Since they opened in 2003, Direct Incorporation has served 80,000+ customers. Although the LLC formation service industry is a crowded one, they have managed to carve out a relevant role in this line of business.
In this Direct Incorporation LLC service review, we’ll discuss some pros and cons of using their services. Then, we’ll break down their pricing and package options, and take a look at their customer feedback to help decide whether or not they’re the right for you.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of Direct Incorporation
✔ They offer some advanced features that few competitors provide. From trademark protections to full-service web design to logos and graphic design, Direct Incorporation can handle a wider variety of business needs than most of its competitors can.
✔ With their Executive Club service, which can be added to your formation for $13.99 per month, you have access to a number of features. You can create custom corporate documents, manage your company dashboard, and track tax filings and other government compliance requirements. It even includes asking legal questions to qualified business attorneys. In short, it’s a good value for so little money, and it’s no surprise that more than 25,000 businesses subscribe to the Executive Club.
✔ Every one of their LLC formation packages includes a federal tax ID number or EIN. This allows you to open business checking and/or savings accounts, hire employees, file business taxes, and much more. Most businesses need an EIN, but not many companies include one with all their LLC service packages like Direct Incorporation does.
Disadvantages of Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation LLC Packages
Direct Incorporation offers five different options for LLC formation packages: Standard, Premier, Elite, Venture, and Venture Plus. If you’re interested in reviewing all of the details, check out the breakdown below.
Standard = $174 + State Fee
➢ Business Name Availability Check: They will search through your state’s business database to ensure that your desired company name is indeed available, and isn’t already taken by another company.
➢ Preparation and Filing of Articles of Organization: These are the forms that you need to submit to your state to officially create your company. Direct Incorporation will draft these documents for you, then file them with the appropriate state agency.
➢ Six Months Registered Agent Service: Every LLC operating in America needs to designate a registered agent. This is a person or entity that receives important document deliveries from the state on your behalf, then forwards them to you. Direct Incorporation includes this service for six months.
➢ Federal Tax ID Number (EIN): An EIN is a numerical code much like a Social Security Number that allows you to open business bank accounts, hire employees, file business taxes, and more. They will acquire this number for you from the IRS.
➢ Client Resource Center: With this feature, you have access to an online portal where you can check your order status, download copies of your formation documents, and more.
➢ S Corp Tax Designation: This only applies to a select few LLCs, but if you want your LLC to be taxed like an S corp instead of like a partnership, Direct Incorporation will file the relevant tax forms with the IRS.
➢ 3-Week Executive Club Trial: The Executive Club is Direct Incorporation’s legal services subscription service. You’ll be able to create business documents, track IRS filings, keep an eye on state compliance deadlines, ask attorneys legal questions, and more. After your three-week trial, Executive Club costs $13.99/month, although you are under no obligation to continue the service.
➢ Unlimited Customer Support: You can reach Direct Incorporation representatives via phone or email, from 9am to 6pm ET Monday through Friday.
➢ 1 Year Domain Name Registration
Premier = $297 + State Fee
Everything from the Standard package, plus…
➢ Operating Agreement: This document is highly recommended for all LLCs, as it lays out the ground rules for how your company will be run, as well as defines your ownership structure. Direct Incorporation will provide an operating agreement for your business.
➢ Corporate Suite CD and Sample Forms: A disc full of sample documents and helpful guides. You will also receive several employment forms, like NDAs, contracts, etc.
➢ LLC Kit and Seal: A records binder with 20 stock certificates, and an embossed LLC seal with your company name on it.
Elite = $429 + State Fee
Everything from the Premier package, plus…
➢ DIY Website Builder Software: Easily create your own basic business website with Direct Incorporation’s website builder tool.
➢ 5 Free Email Accounts
➢ Stock Logo: They’ll provide you with a shared license for a professionally designed stock logo that you can use to represent your company.
Venture = $873 + State Fee
Everything from the Elite package, plus…
➢ Web Design Service: Instead of designing your own website using their DIY website builder tool, they’ll build a basic business website for you.
➢ Custom Logo Design: A professionally designed logo created specifically for your business, with three drafts and three interactive revisions with your feedback.
➢ Trademark Protection: Direct Incorporation will run an extensive conflict search for your intellectual property and prepare a thorough report. They will also provide three months of their Trademark Protection Monitoring service.
➢ 1 Year Executive Club Subscription
Venture Plus = $1,495 + State Fee
Everything from the Venture package, plus…
➢ Subsidiary Entity Filing: Direct Incorporation will file formation documents for a parent-subsidiary company, a foreign entity filing (such as a foreign qualification or apostille), or a DBA (doing business as) name.
➢ Second Trademark or Copyright Filing: Do you need to register multiple trademarks or copyrights? The Venture Plus package is for you!
➢ Business Address in Michigan: This feature includes a physical office address in the state of Michigan. This is a great feature for non-Americans who own American LLCs and need a U.S. address.
➢ Live Support for Initial and Annual Meetings: If you hold organizational or annual meetings for your LLC, Direct Incorporation will provide live support for these events.
✔ Best Alternative LLC Service
|🥇 ZenBusiness||$0 + state fee||Excellent||Absolutely|
If you’d like to explore other LLC formation services, choose ZenBusiness. We’ve formed over 300,000 businesses and have 10,000+ positive customer reviews to back it up.
Plus, right now we’re offering a special discount and will form your LLC for free (normally $49). That’s $79 less than LegalZoom!
Direct Incorporation Customer Reviews
|Better Business Bureau (25 reviews)||3.4 out of 5 stars|
|Yelp (5 reviews)||2 out of 5 stars|
There aren’t a ton of Direct Incorporation reviews online, but you can find a collection of them on BBB.org and Yelp.
Not only does Direct Incorporation lack customer feedback in general, but what they do have isn’t great. Their rating scores are acceptable but unimpressive, especially with such a limited sample size of reviews. They do have quite a few customers who seem pleased with their efficiency and ease of use, but some others complain about billing issues and problems with the company’s website services.
Is Direct Incorporation Right For You?
Direct Incorporation is a strong contender to form your new LLC. Obviously, no one service is going to be ideal for every entrepreneur, so to finish this review we’ll go through some scenarios where you might want to use their services, and also some that might make you want to look elsewhere.
✔ When to Form an LLC with Direct Incorporation
If your company wants to take advantage of the advanced features in the Venture package, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal for features like web development and graphic design. It’s a lot of services to kickstart your business bundled into one package.
✖ When NOT to Form an LLC with Direct Incorporation
If you just want the standard ingredients of LLC formation, you might want to use another service. Several competitors offer basic LLC formations for lower rates than Direct Incorporation charges.
Direct Incorporation approaches limited liability company formations a bit differently than most competitors in this industry. In addition to forming your company, they offer advanced features in the areas of logo design, web hosting, trademark protections, and more ― none of which are commonly found with other LLC formation services.
However, there are other services that can save you money while also providing a full year of registered agent service, so whether Direct Incorporation is a good choice for you depends on what your company’s unique needs are.
What Other Services Does Direct Incorporation Offer?
As with most competitors, Direct Incorporation provides a wide variety of additional services to help entrepreneurs form, maintain, and grow their businesses.
We dug into the list of features Direct Incorporation offers to see how much they charge for each of these services, which can be especially interesting when examining a la carte pricing for features included in their formation packages.
Let’s take a look at everything Direct Incorporation offers and discuss which services are good deals and which ones you can ignore.
- DBA Name ($89): A DBA (doing business as) name is an alternative to forming a business entity, as it gives you the legal right to use an assumed business name. This is a bit lower than the industry-standard rate of around $100.
- Foreign Qualification ($199): If your LLC already exists in another state, you need to file a foreign qualification rather than a formation. This isn’t a terrible price point (and LegalZoom charges the higher rate of $229), but you can still get a better deal with a company like MyCompanyWorks, which supplies foreign qualifications for just $99.
- Amendments ($149): If you need to amend your LLC’s formation documents to reflect important changes made to your business, Direct Incorporation will file amendments for $149 each, plus the state fee. Some competitors charge around $100 for this service, so DIrect Incorporation’s offer isn’t a great deal.
- Dissolution ($132): Are you ready to shut your LLC’s doors for good? Direct Incorporation will complete and file your dissolution paperwork, closing your business and removing your responsibility for keeping up with ongoing maintenance requirements. This is a reasonable price point that aligns with the rates offered by competitors.
- Executive Club ($13.99 per month): If you want to purchase Direct Incorporation’s legal services subscription service without purchasing one of its higher-end LLC formation packages, you can add it for $13.99 per month.
- Business Compliance Program ($9.99 per month): With this feature, Direct Incorporation will track your annual report and tax filing due dates and provide access to a software tool that helps you track and define your LLC’s formal structure. Considering that this feature does not provide any assistance with the annual reports themselves, and merely reminds you that they’re due, we don’t think it’s worth ten bucks a month. Some competitors include similar features for free with LLC formation packages.
- Annual Report ($97): Most states require some sort of annual or biennial report from entrepreneurs. This report keeps the state updated regarding some basic attributes of your business, like your address or your registered agent’s name. This is in line with the industry-standard $100 price point for annual report service.
- Trademark Search and Registration ($395): Direct Incorporation won’t just search the federal trademark database and register your mark on your behalf — they also provide legal counsel from an experienced trademark attorney. However, IncFile offers a nearly identical service for just $199.
- DIY Website Builder with Domain Name ($13.95 per month): You’ll receive access to Direct Incorporation’s website building software, a domain name for your website, and business email addresses for a total of just under $14 per month.
- Custom Logo Design ($374): With this feature, Direct Incorporation will work with you to design a custom logo for your LLC.
- Ecommerce “Online Marketplace” Package ($395): This comprehensive online store package includes a retail sales permit for your state, a shopping cart for your website, a merchant account that allows you to accept credit cards in your online store, and personalized support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got Direct Incorporation questions? We’ve got answers.
Does Direct Incorporation Have Good Customer Support?
Direct Incorporation keeps their support in-house, which is a big advantage compared to some competitors who outsource their customer service to anonymous call centers. You can reach Direct Incorporation’s helpful service reps from 9am to 6pm ET on weekdays.
Is Direct Incorporation Legit?
Direct Incorporation has been around since 2003, and they’ve served more than 80,000 customers over the years. They only have about 30 customer reviews available online, and although they’re somewhat mixed between positive and negative feedback, a majority of their reviews are positive.
Do They Have a Refund Policy?
In their own words: “If an order for any of our services is canceled after we have received payment then the full amount will be refunded less a $40.00 processing fee.”
Can I Form an LLC on My Own?
Sure, you always have this option. In fact, quite a few entrepreneurs choose to form their own LLCs. The issue with this is that it can be quite time-consuming, especially once you figure out your formation state’s unique rules and regulations.
On the other end of the spectrum, some entrepreneurs hire a lawyer to form a new LLC, but this is usually much more expensive than online LLC services.
Should I Reserve My LLC Name Before Forming an LLC?
There are only a couple of scenarios where this is a necessary step. First, if you’re not yet ready to enter the formation process itself, you can reserve a name to use at a later date when you form your business.
The other scenario is if you’re forming a business in Alabama, where reserving a name in advance is a requirement to form an LLC. Other than that, you most likely do not need to reserve a name in advance.
Can I Form an LLC Without Physically Being in the United States?
Yes, you can. Not only do you not need to be physically present in the United States to form an LLC, but you also don’t need to be an American citizen or resident. Part of the reason the LLC is such a popular business entity is the fact that the requirements regarding who can form one are so loose.
How Does Direct Incorporation Compare to Other LLC Providers?
It’s totally fine to be uncertain about which online LLC formation service is the right choice for your unique business. After all, there are a ton of options out there, and each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, we’ve done countless hours of research on this topic, reviewing and comparing all of the best LLC formation services.
Beyond that, we invite you to check out some of our comparison guides, which take a head-to-head view of the competition between Direct Incorporation and their top competitors:
Direct Incorporation vs LegalZoom
Direct Incorporation vs LegalZoom: LegalZoom charges $79 for LLC formations, but this package includes very little when it comes to features. However, LegalZoom has more experience than just about any other company in this industry, with more than 4 million customers served.
LegalZoom has a good reputation with its customers, as this company has thousands of positive customer reviews with only a small amount of negative feedback.
The decision between these two likely comes down to the unique needs of your business. If the advanced features of Direct Incorporation appeal to you, they’re a solid choice. But if you want to save some money, or if you value positive customer feedback, LegalZoom might be a better fit.
Direct Incorporation vs IncFile
Direct Incorporation vs IncFile: IncFile actually offers an LLC formation package for free, as long as you pay your own state fee. Seeing as Direct Incorporation charges at least $174, pricing is a win for IncFile, especially considering they include a year of registered agent service at no extra charge, compared to Direct Incorporation’s six months.
IncFile has good customer feedback as well, as they maintain high average rating scores with thousands of reviews. IncFile also has more experience than Direct Incorporation does, as they’ve served 500,000+ customers over the years.
If you need the advanced features that Direct Incorporation includes with their LLC formation plans, they’re probably your best bet because IncFile doesn’t offer many of those features. Otherwise, we think IncFile is the better option.
Does Direct Incorporation Do New York Publication or Alabama Name Reservation?
We called Direct Incorporation to find out whether they tackle state-specific compliance requirements or not, and unfortunately, the answer was no.
If you’re forming a business in a state that requires publication or other unique steps, you’ll need to handle those yourself. If you’re looking for a company that will take care of publication requirements on your behalf, check out our guide to the best New York publication services.
They do, however, take care of name reservations in Alabama if that’s a service you require.
What's the Direct Incorporation Support Phone Number & Email?
You can contact Direct Incorporation’s support reps by calling 1-877-281-6496. If you want to email them, they don’t have a general support email address listed on their website, but they do have each employee’s email address posted on the “Our Team” page.
You can select the employee whose job description best fits your needs and email them directly.
Does Direct Incorporation Share My Information With Third Parties?
Even though Direct Incorporation offers a wide variety of services and features, they provide nearly everything in-house and therefore don’t have many areas where they would share your info with other entities.
Other Than LLC Formation, What Else Can Direct Incorporation Do?
Direct Incorporation has an exhaustive list of additional business services, including doing business as (DBA) names, foreign qualifications, amendments, dissolutions, 501(c)(3) nonprofit applications, business compliance assistance, annual reports, tax programs, trademark protection, copyright service, logo design, and web design.
I’ve Heard LegalZoom Has a Lot of Upsells. Does Direct Incorporation?
On one hand, Direct Incorporation does have plenty of opportunities for you to upgrade to their more expensive LLC formation packages.
On the other hand, they’re never pushy about it, and once you’ve made your choice they don’t try to force anything extra on you.
Overall, we don’t have a problem with Direct Incorporation when it comes to upsells, especially when compared to LegalZoom’s LLC service.
Is There a Promo Code or Discount for Direct Incorporation?
Unfortunately, we are not aware of any discount codes for Direct Incorporation. Trust us, it’s not for a lack of searching. We looked far and wide hoping to find a way for our readers to save money with Direct Incorporation, but we came up empty.
Direct Incorporation has reasonable pricing, but it’s disappointing that there aren’t any ways to knock their rates down a bit.
Direct Incorporation is a good option for any entrepreneur seeking an LLC formation service with advanced branding and marketing features. We also appreciate how this company includes an EIN in every business formation package.
Start your LLC with Direct Incorporation or read our comparison of the 7 top-rated LLC services.
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