Do you need to form a limited liability company, but you don’t want to bother with the complexities and hassles of forming your own LLC?
There are many companies like Northwest Registered Agent and Direct Incorporation that offer high-quality LLC formation service, but it can be tough to figure out which one is the best option for your new business.
In this Northwest Registered Agent vs Direct Incorporation comparison guide, you’ll find all the relevant information about these two reputable service providers organized in a convenient manner. Let’s find out which one is the right choice for your LLC!
Do Direct Incorporation and Northwest Offer Good Value?
Northwest and Direct Incorporation are two of our favorite companies in the LLC services industry, and we’re quite confident in their abilities to efficiently form your compliant business entity. Each of these companies has its own advantages when compared to each other, but in general, we prefer Northwest for most of our readers.
First and foremost, Northwest has the best customer support in the industry. While Direct Incorporation also has quality customer service, they don’t reach the same level of personalization that Northwest offers. In addition, Northwest has a stronger customer feedback reputation than Direct Incorporation has.
Would you like to learn the details that set these service providers apart, as well as the common characteristics they both share? Read on as we discuss all the information you need to make a decision between these two respected companies.
7 Things They Have in Common
1) Affordable: With either Northwest or Direct Incorporation, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.
2) Registered Agent Service: Both of these companies provide their LLC formation clients with free registered agent service. Northwest provides a full year, while Direct Incorporation includes six months.
3) Efficiency: Whether you choose Northwest or Direct Incorporation, you’re getting a service provider that’s capable of processing an LLC formation quickly. If you’re in a hurry, they both have options available that can speed up your formation.
4) Experience: Both Direct Incorporation and Northwest have helped form thousands of businesses over the years, and they both have plenty of expertise. You can definitely trust them to have the experience they need to form your compliant LLC.
5) Trustworthy: These are both entirely legitimate operations with strong track records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies, but rather they’re well-respected entities with plenty of expertise to get the job done right.
6) Additional Services: LLC formation is far from the only service offered by Northwest and Direct Incorporation. They both have tons of other services available, from registered agent service to foreign qualifications and much more. They’re one-stop shops for business services.
7) Customer Support: While the ways they go about providing it vary somewhat, these two services both have customer support networks that can answer your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from Northwest or Direct Incorporation?
Side by Side Comparisons
Northwest charges $225 for its only LLC formation service package, while Direct Incorporation starts its pricing at $147. It’s worth noting that Direct Incorporation also has several higher-priced packages that cost $297, $429, $873, and $1,495.
Obviously, everyone would rather pay $147 than $225, right? While that’s certainly true, we think you’ll agree as you read through the rest of this review that Northwest has a number of advantages that end up tipping the scales in their direction.
As we mentioned, Northwest bundles in 12 months of registered agent service with any LLC formation package purchase, although they don’t include any other valuable features to mention. In addition to their six months of registered agent, Direct Incorporation includes a federal tax ID number (EIN), and they will also acquire your S corporation tax election (if necessary). It’s worth mentioning that Direct Incorporation’s higher-priced formation packages include tons of advanced features that Northwest doesn’t offer, like logo design, full-service web design, trademark protection service, and more.
This category is an interesting competition because both companies have their own advantages over the other. The additional six months of registered agent service from Northwest is highly valuable, but so is the EIN acquisition offered by Direct Incorporation. If you want your LLC to be taxed as an S corporation, we would say Direct Incorporation has a slight advantage in this category, but otherwise, Northwest wins a close battle due to registered agent service.
Northwest was formed in 1998, and since then they’ve served more than two million customers. They also indicate on their website that they deal with hundreds of new LLCs and corporations every day. As for Direct Incorporation, they’ve helped more than 80,000 clients since opening in 2003.
Direct Incorporation offers customer support via phone, and in our experience, they are quite responsive, as we’ve never had to wait very long to get in touch with them. Their representatives are knowledgeable and helpful, but they don’t really go the extra mile like Northwest’s reps do.
In our opinion, Northwest has the best customer support in this industry. Their highly trained support representatives have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw upon, and they go way beyond the level of the traditional “call center” style of support offered by most competitors.
With Direct Incorporation, turnaround times are based on the requirements of each state. These processing times can vary from just a couple of business days all the way up to several weeks. Northwest’s turnaround times also vary based on state requirements, and they typically take roughly the same amount of time to process your order as Direct Incorporation does. This category is a tie.
Both of these service providers have order tracking tools available on their websites. Simply log into your account and you’ll find your order status in your profile.
Registered Agent Service
Every LLC in America is required to designate a registered agent, which is a person or business entity that receives important document deliveries (like service of process) from your state government, informs you of the receipt, then forwards the documents to you. This is so crucial because the state needs to have a reliable means of contacting your business at any time.
Northwest includes 12 months of registered agent service with any LLC formation, and this service costs $125 per year after that. Direct Incorporation bundles in six months of registered agent service with their LLC service packages, and they charge $159 per year for ongoing service once those six months are up.
Northwest receives mostly positive customer reviews. We found nearly 200 reviews of their services, and the vast majority of their feedback is quite positive. Still, for a company with millions of customers, we had hoped for a slightly higher volume of reviews.
As for Direct Incorporation, they have a few dozen reviews available. While most of them are positive, there are some critical reviews out there as well. For instance, their average rating score on Facebook is 3.9 stars out of 5, which is pretty good but not great.
Ease of Use
These companies are relative equals in this category, as they both make the LLC formation process quite simple compared to forming your own business using the DIY method. This category is a toss-up for Direct Incorporation and Northwest Registered Agent.
With either of these companies, you can access a broad selection of additional business services. For instance, they both offer registered agent service, foreign qualifications, and business licensing research packages. However, there are also many services offered by Direct Incorporation that Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t offer.
For example, Direct Incorporation can help you with access to legal advice, and they also offer trademark protection, business websites, domain names, logo design, and much more. These are all services that Northwest does not provide to its customers.
Which Is the Best LLC Service for You?
Northwest and Direct Incorporation have plenty of common characteristics that make them two of the top LLC formation services available, but they also have some major differences that set them apart. If you haven’t yet made up your mind between them, let’s finish this comparison by quickly describing some scenarios that may sway your opinion one way or the other.
Regardless of which one you ultimately choose to help form your LLC, we think you’ll be quite pleased with the service you receive from these great companies.
➥ Choose Northwest if You Are:
If receiving a full year of reliable registered agent service for your business at no extra cost is a priority for you, Northwest is an excellent option. Their industry-best customer support is a great selling point as well.
➦ Choose Direct Incorporation if You Are:
If your company can take advantage of its advanced features, Direct Incorporation’s LLC service is usually worth the money. Very few competitors can match their offerings of logo design, web design, trademark service, and more. On the other hand, many businesses don’t need these features.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I Decide to Use Northwest Registered Agent, Which Package Should I Choose?
Northwest’s prices are always fair, and we never feel like we’re paying more than their services are worth. They only offer one package for LLC formations, but it includes everything you need to get your business off the ground — a name availability check, the preparation and filing of your formation documents, and a year of registered agent service.
Does Northwest Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?
Yes and no. Northwest doesn’t offer to handle state-specific requirements entirely, but they do offer significant assistance with them. If, for example, you need to complete New York’s publication requirement, Northwest encourages you to use their Albany, NY address as an “address for service of process” or a “principal office.” They then provide you with step-by-step instructions to help you complete this requirement.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
We’re big fans of both of these companies in this regard, as neither of them gets pushy with upsells like some of their competitors do.
Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?
Northwest does not sell or share your personal info with other companies. In fact, their dedication to your privacy is so thorough that they run their own servers and write their own code to prevent giving anyone outside the company access to your info.
Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
Direct Incorporation’s refund policy is pretty strict. At best, you’ll get a refund less a $40 processing fee, but “any order that has been partially processed and has had formation documents sent to the state’s office for filing, and/or trademark documents sent to the USPTO is nonrefundable.”
As for Northwest, they have a flat $25 fee for refunds, which they refer to as a “You changed your mind fee.”
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
Generally speaking, these companies are pretty close when it comes to turnaround times. There are some exceptions, however. We’ve noticed that Direct Incorporation is sometimes a bit faster for standard processing, but Northwest offers expedited service in more states. We recommend checking both sites for their exact turnaround times in your state if you’re in a hurry.
Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?
Of course you can. In fact, thousands of American entrepreneurs form their own business entities each year. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing this, we will caution that because each state is allowed to create their own rules regarding how LLCs are formed, there is some variance from state to state regarding how an LLC is formed. Furthermore, we appreciate the peace of mind we receive from hiring a reputable company like Northwest or Direct Incorporation to form our businesses.
Ready to Create Your LLC Online?
Create an LLC with Direct Incorporation or through Northwest.