When starting your new Maryland business, it’s crucial that you choose the best LLC service.
The right LLC service will get your business going within a few days by filing your formation documents and getting everything established with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).
The wrong LLC service could delay your debut in the business world by weeks or months, hindering normal business operations by failing to file the necessary formation documents with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation.
So that you can choose the best LLC service, I reviewed and rated the 11 best LLC formation services using a four-stage investigation process, then rated them on five different factors. Here are the results of my research into the best LLC service in Maryland.
1. Northwest Registered Agent — 9.45/10 (Best Overall Service)
The reason I chose to put Northwest Registered Agent at the top of my list is that they check all the LLC service boxes, doing everything you need them to do for an outstanding price, and are also the only LLC service on my list to include small business advice in their packages.
Northwest Registered Agent has several appealing qualities.
They handle every aspect of forming your Maryland limited liability company (LLC) and launching your business.
They take care of filing your Articles of Organization with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation. They also provide you with a year of free Maryland registered agent services consisting of a registered agent to accept service of process, mail, and legal documents for your business entity during normal business hours, as well as a registered agent’s name and a registered office address to add to your documents, compliance notifications to remind you about annual report deadlines, and a simple online dashboard to access and manage your documents.
In addition, they provide a free accounting consultation to verify that your payment processing is set up appropriately, a free LLC operating agreement template, and a free VoIP service trial for 90 days. You may buy optional extras, such as a federal tax identification number, also known as an employment identification number (EIN), a Certificate of Good Standing, or state-certified copies of your LLC’s documents.
But it’s Northwest Registered Agent’s Corporate Guides that set them apart from the competition.
Instead of having a standard customer support team that can only help you with things like resetting your password or providing updates about your filing submissions, they have a US-based team of former small business owners, entrepreneurs, accountants, and lawyers who can answer any questions you have about the LLC formation process, as well as running and managing your Maryland Business.
These specialists have either started and expanded their own LLCs, or have worked independently as LLC advisers, guiding hundreds of others through the same process.
They are the only LLC formation service that provides this sort of small business guidance, which is a significant plus given that other small business advising firms may charge up to $5,000/day for the same services.
The last reason they’re at the top of my list is the pricing.
Considering the importance of their small business advice, their typical pricing of $225 is a wonderful bargain. However, I’ve managed to secure a discount for BoostSuite readers (because sending thousands of recommendations to a company gives us leverage that the average person isn’t granted). If you join up via my special sign-up page, you’ll get an 82% discount, bringing the total price of your LLC formation to $39 (plus state filing fee).
At $225, they’re a fantastic deal, but an 82% price reduction to $39 makes them a no-brainer for the top spot.
The one disadvantage of Northwest Registered Agent is that they provide no assistance in establishing an online presence for your new business entity. Other LLC service providers offer website setup tools in their premium packages (often $299 or more), such as a free year of domain name registration, Google advertising credits, website hosting, and in some cases, a free website builder. None of these are offered by Northwest.
However, when you consider that Google offers a $500 advertising credit to every new business, premium website builders like Squarespace cost as little as $15/month, and domain names cost less than $12 to register, you can afford to purchase these add-ons with the money you save by using Northwest and still have money left over.
Northwest Registered Agent is my top recommendation for the best LLC service because, in addition to offering all the essentials for forming a limited liability company, they have a US-based customer service team made up of individuals who have previously formed an LLC and can guide you through the inevitable issues your Maryland business will face.
If you’re looking for the best LLC service and want one that goes above and beyond to ensure your company’s success, and you’d like to take advantage of an 82% discount, visit Northwest Registered Agent today.
2. Harbor Compliance — 7.45/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
Harbor Compliance is second on my list because they provide a personal account manager to ensure that all your inquiries and concerns are addressed, but they do charge extra for this service.
When it comes to LLC formation, you can count on Harbor Compliance to take care of all the essentials.
This service ensures that you have an available business name, prepares and files your Articles of Organization with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, provides you with an operating agreement template, helps you secure an employer identification number (EIN) so that you can hire employees, and offers a year of free Maryland registered agent services so that you’ll have a registered agent to accept legal documents and mail on behalf of your LLC in Maryland during normal business hours, as well as a business address to use on your formation documents.
However, the biggest benefit you’ll receive from Harbor Compliance is the one-on-one attention you’ll get from your own personal guide.
Contacting customer service or an anonymous hotline isn’t necessary. They supply you with a personal representative who is familiar with your specific situation and can provide you with pertinent advice tailored to your specific needs.
The downside of this help is that it isn’t free.
Their formation package is $399, and their “compliance” package is $799, which means they charge roughly twice as much as the Northwest Registered Agent’s standard fee, and 10 times as much as the exceptional price I was able to get for BoostSuite customers.
Is it truly worth the extra $360 to have a personal guide to help you through the process of forming an LLC in Maryland? This is a question that can only be answered by you.
They may not be the best LLC service, but Harbor Compliance stands out from the competition by offering a dedicated account manager, a feature that no other company in this industry offers.
Even if their $399 pricing is 10 times more than my special offer with Northwest Registered Agent, they are still one of the best LLC service providers.
If you’re willing to pay extra to get a personal account manager, check out their website here.
3. Rocket Lawyer — 7.15/10 (Best for Additional LLC Services)
Most people know about Rocket Lawyer’s online legal services due to the company’s reputation in the business world. What you may not know is that they provide a broad selection of Maryland LLC services.
Rocket Lawyer’s LLC services have the distinct advantage of offering legal services, which none of the other top three Maryland LLC service providers offer.
You’ll even get a seven-day free trial of their legal services subscription included with their Maryland LLC services, which are $99 with their basic package. Their legal services membership gives you access to a big library of customizable legal documents, a 30-minute legal consultation with a lawyer about any topic, legal documents examined by a lawyer, and attorney protection if your documents are disputed by a court.
The fact that they have attorneys on their customer support team is a huge plus since they can answer any question you have about the business formation process or about the legal aspects of your Maryland business from a legal standpoint.
Rocket Lawyer’s LLC services have a few downsides.
Rocket Lawyer doesn’t provide any of the additional services that Northwest Registered Agent does. You won’t get Maryland registered agent services so that a registered agent is available to accept mail and documents on behalf of your Maryland business and provide you with a physical address in the state to use on formation documents—unless you want to pay an additional $149/ year for the service, that is. They also don’t offer you peace of mind when it comes to compliance alerts for filing your annual report, and they don’t offer VoIP services, either.
You don’t have to pay for their expensive LLC services to use their convenient online legal services. You just need to sign up for a free account on their website and sign up for a subscription to their legal services.
Rocket Lawyer is an excellent option if you want continuous legal services for your Maryland LLC. Those who aren’t familiar with Maryland law regarding Maryland businesses might also benefit. However, Northwest Registered Agent is the superior option if you want any extra LLC services (such as registered agent services (also called resident agent services) and compliance notifications).
Check out my Rocket Lawyer review to learn more about the company’s offerings and discounts.
IncFile is number four on my list, and it’s my favorite low-cost LLC formation service provider, with a phenomenal upfront cost of $0 (plus state fees). Yes, you read that correctly—$0. But there are a few things you need to know before you run to sign up.
The first and most apparent advantage of IncFile is that establishing a new company is completely free, except for state fees. They help you file your Articles of Organization with the appropriate government agencies for that price.
Additionally, they provide a year of free Maryland registered agent services, saving you at least $99. With a price tag of $0 (plus state fee), this almost sounds too good to be true.
However, as with many things that seem to be nearly too good to be true, there are some restrictions.
IncFile will file the essential legal documents for your company for free, but if you want any of the other services offered by Northwest Registered Agent in their $39 basic package, you must buy the $149 “gold” package from IncFile.
I’m no mathematician, but it doesn’t make sense to me to pay an additional $110 for no greater advantage.
IncFile is my recommended low-cost LLC service since, at $0, they cannot be beaten in price.
While you will need to upgrade to their $149 gold package to gain several crucial features included in Northwest Registered Agent’s $39 formation package, it’s a good alternative if you only want your documents filed with the appropriate government agencies and are willing to spend a few hours completing the rest of the work yourself.
Check out IncFile if money is really limited and you are willing to devote time and effort to studying the complexities of developing the best LLC services possible on a small budget.
Now for ZenBusiness. They were my number one suggestion when I initially published this post, but they have subsequently fallen in the rankings since they removed a crucial feature from their bundles.
The first thing that stands out about ZenBusiness is its cost. At $49 (plus state filing fee), their basic LLC formation package, which includes everything you need to get started, is quite reasonably priced.
They assist you in completing and filing your Articles of Organization, confirm the availability of your selected business name, offer worry-free compliance notifications to remind you to file your annual report, provide you with an online account to store all your important documents, and provide both email and phone customer assistance.
In addition, they provide an operating agreement template, a virtual company setup guide, and a complimentary session with their in-house accounting staff to guarantee that your systems are properly set up.
Their “pro” plan for $199 includes a banking resolution, assistance with applying for your employer identification number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) so that you can hire employees, and professional help if you miss any compliance deadlines, while their “premium” option for $299 includes an email address, business domain name, and website.
However, as previously indicated, ZenBusiness has eliminated a crucial component of their offerings.
Previously, all their packages had included a year of registered agent services, valued at $149, for free. This free year has since been converted into a 25% discount. Given that their actual package costs (including Maryland registered agent service) are now $150.75, $310.75, and $410.75, they have fallen down the list.
Even though they provide a variety of additional services, I do not recommend them unless you want Maryland registered agent service and are willing to spend three times the price of Northwest Registered Agent to get it.
My ZenBusiness review has a comprehensive overview of their services and prices if you’re interested.
6. Swyft Filings
2012 marks the debut of Swyft Filings in the LLC formation service industry, making them a relative newcomer.
Their basic package offers a great deal for $49 (plus filing fee). They will help you with compiling and filing your Articles of Organization with the appropriate government agencies, provide an online account to access your documents, offer a 30-minute business tax consultation, and even include one year of free domain name registration.
Unlike Northwest Registered Agent, however, they do not provide a complimentary year of registered agent services. As they charge $149 a year for registered agent services, it will end up costing you much more in the long run.
Read my Swyft Filings review for a more in-depth analysis of their services.
MyCompanyWorks is rather inconsistent with the quality of their services.
For $79 (plus state fees), they will draft and submit your Articles of Organization, assist you with your operating agreement, provide online access to your vital documents, and notify you of any upcoming compliance filing deadlines (like annual reports).
But there is a disadvantage.
The only package to include a free year of registered agent services is their premium plan, which costs a hefty $279. MyCompanyWorks is a poor option when compared to Northwest Registered Agent, which costs $39 and provides a year of free registered agent service and a registered office address.
8. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is another LLC service that looks like it fits under the “cheap” category, but once you look closer you discover that it’s anything but.
They will assist you in preparing and filing your Articles of Organization with the appropriate agencies for free, but you will be charged exorbitant fees for everything else.
Their basic package includes an operating agreement, federal employer identification number (EIN), and a business seal, and it costs $399 (plus state fees). A year of free registered agent service (which comes with a business address to use on your formation documents and free mail forwarding) is exclusive to their expensive $799 premium package.
Even if you have no money and only need to submit your documents, IncFile is the superior solution for your LLC in Maryland.
9. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast is an LLC formation service that offers a basic package for $99 (plus state fees).
This package includes the filing of your Articles of Organization, free registered agent service (which includes a street address), help with your operating agreement, and samples of documents you may need to form your company.
They do not provide other services, such as a business tax assessment or online document storage, but their $199 basic package will assist you in obtaining an EIN.
Their key distinction is that they process every new business filing the same day it’s received, which is a benefit not provided by other LLC services, so check them out if you’re in a hurry to form your business entity and want to pay more (without the other services available) for less.
However, if you just want affordable pricing and a plethora of extra services, Northwest Registered Agent is the way to go.
BizFilings is another company that offers LLC formation services for $99 (plus state filing fee).
This bundle includes filing the Articles of Organization for your Maryland LLC, a year of Maryland registered agent services for free (which includes a street address in the state to use on your formation documents), and compliance alerts to remind you of annual reports. They don’t offer any other services, such as business tax assessment, online document storage, or help with your operating agreement, so you’re paying a lot more for a lot less.
LegalZoom maintains the trend of offering subpar basic packages for $99 (plus state fees) that provide practically nothing. LegalZoom will assist you in filing your Articles of Organization and will supply you with a banking resolution, but nothing more.
If you currently use LegalZoom’s legal services or their registered agent services, and you want all your business matters handled by one provider, then you might consider them for LLC services as well. But there’s not much use in partnering with them just for your LLC formation.
If you want to learn more about LegalZoom’s services and offerings, check out my comprehensive LegalZoom Review.
Other LLC Services
While researching my list of Maryland LLC formation services, I came across seven more options, but I didn’t think it was important to conduct extensive reviews of these inferior options. Here they are, in random order.
Incorporate.com, like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom, features a $99 basic package that provides very little. They will assist you in filing your Articles of Organization and will offer online document storage, but that’s the extent of their service. You won’t get registered agent services or compliance alerts to remind you about filing your annual reports.
CorpNet costs $108 (plus state service fee) for LLC formation services, which includes filing your Articles of Organization and sending compliance notifications to remind you to file the annual report for your Maryland LLC. That’s all. You won’t receive Maryland registered agent service, or any of the other service extras that Northwest offers.
MyCorporation will file the Articles of Organization for your LLC in Maryland and help you develop your operating agreement in their $133 basic package. But each additional service comes with an additional charge, which means you’ll pay more for things like Maryland registered agent service and compliance alerts than they’re worth.
15. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation supplements MyCorporation’s offerings (filing the Articles of Organization for your Maryland LLC and drafting your operating agreement) by giving you a banking resolution and helping you get your EIN, but their service costs $147 (plus state fees). That’s a lot to pay considering you don’t even get Maryland registered agent service!
InCorp costs $117 (plus state fee) to file your formation documents and help you draft an operating agreement for your LLC in Maryland. Every service beyond that (such as Maryland registered agent service) is subject to an additional fee.
You can check out my complete InCorp review here.
17. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations provides the same minimal services as InCorp (filing formation documents and assistance with your operating agreement), but costs an exorbitant $200 (plus state fee).
18. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings’ basic package includes submitting the formation documents for your Maryland LLC for $79 (plus state fee). They’ll help you with your operating agreement in their $99 “key” package, and your EIN application in their $279 “premier” package. They seem insignificant when compared to the best LLC services.
Best LLC Service Review Summary
Following extensive research into all 18 various Maryland LLC services, I narrowed it down to the top 11, and Northwest Registered Agent emerged as the clear winner.
BoostSuite readers can get their basic plan for $39, which includes all the business formation services you’ll need, as well as business guidance from their Corporate Guides. If you were to hire a consulting firm instead, you might pay $5,000 per day for the same advice, therefore this is an excellent deal.
Check out Northwest Registered Agent now if you’re ready to start your Maryland LLC and want a variety of formation services as well as Corporate Guides to help you through the formation process (and afterwards).
Best LLC Service Review Methodology
Here’s the method I used to find the best LLC service.
Why You Should Trust Me
You can put your trust in my suggestions for reputable Maryland LLC services since I know more about the industry than anyone else, even the individuals who work for the business formation companies on my list.
I used three different LLC services to launch my three businesses, which started my journey into the LLC service industry. Yeah, I actually had to use three different providers because two were unable to provide all the LLC services that I needed. (They’ve since considerably improved their Maryland LLC services since then, so I won’t identify these specific companies here because you shouldn’t make decisions for your Maryland LLC based on obsolete information.)
For the launch of this website, I used a third provider, and the services it provided were much superior to the price I paid for them. That’s why I chose Northwest Registered Agent as the top Maryland LLC service.
Using these three services are only a small part of my experience. As a result of assisting business owners choose the Maryland LLC services that best suited their requirements, I’ve gained a lot of expertise. I put a lot of time and effort into researching the top Maryland LLC service providers, and since the introduction of BoostSuite, I’ve assisted more than 1,000 customers with finding their ideal LLC service.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
This is the four-stage method I followed to identify the best service for forming an LLC in Maryland.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage in selecting the best LLC services was to examine the online reviews of the key providers in this industry. At least among the prominent LLC formation businesses, there is a strong history of encouraging clients to leave positive customer reviews online, which has led to some companies having over 4,500 online reviews!
This review analysis process enabled me to get an understanding of the quality of various business formation services and eliminate any services that did not achieve basic performance criteria.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After eliminating any underachieving business formation services and gaining a broad understanding of each provider, I went to their website. I logged on, read their headlines and titles, and attempted to learn about each company through its claims and comments online.
This let me learn about the key LLC formation services offered by each provider, as well as how they saw their market position and offerings.
Stage 3: Speaking with Real Customers
Once I knew how the company attempted to position itself, I needed to know if they could back up their claims. Reading online reviews may occasionally help with this, but since most individuals only publish reviews when they’ve had extraordinarily great or terrible experiences, the findings tend to tilt to the extremes.
I next contacted customers I could really speak with in order to learn firsthand about their experiences. This feedback guaranteed that I acquired a well-rounded and nuanced grasp of previous customers’ perspectives of their interactions with each LLC formation company.
I contacted acquaintances who had used a business formation service, reached out to folks I’d recommended, and chatted with website visitors to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of their experiences.
This provided me with a deep and comprehensive insight of what it was like to use each service provider and moved me closer to discovering the best LLC services.
Stage 4: Speaking with Their Sales Teams
My last phase of investigation was to call their sales and customer support departments and press them for answers.
I compiled the feedback I’d obtained from my online review analysis and the discussions with customers and pushed their customer service staff on the complaints that customers had voiced.
This fourth phase enabled me to assess how effectively each company handled criticism and less-than-positive reviews.
After completing my four-stage analysis, I rated each Maryland LLC service using five distinct criteria.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first factor I evaluated was the provided services of each company.
Some LLC formation providers will only assist with the Articles of Organization and then boot you out until you pay additional fees for other services. Other formation services will provide you with an accountant consultation, Maryland registered agent service, online document access, and assistance with your operating agreement.
The difference in LLC formation services offered by each company prompted me to begin my evaluation here.
Factor 2: Price
The pricing was the second criteria I considered while selecting the best LLC service. Some services begin at $0 (excluding state fees), while others will not even talk to you for less than $399.
The cost of the services, or rather the cost per service, was the second factor I considered while ranking the services, in conjunction with the significant disparity in services offered.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
Sign-up simplicity was the third factor I considered while evaluating these services.
Some LLC formation services come with outdated legacy systems that seem to have been constructed in the late 1990s and designed in a high school programming class. Others offer sophisticated, simple, user-friendly systems that make starting a business effortless.
I studied each company’s sign-up process to find which took the least amount of work and mental capacity to complete.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
The design and operating difficulties are not often resolved with the sign-up process. In the majority of instances, design and functionality issues seen during the sign-up process extend throughout the onboarding phase.
Some LLC services provide you with pre-filled forms that include all the necessary information, and require nothing more than a signature from you. Other providers merely supply blank forms (despite having all the essential information) and need you to enter the information 11 different times on the same paperwork.
No one likes to spend more time than necessary on anything, ESPECIALLY when it comes to forming a new company, therefore evaluating the ease of use of each service was crucial to my ratings system.
Factor 5: Customer Service
Customer service was the last factor I considered while evaluating each LLC formation service. This was another area in which I saw a considerable difference in the value they offered.
There are LLC services that place their support teams in foreign countries and staff them with inadequately trained locals who lack US business expertise.
Then there are LLC services such as Northwest Registered Agent, whose US-based support team is made up of former small business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants who have personal experience assisting you in overcoming the obstacles your business is sure to face, and are able to advise you on the optimal solution.
My fifth and final rating criterion was based on this significant disparity in customer service value.
After researching the 11 best LLC formation services in Maryland using my four-stage investigation procedure and five-factor rating system, I determined that Northwest Registered Agent had the highest overall score.
Northwest Registered Agent offers the comprehensive services you need, such as filing your Articles of Organization with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation to ensure your Maryland LLC is properly formed, and an intuitive online system to store your documents, as well as a year of free Maryland registered agent services, which means you’ll have a Maryland registered agent to accept service of process and mail on behalf of your business entity during normal business hours.
In addition, they provide a free consultation with their in-house accountants to ensure that your payment processing is set up correctly, a sample operating agreement, and a 90-day free trial of their VoIP service.
If your business needs extra services, such as state-certified copies of vital business documents, a Certificate of Good Standing, or an employer identification number (EIN), you may purchase these add-ons for additional fees at any time.
But by far, their Corporate Guides are their most distinctive feature.
Their support staff comprises a group of US-based specialists that can answer any questions you have about the formation process and assist you with any issues your LLC in Maryland has. This is due to the fact that they are former business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants with years of business experience and the ability to provide excellent business advice as a result.
Northwest does not offer any premium services that will aid you in establishing an online presence for your new business entity. However, as a BoostSuite reader, you will receive an 82% discount, bringing their basic package down to just $39, and leaving you with ample funds left over for things like domain names and website creation.
Sign up for Northwest Registered Agent now if you’re ready to form an LLC in Maryland.
Check out my guide on the best states to form an LLC in while you’re here.
And if you want to learn more about what registered agent services can accomplish for you, please read my guide on the best registered agent services here.