The easiest way to incorporate is to get an experienced professional service that can do the job for you. Here are the best incorporation services in 2020 that you can get online.
Instead of running an unincorporated business or a sole proprietorship, you may be better off incorporating your business instead. If you’re not sure about how you can do that on your own, you can then simply avail the services of professional online incorporation services. They can do the job for you.
By incorporating your business, you can make sure that you don’t risk your home, savings, and other personal assets if your business is suddenly required to pay off its debts. If you’re running a sole proprietorship, then you may end up losing your home, cars, and savings if your business venture gets in trouble.
In fact, with the inclusion of the Inc. or Corp. in your business name, you boost the credibility of your brand. Your potential consumers are more likely to trust your business. Banks will certainly trust corporations with a loan than any unincorporated business venture. You can even issue stock shares to raise capital.
Top 5 Online Incorporation Services
While there are plenty of online incorporation services available these days, not all of them will offer the same level of professional service. Here are some of the best options that are worth your money.
We’re not the only people who list ZenBusiness first in any list for the best online incorporation services. You’ll find more than 3,000 customer reviews for ZenBusiness, and the vast majority of these reviews (at around 97%) are overwhelmingly positive.
One of the main reasons for the high regard for ZenBusiness is that it doesn’t seem to prioritize making a profit. It’s like they’re more concerned about helping their customers get their business off the ground. It’s also why they also offer loans for businesses that may have more trouble obtaining loans from traditional creditors. These businesses are often the ones either owned by women or by minorities.
This focus on helping explains the extremely low pricing of their plans. Aside from the state incorporation fees (which differ depending on the state), their Premium plan costs $249 per year while their Pro plan costs $149 per year. Their most affordable plan is the Starter, which will only cost you $39 per year.
Even the most affordable Starter Plan offers a long list of services. These include:
- Filing for corporation
- Searching for available business names
- Chat and email support for customers
- 24/7 access to your personalized dashboard
- Access to a business credit card
- Free accounting and tax assessment from licensed CPAs
- A free guide for virtual business beginners
- A free year of registered agent service (as you’re required to have a registered agent when you’re incorporating online)
- A convenient template to help you come up with your corporate bylaws
- Free Google Ads credit up to $150
Even with the Starter plan, the first year gives you registered agent services without an extra charge. After that, it will only cost you $99 per year.
With the other plans, you may also receive extra services such as getting your EIN and a business website.
All in all, you certainly get a lot for such a low price. Plenty of other online incorporation services offer fewer benefits at higher prices. With ZenBusiness, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Perhaps the only drawback to the ZenBusiness Option is the rather iffy time estimate regarding the completion of the process. This is especially true with the Starter plan, which may be completed in 2 to 3 weeks. In contrast, the Premium plan completes the process in just 2 to 4 business days.
The main problem here is that the filing time may take longer due to the “first come, first served” priority when you go with the Starter plan. Also, the state processing procedure may be bogged down as well.
- Plenty of satisfied customers
- Extremely affordable Starter plan
- Long list of excellent services (including a free year for registered agent services)
- Excellent customer support
- The process can take a while, especially with the Starter plan
Since Incfile launched in 2004, it has helped as many as a quarter of a million businesses get started. It’s listed by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the 360 Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America.
These facts are all reassuring, given the generous offers from Incfile. These offers even include doing your LLC filing for you for free, and you will only pay the state incorporation fees instead. They also offer a full range of business startup services, up to bookkeeping and banking services.
What this means is that Incfile can not only help your business get started properly, but they can also help your business survive.
All of their incorporation packages include these basic services:
- Verifying the availability of your preferred company name
- Free registration agent services for a year
- Free business tax consultation
- Preparing and filing articles of incorporation
- Online access to your incorporation documents
- Online tracking of your progress
- Continuous customer support with company alerts
After the free year of having a registered agent, the next year of registration agent services will only cost you $119 per year. On top of the free incorporation service, that’s truly invaluable.
For the Gold package, you only have to pay $149. For that price, you get a lot more benefits. These include getting your EIN (federal tax number) and assistance to set up your corporate bylaws.
Processing here is quick as well, and delays are quite seldom. Things get done quickly, and more importantly they’re all done properly.
So why is Incfile listed 2nd after ZenBusiness? One reason is that Incfile does act more like a business, whereas ZenBusiness acts more like an assistance organization. Incfile may offer a free incorporation service, but later on you may encounter plenty of upsell offers and add-on services that may drive the cost up.
- Free year of registered agent services
- Reasonable rates
- Available free incorporation services
- Lots of add-ons and upsell offers
Northwest offers topnotch services that other online services may not be able to match in terms of quality. For example, their registered agent services may include actions that other registered agent services don’t include. Also, no other online incorporation service matches the quality of the customer support you get from Northwest.
On the other hand, you will have to pay a lot for the quality of these services. The Starter plan costs $225, and that’s not even taking the state fees into account.
At least things get done very quickly, with speedy business filings with your state. The business formation documents are filed on the same day they’re completed, and they also help you come up with your corporate bylaws and operating agreement.
You get the minimum hassle, and you also have local experts offering customer support at any time.
Northwest also grants you free registered agent services for an entire year. After that, you only pay $125 a year for these services. That’s lower than the industry standard. In fact, it’s an astoundingly low price considering that you get extra services that other registered agent services don’t offer.
For example, a typical registered agent service will scan only the government forms that they’re required to forward to you. But with Northwest, they will scan every document they receive on your behalf.
At least you don’t get upsells, confusing packages, and hidden fees. They’re very transparent in their pricing. They realize that they offer high-quality services, which is why their fees are on the high side as well.
- Transparent fees
- No upsells
- Customer support from local experts
- Wide range of registered agent services
- Free registered agent services for a year
- Rather expensive starter option
This is one of the most popular online incorporation services, and no list of such services will be complete without LegalZoom. Since it was founded in 1999, they’ve had more than 4 million satisfied customers.
Their Economy package costs $149, and it doesn’t include the state filing fees yet. For more services, you can go with either the Standard at $329, or the Express Gold at $349.
The Economy package includes a business name check, along with completing and filing the paperwork for you. They’re very mindful of getting the paperwork right, so that you avoid the resulting delays when you have a small mistake on your paperwork.
You also get terrific customer support 7 days a week, so you can always get the answers to your questions about your business formation. Once everything’s done, you even get a step-by-step guide on what you ought to do next once you’ve formed your corporation.
Despite the long history of LegalZoom, we didn’t place it at the very top of our list due to the fact that they cost a lot for the services they provide. They don’t even offer free registered agent services for the first year. Their registered agent services start at $299 a year.
Since LegalZoom is popular, the processing time may take a while, too. You may opt for faster processing, but that’s only available with the more expensive packages. The “super-fast” rush processing is only available with the Express Gold package, and it will still take 7 to 10 business days.
- It’s one of the most popular brands in the business
- It’s been around since 1999, so they know how to do it right
- Fee refund if you’re unsatisfied with the services
- Very expensive incorporation services
- No free registered agent services for a year
- Registered agent services are expensive as well
BizFilings started out in 1996, but its real history actually started in 2002 when it was acquired by Walter Kluwer and it became part of the CT group. It became a lot more popular after that, and in 2018 BizFilings managed to serve its 500,000th customer.
The Standard package costs $229 (which doesn’t include the state fees yet), while the Complete package goes for $389. However, the Basic package only costs $99. This package does include registered agent services, but only for the first 6 months. After that, the yearly cost of these services is $199.
What sets BizFilings apart from other typical services is that they work you through the process so you understand better what features you need. They don’t let you just fumble your way through the confusing list of services available. This incorporation wizard certainly gets the job done.
However, you get comparatively fewer services from the Basic package, and the extra services you’ll need can quickly pile up the total fees. The good news is that at least you get a very long list of available services and add-ons.
All in all, BizFilings offer a nice set of incorporation services, but the prices are generally higher than what the other services on this list charge.
- 6 months of free registered agent services
- Long history
- Useful incorporation walk-through
- Affordable basic package
- Prices are higher overall
Which Online Incorporation Service is Best for You?
That depends on who you are and what you want from your online incorporation service. Here’s a list of the typical customer for each of these listed services:
- ZenBusiness – You want reasonable rates, along with full value for your money.
- Incfile – You don’t have a large budget for incorporating, and that free incorporation service looks terrific.
- Northwest – If you really need the best and the friendliest customer support, quick business filings, and advanced registration agent services, this is your best bet. Hopefully, you can afford the prices.
- LegalZoom – This is for you if you want to be very sure that everything is done correctly. These people are extremely popular for a reason.
- BizFilings –Go with these guys if you want reasonably good value for your money, and you want extra services as well.
A lawyer can certainly help you with the incorporation process, especially with more complicated businesses. But you don’t need a lawyer for simpler corporations, as an online incorporation service can walk you through the process instead. These online services also charge you much lower fees than a lawyer.
By incorporating your business, you can enjoy plenty of benefits without a lot of drawbacks. Don’t let the confusing incorporation process discourage you. Get one of these online incorporation services to help, and the entire process goes much easier!