Are you in the process of forming a new LLC, but you don’t want to DIY your formation? Are you also unwilling or unable to find room in your budget to hire an attorney to form your LLC?
Companies like Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com are capable of forming your new business quickly and accurately, but it can be tricky to figure out which one is the right choice.
This Northwest Registered Agent vs Incorporate.com comparison guide takes a look at the characteristics these service providers share, as well as those that set them apart. Let’s find out which one can best serve your business.
Do Northwest and Incorporate.com Offer Good Value?
Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com are both highly respected companies in the business services industry. They’re both capable of forming your compliant LLC quickly, and with minimal hassle and effort for you. Still, Northwest Registered Agent has some distinct advantages that make them our preferred pick.
First off, Northwest Registered Agent offers the best customer support you can find in this industry, with a level of personalization their competitors can’t keep up with. In addition, Northwest includes a full year of registered agent service with any LLC service package, a feature that Incorporate.com charges extra for.
Overall though, Incorporate.com is a decent alternative to Northwest Registered Agent.
If you would like some more info before making your choice, read on to get all the relevant details on these two solid LLC service providers.
6 Things They Have In Common
1) Affordable: With either of these companies, you’ll receive LLC formation service at a reasonable price. They can both save you quite a bit of money over hiring a lawyer to draft and file your articles of organization, and because the LLC isn’t terribly complicated as a business structure, you may not need the attorney’s expertise anyway.
2) Customer Support: While it’s nice to save money, you don’t want to be on your own if you have any questions or problems. Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com both have extensive customer service departments that can answer your tough questions quickly and accurately.
3) Experience: It’s always preferable to use a service that has plenty of experience, and both of these companies have lots of it. Incorporate.com and Northwest Registered Agent have each formed thousands of businesses, and they have the knowhow to get the job done right.
4) Efficiency: Do you need your LLC formed in a hurry? That’s no problem at all for these service providers. Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com can expedite your formation (for an additional fee) that can cut your turnaround time down from weeks down to just a few days in many states.
5) Additional Services: These companies both offer many other business services beyond just forming your LLC. Whether you need a federal tax ID number (EIN), an LLC operating agreement, a foreign qualification, or many other services, these providers have it covered.
6) Educational: Whether you’re a customer or not, these companies both have tons of helpful information on their websites. Incorporate.com has a learning center with loads of valuable info, and Northwest Registered Agent has a great selection of how-to guides that cover many common business topics.
Side by Side Comparisons
Northwest Registered Agent will form your LLC for $225 (plus state fee), which is clearly a higher price point than the $99 Incorporate.com charges.
We think that everyone reading this would rather pay $99 than $225, right? As it turns out, there are some big advantages to Northwest’s service that Incorporate.com can’t match. In fact, by the time you’re done reading this comparison, you’ll understand why we actually strongly prefer Northwest, even though they charge $126 more.
Both of these companies do a fine job providing the essentials of LLC formation, including a business name availability check, as well as the preparation and filing of your articles of organization. Beyond that though, Northwest Registered Agent includes a year’s worth of registered agent service, which is a feature that Incorporate.com doesn’t even include with their top-tier packages.
When you dig into each company’s registered agent service, as we will in a moment, it starts to become clear that Northwest is the far superior option in this competition. In fact, if you wanted to add registered agent service to your Incorporate.com formation package to match the included features in Northwest’s offering, you’d need to pay an additional $235. Northwest’s $225 price point for the combination of LLC formation and registered agent service doesn’t look too bad now that you know Incorporate.com charges $334 for the same services, does it?
Northwest Registered Agent has been around since 1998, and since then they’ve become a popular midsize company with thousands of loyal customers. While these companies have served similar volumes of customers, Incorporate.com has a big advantage when it comes to longevity. Incorporate.com opened for business way back in 1899, and they’ve formed over 750,000 businesses in their century-plus of experience.
Incorporate.com has a strong customer service reputation, with good responsiveness and generous availability hours that run from 8am to 8pm ET every weekday. They even answer the phone from 9 am to 6 pm ET on Saturdays. However, Northwest Registered Agent has a distinct advantage in this area thanks to its Corporate Guides program.
Each Northwest client is assigned to receive personal support from a Northwest employee, who guides you through each step of the LLC formation process. What’s more is that you have that employee’s direct contact info, so they’re always just a phone call or email away, and you never have to explain your situation to a random employee who has no familiarity with your business.
These service providers both base their turnaround times on state-by-state guidelines. While Northwest Registered Agent is a bit faster in some states, and Incorporate.com is quicker in others, for the most part they’re dead even in this area.
Incorporate.com has a real-time order status tracking tool on their website that gives you a clear picture of which step your formation is in at all times. While it’s not as fancy as Incorporate.com’s tool, Northwest Registered Agent also tracks your order’s progress. This category is a slight advantage for Incorporate.com, but it’s not a big deal either.
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. If you’d like to see a list of our favorite registered agent service providers, see our comparison guide.
We already discussed how Northwest Registered Agent includes a year of registered agent service with any LLC formation package, which Incorporate.com does not. However, Northwest’s advantages in this category don’t end there.
If you choose to continue this service after that first year, Northwest Registered Agent charges $125 per year, whereas Incorporate.com charges the much higher rate of $235. Additionally, Northwest is the only major service provider that locally scans every document they receive as your registered agent. Their competitors only scan the government-issued docs that they’re legally required to. (What is a registered agent?)
Neither of these companies have especially large volumes of customer feedback, but there is a big difference when it comes to the quality of their reviews. Northwest Registered Agent receives strong feedback from their satisfied customers, giving them high average rating scores on review websites. As for Incorporate.com, their reviews are mostly negative, with customers frequently complaining about unclear billing procedures.
Ease of Use
This category is a true toss-up in our opinion. Both Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com have user-friendly websites, and their services can save you a ton of time compared to the DIY route, as well as loads of money compared to hiring a lawyer.
With either of these companies, you’ll have access to an impressive variety of additional business services to help you start and maintain your business. Both Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com can help you with registered agent service, annual reports, EIN acquisition, mail forwarding, and more.
However, Northwest offers comprehensive virtual office services, while Incorporate.com only offers mail forwarding. On the other hand, Incorporate.com can help you with reinstating a dissolved business, as this is a service that Northwest does not provide to its customers.
Which Is Better to Form Your LLC?
With Northwest Registered Agent and Incorporate.com, we’re looking at two of the most popular LLC formation service providers available online. They can both make your life easier, while also saving you a considerable amount of money.
While we think this competition is a no-brainer, you may still be undecided, so to wrap up this comparison, we’ll point out a few of the main reasons people choose to go with one service provider or the other. Whichever one you end up choosing, we wish you the best of luck with your new business.
➥ Choose Northwest Registered Agent if You Are:
Do you want a year of registered agent service bundled in with your formation? Do you appreciate strong customer reviews? These are a few of the best reasons to choose Northwest.
➦ Choose Incorporate.com if You Are:
Are you seeking the company with the most experience and longevity? Incorporate.com is the clear industry leader in this area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
If I Decide to Use Northwest Registered Agent, Which Package Should I Choose?
This is an easy question to answer for Northwest, as they only offer one package for LLC formations. At $225, it’s a bit expensive, but it does include your entire LLC formation process and a year of registered agent service, plus access to their top-notch support team.
Does Northwest Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?
While Northwest might not tackle the entirety of each state-specific requirement from start to finish, they do provide quite a bit of assistance that can really help you along the way.
Let’s take New York’s publication requirement as an example. Northwest allows you to use their Albany, NY address as your “address for service of process” or “principal office,” and then provides you with a comprehensive set of instructions to finish the requirement on your own.
However, we’ll remind you that Incorporate.com offers to handle this step from beginning to end on your behalf.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
Northwest has basically zero upsells, but Incorporate.com tries its absolute hardest to get you to add their $235/year registered agent service to your order.
It starts with their misleading LLC formation service package select screen, which displays two features that aren’t even included with any level of formation service: their “access to online tool: CSCNavigator” and their annual report prep and filing.
Despite their inclusion on the package selection graphic, if you read the fine print you’ll find out that you cannot access these features unless you add registered agent service to your order.
How Does Northwest Compare to Other LLC Websites?
Would you like to take a look at a few other options? Check out our comparisons of Northwest Registered Agent to other top-rated LLC services:
Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?
We’re quite pleased with both of these companies in this regard.
While many of their competitors distribute your personal information to third-party partners under the guise of “free extras” or “bonus features,” Northwest and Incorporate.com do a good job of keeping your business in-house.
Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
Northwest Registered Agent provides refunds with a processing fee of $25, which they refer to as a “You changed your mind fee.” As for Incorporate.com, they’re a bit more ambiguous. In their own words, “If you cancel your order before we have submitted it to a federal, state, or local office, incorporate.com will refund the total amount paid for such order less a service fee.
If you cancel your order after we have already submitted it, we will use our discretion to determine what portion, if any, we will refund.
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
Northwest and Incorporate.com both base their processing times on the actual requirements of each state. As a result, their turnaround times are mostly very similar.
Northwest has a slight advantage in some states, and Incorporate.com is a day or two faster in others. For the most part, this category is a toss-up.
Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?
You sure can, and many entrepreneurs choose to form their own LLCs every day. If you’re considering taking the DIY route with your formation, we would simply like to say that it can be more work than you might expect, because each state has its own rules and regulations for how LLCs should be formed.
You’ll have to put in the time to learn your specific state’s requirements. Also, we like the peace of mind we receive from services like Northwest and Incorporate.com, because we know our LLC was formed by true professionals.
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