Are you looking for the best online incorporation service, but you’re not sure which one is the right choice for you? Northwest Registered Agent and BizFilings are both services that can form an LLC or corporation on your behalf.
In this comparison, we’ll walk through the five main factors you need to consider when choosing between these services. Which one is the better overall option?
Comparison Based on the Five Key Points
In our review of each online incorporation service, we performed a “stress test” on each based on five key factors:
- Compared pricing and features to determine the overall value of each service.
- Researched their track record based on how many businesses they’ve formed.
- Assessed the quality of customer service based on customer reviews, as well as our own personal experience.
- Walked through the ordering process to determine each service’s ease of use.
- Reviewed the turnaround times for LLC and corporation formations.
Overall Pricing and Value
Northwest: 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.
BizFilings: Starting with their $99 Basic package, which includes six months of registered agent (which costs $164/year after that), their packages are all more expensive overall than some competing formation services. The Standard and Complete packages vary in price by state, but generally don’t have enough valuable features to justify their price points.
Winner = Northwest
Seeing as Northwest’s Basic package costs about half as much as BizFilings’ comparable package, while including 12 months of registered agent compared to BizFilings’ six months, this category is a big win for Northwest.
Company Track Record & Experience
Northwest: Northwest was founded in 1998 and has helped form around two million businesses. They share on their site that they are currently working with over 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.
BizFilings: BizFilings got their start in the online incorporation services industry in 1996. To date, BizFilings has more than 500,000 business filings under their belt. Oddly enough, we were only able to track down a total of three customer reviews on third-party review websites, which is such a small sample size that we’re not able to do any meaningful analysis on it.
Winner = Northwest
Northwest has more experience and better customer reviews. This category is another slam dunk for Northwest.
Customer Service Comparison
Northwest: Northwest offers phone and email support. We first tested their email support, and 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 and received similarly impressive service. The representative who answered the phone took the time to ask for details so that he could give us the most accurate answer.
Northwest’s big claim to fame regarding customer service is their Corporate Guide system that connects each of their clients with one of their highly trained representatives. This means that whenever you have questions, you can direct them to the same person every time, rather than explaining your situation to a different rep each time you call or email.
BizFilings: BizFilings offers phone and email support, and there is also a “leave a message” feature on the left side of each page on their website. We called the listed phone number, and we were quickly able to navigate through their phone tree to speak with a real person. When we emailed, we received a response the same day after sending it early in the morning.
Both their phone and email responses were professional, and answered our question thoroughly, even providing additional details that were applicable based on what we asked. The best part of their customer support is how long their hours of availability are. You can reach BizFilings representatives from 7am-9pm ET every weekday, which is a much longer window than most competitors provide for support.
Winner = Northwest
This area is a much closer battle between these two companies. While BizFilings has strong customer support, and we love their extended hours of availability, Northwest’s Corporate Guides program is a distinct advantage.
Ease of Use
Northwest: 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.
BizFilings: Their incorporation wizard is a convenient tool that can help you figure out whether you should form an LLC or a corporation. Once you start filling out your order form, there are opportunities for upsells along the way, but they’re quite unobtrusive and never feel pushy at all. From the moment you start the application process, they automatically assign an order number to your application, so you can reference it with customer service if you need assistance.
Winner = BizFilings
There’s nothing wrong at all with Northwest’s ease of use, and in fact we prefer their methods in some ways, like how they don’t try any upsells. However, BizFilings’ incorporation wizard is a really handy tool that Northwest can’t match, and we like the way they assign an order number for reference starting at the very beginning of the order form.
Speed of Formation
Northwest: When you select your state from the dropdown menu of the application, an estimated turnaround time will display on the screen. Most states have expedited service available for an additional fee, so you’ll see two turnaround times on the order form. It’s worth noting that they only include their same-day processing feature in their most expensive package.
BizFilings: BizFilings doesn’t have conveniently listed estimates for their turnaround times listed on their website. They do offer expedited processing of their own, which is a $60 upcharge for them to “prioritize your order above non-expedited orders,” but this does not actually speed anything up with the state. They have official state expediting fees tied in with that expediting option, but again, there’s no indication of how much this option will actually speed up your turnaround time.
Winner = Northwest
When BizFilings won’t even commit to giving you an estimate (even if you pay extra for expedited service), this category is an easy win for Northwest.
BizFilings has a slight edge when it comes to ease of use, but other than that, it’s a clean sweep for Northwest. Northwest’s pricing and overall value are much better than BizFilings, they have more experience and better customer reviews, their customer service is more personalized, and they provide turnaround time estimates for both standard and expedited processing options.
BizFilings is a solid company with a lot going for them, but Northwest is truly one of the best all-around options in the online incorporation services industry.