To establish a business in the Buckeye State, the Ohio state government requires you to hire an LLC formation service to assist you in setting up your business properly.
The right LLC formation service will help you file your business registration documents with the Ohio Secretary of State accurately and in due time so that you can concentrate on running your LLC in Ohio.
The wrong LLC formation service will delay your registration process due to lack of proper paperwork, preventing you from conducting business in Ohio for weeks, or even months, and will overcharge you for substandard services.
Forming an LLC is a complicated business. To help you get it right, I’ve investigated the 17 major LLC formation services in the state of Ohio through a four-stage, five-factor review process to determine the 10 best. Here are the results of my investigation:
* 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 the best LLC service in Ohio because its top-rated customer support service and affordable formation package increase the chances that your small business or LLC in Ohio will prove successful.
Northwest’s $39 formation package includes services such as assistance with filing your articles of organization with the Ohio Secretary of State, a business name and street address in Ohio, and a draft operating agreement template.
You’ll also get an online document storage portal, a free three-month trial of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, a business tax consultation with Northwest’s in-house accountants, and a year of its commercial registered agent (sometimes called statutory agent) service.
Northwest will also help you apply for an employer identification number (EIN), a Certificate of Good Standing, and certified copies of your formation documents. But these services are optional extras and available for purchase when needed.
The formation package has a standard cost of $225, but BoostSuite readers can get an 82% discount, which considerably reduces the cost to an affordable $39.
But what makes Northwest Registered Agent stand out from other Ohio LLC services on this list is its customer support team, referred to in-house as Corporate Guides.
Most limited liability company service providers have outsourced their customer support services to call centers in foreign countries that are staffed with people who don’t have sufficient knowledge about how to start or run an LLC in the US. You might get assistance with a few issues, such as resetting your password or updates on your application status, but the level of service they provide can be quite underwhelming.
Northwest Registered Agent, on the other hand, has a team of US-based Corporate Guides who are all former accountants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs with a wealth of experience not only on how to run a business in Ohio but also in assisting hundreds of small business owners to establish and run their LLCs.
The one problem with Northwest Registered Agent is that it doesn't provide website-building tools that assist your business or LLC in Ohio in gaining an online presence. However, it’s not a major issue since you can get these services from a number of websites, such as Squarespace and Wix, for as low as $15.
Northwest Registered Agent offers all the services you’ll need to establish your business or LLC in Ohio, including a full year of registered agent service and the best customer support in the industry.
Its US-based Corporate Guides walk you through your Ohio business-registration process, and you can also count on them to provide credible business advice throughout your business journey.
If your LLC in Ohio needs an LLC service provider that offers expert customer support and affordable services, sign up with Northwest Registered Agent today and receive an 82% discount on its formation package.
2. ZenBusiness: 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
You can’t beat ZenBusiness’ $0 price, but it doesn’t offer free registered agent service or small business advice, so it’s more expensive over time.
ZenBusiness provides LLC formation service essentials that start at $0 (plus filing fee). It will ensure that your business name is available, make sure that your information is correct, and file your articles of organization for you.
You can upgrade to its $199 Pro plan, which includes help with your operating agreement and expedited filing (four to six days), or its $299 Premium plan that includes a website builder, email address, and domain name, as well as rush filing as fast as one to two days.
Another pleasant surprise is that its customer service team is available during extended hours on weekdays, and on Sundays as well.
The $0 price tag only covers the basics, so if you need any extras you can expect additional fees.
Unlike some on my list, this company doesn’t supply a year of free registered agent service. ZenBusiness charges $199/year for its registered agent service, and you’ll pay the full price for it the first year. Yikes!
And even though its customer service team is competent enough to help you with updating your information or a password reset, and it’s available during extended hours, it doesn’t provide small business advice so you can’t ask them questions about how to solve your HR problems or deal with payroll issues.
ZenBusiness covers all the basic services. For $0, it will make sure the information on your documents is correct and file them with the Secretary of State on your behalf.
If you need registered agent service then you’ll pay an additional fee, but because it offers a 100% accuracy guarantee and worry-free compliance, it may be worth it for the lowered stress levels.
If you want a company to provide basic LLC services for minimal costs, visit ZenBusiness’ website.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
The difference between the customer support services of Harbor Compliance and Northwest Registered Agent is subtle, but notable. While most companies provide a generic hotline that connects you to anonymous support personnel, Harbor Compliance allocates a personal support assistant who understands your specific business challenges and tailors their help to your personal situation.
Harbor Compliance’s formation package includes basic services such as an operating agreement template, assistance with filing your articles of organization with the Ohio Secretary of State, applying for an employer identification number, and a free full year of statutory agent services (valued at $99).
Being a premium limited liability company service, Harbor Compliance charges $399 for its formation package and $799 for its Compliance package. This is 10 times the amount Northwest Registered Agent charges for the same services and is beyond the reach of most people, especially those who are starting out in the business world and don’t have enough money to spend on a premium LLC formation service.
Harbor Compliance is the best premium LLC formation service in the state of Ohio.
Its $399 formation package provides all the services you need to establish an Ohio LLC and it also provides a personal support assistant who guides you through your Ohio business formation process.
If you're willing to pay $399 for a personal representative to assist you in setting up your Ohio LLC and advise you when business challenges arise, check out Harbor Compliance today.
4. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is an online legal services provider that also offers very basic LLC services, in addition to registered agent and other legal services such as filing your formation documents with the Ohio Secretary of State and access to an online document storage portal.
Rocket Lawyer charges $99 for these services, making it more expensive than Northwest Registered Agent, which offers more services for much less.
For a more in-depth look at its services, read my full Rocket Lawyer review.
5. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is the newest LLC formation service on this list having been launched in 2012.
It has a $49 basic package that includes assistance with filing your formation documents, an online document storage portal, a free 30-minute business tax consultation, and a free year of business domain name registration.
However, if you need an Ohio LLC service provider and want free statutory agent service, Swyft Filings charges $149 for that package. This means that it’s significantly more expensive than Northwest Registered Agent. Nevertheless, it is still a reputable company that offers quality services.
If you are interested in its services, read my Swyft Filings review.
MyCompanyWorks charges $79 for its basic package, which includes assistance with filing your articles of organization with the Ohio Secretary of State, assistance with your operating agreement, an online portal to store your legal documents, and compliance alerts to stay in good standing with the Ohio Secretary of State.
It also has great customer care support and has maintained a 4.9/5 average rating across 3,500 online reviews.
However, if you need a free year of Ohio registered agent service, you’ll have to purchase its $279 premium package. That is $240 more than Northwest Registered Agent, which acts as your registered agent in Ohio for free in its $39 basic package.
7. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is another company that passes itself off as a “budget” LLC provider. However, on closer scrutiny, it’s anything but “budget.”
Inc Authority helps you to file your formation paperwork for free but every additional feature entails an extra cost.
For instance, if you need assistance with drafting your operating agreement, access to an EIN, and a company seal, you’ll have to purchase its $399 basic package. Also, if you need access to a free year of commercial statutory agent service, you’ll have to purchase the $799 premium package.
At this point, ZenBusiness sounds like a much better option, especially if you are running low on finances and all you need is your formation paperwork filed with the Ohio Secretary of State.
8. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast is an Ohio LLC formation provider that charges $99 for its basic package, which includes a free year of Ohio registered agent service, assistance with filing your formation documents with the Ohio Secretary of State, an operating agreement template, and sample documents to assist you with establishing your Ohio LLC.
The best aspect of its services is the promise to process and file your documents the same day they are received, which is something the other LLC services on this list don’t claim to do.
But it doesn’t provide an Ohio business tax assessment or an online document storage portal as part of its services, but you can get an EIN if you upgrade to its $199 package.
So, if you are in a hurry to start an LLC and you need an LLC formation provider that offers same-day document processing and a statutory agent service, then Inc Authority is your best option. If you think you’re going to need additional features when you form an LLC, you’re better off choosing Northwest Registered Agent.
BizFilings is another Ohio LLC formation provider that charges $99 for its basic package, which provides assistance with filing your formation documents, a free year of statutory agent service, and compliance alerts.
It doesn't offer other essential services, such as a business tax assessment, assistance with your operating agreement, or an online document storage portal so, for $99, you are actually getting less value for your money.
LegalZoom is a legal services provider that offers LLC formation services and charges $99 for its basic package but offers very little in terms of services. It only provides assistance with your formation paperwork and a banking resolution.
If you already use LegalZoom’s registered agent service and you want your Ohio LLC handled as well, you might consider using LegalZoom.
Other Ohio LLC Services
I investigated seven more LLC services as part of my analysis but their services are so unappealing that they do not warrant a full review. Here they are in no particular order:
Incorporate.com, like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom, offer a $99 basic package with very few services. The only features it provides for your business in Ohio are an online storage portal and assistance with filing your articles of organization, and that’s it.
CorpNet will file your initial LLC formation documents with the Ohio Secretary of State and provide compliance alerts to keep you in good standing, all for $79.
MyCorporation charges $133 to process your articles of organization and create an operating agreement. For every other comprehensive service, you will incur an extra cost.
14. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation has the same business services as MyCorporation, but it adds a banking resolution and an employer identification number as part of its services, all for the whopping price of $147.
InCorp charges $117 (plus state fees) to file the articles of organization with the Ohio Secretary of State and assist with drafting your operating agreement. Any additional feature involves an extra cost.
16. Nationwide Incorporations
17. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings’ $79 basic package offers assistance with filing your articles of organization, and its $99 Key package offers assistance with drafting your operating agreement, while its $279 Premier package helps you obtain an EIN.
The Best LLC Service Review Summary
After reviewing the 10 best LLC formation services, I concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best pick for establishing your Ohio LLC.
Its $39 basic package offers everything you’ll need to get started in the business world, including assistance with filing your articles of organization with the Ohio Secretary of State, a draft operating agreement, a free three-month trial of VoIP service, an online document storage portal, a free business tax consultation with in-house accountants, and a free year of Ohio statutory agent services.
Northwest’s Corporate Guides are a team of former business owners, accountants, and lawyers who will assist you with your business formation process and will provide top-notch business advice when you encounter challenges with your business entity.
If you’re looking for an LLC formation provider that will save you time and money during your setup process, head over to Northwest Registered Agent today and get an 82% discount on your LLC formation.
* Any fees/costs mentioned represent a per state, per year outlay, unless they refer to a one-time filing fee.
Best LLC Service Review Methodology
I used the following method to find the best formation provider for your LLC in Ohio:
Why You Should Trust Me
You should trust me with your LLC provider recommendations because I have more experience with LLC formation providers than just about anybody I know.
It all started when I decided to start my first LLC. I did not have the requisite knowledge to file my articles of organization and create an operating agreement on my own, so I hired the services of a limited liability company formation service. However, the company I chose was overpriced and underwhelming (I won’t mention it by name because this was a long time ago and its services have improved).
For my second business attempt, I hired Northwest Registered Agent, who made the setup process much easier. Its Corporate Guides also provided great business advice for LLC owners.
For my third attempt, I had accrued enough capital to afford the services of a premium LLC formation provider. I settled on Harbor Compliance as my LLC provider of choice so that I could take advantage of the personal support representative that it provided.
My experience, however, is not limited to just using these LLC services. I’ve assisted a lot of businesses in choosing the right LLC formation provider for their new business entities and since I started BoostSuite I’ve helped more than 1,000 people select an LLC provider that will serve them throughout their business journeys.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
I used a four-stage analysis to select the best limited liability company (LLC) formation provider in the state of Ohio.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage in my process was to go through the major business review websites (such as TrustPilot, Google Business, and the Better Business Bureau) and read the reviews for each LLC company on this list. Most companies encourage their customers to leave comments on these websites so that they can get a clear picture of how the public receives their services.
This allowed me to get an overview of the quality of services that each LLC company offered and also to weed out any company that offered substandard services.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After separating the underperformers from the serious players, the next stage in the process was to visit each LLC service’s website and read every claim and statement the companies made.
This allowed me to understand the types of services that each formation provider offered and how they positioned themselves in the market.
Stage 3: Speaking With Actual Customers
Once I understood how each company positioned itself in the market, it was time to speak with actual customers so that I could understand whether or not these companies lived up to their promises. Granted, this is something I could have achieved by looking at online reviews, but these tend to be skewed toward positive or negative extremes.
I contacted friends who have used a business formation service, reached out to people I had referred previously, and chatted with visitors to my website so that I could understand the positives and negatives of their experiences.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
The final stage in the process was to contact the customer support teams of each LLC formation provider so that I could press them for answers to the critical comments that customers had about their business services.
This allowed me to see how the customer care personnel handled criticism under pressure.
After the four-stage investigative process, I ranked each LLC formation provider on the five factors below:
Factor 1: Offerings
The first factor was the types of services that each limited liability company service offered.
Some companies offer very basic services, such as assistance with your articles of organization, and that’s it. Others, like Northwest Registered Agent, offered a full suite of services, such as assistance with filing your articles of organization and drafting your operating agreement, a free consultation with its in-house accountants, online access to your documents, and assistance with drafting your small business or LLC’s management procedures.
Some offer registered agent services as well, serving as a point of contact available during normal business hours to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC in Ohio and forward them to you. This service is invaluable to many business owners because of the significant legal risk involved in acting as your own registered agent in Ohio.
These disparities in what various companies offered people forming an LLC in terms of services was a good reason to begin the analysis process here.
Factor 2: Price
Cost of services involved in forming an LLC was the second factor I used in my investigative process.
Forming an LLC or business can be expensive, so finding an LLC formation service with reasonable prices is critical.
Some services began at $0 while others didn’t offer basic packages for less than $399. When you couple this difference in the cost of services with the wide disparities in the available services, price had to be the second factor in my analysis.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
The third factor in my process was how easy it was to sign up.
Some services have well-designed, intuitive websites that save you time and effort while others have old, clunky, and outdated systems that look like they were designed in the 90s on Windows 98. You’re starting a business, so you don’t have time for that.
I signed up with each LLC formation provider to determine which one required the least time and effort.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
The design issues are not tied to the sign-up process alone; some of these issues spill over to the onboarding process.
When you form an LLC, some services provide blank forms with numerous spaces to fill in, despite already having all the necessary information. Others have pre-filled forms with all the required information and, in most cases, all you need to do is sign to get your business up and running.
I assessed each service on how simple and effortless its system was to navigate.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The last factor I used in my analysis was the quality of the customer support.
Some companies outsource their customer support to call centers in foreign countries staffed with people who are not familiar with the procedures involved when starting an LLC in the US. Your business needs better.
Enter companies like Northwest Registered Agent, whose US-based customer support team is composed of former accountants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs who have a wealth of experience in not only running their own business entities but also assisting hundreds of small business owners to overcome their business challenges.
Assessing the wide gaps in the quality of customer support services each LLC formation provider can offer your business was the final factor in my analysis.
After analyzing the 10 best professional limited liability company service providers through my four-stage, five-factor analysis process, I concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best LLC formation provider and best registered agent in Ohio.
Its $39 basic package gives you all the services you’ll need to establish a business in the state while providing the best value for your money. These include assistance with filing your articles of organization, a business name and street address in Ohio, assistance with drafting your LLC operating agreement, compliance alerts so you don’t miss key filing deadlines, and a 30-minute consultation with its in-house accountants.
This package also offers your business one year of professional registered agent service, a 90-day trial of VoIP service that allows you to make cheap phone calls using your broadband connection, and an online document storage portal.
Its team of Corporate Guides provides assistance with your business entity formation process, and they also offer industry-leading small business advice when you encounter challenges during your business journey.
If you’re ready to form an LLC and get started with your business journey in the state of Ohio, visit Northwest Registered Agent today and enjoy an 82% discount on your LLC formation.