An LLC, short for Limited Liability Company, is a popular type of business entity used to protect an owner’s personal assets and potentially lower their tax liability. While filling out LLC paperwork independently is possible, many business owners choose an LLC filing company to ensure the business entity is created correctly and all forms are completed with 100% accuracy.
If you’re looking for the best LLC filing company, it’s wise to focus on finding a company with the right combination of offerings for your business, a strong track record of helping businesses like yours, and pricing that makes sense for your budget. Here’s a look at the best LLC filing companies available today so you can get your business started with the right foot forward.
Best LLC Filing Companies of 2021
Best OverallMore details
- Price: Starting at $49 plus state fees
- No. Plans: 3
- Guarantee: 100% accuracy guarantee
Most AffordableMore details
- Price: From $0 (only pay state fees)
- No. Plans: 3
- Guarantee: None
Best for Legal ServicesMore details
- Price: $99.99 or included with new $39.99 monthly membership
- No. Plans: 2
- Guarantee: Refund if Rocket Lawyer makes an error
Northwest Registered Agent
Best for Small BusinessMore details
- Price: From $225
- No. Plans: 1
- Guarantee: None
Best for EntrepreneursMore details
- Price: Varies
- No. Plans: Customized
- Guarantee: None
Best for Online BusinessMore details
- Price: From $79
- No. Plans: 3
- Guarantee: 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee
Best for Real Estate InvestingMore details
- Price: From $0
- No. Plans: 3
- Guarantee: None
Best for Attorney ReviewMore details
- Price: From $200
- No. Plans: 3
- Guarantee: No cost error correction
Best Overall : ZenBusiness
We picked ZenBusiness as best overall because it offers an introductory plan that includes your LLC filing with a 100% accuracy guarantee for a reasonable annual subscription fee.
Lowest-cost plan includes LLC filing and compliance support
100% accuracy guarantee
Upgraded plans available with more features
Annual subscription required
Add-on services significantly increase costs
ZenBusiness is our winner as the best overall LLC filing company due to its low-cost introductory package, including LLC filing and a 100% accuracy guarantee starting at $49 plus state fees, which does not auto-renew. In addition, ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation, meaning it’s a for-profit company with a community goal similar to a nonprofit.
When starting a business, you can choose between three subscription tiers. Starter costs $49 in your first year and includes an LLC filing, operating agreement template, and the 100% accuracy guarantee. The $199-per-year Pro plan includes everything from the Starter plan plus faster filing times to compliance support. The $299-per-year Premium plan adds rush filing, a business domain name and website, and other features.
For most businesses, the Starter plan will likely cover your needs while keeping costs very low. You can add services, including registered agent service, compliance, and website development. For the best bargain, however, you’ll want to stick with the Starter plan. ZenBusiness has received generally positive reviews from past customers.
Most Affordable : Incfile
We picked Incfile because it offers an option to file your LLC for free. You only pay state filing fees with the free LLC filing option.
Free LLC filing service available
All packages include one-year registered agent service
Upgrade options for additional forms and services
Free LLC filing may be slow
No money-back guarantee and limited refunds
Incfile is our winner for best value, thanks to its free LLC filing service option, where you only pay state filing fees. The free package includes preparing and filing your articles of organization with your state and a year of registered agent service. Just be on the lookout for upsells and long-term recurring charges, as that’s where you may find yourself with some higher-priced services or annual fees.
Additional plans are available with more services for a one-time fee. The $149 Gold package includes an EIN, S corporation election, operating agreement, tax consultation, and other services. The Platinum package costs $299 and includes expedited filing and a business domain name and email. Beyond your first year, you can pay for annual report filing, registered agent services, trademark filing, and other business forms.
Incfile offers the cheapest methods of getting your business registered, as it’s the same cost of doing it yourself. The company has mixed customer reviews, with some complaining of slow processing times and being overcharged for paid services. But you can’t beat the price for its basic LLC filing service: free.
Best for Legal Services : Rocket Lawyer
- Price: $99.99 or included with new $39.99 monthly membership
- No. Plans: 2
- Guarantee: Refund if Rocket Lawyer makes an error
We chose Rocket Lawyer because it offers ongoing legal services for a reasonable monthly fee, and new customers get an LLC filing included.
Optional membership service for ongoing legal support
LLC-only filing option available for a one-time fee
Business registration included free with new plan membership
Membership plan may be more costly over time
Very limited refund policy
Rocket Lawyer is our pick as best for legal services thanks to its ongoing legal support plan that gives you access to a live lawyer for help with business questions. New customers who sign up for that premium plan get an included LLC filing and 25% off future business incorporations. Non-members can still get help filing an LLC for $99.99.
The Premium membership costs $39.99 per month after a free weeklong trial. Members get access to a library of legal documents, unlimited legal questions, and a 30-minute consultation on new legal matters. Members get up to 40% off when hiring a lawyer through Rocket Lawyer and 25% off its $149.99-per-year registered agent service.
Rocket Lawyer is best for those who need ongoing legal support, as the membership package that includes an LLC filing ends up costing about $480 per year, which is a lot more than you would need to pay for an LLC filing alone. However, depending on your business, that cost for ongoing access to a lawyer may be a great deal. It all depends on how often you would need a lawyer and how much the membership could save you compared to paying for services as a one-time fee. For many businesses, Rocket Lawyer makes a lot of sense. It generally earns positive reviews from past customers, so you can plan on a positive overall experience.
Best for Small Business : Northwest Registered Agent
We picked Northwest Registered Agent as best for small businesses because it offers services friendly to small business owners, including reasonably priced LLC formations and ongoing support.
Choose to pay upfront or monthly over one year
Free account option with do-it-yourself filing guide
Option to add registered agent, virtual office, and other small business services
Registered agent service bundled with filing service
Optional items can quickly increase the price
Northwest Registered Agent is our choice as the best LLC filing company for small businesses because it offers a suite of services ideal for small business owners working from home or looking to protect their personal privacy. The LLC filing service is bundled with registered agent services starting at $225 plus state fees.
Registered agent services give you a public address where legal and business notices may be sent for official purposes. This may shield your personal address and phone number, particularly if you run a business out of your own home. At checkout, you can choose to pay the full $225 upfront or pay monthly for one year, including any extra fees or services.
Northwest Registered Agent offers a refreshing customer service experience. Everything is handled in-house by customer service agents called “Corporate Guides.” There are no partnerships with third parties, and your information is not sold. When you call or email, you should get a live person right away, or at least get a response within a couple of hours. Northwest Registered Agents makes things easy on its customers. It generally earns positive reviews from past users.
Best for Entrepreneurs : Hashtag Legal
We chose Hashtag Legal as best for entrepreneurs because it offers customized services for entrepreneurs and online businesses, including LLC formation and consulting.
Smaller firm able to customize plans for each customer
Specialization in online business and startups
Receive legal advice in addition to form filing
May be more expensive than streamlined online filing companies
Optimized for longer-term legal relationships
Only licensed in California, New York, and New Jersey
Hashtag Legal is a boutique legal experience compared to some of the big LLC filing companies, but that may be perfect for business founders with limited legal knowledge. We picked Hashtag Legal because it specializes in helping small businesses, entrepreneurs, and online businesses with various legal needs, including business entity formation.
One major benefit of Hashtag Legal over larger firms is its ability to customize offerings for your unique business needs. Business entity formation services come with legal advice, so you know if an LLC is the best choice. For business owners with a need, Hashtag Legal also offers business consulting services.
You typically pay more for a custom legal package than you would with a website where you enter your business information online and never work directly with the person filling out your forms. But that all-in package is often worthwhile to entrepreneurs looking to lay the right foundation for a new business.
Best for Online Business : LegalZoom
We chose LegalZoom because they offer easy-to-use online LLC filing services for a reasonable cost.
Easy-to-use online LLC filing service
Basic plan starts at $79
Option to upgrade for additional features and services
Basic package requires an estimated 30-day processing time
Many upsells to high-priced add-on services
LegalZoom is a large, recognized name in online legal services and earns our top spot as the best LLC filing company for online businesses. LegalZoom is our winner thanks to its low-cost option for new LLC filings. However, it’s worth noting that you can count on a full month’s waiting time before your filing is complete unless you upgrade to a more expensive plan.
There are three plans to choose from when creating an LLC with LegalZoom. The $79 plan includes everything required to file your business but takes about a month. The $329 Standard plan cuts processing time to 15 days and gives you an added organizer, stock certificates, and company seal. The Express Gold plan costs $349 and includes 10-day business filing and express shipping for your documents.
The company generally earns positive reviews from past customers, though there are some complaints about waiting times and poor customer service. If you’re patient enough to wait a month, the $79 package is a good deal for online businesses looking for someone else to file their LLC forms. Just take care to avoid expensive add-ons and upsells if your business doesn’t actually need them.
Best for Real Estate Investing : Inc Authority
We chose Inc Authority as best for real estate investing because it offers a free LLC filing package that’s great for real estate investors looking to save on fees.
Free LLC filing service
Includes one-year registered agent service
Other services available including trademarks and business plans
Upsells on free LLC service
Paid packages can be high priced
No guarantee or warranty
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 package for real estate investors.
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 corporation 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, you'll need to add that.
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 7,000 reviews on Trustpilot averaging 4.8 stars.
Best for Attorney Review : Nationwide Incorporators
We chose Nationwide Incorporators because it offers an LLC registration service where you work with an experienced attorney with any package.
All plans include services from an attorney
Basic plan includes registration and business agreement templates
Option to upgrade with customized company documents and certificates
Add-ons are expensive
Significant price increase for mid-level and top-tier plans
Dated website design
Nationwide Incorporators doesn’t simply auto-fill your forms and have them reviewed by a customer service agent. We picked Nationwide Incorporators because all plans include support from an experienced attorney. That makes Nationwide Incorporators a good option for business owners with more complex needs or who simply feel better knowing a legal professional personally completed and filed their registration forms.
The basic plan, for $200, includes LLC formation and templates for your operating agreement and minutes. The Priority Deluxe plan costs $425 and adds a customized operating agreement, custom membership certificates, and an embossed meeting minute book. For $475, Priority Premium gives you fully customized meeting minute templates, a custom member ledger, and everything needed to get your EIN. Both upgraded plans include faster priority processing. You can upgrade to add features including registered agent services, a more comprehensive operating agreement, and other startup and registration needs with any plan.
There are few reviews for Nationwide Incorporators, but the reviews available indicate a positive overall experience, notably from California-based customers. The basic package should cover most business owners, and few would need to pay for the $475 plan, as you can quickly get an EIN yourself for free on the IRS website. Overall, Nationwide Incorporators is best for those who need a little more handholding and prefer working closely with a human attorney instead of an automated process.
ZenBusiness is a top choice for any business owner looking to quickly create an LLC without breaking the bank. Depending on your needs, its reasonably priced plans could get your business up and running with ongoing support for annual reports and other needs. However, if you’re looking to save money or get more hands-on support, any of the LLC filing companies on this list could be the right fit for your business.
Compare the Best LLC Filing Companies
|Company||Filing Fee||Plans (#)||Guarantee||States (#)|
|From $49||3||100% accuracy guarantee||50|
Best for Legal Services
|From $99.99 or $39.99 per month||2||Refund if error||50|
|Northwest Registered Agent
Best for Small Business
Best for Entrepreneurs
Best for Online Business
|From $79||3||60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee||50|
Best for Real Estate Investing
Best for Attorney Review
|From $200||3||No cost error correction||50|
Guide for Choosing the Best LLC Filing Companies
Should You Use an LLC Filing Service?
When starting a new business, LLC filing services are not required. You can choose to operate your business as a sole proprietor without registration, or you can file the LLC registration paperwork with your secretary of state on your own. As you can create an LLC on your own with no extra cost, you may not need an LLC filing company at all.
LLC filing services help you navigate the complexities of creating the business entity in your state, however, which can be helpful for those who are time-strapped, don’t have a strong understanding of filing requirements, or just want extra help to feel confident the forms are filled out and submitted accurately.
In many cases, creating an LLC is a fast, simple process you can handle on your own. But if you’re not confident in your abilities, an LLC filing company can certainly handle your business registration needs.
Comparing LLC Filing Companies
If you’re shopping around for LLC filing companies, it’s important to focus on how well the company can meet your unique business needs:
- Expertise: The most important factor when choosing an LLC filing company is expertise. You should only work with reputable companies with a track record of successfully registering new businesses for clients.
- Turnaround time: LLC filing may take anywhere from a day to over a month, depending on the service you choose. Your timeline may send you to a service with a faster turnaround, though you may be able to save money if you’re able to wait longer.
- Cost: LLC filing can cost anywhere from $0 to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Choose an LLC company that aligns with your budget.
- Registered agent services: Many LLC companies include or offer registered agent services for an additional cost. Depending on your business, this may be necessary and worth an extra fee.
- Tax consulting: If you don’t already have basic business tax knowledge or a trusted accountant, you may want an LLC registration service that can also give you tax advice as you’re starting up your new company.
How to Sign Up for an LLC Service
Signing up for an LLC service is fairly fast and easy when done online. In many cases, you can fill in all required information about your business and get your LLC without ever getting on the phone.
With most LLC services, you’ll start by creating an account and entering basic information about yourself and your new business. After that, you may see upgrade options and suggestions, but not all are necessary. For example, you can get an EIN yourself from the IRS website for free without paying a professional. But some business owners may find having someone else create their EIN to be worth an extra fee. The same is true with many other add-on services.
Once you complete your forms and submit a payment, plan to wait anywhere from around a week to a month, depending on the service you choose. Most good services can complete an LLC filing in 10 days or less. Once your files are ready, you should be able to log into the LLC filing company’s website to download a digital copy of your forms. You may also get a physical copy of your articles of organization and any other forms by mail.
Once your business is created, you may see additional options in your online account to meet with a legal or tax consultant, add new services, create a bank account, and anything else your LLC filing company offers.
If you choose any recurring services, you can manage your account using your online customer portal. That generally includes updating payment methods, canceling services, and other self-service options.
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.
How Much Do LLC Filing Companies Cost?
LLC filing companies charge varying fees to register a new business. Plan on spending anywhere from $0 to around $300 for most online LLC filing services. If you work with a traditional attorney and get custom, one-on-one help, you may spend quite a bit more.
What Do LLC Filing Companies Do?
LLC filing companies assist people in registering businesses with their states. This includes completing and submitting articles of organization with your secretary of state, an S corporation election with the IRS where applicable, and any other necessary forms to establish your business. Many LLC filing companies offer additional registered agent services, tax consulting services, and other add-ons required by new and ongoing businesses.
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 corporation or a C corporation, 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 LLCs, 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.
Are LLC Filing Companies Needed to Start a Business?
LLC filing companies are helpful but not required when starting a new business. You can often create an LLC on your own through your state’s secretary of state website without paying an outside company or lawyer. LLC filing companies help ensure your forms are entered accurately, among other services.
To choose the best LLC filing companies, the Investopedia team looked at top LLC filing services around the United States, focusing on services offered, turnaround times, cost, and average customer reviews. Expertise and services offered were the most important factor reviewed, with price also playing a significant role. Any LLC filing company on this list should be able to handle typical LLC filing needs.