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ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered AgentDo you need to start an LLC 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 ZenBusiness that offer high-quality LLC formation service, but it can be tough to tell how they’re different.

With this ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent comparison guide, you’ll find the information you need to choose the best LLC service for you.

 

Do Northwest and ZenBusiness Offer Good Value?

LLC ServicePriceScoreKnown ForRecommended?
ZenBusinessStarts at $39 (4.8/5)Excellent ValueAbsolutely
NorthwestStarts at $225 (4.6/5)Top-Notch SupportYes

Before we dive into this comparison, let’s briefly talk about what good value in an LLC service looks like. Most LLC services, like LegalZoom, charge $99 or more to form an LLC — but don’t include the features to justify their prices.

Alternatively, ZenBusiness ($39) and Northwest ($225) are two of our favorite options that include important features like free registered agent service, great customer support, and more.

They are two of the best LLC services online with great features and overall value, although we will admit that Northwest’s pricing is a bit higher than we’d like.

Northwest

  • If you want the best
  • possible customer support

 

6 Things They Have in Common

1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.

2) Great Customer Feedback: Although ZenBusiness has a higher volume of reviews, both of these companies receive high average ratings in their customer reviews.

3) Registered Agent Service: Both of these companies include a full year of registered agent service in every one of their LLC formation packages. Every LLC is required to designate a registered agent to receive your important document deliveries from the state, so this is a highly valuable feature.

4) Customer Support: These two services both have customer support networks that can answer your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from ZenBusiness or Northwest?

5) Efficiency: These companies both work quickly, and they can get your formation processed with the state in a matter of weeks or even days.

6) Additional Services: Both Northwest and ZenBusiness have many other services that they can offer to help you focus more on building your business and less on paperwork.

 

Side by Side Comparisons

Pricing

It’s tough to beat ZenBusiness when it comes to pricing, seeing as they offer their Starter LLC formation package for just $39. Northwest Registered Agent’s pricing is quite a bit higher, at $225.

ZenBusiness certainly has the advantage when it comes to pricing, as they charge less than 20% as much as Northwest does. This isn’t the only category where they have an advantage either, as you’re about to find out. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Northwest is more of a premium service (which we’ll explain shortly), and therefore their higher prices are often justified.

Features

ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent have very similar feature sets in their entry-level LLC formation packages. They both provide the full preparation and filing of your articles of organization, along with free registered agent service for one year.

Beyond that in their base package, ZenBusiness also bundles in a customizable LLC operating agreement and a free accounting/tax assessment from their in-house licensed CPAs to help determine your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs.

As you can see, ZenBusiness provides more features than Northwest does, although the exact value of these additional features may vary depending on your company’s unique needs. Still, they clearly provide more bang for your buck. On the other hand, we have a feeling that Northwest will put together an impressive comeback in some of the upcoming categories that will make this a closer competition than it might seem right now.

Experience

Northwest Registered Agent opened for business in 1998, and over the years they’ve served about two million customers. ZenBusiness has only been around since 2015, but they’ve already formed several thousand businesses in that time.

Customer Support

Northwest is the industry leader for support, thanks to its Corporate Guide system. Out of all the services we’ve reviewed, they have by far the most helpful reps. Northwest’s support team is far more knowledgeable than most competitors, and they can answer even your toughest questions about LLC formations.

ZenBusiness offers chat, phone, and email support. Their representatives are courteous and responsive, but they don’t have the expertise of Northwest’s representatives.

Turnaround Times

ZenBusiness has turnaround times that are based on which level of service you purchase from them, although they do mention that in some states, their processing speeds might be a bit faster or slower. In general, they have a 3-4 week turnaround time with the Starter package, which you can cut down to 1-2 weeks with the Pro package, and 3-5 days with the Premium package.

As for Northwest, their turnaround times are based on the actual processing times of your state, which can vary from just a couple days all the way up to several weeks.

Registered Agent Service

Every LLC in America is required to designate a registered agent, which is a person or online agent service 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.

ZenBusiness includes registered agent service with all of its LLC formation packages, and this service costs $99 per year if ordered separately. Northwest bundles in a year of registered agent service with any of their LLC formation packages, and they charge $125 per year after that.

It’s also worth noting that Northwest is the only major national registered agent service provider that locally scans every document they receive on your behalf. Their competitors only scan the government-issued docs that they’re legally required to scan.

Customer Reviews

ZenBusiness excels when it comes to customer feedback, as they have more than 3,500 reviews available online, and nearly all of them are positive. People are clearly satisfied with their services, and they frequently praise their efficiency, along with the general ease of use provided by their platform.

We were able to find nearly 200 reviews for Northwest Registered Agent, and their reviews are also overwhelmingly positive in nature. Their customers love Northwest’s industry-best customer support, and also enjoy how quickly they process formations.

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. Still, we will give Northwest a slight edge because their website is a bit more straightforward than the ZenBusiness site.

Additional Services

Both ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent provide access to many additional business services, and there’s a considerable amount of overlap between their offerings. For instance, either of them can help you with EIN acquisition, annual reports, foreign registrations, and more.

However, they each have some services that the other doesn’t provide. ZenBusiness offers bookkeeping and accounting services, which Northwest doesn’t. On the other hand, only Northwest provides its customers with virtual office and mail forwarding options.

 

Which Is the Best LLC Service for You?

LLC ServicePriceScoreKnown ForRecommended?
ZenBusinessStarts at $39 (4.8/5)Excellent ValueAbsolutely
NorthwestStarts at $225 (4.6/5)Top-Notch SupportYes

In summary: Northwest’s biggest advantage is its premium customer support. As for ZenBusiness, they have some of the best prices in the industry, with a solid $39 package that even includes registered agent service and a customizable operating agreement.

There are quite a few common characteristics between ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent, but as you can see, there are some significant differences as well. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some scenarios where you might want to choose one over the other for your company’s LLC formation service.

Regardless of which one you end up selecting, we think that both of these companies are reliable and will form your new business with minimal hassle and stress.

➥ Choose ZenBusiness if You Are:

Are you seeking the lowest possible prices? Do you appreciate their large collection of positive customer reviews? These are a couple of great reasons to choose ZenBusiness.

➦ Choose Northwest if You Are:

Is premium customer support a priority to you? Or perhaps you want to go with the company that has a longer track record? Northwest is an excellent choice.

Northwest

  • If you want the best
  • possible customer support

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers.

If I Choose ZenBusiness, Which Package Should I Choose?

Depending on your budget and the needs of your business, there are two different ZenBusiness packages that we really like.

First, it’s hard to find any fault with their Starter plan, because it costs just $39, and it includes the full formation of your LLC, one year of free registered agent service, and a customizable operating agreement.

We also like their $149 Pro plan, which adds an EIN, managed annual report service, and a banking resolution.

Both are well rounded and a great deal. (See Packages)

Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?

This is always an option, and thousands of entrepreneurs form their own LLCs every year in the United States.

You can save money on formation fees if you form your own business entity, but it can be quite a bit of hassle, because each state has its own rules and regulations for LLC formations. Want to look into this option? Check out our guide.

Does Either Company Handle New York Publication Requirements?

While they don’t exactly offer to take care of publication requirements on your behalf, Northwest does provide a solid level of assistance.

For example, if you need to form an LLC in New York, Northwest allows you to use their Albany address as your “principal office” or “address for service of process.” Then, you just need to follow their detailed instructions to complete your publishing requirement.

On the other end of the spectrum, ZenBusiness does offer publication services. Here’s their description if you’d like more info.

Which LLC Creation Service Has Fewer Upsells?

Northwest Registered Agent has far fewer upsell attempts than ZenBusiness. While Northwest keeps the upsells to an absolute minimum, ZenBusiness sprinkles them in throughout the ordering process.

If you select their Starter plan, ZenBusiness will try to add an EIN ($70), their Worry-Free Guarantee ($119/year), a banking resolution ($30), a business website formation package ($100/year), and a domain name ($25/year).

How Does ZenBusiness Compare to Other Business Formation Services?

Would you like to take a look at a couple of other options? Check out our comparisons of ZenBusiness to other top-rated LLC services, LegalZoom and IncFile:

Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?

Northwest never shares or sells your information to third parties, and they even run their own servers and write their own code to avoid exposing any of your info to another company.

On the other hand, ZenBusiness does attempt to share your info with third-party partners through offers for a domain name and a business website package.

Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?

Northwest charges $25 as a convenience fee for processing refunds, or as they call it, a “You changed your mind fee.” ZenBusiness has a similar system for refunds, but they charge $50 as a cancellation fee.

Some of their competitors (like LegalZoom) offer 100% satisfaction guarantees, so both of these companies are at a bit of a disadvantage in this area.

Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?

There’s a major difference between ZenBusiness and Northwest in this area.

Like most of their competitors, Northwest bases its turnaround time estimates on the requirements of your formation state, which can vary from just a few days to several weeks.

ZenBusiness takes a different approach, instead choosing to structure their processing times based on what level of service you purchase from them. They do mention that their formation speeds may be a bit faster or slower depending on the state, but in general, these are their estimates:

  • Starter ($39/year): 3-4 weeks
  • Pro ($149/year): 1-2 weeks
  • Premium ($249/year): 3-5 days

In general, ZenBusiness is faster in some states, while Northwest has the advantage in others.

 

Ready to Create Your LLC Online?

Create your LLC with Northwest or save $180+ by choosing ZenBusiness.

Northwest

  • If you want the best
  • possible customer support


About Aaron Franklin

Frustrated by all the options and aggressive online sales tactics, I created BestLLCServices.com to cut the clutter and bring clarity to entrepreneurs starting an LLC. Our focus is on reviewing and comparing the top LLC formation services while also crafting free resources that help you start a business. We sincerely believe finding the right service and free information should be a simple process so you can get started with minimal friction.