Creating a brand new limited liability company is not an easy feat even for experienced entrepreneurs. This is not a slight against anyone’s skill, simply a statement of fact that the process of registering an LLC, when done without outside help, is generally time-consuming and laden with paperwork.
Thankfully, many LLC service providers aim to simplify the entire ordeal for both newbies and those well-versed in the process of entity formation. Notable companies such as IncFile and Northwest Registered Agent are among the top services as chosen by both specialists and customers alike, with both offering plenty of features making them a good choice to use for LLC service.
Given the magnitude of their respective benefits, it could prove difficult to choose the right service for your needs. This Northwest Registered Agent vs IncFile LLC service comparison review is designed specifically for making this choice more informed.
Chances are you see this phrase being used to describe many products, but what does it mean exactly to be of good value? To put it simply, a service is of good value when its pricing justifies the quality of services it provides. What good value in an LLC service should you look for then?
Most LLC services with steep rates tend to overprice without much reason behind it, offering only pure basics which you theoretically could handle on your own. Services like LegalZoom charge entirely too much to form an LLC with very few features included in their starter plan and the rest offered through upselling.
This is where Northwest and IncFile differ, including a free registered agent service in their base plans without any hidden billings. Among many other features, both services are also highly regarded for their great customer support and ease of navigation.
The matter of cost is the key difference between the two equally generous services. IncFile is notably “free” discounting local state charges, while Northwest is relatively expensive when pitted against IncFile. Where IncFile’s base plan includes a $0 + state fee for LLC service, Northwest’s monthly offer is $225 + state fee where the main fee is divided into a $100 formation fee and $125 yearly registered agent fee. This is not to say that Northwest should immediately be discarded as an option since pricing is not everything.
When looking at their individual starter LLC formation packages, the two services fare pretty evenly: both will oversee the drafting and filing of your articles of organization, add a year of a registered agent service to your entity, and submit all necessary fees.
Although the companies offer similar feature sets, they are far from identical. For one, Northwest is guaranteed to provide premium customer service for other business solutions, drafting operating agreements, submitting Tax IDs, and mailing membership certificates.
IncFile gives you thirty minutes of consultation in connection to corporate tax questions and lets you peruse their resources freely.
Northwest comes with perhaps the best customer support in this price range. The training and experience found in the expertise of Northwest rep teams are frankly unrivalled, given that the company employs professionally trained Corporate Guides to handle initial and forthcoming resolutions. Chances are you won’t find a more competent support team which is not to the others’ detriment but a statement of fact that many teams simply aren’t as knowledgeable.
IncFile doesn’t lag far behind, providing premium customer support by phone and online from Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm CST. Their representatives can answer any questions on forming an LLC and can direct you to resolutions regarding complicated state rules.
Operating since 2004, IncFile has two more years of experience over Northwest, though both have solid track records when it comes to the levels of their customer satisfaction. Northwest is a rather strong mid-sized LLC service provider in itself with their 15 years of experience and as a family-owned business, they strive for a more hands-on individualized approach.
Most service providers of this type have processing times that are largely dependent on the state of entity formation, though it’s often possible to speed up the review for an additional fee. Northwest is usually faster in this regard, processing your order immediately and drafting the application on the same day of the order’s placement.
Both companies ensure that the subscription for the formation of your LLC comes with smooth order status tracking tools which you can use after you gain access to your personal account. Checking where you currently stand in the formation process is incredibly simple and takes only logging in to your profile on their respective websites and selecting the order status tab.
All new entities with limited liability are required to designate a registered agent for handling the communication between the state government and company owners such as receipts, relevant mail, service of process, important document deliveries, and more.
Even though certain states allow you to act as your own registered agent, it’s more prudent to outsource it since the authorities require the agent to be accessible throughout all business hours regardless of personal holidays. Simply put, the state needs a reliable means of contacting your business.
IncFile is a more financially viable option and a favorite registered agent service for many newcomers. They offer a year of registered agent service with LLC for free, after which you will be charged $119 annually. Northwest has a set fee for this service, charging $125 upon the initial order.
One small but important thing that makes Northwest worth their money is the thoroughness of their approach to documentation since they process and scan scans every single document addressed to your business as opposed to the normal practice of only processing the paperwork an agency is legally required to scan. For more information, feel free to look through our comparison guide.
Examining popular review platform reviews, a curious pattern emerges regarding these two services: both have high-quality reviews in abundance with their fair share of customer complaints regarding billing issues. All in all, both companies have high levels of customer satisfaction with some minor hiccups.
There is one major difference though, and it’s in the review ratio. IncFile has collected over 20 thousand reviews on Shopper Approved while Northwest has its numbers in mere hundreds. That being said, the latter is viewed much more favorably by its customers compared to IncFile.
The general ease of use can be attributed to both services thanks to their website accessibility that allows anyone to solicit their services. Though it’s easy to obtain online LLC services from both, IncFile is a bit more convenient. Their website is less cluttered and easier to navigate.
As far as the selection of additional business services goes, both companies offer plenty even with their base plans. Their extra features cover EIN acquisition, general consultation for accounting and foreign partnerships, drafting of annual reports, and of course registered agent services.
The main differences between their packages include Northwest’s addition of virtual office services and mail forwarding practices. IncFile offers a convenient trademark name search service in addition to their educational resources.
|Service||Annual Fee||Registered Agent||Key Benefits||Rating|
+ state fee
|1 year free |
+ $119 annually
|Free Starter Plan||★★★★★ (4.8/5)|
|Northwest Registered Agent||Upfront: $225 + state fee||$125 annually||Premium Customer Service||★★★★☆ (4.6/5)|
As one of the most popular LLC services today, IncFile is primarily valued for their appealing plans and online accessibility. The company offers to form your LLC for free, including additional services that will only be subject to annual rate after a year, so they’re bound to save you some money on the whole ordeal. It also helps that IncFile boasts a larger volume of customer feedback which might help you get a more detailed picture.
Despite their steep pricing, Northwest mostly receive good reviews which is a rarity in this industry. They are also far more accommodating with their personalized services and more intuitive customer care. Still, the choice of which LLC service to use remains your decision, but let’s have a quick recap before you can make your final choice.
Regardless of establishment size and state origin (as these two do affect package pricing), all packages offer a considerable amount of shared benefits: the setting up of a bank account for your business, certified copies of organization articles, and lifetime company alerts, to mention a few.
LLC premium services, however, range differently across Silver, Gold, and Platinum packages which you can check out on IncFile’s pricing page.
Depending on the type of entity and needs required by the business, the Platinum package includes an EIN and an operating agreement, employee ID, an LLC kit binder, contract templates and email services for free as well as operating agreements and banking resolutions. Standard state filing time is bypassed, and filing goes over in expedited state time.
The Gold package requires an extra fee for contract templates ($150), as well as an extra fee ($50) for expedited state delivery, and does not provide email services.
Lastly, the Silver package offers a cheaper way to get LLC formation but all services mentioned in other packages come with additional fees that range from $40 (operating agreements) to $150 (contract templates), as well as an extra fee ($50) for expedited state delivery, and does not provide email services.
Although the Silver package does deliver the essential needs for the lowest price, the Gold package proves to be the most popular, with a certain amount of savings on a one-time payment, and the Platinum package is the best for value, although most expensive, with a larger amount of savings on its one-time payment.
The general consensus, therefore, seems to be that the Gold package seems to be the best choice, regardless of establishment size.
Out of the two, IncFile suggests very few upsells, especially compared to those in the higher tier of LLC formation services like LegalZoom or ZenBusiness. Northwest also keeps upsells to a minimum and does not pressure the client into various additional, somewhat irrelevant options that would rake up final costs.
IncFile and LegalZoom have various similarities, given that they are competing for the same market of services provided, the more detailed overview of which can be found in our IncFile vs LegalZoom comparison article.
While reviewing LLC formation services offered by both companies, the similarities become rather clear:
both companies have countless successful projects in their portfolio, cementing their expertise and relevance in the field;
they are both relatively low cost, as opposed to hiring the private services of an attorney to carry out the same actions;
the customer support from both services is helpful and thorough;
both companies are capable of expediting any processes required by the client, within state regulations;
both companies can help clients learn more about the field, their different options, and different possibilities given their circumstances;
IncFile and LegalZoom can also provide extra services if requested by the client.
But let’s see how the two services in this comparison differ.
Pricewise, IncFile allows the setting up of an account with the state fee alone, whereas LegalZoom requires $79. Taking it further, IncFile provides multiple services for free, whereas LegalZoom only provides those services with the $79. Additionally, IncFile manages to provide a year’s worth of agent aid, consultations on taxes, and more – while the same perks from LegalZoom come only with additional fees.
In terms of company experience, however, the tables are turned. LegalZoom, having been established 5 years prior to IncFile’s 2004 inception, in 1999, has landed more than 1 million successful deals, which is almost 4 times more than IncFile’s record.
Customer experience is another factor to consider. Here, IncFile’s feedback reviews come far and wide more positively than LegalZoom’s. Still, customer support from LegalZoom covers a larger range of hours, and with an average shorter wait time than IncFile.
When it comes to turnaround times and order tracking, both companies even out to approximately the same level of competency, with outcomes changing slightly according to state and package.
Regarding registered agent service, IncFile comes up with more positive reviews, given that clients need to pay almost $100 less annually than if they were to register with LegalZoom.
Finally, LegalZoom is capable of offering many services (albeit on additional payments) that IncFile is unable to.
Out of the two, Northwest is guaranteed to protect your personal information. They never share info with third-party partners or push special offers that would require you to share that information with third parties.
IncFile is a whole other animal: those who choose to take their business bank account offer will be legally sharing their personal data with Bank of America. If you use IncFile’s business domain service, the company will be sharing the info with the digital marketing company SnapWeb.
Both companies estimate their processing times based on local review speeds. Depending on how fast any given state processes orders, the company alters their processing times. Northwest’s VIP packages also have a two-day processing option.
With IncFile, an order is refundable only if the company has yet to submit your payment with the state, meaning that you might only have a 24-hour window to request a refund. They also charge $30 for cancellation.
By contrast, Northwest is a more lenient option since they don’t have such a restrictive timeframe and don’t place any further limitations for refund requests. Their cancellation fee is $25.
Neither company supports this service. If you need to take care of your NY publication requirements, be sure to consider ZenBusiness instead.
It’s always possible to handle formation personally, and many choose to form their own LLCs without assistance. If you’re a fan of DIY routes, please consider some of the free educational services provided by Northwest first. But if you want to save yourself time and unnecessary stress, don’t be embarrassed to hire a reputable LLC formation service.