ZenBusiness vs. Northwest Registered Agent: Which is the Better Online Incorporation Service?

If you’re running a business, you simply have to incorporate so you don’t risk losing your personal assets if you ever encounter problems with your business. If you don’t incorporate, creditors can come to get their money back, and they may take your house if your business can’t repay the loan. Disgruntled employees and customers may file damages that your business can’t cover. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive to incorporate, and ZenBusiness is positive proof of that. They offer extremely affordable online incorporation services that just about all small business owners can manage to pay for. The brand offers attractive sets of services for little money, which is why it’s slowly but surely gaining a reputation as one of the most cost-effective options for incorporation. 

However, LegalZoom is still the most popular incorporation service in the industry. But they do offer their services at much higher rates. Furthermore, the reviews for these services are decidedly mixed, with the opinions split on online customer reviews whether the quality of the services actually merits such high prices. 

This is where Northwest Registered Agent Service comes in. They’ve been in the business even longer than LegalZoom, and they also charge rather high rates for their incorporation services. But are those services worth the prices they come with?

With this comparison, you can find out if you should just rather go with the affordable ZenBusiness option, or if you can get a much better service with Northwest Registered Agent Services. 

Incorporation Packages

Here are the incorporation plans that these 2 outfits offer. Keep in mind that these prices do not yet include the filing fee charged by the state, as these filing fees will be different, depending on the state you’re filing in. 

ZenBusiness  Northwest Registered Agent Service
Starter: $49

  • Registered agent services 
  • Prepare and file LLC or corporation 
  • Name availability search 
  • Online document service. You’re able to view and print the documents your business receives in your personal ZenBusiness dashboard. 
  • Special credit card offer from Divvy
  • Statement of Organizer 
  • Free accounting consultation 
  • Virtual business guide 
  • Operating agreement or bylaws 
  • Google ads credit. ZenBusiness will match whatever you spend on Google Ads for the first month (up to $150). 
Basic: $225

  • Preparing and filing incorporation documents with the state 
  • Registered agent services
  • Operating agreement
  • Resolutions to open a bank account
  • Membership certificates
Pro: $199

This includes all the Starter services, plus:

  • Expedited filing speed
  • Banking resolution template
  • Employer ID number
  • Worry-free compliance 
Optional Add-ons

Instead of offering other plans, Northwest simply gives you a list of extra services you can tack on your incorporation plan. These include:

  • Tax ID 
  • S Corporation election with the IRS
  • Premium mail forwarding
  • Virtual office
  • Certificate of good standing
  • Certified copy
  • Apostille
  • 2nd telephone number
  • Corporate supplies 
  • FMCSA BOC-3 Filing (for trucking companies)
  • FCC Telecommunications 499-A registration services
Premium: $299

You get all the Pro services, plus:

  • Rush filing speed
  • Business website
  • Busines domain name
  • Domain name privacy
  • Business email address
 

ZenBusiness’s Official Website

 

It’s quite evident here that you get a lot of services from ZenBusiness here for very little money. Most notable of these services is the inclusion of the all-important registered agent service. 

You have to have this service, especially if you don’t live in the state you’re filing in (which is common for a lot of online businesses). Even if you do live in that state, you may not want your home addressed publicized. With ZenBusiness, you can continue receiving the registered agent services every year for just $99 a year. 

Aside from that, you have other bonus features here that can help you a lot to let your business grow while reducing your workload as a small business owner. 

With Northwest Registered Agent Service, the addition of the registered agent services is what makes the plan so expensive. It’s priced at $125, which you continue to pay each year to maintain the service. 

You don’t have additional packages to choose from, which can be a good thing. That means you can just tack on add-on features that you actually want, unlike other plans that may include features you don’t really want or need. 

On the other hand, when you get a bunch of extra features on a more expensive plan, you usually get this set of extra features at a lower total cost. Getting these extra features tend to cost more when you get them as add-ons. 

All in all, it seems evident that ZenBusiness offers a much better deal. It’s just $49 (it used to be only $39 not too long ago) and it offers a very long list of features—including the crucial registered agent services. 

Northwest Registered Agent Service does offer an impressive list of features you can get. Everything’s upfront, and you only get services you actually pick. While the total cost of the services can run up, at least you know what you’re getting for how much. 

Brand Track Record and History

ZenBusiness isn’t really as popular as it ought to be, and part of the reason for that is because they’re fairly new in the industry. At least it’s a US brand, as there are actually some online incorporation services that aren’t US-based. That’s sometimes a problem when it comes to customer support when communications and accents can lead to issues. 

ZenBusiness was established only in 2015, so they’re fairly new. That means they don’t have the longer track record of other outfits that were established way back in the 1990s. Those older outfits have a head start, and ZenBusiness is playing catchup. 

A few of those older outfits have already served more than a million customers. There are even those that have already helped out more than 4 million customers. In contrast, ZenBusiness is only projected to get past the 1-millionth customer by 2025 or so. 

Still, they have enough customers that there are about 3,000 online customer reviews on the brand. ZenBusiness is highly regarded based on these reviews. The vast majority of these reviews give the brand high scores for their incorporation services. Plenty of people have said that ZenBusiness really offers the greatest bang for the buck in the industry. 

ZenBusiness is able to cut down on costs not due to lowering their standards. Instead, they use plenty of automation during the whole incorporation process. This helps on boosting efficiency, plus it cuts down on manpower requirements. 

On the other hand, the Northwest Registered Agent Service is an old-timer in the industry. They’re even older than LegalZoom, which is perhaps the most popular brand in the incorporation industry. LegalZoom was founded in 1999, and Northwest Registered Agent Service was established in 1998. 

They have helped more than 2 million customers so far, and they get more than 200 incorporation customers each day. That’s a thousand customers each week. 

With these numbers, it’s surprising that the Northwest Registered Agent Service doesn’t have a lot of reviews online about them. We searched for a long while, and only found about a hundred of these reviews. At least most of these reviews are positive, which means a lot of their customers believe that they get a fair service for the prices they paid. 

How Easy Is It to Use the Website?

Both offer websites that are very easy to use. 

With ZenBusiness, you get the 3 plans side by side, with the features for each plan listed. Each plan also has the various optional add-on features listed as well. 

You just follow the steps on creating an account with them, and then you make your choices regarding the plans and add-ons. The explanations for each service and feature are very clear, and so are the prices for each service. 

The same goes for the Northwest Registered Agent Service. You start with one plan, then tack on as many of the optional add-ons as you want. Each of these add-ons come with detailed explanations on why you might need it. 

Just check the box for each of the add-ons you want, and you get a running tally of the costs. There are no nasty surprises about costs afterward. 

Both offer no-nonsense websites that let you place an order with minimum fuss. The add-on offers are discreet, and in no way delays the whole process. 

Customer Support

You’d think that with the low incorporation cost, ZenBusiness can get away with offering low-quality customer support. But they actually offer one of the best customer support services in the industry. Only very few outfits offer better customer support. 

They let you contact their support staff in 3 ways: phone, email, and chat. That chat service is a bonus since most incorporation services only offer phone and email customer support. 

You can call them on weekdays from 9AM to 7PM Central Time. You can even call them on Sundays, from 10AM to 7PM. If you send them an email, you will get your reply within a business day. The chat service is available 8AM to 8PM Central Time, and also on Sundays from 10AM to 7PM.

The replies to your answers will be clear and detailed, and they sure are helpful. 

What about the Northwest Registered Agent Service? Well, they only offer phone and email customer support. 

But the quality of the replies is phenomenal. The replies through phone and email come with lots of details. That will surely help. 

In fact, you may want to call them up to get really excellent support. They will then take note of your particular situation so that they can guide you if you’re not sure about what to do next, or what feature to get. These agents you talk to really know what they’re talking about. 

Completion Time

Things go fast with ZenBusiness, thanks to the use of automation in their process. Still, you may have to wait a while, simply because they’re getting more customers these days. Your order still has to get in line, and the line is getting longer. 

That’s why it’s pretty normal to wait maybe 3 to 4 weeks to get everything done. Keep in mind that the process also depends on how quickly the state employees work. You’ll have to call up ZenBusiness to ask how long the process will take, depending on the state. 

ZenBusiness does offer you an expedited service for an extra $50. That puts you ahead of the others who only paid for standard service, and that can shorten the process down to just 1 to 2 weeks. If you pay $100 for the rush service, then you really get to the head of the line and the whole thing gets done in just 3 to 5 business days. 

With the Northwest Registered Agent Service, it takes as long as it has to. There’s no add-on to get you ahead or to hasten the process. With their 200 customers per day and the work speed of state employees working with lots of orders, you may have to wait for 4 to 6 weeks! 

 

Conclusion

It seems clear right away that good as the Northwest Registered Agent Service, ZenBusiness simply offers a much better deal. They offer a long list of services at an astonishingly low cost. More importantly, the crucial registered agent service is part of even the incorporation plan. 

They also offer fairly quick service, though that may change once they become a lot more popular. They come with a terrific reputation, and their customer support is excellent. ZenBusiness is so good that they will likely come out ahead when compared to any other outfit. 

Still, there are some business owners out there who aren’t all that reassured by the low prices. That seems a bit off. They may want to pay higher prices under an unconscious feeling that they’re getting quality. 

With the Northwest Registered Agent Service, that’s true enough. They have the longevity that ZenBusiness just can’t match. This is still a good choice, especially when compared to the other expensive online incorporation services. It’s just that compared to ZenBusiness, they’re not looking as good. It’s simply an unfair comparison. 

Northwest Registered Agent’s Official Website

 

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