Setting up a new limited liability company is both an exciting and daunting time. You need to do so many things to ensure that your brand new business entity is properly set up.
And if you’re under pressure to get up and running fast because you have potential new clients, vendors, and employees lined up, then making sure all your paperwork is in order becomes even more important.
Unfortunately, many new business owners often make simple mistakes in their application process that cause unnecessary delays.
To help you avoid that, we’ve put together a list of the best LLC service providers that will ensure an efficient and cost-effective solution.
1. ZenBusiness - offering the extra services at a very reasonable price
2. LegalZoom - all the legal advice support you may need
3. IncFile - a service proven to save your nerve, time, and money
4. Inc Authority - very economical option
For any new business owner trying to keep their overall budget under control, the cost of an LLC formation service will be a key decision factor.
Unfortunately, most cheap LLC services in the past also came with very limited features.
And once you added on all the important things like an operating agreement and registered agent services, those companies weren’t all that cheap anymore.
But that’s where ZenBusiness has led the way by coming up with an entry-level package that is cheap and includes a load of features.
For less than $50 plus the applicable state fees, you’ll have a fully registered LLC that is ready to operate.
What makes this such a good deal is that ZenBusiness also includes the registered agent service that every LLC has to set up. With most other LLC service providers, that’s an optional extra.
You’ll also have the operating agreement fully set up, which becomes part of your LLC registration. It’s another time-consuming document that you don't have to worry about.
We’ve also found that online feedback about the ZenBusiness customer support service is very positive.
And to make sure that your accounting requirements are met from a legal reporting perspective, ZenBusiness will make recommendations for what kind of CPA you will need to hire.
The only thing that’s missing is add-on service options to cover you for legal advice. This might be an important factor for some types of new businesses that require regular legal support for the client, vendor, or employment contracts.
For an in-depth overview of ZenBusiness services, check out this review.
• 1 year of free registered agent service included
• One of the cheapest and most comprehensive LLC formations services
• Receive advice on what kind of accounting requirements your business will have
• The new company operating agreement is also included
• Limited add-on services and no legal support
Next on our list of LLC formation services is LegalZoom, one of the most recognized brand names that offers legal advice to small and medium-sized businesses.
The main attraction for business owners, especially of new LLCs with a limited budget, is that there are huge potential savings compared to having a legal firm on retainer.
Depending on your exact legal requirements, you can tailor different advisory packages that give you access to a certain amount of time with highly qualified and carefully selected lawyers.
You can also pay for legal tax advice, which is often an important factor for a startup company to ensure every possible tax advantage and obligation is considered.
LegalZoom clients have also highlighted in online service reviews that they find the customer support team easy to work with, especially with extended operating hours.
That all means you gain the support of attorneys for reviewing client, vendor, or employee contracts and pretty much any other kind of legal advice you require for a very reasonable price.
Just keep in mind that if you don’t require regular legal services, then LegalZoom isn't the most affordable option for getting your business off the ground.
If that’s your case, then ZenBusiness mentioned above is the better choice.
• LegalZoom is a recognized brand making it ideal for a startup LLC
• Tailored service packages to include tax and annual reporting advice
• Ideal for a business that will require regular legal advice and support
• Will significantly lower legal budgets for new LLC company with a legal services subscription
• It’s a more expensive service for owners that don’t need regular legal advice
IncFile is one of the few free LLC formation service providers we encountered. Now, you do have to pay the state filing fees, which can vary from $40 to $500, but you cannot avoid those with any other online LLC service either.
What’s surprising is that this free service also includes registered agent services for free during the first year, according to Riverfront Times. Other companies in the business services industry charge upwards of $150 for that alone.
You’ll also get the Articles of Organization, so you only need to get your own operating agreement unless you pick one of the upgrade packages.
As the name suggests, IncFile also provides services for regular annual state and federal filing requirements. It’s a great way to avoid missing such deadlines and facing late filing fees.
With the upgraded packages, you’ll also be able to take care of a few things like your employer identification number (EIN) and support for getting your business bank accounts set up.
We also liked that the $149 Gold package includes a tax consultation, which can be particularly important when you form an LLC for the first time and aren’t familiar with all the tax obligations.
• Receive free lifetime reminders for certain filing deadlines
• Very affordable packages with fast turnaround times
• IncFile provides registered agent service for free in the first year
• Gain support for regular state and federal filing requirements
• Only the Platinum Package offering the additional legal business formation service
Our final recommendation for LLC formation services is another company that offers a free basic package where you only pay for the relevant state filing fees.
That free package from IncAuthority even includes the registered agent service, which can save you quite a bit of money when your budget is tight.
What they have also done for customers is create different partner offers with banks and CPAs where you can earn bonus credits for partnering with some of their recommended business formation service add-ons.
For a small startup company, that can mean some extra cash flow at a vital time.
There are also many positive reviews about the response time and helpfulness of the customer support teams. That means you get updates and answers to questions as you go through the steps to form an LLC.
Another great service included for free is a tax consultation which will help you avoid making some simple taxation mistakes that could become costly. And you’ll even get some advice on how to access the best business funding deals available.
The main downside is that for some basic extras, the upsell funnel will quickly start costing you quite a bit of money. So expect to pay a bit if you want to have a completely hands-off online LLC formation service.
• The most basic package is free, so you only pay state fees
• Includes the registered agent at no charge for the first year
• Get support for setting up your business banking needs with their partner banks
• Receive a free tax planning consultation to avoid making basic tax mistakes from the start
• The price of upgraded LLC formation packages
Let me now get your attention to four main factors that you should consider in your final decision process.
All the above LLC formation services come with quite a range of differently priced packages. You can get set up for as little as your state filing fees, but that kind of service might not be the most effective for your business needs.
Also, make sure that you pay close attention to the included features like a registered agent and operating agreements. Paying extra for these can quickly add up.
Much more important than just the price charged for business formation services is whether you’ll need regular legal support.
Don’t misunderstand this as a need for legal LLC services should you run into trouble or be sued. Certain types of businesses will find that legal contracts become a part of daily life.
Those contracts could be for full-time and temp employees or for dealing with certain customers and vendors.
While sometimes contract templates work perfectly well, there will be times where you need a lawyer to give you advice and review documents before you sign them.
If this sounds likely to you, then aim for LLC formation services like LegalZoom that offer packages to give you access to experienced attorneys.
Another thing to pay attention to is the advertised turnaround time for LLC services. In most cases, a standard package will deliver your LLC registration certificates and documentation within about 30 days.
Some business formation services will offer expedited filing. That doesn’t mean that the state authority will handle the application faster. What it means is that the LLC service provider will put your application at the top of their queue.
If you need a fast turnaround time because you want to engage with new clients and vendors, it might be best to contact the LLC service customer support to see what their fastest options are.
Most LLC formation services will provide additional services, with some of them costing extra. Check if the online LLC services include registered agent service, as this is something you have to have in place before your LLC is fully registered.
But LLC services also offer taxation advice and support for setting up your tax ID number (EIN) and even bank accounts.
These can all be very valuable.
If you want to make your business formation process as easy as possible, then we would recommend ZenBusiness as the best LLC service.
According to the very positive customer reviews, it will give you everything you need for an affordable price.
Feel free to share your experience with LLC services and which one worked out for you.