The Best LLC Services for 2022

If you’re planning to start a small business, it’s usually a sensible idea to formalize the business by forming an LLC. The main advantage of forming an LLC is that you’re better able to protect your personal assets from your business liabilities. Forming an LLC is also gives more credibility to your business, as opposed to a casual sole proprietorship.

Why not a corporation? Well, that’s a more complicated business structure, and you even have to deal with double taxation. A corporation only makes sense if you’re planning on issuing shares for your company. If you don’t plan on launching an IPO for your business in the future or attracting more investors, you should just stick to forming an LLC.

Nevertheless, we’ve managed to compile a list of the best formation services for LLC formation, at least for 2022. You can do yourself a huge favor by limiting your options to these listed formation services.

Top Picks of 2022

Finally, here’s our list of the best LLC formation services for 2022.

  1. ZenBusiness

For many customers, this is the only name that matters. We list as the best of the industry, and we’re not the only ones to do so. They may be fairly new to the industry as they were launched in 2015, but the way they’ve accumulated a huge number of customers along with plenty of rave reviews say a lot about their quality.

Pros

  • They offer a cheap basic plan of $39, and that includes registered agent services (among many other services included).

  • They also offer worry-free compliance, amendments, and even a publication service (which some states require).

  • The website is easy to use, with straightforward descriptions.

  • There’s minimum hassle regarding extra services.

  • The customer support is among the best.

  • You’ll find plenty of reviews, with most of them giving ZenBusiness a perfect score.

Cons

  • As we’ve mentioned, it’s fairly new. That might matter to you if you want the trailblazers to help you out.

  • They offer to get the EIN, but for an extra $70. That doesn’t make sense, considering the price of the basic plan at $39. Also, it’s easy to get the EIN online, and you don’t even have to pay for it.

ZenBusiness

Pricing: $99/year

Who Should Use It: If you need a basic reliable registered agent service at a great price, ZenBusiness is a good choice.

Pros:

  • Affordable pricing. Plans start from $99/year. Offers free registered agent service with its incorporation service
  • Convenient online dashboard for documents
  • Offers business formation services
  • It is a public benefit corporation.
  • BBB accredited (A-) and positive word of mouth on internet communities.

Cons:

  • Does not forward mails.
  • No pro-rated refunds.

 

2.Northwest Registered Agent

This is also among the top of the industry, for several key reasons. Their tagline is “We’re Just Not Annoying”, and they’re certainly true to their word. They may not have as many reviews, but what they do get are mostly rave reviews.

Pros

  • First of all, you won’t have any trouble using the website. Going through the entire ordering process will take you only about 15 minutes at the most. They do this by giving you the basic features of each plan, and then clearly showing the extra features you can order. The descriptions are clear, so you know what you’re getting.

  • They also offer registered agent services as part of the basic plan. You can also get compliance assistance as well.

  • Other services you can get include mail forwarding, which you can then use on your website and letterhead, to maintain your privacy. You can even get a virtual office for only $49 per month, which include secretarial services. You won’t find these services offered by many online formation services.

  • The customer support is outstanding. In fact, it’s widely considered as the very best in the entire industry. They offer quick, friendly, and knowledgeable customer support. No one else compares.

  • Northwest is the only major brand in the industry that scans all the documents they receive as part of the registered agent service. All the other industry brands scan only the documents that come from the government (which they’re legally required to do).

Cons

  • The prices are a bit harrowing. Sure, you have to pay for quality. But here, the cheapest basic plan starts at $225. That’s a bit much, compared to the measly $39 you pay when you go with ZenBusiness instead.

  • There aren’t as many rave reviews here as with some other formation services. Most of the complaints are regarding the high prices, although most of the reviews do confirm (grudgingly, in many cases) that they got premium quality service for their money.

Northwest Registered Agent

Pricing: $125/year

Who Should Use It: 

If you are willing to pay a little more for top-notch customer support and want to combine virtual office and mail forwarding services with registered agent service.

Pros

  • Top-notch customer service. Great Phone Support. 
  • Focus on Privacy.
  • Documents are scanned on the same day they are received. Mail forwarding is also available.
  • Money back refund possible within 90 days
  • No hidden charges. They handle all fees associated with the change in RA (good if you plan to change your registered agent).

Cons

  • Not the cheapest. Zenbusiness is slightly cheaper.

 

3.Incfile

This formation service is number one for many, though we are among the few who disagree. It even has more than double the rave reviews of ZenBusiness. Incfile has received more than 10,000 rave reviews already, while we found only about 4,700 rave reviews for ZenBusiness.

Why all the fuss about Incfile? The main reason is that they actually offer free LLC formation service. It’s part of their mission statement of helping entrepreneurs to get started off the ground.

Pros

  • They offer a free LLC formation service. That’s really hard to top in terms of value for money.

  • Every package comes with the free registered agent services. For succeeding years, the price for the registered agent service is only $119 per year. That’s lower than the industry average.

  • They also offer a wide range of services, although some of these services will cost extra. These include business license research, application for foreign LLC in other states, and trademark registration.

  • The website is extremely easy to use.

  • Incfile guarantees that your formation paperwork will get filed in one business day. That’s not common in the industry, especially among the more popular formation services. You’d have to fall in line with those formation services, and their popularity means a bit of a wait before your paperwork gets filed.

Cons

  • Paid packages may be a bit overpriced. This may be due to how they’re making up for the free formation service. Their Gold package, for example, costs $149. And for that money, you get the EIN (which you can get easily for free), an operating agreement, a banking resolution, a personalized binder (which you don’t really need), and express shipping of all documents.

  • The other extra services may be pricey as well. The business license research costs $99, the application for foreign LLC in other states costs $149, and trademark registration is an extra $199.

IncFile

Pricing: $99/year

Who Should Use It: If you need a basic reliable registered agent service at a great price, ZenBusiness is a good choice.

Pros:

  • Affordable pricing. Plans start from $99/year. Offers free registered agent service with its incorporation service
  • Convenient online dashboard for documents
  • Offers business formation services
  • It is a public benefit corporation.
  • BBB accredited (A-) and positive word of mouth on internet communities.

Cons:

  • Does not forward mails.
  • No pro-rated refunds.

 

  1. LegalZoom

This is probably still the most famous name in the industry, because it’s a trailblazer. They’ve been around long enough to have helped millions of people to form their LLCs and corporations.

Pros

  • If you want a truly experienced formation company, then LegalZoom is it. They’ve been around since the industry started.

  • You’ll find plenty of customers and reviews online.

  • The customer support is excellent, and the customer support hours are even extended. They’re available on weekdays from 10AM to 8PM (ET). They’re even open from 10AM to 7PM on Saturdays.

  • They offer a 60-day refund with their satisfaction guarantee. If within that period you’re not satisfied, then you get your money back. There’s no hassle, and no questions asked.

  • They offer to create and file the required annual report for only $55. This is one of the lowest prices for this service.

Cons

  • Registered agent services are extra—they’re not part of the basic package. This is perhaps its greatest drawback, with so many formation services these days offering registered agent services for free at least for the first year.

  • There’s a lot of upsells to go through, which can delay the ordering procedure. They’re very aggressive in pushing these extra services.

  • Other extra services can be truly pricey. The trademark registration, for example, costs $399!

  1. Rocket Lawyer

This is another iconic brand in the industry. They’ve helped more than 20 million customers through all these years. There are thousands of reviews on Rocket Lawyer online, and most of them are positive. But you need to realize that the “Lawyer” in the brand name isn’t a coincidence. This is really a legal firm, and not just a formation service.

Pros

  • The main difference with Rocket Lawyer (which you don’t get anywhere else) is that they offer a legal services subscription plan. This is the core of their service, as it includes the incorporation service for free. This plan offers attorney consultations for clients, along with various other business services. It’s also not bad at basically $40 a month, with a 7-day trial period.

  • The customer support is great.

  • They have a fantastic long history of excellent legal service.

Cons

  • The online incorporation service is much too expensive, and doesn’t come with a lot of services.

  • The registered agent service is separate, although you get a 25% discount if you subscribe to the legal service plan.

Factors to Consider

When we came up with this list, we focused on the following factors to pick the formation services to include. These include the following considerations:

Available Plans and Features

In most cases, online formation services offer a basic plan, with more expensive plans that come with extra features. You’re also offered to customize plans by adding extra features piecemeal.

It’s great if the basic plans already include the services you’ll need, or want to use. For example, the best LLC formation services generally include registered agent services for one year. Other services they may offer can include helping confirm LLC name availability, preparing templates for official documents, offering compliance assistance, and obtaining the EIN.

Some may offer business guides, including marketing tips. They may even offer assistance in website creation, although this feature is normally only included in premium plans.

Pricing

How much do you pay for what you get? Obviously, the best LLC formation services will offer the biggest bang for the buck. You should try getting the most services with the lowest price. That’s not always the case, since the usual rule is that you pay for if you want more, especially if you want premium quality.

This isn’t always a straightforward comparison, since you rarely find even basic plans to include the very same features and extra services. However, most basic plans are similar, with the filing service as the foundational service on which everything else is based.

Customer Reviews

There’s a good reason why reviews are such a big deal, especially in commercial selling websites like Amazon. You get a pretty good idea at a glance as to how good the product (or the service, in this case) really is.

The first thing we considered is bias, which is why we paid more importance to reviews featured in 3rd-party websites. You’ll have to be somewhat dubious of reviews featured on the website of the online formation service itself. They can always pick and choose the reviews they show, and minimize the presence of negative reviews.

On 3rd-party websites, we also checked for both quality and quantity of reviews. It does matter a lot if the vast majority are rave reviews, instead of having an equal number of satisfied and dissatisfied reviewers.

It also matters how many reviews the service receives. First of all, a great number of reviews confirms the popularity of the service. There’s a saying that most good things are often popular, and that’s mostly true of online formation services. A bad product doesn’t stay popular, and may eventually just fail.

More reviews also offer a more accurate picture. If there’s only a handful of reviews, then there’s not enough reviews to provide a clear picture of the quality of the service.

Company History

This is related to reviews as well. If a company has lasted for many years, then they must be doing something right. That also means more experience, which should minimize the probability of mistakes made along the way.

A newer company doesn’t have to be at a disadvantage, although they may not be able to claim as many customers served as the older trailblazers in the online formation service industry. If a company is fairly new and yet has quickly attracted a surprisingly large number of customers, then they may be offering good quality service. They may even offer something revolutionary to skyrocket to the top of the industry so quickly.

Ease of Use

Exactly how does the ordering process go? It should be easy enough for regular folks to use. The instructions should be clear so the LLC owners will know what to do. The description of the various services should be accurate as well, so that people will know what to expect. It’s great if each feature comes with a description on what it is and why it’s useful.

What you need is a well-organized website, where you don’t have to go through too many pages and sections to get all the info you need. A comprehensive FAQ section can be very helpful.

Others, however, aren’t as clear. That may lead to mistakes (which is what you’re trying to avoid in the first place). You may pay or ignore a service that you didn’t clearly understand.

It should be easy to pick a plan, and to add extra custom services to each plan. There should also be a clear display on the total price you’ll have to pay.

Some websites can make things a lot more difficult. For example, a website may even require a potential customer to fill in a form, just to read the descriptions of the extra features. That’s really annoying, especially when you find out you don’t need the extra features at all. You’ve wasted time and effort for nothing.

Others may also require you to subscribe to their newsletter, or perhaps get a trial period first. These are annoying as well.

No Hard Sells

This related to the features, along with the ease of use. Some websites make the ordering process a bit more convoluted, delaying the process with offers of extra features (for extra fees, of course).

It’s one thing to have one section of the webpage feature all the available extra features for each plan, along with the price of each extra feature.

But it’s another matter altogether when you get lots of popups that offer extra features, which you then have to clock “no” to in order to progress. Others may also offer misleading ads, or will ask permission to sell your personal data to their affiliate companies.

Customer Service

It’s not uncommon for someone to ask for customer support, even if the website offers clear descriptions and explanations. Maybe you have questions that aren’t covered by the website, or you may be asking for updates regarding your application.

First, we looked at how easy it is to find the customer support info. The information should be clearly shown, so you don’t have to check out all the website pages to find the info. A separate customer section should do nicely.

Then we checked the available methods of contacting customer support. The best LLC services should offer 2 basic ways of making contact. This can be through email or through phone. Some services may even offer chat services, though this is relatively rare.

Then we checked for response times. How quickly do they respond if you send a message through email? It’s great if they can respond in just a few hours, or even on the same day. It’s rather inconvenient if you need to wait several days for the response.

If you try to contact through the phone, how quickly do they answer the phone? Also, we checked the phone availability, regarding the days and hours they’re available. In general, we prefer that someone’s available during regular business hours.

We also considered the quality of the response. The most important thing is that if you have a question, you should get a complete and detailed answer to that question.

When you’re calling through the phone, you’d expect someone knowledgeable to answer the question. It wastes time when they have to call someone else to answer the question, and that may entail a long wait time while you’re on hold.

When you’re getting a response through email, the answer should be complete and detailed. That way, you don’t have to post follow-up questions for which you’d have several hours more.

It’s also nice if the responses are friendly. Brusque customer support can be rather off-putting, to say the least.

Why Do You Need a Formation Service?

Theoretically, you don’t really need a formation service. You can do the filing yourself as you go through all the necessary steps. You just need to make sure you do the required research to prevent any mistakes.

But that’s not exactly how it happens in real life. In the real world, you’re bound to make mistakes. The vast majority of rejected LLC formation applications were the result of DIY formation efforts. The professionals rarely make mistakes, since they’ve done the same thing more than a hundred thousand times.

Formation services can make sure you cross every T and dot every I. You can go through all the necessary steps efficiently, without missing a step or making a mistake. They also may offer various services that you’ll need to either start your LLC (such as registered agent services) and maintain your LLC in good standing (compliance services).

Getting a formation service is normally not the question. The real question is, which formation service should you go with? This doesn’t really have a definitive answer, with dozens of online formation services available.

Final Words

Any of these online formation services can help, although the final pick depends on your personal preferences. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Pick ZenBusiness if you want a cheap formation service with great overall value for money.

  • Go with Northwest if you wish for the very best customer support in the entire industry, as well as a terrifically streamlined ordering process.

  • Incfile is your best (and maybe only option) if you’re looking for free LLC formation.

  • LegalZoom is your go-to brand if you want a formation service with plenty of experience.

  • Rocket Lawyer is your best bet if you’re also in need of legal and business services for your LLC.

Good luck on your choice! The main thing here is that you’re always better off getting professional formation service, rather than going the DIY route.

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