Top Online Incorporation Services for Startups
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Incorporating your startup means establishing your business as a formal legal entity, separate from its founders or owners. Startup incorporation has a number of advantages; your company will gain limited liability, establish credibility and trust, be more attractive to investors, and more.
In this business formation services guide, we’ve compared, reviewed, and ranked the 8 best incorporation services for startups:
When deciphering the best incorporation service for your startup, it is important to identify the services offered (e.g., Employer Identification Number (EIN) assistance, registered agent services, etc.) compared to the price.
Each business incorporation service offers its own unique value; however, our overall recommendation for startup incorporation is Northwest Registered Agent. Not only does Northwest make structuring your business online quick and easy, but it also offers exceptional, knowledgeable customer service for a competitive price.
Best Online Incorporation Service: Northwest
Northwest Registered Agent is the best startup incorporation service because of its affordability and knowledgeable customer support.
1. Northwest Registered Agent
Pricing: $39 + state fees
Northwest Registered Agent is our top pick for the best online incorporation service. Northwest is known for its knowledgeable and accessible customer service, which means you are likely to find the support you need during the critical stages of the incorporation process. They provide their customers with Corporate Guides, who are highly trained U.S.-based support agents.
- Excellent and knowledgeable customer support
- Quick and simple ordering process
- One year of registered agent free
- Free phone service for 60 days
- Northwest doesn’t include as many features as other incorporation services. For instance, they charge extra for some essential features such as an employer identification number (EIN). However, you can simply get one for free using our guide.
Northwest Registered Agent is an excellent and affordable choice for online incorporation services. Form a corporation with Northwest ($39 + state fees) or Form an LLC with Northwest ($39 + state fees).
Pricing: $49 + state fees
ZenBusiness is another good option for online incorporation services. With services ranging from incorporation to LLC formation, ZenBusiness can help you easily structure your company online.
Additionally, ZenBusiness customers who choose to incorporate using its services gain worry-free compliance included in the price. For startups that want extra support, ZenBusiness also offers packages that include EIN and expedited filing services as well as domain names and a business website built into the annual cost.
- Competitive price
- Included features such as worry-free compliance
- Some helpful features only included in higher-priced packages
- Annual subscription model, no pay-per-service option
ZenBusiness is another great choice for online incorporation service, providing many features at an affordable price. Form a corporation with ZenBusiness ($49 + state fees) or Form an LLC with ZenBusiness ($49 + state fees).
Pricing: $0 + state fees
Incfile is known for having inexpensive formation services that don’t sacrifice features or reliability despite its competitive pricing. In fact, every formation service comes with a free year of registered agent services. With Incfile, you can form a corporation and obtain free registered agent services for a year by paying only the necessary state fees. But, if you would like additional perks such as a bank account, EIN, or help drafting bylaws, you will need to pay extra.
The main drawback is that Incfile’s services are geared primarily towards LLCs. Therefore, if you are planning to form a corporation, another formation service, such as Northwest or Clerky, might be a better choice.
- Competitive price
- Registered agent services
- Focused primarily on LLCs
- Additional services cost extra
Incfile is one of the best online incorporation services if you are on a budget and want valuable added features. Form a corporation with Incfile ($0 + state fees) or Form an LLC with Incfile ($0 + state fees).
Pricing: Starts at $700 or pay-per-service
Clerky offers business formation services created for startups specifically, making it an ideal choice for startup founders. One of the best things about choosing Clerky for business formation is its pay-per-service model that allows customers to choose the exact services they need without having to pay for services they don’t.
Clerky breaks down the formation process into two chapters, the first being actually forming your corporation and the second being the required steps afterward such as drafting bylaws and assigning founder vestment.
- Created for startups specifically
- Pay-per-service features
- Excellent, knowledgeable customer service
- Higher cost than many competitors
- Formation services only available for C corps
- Required expedited filing
5. Stripe Atlas
Pricing: Starts at $500 + state fees
Stripe Atlas is a business formation service through Stripe that offers a litany of services in addition to business structuring, including a guaranteed bank account with formation. For international startup founders who may find it difficult to acquire a bank account for their startup, this can be highly beneficial.
If you choose to incorporate as a C corp, you are automatically enrolling in banking through Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). However, with this bank, all empty accounts are charged a fee of $25 per month, a common complaint from customers working with SVB, along with difficulties doing various tasks through SVB due to complicated processes.
However, if you like what Stripe Atlas has to offer but would prefer to form an LLC, it offers LLC formation services as well, with a choice between banking with SVB and Azlo.
- Guaranteed bank account
- Created for startups specifically
- Great for international founders
- Higher cost than some competitors
- For corporations, no choice of bank
Pricing: Starts at $300 + state fees.
One of the main drawbacks of Gust's incorporation services is its subscription-based model. Despite the corporation process being a one-time event, startups that choose to use Gust’s services are required to sign up for a subscription for additional services such as a private founder community and software after they have formed their corporation.
- Created for startups specifically
- Business banking included in cost
- Post-incorporation support
- No unique features
- Subscription-based model
7. Rocket Lawyer
Pricing: $349.99 + state fees
Rocket Lawyer is the best incorporation service choice if you want ongoing legal services beyond business formation. We’ve actually negotiated a deal to bundle Rocket Lawyer’s premium membership services into an exclusive plan for our users at the discounted price of $349.99 (plus state fees). You’ll save approximately $300 (over 45%!) by choosing our New Business Bundle, which includes free incorporation services, one year of registered agent services, and one year of legal services.
- Excellent customer support
- Access to a library of easy-to-use legal forms and documents
- Rocket Lawyer is focused more on legal services past company formation. If you are simply interested in incorporating a startup, there are more affordable options.
Pricing: Starts at $149 + state fees
LegalZoom is a highly popular business formation service; however, it forms more LLCs than corporations. Its site will guide you through the business formation process and even help you decipher the right business structure for you.
The drawback of LegalZoom, compared to competitors, is the lack of additional services included in the cost of formation. For help with essential documents such as bylaws, EINs, or business licenses, for example, you can expect to spend between $99 and $249 in additional fees. What’s more, recurring services such as tax preparation or compliance cost between $280 and $320 per year for each.
- Money-back guarantee
- A well-known, experienced company
- Convenient formation services
- Higher price than some competitors
- High cost for additional services
Interested in forming an LLC instead? Check out our review of the best LLC services!
The TRUiC team evaluates each online incorporation service based on the following criteria:
- Pricing: The company offers essential startup services at an affordable price for entrepreneurs.
- Features: The service's basic business package includes vital features such as incorporation filing, registered agent services, etc.
- User Reviews: Previous customers rated and reviewed the startup incorporation service positively, and the company is receptive to negative reviews.
- Customer Support: The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive to customers. They provide startup founders with peace of mind throughout the business incorporation process.
- Accessibility and Transparency: The information on the service's website is easy for the customer to navigate and understand. The ordering process is straightforward, user-friendly, and void of hidden fees.
Overall, our main goal is to recommend online incorporation services that provide the best value for our users so they can more easily launch and grow successful startups.
What is the concept of incorporation?
When you incorporate a startup, you register your business with your state, and it becomes its own legal entity, or “person.” You can learn more about startup incorporation by reading our comprehensive guide on how to incorporate a startup, along with its supporting articles.
What is the purpose of incorporation?
One of the main purposes of incorporation is to gain personal liability protection; however, there are many other reasons to incorporate; your startup will establish credibility and trust, be more attractive to investors, and more.
What are business incorporation services?
Online incorporation services take care of the confusing business formation paperwork by completing and submitting formation documents to the appropriate government agencies. These services will often save you both time and money, provide you with peace of mind, reduce the chance of errors, and offer helpful customer support and tools throughout the formation process.
What is the best incorporation service?
Our pick for the best incorporation service is Northwest Registered Agent because of its affordability and knowledgeable customer service.
Should I form an LLC or corporation for my startup?
Forming an LLC vs. corporation depends on the nature of your startup. LLCs are simpler structures that are often better for small, owner-managed businesses. Corporations are more complex structures that are better suited for startups that want to raise outside funding, grow significantly, etc.