Forming a limited liability company (LLC) can provide business owners with flexible tax options and asset protection. But it can be an involved process that requires preparing and filing state-specific paperwork and the assistance of a registered agent service if you are filing in a state other than your own. It can also involve creating an operating agreement, bank resolution, and conducting a business name availability search requiring 100% thoroughness and accuracy.
While it's possible to form a limited liability company (LLC) on your own, an LLC filing company can save you a lot of time and effort. You may not get the specialized advice and insights that an individual attorney can provide, but you can expect to receive the essential services you need to get it done correctly at a fraction of the price.
Your challenge is being able to choose the right service provider for you from among dozens of LLC filing companies. While pricing is important, cheaper is not always better. It's important to consider other factors, such as a company's reputation, track record, and the overall value of its offering. In this roundup, we review the best LLC filing companies in six categories to help you determine which company is right for you.
Best Overall : ZenBusiness
Offering a feature-packed starter package at a rock-bottom price along with excellent customer service, a great online experience, and a 100% Accuracy Guarantee earns ZenBusiness our vote as the best overall LLC filing company.
Low-cost, full-featured starting packages
Easy-to-use online process
Excellent customer reviews
Short track record
Add-on services can increase costs
Founded in 2015, ZenBusiness has the shortest track record on this list, but it has used the time wisely by making its mark on a fast-growing industry. ZenBusiness has fully embraced technology to automate most of its processes and pass its savings on to its clients. The result is one of the most feature-packed starter packages offered at a rock bottom price. That, with its excellent customer service, streamlined filing process, and 100% Accuracy Guarantee, is why we chose ZenBusiness as the best overall LLC filing company.
For just $49, the ZenBusiness Starter package has everything you need to file an LLC and very little that you don't need. Along with the preparation and filing of the LLC, the package includes:
- Registered agent service (25% off for the first year.)
- An operating agreement template
- Online document access
- Phone and email support
- The 100% Accuracy Guarantee
However, if you want expedited processing and an employer identification number (EIN), you'll have to pay extra for them. Alternatively, you could sign up for the $199 Pro package, which also includes an expedited process (five to eight business days) banking resolution template. For $299, the Premium package adds rush processing (two to five business days), a free business website, business domain name, and business email address. The Starter package provides standard filing (nine to twelve business days), but you can add expedited or rush processing for $50 and $100, respectively.
ZenBusiness also offers Worry-Free Compliance to its Pro and Premium Packages, which helps your business stay compliant by managing your annual reports and keeping track of important filing deadlines. The service is available to Starter packages for $119 per year.
All ZenBusiness customers receive a free accounting and tax assessment to determine their bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs. The short assessment is completed after purchasing a plan and is followed with helpful resources and no-obligation recommendations based on factors like the size, structure, revenues, and cost structure of your business.
Another reason ZenBusiness gets our vote for best overall is its near-perfect 4.8 out of 5 stars from Trustpilot from nearly 7,000 reviewers.
Best Value : Incfile
Its excellent $0 starter package aside, Incfile offers great speed, quality, and price points on all its packages making it our choice as the best value in an LLC filing company.
$0 fees for starter package
Registered agent included the first year
Lifetime company alerts for filing deadlines
More than 20,000 mostly positive reviews
Costs for additional services can add up quickly
No money-back guarantee
No refunds after services have been rendered
Since its founding in 2004, Incfile has become an industry leader, as evidenced by its nearly 500,000 satisfied business customers and its prestigious industry awards. With its price reduction on its Silver package from $49 to $0 and quality offerings on all its services, Incfile has a lock on the best value in an LLC filing company.
Most people would be rightfully skeptical of any legal service costing nothing. But, with its well-equipped Silver package, Incfile will win them over. In addition to filing articles of organization for LLC formation, the Silver package provides one year of free registered agent service along with lifetime company compliance alerts. Incfile will also perform an availability search to ensure your business's name hasn't already been taken.
One of Incfile's distinguishing features is its online order tracking tool that updates you on your filing progress.
If you need additional services, you can jump up to Incfile's reasonably priced Gold package. For $149, you get everything in the Silver package plus an EIN, custom operating agreement, banking resolution. For $299, the Platinum package has expedited document filing, a sample document library, and a business website and domain name (monthly hosting fee not included).
Services such as business license research ($99) and trademark registration ($199) are also available.
Best for Customer Support : Northwest Registered Agent
Some companies choose to focus on providing superior customer service as their value proposition. Northwest Registered Agent does it with great success, making it our top pick as the best LLC filing service for customer support.
Highly trained "corporate guides" provide premium customer support
One-year registered agent service included
Long track record
High price point for filing package
Northwest Registered Agent bills itself as a no-nonsense company whose mission is to simplify the process of business formation. To that end, the company strives to offer premium customer support throughout the process, and based on customer reviews, it has succeeded. That's why we chose Northwest as the best LLC filing company for customer support.
Founded in 1998 with more than two million formations under its belt, Northwest is one of the more experienced companies on our list. The knock against Northwest is its high price point. It offers only one LLC formation package starting at $225. If you consider just the four most commonly requested services—preparation and filing of LLC paperwork, two-business-day processing, customized operating agreement, and an EIN—the cost of these core services at Northwest is $275 ($225 plus $50 for the EIN). You can get all these services in the option called "VIP Package" but it is basically the same LLC formation package with an included EIN, the price remains the same for $275.
We found that price to be well below the average across 20 other companies, and most of those companies can't compare with Northwest's level of customer support. The no-nonsense approach means that customers don't have to put up with upsells or try to piece together the service they require from an endless list of options.
The flat-rate $225 service also includes:
- First-year registered agent service ($125 per year after that)
- Physical mail forwarding
Additional services offered by Northwest include annual compliance filing ($100 per year), second business phone number ($9 per month), and corporate supplies such as corporate seals, notaries, and certificates.
Northwest will refund your fee if you're not satisfied if requested within 60 days. They charge a $25 processing fee for refunds.
Northwest has nowhere near the number of customer reviews as others on this list; however, the ones they have are very positive, with 4.5 stars on Google, and 4.3 stars from the BBB.
Best Zero-Cost Package for Startups : Inc Authority
For entrepreneurs on a budget, Inc Authority offers a free LLC filing service that covers all the basics, including one-year registered agent services. For that reason, Inc Authority is our choice for the best zero-cost option for startups.
Charges $0 for well-equipped, standard LLC formation
Includes free one-year registered agent service
Long track record
Excellent customer reviews
Paid packages at high end of pricing spectrum
No refunds or money-back guarantee
Founded in 1989, Inc Authority is one of the more established LLC filing companies on our list. They've been doing it for so long that they have found a way to offer a well-equipped, standard filing package for free. If all you need are essential formation services, Inc Authority is a reliable company with an excellent track record, making it our choice as the LLC filing service with the best zero-cost package for startups.
With its free standard package (not including the state fee), you get registered agent service for one year, name availability search, preparation and filing of articles of organization, and S-corporation tax election forms if you choose to categorize your LLC as an S-corp for tax purposes. You also receive a business checking account through Bank of America, tax planning consultation, and business funding analysis.
That should keep most fledgling businesses going for a while. However, if you need additional services, such as an LLC operating agreement, ownership certificates, and an EIN.
If you want to add a business license report and a website domain, you can get that with the Executive package. The Tycoon bundle adds express processing and BizCredit software to help develop your business credit. If you decide to go with one of the paid packages, you should know that Inc Authority does not offer a money-back guarantee.
Most startup entrepreneurs can get along fine without the additional services from the paid packages, except perhaps an EIN, which you can add for an extra cost or get one on your own from the IRS for free.
It may be useful to know that Inc Authority has many happy customers, as evidenced by the more than 5,000 reviews or Trustpilot and Google averaging 4.8 and 4.6 stars, respectively.
Best for Comprehensive Legal Services : Rocket Lawyer
If you think you will require ongoing legal help along with your LLC formation, Rocket Lawyer does that for more than seven million business customers, making it our choice as the best LLC filing company for comprehensive legal services.
One of the most successful online service providers
Free consult with a legal advisor
Customer service available 12 hours a day all week
100% satisfaction guarantee
Non-member basic price is at the higher end of the pricing spectrum
Free one-year registered agent service not included
Since its launch in 2008, Rocket Lawyer has literally rocketed to the top of online service providers. Its low-cost approach to providing a wide range of services has democratized the legal process for millions of individuals and businesses. It also offers a reasonably priced LLC formation service, which is why we chose Rocket Lawyer as the best LLC filing company for comprehensive legal services.
Rocket Lawyer's primary revenue source is their legal services subscription, which includes LLC formation service. You can try its $39 monthly subscription with a seven-day free trial. If you continue with it, you can cancel at any time. As a member, you can access a wide range of attorney services for personal and business needs. Along with your LLC formation, you get access to attorney consultations, an extensive document library, and much more.
If you don't want to subscribe, you can still have Rocket Lawyer file your LLC for $99. Whether you subscribe as a member or pay the one-time fee as a non-member, the LLC filing service is the same.
The LLC package includes preparing and filing your articles of organization, business name availability search, online document storage, and phone and email support.
The Rocket Lawyer non-member package's glaring weakness is a lack of free one-year registered agent service offered by most of the other companies on this list. Non-members must pay $149 a year for the service. Members also must pay for the service, but they receive a 25% discount.
Rocket Lawyer gets 4.7 out of 5 stars from Trustpilot, 4.9 out of 5 stars from Consumer Affairs, and carries an A+ rating from the BBB.
Best for Attorney Review : Nationwide Incorporators
Some business owners feel better when they know they have an attorney looking over their shoulder when forming their business. Nationwide Incorporators is the only company that does just that, making it our pick as the best LLC formation company for attorney review service.
Long track record
Direct access to an experienced attorney
Legal advice specific to your state, business type, and personal circumstances
Basic package price at the higher end of the price spectrum
Free one-year registered agent service not included
Nationwide Incorporators intends to make its business customers feel as though they are working with a full-fledged law firm. Nationwide pledges that its service is "Attorney Powered" with every document drafted and reviewed by an attorney before it is filed. That makes Nationwide our choice as the best LLC filing company for attorney review services.
Many fledgling business owners can't afford to pay for attorney-provided services, which is why they opt for an online document filing service or the do-it-yourself method. Nationwide, which has been in business since 1997, provides a satisfying medium by providing its customers with access to an attorney at document-filing prices.
Having an attorney-led experience will only cost $200 for Nationwide's Basic package, including preparing and filing articles of incorporation, business name availability check, and sample minutes and bylaws forms.
With the $425 Priority Deluxe package, you also get custom bylaws, custom organizational minutes, and a custom stock ledger. Its $475 Priority Premium package adds an EIN (employee identification number) and two years of Nationwide's MinutesMinder service to keep track of critical business matters.
In comparing these services with others on the list, one downside is the registered agent service is a $145 per year add-on. However, a Nationwide attorney will advise you that registered agent service is only required if you form your LLC in another state. If you create an LLC in your own state, it's not needed.
For an additional cost (call for pricing info), Nationwide can help you with foreign registration, seller's permits, and business licenses.
Another downside is the lack of customer reviews for Nationwide, though the few we found were all very positive.
When creating an LLC, a service provider can save you a lot of time over trying to do it yourself and a lot of money over having an attorney do it. An LLC service provider can be the happy medium if you choose the right one for your particular needs. Pricing is important, but there may be value in other aspects of the service that need to be considered. This roundup looks at six of the best LLC filing companies from several different angles.
You wouldn't be wrong if you stopped your search with the first provider on our list, ZenBusiness, which combines low pricing with quality services and excellent customer service as the best overall LLC filing company.
|Company||Why We Chose It||Starting Price|
|ZenBusiness||Best Overall||Starting at $49|
|Incfile||Best Value||Starting at $0|
|Northwest Registered Agent||Best for Customer Support||Starting at $225|
|Inc Authority||Best Zero-Cost Package for Startups||Starting at $0|
|Rocket Lawyer||Best for Comprehensive Legal Services||Starting at $99|
|Nationwide Incorporators||Best for Attorney Review||Starting at $200|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an LLC?
LLC stands for limited liability company, which is recognized in every state as a legal business entity. Since its authorization in the late 1970s, LLCs have become the most popular form of business organization due primarily to their liability protection. When you structure your business as an LLC, you are personally protected against company debts and liabilities as if you were part of a corporation.
It also offers business owners the simplicity of a partnership in terms of its tax structure. Business owners can elect how their LLC is to be taxed—as a sole proprietor (for single-member LLCs) or as a partnership (for multi-member LLCs), or as an S-corporation. Filing your LLC as an S-corporation provides business owners with tax advantages by splitting their income distribution between their status as a partner and their status as an employee. In doing so, you can reduce your self-employment tax.
What Is the Best Place to Start an LLC?
While you can file for an LLC in any state, the best place to file is the state in which you live. The process of filing an in-state LLC is more straightforward and less costly. If you file out of state, you will need to files as a "foreign LLC" in each state where you do business, and you will require the assistance of a registered agent, which can increase the cost of filing. Ideally, you should file in the state where you are taxed on the income from your business.
Do I Need an EIN Number for an LLC?
An employee identification number (EIN) is a federal tax ID number issued to businesses by the IRS for tax purposes. If you are the sole business owner in your LLC, you don't need to get an EIN. The IRS doesn't recognize LLCs as a business entity and will consider any single-member LLC owner as a sole proprietorship. So, in that situation, you could use your Social Security number to file your taxes.
That changes if you hire employees. Then you have the option of reporting your single-member LLC taxes as either an S-corp or C-corp, which requires an EIN. It also changes if you add another owner, or member, to your LLC. Some LLC owners get an EIN regardless because it provides more security than using their Social Security number. If you want to open a business checking account or obtain credit, the bank may require an EIN.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Form an LLC?
The cheapest way to obtain an LLC is to do it yourself. There are plenty of references—online and in books—that can guide you through the process. Then you are only responsible for state filing fees. But if you value your time and want to ensure the thoroughness and accuracy of your filing, it's best to work with an LLC filing company. Their sole purpose is to assist business owners in forming an LLC, and they can do it at a fraction of the cost of an attorney. The best LLC filing companies have in-house expertise, are fluent in every state's laws, and can process the paperwork quickly.
How We Chose the Best LLC Filing Companies
The good news is there is no shortage of LLC filing companies. The bad news is that it means having to cull through dozens of companies to try to find the service that's right for you. In this roundup, we did the legwork for you by reviewing 20 companies based on their reputation, track record, pricing, and the overall value of their service offering. We placed some weight on such factors as money-back guarantees, areas of specialization, and positive customer reviews. Considering all aspects, we then narrowed our list down to the best LLC filing companies in six categories.