It is vital that you get the best LLC service when launching a new business.
The right LLC service will get your company up and operating in just days, with all essential paperwork submitted properly and registrations in place with the appropriate government agencies.
The wrong LLC service might delay your business launch for weeks, if not months, or it could hinder regular business operations owing to a lack of required registrations and documents.
I analyzed and rated the top 10 LLC services using a five-factor, four-stage system to help you find the best LLC service in Washington. Here are the findings of my research into the top LLC formation services:
1. Northwest Registered Agent: 9.45/10 (Best Overall LLC Service)
Northwest Registered Agent is ranked first because it checks all the boxes at an affordable price and is the only LLC service that includes small business advice.
Northwest Registered Agent has a lot to offer.
It takes care of everything you need to set up your LLC and get your company up and running quickly.
Northwest handles all the necessary paperwork to file your certificate of formation with the Washington Secretary of State, offers registered agent services free for the first year, notifies you of all upcoming compliance deadlines (like your annual report), and provides a simple and straightforward online dashboard to review and manage your business documents.
It also provides a free accounting consultation to ensure your payment processing is properly set up, a free operating agreement template, and a 90-day trial of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. You can buy extras like a federal tax ID number or employer identification number (EIN), a Certificate of Good Standing, or state-certified copies of your formation documents if you need them.
But it is Northwest Registered Agent's Corporate Guides that set it apart from the competition.
Instead of just having a standard customer service team that helps you reset your password and provides updates on your filing submissions, Northwest has a US-based team of former accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who can answer any questions you have about the LLC formation process, as well as operating and managing your new LLC in Washington.
These specialists have either started and grown their own LLCs or have worked independently as LLC advisors, guiding hundreds of others through the same formation process.
Northwest is the only LLC formation service that provides this kind of small business advice, which is a significant plus given that other small business consulting firms can cost as much as $5,000 a day.
The last reason Northwest is at the top of my list is the pricing.
While its typical pricing of $225 is an amazing value for small business advice, I was able to negotiate a special rate for BoostSuite readers (because sending thousands of recommendations Northwest’s way gives me more leverage than the average customer has). If you join up via my special sign-up page, you'll get an 82% discount, bringing the total cost of your LLC formation to $39 (plus state fees).
It’s a wonderful bargain at $225, but an 82% markdown to $39 makes Northwest a no-brainer for first place.
The only real disadvantage of Northwest Registered Agent is that it doesn’t provide any help in establishing your company's online presence. Other business formation services include website setup services in their premium packages (which are often $299 or more), such as a free year of domain name registration, web hosting, Google advertising credits, and even a free website builder. Northwest does not provide any of these services.
When you consider that Google gives a $500 advertising credit to every new business, that domain names are less than $12 to register, and that premium website builders like Squarespace are as low as $15 a month, you can afford to buy these add-ons with the money you save with Northwest Registered Agent and still have money left over.
Northwest Registered Agent is my top recommendation for the best LLC service because, in addition to offering the basics you'll need to set up your LLC, it has a US-based customer service team made up of experts who've established an LLC and can guide you through the inevitable issues you'll have.
If you want an 82% discount on the best LLC formation service, one that goes beyond your expectations to help your company succeed, go visit Northwest Registered Agent now.
2. ZenBusiness: 8.25/10 (Best Essentials LLC Service)
ZenBusiness has the lowest price in the entire industry at $0, but it will end up costing more in the long run because it doesn’t provide free registered agent services or small business advice.
ZenBusiness provides you with all the necessary resources to legally form an LLC. It will check the availability of your proposed business name, verify your listed information, and submit the paperwork on your behalf, all for the low, low cost of just the state fees.
If you need help with your operating agreement in addition to expedited filing (four to six days), you can upgrade to its Pro plan for $199. With its $299 Premium plan, you get a business domain name, email address, and a website builder in addition to rush filing (only one to two days).
It’s also great that the company’s support staff, which is based in the US, is available during extended hours on weekdays and on Sundays.
Basic LLC services with ZenBusiness are virtually free (except state fees), but additional features will cost extra.
It costs $199 per year for its registered agent services, rather than offering them for free the first year. You’ll have to pay it straight away the first year, too, whereas some competitors may charge you nearly $200 less for the service.
ZenBusiness’ plans don’t include expert guidance for small businesses, either. Standard customer support requests like revising payment information or changing information are things its employees can adequately handle, but if you have questions about taxes or need assistance with HR or logistics they won’t be able to help you.
If you just need the bare-bones LLC services, ZenBusiness is a fine choice. At no choice to you (other than the standard state filing fees), it will verify the availability of your business name, check the information on your paperwork, and submit all of the required documents with the appropriate authorities.
Despite the fact that ZenBusiness’ registered agent service is expensive, it may be worth it for the security it offers with benefits like a 100% accuracy guarantee and worry-free compliance.
Visit ZenBusiness’ website for more information if you’re only looking for the essentials.
3. Harbor Compliance: 7.15/10 (Best Premium LLC Service)
Harbor Compliance placed second on my list because it provides a personal account manager to ensure all your questions and issues are handled, but it also charges you for it.
Harbor Compliance offers all the essentials needed from an LLC formation service.
It checks to see if your business name is available, prepares and files your certificate of formation, provides you with a free operating agreement template, assists in obtaining an employer identification number (EIN), and even provides a free year of registered agent services (worth $99 per year).
The main benefit of Harbor Compliance is that you receive a personal guide to help you along the way.
You don't need to contact customer service or some anonymous hotline. You can just call your personal Harbor Compliance representative, who is familiar with your circumstances and problems and can give you appropriate advice tailored to your specific needs.
The disadvantage of this assistance is that it’s not inexpensive.
At $399 (plus filing fee) for Harbor Compliance’s formation package and $799 for its compliance package, it’s roughly twice Northwest Registered Agent's standard fee and 10 times more than the special price I've negotiated.
While having a personal guide to help your Washington business through the LLC formation process is helpful, is it truly worth an extra $360? Only you have the answer to that question.
Harbor Compliance may not be the best LLC formation service option available, but it offers all the services you need and it distinguishes itself from the competition by being the only company to provide a dedicated account manager.
Despite the fact that its $399 price tag is 10 times that of the special deal I've worked out with Northwest Registered Agent, Harbor Compliance is still among the top three LLC services.
Check out its website here if you want the added assistance of a dedicated account manager and don't mind paying extra for it.
4. Rocket Lawyer
Although Rocket Lawyer is a well-known brand name in the business world, very few people are aware that the company offers LLC formation services in addition to its other service offerings.
Online legal services distinguish Rocket Lawyer's Washington LLC formation services from those offered by the majority of the other companies on my list that specialize in LLC formation. This is one of the things that makes Rocket Lawyer's LLC formation services stand out.
With its $99 basic package, you’ll have your certificate of formation filed with the Washington Secretary of State and the status of your business name checked. But that’s not all Rocket Lawyer provides.
In addition to the business formation services, you will also get a free trial of its online legal services for a period of 30 days. (This normally costs $99.) The online legal services provided by Rocket Lawyer include access to the company's extensive library of customizable legal documents, a 30-minute legal consultation with a lawyer on any topic of your choosing, attorney document verification, and an attorney protection guarantee in the event that any of your documents are ever contested in court.
The fact that Rocket Lawyer's customer service staff comprises actual attorneys is just another advantage that can be enjoyed by your limited liability company. This means that not only are they knowledgeable about the LLC formation process, but they are also professionals who are able to address any legal issues that you may have pertaining to your LLC in Washington.
If you go with Rocket Lawyer, you won't get any of the supplementary offerings that come included with Northwest Registered Agent's $39 basic package. Your limited liability company won't get Washington registered agent services unless you pay the annual fee of $149. Without this service, your Washington business will not have a registered agent in Washington who can accept legal notices and mail on behalf of your company, nor will it have a physical address in Washington to list on formation documents.
5. Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings, founded in 2012, is a relative newcomer to the LLC formation sector.
It provides a lot for $49 (plus state filing fees) in its basic package. Swyft Filings will help you prepare your formation documents and submit them to the Secretary of State, offer you online access to your records, provide a 30-minute company tax counseling, and even throw in a free year of business domain name registration.
However, unlike Northwest Registered Agent, it does not provide free registered agent service for a year. Because Swyft Filings charges $149 each year for registered agent services, it will only cost you much more in the long run to use them.
Read my Swyft Filings review for a more comprehensive explanation of its services.
MyCompanyWorks has some good points and bad points.
For $79 (plus the filing fee required by your state), MyCompanyWorks will draft and submit your formation documents, assist you in creating an operating agreement, provide secure online access to your documents, and notify you of any upcoming compliance deadlines (for things like your annual report).
However, there is a drawback to this.
Its premium option, which includes registered agent services for one year at no extra cost, costs a whopping $279. When compared to Northwest Registered Agent, which offers a free year of registered agent service in addition to its low $39 price tag, it's clear that MyCompanyWorks isn't a good option.
7. Inc Authority
Yet another seemingly inexpensive business formation service is Inc Authority. But it turns out to be everything but budget when you look closely at it.
You can get free assistance with document preparation and filing, but you can expect to pay exorbitant fees for everything else you need.
The basic package is $399 (plus filing fee) and includes an LLC operating agreement, EIN support, and a company seal. The $799 premium plan is the only one that includes a free year of registered agent services (which provides you with someone to accept mail and legal documents on behalf of your business, as well as a physical address in the state).
ZenBusiness is preferable to Inc Authority if you don't have any money but still need to file your documents.
8. Incorporate Fast
The starting price of Incorporate Fast's basic package is $99 (plus filing fee).
The package includes formation document filing, free registered agent service for one year, help drafting an operating agreement, and a few sample documents you may need to get your company off the ground.
Incorporate Fast will assist you in obtaining an EIN for $199, but no other services, such as a company tax assessment or online document storage or compliance alerts for your annual report, are included.
If you're in a hurry to establish your business entity and are willing to pay more for the convenience (without any extra services provided for the cost) for less, you may want to check out Incorporate Fast since it will process every new business filing the same day it's received—this is a bonus not provided by other companies.
Northwest Registered Agent, however, is still the best option if you're only looking for a low fee and a wide variety of additional services.
To register a Washington LLC with BizFilings will cost you $99 (plus state fees) for the basic package.
This package includes formation document filing for your LLC in Washington, registered agent service for one year, and compliance notifications (for your annual reports). You get far less for more since it doesn't provide any other services, such as a business tax assessment, online document storage, or help with your operating agreement.
LegalZoom's $99 (plus state fees) basic plan is typical of the industry norm and offers next to nothing for the price. LegalZoom's formation services are limited to assisting with the filing of legal documents and a banking resolution for your LLC in Washington.
But for that fee you don’t get anything like registered agent service or compliance alerts to remind you to file annual reports.
If you plan on using any of LegalZoom's other services, such as its registered agent service, and want to have all your business legal needs met by a single company, then by all means, go ahead and join up with LegalZoom for your LLC formation.
Here you can find my complete LegalZoom Review, in which I go through all the features and benefits of using LegalZoom.
Other LLC Services
As part of my research, I looked at nine other Washington LLC services. However, none of them were even close to being worthy of a good recommendation so I didn't write full reviews on them. In no particular order, here they are.
Incorporate.com is a business formation service that, like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom, provides a stripped-down starter plan for $99. You can use its services to submit your formation documents for your LLC in Washington and save your documents digitally, but that's it. You don't even get registered agent service or any of the other extras that come with other LLC services.
CorpNet's LLC formation services include filing the formation documents for your LLC in Washington and providing compliance notifications for $108 (plus state fees). That's all it provides, though. You won't even get Washington registered agent service or any other services for that price.
MyCorporation is a business formation service that offers limited features. For its $89 (plus filing fee) basic package you’ll get the formation documents for your Washington LLC filed and an operating agreement. You don’t get Washington registered agent service, outstanding customer support, or any of the other features that many business owners expect from the best LLC services.
14. Direct Incorporation
Direct Incorporation does one better than MyCorporation by not only offering to file the formation documents and design an operating agreement for your Washington LLC, but also giving you a banking resolution and helping you apply for an EIN. It charges $147 for these minimal offerings, and you won’t even get some of the services that many LLC owners need, like Washington registered agent service.
For $117, InCorp merely files the formation documents and helps out with the operating agreement for your Washington LLC, and any other service you require costs an additional fee. For over $100, you should at least get Washington registered agent service.
Read my full InCorp review here.
16. Nationwide Incorporations
Nationwide Incorporations charges $200 for its Washington LLC services and will file your formation paperwork and draft an operating agreement for your Washington LLC, but if you want anything else (like Washington registered agent service), then you’ll be charged additional fees.
17. SunDoc Filings
For $79 you can file your certificate of formation with SunDoc Filings' basic package. In the Key package (which costs $99), SunDoc Filings will help you draft the operating agreement for your Washington LLC, and in the Premier package (which costs $279), it will help you file for an employer identification number. It doesn't provide Washington registered agent service with any of its packages. When compared to top-tier LLC offerings, SunDoc Filings hardly holds a candle.
The Best LLC Service in New York Review Summary
Of the leading 17 LLC services, Northwest Registered Agent is the best of the top 10 options for most small businesses.
A consulting firm could charge up to $5,000 per day, yet Northwest Registered Agent's basic plan includes everything you need to get your business entity established according to Washington state law for only $39 (plus the state fee).
If you're ready to launch your Washington business and need help with the fundamentals, as well as advice on how to tackle any obstacles you could face, head on over to Northwest Registered Agent today.
Best LLC Service Review Methodology
Using these criteria, I selected the best LLC services.
Why You Should Trust Me
Because I have more experience and knowledge than just about anybody else in the field of business formation services, you should entrust me with the suggestions for the LLC services for your Washington business.
My experience began when I launched my three companies by using three separate LLC formation services in order to get them off the ground. Yes, I used three different services because the other two didn't provide the assistance I required. (I won't name them here because they have both significantly improved in the time since I used them, and I don't think you should base decisions you make today on information that is more than a few years old.)
The third service, which I used to launch this website, has provided well above what I ever hoped for from an LLC service and far more value than I had to pay for it, which is why Northwest Registered Agent is the best overall recommendation for an LLC service that I can give.
However, my experience does not just come from using the aforementioned three services. I also have acquired expertise from assisting other people in picking the best LLC formation service for their newly established business entities. Since the debut of BoostSuite, I have personally aided over one thousand clients in finding the appropriate LLC service for their new company. In order to do so successfully, I have had to do extensive research into the industry.
How I Selected the Best LLC Service
The procedure that I used to choose the best LLC formation service consisted of four stages.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first step to identify the best limited liability company (LLC) services was to investigate the web reviews of the most prominent companies in this industry. There is a long history, at least among the popular services for LLC formation, of encouraging its clients to leave positive customer reviews online. As a result, some businesses have more than 4,500 positive customer reviews available online.
The process of reading and analyzing online reviews for the various business formation services enabled me to get an overall perspective on the quality of those services and eliminate any services that did not fulfill industry standards.
Stage 2: Website Analysis
After determining an overall impression of each service provider and eliminating any business formation services that did not live up to expectations, I proceeded by examining each website. I went online, read headlines and titles, and investigated each company based on the representations it made about itself and its services.
This provided me with the opportunity to get an understanding of the main business formation services that each provider offers, as well as how each provider views its position and the services it provides in the market.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
After I had an understanding of how the companies attempted to position themselves in the market, the next step was to determine whether or not they were actually able to live up to the claims that they made. This can sometimes be accomplished by reading web reviews. However, given that the vast majority of individuals only leave evaluations after having extremely favorable or dreadfully awful experiences, the data tends to be skewed toward the extremes of either direction.
After that, I made an effort to get in touch with clients whom I could really have a conversation with in order to get first-hand accounts of their experiences. I reached out to friends of mine who have previously utilized a business formation service, got in contact with clients to whom I had provided referrals, and spoke with people who had visited my website in order to gain an understanding of both the good and bad aspects of their experiences.
Because of this feedback, I was able to get a fair and nuanced grasp of how other customers regarded their experiences with the various formation services.
This not only provided me with a comprehensive and nuanced picture of what it was like to use each service provider, but it also helped me proceed with my quest to identify the best LLC services.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
My last step in analyzing these formation services was to call their sales and customer support departments and grill them for answers while I was on the phone with them.
I gathered the comments I had uncovered from my investigation of internet reviews and discussions with customers, and then I pushed their customer service representatives on the concerns that had been directed against the company.
This last phase gave me the opportunity to assess how well each company dealt with criticism and how they responded to negative feedback and criticism.
After four stages of investigation, each company was rated using five different variables.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first factor I evaluated was the provided services of each company.
Some formation services will only assist with the certificate of formation and then boot you out until you pay additional fees for more services. Other formation services will provide you with an accountant consultation, registered agent service, online document access, and assistance with your operating agreement.
This difference in LLC formation services offered by each company prompted me to begin my investigation here.
Factor 2: Price
Pricing was the second consideration I looked into when choosing the best LLC service. Some services begin at $0 (excluding state fees), while others will not even talk to you for less than $399.
The cost of the services, or rather, the cost per service, was the second factor I considered while rating the services, in conjunction with the significant disparity in services offered.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
Sign-up ease was the third factor I explored while reviewing these services.
Some LLC services provide pre-filled forms including all required information and requesting just a signature. Other services merely supply blank forms (despite having all the essential information on file) and need you to enter the same information 11 times on the same form.
I studied each company's sign-up process to find which took the least work and mental capacity to complete.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Design and operating difficulties are not typically resolved with the sign-up process. In the majority of instances, design and functionality concerns seen during the sign-up process extend throughout the onboarding phase.
Some formation services use obsolete legacy systems that seem to have been constructed in the late 1990s and designed in a high school programming class, while others offer sophisticated, simple, and user-friendly systems that make starting a business effortless.
No one likes to spend more time than necessary on something, especially when starting a company, so evaluating the ease of use of each service was important.
Factor 5: Customer Service
Customer support was the last element I considered while evaluating each formation service. This was another area in which I saw a LARGE difference in the value they offered.
There are LLC services that created their customer support teams in other nations and staffed them with inadequately trained locals who lack US business expertise.
And there are other LLC services, such as Northwest Registered Agent, whose US-based customer support team is composed of former accountants, lawyers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who have personal experience assisting you in overcoming the obstacles your business faces and can advise you on the optimal solution for you.
My fifth and final rating consideration was based on this significant discrepancy in customer support value I witnessed.
I analyzed 17 LLC services using a four-step, five-factor analysis, selected the top 10 to choose the best, and Northwest Registered Agent is hands down the top performer.
It covers all the essentials, such as assisting you in preparing and filing the necessary formation papers with the Secretary of State, providing an online portal where all your documents are saved, and offering a free year of registered agent service.
Northwest’s Corporate Guides will not only answer any questions you have regarding the LLC formation process, but their personal experiences as former accountants, attorneys, small business owners, and entrepreneurs enables them to guide you through the inevitable obstacles you will meet along the way.
If you’re ready to start your new business and you want excellent customer support and an 82% discount, then head over to Northwest Registered Agent now.
While you’re learning about LLC services, now is a good time to consider registered agent service, as well. A registered agent service is an individual or business entity that will accept mail, legal documents, and service of process on behalf of your company during normal business hours.
With registered agent service you’re also given a physical address you can use for your business on your formation documents for the sake of privacy. If you’d like to know more about registered agent service, check out the Best Registered Agent Services.