Out of the 12 providers and 2,467 reviews we analyzed, the results are in: ZenBusiness is our favorite business formation service. They take the confusion out of registering your business with an easy-to-use interface and chatbot technology to guide you through the process without missing a step. It’s no longer a labyrinth of complex jargon and guesswork.
Top Business Formation Services: Golden Eggs
Looking to shorten your search and find what you need without reading this entire post? Then take a look at our Golden Eggs. They represent our top overall picks from the complete crop of best business formation services we tested and reviewed.
Business Formation Services Review Process
Throughout this post, we’re aiming to break down this category of services into relatable, recognizable scenarios where one or a few providers rise above the rest. You’ll find we split our reviews into use cases, so it’s easy for you to find your own situation and see the brands that fit your needs best.
During our research of these 12 business formation service providers, we discovered five common aspects of them that users prioritize when looking for a way to incorporate:
- Easy on first-time business owners
- Getting extra legal assistance
- Maintaining compliance without stress
- Fast filing
- Protecting your privacy and information
You may already recognize your own scenario in one of those use cases, which is the goal. Don’t feel you have to read through information you won’t need—you can head right to the set of reviews relevant to your own use case and find the best options straight away.
But if you want to get a deeper understanding of how each use case plays a part in your decision, check out the section breaking down what matters most when reviewing these services. You’ll find out even more about what to look for in a good fit for your new business.
The Best Business Formation Services for First-Time Business Owners
The biggest problem every new business owner faces isn’t the passion for starting their business. It’s taking care of all the legal stuff so that there aren’t problems later on with the state or the IRS. With a good business formation service provider, you won’t miss a step when bringing your new business to life.
If you’re starting a business for the first time and don’t want to deal with any headaches registering it, ZenBusiness is the answer. Their formation process is silky smooth, and they offer customer support and resources that have no rival on this list. You can form an LLC, C-corp, or S-corp in no time flat; just be aware they won’t be able to help you establish a non-profit organization.
What’s great for first-timers is the chatbot that walks you through everything from start to finish. And if you need human assistance beyond that, you can get support through live chat, phone, or email from Sunday through Friday.
ZenBusiness doesn’t stop there with helpful resources. Before or after incorporating, check out their free academy to research your business idea, grow your business, and check the list of grants available. If you’re looking for a fast, simple, and accurate solution to forming your business, ZenBusiness is the best place to turn for first-time business owners.
You can learn everything there is to know about ZenBusiness by checking out our full company review post.
Incfile is where to turn for free business formation services where you only have to pay the filing fees with your state. They even give you a free registered agent for one year. But just because they’re free doesn’t mean you sacrifice quality by going with Incfile.
Their customer support is no less than brilliant, with 84% of users saying they love the help and support they receive from Incfile’s team. You can only reach them by phone, which may not be ideal for everyone, but users’ experiences rave about how easy working with them is.
What’s also convenient is how Incfile offers help with any kind of business formation, including non-profits. And, while you can form any business for free (only paying state fees), they also provide convenient paid packages that include useful extras like a free year of registered agent services and securing you an EIN.
Plus, Incfile provides resources for every stage of starting or running your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the planning phase or looking for guidance on how to grow—Incfile delivers expertise to help you all along the way, including grants for young entrepreneurs and startups to take advantage of.
If you’re looking for a tried and tested business formation provider, BizFilings has been helping owners of new businesses since 1996. They are unique because of their a la carte services that you can add to your business formation as you’d like so that you only pay for the extras you need.
The BizFilings toolkit on their website walks you through all the steps you need to take to launch your business, market it, pay taxes, stay compliant, and more. It’s a unique 360-degree approach from the outset that helps new business owners learn a lot as they go along.
Customer support is available by phone, email, and chat Monday through Friday, but it’s not just for getting your questions answered during the web-based formation process. You can just call BizFillings’ team up and create your business over the phone, which is great for owners who want that human touch when incorporating.
If you want a provider that gives you a little extra attention, Swyft Filings does just that. They give you a personal business specialist when you get started with their formation services, which include access to their direct phone number and email address. So, you’ll rest assured that there is always a real human who is familiar with your business and available to lend assistance.
This removes so much potential frustration from getting support since you’ll never be bounced around to different customer service representatives or left waiting on hold. This attention to detail is why Swyft Filings earned a 92% customer satisfaction rate in our research.
The website is laid out in an intuitive way and lets you seamlessly move from one step to the next. It’s so good you can incorporate your business in 10 minutes or less.
For a full rundown of what Swyft Filings can do for you, read our full company review.
The Best Business Formation Services for Legal Assistance
There are plenty of reasons you may need a lawyer when starting a business or after you’ve gotten up and running. Questions, legal documents, contracts, and much more may require the help of a legal professional. That’s why business formation service providers like the ones we explore below offer access to legal advice and services so you can get advice and answers quickly while saving money.
While Northwest Registered Agent’s business formation and titular registered agent services are a highlight, you can also get personalized legal assistance from them as well. For less than $10 per month, you get access to a licensed lawyer on call to answer questions and give advice pertaining toy your business.
What if you need to actually hire a lawyer for counsel and representation? No problem. You can pay as low as $99 per hour for legal services (with rates rising based on the attorney’s years of experience, with lawyers having over a decade under their belt running $250 per hour).
Plus, you get free access to their legal document and form templates. Fill those out yourself without incurring any charges, and, if you want a lawyer to review them, simply pay the hourly fee through Northwest Registered Agent.
Northwest Registered Agent is full of surprisingly useful additional services like this. And we haven’t even touched on the extras that are great for spinning up your operation, like virtual office, VoIP phone, and mail forwarding solutions.
Get a grasp on everything this provider has to offer by reading our full Northwest Registered Agent review.
Unlike many other providers that offer access to legal documents, Rocket Lawyer has a library of document and form templates that are all backed by an attorney. So, you’re not left twisting in the wind because you took a DIY route to drafting your operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or other documentation.
Their robust legal document library has everything you need, even spanning beyond incorporation documents and forms to real estate contracts, HR documentation, IP, and even family law. If you need to, you can also use their interactive document builder for special situations.
Your monthly membership includes free incorporation of your company (for new members) and legal advice whenever you need it. They even give you a free seven-day trial to try on their services for size. Ask as many questions to a lawyer as you want during this time and get a feel for how Rocket Lawyer can help your business with ongoing legal advice.
You can count on quick response times to keep your business moving and not waiting around for counsel. Get answers in just one business day and sometimes as fast as four hours.
Find out more in our full review of Rocket Lawyer.
LegalNature is a top choice if you like to handle things mostly on your own. You get the full DIY experience when it comes to legal forms and templates—just download them from their library, fill them out, and use them.
This is a great alternative for someone who knows what they want and is comfortable taking on the responsibility of drafting legal documentation. So, if you’re not new to legal forms and need a less expensive option than having a lawyer do it for you, you’re in luck. What is surprising, though, is that LegalNature does not provide access to a legal team. You really are on your own when it comes to getting this right.
In the end, one subscription will cover access to over 100 business, real estate, and personal legal document templates. Plus, you’ll get a seven-day free trial to test LegalNature out. You have no risk and all the DIY rewards to gain.
Dive into more details with our full company review of LegalNature.
One of the most recognizable names in business formation and online legal services, LegalZoom lets you take care of everything in one place. Handle business formation, taxes, legal advice, trademark needs, and more all from their service portal.
If you need questions answered, a LegalZoom Business Advisory Plan provides you with unlimited 30-minute consultations with a real attorney. You also save 25% on hiring a lawyer should you need to retain them after your consultation.
You can also browse LegalZoom’s attorney directory so you can find specialized or nearby counsel. Search for lawyers based on their specialty of practice or where they’re located. If you want a fast and easy-to-use service that handles business formation, legal assistance, a document library, annual business evaluations, and much more, LegalZoom is a great choice.
Need more proof? See how well we rated LegalZoom in our full company review.
The Best Business Formation Services for Worry-Free Compliance
Getting a letter from the IRS or the state with your business name on will put a pit in your stomach and stop you in your tracks. Nothing else matters until you open it and see what’s inside. That’s why it can be so beneficial to form your business through a service that helps keep your business compliant with regulatory organizations year after year.
When you form your business on ZenBusiness’s Pro or Premium plans, you get worry-free compliance included. This means you don’t have to lose any sleep about staying within the guidelines of running a business in your state or making your annual filings. You’ll also get updates and notifications about upcoming compliance events, so you don’t miss important deadlines.
In addition, you get free access to 25 of the most important document templates to run your business. Customize the documents as you see fit, then print them at your convenience. They cover liability waivers, purchase agreements, and more.
And if you do fall out of good standing with your state, ZenBusiness will come up with an action plan to help you correct the problems and get back into good standing using as short a path as possible. So, even if the worst-case scenario happens, you’ve got ZenBusiness in your corner. That’s exactly what worry-free compliance is all about.
Learn more about ZenBusiness in our full company review of their services and offerings.
While one of Incfile’s great benefits is a no-fee (except for state fees) path to forming your business, you can upgrade to their Gold or Platinum formation packages and get full compliance coverage.
You’ll get alerts for life on either plan, so you’ll never worry about missing a filing date or anything else compliance-related while you’re a member of Incfile’s services. Stay on top of your state’s rules, updated regulations, and changes to business laws. Incfile will also file your annual report for an additional fee.
And that’s not to mention the extra benefits of those plans, like a free year of registered agent services, tax consultations, and access to the library of business forms and templates for legal agreements, NDAs, and more.
You can find out everything else you could want to know about Incfile in our full company review.
One of the main benefits of having a registered agent for your business is that they’ll help you maintain your compliance and keep eyes on shifting regulations or requirements. Northwest Registered Agent keeps your business running on autopilot when it comes to following your state’s rules and annual filings.
They’ll handle everything for you with their lifetime business guide service. You get guaranteed on-time filing and reporting to your state, and they’re transparent about their process, too. Northwest will notify you 90 days before your filing deadline and will send the materials to your state just five days after that, so no hiccups can cause you to fall out of good standing.
That’s just the main element of this offering from Northwest Registered Agent. They’ll also make sure you stay off any lists of inactive businesses, plus monitor your records and information with the state and make real-time updates if they find anything awry.
Get the full scoop on this provider by reading our full post reviewing Northwest Registered Agent.
MyCorporation is great if you want a fast way to incorporate that offers a straightforward compliance service add-on. Get your business formed in minutes and choose a plan that supports you for the long haul.
Some MyCorporation plans include taking care of annual filings for you and keeping your business in good standing for as long as you use their service. The highest-tier plan includes up to four business filings every year at no extra charge. Or, if you want to go with their bare-bones plan, just add compliance services onto your package for $99 per year.
MyCorporation provides incredible customer support to answer any questions you may have, allowing you access to support agents who are highly trained and U.S.-based document filing experts. MyCorporation also includes a list of exactly what you need to file in order to stay compliant every year, in case you just want to handle this yourself.
Want to know more about what MyCorporation can do for you? Read our full review of this provider.
If compliance is your main concern, it serves you well to go with a company that specializes in it. Harbor Compliance offers something called ComplianceAdviser, which is a customizable compliance package you can create based on your needs.
You can include any registered agent services, report filing, compliance audits, coaching, and more in your ComplianceAdviser plan. You’ll have the tools to stay in good standing, support to answer your compliance and business-related questions, and updates to understand any changes to compliance requirements and regulations.
Plus, with Harbor Compliance’s proprietary interface, you have full visibility into everything, so you’re not just hoping everything is being handled for your business on faith alone. You can see it.
With the Entrepreneur package from MyCompanyWorks, you get lifetime access to business documents that will assist with maintaining good standing and running other parts of running your business. Or, opt for the cheaper Basic plan and add access to their library of business documents for a small fee.
Forms are completely web-based, so they are constantly updated with new details that make sure you’re filing the correct documents. And you’ll get access to forms and assistance for related actions like filing DBA forms, articles of amendment, and more.
Plus, with the ComplianceLock service they offer, you get your own compliance dashboard, resolution generator, alerts about important compliance tasks, and more insights.
Get the full story by checking out our complete review of MyCompanyWorks.
The Best Business Formation Services for Fast Filing
Accurate filing of your business formation is what matters in the end, but some business owners value the speed at which they can file nearly as much. Whether you’re spinning up your seventh company or just need to make up for lost time by filing ASAP, these providers below get you from point A to point B faster than anyone else.
Business formations filed through Northwest Registered Agent are submitted the same business day at no extra charge. You don’t have to request it, either. They do it automatically because they understand the time-sensitive nature of your operation officially up and running.
Keep in mind that processing timelines vary from state to state, but Northwest will make sure you’re getting the quickest process that the state can offer. And that speed doesn’t just apply to filing for incorporation—user reviews state that support emails often get a response from Northwest Registered Agent within one business day, as well.
With Northwest Registered Agent, you can tap into everything a fledgling business might need, from speedy formation services and, of course, registered agent services to virtual offices, phone services, and more.
Read more about Northwest Registered Agent’s services in our full brand review.
Saving time when forming your business is a specialty of MyCompanyWorks. Any order submitted before 3 p.m. Eastern gets same-day filing at no extra cost. And, if you miss that cutoff, fret not—you’ll still get your request filed on the following business day.
When you add this to all the other features available for business owners, such as managed compliance and access to their network of over 300 vendors, you can see why MyCompanyWorks presents one of the better combinations of speed and service out there.
You can also bank on their 100% satisfaction guarantee for all services rendered. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund within 90 days of your purchase. It’s the only such iron-clad guarantee among the providers on this list.
To learn more about how MyCompanyWorks can help you, take a look at our full company review.
Not only is Inc Authority one of only two providers on our list that offers free business formation services, but they also bolster that convenience with swift 24-hour processing. There is an additional fee for expediting your business formation, but at the time of this writing, it is just $49. Others rush your order for upwards of $80 to $100.
And you may run into a promotional period, as we did during research where expedited filing was included on any business formation for free. We can’t guarantee that it will be available when you need it, but it’s something to look out for when you consider them for your incorporation needs.
Along with standard one-day filing, you also get a free year of registered agent services. That’s a great value overall. On top of that, you also can tap into Inc Authority’s other areas of expertise, like trademark and IP services, website design and marketing, and business funding options.
For more on Inc Authority, check out our full review of the company and its offerings.
The Best Business Formation Services for Privacy Protection
When we talk about privacy regarding business formation, we’re talking about protecting your personal information and keeping things like correspondence and legal notices separate from your place of business. Protecting yourself and your new business this way relies on a capable registered agent service, which all of the providers below excel at.
Incfile is perfect for never having to worry about your privacy because you get a registered agent for free for the first year when you incorporate through them. After that, you’ll just need to pay yearly for the service, which tends to run $119 annually.
This provider aims to make everything easy for an owner of a new business. You get continuing support, access to business maintenance resources, and assistance should anything go wrong (such as falling out of good standing with your state).
And on top of that, Incfile tends to be loads cheaper than comparable providers the longer you utilize their services.In fact, it’s around 70% cheaper than some of the other big names on this list over the course of five years.
Get insights into everything Incfile can do for you in our company review.
There’s a reason Northwest Registered Agent shows up as a top option in so many of our use cases. From their namesake registered agent services to everything else, you get the best ally for your new business in your corner. They are well-regarded for keeping your information private and separate from your business.
On top of their flagship offering to handle receiving correspondence and documentation on behalf of your business, you can also tap into their virtual office services, so you can receive scans of your business mail and stay in the loop. Northwest offers virtual offices in all 50 states, something few other providers (both in business formation and virtual office providers) can boast.
Plus, if you do business in more than one state, you can get a registered agent for each of those states for a reduced overall cost.
For more information, read our full Northwest Registered Agent review.
Inc Authority offers a full suite of business formation services you can use. Similar to Incfile, Inc Authority also offers a free registered agent service within its business formation packages. This makes it easy to keep your privacy a top priority while you focus on creating and maintaining your business.
After one year, you are responsible for paying for your registered agent. But, paying the annual charge of $99 is well worth it to keep a lid on your private information and stay compliant with state regulations for good standing.
A lot of Inc Authority’s offerings show how it helps new businesses for the long haul. Not only will they take care of filing for business formation and securing you a registered agent, but you can tap into their offerings for sourcing funding, filing trademark applications, and building your company’s credit.
For a closer look at the Inc Authority services you can utilize, read our full company review.
What Matters When Reviewing Business Formation Services
Finding a way to form your business can be simple when you know what you’re looking for. We made this section to help you see a few key considerations that are worth zooming in on and keeping at the forefront of your mind when you’re shopping for providers. You’ll see below what use cases those factors matter most to, letting you know right away what to prioritize if you find yourself needing business formation services that specialize in your scenario.
Counsel and Document Management
It’s not always smooth sailing when starting or maintaining a business. So, having a provider that can give you access to legal counsel and help you manage, fill out, and file legal documents takes tons of pressure off of you. This also helps to ensure you don’t end up in any tax or legal trouble that can undermine your new business.
When It Matters Most:
- Legal assistance – Look for full-service packages that let you ask lawyers questions, access document templates, and retain counsel at an affordable price.
- Worry-free compliance – Annual filings and monitoring information to keep you in good standing can be a headache, but not when you have legal experts in your corner to keep you compliant with regulations.
Help and Support
The business formation process can sometimes throw you some curveballs. A big frustration for business owners is not having real human assistance when they need it. However, the providers that excel in this area will support you for life while you begin your business, manage it, and grow it.
When It Matters Most:
- First-time business owners – If you’ve never gone though the process of forming a business before, helpful, available support is invaluable, especially if you have multiple options for getting in touch with a real support agent.
While the details of business formation can be complicated, an incorporation service provider’s website and interface shouldn’t be. You want an intuitive and easy-to-follow process, and it’s extra beneficial when a provider can lay out all of the steps you need to take in one straightforward list.
When It Matters Most:
- First-time business owners – Prioritize providers with a consistent track record for being easy to work with and beginner-friendly, including tutorials, knowledge base resources, available support, and clear instructions or steps to follow at every stage.
- Fast filing – Not only should you want your business formation service to make it clear in the process how long it will take to file, but you can save yourself even more time if their interface makes entering your new business’s information a snap.
If you’re curious to learn more about registered agent services, business formation, other business-related actions, or the providers we’ve covered above, we have a great list of posts we’ve published that will quench your thirst for knowledge.
- How to Start an LLC in Florida
- How to Start an LLC in Texas
- How to get an EIN
- The Complete Guide to Business Partnership Agreements
- The Complete Guide to Business Partnerships
- The Complete Guide to Business Structure
- Swyft Filings Review
- MyCompanyWorks Review
- Incfile Review
- MyCorporation Review
- ZenBusiness Review
- Northwest Registered Agent Review
- LegalNature Review
- LegalZoom Review
- Inc Authority Review
- Rocket Lawyer Review
- Incorporate.com Review
- Best Registered Agent Services
- Best LLC Services
- Best Online Incorporation Services