When you start a limited liability company (LLC) in Alabama, it’s a good idea 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 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 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. Its highly discounted formation service provides a wide array of services and its customer support is among the best in the industry.
Northwest’s $39 formation package includes assistance with filing your initial formation paperwork, called a certificate of formation, as well as with drafting your operating agreement. Northwest also helps you with a business name and address in Alabama, an online document storage portal, a free business tax consultation with one of its in-house accountants, and a free year of registered agent service.
This package also includes a three-month free trial of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service 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 exclusive access to an 82% discount by using my dedicated link to Northwest Registered Agent’s sign-up page.
What I like best about Northwest is its unparalleled customer support, referred to in-house as Corporate Guides. 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 its basic package.
The only problem I came across while reviewing Northwest’s services is that none of its services can help you build an online presence, such as a customized business website, email hosting, or domain name registration.
However, 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, its highly discounted $39 formation package provides all the services you need to establish your Alabama LLC and its Corporate Guides also give you great customer support and the best small business advice in the industry.
If you’re 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. ZenBusiness: 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
ZenBusiness’ $0 price is beyond compare. But the fact that it doesn’t supply registered agent services or small business support means you’ll pay more for its services in the long run.
ZenBusiness will do everything you need to get your LLC off the ground for $0, plus state fees. For this price it will check the availability of your business name, double-check the information on your formation documents, and file your certificate of formation.
Upgrading to its $199 Pro package gets you expedited filing (which takes four to six days depending on your state) and an operating agreement.
Choosing the $299 Premium plan means you’ll get rush filing (as quick as one or two days), a custom website-building tool, a business domain name, and an email address.
While the $0 plan will cover the services you need to establish your LLC, it will cost you more than necessary if you need anything beyond the bare minimum.
None of its LLC formation packages include a year of free registered agent service. The one package that includes registered agent service costs $199 per year.
Furthermore, even though its customer service is prompt and sufficient, it won't knock your socks off. ZenBusiness’ customer service team can walk you through password changes and make changes to your billing information, but if you want tax advice or answers pertaining to HR or logistics, you’ll have to go elsewhere, and it will cost you a pretty penny.
If all you require is a bare-bones service to help you file your formation documents, then ZenBusiness is the best option because of its $0 price tag. But if you need a registered agent or feel that you could benefit from the guidance and assistance that comes from small business support, it’ll cost you more than it’s worth in the long run.
If you’re looking for a service that provides the essentials, then you can check out ZenBusiness on its website.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
Harbor Compliance is the best LLC formation service for premium services, and it provides stellar customer support comparable to Northwest Registered Agent’s.
Harbor Compliance’s formation package provides some pretty basic services, like filing your formation documents, applying for an EIN (employer identification number), and drafting an operating agreement template. It also kicks in a year of registered agent services for free, which would ordinarily cost $99. They can even help you with licensing!
The best thing about Harbor Compliance is that it supplies you with a personal account manager who knows all about the specific challenges your business faces and can offer advice and solutions customized to meet the unique needs of your business.
The drawback is that this level of customer support bears a hefty price tag.
Because Harbor Compliance is a premium LLC formation service, its Starter package is a whopping $399, and its Compliance package will set you back an outstanding $799.
This price, over 10 times higher than Northwest, isn’t one that many people can afford to pay. This is especially true of new business owners who are struggling to establish themselves in the business world and don’t have extra money to sink in a premium LLC service.
Harbor Compliance is the best premium LLC service because it supplies all the formation basics that your Alabama business needs, and its customer support is one of the industry’s best.
Its premium service packages cost a pretty penny, but when you consider the fact that they’re tailored to meet your needs, they’re still a good value.
If you have $399 to spend on a personal representative that can assist you in establishing your Alabama LLC as well as providing you with business advice whenever problems pop up, visit Harbor Compliance’s website today.
4. 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 its in-house accountants, and a registered domain name for your business or LLC in Alabama.
The only problem with Swyft Filings is if you need its registered agent services for a full year, you have to part with $149, which makes them more than three times the price of Northwest.
Therefore, unless you’re willing to pay more for the same services you get from Northwest, you shouldn’t consider Swyft Filing.
For $79, MyCompanyWorks assists you with filing your certificate of formation and drafting your operating agreement, gives you access to your important documents on its online portal, and provides you with compliance alerts.
The customer service is similar to its two main competitors (Northwest and Harbor Compliance) and, out of 3,500 reviews online, they’ve received an average rating of 4.5/5.
MyCompanyWorks offers a free year of registered agent service in its Premium package, but for a hefty amount of $279. Since Northwest costs $39 and also includes a free year of registered agent service, MyCompanyWorks isn’t a logical choice for your LLC in Alabama.
6. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is another expensive Alabama LLC formation provider that tries to promote itself as a budget option. It submits the initial formation documents to start your Alabama LLC, but that is where the free stuff ends.
Its basic package includes an operating agreement, assistance with applying for an EIN, and a company seal, and it costs $399. Inc Authority only provides a free year of Alabama registered agent service in its $799 Premium package.
Even if you’re running low on your Alabama LLC setup capital and just want to file your initial paperwork, ZenBusiness is a much better option for that than Inc Authority.
7. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast stands out from other LLC formation providers in the state of Alabama by living up to its name. If you sign up for the $99 package, Incorporate Fast will process the certificate of formation for your LLC in Alabama the same day it's received.
The main reason Incorporate Fast is in seventh place is that it doesn't provide free business tax advice or an online document storage portal. It does, 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 registered agent services, and compliance alerts so you don’t miss key filing deadlines.
However, it does 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.
9. 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.
LegalZoom is another online legal service provider that also offers only the most basic services to form an LLC in Alabama.
Its $99 package only provides your business entity with a banking resolution and assistance with filing your formation paperwork. That's it. If you need more comprehensive services, it’s 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 it offers 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. It doesn'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.
14. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation offers the same services as MyCorporationWorks but expands its services to help you get an EIN and a banking resolution. The issue is that it charges $147 for this relatively meager 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.
16. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations offers the same substandard services as InCorp but charges $200.
17. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings offers three packages. In its basic package of $79, it will file your business documents with the Alabama Secretary of State. Its $99 Key package offers support with your operating agreement while its $279 Premier package helps you apply for an EIN.
The Best LLC Services Review Summary
Northwest Registered Agent is the number one choice for LLC services in the state of Alabama.
Its $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 VoIP service, an online document storage portal, a business tax consultation, and a full year of registered agent service for free.
Its 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 its 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 researching 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, which 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. Its 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 Sales Teams
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 10 best 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.
Its $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 its accounting department, compliance alerts, an online document storage portal, a three-month trial of VoIP service, and a full year of registered agent service.
Northwest’s 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’re 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 its formation service.