($29 + State Fees)
BEST OVERALL VALUE
($199 + State Fees)
BEST PREMIUM PACKAGE
($49 + State Fees)
($0–$299 + State Fees)
Best California LLC Formation Services
Here are some tips for choosing an LLC formation service followed by the best California LLC formation services.
- Decide what kind of service you need. Some services offer full-service LLC formation, while others only offer limited services. Make sure the service you choose can meet your specific needs.
- Compare prices. Some companies offer free California LLC formation but charge outrageously for add-on services you will need, while other companies offer premium services with everything you need (plus many extra conveniences and customization options). Still other companies package together only what you need to start your California LLC without the higher à la carte pricing. Consider your business’s budget before committing to a service.
- Seek reliability and value. You want to partner with a company that is trustworthy and easy to work with. Companies like this often have systems in place to prevent mistakes from happening. They also hire and train expert staff to answer questions and provide help when needed.
Our No. 1 Recommended Service
Northwest ($29 + state filing fees) is the best business formation service in California overall because of its low price, reliable customer support, abundant services, and how easy it is to set up an account.
1. Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
Northwest provides the services you need to make your company legitimate, like registered agent services and compliance filings (e.g., annual reports). This makes it easier for you to run your business because you don't have to worry about doing all of this yourself or risk missing important and costly deadlines.
Northwest Registered Agent is known for its customer service and strict privacy. They're always willing to help their clients, and they provide each customer with dedicated "Corporate Guides" who help them stay in compliance with state policies and procedures.
Premium online LLC services, excellent customer service, and zero hidden fees are good reasons Northwest is the best California LLC service. Some of our other favorite advantages include:
- Low price guarantee
- Satisfaction Guarantee
- High-value, low-cost services
- Free registered agent services and an operating agreement template
- Reliable company with years of experience in the industry
- "Privacy By Default" service — Northwest never sells customer data and protects client privacy
- Many useful add-on services (registered agent service, virtual mailboxes, etc.)
- Complete transparency — you'll always know what you’re paying and why
- Northwest charges a fee if you want them to get an EIN for your California business. But, you can easily get an EIN for free in minutes online.
Northwest Pricing and Features
Get everything you need to start your California LLC with Northwest. For just $29 plus the state filing fee, you'll get the following features:
- Complete business formation services (including Articles of Organization filing with the California Secretary of State)
- Registered agent services (free for the first year)
- Business address (a listed address you can use that isn't your home address)
- Mail forwarding services (included with registered agent service)
- Lifetime Corporate Guide assistance (available via phone or email)
- Compliance filing assistance (annual reports, etc.)
Northwest offers LLC formation services for much less and without the hidden fees. Great customer service and user experience, you’ll see why they top our list of the best LLC services.
For a more in-depth look at Northwest, check out our Northwest Review.
2. Tailor Brands ($199 + State Fees)
Tailor Brands offers the best all-in-one premium package of any LLC formation company in California. They offer what you really want in an LLC formation company — a start-to-finish experience that takes only minutes.
- Start by picking your name with Tailor Brands’ AI-powered naming technology, which tells you if your business name is available in California.
- Then, empower your online presence with Tailor Brands’ premium logo maker and other marketing tools.
- Finish by creating your LLC in less than 10 minutes. When you're ready, you can use Tailor Brands’ proprietary website builder to customize your professional website with just a few clicks.
Now you can enjoy the independence of running your business. Tailor Brands truly is a one-stop shop for LLC formation, branding, and creating an unforgettable online presence.
Tailor Brands Pros
Comprehensive LLC formation, branding, and startup tools that users can set up in minutes give Tailor Brands’ premium package the edge over other California LLC formation services. Here are some of the advantages you can expect with Tailor Brands:
- Easily create and launch your business
- One-stop-shop for LLC formation, compliance, and branding
- Get an online presence with a custom website
- Free AI-powered logo design tool
- Branding and marketing tools to help you succeed
- Low monthly pricing that fits most startups
Tailor Brands Cons
- Lower-tier packages may not offer what you need in an LLC formation service
- Registered agent service is not included for free in the first year
Tailor Brands Pricing and Features
Tailor Brands’ tailored experience happens at the premium level. For just $199 plus state fees, you'll get the following features:
- Premium LLC formation package
- Custom brand identity
- Logo, website, and other marketing personalization features
- 100% compliance with all state and federal laws
- All-in-one management platform
- Expedited processing
- Free operating agreement
- One-year free domain registration
- Digital business cards
- Social media post maker
- Business cards tool
- An online studio "tailored" to your business
Tailor Brands offers a custom-tailored LLC formation experience with everything your business needs. One flat fee gets you the best of everything without needing to pay more.
For a more in-depth look at Tailor Brands, check out our Tailor Brands Review.
3. ZenBusiness ($49 + State Fees)
If you're looking for an affordable and simple way to form your business, ZenBusiness is the perfect option. It offers LLC formation packages starting at only $49 per year (plus the California filing fee).
What's more, ZenBusiness’ process is quick and easy — you can have your LLC formed in just minutes using the company’s clean, intuitive online platform. And they offer a huge range of helpful resources, including templates, legal advice, and more. So, if you're looking for an affordable and convenient way to form your LLC, ZenBusiness is a perfect choice.
An ideal resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners, with a variety of formation packages to choose from, ZenBusiness makes it easy and affordable to get your business off the ground. And if you have any questions along the way, their team of experts is always happy to help. Here are some more reasons to choose them for your startup:
- Excellent customer feedback, with reviews touting the service's honest and straightforward responses
- "Worry-Free Guarantee," which promises assistance in avoiding costly mistakes and keeping your California LLC in good standing with the state
- Though their prices are low, they still provide quality LLC formation services
- Some of ZenBusiness' business formation services, like EIN filing and Worry-Free Compliance, cost extra or require the purchase of a pricier formation package.
ZenBusiness Pricing and Features
ZenBusiness will help you get your LLC set up quickly and easily for just $49, plus the California registration fee. You'll get the following features:
- Easy and affordable California LLC formation service
- Operating agreement template
- Online document services
With a variety of formation packages to choose from, ZenBusiness makes it easy and affordable to get your business off the ground. And if you have any questions along the way, their team of experts is always happy to help.
For a more in-depth look at ZenBusiness, check out our ZenBusiness Review.
4. Incfile ($0–$299 + State Fees)
With Incfile, you don't have to go through the process of forming your California LLC alone. Incfile can help you every step of the way, from filing the paperwork to maintaining your LLC for years to come.
Incfile is great for entrepreneurs that want to start a California limited liability company on a budget. The pros of Incfile's LLC service definitely outweigh the cons:
- Free LLC paperwork filing with the state (just pay state filing fees)
- Easy online dashboard offers complete visibility of order history and LLC formation documents and reports
- Real-time order monitoring and quality customer support make it easier to keep up with important deadlines after forming an LLC in California using Incfile's online business formation service.
- You'll have to pay extra for services like EIN filing and operating agreements.
Incfile Pricing and Features
With Incfile's free package (plus state filing fees), you'll get basic California LLC formation, including:
- Preparation and filing of the Articles of Organization
- Free registered agent service for one year
Higher-tier packages include more LLC services, including EIN filing, operating agreements, banking resolutions, and lifetime company alerts.
Incfile's Silver LLC formation package includes free LLC formation and one year of free registered agent service, making it a good option for California businesses on a budget.
For a more in-depth look at Incfile, check out our Incfile Review.
What to Do After Forming an LLC in California
Once you have successfully formed your LLC in California, what should you do next? Here are some key steps:
- Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) - If your California LLC formation service did not provide this option in their service offering, you can get an EIN for free online in minutes. Learn more about EINs.
- Draft an LLC Operating Agreement - This document will outline the rules and procedures for your LLC. California requires LLCs to create and maintain an operating agreement, but it doesn’t have to be filed with the state. Learn more about LLC operating agreements.
- Start Building Business Credit - Start with net 30 accounts and then apply for a business credit card. Learn more about business credit.
- Create a Business Website - Having a website is necessary to build credibility and trust. Learn how to build a website.
- Open a Business Bank Account - A business bank account helps you keep track of your company finances while helping prevent you from piercing the corporate veil. Learn about the best business bank accounts.
- Hire an Accountant - This saves you from financial loss, stress, and potential legal problems. Learn more about business accounting.
- Get Business Insurance - This will protect your LLC and its members in the event of an accident or lawsuit. At the minimum, purchase general liability insurance through a reputable small business insurance company. Learn more about business insurance.
- Apply for Business Licenses and Permits - These may be at the federal, state, or local level depending on the nature of your business. Learn more about business licenses.
- Register for Business Taxes - When you form an LLC in California, you will need to register for annual tax, sales tax, employer withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax. The right accounting software and accountant avoids mistakes and penalties. Learn more about business taxes.
- Get a Business Phone Line - This will help you separate your personal calls from your business communication. The best small business phone system will help you stay professional and credible as a business. Learn how to get a business phone number.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I start an LLC?
An LLC provides limited liability protections by separating your personal assets from your business. This way if your business gets sued for negligence or debt, nothing happens to your personal assets (retirement accounts, home, etc.).
How much does an LLC cost in California?
The cost to register an LLC in California is currently $70 filing online or by mail, or in person for $85. An LLC in California can cost anywhere from $70 to $1,000 per year, depending on the additional services you choose (e.g., accounting, insurance, registered agent services, etc.). This doesn’t factor in the cost of doing business, like paying taxes, employees, and all other LLC expenses.
Which LLC service is the best?
Choosing the best LLC service can be difficult. There are many services to choose from, and each one offers different benefits. It's important to do your research before making a decision.
Factors to consider include price, customer service, and features. Make sure the service is reputable and trustworthy.
What should I consider when starting an LLC?
When starting an LLC, consider the state in which you will form your LLC, if you want it to be member-managed or manager-managed, and taxation. Single-member LLCs are taxed as a sole proprietorship by default, while multi-member LLCs are taxed as a partnership.
Is California a good state to form an LLC?
California isn’t necessarily a great state to form an LLC. LLCs formed in the state must pay taxes that other states don’t charge, including an $800 annual franchise tax as well as an annual LLC fee. That being said, California is one of the biggest and wealthiest states in the country, making it a potentially lucrative area.
How can I get my LLC faster in California?
In California, you can get your LLC formed much faster if you have all of the information you need for your Articles of Organization ready at the time of filing.
California also offers expedited filing. The fee for this service is $350 to $750.
Should I use a registered agent service for my LLC?
When you're setting up a limited liability company (LLC), you might consider using a registered agent service. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that's responsible for receiving legal and tax documents on behalf of your LLC.