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 11 major LLC formation services in the state of Ohio through a four-stage, five-factor review process to determine which is the 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 their top-rated customer support service and affordable formation package increase the chances that your small business or LLC in Ohio will prove successful.
Their $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, a draft Operating Agreement template, an online document storage portal, a free three-month trial of their Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that allows you to make cheap phone calls with your internet connection, a business tax consultation with their in-house accountants, and a year of their commercial registered agent (sometimes called statutory agent) service.
They 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 (courtesy of the high visitor traffic that I send to Northwest’s sign-up page) 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 their 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 they don’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 their registered agent service and the best customer support in the industry.
Their US-based Corporate Guides walks 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, visit Northwest Registered Agent today and receive an 82% discount on their formation package.
2. Harbor Compliance — 7.45/10 (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.
Their 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 their statutory agent services (valued at $99).
Being a premium Limited Liability Company service, Harbor Compliance charges $399 for their Formation Package and $799 for their 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.
Their $399 Formation Package provides all the services you need to establish an Ohio LLC and they also provide 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.
3. IncFile — 7.15/10 (Best Budget LLC Service)
IncFile is the best budget service to help you form an LLC in the state of Ohio. Their $0 filing fee makes them the cheapest Ohio LLC service on this list.
IncFile will help you file the Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State at no cost. On top of that, they provide a free year of their Ohio registered agent services. For $0 (plus state filing fee, of course), this seems too good to be true.
But, as you’re about to find out, there are limitations to how far they can throw the freebies.
While IncFile files your Articles of Organization at no cost, you need to upgrade to their $149 Gold Package if you need more comprehensive features, such as assistance with drafting your Operating Agreement, a business tax consultation, an online document storage portal, and compliance alerts to keep you up to date with the Ohio Secretary of State.
Considering that Northwest Registered Agent offers all these services in their $39 basic package, it doesn’t make sense to pay an additional $110 for IncFile’s Gold Package.
IncFile is my #1 budget Ohio LLC service because they assist you with filing your Articles of Organization for $0.
However, you need to upgrade to their $149 Gold Package if your LLC needs the services that are present in Northwest’s $39 Formation Package. If you are running low on finances and all you need is to file your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, then IncFile is a practical option to help you form an LLC.
ZenBusiness is fourth on my list of the best LLC services in Ohio because they provide a wide range of the services you’ll need to establish your Ohio LLC, but have recently changed their packages, and not necessarily for the better.
Their Basic Package costs $150.75 and includes a variety of services to form an LLC in Ohio, such as assistance with filing your formation documents with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, choosing an Ohio business name, and drafting an Operating Agreement. They also provide a free consultation with a member of their in-house accounting team, free compliance alerts so you don’t miss important filing deadlines, and an online document storage portal.
ZenBusiness also has a $310.75 Pro Package that offers access to an Employer Identification Number (EIN), a banking resolution, and VIP processing. Their $410.75 Premium Package includes all these services, plus a customized business website and domain name registration.
When you couple these services with their intuitive user interface, reliable customer support, and an average rating of 4.7/5 out of 4,500 online reviews, you’ve got an Ohio LLC provider that is worth taking a chance on.
One disadvantage with ZenBusiness is that they do not provide a company seal as part of their offerings, perhaps because they focus more on the digital aspects of starting an LLC in Ohio. However, this is not a major issue since you can get a company seal from a number of different websites for around $15.
In addition to the lack of a company seal, another drawback of ZenBusiness is that they don’t provide free statutory agent services with their packages anymore, but rather offer a 25% discount on their $149 agent service if you sign up for one of their LLC packages.
Their services are also costly compared with what Northwest Registered Agent offers, but they do provide your LLC in Ohio a wide range of services in their basic package.
Find out more about their services and offers in our full ZenBusiness review.
5. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is the newest LLC formation service on this list having been launched in 2012.
They have 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 their free statutory agent service, Swyft Filings charges $149 for that package. This means that they are significantly more expensive than Northwest Registered Agent. Nevertheless, they are still a reputable company that offers quality services.
If you are interested in their services, read my Swyft Filings review.
MyCompanyWorks charges $79 for their 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.
They also have great customer care support and have maintained a 4.9/5 average rating across 3,500 online reviews.
However, if you need a free year of their Ohio registered agent service, you’ll have to purchase their $279 Premium Package. That is $240 more than Northwest Registered Agent, which acts as your registered agent in Ohio for free in their $39 Basic Package.
7. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is another company that passes itself off as a “budget” LLC provider. However, on closer scrutiny, they are anything but “budget.”
Like IncFile, 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 their $399 Basic Package. Also, if you need access to a free year of their commercial statutory agent service, you’ll have to purchase their $799 Premium Package.
At this point, IncFile 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 their Basic Package, which includes a free year of their 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 their services is they 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 they don’t provide an Ohio business tax assessment or an online document storage portal as part of their services, but you can get an EIN if you upgrade to their $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 their basic package, which provides assistance with filing your formation documents, a free year of their statutory agent service, and compliance alerts.
They don’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.
10. 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.
They charge $99 for these services, making them more expensive than Northwest Registered Agent, which offers more services for much less.
For a more in-depth look at their services, read my full Rocket Lawyer review.
LegalZoom is a legal services provider that offers LLC formation services and charges $99 for their basic package but offers very little in terms of services. They only provide 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 by them as well, you might consider using LegalZoom.
Read my in-depth LegalZoom review to find out more.
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 they provide 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.
15. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation has the same business services as MyCorporation, but they add a banking resolution and an Employer Identification Number as part of their services, only they charge $147 for their services.
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.
Read more about InCorp in my full review here.
17. Nationwide Incorporations
18. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings’ $79 Basic Package offers assistance with filing your Articles of Organization, and their $99 Key Package offers assistance with drafting your Operating Agreement, while their $279 Premier Package helps you obtain an EIN.
The Best LLC Service Review Summary
After reviewing the 11 best LLC formation services, I concluded that Northwest Registered Agent is the best pick for establishing your Ohio LLC.
Their $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 their VoIP service, an online document storage portal, a free business tax consultation with their in-house accountants, and a free year of their 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 Formation Package.
* 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 LLC formation service 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 them here because this was a long time ago and their services have improved).
For my second business attempt, I hired Northwest Registered Agent, who made the setup process much easier. Their 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 they 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 Team
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 offered 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 their in-house accountants, online access to your documents, and assistance with drafting your small business or LLC’s management procedures.
Some offer Ohio 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 their systems were to navigate.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The last factor I used in my analysis was the quality of their 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 11 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.
Their $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 their in-house accountants.
This package also offers your business one year of their professional registered agent service, a 90-day trial of their VoIP service that allows you to make cheap phone calls using your broadband connection, and an online document storage portal.
Their team of Corporate Guides provide 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 are 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 their Formation Package.