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Do you need to form an LLC, but you’re frustrated with the complexities and general hassle of the DIY route?

There are many providers like Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom that offer LLC service, but figuring out which one is the best option for your company can be tricky.

With this Northwest Registered Agent vs LegalZoom comparison, you’ll find the information you need conveniently laid out in a way that should help you make your decision.

Which LLC company is the right choice to form your business?

 

Do LegalZoom and Northwest Offer Good Value?

Before we dive into our comprehensive comparison of Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom, let’s briefly outline if either LLC services are actually good deals.

LegalZoom overall has subpar value and charges $99+ to form an LLC, with minimal included features. Northwest Registered Agent, on the other hand, is $20 cheaper than LegalZoom, includes far more features and has the best customer support we’ve seen online.

That said, as you’ll see below, Northwest Registered Agent is a far better deal than LegalZoom.

LegalZoom (Starts at $99)

  • If you want to use
  • the most well known LLC service

 

6 Things They Have In Common

1) Affordable: Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom both fill the role of companies that can help with your LLC formation, without costing you an arm and a leg like hiring a business attorney to draft and file your formation documents.

2) Customer Support: This is one of the biggest reasons these services can be a major benefit to you. Instead of going it alone when you have questions, you can contact their customer service department and get answers from knowledgeable professionals.

3) Experience: With thousands upon thousands of satisfied customers, LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent have the experience necessary to earn your trust.

4) Additional Services: After your LLC formation, these companies still have a lot to offer. Their comprehensive business services can provide solutions to all sorts of ongoing compliance requirements, including registered agent service and much more.

5) Educational: Their websites have a number of free tools to help you learn about the business world and run your LLC. Both companies provide a wealth of information on issues that confront many business owners, like asset protection, licensing and permits, etc.

6) Efficiency: Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom both offer expediting services that can dramatically speed up your formation process ― often from weeks or even months, down to mere days. This costs extra, of course, but it can be worth it if you’re in a hurry.

 

Side by Side Comparisons

Pricing

Northwest is $20 more affordable than LegalZoom for LLC formation services. Their base package costs just $79 compared to LegalZoom’s $99 entry-level price point. (See Details)

Features

These companies offer similar LLC service packages, with one notable difference being Northwest Registered Agent including a full year of registered agent service. LegalZoom does not include registered agent with any of their LLC packages ― not even their premium packages.

One other thing that’s worth noting is that Northwest, in their more premium packages, will only offer you features that you’ll want or need. LegalZoom on the other hand will offer a tremendous amount of up-sells for things that a bit more debatable.

Experience

Northwest Registered Agent is a mid-sized company, and they’ve served several thousand customers since they formed in 1998. LegalZoom is a massive operation, with millions of businesses served since 1999. They both have plenty of experience to get the job done right, it just depends what type of company you prefer to do business with.

Customer Support

Northwest’s support is incredible. They keep their premium customer support in-house, with a team of professionally trained Corporate Guides. Every time we have called with questions about complicated state rules or forming an LLC, the very first person we talk to is able to immediately answer our questions.

As for LegalZoom, their support agents are not nearly as knowledgeable as Northwest’s are, they have their own advantage in the form of extended support hours. They take calls and emails from 8am to 10pm ET every weekday, and they’re even open on weekends from 10am to 7pm ET.

Turnaround Times

The main difference here is that Northwest Registered Agent’s turnarounds vary by state, while LegalZoom’s depend on what level of service you purchase: Economy ($149) takes 30 days, Standard ($329) takes 15 days, and Express Gold ($349) takes 7-10 days.

Both companies are pretty fast with their turnaround times, so this is largely a toss-up — just keep in mind that because of the way they structure their processing times, Northwest Registered Agent is faster in some states, while LegalZoom is quicker in others.

Order Tracking

Both services offer online tracking where you can view real-time order status updates. It’s a convenient way to keep informed of which step your formation is in. In our opinion, these companies are equals in this area.

Registered Agent Service

Every LLC in America is required to select a registered agent, which is a person or business entity that receives important document deliveries (like service of process) from your state government, informs you of the receipt, then forwards the documents to you. This is so crucial because the state needs to have a reliable means of contacting your business at any time.

Northwest Registered Agent includes a year of registered agent with any LLC formation, and it’s $125 per year after that. Northwest is also the only major national registered agent service that locally scans every document they receive on your behalf ― their competitors only scan the government docs they’re required to. LegalZoom does not include registered agent in any formation package, and they charge $299 annually to add it on.

Customer Reviews

Northwest Registered Agent gets great review scores, but they don’t have very many online reviews ― just around 115 of them scattered across the web. On the other hand, LegalZoom has over 1,100 reviews to read through, but quite mixed ratings with positive and critical feedback in roughly equal measure. On average though, Northwest has better overall scores.

Ease of Use

There’s not a huge difference, so we’ll just mention that LegalZoom’s website is a bit more user-friendly than Northwest Registered Agent. The only downside to LegalZoom’s website is that they sometimes overload you with attempted upsells when making a purchase.

 

The Top LLC Formation Service for You?

Even though they are both good LLC formation services, there are plenty of differences between Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom. However, there are some aspects of Northwest’s service that make them far more appealing and offer better overall value.

First and foremost, Northwest Registered Agent’s $79 price point is more affordable than the $99 starting price for LegalZoom’s LLC services. Plus, Northwest includes a full year of their premium registered agent service at no extra charge, which will cost you $299 to add onto a LegalZoom package.

However, you may prefer one over the other for different reasons than we do. With that in mind, here are a couple scenarios that can help you make your choice.

When to Choose Northwest:

Are you are looking for an affordable and well-rounded LLC formation service that only includes features you’ll need and nothing you don’t? Northwest Registered Agent is the right choice for you.

When to Choose LegalZoom:

Do you prefer using the service that is far more well-known, with a high volume of customers and lots of brand recognition? If so, choose LegalZoom.

LegalZoom (Starts at $99)

  • If you want to use
  • the most well known LLC service


Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers.

If I Decide to Use Northwest, Which Package Should I Choose?

We like all three of Northwest’s LLC formation service packages, but if we had to narrow it down to just one, we’d choose their Basic package for $79 (plus state fee).

The Basic package includes a full year of their premium registered agent service, and also provides access to their industry-best customer support system. If you want some advanced features and you don’t mind spending a bit more money, you can add an EIN and an operating agreement in their Deluxe package for $179. Want a closer look? Check out Northwest’s pricing page.

How Does LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent compare to IncFile?

When reviewing LLC formation services, it’s impossible to not talk about the most well-known option, IncFile.

If you’d like to see how the two services in this comparison stack up to it, see our IncFile vs LegalZoom comparison or Northwest Registered Agent vs IncFile comparison.

Does Northwest Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?

Northwest provides a considerable amount of help with state-specific requirements like publication, but they stop short of offering to take care of it for you entirely.

For example, in New York, they allow their clients to use their Albany address as your principal office or “address for service of process.” They then provide you with a step-by-step guide to completing the rest of your publication requirement.

Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?

This category is a massive difference between Northwest and LegalZoom, because LegalZoom pushes upsells like no other company in this industry, whereas Northwest doesn’t even try them at all. With LegalZoom, you’ll need to navigate your way through $1,080 worth of upsells before you even choose your LLC formation package.

How do you know which features you need before you select your package? The answer: you don’t. The bottom line is that we don’t like the way LegalZoom structures their upsells, because they aren’t presented in a way that makes them seem helpful at all.

Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?

Both LegalZoom and Northwest are solid companies in this regard.

While so many of their competitors are seemingly in a race to see who can share your information with the most third-party partners ― usually presented to customers as some sort of “free extras” or “bonus features” ― LegalZoom and Northwest simply focus on providing their own services to the best of their ability.

Do Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?

LegalZoom’s comprehensive satisfaction guarantee really speaks to how confident they are in the quality of their products and services. In short, their guarantee says that as long as you request your refund within 60 days of your initial purchase, they will grant your refund within five business days.

Northwest also has a solid refund policy, but it’s not up to the LegalZoom level. Northwest provides refunds as well, but they charge a $25 processing fee ― or in their own words, a “You changed your mind fee.”

Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?

The answer to this question depends entirely on which state you’re forming your business in, because Northwest and LegalZoom have processing speeds that differ quite a bit.

Northwest’s turnaround times are based on the actual capabilities of your formation state, but LegalZoom’s are instead based on which level of service you purchase from them. Their cheapest package is the slowest (Economy, 30 business days), while their mid-tier Standard package speeds things up to 15 business days, and their most expensive Express Gold package takes 7-10 days.

Can I Just Register an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?

This is always an option, and plenty of entrepreneurs do form their own LLCs.

The reason we don’t typically recommend this is because each state has its own interpretation of how the LLC formation process goes, so if you form your own, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the exact rules and regulations of your specific state.

Additionally, we love having the peace of mind that comes with hiring a reputable service like Northwest or LegalZoom, as we can be confident that each step was completed in a compliant fashion.


Ready to Create Your LLC?

Create your LLC with LegalZoom or save $20+ by choosing Northwest Registered Agent.

LegalZoom (Starts at $99)

  • If you want to use
  • the most well known LLC service


About Aaron Franklin

Frustrated by all the options and aggressive online sales tactics, my good friend (Bryce O’Dwyer) and I created BestLLCServices.com to cut the clutter and bring clarity to entrepreneurs starting an LLC. Our focus is on reviewing and comparing the top LLC formation services while also crafting free resources that help you start a business. We sincerely believe finding the right service and free information should be a simple process so you can get started with minimal friction.