Forming a corporation can offer business owners plenty of benefits. Still, it’s undeniably a tedious process to undertake on your own.
This is why there is no doubt that hiring professional service providers when you are ready to form a corporation can be incredibly helpful.
These service providers understand the necessary paperwork, processes, and nuances of registering a corporation.
They take the pain out of all the running around you would have to do if you attempted to do the registrations yourself. From the necessary documents to filing with the state of formation, they can do it all on your behalf.
With that said, this article will compare two such service providers, Northwest Registered Agent and Direct Incorporation, to give you an idea of who provides the better service.
Basic Comparison Criteria
This article has a basic comparison list for this head-to-head battle to provide an objective comparison of the two providers: Northwest Registered Agent and Direct Incorporation. This list is by no means exhaustive.
However, hopefully, it gets you thinking and digging for more information about these providers and others.
The list items for comparison are as follows:
- Pricing and Value
- Company Information & Experience
- Customer Service
- Ease of Use
- Turnaround Time
- Registered Agent Services
- Additional Services
In the end, this article will provide you with a verdict about the better service. However, the choice is ultimately yours.
It’s recommended that you use this article as a starting point to further research on service providers who help with the incorporation process. Many other providers offer better services at better prices.
Pricing and Value
By far, price is the most crucial factor for a person ready to incorporate. Money is always a premium for new business owners who look to incorporate. Therefore, they go for the most cost-friendly options available. Check out what the two service providers bring to the table in terms of pricing.
Northwest offers just one package that covers all you need to set up a corporation. The introductory price is $225 plus state fees.
On the other hand, Direct Incorporation offers five packages: the Standard Package ($147 plus state fees); the Premier Package ($247 plus state fees); the Elite Package ($429 plus state fees); the Venture Package ($873 plus state fees); and the Venture Plus package ($1495 plus state fees).
For most purposes, the first two packages are adequate for most corporations. Even though the Direct Incorporation Standard Package is more affordable than the Northwest RA package, the Northwest RA package offers more value for money.
For this reason, Northwest RA offers a slightly higher advantage than Direct Incorporation. Moreover, Direct Incorporation offers comparatively higher prices than other service providers, making Northwest RA the better choice.
Company Information & Experience
Northwest RA calls itself a “smack in the middle” company. They are medium-sized and are neither too old nor too young a company – just right in the middle. They have been in the market since 1998.
They claim, and rightly so, that they are very prompt in responding to clients with a Corporate Guide® assigned to each client. They also claim that they get hundreds of new customers every day.
The general customer reviews for Northwest RA are positive. Their standout feature seems to be their Corporate Guide feature, where you talk to the same person each time you call.
On the other hand, Direct Incorporation has been in business since 2003. According to their website, they have served over 50,000 clients, which is a good number. The feedback for Direct Incorporation is also quite positive in general.
Northwest RA is the winner in this round, but both service providers seem almost on par with each other.
Both the service providers have very active customer service cells. Their staff is knowledgeable and polite and answer all your questions.
You can reach Northwest RA via phone, email, or an online form. They promise to get back to respond to you immediately or as soon as possible. The reviews bear testimony to this promise.
A standout feature of Northwest RA is their Corporate Guide program, a person allotted to each client who will always be there to answer their queries. They claim they are a client-centered company, and that is true. Their Corporate Guides can be helpful for their potential clients.
Direct Incorporation can be reached via phone and email. They also respond as soon as possible. Once again, their staff is very courteous and well-informed, and they answer all queries.
On this front, Northwest RA is just ahead because of its Corporate Guide feature. No other company provides such a personalized service, and Northwest RA proudly talks of this feature on their website.
Ease of Use
Both the providers have excellent, clean, easy-to-use websites with quite a bit of information. The sites are easy to navigate. Both the sites have a wealth of information on corporations and the plus and minus points of each. They also have plenty of details on which corporation you should form.
However, it appears that the Direct Incorporation website is slightly easier to use and to find information as compared to the Northwest RA one.
Nevertheless, the procedure to form a new corporation is much more straightforward on the Northwest site. It is just that the Northwest website can be slow to react in many cases. This may be because it saves your information as you enter it.
However, getting a quote on the Northwest RA site is a bit slow and clunky. Also, they do not have an option where you can back out. As soon as you put in your preferences, it saves your choices in the shopping cart, and you can only back out when you reach the checkout stage, if at all.
Direct Incorporation has at least five different packages you can choose from. Their website is easy to navigate, but you have to fill in all the relevant details before proceeding. They do ask you for quite a lot of information.
This round is considered a tie as both the websites are equally easy to use.
Both companies provide a relatively transparent view of their filing times. Both file as soon as they have all your details. So for this round as well, both the providers are tied.
The standard turnaround times for most service providers is 3 to 5 days. Both the reviewed companies file your papers as soon as they have all the relevant information and after you have made the necessary payments.
After this, it is only a question of how long the government departments take to process your application.
Both Northwest RA and Direct Incorporations have an order tracking service where you can log on to their websites and get your order’s status.
Registered Agent Services
Most reviews say that Norwest RA’s registered agent services come for free the first year. However, it appears that opting to avail of it on their website will cost you an additional $125.
Therefore, Northwest RA’s registered agent services are very much a paid option. Moreover, after the first year, the price remains the same at $125 should you wish to renew this service.
On the other hand, Direct Incorporation offers free Registered Agent services for six months in all their five packages. After six months, you would have to inquire about how much it will cost.
Despite it being a paid option, it appears that Northwest RA is the hands-down winner on the Registered Agent services front. This is because the price may seem high, but the service quality more than makes up for the cost. This gives it great value for money.
Northwest has one package that it displays. This package clearly shows what you get and how much it will cost.
There are a few additional services that add to the cost of incorporation. Still, they do not try to upsell, and these services are optional. For example, you can ask for a Federal Employer Identification Number. This could cost $50 if you have a Social Security Number or $200 if you do not.
On the other hand, Direct Incorporation has five packages. Most of the necessary items are covered in the first three packages.
The final two packages are for extras that you may want to go in for, but these are unnecessary. Direct Incorporation offers FEIN as part of all their packages compared to Northwest RA.
Overall, both services do well when it comes to providing their clients the services they need to incorporate their business. However, when comparing them in the categories mentioned above, the winner would have to be Northwest RA, but only by a slight margin.
Despite its higher price point, it does better in other aspects of the service, such as customer service, ease of use, and overall user experience. However, suppose you’re looking for more advanced features like web design and custom logos. In that case, Direct Incorporation can help you with these.
Nevertheless, both Northwest Registered Agent and Direct Incorporation are excellent options for business owners looking to incorporate their businesses. The choice is ultimately up to you and which one best suits your business’s unique needs.
Here are a few common questions that you may want answers to.
What is the Best Feature of Each Provider?
By far, the best feature of Northwest RA is their Corporate Guide program. This means you talk to the same well-read, professional, and knowledgeable person each time you call them. This is a great feature.
Direct Incorporation has a broader range of packages, which is perhaps its best feature.
Do they have a Refund Policy?
Both websites will offer a refund if you decide to cancel at a later stage. They do charge a processing fee. For Northwest RA, this is $25, while it is $40 for Direct Incorporation.
What is the Best Package Provide by each Service?
Northwest provides only one package, and that covers most of what you need with just a few optional items that you can add later on.
Direct Incorporation offers three packages, but their three lower-priced packages are great. Their Standard Package covers all the necessary items you will need to start your corporation.
Doe these Providers do a lot of upselling?
Both the service providers do not upsell. What they charge is right there in front of you on their website. They depend on the services they offer and do not resort to any underhand tricks to squeeze more money out of you.
Northwest RA stresses protecting the privacy of their clients, insisting that they do not sell client information.
Do they Provide Compliance Services?
Direct Incorporation offers a six-month free Registered Agent service with all their packages. However, you would have to check with them to see how much it will cost after the six months are over.
The Northwest RA charges for Registered Agent services is $125 per year. This is included in their package. They also claim that the prices will remain the same and do not change. This does not seem possible, but the company proudly makes this claim on the website.
Do they Help if I need Publication Services?
Neither of the two service providers helps with Publication Services. In case you want a provider that does offer publication services, there are many other players in the market that you can check out.