Making sure that you get the best LLC service for your business entity is critically important.
The right LLC service will establish your company in mere days, filing all your formation documents and submitting all your registration paperwork to the District of Columbia Corporations Division.
The wrong LLC service could fail to file the proper registrations or paperwork, dragging out your business launch for weeks or months and keeping you from conducting business.
I analyzed and selected the 17 leading LLC services and identified the top 10 using a five-factor, four-stage approach to assist you in finding the best LLC service for business entities. Here are the findings of my research into the best LLC formation services.
1. Northwest Registered Agent: 9.45/10 (Best Overall LLC Service)
Northwest Registered Agent earned my #1 spot because it covers all the LLC services you need to get your business up and running, at competitive prices, and it offers a unique service—small business advice.
Northwest Registered Agent has a lot of great features that you’ll love. It provides all the services necessary to establish your company in Washington, DC.
Northwest will fill out and file your articles of organization and other legal documents with the Secretary of State and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, provide free registered agent service for a year, give you compliance notifications, and give you access to an online portal so that you can not only manage online LLC services, but also access your formation documents.
It also offers a complimentary accounting consultation to make sure that your payment processing is properly set up and provides a free operating agreement template, and it adds a 90-day trial of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. You can choose several add-ons for an additional fee, such as an employer identification number (EIN), or federal tax ID number, Certificate of Good Standing, and state-certified copies of important business documents.
One of Northwest Registered Agent’s most unique features is its Corporate Guides.
You don’t have to deal with the typical customer support team that’s barely trained to help you reset your password. Northwest has a US-based team made up of former accountants, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and small business owners who are able to use their expertise to answer any question you have about the LLC formation process, as well as operating a small business.
The best thing about these experts is that they’ve launched and grown their own small businesses, and worked for years as LLC advisors. This means that they’ve guided hundreds of other small business owners through the formation process.
No other LLC formation service in Washington, DC, provides small business advice of this caliber. And when you consider that other small business consultant services charge as much as $5,000 per day for their services, it illustrates how valuable this service is.
The last feature that solidified Northwest’s title as the best LLC service in Washington, DC, is its price.
Northwest regularly charges $225, which is quite a bargain when you consider that it throws in a lot of expensive services. However, I’ve negotiated a special deal for BoostSuite readers. If you use my dedicated sign-up page to sign up for its services, you get an incredible 82% discount. This makes the total price $39 (plus state filing fees).
Like I said, its $225 price is great for the services Northwest offers, but when I considered the 82% discount that made its price a mere $39, it was a no-brainer to name Northwest the best LLC service in Washington, DC.
The only downside to the Northwest Registered Agent service package is that it doesn't provide you the tools necessary to establish an online presence for your business. Other LLC formation services offer premium packages complete with website setup features and business domain-name registration, Google advertising credits, web hosting. Some even provide a website builder. Unfortunately, Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t offer any of these services.
However, Google provides a $500 advertising credit to all new businesses, business domain names usually don’t cost much to register ($12 or less, usually), and popular website builders like Squarespace cost as little as $15 per month. This means that you can definitely afford to purchase them (and then some) with the money you save on Northwest Registered Agent’s services.
Northwest Registered Agent provides more than basic LLC formation services and goes above and beyond by providing a US-based customer service team made up of qualified experts who have experience with the formation process and small business ownership in the District of Columbia, and they can walk you through any of the problems that small businesses commonly encounter.
If you’re looking not only for a company that provides the best LLC services, but can also help facilitate the success of your business, and you want to take advantage of the 82% discount I’ve worked out, check out Northwest Registered Agent today.
2. ZenBusiness: 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
ZenBusiness offers the lowest price on the market at $0, but you’ll soon realize that this service isn’t as inexpensive as it first appears to be.
ZenBusiness provides you with all the services necessary to start up your company. It will conduct a business name availability check, ensure that all of the information you’ve provided on your paperwork is correct, and submit them on your behalf for just the cost of state fees.
You can upgrade to its Pro plan for $199 if you want expedited filing (four to six days), and it also includes help with your operating agreement. For even quicker registration, you can choose its Premium plan, which comes with a business domain name, email address, and custom website creator, as well as rush filing in as little as one to two days.
Its US-based customer support team’s expanded hours on weekdays and Sundays is another perk.
ZenBusiness’ most fundamental LLC services are essentially free, but if you need more advanced services, you’ll have to pay.
Any package you choose from ZenBusiness does not come with free registered agent service. It costs $199 per year, with the full price taking effect your first year.
None of ZenBusiness’ plans include small business advice, either. The company’s customer service representatives can assist you with routine issues like changing your password or updating your billing information, but they’re unable to assist you if you need guidance with HR or logistics problems, or if you have tax-related questions.
If you need basic LLC formation services, ZenBusiness is a solid choice. For just the cost of state fees, it will check the availability of your business name, make sure all of your information is correct, and submit your documents on your behalf.
Although registered agent service doesn’t come cheap with ZenBusiness, it’s well worth it because of the peace of mind it provides with perks like a 100% accuracy guarantee and worry-free compliance.
If you’re only interested in the essentials, you can learn more about ZenBusiness on its website.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
Harbor Compliance is in second place on my list because while it does provide a dedicated account manager that can answer all your questions and handle your concerns, it makes you pay for that privilege.
Harbor Compliance provides all the LLC services you need to get your new business set up with the Washington, DC, governing authorities.
It checks to make sure that the business name you chose is available, draft and file the articles of organization for your business entity, give you an LLC operating agreement template, help you get an employer identification number (EIN), and give you a year of free registered agent service (which it ordinarily charges $99 per year for).
Harbor Compliance’s standout feature is that it assigns you a personal guide to get you through the formation process.
Rather than calling customer service or sending emails to some anonymous team member, you’re assigned a personal account manager. This manager knows your account, situation, and the challenges you’re facing with your business entity, which allows them to give you personalized advice to help you decide which steps to take next.
Its one drawback is that its LLC services aren’t cheap.
It charges $399 for its formation package and $799 for its Compliance package. These prices are almost twice as much as Northwest Registered Agent’s standard fee, and 10 times more than the special rate I worked out.
It’s a nice touch to have a personal manager to guide you through the formation process, but is this touch worth paying an extra $360 for? You’re the only one that can make that call.
Harbor Compliance isn’t the best LLC service, but it does provide all the business formation services you need, and it’s the only formation service—not just in Washington, DC, but in the entire industry—to offer a dedicated account manager.
Even though it charges $399 for its services, and that’s 10 times more than the deal I worked out with Northwest Registered Agent for BoostSuite customers, it’s still one of the best LLC services on the market.
If you’re so interested in getting a dedicated account manager that you don’t care about paying expensive fees to get it, check out the website.
4. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a company known for providing online legal services, but it also offers LLC formation services to Washington, DC, customers.
One of the best things about Rocket Lawyer is that it provides an additional service not common to other LLC services: legal services.
Once you purchase its $99.99 LLC formation service, it kicks in a seven-day free trial of its legal services subscription. Rocket Lawyer’s legal services subscription gives you access to an expansive library of legal documents that you can customize to suit your needs, a 30-minute legal consultation about any subject, your legal documents checked by a lawyer, and attorney protection if any of your documents are challenged for some reason.
Another great feature is that its customer service team is made up of lawyers, which means it’s qualified to answer any question you have.
Rocket Lawyer doesn't offer any of the other services offered by Northwest Registered Agent. It doesn't offer a year of free registered agent service (it’s $149.99 for registered agent services), and it doesn't provide compliance notifications, accounting consultations, or VoIP services.
You can get all its excellent legal services without signing up for its high-priced LLC services by signing up for a free account on the website.
Rocket Lawyer can be a great choice if you want ongoing legal services. It’s also great for new business owners who aren't well versed in Washington, DC, laws. But Northwest Registered Agent is a better option if you’re looking for other LLC services.
If you’d like to learn more about Rocket Lawyer, check out my Rocket Lawyer review.
5. Swyft Filings
Launched in 2012, Swyft Filings is new to the LLC formation industry.
It offers a lot of services in its basic package for $49 (plus state fee). It helps you gather, create, and file your articles of organization and operating agreement to establish your business in Washington, DC, let you access your legal documents online, give you a 30-minute tax consultation with tax advice for your business, and provide you with a year of business domain name registration for free.
However, it doesn't offer a year of free registered agent service (which Northwest Registered Agent does). Instead, it charges $149 per year for registered agent services, so you’ll spend tons of money on its services in the long run.
If you’d like a more thorough review of Swyft Filings’ services, click here to read my Swyft Filings review.
MyCompanyWorks is a mixed bag when it comes to service quality.
It offers a basic package for $79 (plus state fee), which includes helping you draft and file your articles of organization and operating agreement, access to business documents online, and compliance alerts.
But it has downsides as well.
The only way to get a year of free registered agent service is to sign up for its premium package. However, this costs $279. Since Northwest Registered Agent only charges $39 with the special discount I negotiated AND provides a complimentary year of registered agent services, MyCompanyWorks doesn’t look like a great option.
7. Inc Authority
Inc Authority is one of the LLC formation services that seems like a budget option, but when you really analyze it you find out there’s nothing “budget” about it.
It helps you create and file your formation documents with the proper government agencies in Washington, DC, but that’s it. If you want any other services, you’re going to have to pay an arm and a leg for them.
Inc Authority has a basic package that includes services like creating an operating agreement, helping you apply for an EIN, and getting a company seal. But this costs $399 (plus state fee). It includes a free year of registered agent service in its premium package, which costs a ridiculous $799.
I feel like ZenBusiness is a better option than Inc Authority if you’re looking for a budget option and don’t require a registered agent’s address.
8. Incorporate Fast
Incorporate Fast is a decent LLC formation option that has a basic package for $99 (plus state fee).
It includes filing your articles of organization, assistance drafting your operating agreement, a complimentary year of registered agent service in Washington, DC, and some document templates that are helpful when starting a new business.
It also has another plan for $199, but you don’t get any other services, such as a tax assessment or an online portal to store your legal documents for the additional price.
The biggest distinction in its services is that it processes business filings the day it receives them, which no other LLC formation service on this list does. So if you’re in a hurry to establish your business and aren’t concerned about how much it costs or what services you get for the price, then you should check it out.
However, if you’re more interested in finding the best LLC service with tons of features and great prices, then you should choose Northwest Registered Agent.
BizFilings is yet another LLC service that uses the typical $99 (plus state fee) basic package price.
It includes a few things in its service package, like filing your articles of organization and operating agreement, throwing in a year of Washington, DC, registered agent service, and sending compliance notifications. However, it doesn't provide any extra services, like an online document portal, assistance drafting your operating agreement, or business tax assessment. So, you get fewer services at a higher price, so Northwest Registered Agent is the better option.
LegalZoom is yet another LLC service that charges the typical $99 (plus state filing fee) for its basic package, which includes minimal services. For this price, it’ll file your articles of organization and help you with a banking resolution so you can start a business bank account, but that’s it. It won’t help you create your operating agreement or provide registered agent service.
If you’re already using LegalZoom for its legal services, or already signed up for registered agent services, and want all your business services bundled together and provided by one company, then LegalZoom is a good choice for LLC formation services. However, there’s no good reason to use LegalZoom solely for LLC service.
If you want to read more about LegalZoom’s services and promotions, read my comprehensive LegalZoom Review.
Other LLC Services
There were seven other LLC service providers I checked out during my research to find the best LLC services. However, they were far from my top suggestions, so I didn’t write thorough reviews of them. You can read about them here, in no particular order.
Incorporate.com is another LLC service on the list that offers a $99 basic package but offers scant services. For this price, it’ll file your documents with the proper agencies in Washington, DC, and give you an online portal to access your documents. That’s it. You don’t get registered agent service, assistance with your operating agreement, or any of the other services that Northwest provides.
The only business formation services that CorpNet offers in its basic package, which costs $108 (plus filing fee) are filing your business documents to establish your business in Washington, DC, and issuing compliance notifications. That’s all you get. You don’t even get a registered agent.
MyCorporation charges $133 (plus filing fee) and it only files your vital formation documents and assists you in drafting your operating agreement. If you need a registered agent, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
14. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation offers the same business formation services that MyCorporation does, with the addition of helping you with a banking resolution and getting your EIN. However, it charges $147 (plus state service fee) for these basic services.
InCorp will file your formation documents and help you create your operating agreement with its basic package, which is $117 (plus state fees). Any additional services (like registered agent services) will cost you extra.
You can read more about InCorp’s services and rates in my full review here.
16. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations provides the same services that MyCorporation does in its basic package, which costs $200 (plus state fees). This means that for $200 you don’t even get a decent registered agent.
17. SunDoc Filings
SunDoc Filings will simply file your articles of organization to get your business established in Washington, DC, with its basic package, which is $79. If you choose its $99 Key package, it’ll also help you with your operating agreement, and with its $279 Premier package, it’ll help you apply for an EIN. But even if you pay $279 for its services, you’ll be left without a registered agent or compliance notifications, so it’s definitely not one of the best LLC services.
Best LLC Service Review Summary
Out of my list of 17 LLC services, Northwest Registered Agent is my choice for the Best LLC service because it’s the most practical option for most business owners.
Northwest’s basic package is only $39 with the discount I negotiated for BoostSuite customers, and it provides everything you need to get your business established in Washington, DC, in that package, as well as provide support from its Corporate Guides, which consulting firms typically charge $5,000 per day for.
If you’re ready to start your business today and want a business formation service that will provide you with all the basics, plus give you a lifeline in the form of Corporate Guides who can help teach you how to overcome any business obstacle that comes your way, then head over to Northwest Registered Agent.
Best LLC Service Review Methodology
Here is the method I used to find the best LLC services.
Why You Should Trust Me
You can trust any business formation service recommendation I make because I have more knowledge about the business services industry than pretty much anyone else.
My experience began when I started using three separate LLC formation services when I started my three companies in Washington, DC. Yes, you read that right—I used three individual LLC services because two didn’t cover all the services I needed at the time. (I’m not going to call them out by name because since then they’ve drastically improved their services, and I don’t want you to make any judgments about them based on outdated information.)
The third service is the one I partnered with to start this website, and it has exceeded my expectations and given me services that were worth a lot more than I paid for them. That’s why Northwest Registered Agent is my #1 recommendation for the best LLC service in Washington, DC.
However, my experience in the industry isn’t limited to just using these three Washington, DC, LLC services. I’ve helped other people find the best formation service to suit their needs as well. Since BoostSuite’s launch, I’ve heavily researched the formation service industry so that I could help more than 1,000 people find the best business formation service to establish their businesses.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
I used a four-stage process to select the best LLC services.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage in my investigative process was to analyze feedback left in online reviews from customers on major online review platforms. Most of the biggest, most reputable companies encourage customers to leave positive customer reviews online. Now some of them have more than 4,500 online business formation service reviews!
Reading through these reviews gave me an overview of the quality of each company, and it allowed me to eliminate services that didn’t live up to basic formation service standards in Washington, DC.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After getting a general understanding of each company and casting out the underperforming limited liability company (LLC) formation services, I moved on to the second stage of my investigation. This involved my heading over to their websites, reading all the information, and getting a feel for the company based on their claims and promises.
This allowed me to analyze their main services and how each company in Washington, DC, presented itself.
Stage 3: Speaking with Real Customers
After I understood how each company presented itself, the next logical step was to find out whether their services actually lived up to the claims. Sometimes you can get this information from online reviews, but most people will only leave an online review if they’ve had either an outstandingly good or baffling negative experience. This means that reading online reviews only provides you with the extreme instances of their services.
To remedy this problem I reached out to actual customers who were willing to speak with me and I took note of their experience. These reviews gave me a more balanced view of the average customer experience with each Washington, DC, LLC formation service.
I got these reviews by talking to friends I knew to have used an LLC formation service, people I’d previously referred to one of these LLC services, and people who visited my website. This feedback gave me a better understanding of both the positives and negatives of each limited liability company (LLC) service.
This gave me a clearer picture about what it’s like to work with each formation service, and it propelled me forward in my investigation to find the best LLC services.
Stage 4: Speaking with Their Sales Teams
The last stage of my investigation involved calling each company’s sales and customer service teams and grilling them for answers.
I collected all the feedback I’d found, both through my online review stage and from the reviews I got from actual customers, and I questioned their customer service and sales teams about the feedback and criticisms that had come to light.
This stage really gave me a clear picture of what it’s like to work with each company in Washington, DC, because it illustrated how they dealt with criticism and negative feedback.
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After my four-stage investigative process, I ranked each Washington, DC, LLC formation service based on the following five factors.
Factor 1: Offerings
Of course, the first factor I used when rating these companies was based on the services they offered.
Some LLC formation services only help you file your articles of organization and then send you on your way, unless you want to pay them more money for additional services. Other Washington, DC, formation services offer an accountant consultation, registered agent services, an online portal to access your documents, and help you draft your operating agreement.
This wide disparity in services is why I chose offerings as my first rating factor.
Factor 2: Price
The second factor I considered to choose the best LLC service in Washington, DC, was price. Some services cost a mere $0 (plus state fees), while others won’t even consider doing business with you for less than $399.
I took this into account along with the wide range of services that these services provide, and then the cost per each service became the second ranking factor I used.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
The next factor that I considered was how simply customers can sign up for their services.
Some LLC service providers have clunky, slow, antiquated systems that look like something designed in the 90s by a high school kid learning how to code. Others have simple, automated, user-friendly systems that are a breeze to work with and make starting an LLC in Washington, DC, easy.
I checked out the sign-up processes of each Washington, DC, company to find out which were the most stress free and simple.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
The user interface and navigation issues of a system don’t typically end once you’ve completed the sign-up process. In fact, the design problems and faulty functionality features that you notice during the sign-up process carry over to the onboarding process as well.
You’ll find that some Washington, DC, LLC services give you forms that are prefilled with all the necessary information, and only require a signature from you. Other LLC services just give you a blank form (regardless of the fact that they’ve already been provided with the information that the form asks for), and make you add the same information to 11 different sections.
Nobody wants to feel like they’re wasting time, and it’s especially frustrating to waste time whenever you’re going through the LLC formation process, which is why I chose to rank each LLC formation company according to how easy it is to use its service.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The last rating factor I considered was the customer service of each LLC service provider. This is another factor where I saw a lot of variation in the quality of the services provided.
Some LLC formation services have stationed their customer service teams in other countries and then employed locals equipped with poor training and no clue about how to start a business in Washington, DC.
Then there’s Northwest Registered Agent, who provides a US-based customer service team composed of former accountants, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and small business owners who use their own experiences to help you navigate through all the obstacles your business is up against and help you find the best solution for your circumstances.
The major differences in the value provided by each LLC service provider is the reason I chose customer service as the final rating factor.
I investigated and rated the 17 leading LLC services in DC and targeted the top 10 using a four-stage, five-factor rating system. Northwest Registered Agent easily won the first place title.
It covers all the basic services you need to establish your business, like help creating and filing all your formation documents with the proper government agencies, online access to your documents, and a year of free registered agent service.
The Corporate Guides are there to answer any questions you may have about the formation process. But they also have enough expertise to help you through any business challenge you face.
It’s unfortunate that Northwest doesn’t offer any premium services to help you establish your online presence, but because of the 82% discount that BoostSuite customers get (which makes its basic package come out to only $39 plus state fees), you’ll have more than enough money left over to pay for a premium website builder.
If you’re ready to form an LLC in Washington, DC, head over to Northwest Registered Agent today.
Read more about LLC formation costs and regulations in my guide on the best states to form an LLC in.