When you start a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Alabama, you are required to retain an LLC formation service that will assist you with your business registration process.
The right LLC formation service will help you file your Certificate of Formation with the Alabama Secretary of State and provide compliance alerts that notify you of forthcoming filing deadlines (such as filing your annual report).
The wrong LLC formation service will delay your business registration process and ultimately waste precious time that you could have spent on more important business activities.
I’ve reviewed the 11 major LLC formation services in Alabama through a four-stage, five-factor investigative process to distinguish those that offer top quality and reliable services from those that offer minimal or substandard services. Here are the results of my findings:
* All prices mentioned below do not include the state filing fee
1. Northwest Registered Agent—9.45/10 (Best Overall LLC Service)
Northwest Registered Agent is my top choice for the best LLC service in Alabama. Their highly discounted Formation Service provides a wide array of services and their customer support is among the best in the industry.
Northwest’s $39* Formation Package includes services such as assistance with filing your initial formation paperwork, called the Certificate of Formation, assistance with drafting your Operating Agreement, a business name and address in Alabama, an online document storage portal, a free business tax consultation with one of their in-house accountants, and a free year of their registered agent service.
This package also includes a three-month free trial of their Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that allows you to make affordable phone calls using your broadband connection and compliance notices that alert you of key filing deadlines.
Northwest’s Formation Package usually costs $225 but, as a BoostSuite reader, you can get access to an 82% discount if you use my dedicated link to Northwest Registered Agent’s sign-up page.
But their most valuable feature has to be their customer support. Their support personnel are referred to in-house as Corporate Guides and they are a highly experienced team of former lawyers, accountants, and small business owners who have a lot of experience on how to start and run an Alabama LLC.
They provide assistance during your business formation process and are available every day of the week—during normal business hours—to answer any questions about how to manage your LLC in Alabama.
This type of business advice can usually cost you an arm and a leg especially when offered by third-party financial or business advisors so it’s a relief to find an Alabama LLC service that offers this service in their basic package.
The only problem I came across while reviewing Northwest’s services is that they don’t provide any service that assists your business in gaining an online presence such as a customized business website, email hosting, or domain name registration.
However, you shouldn’t worry about this because you can get the same services from a number of websites, such as Squarespace, for as low as $15.
Northwest Registered Agent is the best LLC formation provider in Alabama. If you’re ready to form an LLC, their highly discounted $39 Formation Package provides all the services you need to establish your Alabama LLC and their Corporate Guides also give you great customer support and the best small business advice in the industry.
If you are on the hunt for a reliable and affordable LLC formation service in Alabama that also offers great business advice, visit Northwest Registered Agent today.
2. Harbor Compliance—7.45/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
Their Formation Package includes basic services such as an Operating Agreement template, filing of your formation documents with the Secretary of State, assistance with applying for an Employee Identification Number, and a free year of registered agent services (valued at $99).
With Harbor Compliance, you are provided with a personal account manager who understands your business challenges and provides solutions tailored to your personal situation.
However, the kind of customer support you get from Harbor Compliance comes at a price.
Being a premium LLC formation provider, the Harbor Compliance Starter Package will set you back $399, while their Compliance Package costs around $799.
This is more than 10 times the price of Northwest and is beyond the reach of most people, especially those just starting out in the business world and don’t have a lot of money to invest in a premium LLC service.
Harbor Compliance is a premium LLC formation provider that provides effective services for your Alabama business, and their personalized customer support is among the best in the industry.
Their packages are quite expensive, but considering the personalized nature of their services, they provide good value for your money.
If you're willing to pay $399 for a personal representative who will help you set up your Alabama LLC and advise you when business challenges arise, visit the Harbor Compliance website today.
3. IncFile—7.15/10 (Best Budget LLC Service)
IncFile ranks third on my list due to their incredibly low $0 LLC formation cost. This makes them the cheapest option on this list and a serious contender for your business in Alabama.
IncFile's unique feature is the $0 service fee, which not only provides assistance with filing your Certificate of Formation, but also a free year of their registered agent service.
But, apart from the above free basic services, IncFile charges $149 to provide an online portal to store your business documents, send you compliance notifications, assist with drawing up your Operating Agreement, and offer corporate tax advice.
Considering that Northwest charges $39 for their basic package that includes most of these services, it doesn’t make sense to opt for IncFile’s $149 package. Their customer support is nowhere near as good as Northwest or Harbor Compliance.
If you are on a budget and looking for essential services from an Alabama LLC formation provider, IncFile is there for your business in Alabama.
For $0, IncFile will file your Certificate of Formation with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, but it would be wise to seek an alternative LLC formation provider if you need more comprehensive offerings.
To find out more about their services, please check out their website.
For $150.75, ZenBusiness provides a wide range of services that your Alabama LLC needs to get started.
They assist you with filing your Certificate of Formation with the Alabama Secretary of State and they also serve as your registered agent (sometimes called a resident agent) for a year after your registration, for free.
In addition to these basic services, their starter pack includes compliance notices so you don't miss any important deadlines (such as for filing your annual report), they ensure easy access to your documents through their web portal, and a free consultation service with their in-house accounting team.
Their customer service will assist you whenever you encounter challenges during your business setup process.
You can upgrade to their $310.75 Pro Package for VIP processing, a banking resolution, and assistance with applying for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Their $410.75 Premium plan gives you your own business website and a domain name to match.
One of the glitches with ZenBusiness is they don’t provide a company seal with any of their packages, perhaps because they focus more on the digital aspect of starting an Alabama LLC, or maybe they have little interest in providing this service. However, that's okay because you can purchase a company seal from a number of websites online for around $15.
Read more about ZenBusiness in our full ZenBusiness review.
5. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is a full-service LLC formation provider whose basic package of $49 gives you all the services you would expect from a business formation provider in Alabama. This includes an online portal to access your important documents, assistance with filing your formation paperwork, 30-minutes of free tax advice with their in-house accountants, and a registered domain name for your business or LLC in Alabama.
Therefore, unless you are willing to pay more for the same services you get from Northwest, you shouldn’t consider their services.
Find out more about their offers in our in-depth Swyft Filings review.
For $79, MyCompanyWorks assists you with filing your Certificate of Formation and drafting your Operating Agreement, gives you access to your important documents on their online portal, and provides you with compliance alerts.
They offer a free year of their registered agent service in their Premium Package, but for a hefty amount of $279. Since Northwest costs $39 and they also include a free year of their registered agent service, MyCompanyWorks isn’t a logical choice for your LLC in Alabama.
7. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is another expensive Alabama LLC formation provider that tries to promote itself as a budget option. They offer free assistance with submitting the initial formation documents to start your Alabama LLC, but that is where the free stuff ends.
Their basic package includes an Operating Agreement, assistance with applying for an EIN, and a company seal, and it costs $399. They only provide a free year of their Alabama registered agent service in their $799 Premium Package.
8. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast stands out from other LLC formation providers in the state of Alabama by living up to its name. They claim that if you sign up for their $99 package, they will process the Certificate of Formation for your LLC in Alabama the same day they receive it.
The main reason they are in eighth place is that they don't provide free business tax advice or an online document storage portal. They do, however, have a $199 Premium Plan that helps you apply for an EIN.
BizFilings is another Alabama LLC formation provider that offers a basic package for $99. In this package, your business receives assistance with submitting your Certificate of Formation, one free year of their registered agent services, and compliance alerts so you don't lose out on key filing deadlines.
However, they do not provide additional services such as an online document storage portal, an Operating Agreement template, or a business tax assessment. For $60 less, you can get all of that from Northwest.
10. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a legal services company that offers minimal LLC formation services for $99. You only receive help with filing your Certificate of Formation and an online document storage portal.
If you just need legal representation for yourself or your company, Rocket Lawyer is a great choice. However, if you need comprehensive services, you should consider other agents on this list that are better value for money.
If you're interested in finding out more about Rocket Lawyer's services, read our full Rocket Lawyer Review.
LegalZoom is another online legal service provider that also offers only the most basic services to form an LLC in Alabama.
Their $99 package only provides your business entity with a banking resolution, assistance with filing your formation paperwork, and that's it. If you need more comprehensive services, it is better to hire a full-service LLC formation provider that provides more services with less financial outlay. LegalZoom does offer other legal services, but unless you’re already using those, it’s not worth it to sign up for the LLC formation service.
Other Alabama LLC Services
As part of my research process, I included the following seven Alabama LLC services. Their services don't offer much to write home about, but in order to be thorough I've included them below:
Incorporate.com offers the same type of services as Rocket Lawyer. For $99, the only services they offer are an online document archiving portal and assistance with submitting your Certificate of Formation with the state of Alabama.
CorpNet’s $79 basic Formation Package includes compliance alerts and assistance with submitting the formation documents for your LLC in Alabama. They don't offer anything else.
MyCorporation charges $133 to file your LLC setup documents with the Secretary of State and also assists with drafting your Operating Agreement. You will incur further costs for all additional services for forming an LLC in Alabama.
15. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation offers the same services as MyCorporationWorks, but they expand their services to help you get an EIN and a banking resolution in their Alabama formation service. The issue is that they charge $147 for this relatively meagre package.
For $117, InCorp will submit your initial formation paperwork and help you with your Operating Agreement. Any other comprehensive service will incur additional costs.
17. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations offers the same substandard services as InCorp but charges $200.
18. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings offers three packages. In their basic package of $79, they will file your business documents with the Alabama Secretary of State. Their $99 Key Package offers support with your Operating Agreement while their $279 Premier package helps you apply for an EIN.
The Best LLC Services Review Summary
My review of the 11 best LLC (Limited Liability Company) formation services led me to conclude that Northwest Registered Agent is the number one choice for LLC services in the state of Alabama.
Their $39 Formation Package gives you all the services you'd expect from an Alabama LLC service, including assistance with submitting your formation paperwork on your behalf, a draft Operating Agreement, a 90-day trial of their VoIP service, an online document storage portal, a business tax consultation, and a full year of registered agent service for free.
Their Corporate Guides offer assistance during your formation process and they provide top-class business advice throughout your journey doing business in the state.
When you’re ready to form an Alabama LLC and you need an LLC provider that will help you get started in the business world for a reasonable price, contact Northwest Registered Agent and enjoy an 82% discount on their Formation Package.
* Any fees/costs mentioned represent a per state, per year outlay, unless they refer to a one-time filing fee.
Best LLC Services Review Methodology
I used the following method to determine the best LLC formation service for starting a business in Alabama business:
Why You Should Trust Me
You should trust me with your formation provider recommendations because I have spent a lot of time and resources investigating the LLC services industry, more than any sensible person would bother to.
My journey began when I created my first Limited Liability Company. I didn't have the essential knowledge about how to file my initial formation paperwork, so I decided to hire a formation provider to help me. However, the service I hired was overpriced and offered substandard services, which made the whole process way too overwhelming.
My second attempt at getting my Alabama LLC up and running was a lot easier because I hired Northwest Registered Agent who walked me through the entire setup process with no problems.
After a while, I sold my second business and looked for a new business opportunity. This time I decided to upgrade to a premium LLC formation provider and my obvious choice was Harbor Compliance. Their personal support representative assisted me during my business setup process and was always available to offer good business advice during my business journey.
It’s worth noting that my experience is not limited to using these services. While looking for my third business opportunity, I talked to a couple of friends about their business start-up processes and a persistent pattern emerged. A lot of business advice gets tossed around and, for most people, the technical jargon is too esoteric or contradictory to even understand.
That's why I created BoostSuite—to guide entrepreneurs to choose the right LLC formation company to help them start their businesses, and I've since helped over 1,000 small business owners achieve just that.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
I determined the best LLC service using the following four-stage investigative procedure.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first phase was to analyze the online reviews of 50+ LLC services in Alabama, which meant spending days searching review sites like TrustPilot, Google Business, FaceBook, and the Better Business Bureau, since most LLC services in Alabama encourage their customers to post their positive or negative experiences on these pages.
This approach allowed me to separate LLC services that offered substandard service packages (or were altogether fraudulent) from those that were legitimate and offered high-quality services.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After weeding out these second-rate services, I logged on to the remaining Alabama LLC formation providers and analyzed their offerings, claims, and disclosures, which enabled me to understand the fundamental services that each company offered and how they differed from each other or how they positioned themselves in the market.
Stage 3: Speaking with Actual Customers
For this next step, I decided to get in touch with actual clients and find out whether these companies were living up to their claims. Of course, I could have relied on online reviews to answer my questions, but reviews generally tend to be more focused on extremely negative or positive experiences.
I spoke to friends who had dealt with a formation service, spoke to people who used my website, and also reached out to people to whom I had referred an LLC provider previously so that I could learn about their experiences with these companies.
This gave me a good idea of what it was like to use each Alabama LLC service.
Stage 4: Speaking with Their Sales Team
In the final stage of the research process, I contacted their sales and customer service teams and urged them to respond to negative feedback they had received from their customers on online review sites.
This enabled me to see how their support teams performed under pressure and how well they handled criticism.
While working through the four-stage review process, I used the following five factors to rate these LLC formation services.
Some LLC formation services have a wide range of offerings in their basic packages. These features include assistance with filing your initial formation documents, an Operating Agreement template, a company name and address in the state, help with obtaining an employer identification number, online access to your important documents, and a full year of their registered service.
Factor 1: Offerings
Other LLC services will simply help you with the basic services involved in setting up your LLC in Alabama and choose to either omit other offerings from their basic plan or resolve the issue by including those services in their pricier plans. I pushed these companies to the bottom of the list to make room for those that offer more comprehensive services at reasonable prices.
Factor 2: Price
The next factor I used in my analysis was price. There is no point in spending your start-up capital on an Alabama LLC service and then running out of money to even run your LLC in Alabama.
Some LLC services will charge you $0 for their basic services, while others will charge you around $400 for them. A key factor in this process was isolating those that offered the best value for money from those that didn't.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-up
The third factor I used to evaluate these services was ease of registration.
Some services have outdated, legacy systems that seem like they were made in the late 1990s, while others have sleek, user-friendly systems that eliminate the hard work when starting a business or LLC in Alabama.
I signed up for each of these formation services in order to go through their registration process and ensure that they had smoothed out any bugs and difficulties with the data collection process.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
I extended the review of the sign-up process to other sections of the websites to understand how easy they were to navigate. This involved registering a fictitious business and submitting my formation documents to the Alabama Secretary of State.
This review process allowed me to separate those LLC formation services that had intuitive and easy-to-navigate back-end systems from those that were redundant and required more time and effort to use.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The quality of customer service was the fifth and final factor that I used in my review process.
This is where I came across the huge disparity in how most LLC services handled their customers.
Some services outsourced their customer service to call centers in foreign countries that are staffed by personnel who are not aware of the Alabama LLC start-up process. You’ll therefore end up wasting a lot of precious time trying to explain the challenges your business or LLC is facing.
Other LLC service providers, such as Northwest Registered Agent, have a US-based customer service department that is staffed by former accountants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs who have gone through the same challenges you are facing and are always available to offer credible advice during your business venture.
I contacted each customer support department using every means available (online chats, emails, and phone conversations) and pushed them for answers about some of the business services they offer.
After investigating all the 11 formation services on this list through my four-stage, five-factor process, I concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best LLC service provider in Alabama.
Their $39 basic package provides great value and includes all the business services you’ll need to establish your LLC, such as assistance with filing your formation paperwork, a consultation with their accounting department, compliance alerts, an online document storage portal, a three-month trial of their VoIP service, and a full year of their registered agent service.
Their Corporate Guides are a team of former accountants, lawyers and business owners who provide industry-leading small business advice whenever you face challenges during your business journey.
If you are in the market for an LLC service provider that saves you time and money, visit Northwest Registered Agent today and get an 82% discount on their formation service.