Starting a limited liability company (LLC) is serious business. To do it right and keep your business thriving, you must hire the best LLC formation service available.
The right LLC service will help you file all the necessary paperwork to get your LLC formation off on the right foot.
The wrong LLC service will delay your LLC formation with clumsy procedures and inaccurate paperwork.
To make sure you get the best LLC service in Illinois for your business, I’ve reviewed, compared, and ranked the 10 best LLC services in Illinois. Here’s what I found.
1. Northwest Registered Agent: 9.45/10 (Best Overall LLC Service)
The best service for Illinois LLC formation is Northwest Registered Agent because it provides everything you need to form a limited liability company and offer industry-leading small business advice.
Northwest Registered Agent helps you prepare and file necessary paperwork such as your articles of organization. It also offers business document templates to help you write your LLC operating agreement.
In addition to the start-up forms you need to file, Northwest also offers free registered agent service for the first year, provides you with a business address available during business hours, accepts service of process on behalf of your LLC, and sends you compliance alerts to keep you in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State. A safe and simple online platform stores and manages your important documents.
Northwest also offers a free tax consultation and a free 90-day trial of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. You can purchase additional services, such as a Certificate of Good Standing, state-certified copies of your LLC formation documents, and assistance with applying for an employer identification number (EIN) for a low fee.
But what really sets Northwest apart from the rest is its Corporate Guides. Northwest’s US-based team of former lawyers, accountants, and business owners answers your questions every step of the way, whether you need help with the formation process or a problem down the road, they are there for you.
Other LLC services only allow you to call their customer support representatives to help with things like resetting your password or receiving an update on your application timeline. Often these representatives are located outside the US and are largely unfamiliar with running a business here.
Northwest does the opposite—it goes above and beyond for its customers.
The high level of customer service provided by the Corporate Guides could cost you up to $5,000 a day elsewhere, but these guides are included in Northwest’s LLC formation package service.
Northwest usually charges $225 for all this, but I’ve negotiated an exclusive deal for BoostSuite subscribers. If you subscribe through my dedicated sign-up page, you’ll receive an 82% discount and pay only $39 to form an Illinois LLC.
Northwest’s only con is its lack of features to build an online presence. It doesn’t offer a free year of a domain name, web hosting, or Google advertising credits, nor does it provide a free website builder.
But don’t despair. These services are available online for as little as $15 per month, so Northwest’s one major con isn’t a dealbreaker.
Northwest Registered Agent is my #1 pick because of the value it provides.
It covers the basics you need to establish your Illinois LLC, including drafting and filing your articles of organization. It also provides access to additional, essential business document templates.
Northwest is the only LLC service with a US-based customer support team who not only answer pretty much all your Illinois LLC questions but also provide small business support on a range of topics, including HR, logistics, marketing, and anything else you run up against.
If you want an Illinois LLC service that will truly support your growing business, head to Northwest today.
2. ZenBusiness 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
ZenBusiness made its way onto my list because its $0 (plus state fees) price tag is in a league of its own. But because it offers only the bare essentials, you’ll pay more for extras than it’s worth.
The $0 price is certainly attractive, and it will certainly cover all of the services that are necessary to form your LLC, like helping you fill out and file your formation documents and making sure your business name is available.
If you choose its $199 Pro plan, you’ll get help with your operating agreement and expedited filing (four to six days).
Its $299 Premium plan offers some services to help you set up your company’s online presence, like a business email address, domain name and website building tool. It also includes rush filing, which can be completed in as little as one to two days.
You get everything the state requires in terms of LLC formation services with the $0 plan, but that’s not saying a lot. And if you need anything out of the ordinary, then you’ll have to track that down yourself.
The only plan that ZenBusiness offers that includes registered agent services is its $199 Pro Plan. It doesn’t supply you with a year of registered agent service for free with any of its plans.
ZenBusiness’s customer service won’t blow you away, either. They’re competent enough to quickly and effectively help you with password changes and the like, but if you want small business advice then you’ll have to seek that out from another company.
If you want a company that provides the basics without any expensive extras, then ZenBusiness’ $0 (plus state fees) option is likely just what the doctor ordered for your company.
If you’re on a tight budget and aren’t concerned with bells and whistles, you can check out ZenBusiness on their website.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium Service)
Harbor Compliance is the only LLC service provider that allocates an account manager dedicated to serving the needs of every client forming an LLC. This is why it’s #2 on my list.
Harbor Compliance offers full-service limited liability company formation with all the basics you need to get your LLC in Illinois off the ground.
It includes a free year of registered agent services, helps you apply for your employer identification number (EIN), provides a free operating agreement template, and prepares and files your articles of organization.
But the best part about Harbor Compliance is its individualized customer support service.
A dedicated project manager supports you as you establish your business entity. They walk you through the entire process, answering any questions you may have about any type of business issue, challenge, or concern.
Harbor Compliance expects to be reimbursed handsomely for its quality customer service.
Its Formation package costs $399 and its Compliance package costs $799. That’s 10 times the cost of Northwest if you use BoostSuite’s exclusive deal.
While Harbor Compliance provides everything you need to form your LLC, it doesn’t have the tempting low rates of Northwest. If having your own personal account manager is worth the extra price you’ll pay, check out the Harbor Compliance website.
4. Rocket Lawyer
Although Rocket Lawyer offers mostly legal services, it also includes an LLC formation service. It’s more of a complementary service to its legal services.
Rocket Lawyer’s LLC service doesn’t have the best price and it doesn’t have the best service either but it might not be worth changing to another provider if you already use its legal services and want to stick with one company.
5. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is a bit of a fledgling LLC formation service. But while it’s only been around since 2012, it offers a lot for $49.
It gives you a 30-minute tax consultation with one of its in-house accountants, for free. It also helps complete and file your formation documents. It offers online access to track your filing process and even registers your business domain name as well.
The reason it’s not higher on this list is that, unlike ZenBusiness, it doesn't offer to act as your registered agent in Illinois for free for a year.
If you want registered agent service as well, Swyft Filings is almost four times the cost of Northwest, charging $149.
MyCompanyWorks is pretty similar to Swyft Filings.
It charges $79 for its basic package and includes pretty much everything you need. However, the Premium package costs more if you want it to act as your Illinois registered agent. It will cost you $279.
Northwest is a much better value at only $39.
7. Inc Authority
Inc Authority has a pretty deceptive pricing strategy, so don’t fall for its tricks.
It will file the articles of organization for free, but if you want any other service, such as an operating agreement, EIN, or company seal, it will charge you $399 for the basic package and $799 for its premium package.
As you can see, “free” can be too good to be true.
It’s better to use ZenBusiness to file your formation paperwork for free. For anything else, Northwest is a much better option.
8. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast lives up to its name by offering a $99 package that ensures your articles of organization are filed the same day it’s received! It is the only LLC service that does this.
With its basic package you receive sample legal documents, assistance with your operating agreement, and a free year of registered agent service. This is a great service!
The reason it is number eight on the list is it costs more than double what Northwest charges and does not offer a free tax consultation or online document storage.
BizFilings files your formation paperwork and provides a free year of its registered agent service, but it doesn’t even offer an operating agreement template, a business tax assessment, or online document storage.
It is also double the price of Northwest.
LegalZoom is very similar to Rocket Lawyer. It’s also primarily an online legal service company, but it does offer an LLC service. For $99, it provides a banking resolution and also files your articles of organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. That’s just about all it does for you.
If you have previously hired them for their legal services, it might be convenient for it to handle your LLC formation, as well, but if not, look elsewhere.
Other Illinois LLC Services
I reviewed seven other LLC services. All offered underwhelming services, so I just wrote a quick review of each one.
Incorpate.com’s primary (and seemingly only) service is the drafting and filing of initial formation documents. It doesn’t offer much else besides this for $99.
CorpNet files your formation paperwork and provide compliance alerts for your franchise tax payments and annual reports and only charges $79.
If you only need limited services, ZenBusiness is a much better option. If you want even more for a better price and value, Northwest is the better service.
MyCorporation charges $133 to file your articles of organization and operating agreement.
I don’t know what the appeal of MyCorporation is at all.
14. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation continues the trend of charging a lot for minimal services—$147. It at least includes a banking resolution and helps you apply for an EIN but is not as comprehensive as other services.
For just $117, InCorp will help with your operating agreement and your articles of organization. Anything extra will cost you.
16. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations offers the same limited service as Incorp, except it charges $200.
17. SunDoc Filings
For just $79, SunDoc Filings submit your articles of organization. It offers additional services with its $99 and $279 packages. Northwest still offer much more value than either of these packages, so there’s really no point in doing business with SunDoc Filings.
*LLC formation prices are per state, per year and do not include state fees.
The Best LLC Service Review Summary
As a result of my research into LLC formation services, I have concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best choice for forming your LLC.
It has all the basics you need:
- Articles of organization
- Compliance alerts
- Operating agreement
- Online Document Storage
- Free year of registered agent service
- Free tax consultation with in-house accountants
- Three-month free trial of VoIP service
For $39, its considerable number of services cost less than half the industry average and less than a quarter of some other companies, making them the clear number one choice.
Its experienced Corporate Guides are always there to consult during your business formation process. They are available to provide industry-leading small business advice and answer any questions pertaining to the management of your Illinois LLC.
For the best value for your money and no-hassle LLC service, head to Northwest Registered Agent today and get your new business rolling.
Best LLC Service Review Methodology
Why You Should Trust Me
You should trust me with your LLC service recommendations because I can guarantee I have spent more time than any other person researching this topic.
It all started when I formed my first company. I didn’t have the time or energy to learn how to complete my articles of organization, nor did I have the patience for having my documents rejected, so I decided to pay someone to do it.
Unfortunately, the services I paid for were both overpriced and underwhelming. I won’t name names because this was a long time ago and they have improved over the years.
When I decided to set up my second LLC, I chose Northwest Registered Agent, who made my life easy by providing efficient and comprehensive service.
For my third business venture, I used my ample start-up funds to switch to Harbor Compliance. Their dedicated account manager’s depth and breadth of experience was just what I needed.
These aren’t the only services I have had experience with. I started to look for new business opportunities after I sold my second business. I spoke with my entrepreneur friends and they told me about their challenges and issues, and a similar theme kept coming up. There’s a lot of small business advice available today, but it’s either contradictory, incomplete, too technical, or too dense to be useful.
This is what led me to my latest venture—starting BoostSuite—which has allowed me to help more than 1,000 entrepreneurs choose the right-for-them LLC formation service to start their new businesses.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
A four-stage process led me to select the best LLC formation service.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage started with an investigation of online reviews for the top 50 LLC services in Illinois.
I spent many long nights and early mornings looking through review sites, such as the Better Business Bureau, Google Business, Trustpilot, and Facebook to weed out the scams from the legit operations.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
Once I knew which business I could trust and which ones I couldn’t, I went to their websites to see exactly what they had to offer.
I looked through detailed breakdowns of the available products and services and also each company’s prices to determine the best offers.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Online reviews can only reveal so much, so to get a better understanding of a company's service, you need to speak directly with their past and current customers.
I reached out to customers to whom I had previously recommended an LLC service in order to get an unbiased viewpoint. I asked them how effective their support team was, how simple and easy their system was to use, and how fast the LLC’s application processing was.
This allowed me to see what was a scam and what was legit.
Stage 4: Speaking With Sales Teams
The final step I took was speaking with their sales team to see how they would try to upsell to me. I asked every question a naïve person would ask in order to see how many times I was offered additional services.
I used five factors throughout my analysis to assess each service.
Factor 1: Offerings
As you can see, starting an LLC involves many steps. You need to apply for an EIN, file your articles of organization, set up a bank account, and choose a premium registered agent service to get an address in the state, to name a few.
The first factor I assessed for each LLC was the products and services they offered, so that you know exactly where your money is going.
Factor 2: Price
I researched the best price so you have ample cash to invest in the success of your business. The service providers with the best value moved to the top.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
While price, product, and features are important, if you can’t enter your details on their sign-up form, none of those factors make a difference.
I signed up for each of these business formation services to make sure the onboarding process was simple and easy.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
While LLC services with a wide range of products and services offered at a good price are important, it won’t make a difference if you can’t navigate their software to complete their forms.
To test that these systems were easy to use and simple to navigate, I set up an account with each company and attempted to register my fake LLC. I sent the Illinois Secretary of State my forms and waited for my formation documents to arrive by email.
Factor 5: Customer Service
Many corporations offshore their customer support to foreign countries these days. This trend can lead to inaccurate or incomplete information when it comes to a topic as esoteric as legal services.
I wanted to see how the support network handled my requests and how fast they would respond, so I emailed them, talked to them on their online chat portals, and called to make specific requests.
As you can see, finding the right LLC service in Illinois won’t be a walk in the park. But to make your life easier, I assessed and ranked the top 10 LLC services with my four-stage process and compared them across five different factors.
Northwest Registered Agent is my top choice out of all 17 LLC services I researched, rounding out the top 10 easily.
For just $39, its formation package will get your LLC up and running with everything you need:
- Assistance with filing your articles of organization
- A draft operating agreement template
- A document storage portal
- A business name and address in the state
- A three-month
- A free trial of VoIP service
- A business tax consultation with their in-house accountants
- A free year of registered agent service
Northwest’s Corporate Guides provide the best customer support in the business. They will assist you during your business formation process and will advise you when you encounter challenges during your business journey.
If you need an affordable and reliable LLC service provider that also provides great customer support, head over to Northwest Registered Agent today and enjoy an 82% discount on its formation package.