-party review sites, and almost all of them were negative.
In their reviews, their customers complain about their high prices and hidden fees, and also point out how forcefully they push their registered agent service once you become a customer.
Customer Support – 7/10
Incorporate.com offers phone, email, and chat support. We tested their chat function first, and received a response almost instantly. The experience was just as we expected ― the support agent was knowledgeable and friendly, and managed to answer our question without a problem.
We also sent an email and received a detailed response in just over 24 hours. While we hoped for a quicker response, the level of detail they included was much more than expected, which was a pleasant surprise.
When we called, we received a similar response to that via chat and email. Our question via phone was answered professionally, but without as much detail as we received in the email. Once our question was answered, they did ask if there was anything else we needed help with.
Overall, customer support is a pro for Incorporate.com.
Ease of Placing an Order – 4/10
If you don’t know what kind of business structure you want to form (LLC or corporation), their business formation wizard can help you figure it out.
Not sure about which package is the right choice for you? Check out their pricing page. It’s not difficult to decide which one is right for you, as long as you remember that neither the CSCNavigator compliance tool or the annual report service are actually included in the listed price.
Once you select a package, there is a series of seven additional upsells to review before putting in your contact information and checking out. Since their website has a clean design, it was easy to find where to place an order and navigate through to the payment page. Still, their confusing advertising and constant upsells are incredibly annoying.
Overall Turnaround Time – 7/10
When you reach the bottom of your order form, Incorporate.com gives you detailed turnaround time estimates for both standard and expedited processing. It’s nice to see this level of transparency when it comes to the expected length of time for your formation.
Incorporate.com doesn’t commit to a same-day or overnight turnaround like some other services do. However, they said that they file ASAP once all of the information they need from the business owner is provided, which is a fair response.
Pricing & Features of Each Package
Incorporate.com offers three packages for LLC and corporation formations. Each is quite simple to understand, and the features are kept to a minimum (for better or worse). Below we’ve highlighted the features and price of each package.
Very Important Note:
Before we talk about their packages, it is important to note that none of the packages come with registered agent service, and that this add-on is $235. If you choose to have Incorporate.com act as your registered agent, Incorporate.com’s address will be listed as your business address. This limits the junk mail you receive, and also eliminates your personal information becoming publicly available.
Part of the registered agent service includes access to their online compliance tool called CSCNavigator, which reminds you of important filing dates, provides document storage, and has a to-do list for your business. Annual report service is also listed as an included feature with their registered agent service, but it’s actually an additional $150 annual upcharge even after you pay the extra $235 for registered agent.
While CSCNavigator is listed under all three LLC and corporation formation packages ― and annual report service is listed under the top two as well ― you don’t actually get these features unless you pay $235 more for their registered agent service (plus another $150 for your annual report), a price tag that is much more expensive than nearly all competing incorporation services.
When we reached out to their customer service, we were also told that registered agent service is actually a requirement to purchase their $249 Essentials and $349 Works packages. In other words, as the support rep told us, if you don’t want to spend $235/year on their registered agent service, your only option is to “select the Starter package, then add each additional feature on separately.”
We feel that the way these package features are set up is misleading. Their customer service rep did offer to call and explain the packages in detail, but we believe the website should be far more transparent and easy to understand. This issue makes their negative customer feedback easy to understand ― after all, who wouldn’t be upset about $385 in unadvertised annual fees?
The Starter ($99)
This Package Is Best For: Entrepreneurs looking to incorporate without any additional features.
The Starter package costs $99, plus the state filing fee. This package includes:
- Preparation and filing of all documents – They will create your articles of organization (LLC) or incorporation (corporation), then file them with the state to officially form your new company. They also provide you with a digital copy of your formation docs.
- Online access to completed documents
The Essentials ($249 + $235 for registered agent service + $150 for annual report service = $634)
This Package Is Best For: We never recommend this package to any of our readers.
The Essentials package costs $249 plus the state filing fee, plus another $235/year for registered agent service, plus $150/year for annual report service. This package includes everything from the Starter package, plus:
- Federal tax ID number (EIN) – Incorporate.com will acquire your EIN, which you’ll need if you want to hire employees, and it also helps you pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, etc. You can acquire your own EIN from the IRS for free, but this feature removes that hassle.
- Business kit and seal – You will receive a binder embossed with your company name, along with a decorative seal customized with your business info. This feature also includes some sample documents.
In addition, the following features are included with Incorporate.com’s registered agent service:
- CSCNavigator – An online compliance dashboard that tracks due dates for important document filings, provides document storage, and includes a to-do list for your business.
- Annual report service – For an extra $150 per year, Incorporate.com will track your annual report due date, then prepare and file that report in order to keep your business in good standing.
The Works ($349 + $235 for registered agent service + $150 for annual report service = $734)
This Package Is Best For: We never recommend this package to any of our readers.
The Works package costs $349 plus state filing fees, plus another $235/year for registered agent service, plus $150/year for annual report service. This package includes everything from The Essentials package, plus:
- Business license research package – Incorporate.com will find out which licenses, permits, and registrations you require to operate in a compliant fashion with the federal, state, and local governments. They will acquire the applications for these licenses and give them to you, so all you need to do is fill them out and submit them.
- Custom operating agreement – This internal document outlines how the business will be governed from both managerial and financial standpoints.
- Custom bylaws – The bylaws are the internal rules and regulations for the daily operations of the corporation, including items like how many directors are on the board, when/where shareholder meetings are held, etc.
Final Thoughts on Incorporate.com
Even with a century of experience, Incorporate.com fell well short of our expectations. Their packages are rather threadbare, lacking the add-ons that other companies offer, and they’re very overpriced.
You will actually need to spend a whopping $385 extra per year just to get everything they advertise for their Essentials and Works formation packages and an extra $235 per year to access all the listed features for the Starter package. The combination of confusing advertising and high additional fees is unappealing.
When you add in their largely negative customer reviews, we’re honestly left wondering why anyone chooses Incorporate.com when there are much better options out there – like ZenBusiness.
How Does Incorporate.com Compare to LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is the most popular service provider in this industry, thanks to their extensive advertising reach. We strongly prefer LegalZoom when compared to Incorporate.com, for a number of reasons.
First off, LegalZoom doesn’t have the confusing advertising that Incorporate.com has, which is honestly all we need to know to give them the upper hand. In addition, LegalZoom has extended customer support hours and even weekend support availability, which can really come in handy.
What Are Incorporate.com’s Biggest Advantage and Disadvantage?
Incorporate.com’s biggest advantage is their longevity. After all, any company that can stay in business for 120+ years must be doing something right. Their biggest disadvantage is the poor value they provide to their customers, as you can find just about everything Incorporate.com sells at a lower price with one of their competitors.
If I Use Incorporate.com, Which Features Should I Buy?
Typically, we tell our customers that it’s a good idea to purchase a formation package that includes registered agent service, but Incorporate.com doesn’t include this feature with any of their packages.
Therefore, you could buy their $99 Starter package and add registered agent service for $235, or you could use another service entirely. For example, Incfile and ZenBusiness both sell formation service packages that include a year of registered agent for just $39-$49.
Do They Offer Publication Service?
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.
Unfortunately for those of you forming businesses in these states, Incorporate.com does not offer publication service, nor do they provide any assistance to help walk you through the process.
Does Incorporate.com Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
They do offer a couple different services to help you stay compliant into the future. Their registered agent service costs $235 per year to add onto your LLC or incorporation service, and they also offer annual report service at an annual rate of $150.
As a reminder, you cannot purchase the Essentials or Works packages without also buying both of these additional services.
What Is Their Refund Policy?
Incorporate.com’s refund policy isn’t clear regarding when or how they grant refunds, or when it comes to describing the fees that may apply.
Let’s just allow them to speak for themselves on this issue: “If you cancel your order before we have submitted it to a federal, state, or local office, Incorporate.com will refund the total amount paid for such order less a service fee. If you cancel your order after we have already submitted it, we will use our discretion to determine what portion, if any, we will refund.”
Do I Need to Use a Business Formation Service?
You are not legally required to use a professional service to form either of these business types. In fact, it’s not uncommon at all for entrepreneurs to form their own corporations. However, we have some reservations about forming both of these entities with the DIY route.