It’s crucial that you find the best LLC service when starting your South Carolina business.
The right LLC service will have your business up and operational in just a few days, with your articles of organization and professional licenses filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State.
The wrong LLC service could prevent you from regular business operations for weeks or months because it didn’t file the proper paperwork or obtain the necessary licenses with the appropriate government agencies in South Carolina.
So that you’re able to find the best LLC service for your South Carolina limited liability company, I researched and rated the 10 best LLC services in South Carolina using a four-stage investigative process and five rating factors. Here are the results of my investigation into the best LLC services in South Carolina:
1. Northwest Registered Agent: 9.45/10 (Best Overall LLC Service)
Northwest Registered Agent is the best LLC service in South Carolina because it checks all the service boxes you need for your business at an affordable price. It’s also the only LLC service in South Carolina to offer small business advice as part of its formation services.
Northwest provides you with all the services and features you need to form your limited liability company and start your South Carolina business.
It files your articles of organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State, offers a year of free South Carolina registered agent services and worry-free compliance, with notifications about important filing deadlines so you don’t forget to file annual reports, and provides you with an easy-to-navigate online dashboard that makes reviewing and managing all your business documents a breeze.
Northwest also offers several extras. It provides a free accounting consultation so that you can be sure your payment processing system is properly set up, a free operating agreement template, and a 90-day free trial of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. You also have the option to add additional services as you need them, like an employer identification number (EIN), a Certificate of Good Standing, and state-certified copies of important business documents.
But the one feature that really sets Northwest Registered Agent apart from the other LLC services in South Carolina is its Corporate Guides.
The Corporate Guides don’t simply provide you with the standard customer support team that’s only equipped to help you reset your password or check for filing submission updates. Instead, its US-based team is made up of former small business owners, entrepreneurs, accountants, and lawyers that have enough experience to answer any question you ask them, about both its LLC service and how to run and manage your new business.
These guides have either gone through the LLC formation process themselves, or have years of experience working as LLC advisors to guide hundreds of small business owners through the process.
Northwest is the only LLC formation service in South Carolina that offers this sort of small business advice. And considering that many business advisory services charge $5,000/day for this advice, it’s quite a perk.
The last reason I chose to put Northwest at the top of my list is its price.
The standard price of $225 is a good deal when you consider that it throws in the small business advice. But I’ve negotiated a special deal for BoostSuite readers. If you sign up for its services using my sign-up page, then you’ll automatically get an 82% discount. This brings the total price for its South Carolina LLC formation service to $39 (plus state filing fees).
With an 82% discount that drops the price of its services down to $39, there was no question that it should be in the #1 spot.
The only drawback to Northwest Registered Agent’s services is that it doesn't provide you with any of the tools necessary to establish an online presence for your South Carolina LLC. There are other LLC formation services that provide premium packages with website setup features (that typically cost $299+) that include things like a free year of domain name registration, Google advertising credits, a free website builder and website hosting. But Northwest doesn’t include any of these.
However, Google provides every new business with $500 in advertising credits, domain name registration usually costs less than $12, and premium website building tools like Squarespace can cost as little as $15 per month. With deals like that, you should be able to afford these services and more with the money you save with Northwest.
I chose Northwest Registered Agent as the best LLC service because it not only provides you with all the basic formation services necessary to form your limited liability company in South Carolina, it also has a US-based customer service team that’s made up of experienced professionals who have been through the LLC formation process and can help you deal with any of the inevitable challenges your business will face.
If you’re looking for an LLC service that will go above and beyond to provide services to help your business succeed and grow, and you’re interested in getting an 82% discount, head on over to Northwest Registered Agent today.
2. ZenBusiness: 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
ZenBusiness’ price of $0 is the lowest on the market, but it will ultimately cost you more in the long run because it doesn’t offer free registered agent service or small business advice.
ZenBusiness’ price of $0 (plus state fees) is the best in the industry, but the fact that it doesn’t offer free registered agent service or small business support means it will cost you in the long haul.
If you choose ZenBusiness’ $199 Pro plan, you’ll get faster registration with expedited filing (four to six days based on your state) and help setting up your company operating agreement. In addition, the $299 Premium plan includes one to two day rush filing, an email address and domain name, and a custom website creator.
Also, the in-house US-based support staff is extremely accessible, with additional hours during the week and on Sundays to boot.
The fundamental features of ZenBusiness are a fantastic deal at $0 but if you want anything more, it will ultimately cost you more.
ZenBusiness doesn’t include free registered agent services with any of its LLC formation packages. Instead it charges $199/year for it. This means that you pay the full price starting your first year.
In addition, while the customer support is quick and effective with tasks such as changing your password or revising your billing information, they can’t assist you with HR or logistics issues, nor can they address tax-related inquiries.
ZenBusiness is an excellent choice for formation essentials. It has a US-based customer service team that’s available during extended hours and can help with any questions you may have while making sure your forms are filled out correctly and sent in to the right agencies.
If you need registered agent service, it will charge more, but its 100% accuracy guarantee and worry-free compliance will set your mind at ease.
If you’re looking for basic, no-frills services and want to learn more about ZenBusiness, read more about its packages.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
I put Harbor Compliance in my #2 spot because it provides a dedicated account manager to handle all your questions and concerns. However, you’ll pay for it.
Harbor Compliance offers all the basic services you need from a formation service.
It checks your business name availability, creates and files your articles of organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State, provides a free operating agreement template, and assists you with obtaining an EIN.
It also throws in a year of free South Carolina registered agent services, usually $99/year, which consists of a registered agent to accept legal documents and service of process during normal business hours, as well as a physical address in the state of South Carolina to list on your formation documents.
Harbor Compliance’s standout feature is the personal guide you’re provided with who helps you through the formation process.
Instead of calling a customer service line or sending an email to an anonymous helpline, you get a personal representative that you can contact whenever you need. This representative is familiar with your business and the challenges you face, and can therefore offer tailored advice that’s geared toward your particular situation.
The downside is that as awesome as having a personal guide sounds, this service doesn’t come cheap.
It charges $399 for its formation package and $799 for its Compliance package, which means it charges twice Northwest’s standard rate and 10 times as much as the deal I negotiated with Northwest.
Even though it’s nice to have a personal guide to help you navigate the formation process like a sherpa, is it worth paying $360 for it? You’re the only one who can answer that.
Harbor Compliance may not be the best LLC service in South Carolina, but it does cover all the basic services you need to establish your South Carolina LLC and offer a dedicated account manager, which sets them apart from other LLC service providers in the industry.
Though its $399 basic package is 10x more expensive than the deal I worked out with Northwest, it’s still one of the top three best LLC services in South Carolina.
If you’d like a dedicated account manager to help you through the formation process and you don’t mind paying a lot for this feature, check out Harbor Compliance’s website.
4. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a respected name in the business industry, mostly because people are so familiar with its online legal services. It also offers some pretty good LLC formation services in South Carolina.
One of the best features of Rocket Lawyer’s LLC services is that it provides one service that none of the top three LLC services in South Carolina do: legal services.
Rocket Lawyer charges $99 for its LLC formation services in South Carolina, and it comes with a seven-day free trial of its legal services subscription. Its legal services subscription grants you access to its vast library of customizable legal documents, legal documents reviewed by a lawyer, a 30-minute legal consultation on any subject, and attorney protection if your documents are challenged.
Rocket Lawyer’s customer service team consists of lawyers, which is great because they can answer any questions you have from a place of legal expertise, whether they’re about the business formation process or legal questions about your South Carolina business.
Rocket Lawyer doesn’t provide a year of free South Carolina registered agent services, so you won’t have a registered agent to accept mail and service of process during normal business hours, or a physical address in South Carolina to list on your formation documents, unless you want to pay an additional $149/year. It also doesn’t provide worry-free compliance notifications for your annual reports or VoIP service.
If you need ongoing legal services for your South Carolina LLC, then Rocket Lawyer is an ideal choice for your business. It’s also a good idea for new businesses and business owners who aren’t experienced with South Carolina laws. But if you need any additional LLC services (such as registered agent services and compliance notifications), Northwest Registered Agent is the better choice.
If you’re interested in learning more about Rocket Lawyer’s services and promotions, read my Rocket Lawyer Review.
5. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is new to the LLC formation service industry, first starting in 2012.
It only charges $49 (plus state fees) for its basic package, and it includes a lot of services for that price. It’ll help you create and file all your documents, give you an online account to access your important documents, give you a 30-minute business tax consultation, and free business domain name registration for a year.
However, it doesn’t offer free registered agent service for a year like Northwest. It charges $149 per year for South Carolina registered agent services, which means it’s quite expensive in the long run.
If you’d like to know more about its services, check out my Swyft Filings review.
MyCompanyWorks is inconsistent when it comes to the quality of its services.
It charges $79 (plus state filing fees) for its basic package, which includes filing your documents, assistance with your operating agreement, access to an online portal to store your documents, and compliance filing alerts for things like your annual report.
There is a drawback.
The only way you get a year of free South Carolina registered agent services, which includes a registered agent South Carolina to accept service of process on your behalf, and provides you with details so that you don’t have to list your personal information on the public record, is by signing up for its $279 premium package.
That price is quite expensive just to receive registered agent services. When you consider that Northwest only costs $39 and its basic package includes a year of free South Carolina registered agent services, MyCompanyWorks doesn’t seem like a good option in comparison.
7. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is another of the LLC services that seems like a budget option upon first glance, but upon further inspection is anything but “budget.”
It’ll prepare and file all your documents at no cost (except state fees). However, if you want anything beyond that, it will cost you.
Its basic package is $399 plus state fees, and it includes an operating agreement, help obtaining your EIN, and a company seal. Its $799 premium package includes a year of free South Carolina registered agent services, which includes a registered agent in South Carolina to accept service of process on your behalf, and the ability to keep your information off the public record.
So, even if you don’t have a dime to spend on an LLC formation and simply want someone to file your formation documents, ZenBusiness is the better option.
8. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast is a company that specializes in LLC formation, and it has a $99 basic package (plus state fees).
It files your documents, drafts your operating agreements, provides sample documents that you can customize for your business, and gives you a free year of South Carolina registered agent service in this package.
You won’t find any of the additional services that Northwest offers in Incorporate Fast’s basic package. However, if you sign up for its $199 package, it will help you get an EIN.
The main difference is that it processes business filings on the same day they’re received, and it’s the only company on this list to do so. So, if you’re in a hurry to form your LLC in South Carolina and you’re okay with paying too much for the service without receiving any additional services for the price, then it may be worth it to you to check them out.
But if you’d rather receive a slew of services and features at a great price, you should use Northwest Registered Agent, instead.
BizFilings is yet another service that has a $99 (plus state fee) basic package.
For this price, it’ll file your paperwork, throw in a year of South Carolina registered agent service, and provide compliance alerts. But you won’t get any of the additional services that Northwest provides for $39, like online document storage, online document storage, or assistance with creating your operating agreement, so in this case you would be paying more for less.
LegalZoom is another company that continues the trend of charging $99 (plus state fees) for a substandard basic package with minimal features. It’ll help you file your documents and you’ll get a banking resolution so you can open a business bank account, but that’s it.
If you’re already using some of LegalZoom’s other services (like its online legal services or South Carolina registered agent service) and you want all your business concerns handled by one company for convenience, it may be worth it to use LegalZoom’s formation service. Otherwise, there’s not a good reason to sign up with LegalZoom just for its LLC services.
If you’d like to read more about LegalZoom’s offers and services, check out my complete LegalZoom review here.
Other LLC Services
There were seven other South Carolina LLC formation services that I looked into during research for my list, but they weren’t good enough to recommend, so I didn’t feel it was necessary to give them detailed reviews. Here they are, in no particular order.
Like some of the other companies on this list, Incorporate.com has a basic package that costs $99 and provides insufficient services. It’ll help you file your documents, and give you an online portal to access your documents, but that’s all it provides. If you need South Carolina registered agent service or compliance alerts, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
CorpNet has a basic package that costs $108 (plus state fees), and it’ll only file your documents and issue compliance alerts. It doesn’t even offer South Carolina registered agent service.
MyCorporation charges $133 and will help you file your documents and assist you with creating your operating agreement. If you want anything else (like South Carolina registered agent service or compliance alerts), you’ll have to pay an additional fee for each additional service you choose.
14. Direct Incorporation
In addition to the services that MyCorporation provides (help filing your documents and creating your operating agreement), Direct Incorporation also offers a banking resolution to help you get a business bank account, as well as an EIN. But it charges $147 (plus state filing fee) and you won’t even get South Carolina registered agent service.
InCorp has a basic package that costs $117. It’ll help you file your formation documents and assist you in drafting your operating agreement. Each additional service you choose (like South Carolina registered agent service or compliance alerts) costs extra.
If you want to read more about InCorp’s services and fees, you can read my full review here.
16. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations offers the same scant services as InCorp (filing your documents and assistance with your operating agreement), but it charges $200, and you won’t even get South Carolina registered agent service or compliance alerts for that steep price.
17. SunDoc Filings
All you get with SunDoc Filings’ $79 basic package is help filing your formation documents. If you pay for its $99 Key package, it’ll help you with your operating agreement, and if you sign up for its $279 Premier package, it’ll help you obtain your EIN.
So, considering you don’t get registered agent service, compliance alerts, or an online portal for your documents, it pales in comparison to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best LLC Service Review Summary
Northwest Registered Agent’s basic package costs $39 with the deal I negotiated for BoostSuite readers, and it includes all the business formation services you need, plus business advice from its Corporate Guides. This type of advice would cost you around $5,000/day if you hired a consulting firm, so it’s a great value.
If you’re ready to start your South Carolina LLC and you want loads of formation services, as well as Corporate Guides to guide you through the formation process (and after), then check out Northwest Registered Agent today.
Best LLC Service Review Methodology
This is the method I used to choose the best LLC service.
Why You Should Trust Me
The reason you should trust me to give you good LLC service recommendations is I’ve got more knowledge and experience in the LLC service industry than nearly anyone else—including people who work for the business formation companies on my list.
My journey started when I used three different LLC services to start up my three businesses. Yes, you read that correctly, I had to use three different services because two didn’t adequately cover all the LLC services that I needed. (I won’t name names in this article because they’ve greatly improved their services since then, and I don’t feel that you should base your decisions on outdated information.)
The third service was used to launch this website, and it delivered services that went above and beyond my expectations, providing services that were worth a lot more than what I paid for them. That’s why I chose Northwest Registered Agent as the best LLC service in South Carolina.
My experience goes further than simply using these three services. I’ve gained a great deal of experience by helping business owners choose the LLC service that best met their needs, as well. Since the launch of BoostSuite, I’ve helped over 1,000 people find the best LLC service providers for their businesses, which required a ton of thorough research into the industry.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
This is the four-stage investigation process I used to find the best South Carolina LLC formation service.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage of my investigative process was to look at the online reviews of the major companies in the LLC formation industry. There’s a strong tradition among the bigger LLC services of encouraging customers to post online reviews. Now, some of them have over 4,500 positive customer reviews.
This stage gave me the information that I needed to get a general understanding of the quality that different LLC services provided, then I was able to weed out the services that didn’t live up to industry standards.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After I’d eliminated the companies that were obviously inferior and gained a general understanding of each LLC service, I checked out their websites. I logged on, read through headlines and titles, and got to know more about the company through the claims and statements they made on their site.
This gave me an understanding of the services offered by each provider, as well as a good idea of the way they saw their position in the market.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Once I saw how each company perceived themselves in the market, I needed to find out whether they actually lived up to their claims. You can find some of this information in online reviews, but most people don’t leave online reviews unless they’ve either had a really great or an epically bad experience with a company. This means that online reviews vary wildly to the extremes.
I then contacted customers who could talk to me and provide me with a firsthand account of their experiences. This gave me more of an idea about the average customer experience with each service.
To do this, I reached out to acquaintances who had used these services, people I’d referred, and visitors to my website. This let me understand the positive and negative aspects of working with each company.
This stage allowed me to get a more balanced understanding of how each business operates.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
The last stage of my investigation was to call their sales and customer service teams and push them for answers.
I gathered up all the feedback and comments I’d found throughout my investigation and pushed their customer service teams to provide answers to the criticisms that had been supplied by real customers.
This stage gave me the opportunity to learn about how each company deals with criticism and negative feedback from customers.
After completing my four-stage investigation process, I used five different factors to rate each LLC service.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first factor I used to rate LLC services was based on their service offerings.
Some LLC services will only help you file your documents with the proper government agencies, then kick you to the curb unless you pay for additional services. Other services will supply you with services like consultations from accountants, registered agent service, an online portal to access your documents, and assistance with your operating agreement.
This huge difference in the services available on the market made it seem like a good place to start my ratings analysis.
Factor 2: Price
The second factor I considered was price. Some LLC services have basic packages that start at $0 (plus filing fees), whereas others won’t even allow you to set foot inside their virtual doors for under $399.
When you take this into account, along with the vast differences in the services that each company provides, then the cost per service became the second factor I used to rate each LLC service.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
I considered how easy it was to sign up for each LLC service as the third rating factor.
There are some business formation services with glitchy, outdated systems that look like they were designed by some high school kid in coding class and built in the 1990s. Then there are others with user-friendly, sleek designs that are a breeze to use and make business formation painless.
This is why I chose the ease of sign-up as the third rating factor.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Design and operation difficulties don’t usually end after the sign-up process, unfortunately. They often carry over in the onboarding process, as well.
Some formation services provide you with pre-filled forms that are loaded with all the necessary information and only require a signature from you. Then there are other services that will just provide you with blank forms (even though they already have all the information that the forms ask for), and require you to enter the same information in 11 different sections.
No one likes wasting time, and this is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to all the important tasks you have to complete to form an LLC. That’s why it was important to me to rate each LLC service based on how easy it was to use them.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The last factor I rated each company on was its customer service. This was another area where the quality of services varied greatly from one LLC service provider to the next.
There are some LLC services that set up their customer service teams in foreign countries and employ locals who are poorly trained and have no experience with business formation in the United States.
Then there are formation services like Northwest Registered Agent who provide exceptional customer service. It has a team of US-based customer service agents who are former small business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants who have experience helping people go through the formation process. They can help you overcome any obstacle your business encounters, and help you find the best solution.
The difference in customer service quality is why I chose to rate each LLC service provider based on whether it offers outstanding customer service.
Northwest Registered Agent provides the comprehensive services you need, like filing your articles of organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State to ensure your South Carolina LLC is properly established, and an intuitive online system to store your documents.
It also throws in a year of free South Carolina registered agent services, which means you’ll have a registered agent to accept service of process and mail on behalf of your business entity during normal business hours, and a physical address in South Carolina to list on formation documents.
But by far its most unique feature is its Corporate Guides, who will answer any questions you have regarding the formation process and help you through any problems your business encounters.
If you’re ready to form your South Carolina LLC, sign up for Northwest Registered Agent today.
While you’re here, check out my guide on the best states to form an LLC in.
And if you’d like to know more about what registered agent services can do for you, read my guide on the best registered agent services here.