Do you need to incorporate a business, and you prefer to have a professional service handle the paperwork for you? Northwest Registered Agent is one of several reputable 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.
Northwest Scored 9/10
When it comes to online incorporation services, here’s what matters most:
- Is it a good deal?
- Is it a reliable company?
- Is there good customer support?
- Is the incorporation website easy to use?
- How quickly do they incorporate your business?
Based on these criteria, we scored Northwest 9/10. They have by far the most helpful and knowledgeable service representatives. Their pricing is also among the best in the business.
While they’re not the largest online incorporation service, Northwest’s customer reviews are almost entirely positive. There is also something to be said about getting the personalized customer service you deserve.
Deep Dive: Northwest Review
Overall Pricing and Value – 10/10
In reviewing and comparing the top business formation services, Northwest ended up topping our list as one of the best services available. The number-one reason that Northwest received such a strong rating is because of their stellar base formation package that is anything but basic.
For $49, you can incorporate AND receive a full year of their registered agent service. Once the first year is up, they will continue serving as your registered agent for $125 per year, which is a lower price than many competing incorporation services offer.
Their two higher-priced packages are also considerably less expensive than other incorporation services for what they offer. While Northwest is a smaller company than some others, we believe their narrowed focus helps them to provide a balance of quality and value to their customers that is unmatched.
Track Record – 8/10
Northwest was founded in 1998 out of Spokane, Washington. They’ve found a niche in being a medium-sized business and boast a motto of “We’re Just Not Annoying.” Their primary goal is to simplify business formation and registered agent services, while being transparent with their customers.
Since their founding, Northwest has helped form around two million businesses, and share on their site that they are currently working with upwards of 200 new LLCs and corporations each day. While there aren’t too many reviews online for the company, most of the ones we found were very positive, and aligned with the mission and values promised by Northwest.
Fun Fact: Northwest was the first national registered agent service to locally scan 100% of documents received, and provide digital copies online for their customers.
Here’s a quick look at some of their customer reviews:
“Starting a business is hard. Forming an LLC with Northwest was the easiest step in the process. I am THOROUGHLY satisfied with the money spent, and look forward to a working relationship with them moving forward.”
“I rapid-fired so many questions at [the customer service rep], all of which were answered patiently with specificity and experience. Within 30 minutes, I went from being someone who knew little to nothing about company formation, to being someone who was able to move things forward with certainty.”
“Save yourself a lot of heartache and phone time, and proceed directly to Northwest Registered Agent if you are starting a company and need to register it. This company actually picks up the phone and answers questions knowledgeably.”
Customer Support – 10/10
Northwest offers phone and email support. You can fill out a form on their site to send an email, and we were impressed when we tested it out to get an idea of how responsive their customer service team is. While it took nearly 24 hours to receive an email back, the response was detailed and the rep went beyond simply answering our question and checking off an email response.
We also called them, which is where we truly experienced how much better their support is than most competitors. The representative who answered the phone took the time to ask for details so that he could give us the most accurate answer. Northwest claims to have next-level customer support, and we were very pleased to see that they live up to this claim, and then some.
Whereas many competitors in this industry outsource their customer support to large, anonymous call centers with several major clients, Northwest’s true commitment to providing the best possible customer service stands out.
Ease of Placing an Order – 9/10
You want to start a business, but you have no idea where to begin. Maybe you don’t know how much goes into forming and running a business behind the scenes, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over figuring it out.
The point of using an incorporation service is to save time and make the formation process as simple as possible. With some online services, it can still feel like you’re basically filing on your own. But with Northwest, the process is extremely quick and easy.
The application process with Northwest is streamlined and easy to follow. You simply select your package, enter your personal/business details, and pay for the order.
Overall Turnaround Time – 7/10
When you select your state from the dropdown menu of the application, an estimated turnaround time will display on the screen. Depending on your state, these could vary quite a bit ― in some states, their turnarounds are as quick as just a couple business days, but in others you’ll need to wait several weeks. Most states have expedited service available for an additional fee, so you’ll see two turnaround times on the order form.
Without the premium package (which includes same-day processing from Northwest to your state), your filing could take a few business days for Northwest to process, so if you’re in a rush, the additional cost may be worth it to you. Otherwise, a couple of extra days won’t make a huge difference.
Northwest Pricing & Features
Northwest offers three different packages for incorporating a company. Let’s talk a bit about what differentiates these packages from each other, and what type of entrepreneur each one is right for.
While none of these packages have the “bells and whistles” that some other formation services boast, this is part of the reason many entrepreneurs choose to use Northwest. They focus 100% on giving you everything you need and nothing you don’t. There are no upsells, and they never sell your information to third-party partners to increase their profit.
$49 for Basic Package
Best For: Entrepreneurs who are simply looking to incorporate and get a year of free registered agent service.
In this package, Northwest will handle all your paperwork with the state to form a business, and give you a year of their popular registered agent service.
The fact that they include their registered agent service (which normally costs $125 annually) for a full year at no extra charge is very impressive. For most entrepreneurs, this is a major selling point.
Why is this an advantage? Using Northwest as your registered agent means that you can use their address as your official business address, and they’ll receive all of your important government documents for you. This also eliminates the need for your personal information to be shared publicly, and greatly cuts down on the junk mail you will receive.
Furthermore, Northwest is the only national registered agent service that locally scans every document they receive on your behalf, as most of their competitors only scan the government docs they’re legally required to scan.
$149 for Deluxe Package
Best For: Entrepreneurs who want to incorporate while also getting a federal tax ID, along with corporate bylaws.
This package costs $149 plus the state filing fee, and is their most popular offering. For the extra $100 you’ll spend on this package, Northwest will help you get a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN.
An EIN is like a social security number for businesses, which helps the government to identify your company for tax purposes. With an EIN, you can also hire employees, acquire a business bank account, and more. While you can obtain your own EIN from the IRS for free, Northwest can take this hassle off your hands with this package.
If you’re forming an LLC, they will also help you create an operating agreement, which outlines how the business will function from managerial and financial standpoints. For corporations, they supply the corporate bylaws document, which serves a similar purpose. This service could prove to be quite valuable if you don’t want to create the document from scratch, or use an online template.
$199 for Premium Package
Best For: Entrepreneurs who are looking for the fastest turnaround time for their incorporation.
The Premium package is $199 plus state filing fees, and for the extra $50 compared to the Deluxe package, you’ll receive guaranteed same-day processing of any paperwork. This expedited service is for Northwest to file your paperwork more quickly with the state, and does not apply to your state expediting the formation of your business.
Truthfully, we don’t see the point in spending the extra money on this package unless you’re in a hurry to form your business. Northwest is a fast online incorporation service as it is, so it’s usually worth saving your money here.
Final Thoughts on Northwest
All that said, we highly recommend Northwest Registered Agent. They score a 9/10 in our book.
Out of all the services we’ve reviewed, they’re one of the most affordable, easiest to use, and undoubtedly have the best customer support. Who doesn’t like that combination?
While they may not be as well known as services like LegalZoom, this midsize company does just about everything at a high level and is very no-nonsense. If you decide to use Northwest as your online incorporation service, we’re confident you’ll be happy you did.
In terms of alternative incorporation services, the only other recommendation we can make is ZenBusiness. They are the only other incorporation service that scored a 9/10 on our rating scale and has comparable overall value. If you’d like to see how their services stack up against Northwest, see our VS review.
How Does Northwest Registered Agent Compare to LegalZoom?
Northwest has several significant advantages when compared to LegalZoom.
First and foremost, Northwest has a starting price point of $49 that is $100 less than LegalZoom’s base rate of $149, which is an even bigger difference when you consider that Northwest includes registered agent service with any formation package, and LegalZoom never includes this feature in any of their formation packages.
Furthermore, Northwest has the best customer support in the industry with a highly customized approach, whereas LegalZoom does not offer a similar level of specialized customer service.
What Are Northwest’s Biggest Advantage and Disadvantage?
In our opinion, Northwest has the best customer support in this entire industry, which is a huge advantage for them. There are very few companies that can match their level of customization, especially compared to some competitors that outsource their support to massive call centers.
Their biggest disadvantage is that their $199 Premium package doesn’t add enough features to be worth the $50 price increase from the $149 Deluxe package. We don’t think that saving two days (on average) is worth the extra money. To be fair, this is a pretty minor issue, so the fact that we view it as their biggest disadvantage is almost a compliment!
If I Use Northwest, Which Features Should I Buy?
We’re big fans of both their $49 Basic and $149 Deluxe plans, and which one you choose comes down to how much assistance you want with your EIN and business documents. They’re both strong purchases, and they both include all the essential elements (like registered agent service).
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.
While Northwest does not offer to handle your publication requirement on your behalf, they do offer some significant assistance with it. If you form a business in a state that requires publication, they’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions for you to complete your own requirement.
However, if you’d prefer a service to handle the requirements for you rather than provide instructions, look into ZenBusiness.
Does Northwest Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
They certainly do, and they even include a full year of their premium registered agent service with every LLC and incorporation service package. They also offer annual report service, which is available for $100 plus state fee. If you have ongoing compliance needs, you can count on Northwest to assist you.
What Is Their Refund Policy?
Northwest doesn’t have the most straightforward refund policy in the industry, but generally speaking, they will provide a refund as long as you request it within 60 days of your initial purchase date. They do have a $25 processing fee for all refunds though, which is worth noting.