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 10 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)
Northwest Registered Agent checks all the LLC service boxes, doing everything you need for an outstanding price, and it’s also the only LLC service on my list to include small business advice in its packages.
Northwest Registered Agent has several appealing qualities.
It handles every aspect of forming your Maryland limited liability company (LLC) and launching your business.
Northwest takes care of filing your articles of organization with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation. It also provides you with a year of free Maryland registered agent services.
As registered agent, Northwest accepts service of process, mail, and legal documents for your business entity during normal business hours, as well as providing a name and office address to add to your documents, compliance notifications to remind you about annual report deadlines, and an online dashboard to access and manage your documents.
In addition, Northwest provides 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 reset your password or provide updates about your filing submissions, it has 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.
It is 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 Northwest is at the top of my list is its price.
Considering the importance of small business advice, Northwest’s typical pricing of $225 is a wonderful bargain. However, I’ve managed to secure a discount for BoostSuite readers. 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, Northwest is a fantastic deal, but an 82% price reduction to $39 makes it a no-brainer for the top spot.
Other LLC service providers offer website setup tools in their premium packages, 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, it has 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. ZenBusiness: 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
ZenBusiness does everything you need to legally establish your LLC for a jaw-dropping price of only $0.
For $0 (plus filing fee), ZenBusiness does everything necessary to get your LLC set up. It will double-check all the information on your formation documents, file your documents with the Secretary of State, and check to make sure your business name is available.
It also offers a Pro plan ($199) that includes assistance with your operating agreement, as well as expedited filing in approximately four to six days. It offers a handful of services designed to help you set up your company’s online presence, like a business domain name, email address, and a custom website-building tool, and rush filing in as little as one to two days.
Another handy feature of ZenBusiness is that its customer service team is available during extended weekday hours, and on Sundays.
Though it will file your documents for $0 and that’s super, if you need anything outside of the bare minimum you’ll have to pay additional fees.
Some providers on my list offer a fantastic promotion that includes free registered agent service for a year, but ZenBusiness isn’t one of them. Its only package to include registered agent service costs $199, so you’ll be losing money your first year with ZenBusiness.
Another drawback is that although it’s nice that ZenBusiness’ customer service is open during many hours that other companies aren’t and they’re able to help you with simple issues like helping you with password changes or updating your information, they aren’t able to offer you small business advice.
If you only need the basics covered at a low rate, then ZenBusiness is a solid choice. It’ll help you fill out your forms correctly and submit them for you, and its customer service team is available during extended hours to answer any questions you may have throughout the formation process.
Its services are going to cost you substantially more in the long run if you require registered agent services, but its 100% accuracy guarantee and worry-free compliance make up for it.
If you’d like to learn more about ZenBusiness’ plans or services, you can read about them on the website.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
Harbor Compliance provides a personal account manager to ensure that all your inquiries and concerns are addressed, but it charges 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. Harbor Compliance supplies 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.
Its formation package is $399, and its Compliance package is $799, 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.
It 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 its $399 pricing is 10 times more than my special offer with Northwest Registered Agent, it’s still one of the best LLC service providers.
If you’re willing to pay extra to get a personal account manager, check out its website here.
4. Rocket Lawyer
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 it provides 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 its legal services subscription included with its Maryland LLC services, which are $99 with its basic package. Its 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 it has attorneys on its 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 doesn’t provide any of the additional services that Northwest Registered Agent does. You won’t get Maryland registered agent services—unless you want to pay an additional $149/ year for the service, that is. It also doesn’t offer you peace of mind when it comes to compliance alerts for filing your annual report, and it doesn’t offer VoIP services, either.
You don’t have to pay for its expensive LLC services to use its convenient online legal services. You just need to sign up for a free account on the website and sign up for a subscription to its legal services.
Check out my Rocket Lawyer review to learn more about the company’s offerings and discounts.
5. Swyft Filings
2012 marks the debut of Swyft Filings in the LLC formation service industry, making them a relative newcomer.
Its basic package offers a great deal for $49 (plus filing fee). It 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, it does not provide a complimentary year of registered agent services.Since it charges $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 its services.
MyCompanyWorks is rather inconsistent with the quality of its services.
For $79, it 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 its 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.
7. 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.
It 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.
Its 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 its expensive $799 premium package.
Even if you have no money and only need to submit your documents, ZenBusiness is the superior solution for your LLC in Maryland.
8. 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.
It does not provide other services, such as a business tax assessment or online document storage, but its $199 basic package will assist you in obtaining an EIN.
Its key distinction is that it processes 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. It doesn’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 its 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. It will assist you in filing your articles of organization and will offer online document storage, but that’s the extent of its 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 its $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 it’s worth.
14. 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 its 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.
16. 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).
17. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings’ basic package includes submitting the formation documents for your Maryland LLC for $79 (plus state fee). It’ll help you with your operating agreement in its $99 Key package, and your EIN application in its $279 Premier package. It seems insignificant when compared with the best LLC services.
Best LLC Service Review Summary
Following extensive research into all 17 various Maryland LLC services, I narrowed it down to the top 10, and Northwest Registered Agent emerged as the clear winner.
BoostSuite readers can get its basic plan for $39, which includes all the business formation services you’ll need, as well as business guidance from its 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 every website. I logged on, read the 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 all the providers, 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 it could back up its 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 all the 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.
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.
In addition, it provides a free consultation with its in-house accountants to ensure that your payment processing is set up correctly, a sample operating agreement, and a 90-day free trial of VoIP service.
Northwest’s Corporate Guides comprise 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’re all former business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, or 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 its 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.