It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of California’s LLC formation possibilities. Do your homework and find an LLC formation service that fits your specific demands.
For this reason, we surveyed some of our most loyal customers to see which 2023 California LLC formation services they found most helpful.
We have spent more than a month researching and evaluating several factors, such as price, delivery time, and quality of customer care, to ensure that you make an informed decision. We also used our own experiences with a few California LLC services to inform our evaluation.
It’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each LLC service provider before making a final decision.
If you looking for the best LLC service in California to help launch your business, online formation companies can help lower startup costs. Filing services also offer affordable features like a California registered agent service, assistance with getting an Employer ID Number (EIN), and a California LLC name search.
A limited liability company (LLC), is a very popular business structure. It is an excellent way for you to protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit against your company. An LLC formation service will allow you to concentrate on the growth and management of your California business.
Many online LLC services will help you start your business. We reviewed the top California business formation services.
The 19 Best LLC Formation Services in California
Our list of the 19 best LLC services. Based on their simple guidance and affordable pricing, Northwest Registered Agent and IncFile were our top recommendations for LLC formations. LLC formation starts at
$225 just $39 with Northwest + state fee.
My First 5 Picks,
- Northwest Registered Agent – Editor’s Choice, Best for Privacy
- Incfile – Best “Free” LLC filing
- ZenBusiness – “Free” LLC
- Tailor Brands – Best for Building a Brand
- Harbor Compliance – Best Compliance Software
How to Evaluate the Best LLC Services
Three things are essential when choosing the California LLC service that will help you start your business.
- What type of business do you run?
- Your company’s needs
- California registered agent services
We used a specific methodology to eliminate any companies not fitting our criteria.
How We Qualified an LLC Service for Consideration
We evaluated several top services.
We considered BizFilings, Harbor Compliance, Inc Authority, IncFile, Incorporate.com, LegalNature, LegalZoom, MyCompanyWorks, MyCorporation, Northwest Registered Agent, Rocket Lawyer, Swyft Filings, ZenBusiness, Incorporate Fast, Active Filings, Direct Incorporation, InCorp, National Incorporators, and Sundoc Filings.
We’ve been through many LLCs and other business formations so we understand what makes an amazing LLC service. We analyzed each company using this knowledge, as well as what other business owners require in an LLC service.
- Add-on Services: Although they aren’t required, they can add significant value to a service. Having add-ons through your service can make it easier for LLC-related features to be kept on the same platform.
- Compliance: To ensure compliance with state requirements, you need to find a company that offers compliant-focused services.
- Customer Support: It is a great advantage to be able to reach an LLC service whenever you need it. Companies that offer multiple support options, such as email, phone, and live chat, are worth considering.
- Easy of use: Guided sets, knowledge bases, and free online resources make it easy to navigate the LLC formation process and other related steps. Interactive tools are available for some services to make it as easy as possible.
- Forming an LLC shouldn’t take weeks: While some services provide same-day filing or next-day business filing, others charge additionally to speed up the process.
- Pricing: We dropped companies that had a lot to offer, but charged higher fees and prices than their competitors. It should be affordable and as helpful as possible for LLC filings.
- California registered agent services: You can file documents for your business and keep your personal data confidential. Some companies offer members registered agent services for a year.
We compared each company with this set of criteria and found that all 19 services had the required qualities to be included on the list.
#1. Northwest Registered Agent – Editor’s Choice Best LLC Service
Northwest Registered Agent was chosen by us as the best California LLC service for small businesses. Northwest provides the necessary LLC services to facilitate online business formation. The cost of their incorporation service includes LLC filing, premium registered agents services, customer privacy protection, and access to business documents online.
Northwest is well-known for its excellent customer service. They provide their clients with Corporate guides, who are US-based support agents. Each customer has a Corporate Guide assigned to them, so you can speak to the same person if you have any concerns.
- Customer reviews that are positive
- Online ordering is easy and user-friendly
- There are no hidden charges or “free trials,” which can lead to higher prices later.
- US-based professional customer service representatives
- For important LLC formation features like an EIN, you will need to pay additional fees. You can obtain an EIN free.
Northwest Pricing and Features
Northwest Registered Agent offers one plan for formation. The following features are available for $39 plus any state fees
- Filing service for forming an LLC
- One-year free registered agent service
- Address for business
- Mail forwarding
- “Privacy by default”
- Customer Service “Corporate guide”
Like ZenBusiness and Northwest, Incfile provides excellent value in its basic pricing plan for California business formation services. Incfile has been rated as the best service for helping you obtain business licenses.
- All packages include a free year of registered agent service, which costs only $119 per year. This is a much lower price than other top-rated registered agent services.
- Order tracking in real-time and customer service at the highest quality
- A user-friendly online dashboard to help you keep track of important deadlines and reminds you about compliance for your LLC in California
Services are limited. You may have to pay extra for certain features such as an EIN and operating agreement.
Incfile Pricing and Features
With the exception of California’s state fee, the Silver package comes with:
- California LLC Formation: Set up your California business to be self-sufficient.
- Free one-year registration agent service: Incfile will pay the registered agent fees for your first year in business.
- Receive Compliance Alerts for Your Company: Be notified when it’s time to submit your annual report.
Incfile Gold Package ($199 plus California state fee).
- Operating Agreement: Incfile will manage your operating agreement.
- Bank resolution: Incfile will create your banking resolution authorizing someone else to open a bank account and sign for the business.
- Register an EIN: Get a nine-digit EIN in order to open a bank account. This will allow you to hire employees and keep your personal transactions private.
The Platinum package ($299 + California state fees) offers even more:
- Free domain name and website for your business
- Templates for business contracts
- Bank account for business
- Priority expedited filing
Incfile’s California LLC services are the best for small businesses due to its premium services. Incfile’s basic LLC formation package includes important features that are great for startups with a limited budget.
ZenBusiness comes next on our top-rated list of LLC services. The annual cost of setting up an LLC is $0 (plus the California State Fee). ZenBusiness is headquartered in Austin, Texas. ZenBusiness simplifies the process so you can focus on your business.
- Straightforward California LLC formation kits
- Support from a reliable customer
- ZenBusiness reviews have positive customer feedback
- Excellent registered agent services for your LLC California
- ZenBusiness can assist you in getting an EIN. However, you will need to pay $99 for the ZenBusiness basic plan.
- The registered agent service is available at an additional cost.
ZenBusiness Pricing and Features
These three packages include the following services for business formation and more for forming an California limited-liability company.
- Prepare and file the California Secretary of State’s Articles of Organization
- Searches for unlimited business names
- Consultation on accounting free of charge
- You can track important documents for business formation through an online dashboard
- Worry-Free Compliance Guarantee (Included in the First Year): Receive annual filing alerts to help ensure compliance.
Upgrade to ZenBusiness Pro and you’ll get additional California LLC formation features like:
- LLC Operating Agreement Template: An operating agreement defines the terms and conditions of California LLC formation. We found that very few formation companies included an operating agreement template as part of their basic packages.
ZenBusiness’ Premium package ($299 + California state fee) includes even more add-on features:
- Domain privacy, email address, and business domain name: Get your business online to increase credibility and reach more customers.
- Rush filing: This feature speeds up the formation process, which is beneficial for entrepreneurs who need faster and more complete services in California.
Another favorite LLC service is Tailor Brands. This automated platform assists with LLC formation, branding, and building business websites. Its goal is to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses by offering a single-stop shop.
Tailor Brands’ premium Elite Plan ($199 + state fees), is what sets them apart. The Elite plan is a great choice for California businesses that want to establish an online presence. These include digital business cards, logo creation, and graphic design tools for social networks.
Tailor Brands Pros
- You can create an LLC in California in less than 10 minutes. Then, you can build your website and start your social media marketing strategy.
- High-quality, personal service to ensure you get the right tools for each step of your business journey
- You will receive the best customer service to answer any questions you might have.
Tailor Brands Cons
- This is not the best option for businesses with limited budgets who only require basic California LLC formation services.
- You will need to pay an additional fee for services such as registered agent service
Tailor Brands Prices and Features
Although Tailor Brands offers three packages for LLC formation, we will be highlighting their all-inclusive Elite package. The Elite Plan offers a lot of value for the price. It is designed for entrepreneurs who want to succeed online.
Elite Plan Features:
- Formation of LLC
- Compliance annually
- Processing expedited
- Operating Agreement
- One year free domain
- Logo maker
- Website Builder
#5 Harbor Compliance – Best Compliance Software
Compliance is in its name and Harbor Compliance lives up to its mission to provide businesses with useful tools to manage their legal obligations.
Technically, Harbor Compliance can be described as an online tool that allows you to manage many of your compliance requirements. The software allows you to review, file, and renew documents. You can also receive communications from your registered agent.
Harbor Compliance specialists are available to help you review documents and alert you if something is amiss.
Harbor Compliance is a better choice if you are looking for a complete solution that includes additional services such as trademarking or business domain registration. This company is worth looking into if you are serious about compliance and have already filed your LLCs.
What makes Harbor Compliance great?
Harbor Compliance’s Entity Manager software tool is a standout offering. This tool and formation package includes registration agent services, compliance audits, and DBA renewals. It also has other essential features that ensure compliance year-round.
Harbor Compliance’s software allows business owners to search for state requirements using its license management tool. You can then track each license’s renewal status right from your dashboard.
The cost of forming an LLC is $99 plus the state filing fees. However, there are other options available for expedited filing. Depending on the state, registered agent services start at $89 per year.
14 Other LLC Services to Consider
- Swyft Filings
- Inc Authority
- Incorporate Fast
- Direct Incorporation
- National Incorporators
- Sundoc Filings
6. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings provide a lot of value with their $49 Basic Package.
They will help you complete your Articles of Organization, file them for you, provide a 30-minute free tax consultation with one of the in-house accountants, allow you to track your filing progress online, and even register your business domain name.
They are not higher up on the list because unlike Northwest they do not offer a free year for their registered agent service.
The only problem with SwyftT Filings is if you require a full year’s registered agent service, you will need to pay $149. They are three times more costly than Northwest.
My Company Works looks a lot like Swyft Filings.
The Basic Package includes everything needed to create an LLC. However, they charge $79. You will need to pay more if you wish to add a registered agent service. MyCompanyWorks will charge you $279 to upgrade to their Premium Package.
8. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is probably the most deceptive pricing strategy on this list.
You are lured in by the promise of a free business set-up, but as you can see with Incfile, it is often more costly in the long term.
They will file your initial Certificate Of Formation for $0 plus a state fee. However, if you need anything more (like an Operating Agreement or EIN) their next cheapest package costs $399. You can also upgrade to the $799 premium package if you need a year of registered agent service.
IncFile is the best option if you only need your Certificate of Formation to be filed for free. Northwest will still be the best choice if you need anything beyond this.
9. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast stands out from the rest by living up to its name. When you sign up for the $99 package (plus any state fees), they promise to file your paperwork within 24 hours. This promise is exclusive to them.
This is a solid service when you consider the fact that the Basic Package includes help with your Operating Agreement, some sample documents, and one year of their registered agent services.
They’re almost twice the price of Northwest, and they don’t offer free tax consultations or online document storage.
BizFilings can file your formation documents and offer a year of free registered agent service. They do not offer online document storage, a business tax assessment, or an Operating Agreement template.
11. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is an addition to the list. This is because LLC formation, which isn’t a service they offer, isn’t one of their main offerings. It’s actually a complement to the main service Rocket Lawyer provides–online legal services.
Rocket Lawyer can assist you with your initial filings and provide an online document storage platform. It costs $99 plus state fees. Rocket Lawyer’s business formation service is not the most affordable or the best supported.
Rocket Lawyer offers great online legal services. Their LLC service is not that great.
Overpriced in my opinion. LegalZoom has a similarity to Rocket Lawyer. They are primarily an online legal services company, but also offers formation services. They will file your Articles of Organization and provide a bank resolution for $99, after which you are on your own. They do not provide any free registered agent services.
You might use them already for your online legal services so you could consider using them to create an LLC. When adding a registered agent $299, an LLC operating agreement template $159, and other features, the price can go way up.
You are paying a premium for the LegalZoom brand.
Incorporate.com offers limited LLC formation packages, just like Rocket Lawyer or LegalZoom. But it’s not a side service. This is their main role, and they do it as well as they can. It’s not that inspiring.
Corpnet charges $79 to provide business formation services. However, they only file your initial documents and provide compliance alerts regarding your annual reports and tax payments. However, they do not provide registered agent services for the first 60 days.
IncFile is a better option if you only need a small selection. Northwest offers more options.
MyCorporation costs $133 plus state fees to prepare your Operating Agreement and to process your Articles of Organization. Additional costs will apply if you require more extensive features such as those offered by Northwest.
16. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation continues the trend of charging too much for very little. They offer their California LLC service at $147 plus state fees. Although they do offer an EIN and a bank resolution, it is still not market leader.
InCorp assists with the filing of your California LLC formation paperwork and also assists with your California LLC Operating Agreement. All for $117
18. National Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations costs $200 for the same services that you can get from InCorp.
19. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings will submit your formation paperwork at $79, and you can get a few extras if the $99 or $279 packages are purchased. No matter which option you choose, you still get far less value than Northwest.
Business808, a renowned consulting organization that aids startups in scaling and growing, is led by Andy Brooks as Editor-in-Chief.
Andy has over 12 years of consulting experience and is a pro at creating and managing profitable businesses. He has experience working with several LLCs and Registered Agent services and has a degree in business management. Andy enjoys providing useful information for Business808.
In addition to writing for Business808, Andy is a well-known author and speaker, and an active contributor to several online business publications, imparting his knowledge on how to grow an LLC.