Do you want to form a limited liability company (LLC) in the state of Delaware?
LLCs are an incredibly popular business entity type these days, and there are a few different ways to form one.
You can form an LLC on your own using the DIY method, but that can be quite a bit of hassle, especially if you’ve never done it before. You can hire an attorney to form your LLC, but this option can cost thousands of dollars that many startups don’t have.
This leaves the third option, which is to hire a business incorporation service. There are many reliable LLC services available online, but for Delaware, there are six that stand out from the pack. Let’s discuss which online business formation service is the right choice for you.
What Is A Delaware LLC?
First off, let’s quickly outline what an LLC is. LLCs are formal legal entities that are typically taxed similarly to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, in that the owners include any company profits or losses into their personal returns — the LLC itself does not owe income taxes.
An LLC may also elect to be taxed like a corporation, although this is not a very common option.
There are similarities to corporations too, especially when it comes to financial responsibilities. In an LLC, the owners or members are not usually personally accountable for the financial status of the business. This means that if someone sues your LLC, your personal assets are not at risk.
The state of Delaware provides some distinct advantages over other states when it comes to the formation of LLCs, starting with the fact that very little information is required to form one.
This goes hand-in-hand with the state’s policy of allowing LLC owners to remain anonymous. All you need to operate a compliant LLC in Delaware is a designated contact person for your person, as well as a registered agent located in the state.
In addition, Delaware has a separate court system (called the Chancery Court) that specifically hears business matters. This means the state has a more established body of case law and precedent for LLCs than most states do, and business lawsuits typically proceed quickly.
Finally, Delaware allows entrepreneurs to form series LLCs. In fact, we have an entire guide on how to form a series LLC in this state. The series LLC is a group of LLCs that fall under the umbrella of one parent LLC.
The big advantage of series LLCs is that each LLC in the series is shielded from the liability of each other LLC, and you only need to form one entity instead of several separate LLCs or a corporation with subsidiaries.
The 6 Best Services for Forming a Delaware LLC
ZenBusiness is our top overall pick for nationwide LLC formation service, and they’re an excellent pick for Delaware entrepreneurs as well. We love the way ZenBusiness offers so much bang for your buck.
They offer LLC formations starting at just $39 (plus state fee), and that price point includes a full year of registered agent service. In addition, they receive spectacular feedback from their clients, with about 2,000 reviews available online, and nearly universal acclaim from their customers.
We also appreciate the fact that ZenBusiness is a public benefit corporation, which indicates to us that they’re focused on more than simply maximizing their profits.
They have a partnership with Kiva.org to help lift people out of poverty through financial lending, and ZenBusiness also loans money to help women- and minority-owned businesses get off the ground.
It’s tough to top what ZenBusiness has to offer, no matter what state you’re starting a business in.
$99 or $9
IncNow is an excellent option for Delaware entrepreneurs, thanks to their incredible offer to form your LLC for just $9 (plus state fee).
While this formation package is admittedly a bit threadbare, it’s hard to complain about a service that costs just $9. In addition, if you want one of their higher-priced packages, they’re continuously offering a $50 off coupon if you enter the code Save50 at checkout.
Customer feedback is a big pro for IncNow, as their hundreds of customer reviews are almost all positive. Their clients frequently mention how fast and easy the entire LLC formation process was with IncNow, and they also seem to appreciate the timely and accurate responses they receive from IncNow’s customer support representatives.
Due to IncNow’s location in Wilmington and their focus on solely providing services for Delaware entrepreneurs, they can form businesses in this state faster than most of their competitors can.
In fact, if you’re in a hurry, you can expedite your order for just $50 and they’ll get your new business formed by the next day.
Throw in the fact that IncNow has a very reasonable $90 annual price point for registered agent service, and it’s clear that they’re an excellent choice to form your Delaware LLC.
Harvard Business Services is another Delaware-only LLC formation service, and in some ways their offer is even more impressive than IncNow.
While IncNow’s offer of next-day business formations is unquestionably impressive, Harvard Business Services can actually get your business formed the very same day you place your order.
Additionally, IncNow has hundreds of positive customer reviews, but Harvard Business Services has thousands of them. If that wasn’t enough for you, Harvard Business Services charges just $50 per year for registered agent service, and they guarantee that rate for the life of your business.
To be honest, we feel like the competition between Harvard Business Services and IncNow is a toss-up. Both of them are excellent options for entrepreneurs in Delaware because their laser focus on this state means they both have a level of expertise for Delaware formations that their competitors can’t match.
If you have any questions or concerns, their customer support teams have a tremendous amount of experience in this state, and they can answer even your toughest questions.
The main reason we ranked IncNow ahead of Harvard Business Services is due to their incredible $9 price point, but Harvard Business Services has plenty of their own advantages as well, especially since their $89 package includes a year of registered agent service.
We feel that Northwest Registered Agent has the best nationwide customer support network in this industry.
While they may not have the extensive Delaware-specific knowledge you’ll find with Harvard Business Services or IncNow, Northwest does have plenty of appealing selling points of their own.
Northwest provides all of its clients with support from their Corporate Guides. These highly trained representatives walk you through each step of the formation process, and you can contact your Guide at any time to ask questions or get advice.
Northwest’s pricing starts at $225, and that rate includes 12 months of their premium registered agent service. While their competitors typically only scan the government documents they’re legally required to scan, Northwest scans all documents they receive on your behalf.
They provide excellent overall value, and they also receive strong reviews from their customers, albeit in a smaller volume of feedback than some other companies in this guide have to offer.
If you’re looking for more of a premium service, Northwest has a higher price point than some competitors, but in our experience, it’s usually worth the cost.
Who doesn’t like getting things for free? IncFile is one of the only companies we’ve ever heard of that actually offers to form your Delaware LLC at absolutely no charge, as long as you pay your own state fee.
This is obviously a tremendous bargain, and it gets even better when you realize that IncFile is far from a barebones service.
With IncFile, that free formation package we just discussed actually comes with a free year of registered agent service, just like you’ll get from ZenBusiness, Harvard Business Services, or Northwest Registered Agent.
In addition, they have the best customer feedback reputation in this guide, as they have thousands upon thousands of reviews available online, and nearly all of them are perfect five-star scores.
The only real drawback of IncFile is that their customer support team can sometimes take a bit to get back to you, and they don’t have the Delaware-specific knowhow that some options in this guide can offer.
Still, it’s awfully hard to complain about a company that offers to form your LLC for free, while still throwing in a full year of registered agent.
LegalZoom is the biggest name in the LLC formation service industry. They’ve been a prominent player in this market for years, and they advertise more than most of their competitors combined.
They also serve a very high volume of customers, so there’s no denying that LegalZoom is a popular service.
However, they’re far from our favorite pick. Their pricing is acceptable but uninspiring. Their LLC formation packages are threadbare and lacking value compared to many of their competitors.
Their customer reviews are a mixed bag, with plenty of negative reviews balancing out the positive feedback.
If you prioritize using the company with the largest volume of customers or the biggest brand power, LegalZoom is certainly worth a look. For the rest of you, we recommend one of the other services in this guide.
There are several great companies that we recommend for LLC formations in the state of Delaware.
ZenBusiness is the most well-rounded company in this industry, and IncNow’s combination of low prices and Delaware-specific expertise is quite inviting.
Harvard Business Services has incredibly fast Delaware formations and great rates on registered agent service, while Northwest Registered Agent has premium customer support.
Meanwhile, IncFile actually offers LLC formations for free, and LegalZoom has a big advantage in the area of customer volume and brand power.
We hope this guide helped you hone in on which company is the right choice to form your Delaware limited liability company!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Get More Information About Forming LLCs in Delaware?
We invite you to take a look at our comprehensive guide to forming a limited liability company in Delaware. This article walks you through the LLC formation process in this state step by step, ensuring that you don’t miss any crucial elements.
How Can I Search the Delaware Business Name Database?
One of the most important steps in forming a Delaware LLC is choosing a business name. Once you come up with ideas for your name, you should search through the state’s Name Availability Search to make sure your desired name is available. For more information on conducting a business name search in Delaware, check out our full article on the topic.
Where Can I Find the Delaware Certificate of Formation?
You can print off a paper copy of the Delaware Certificate of Formation at this link.
Please note that although the webpage is titled “Certificate of Dissolution” (and the pdf has this same title), this information is actually a mistake made by the Delaware Division of Corporations, and this form is indeed the appropriate Certificate of Formation needed to form a Delaware LLC.
What Are the Ongoing LLC Maintenance Requirements in Delaware?
Every LLC operating in the state of Delaware is required by law to pay a $300 annual franchise tax, which you can pay on the Delaware Corporations Information System website. Aside from this payment, there is no requirement in Delaware for LLCs to file an annual report.
Where Can I Get Information on Licensing for My Delaware LLC?
All businesses operating in Delaware are required to obtain the state’s general business license, which you can acquire either online or with a paper form. In addition, it’s likely that your business will need at least one industry-specific license or permit.
You can get more information about these licenses by visiting the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation website.
How Quickly Can Delaware Form My LLC?
Delaware has some of the quickest expedited turnaround times available in any state, but it will cost you a premium fee. The standard processing speed in Delaware is between 10-15 days, but you can speed up your formation with the following options:
- 24-hour service: $50
- Same-day service: $100
- Two-hour service: $500
- One-hour service: $1,000