Forming a limited liability company (LLC) has several legal and financial advantages. However, figuring out how to start an LLC may seem overwhelming. Luckily, LLC formation services can make the process easy.
Every business has different needs. Comparing LLC formation services and the ongoing support they provide can help you choose the right one for your company.
Top LLC Formation Services
Most platforms offer packages with different services and prices that can help grow your business. Some have ongoing support options that can include expedited processing, advisory services, employer identification number (EIN) filing and more.
Regardless of which LLC formation service you choose, it’s important to note that each state charges an additional filing fee. The initial cost can be as low as $40 (Kentucky) or as high as $500 (Massachusetts), depending on the state.
There is also an ongoing fee that can be between $0 and $800 annually or biennially. The recurring fees vary by state.
- Best for: complimentary registered agent service
- Trustpilot ranking: 4.8 out of 5
ZenBusiness offers three different LLC formation packages that start at $49 plus state filing fees. They use technology and automation to give you quick service at an affordable rate.
Some of the key features for all three plans include:
- Registered agent service
- Operating Agreement template
- Free accounting consultation
- 100% accuracy guarantee
Registered agent service is one of the best reasons to consider ZenBusiness. Other companies may charge an extra fee for this perk. If you don’t have someone to be your registered agent, this service is a great value.
Upgrading to the middle or upper plan offers additional perks. If you don’t want to pay for a more robust package, you can choose a cheaper plan and buy add-on services for a one-time fee.
The entry-level Starter Plan can be a good option for LLCs on a small budget. The fee for the first year is $49. While the renewal price increases to $119 per year, registered agent service is standard.
The Starter Plan includes these benefits:
- Name availability search
- Phone and email support
- Online document access
- Statement of Organizer
- $150 Google Ads credit
Standard filing speeds are included in this plan. It may take up to 18 business days to form your LLC. Upgrading to a quicker filing speed costs either $50 or $100.
Other add-on services available include:
- Banking resolution template ($30)
- EIN filing ($70)
- Worry-Free Compliance ($119 yearly)
The Worry-Free Compliance feature covers the annual report filings and up to two yearly amendments. These help you remain state-complaint.
The Pro Plan costs $199 per year and includes the Starter Plan benefits. You also get these perks at no extra cost:
- Expedited filing speed
- Banking resolution template
- EIN filing
- Worry-Free Compliance
According to ZenBusiness, this is the most popular package. The Pro Plan can be the best option because you get automatic EIN filing. It also provides a banking resolution template to let others access your business bank account on your behalf.
There are a few optional upgrades that can be beneficial. For example, the “rush” filing speed costs $100 and can complete your LLC formation in several days.
If you want to have ZenBusiness design your website, the Premium plan can save you money. At an annual cost of $299, you get the quickest filing speed of all three plan options.
Other complimentary perks include:
- Website hosting
- Business domain name
- WHOIS domain name privacy
- Business email address
The business email address includes up to 5 GB of data storage. You may opt to use another website hosting company with more robust features.
2. Inc Authority
- Best for: free LLC filing, add-on business advisor access
- Trustpilot ranking: 4.8 out of 5
Inc Authority can be a good option for businesses that want to form an LLC for free. There are also add-on advisory services that can help new companies build their brand. These include business plan creation and internet marketing packages.
It’s free to file for an LLC with Inc Authority. You just pay the state fees and postage.
Each Inc Authority filing comes with these free benefits:
- Business name check
- Operating agreement
- Digital storage of startup documents
- One year of registered agent service
- S-Election Form (IRS Form 2553)
- Phone and email support
Optional upgrades are available and pricing may vary. You must contact Inc Authority by email or phone to get a personal quote.
Some of the optional upgrades include:
- Personalized business plan
- Federal trademark
- Revocable living trust
- Business website and marketing packages
Inc Authority offers three business bundles that can reduce the cost of buying add-on services. These bundles also provide other perks like EIN filing and access to a business success advisor.
The Starter Business Bundle has a one-time cost of $399 and is the most affordable of the three options. It includes:
- EIN filing
- Ownership certificates
- Record book and company seal
- Tax consultation
- One year of access to an Inc Success Advisor
The other two bundles cost $499 (Executive) and $799 (Tycoon). Extra benefits may include business licensing and express LLC application processing.
These packages might be too expensive for businesses that only want help forming an LLC and registered agent access.
3. Rocket Lawyer
- Best for: on-demand legal advice
- Trustpilot ranking: 4.7 out of 5
Rocket Lawyer offers LLC formation services and can be an attractive option if you need legal advice. If you don’t have an attorney, Rocket Lawyer provides 30-minute consultations so you can ask legal questions.
Pricing for the LLC formation and legal services depends on whether you have a free or premium membership. Non-member pricing can be more expensive.
Rocket Lawyer consultants will prepare and file the initial paperwork to form an LLC. Registered agent service is available at extra cost.
If you need various legal documents, Rocket Lawyer can be useful. For example, they can draft rental contracts, patents and trademarks.
It’s possible to pay one-time fees if you want to purchase formation services, legal documents and attorney services. There isn’t a recurring annual fee as a non-member.
Below is a sample of service costs:
- LLC filing services: $99.99
- Registered Agent service: $149.99/year
- Legal documents: $39.99 per document
- Ask legal questions to a lawyer: $49.99 per question
- 30-minute legal consultation: $59.99 per new legal matter
- “Document Defense” legal document enforcement: $9.99 per document
Rocket Lawyer is a great solution if you want the same company to serve as your LLC formation service and legal advisor. Otherwise, the pay-as-you-go pricing can get expensive.
Premium Member Pricing
A Rocket Lawyer Premium membership costs $39.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial).
Upgrading can be worth it if you speak with Rocket Lawyer advisors regularly or draft several business documents.
Premium membership waives the fees on these services:
- Incorporation filing for new members (25% off afterward)
- Legal documents
- Ask a lawyer legal questions
- 30-minute consultation for new legal matters
- “Document Defense” contract enforcement
It can be free for new members to file for an LLC. However, there is only a 25% discount on future filings.
Also, there is a 25% discount on registered agent services, dropping the annual cost to $112.50. This annual cost is slightly lower than other services, but you must remember the $39.99 monthly fee.
When you need to hire an attorney for more than a simple consult or legal question, Premium members enjoy a savings of up to 40%. Non-members do not get a discount on attorney fees.
4. Northwest Registered Agent
- Best for: straightforward pricing, virtual office benefits
- Trustpilot ranking: Not yet rated
Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t offer a variety of pricing plans. All users pay a flat fee of $100 plus state filing fees to form an LLC. There are additional costs for other add-ons like registered agent service and mail forwarding.
A free account is available with Northwest Registered Agent using premade templates. However, you will need to complete the paperwork by yourself.
Since Northwest is a smaller LLC formation service, they may provide better customer support than other platforms. You receive a direct phone number to your agent. If you need to leave a voicemail, you can expect a return call within two hours.
Like other formation services, Northwest Registered Agent shows the upfront costs by state to form an LLC.
Each LLC filing includes an operating agreement, bank account resolutions and membership certificates. Other formation services may require you to choose a mid-tier plan to get the bank account benefits.
Here is a sample of the Northwest fees:
- LLC filing service fee: $100
- Registered agent: $125 annually
- EIN application: $50
- Second telephone number: $9 per state
- Virtual office: $49 per year
- Premium mail forwarding: $40 monthly
The filing service fees and registered agent fees are more expensive than some formation services. However, you can enroll in different virtual office perks that other services don’t offer.
The virtual office and premium mail forwarding options are unique. Northwest can digitally scan the mail you receive daily or send it weekly via snail mail.
Getting a business telephone number in multiple states can be handy. With Northwest Registered Agent, you pay $9 per line per state and can choose any area code. The second number can be useful after getting a free business phone number.
- Best for: free LLC formation
- Trustpilot ranking: 3.2 out of 5
IncFile offers three plans for customers. One is a free LLC formation plan, but state filing fees do apply. The free plan also includes one year of complimentary registered agent service.
You will need to choose one of the two premium plans if you want IncFile to provide key documents like an operating agreement, banking resolution and contract templates.
All plans only have a one-time fee and can be useful if you just need a formation service. If you want to use IncFile as a registered agent, all plans charge a $119 annual fee after the first year.
All IncFile plans include these benefits:
- Online access to Articles of Organization
- Lifetime filing alerts
- One year of free registered agent service (then $119/year)
IncFile also offers free setup for a Bank of America business banking account.
This formation service may offer less ongoing support than other formation services. Business owners that want more hands-on contact might want to consider another platform.
When you only need help forming an LLC, the IncFile Silver package is a good fit. Your only cost is the state filing fees.
Silver package perks include:
- Preparing and filing Articles of Organization
- Unlimited name searches
- One year of free registered agent service
Registered agent service costs $119 per year if you continue to use IncFile. Other optional one-time upgrades can include receiving an operating agreement ($40), EIN ($70) and a banking resolution ($35).
This package offers standard processing speeds. Upgrading to the expedited processing speed costs $50.
The middle-tier Gold package has the Silver package benefits, including one year of free registered agent service. There is a one-time cost of $149 for this package.
Other Gold benefits include:
- EIN filing
- Operating agreement
- Banking resolution
Upgrading to the expedited processing speed costs $50. The other potential upgrade is access to over 25 business contract templates for $150.
The Platinum package has a one-time cost of $299 and includes the IncFile features that are add-on options for the cheaper plans. If you want expedited filing and business contract access, IncFile can be one of the most affordable options.
Platinum features include:
- Expedited filing
- Business contract filing
- One year of business domain name and email services
IncFile doesn’t mention the recurring cost for the business domain name and business email services. You will receive an invoice at the end of the first year stating the renewal cost.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
While a basic LLC formation package can be free, state filing fees (between $40 and $500) apply. Other entry-level packages cost between $50 and $150 and may offer more features. More robust packages can cost up to $800.
It’s important to remember that there will be extra fees to get more complex services and documents. For example, you might pay $70 if you want the formation service to get an EIN on your behalf. It can also cost more to get an operating agreement template, banking resolution template and other forms.
At a minimum, the service will perform a business name search and obtain the Articles of Organization from your state government.
Additionally, the following options may be available in the package you purchase or at an add-on cost:
-Registered agent service
-Employer Identification Number (EIN) filing
-Customer support options
-Annual filing compliance protection
-Business contracts and trademarks
-Express filing speed
-Website hosting and email
-On-demand legal advice
Hiring a lawyer might be necessary in certain situations. You could hire a business lawyer if your company is in a certain industry or you have a complex legal situation.
Another reason to consider hiring an attorney is if there are multiple business owners.
Using an LLC formation service can provide similar benefits but at a lower cost. Legitimate formation companies will complete all the paperwork and make sure your incorporation filing complies with the state laws.
Here is a basic overview of the steps to form an LLC:
1. Name your LLC
2. Choose a registered agent
3. File LLC paperwork for your state
4. Pay LLC filing fees to the Secretary of State
After completing the application process, you’ll need to apply for an EIN and create an operating agreement. Banks and state governments require these credentials for certain activities.
One of the biggest advantages of forming an LLC is having limited personal liability for legal lawsuits. A court can use business assets but not personal assets to settle a dispute.
Financially, being an LLC has its perks as well. For example, setting up a business bank account can be easier if you have formed an LLC. This is because banks may require you to be an LLC or corporation to open a business bank account or small business credit card. It’s also easier for LLCs to raise money than sole proprietors.
LLCs can enjoy other tax benefits that sole proprietors and corporations don’t. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some disadvantages and additional costs to being an LLC that other business types may not encounter.
Forming an LLC may be a good option for businesses that hire employees, perform services that are subject to a lawsuit or have multiple owners. For instance, contractors (i.e., construction or repair services), restaurants and stores may want to consider forming an LLC.
Freelancers and those with small side hustle incomes might be better off remaining sole proprietors. Speaking with a tax professional can help you decide if the benefits of becoming an LLC are worth the cost and paperwork.
If you’re ready to make the switch from sole proprietorship to becoming an LLC, a formation service can make the process easier. In addition to completing the initial paperwork, many platforms offer ongoing support to make running your business simpler.
Are you considering forming an LLC because you want to take your business to the next level? Check out this article on apps that can help you grow your business!