The business creation process does not end with the idea generation phase. Without the right support, forming a business can be difficult. However, the best business formation services can help to simplify the process.
The research team spent four months analyzing and comparing services for business formation to determine the best options for various use cases. We narrowed down the selection to 13 services that can help you navigate the legalities involved in business formation.
These are the Top 13 Best Business Formation Services
I chose 13 services for business formation that meet different needs. Northwest Registered Agent is the best overall because it offers a wide range of tools, privacy, and simplicity to help you plan, stay compliant, and grow your company. Start your business with Northwest RA today for as low as $39 + state fee.
LLC - Wikipedia
A limited liability company (LLC for short) is the United States-specific form of a private limited company. It is a business structure that can combine the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation. An LLC is not a corporation under state law; it is a legal form of a company that provides limited liability to its owners in many jurisdictions. LLCs are well known for the flexibility that they provide to business owners; depending on the situation, an LLC may elect to use corporate tax rules instead of being treated as a partnership, and, under certain circumstances, LLCs may be organized as not-for-profit.
LLC - IRS Website
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Each state may use different regulations, you should check with your state if you are interested in starting a Limited Liability Company.
Owners of an LLC are called members. Most states do not restrict ownership, so members may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. There is no maximum number of members. Most states also permit “single-member” LLCs, those having only one owner.
- Northwest Registered Agent – The best way to protect your privacy
- IncFile – The best for LLC filing
- ZenBusiness – Great for branding and business planning
- IncFile – The best for LLC filing
- Harbor Compliance – The best for compliance all around
- Rocket Attorney – The best for legal support
- LegalNature – The best way to do it yourself
- LegalZoom – The best premium service
- BizFilings – The best for entrepreneurs and startups
- Inc Authority – The best way to manage your business after you file
- MyCompanyWorks – Great for business processing quickly
- Swyft Filings – Great for personal business assistance
- Incorporate.com – Long history, but short on reviews
How to Evaluate the Best Business Formation Services
We understand how crucial it is to properly form your business from the beginning. To ensure that our final choices were suitable for all business owners, we used a rigorous selection process. Find out how we came up with the final 13 solutions. You can skip to the reviews.
What Qualifies the Best Business Formation Services?
Our research began with 13 services for business formation: BizFilings, Harbor Compliance, Inc Authority, IncFile, Incorporate.com, Legal Zoom, LegalNature, MyCompanyWorks, MyCorporation, Northwest Registered Agent, Rocket Lawyer, Swyft Filings, ZenBusiness.
We then compared each company to the most important elements business owners consider when choosing a business formation provider. We then eliminated two brands, which is 15% of all the companies that were researched.
- Help with compliance: It is crucial that you comply with all laws and regulations in your state. Services that include compliance measures are designed to take the guesswork out.
- Help when you need it: While most business formation services are fairly straightforward, you can have the peace of mind that you will receive excellent support if you need it.
- Simple and intuitive: This service aims to make it easier for business owners to form a company. Business owners may find it helpful to use setup wizards and quizzes that answer the right questions.
- Form your business quickly: The most reliable services usually process your business filings quickly so you can get started as soon as possible. You may be charged additional fees if you need to speed up the process.
- A good value for money: It is important to consider the affordability of a business formation service. You should consider additional fees and upcharges, such as state filing fees, that might not be included in your original plan.
- Registration agent services: Only certain business formations will require a registered agent. To help you reduce costs, some business formation services offer registered agent services free of charge for a year or more.
We were left with 13 final business formation services after narrowing down the list. We have provided reviews of each company so you can see how they might fit in your new business.
How We Narrowed the List of Qualified Business Formation Services
To narrow down our choices, we analyzed 1,152 reviews left by real customers about the business formation services that we looked into to narrow down the selections. We focused on the recurring themes of pricing, ease of use, support, trust, confidence, and customer satisfaction.
We eliminated these two companies based on our review analysis and the key criteria we identified. These companies were not eligible for our initial list. We removed them from the final listing for the following reasons.
Incorporate.com: Although it has been around for a while, there are few customer reviews making it difficult to evaluate the company’s authenticity. Although its package offerings may not be as transparent as those of other companies, it is more expensive than others on our list.
MyCorporation: While MyCorporation has many of the same benefits and features as other preferred solutions, it does not necessarily offer enough value to justify its higher price.
Find the right business formation service for your scenario
Based on our research, and our knowledge of the business formation process we believe these are the top reasons business owners need a form service. To help you find possible solutions, we have selected the two best services for each scenario.
- Are you starting your first business?
- Want to start your own business?
- We value your privacy
- Form a company ASAP
- Access to legal assistance
- Need help to keep your business compliant
Need help when you’re just starting your business?
Best Option: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest RA is easy to use and makes it simple for new business owners to set up their businesses. Northwest guides you to the correct forms and Northwest files all the paperwork.
Its overall helpfulness is enhanced by its responsive and helpful customer service.
Another great option: Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings offers a dedicated account manager for every customer who signs up. This person will help them to set up their business and file documents. For quick communication, you’ll have access to their direct number.
Are you a new owner of a business? Consider the benefits of a good LLC service:
- Customer service: How responsive is the company’s customer service team? For any business owner who uses formation services, high-end customer support is essential. However, it’s particularly important for newcomers to the process.
- Easiness: Services that offer in-depth guides, resources, and guided walkthroughs make it easy to start a business.
- Resources: You can find articles, knowledge bases, toolkits, and other resources in your business formation plan that will help you to form and run a business.
Do you want free but basic business filing?
Best Choice: Incfile
IncFile makes it easy to start a business. IncFile offers free LLC filings. You will only need to pay the state filing fee.
IncFile offers free registered agent services for one year.
Another great option: Inc Authority
IncFile is very similar to Inc Authority. Inc Authority is free for LLC formations. Business owners only need to pay the state’s filing fees. Your first year is free of charge and includes a registered agent service. The additional add-ons can be pricey at Inc Authority.
If your goal is to launch a business at a reasonable price, maybe for you.
- Pricing: Look at the pricing of a company in relation to its value, such as additional tools or services that will help you keep your business compliant. Are there any additional fees for features that you require?
- Before choosing the free option, you may want to ask the LLC service if they intend to sell you data. Why would they give a “free” service?
Do you value your privacy?
Best Choice: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent’s primary focus is on registered agent services and their motto is ‘Privacy by Default’. Northwest clearly states on its website that they do not sell client data to 3rd parties. Northwest Registered Agent scans and stores documents for legal mail. They also forward business mail.
The company charges only $125 per year per state, with a discounted price for five or more.
Another great option: Incfile
When you sign up for IncFile, you get one year of registered agent services. This is a great opportunity to learn about the benefits of working as a registered agent. You will pay $139 each year after the first year.
Protect your business and personal information by paying close attention to:
- Registered agent services: Registered agents receive important documents and handle tax and legal forms on your behalf, protecting your privacy. This feature is included in your business formation service so you don’t need to search elsewhere.
Do you want to start a business immediately?
Best Choice: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent provides same-day filings for no additional fee, unlike other companies who typically take at least a few business days to process your formation. While some states take longer to process your form, Northwest Registered Agent guarantees a fast filing.
Another great option: MyCompanyWorks
MyCompanyWorks will process your business filing if you submit it before 3:00 EST. The company will then send it to the appropriate state agency. Your filing will still take place the next business day if you do not submit it before 3 pm EST on a business.
Start your business right the first time.
- Filing time: Some companies charge an additional fee for same-day business filings. Some companies may not offer same day filings, which can lead to unexpected waiting times.
Access to legal help is essential
Best Choice: Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer offers legal advice throughout its services. Rocket Lawyer allows business owners to not only create their business, but also subscribe to legal services to continue to receive legal consultations and answers.
Rocket Lawyer allows you to create contracts for your business. Document Defense can help you enforce your terms.
Another great option: LegalZoom
LegalZoom may be an option if your business needs legal advice beyond the filing of your business. It offers Business Advisory Plans that include 30-minute consultations, annual business assessments, and legal document review.
If your business needs extra support after filing, look for:
- Access to a legal team. Does your company have licensed lawyers who can quickly and efficiently answer all of your questions?
- Templates and legal forms: You can create self-serve legal forms to help you compile contracts and forms that your company uses in its day-to-day business operations.
Help is needed to keep your business compliant
Best Choice: Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance is committed to compliance in business. It offers a ComplianceAdviser package that you can customize for your business. This package includes annual reports, audits, registered agents, helpful updates, and timely notifications.
Compliance software from the company keeps track of where you are located and compares them with state regulations. This helps you to monitor compliance.
Another great option: LegalNature
LegalNature’s Compliance Guard program can help you keep your company compliant with taxes, filings, meeting minutes, and other requirements. The plan costs only $125/year and is one of the best ways to make sure you are complying with all regulations.
If your company must adhere to multiple compliances, be sure to pay attention to
- Thoroughness: There is a lot to be aware of. Make sure that the business formation company you choose has all the necessary compliance.
- Communication: After filing, the best business formation services will continue to support your business by providing guidance, reminders, and updates throughout the year.
Business Formation Services Reviews
Our research into business formation services allowed us to identify the features that business owners expect and need. These must-haves helped us find the right companies that would meet those needs.
The following reviews provide detailed information about our final choices, including what they offer and what business needs they meet.
Northwest Registered Agent: Best for Protecting Privacy
Northwest Register Agent offers several privacy protection features for companies that focus on registered agent services. It protects your business’s information and only shares it when necessary. All communications must include the contact information of your registered agent.
A premium mail forwarding service is also available for $20 per month. If you choose to have your mail sent to a different address than your business, this service will send your mail. You can also opt for a digital service, which scans all of your mail and gives you digital copies.
Northwest Registered Agent can provide some security for business owners worried about their data being sold to a third party. Northwest Registered Agent’s goal of protecting your privacy by default includes not selling data by default.
What makes Northwest registered agents great?
You don’t want your physical address to be disclosed to your business contacts. The Virtual Office Service by Northwest Registered Agent is available. You can get a digital address, electronic mail scanning and phone services for $20 per month. This will keep your personal information secure.
A VoIP phone number can be added to business plans for as low as $9 per month. This allows them to keep their personal information secure and keeps their numbers private.
Northwest Registered Agent costs $39 plus the state filing fees for LLC, corporation, and nonprofit filings, this includes its registered agent in your plan. $39 is the discounted price that our readers get through our links.
IncFile Best for ‘Free” LLC Filing
When you’re looking to start a business, it’s hard to beat a free service. Incfile is a free LLC filing service. To get a new business, you will only need to pay the state filing fees.
IncFile makes it easy to create LLCs, which are generally the easiest business types. However, IncFile’s guided setup and stripped-down website ensure that there are no snags. The step-by-step process makes it easy to form other types of businesses.
Select LLC owners will be eligible for a free EIN and consultation regarding their business taxes. They also receive an operating agreement with their filing. All packages include a one-year free registered agent service.
What makes IncFile great?
IncFile is equally effective for LLCs, nonprofits, corporations, and corporations. We appreciate the ease and affordability of IncFile for LLCs who want to create their business and receive consistent support.
Free filing members receive unlimited telephone and email support. The support team is responsive and helpful, even though there are no weekend hours. If you require immediate assistance, call the support team at +1 888 67 00.
Incfile is completely free. However, you can choose from a Gold plan at $199 or a Platinum plan at $299. Plus state filing fees. If LLC owners want to get more help from IncFile, Gold is a great choice. It includes a tax consultation, lifetime company notifications, and a bank account. Many LLCs with simple structures can probably get by with the Silver plan.
ZenBusiness is the best for business planning and branding
The beginning of your business is not just about forming a company. Planning and marketing are crucial to a company’s success. ZenBusiness will help you achieve all of these goals.
ZenBusiness offers a guided set-up to help you form your business. You can also access tools such as market research, grant searches, and startup cost calculators. Next, you can start to get your business out there with a domain, website builder, email and other tools.
These tools can be expensive and may add to your business filing fees. This is something you should consider when signing up. Even if you don’t require branding, planning, or marketing tools at the moment, this could provide some security and peace of mind that they will be available if needed.
What makes ZenBusiness great?
ZenBusiness is focused on simplifying the process of starting a business. This is why ZenBusiness doesn’t expect you do it all by yourself. ZenBusiness offers a full suite of tools that you can use, including domain name privacy and website builders, as your business requires them.
The company also offers tax preparation and filing services as well as accounting and bookkeeping services. Money Pro is a tool that tracks invoices, payments, and expenses.
ZenBusiness pricing begins at $0 plus the state’s filing fee. Pro and Premium (both $299 and $199, respectively) offer faster filing speeds and guided operating arrangements. Premium is the best choice for business owners who want a complete solution that includes a website, domain registration, and an email address.
Rocket Lawyer is Best for Ongoing Legal Support
Rocket Lawyer is a service that helps you to set up your business. Partnering with real lawyers, the company can answer your questions, review legal documents and provide consultations to assist you in all aspects of running your business.
Non-members have access to most of the legal resources on the site for different prices. Paying members receive free consultations and discounts on on-call lawyer services. They also get one free incorporation file plus a 25% discount for future filings.
Rocket Lawyer’s weekend customer service hours are a potential problem. Rocket Lawyer’s support team is available from 6 am to 6 pm PT during the week, but it can be difficult to reach someone on weekends for businesses that work outside of normal hours.
Rocket Lawyers: What makes them great?
Rocket Lawyer’s business documents are reviewed by legal teams. They comply with legal regulations. The document builder allows you to easily customize each document, making sure that all business documents follow the same guidelines.
Rocket Lawyer’s lawyers are here to assist you in filing your business and operating. They can help you understand employment law, manage intellectual property, navigate contracts, and divide and manage it. Monthly membership does not limit your legal questions.
Business owners can access real legal advice from real lawyers with a monthly membership starting at $39.99/month. You can return your membership within 30 days if you are not satisfied with it.
To learn more about their business services, read our Rocket Lawyer review.
LegalNature: Best for Doing it Yourself
LegalNature is a good choice if you already know the legal forms that your business must use, and don’t need any guidance from a company. You can choose from a variety of DIY forms that have been legally reviewed and then fill them out to start your business.
LegalNature won’t provide any legal assistance, but you will have all the forms necessary for business formation, compliance with HR regulations, and management at your disposal. A specialist will still review your forms if you choose to file with LegalNature.
A support team is available to help you with general questions. You can customize your plans with add-ons like EIN registration or registered agent service to give you the best mix of DIY and help.
What makes LegalNature great?
Business owners who are familiar with compliance and business operations will find it helpful to be able to grab legal forms whenever they need them. LegalNature’s subscription service is simple and allows unlimited access to all legal documents.
LegalNature is available to assist you with any additional services such as filing articles of dissolution and obtaining a certificate of good standing. LegalNature’s Compliance guard, a $125 per year service, is a popular option that helps you comply with annual compliance requirements such as meeting minutes and SOS filings.
LegalNature offers ongoing documentation starting at $39 per month and $139 per annum. You can also receive a 7-day free trial to see if the service is right for you. If it does not meet your expectations, there’s a 30-day guarantee. Business formation alone costs $49 plus state filing fees.
LegalZoom is Best for Trademarking Your Company
LegalZoom is a well-known name for legal documentation and other services. However, it has many benefits for business owners. LegalZoom offers a range of tools that can be used by businesses that need to trademark their products and services.
LegalZoom can help your business protect its unique ideas, identity, and reputation from the beginning to the end. You can also apply for a utility or provisional patent, or register a copyright.
These services are not available at no additional cost. You can instead use LegalZoom to start your business and then add the trademarking services later, as needed.
What makes LegalZoom great?
LegalZoom will conduct thorough research on your trademark before you can register it. This extra protection will keep you from getting into legal trouble. LegalZoom will file all documents necessary to start the trademark process.
LegalZoom does more than trademarking. It offers a wide range of tools that business owners can use throughout the life of their business, including customizable legal forms, registered agent services, and more. LZ Tax can even file your taxes and provide tax guidance.
LegalZoom costs $79 plus the state filing fees to form a business. However, different pricing tiers may offer additional bonuses and expedited filing. The cost of registering a trademark is $599, plus the federal filing fees and coverage in case your original trademark is denied.
BizFilings Best for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups
Startups and entrepreneurs without complex business formation requirements may be able to benefit from the additional help offers.
BizFilings allows you to use a checklist and startup wizard to make sure you have taken all the steps necessary for compliance and legal formation. These tools will guide you through trademarking, compliance and licensing requirements.
BizFilings offers a toolkit online for small business owners that provides resources to help them choose the best business structure and comply with legal requirements. Startups and entrepreneurs may also need additional services such as a business plan creator or sales tax registration.
What makes BizFilings great?
BizFilings offers a comprehensive service for business formation, particularly for small business owners without a team. BizFilings offers a wide range of services at an affordable price, including payroll taxes registration and enrollment in payroll services.
BizComply is also an online compliance tool that stores digital versions of documents, tracks meetings and sends alerts to keep you current on any compliance measures that your business needs.
The website offers self-help options to help you start and manage your company. However, the customer support team is available by phone, email and live chat to assist with more complex issues.
Start business formations using BizFilings starting at $99 plus any state filing fees. Also, you get three months of free registered agent service. All plans include a guarantee that your business will be protected against any filing problems throughout its life.
Harbor Compliance Best for All-Around Compliance
For companies with complicated compliance requirements, outsourcing compliance tasks to a service such as Harbor Compliance may be a good option. This company offers easy-to-use compliance software that will help you keep your business documents organized. If you don’t want to use the software yourself, trained professionals are available who can offer manual assistance.
Harbor Compliance maintains a complex database of federal and state guidelines that helps businesses comply with its software. The database tracks important dates, updates, and regulations so you don’t have to waste time searching for the right forms.
Harbor Compliance offers compliance-focused services in addition to its business formation services. This gives you much more value throughout the business’s lifecycle. These extras can be more important than simple formations like LLCs.
What makes Harbor Compliance great?
Harbor Compliance’s ComplianceAdviser is another unique feature that helps businesses meet their strict compliance requirements. This package can include compliance audits and annual reports, registered agent service, and many other features that are customized to your business needs.
You can still add services to your plan even if you don’t have the ComplianceAdviser package. A registered agent service costs $89 per annum, depending on the state. This is less than the $100+ that many other services for business formation charge.
Prices for business formation services start at $99, plus any state filing fees. These packages do not include Harbor Compliance’s suite of compliance tools. Harbor Compliance will provide a quote to help you create a custom package.
Inc Authority Best for Managing Your Company After Filing
Inc Authority is a free service that allows you to form your business. Inc Authority provides its registered agent services at no charge for the first year, which is $99 normally.
With your $0 LLC filing, you can get business financing, credit analysis, and digital document storage free of charge.
After you have formed your company and taken advantage of the company’s free services, think about whether you could use the paid tools Inc Authority offers for business management. You can register domains and get web hosting for your site, or even business planning services.
What makes Inc Authority great?
Although it can be tempting to file a business free of charge, not all companies offer truly free services. Inc Authority offers free services for LLCs and many LLC owners may find that their service is sufficient.
Inc Authority offers premium bundles that can be used by companies that need more extensive operations and management services. These bundles include annual compliance notifications and deluxe records books, operating agreements, and a website domain with up five email addresses.
But beware! Inc Authority is required to determine bundle pricing. The site does not transparently list prices. You can also get started with a free LLC and then upgrade later as your business grows.
MyCompanyWorks is the best for quick business processing
MyCompanyWorks guarantees same-day business filing processing for all business-day submissions submitted by 3:00 EST. If your filing is not received by the deadline, it will be processed on the next business day.
This is good news for business owners who want faster processing than others without having to pay high rush fees. While completing your file will ultimately depend on the filing time in your state, MyCompanyWorks can help to cut down the wait time with its fast turnaround.
MyCompanyWorks does not handle LLC or corporation filings. Nonprofits will need to work with another company that provides nonprofit filing services.
What makes MyCompanyWorks great?
MyCompanyWorks is a top-rated company because of its speed in filing. We also like the ease of its website navigation and setting up an account. The interactive wizard guides you through the filing process so that you don’t feel lost.
MyCompanyForms is the company’s complete suite of forms that you will need to run your business efficiently. It costs only $35 per year or $5 for a Premium plan. If you have any questions, company name changes, website setups and virtual office services can be accessed.
Basic filing starts from $59 plus any state fees. A $199 Entrepreneur plan includes access to MyCompanyForms and registered agent services. If you are not satisfied with your service, the company offers a 90-day guarantee that will give 100% of your money back.
Swyft Filings – Best For Personalized Business Assistance
The Swyft Filings customer support team is the best.
Swyft Filings assigns each customer a Business Specialist, unlike other companies that have general phone numbers and email addresses for customer support. Your specialist will send you their phone number and email address so that you can contact them directly.
For quick and efficient assistance, call the support number or chat with a specialist if you are unable to get in touch.
What makes Swyft Filings great?
It is a great bonus to have dedicated support for filings. Swyft Filings has many other services to offer, such as annual reports, ComplianceGuard company alerts, and amendments.
For $149 per quarter, business owners can add registered agent services. Although the price is higher than other plans, it includes access to online documents 24/7, quick uploads, and an online account that allows you to view all of the services for your business.
Start-ups cost $49 and include state filing fees. All plans include a free one-hour consultation regarding business filings and access to your Business Specialist whenever you need it during Swyft Filings hours.
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. He has assisted clients in achieving their objectives.
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.