5 Best Corporation Services for Startups 2023
Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Are you considering incorporating your startup? Startup incorporation is an important step for many new business ventures, especially those seeking outside investment. Fortunately, there are plenty of corporation formation services to choose from that can help you with the process. We can help you choose the right one for your needs.
Keep in mind that forming a corporation (C corp) is typically the right choice for startups in need of outside investment. For small businesses that don’t plan to raise outside funds, it’s usually better to form an LLC.
Our Recommendation for Best Corporation Service: Northwest Registered Agent ($29 + State Filing Fees)
Top Corporation Formation Services Online
By incorporating a startup, you are establishing your new business as a formal legal entity outside of the founders or owners. This brings many advantages, which is why so many businesses choose to incorporate. Limited liability, establishing credibility, looking better to investors – the benefits can be significant.
In this business formation services guide, we've compared, reviewed, and ranked the 5 best online incorporation services for startups:
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best incorporation service for your business: what services do you get (registered agent services, EIN assistance, etc.), what’s the customer service like, and what does it cost?
Every corporation service has its own value proposition, some of which are more appealing than others. For your money, Northwest Registered Agent is the best overall value. It makes the incorporation process simple and fast while also delivering superior customer support, knowledge, and premium registered agent services for a reasonable price.
Whatever structure you choose – corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or nonprofit – you’ll be happy with what Northwest offers!
Best Online Corporation Service: Northwest
Northwest Registered Agent is our choice for best online incorporation service because of its competitive pricing and knowledgeable customer support.
1. Northwest Registered Agent
Pricing: $29 + State Fees
Northwest Registered Agent is our pick for the best incorporation service for a variety of reasons. Its customer service has the knowledge to guide you through the process confidently and is there when you need help.
It also provides Corporate Guides – experienced US-based support agents with deep expertise in their subject areas. That means you get a lot of quality guidance for very little money.
Other corporation services often charge hundreds of dollars for a year of registered agent services, but one of our favorite things about Northwest is its inclusion of a full year of free registered agent service. After the first year, it’s still pretty affordable.
- Some of the best customer support we have found
- Ordering is simple and painless
- A full year of no-cost registered agent service included
- Phone service for 60 days
- The corporation services included are fairly basic – hence the low price (but for most businesses, it’s definitely sufficient)
Northwest is an excellent and affordable choice for online corporation services. Form a corporation with Northwest Registered Agent ($29 + state fees)
Pricing: $49 + State Fees
ZenBusiness is another corporation service that offers a quality set of services for a decent price.
One of the nice things about ZenBusiness is that it includes “Worry-Free Compliance,” a service that lets you know when it’s time to file important documents with your state. That way you don’t risk getting in trouble for missing filings.
ZenBusiness also offers additional services in more expensive packages that include things like Employer Identification Number (EIN) registration and a business website. The added cost may not be worth it to all businesses, but if you are in need of the services, it could be a good fit.
- Pricing is competitive
- Includes some useful features, like worry-free compliance
- Great customer reviews
- Missing some useful features like free registered agent service
- Can’t pay for single services, must purchase an annual subscription
ZenBusiness is another great choice for online corporation service, providing many features at an affordable price. Form a corporation with ZenBusiness ($49 + state fees)
Pricing: $0 + State Fees
Incfile has built a reputation for providing simple, high-quality online incorporation services for an affordable price. You get some very nice features, like a year of registered agent service, without needing to spend a lot of money.
Incfile will file your incorporation paperwork and give you a year of registered agent service for just the cost of state fees. However, if you want additional features like an EIN or drafting corporate bylaws, you will have to pay additional fees.
There is a drawback to Incfile, however. It’s mostly made for LLC formation. If you need to form a C corp or some other structure, you should consider Northwest or another service instead.
- Extremely affordable
- A year of free registered agent service
- Free package available (just pay state fees)
- Primarily for LLC formation services
- Additional services, such as getting an EIN, cost extra
Incfile is a suitable incorporation service provider for startups and small businesses that are on a budget and want valuable added features. Form a corporation with Incfile ($0 + state fees)
4. Rocket Lawyer
Pricing: $349.99 + State Fees
Rocket Lawyer is certainly more expensive than many of the other business formation services we recommend, but there’s a reason for that higher price. Rocket Lawyer provides ongoing legal services for your business, which, if you need them, makes the price much more reasonable.
One of the main reasons we recommend Rocket Lawyer is because they give our readers a great deal: 40% off of their standard $649 price. Instead, you only pay $349.99 + state fees to gain access to everything Rocket Lawyer has to offer. This includes free business incorporation, registered agent service for a year, and a full year of legal services.
- 40% off of the standard price of $649
- Free registered agent service for a year
- Free legal services for a year
- More expensive than other online incorporation services
- Cost is only justified if you need to take advantage of free legal services
Rocket Lawyer is another excellent LLC formation and online incorporation service. Incorporate with Rocket Lawyer.
Pricing: Starts at $149 + State Fees
LegalZoom is a well-established business formation and incorporation service provider that has been used by thousands of businesses. It’s a known brand with plenty of satisfied customers, and the company knows how to do things right.
LegalZoom also offers access to additional services that your business may need beyond corporation formation, like online legal services and products.
One of the nice things about LegalZoom is that you can form a professional LLC (PLLC) — something that’s not available from every incorporation service.
The company is more expensive than some of the other formation services we have listed, though. It’s only ideal for businesses that need LegalZoom-specific offers, like legal services or forming a PLLC.
- Well-established brand
- Access to online legal services, like tax advice and legal forms
- Ability to form a PLLC
- More expensive than alternatives like Northwest
- Some complaints from customers about high fees and lack of customer support
- Need to pay extra for some features, like EIN registration and operating agreements
Interested in forming an LLC instead? Check out our review of the best LLC services!
The TRUiC team evaluates the top online corporation services based on the following criteria:
- Pricing: The company offers essential corporation formation services at an affordable price for entrepreneurs.
- Features: The service's basic business package includes vital features such as corporation filing, registered agent service, drafting corporate bylaws, etc.
- User Reviews: Previous customers rated and reviewed the corporation 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 business incorporation services that provide the best value for our users so they can more easily launch and grow successful startups.
What is a corporation?
A corporation, or C corp, is an independent legal entity registered with the state to do business. It provides legal protection for its owners and/or founders, so the corporation’s assets and debts are independent of those of the owners/founders.
Why should I incorporate my startup?
You should incorporate your startup to take advantage of the legal protections provided by incorporation.
It protects your personal assets in the event your business is sued. Incorporation also makes your business appear more legitimate and is often necessary to attract outside investors.
What type of corporation should I form?
That depends on your goals. We recommend forming a corporation if you seek outside investment and forming an LLC if you are a small business that does not require outside investment.
What is an S corp?
An S corp is a tax designation, not a formal business structure; electing S corp status may provide tax benefits to entrepreneurs.
To start an S corp, your company must first have a formal business structure, such as an LLC or corporation, and then elect to be taxed as an S corp.
You can learn more about S corporations by reading our comprehensive guide.
What are startup incorporation services?
Startup incorporation services take care of the complex paperwork and incorporation filing process required by your state to become a C corp. It ensures that the right documents are delivered to the right agencies to meet state requirements.
Many incorporation services provide additional features like annual report filing, registered agents, EIN registration, drafting corporate bylaws, and more.
A business incorporation service can save you time and money while providing you with peace of mind instead of having to navigate the complex business formation process on your own.
What is the best corporation service for startups?
Our pick for best online incorporation service is Northwest Registered Agent because of its affordability and knowledgeable customer service.
Should I form an LLC or corporation for my startup?
That depends on your business goals. If you don’t need outside investment, forming an LLC is usually simpler and preferred by small businesses that just need the legal protections provided by incorporation.
However, if you need outside investment or plan on a more complex business structure, forming a corporation might make more sense. Learn more by reading our LLC vs. Corporation article.