LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent are both top companies in the business formation space. In addition to forming LLCs and corporations, both companies offer a wide variety of additional services and instructional material and boast favorable customer reviews. But when you zero in, how do these companies measure up?
We take a look at each of these companies and review how they fare when it comes to four key factors that clients care about most: price, ease of use, customer support and customer satisfaction.
Below, we’ve compared the features of each LLC formation package offered by Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom in an easy-to-read chart.
|LLC Formation Price||Filing Formation Documents||Registered Agent Service||Operating Agreement||EIN||Order Processing Speed|
|Northwest Registered Agent||$39 plus state fees (promotional price*)||Included||Free for a year, then $125/yr||$50||$50||Same day processing|
|LegalZoom||$79 plus state fees||Included||Not included||$99||$60, must bundle w/ operating agreement||Up to 30 days, filing more expensive orders first|
*Promotional price available when signing up with affiliate link. Standard price for Northwest is $225 plus state fees, including year of registered agent service.
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent offers a $39 promotional price for LLC formation. For $39 (plus state fees), Northwest will form your LLC and provide the first year of registered agent service free. After your free year, the registered agent service renews at $125 a year.
Add-ons are typically priced on the lower end. If you’d like Northwest to provide you with an operating agreement or EIN, they’re each an extra $50. Northwest Registered Agent also promises “Privacy by Default” with all of their services. This concept generally seems to mean that they don’t sell client data, and they list their registered agent address instead of your personal address on public state filings whenever possible. While not exactly an add-on, increased privacy could be considered an additional bang you get for your buck with Northwest.
To get the $39 deal, you’ll need to sign up via a link like the one below. And without the $39 deal? You can expect to pay $225 plus state fees for LLC formation and a year of registered agent service.
LegalZoom charges $79 for LLC formation. This is just for formation alone—registered agent service is not included. LegalZoom’s registered agent service is a steep $249 a year, one of the highest prices in the industry. Add-ons are typically on the pricier side as well. An operating agreement runs $99 and an EIN is $60. Oddly, you cannot order the EIN service alone—it must be bundled with the operating agreement.
LegalZoom is more expensive than Northwest Registered Agent across the board. At $79, their basic package comes in at $40 more than Northwest Registered Agent’s affiliate discount, and does not include registered agent service.
Even without their $39 deal, Northwest is generally more affordable. For LLC formation and a year of registered agent service, LegalZoom charges $328—over a $100 more than Northwest’s standard price of $225.
Northwest Registered Agent
What we love most about signing up for a Northwest Registered Agent service is the transparency. On the first page of the sign up form, Northwest Registered Agent gives you an itemized running total of your final cost, including all state fees. The industry standard seems to be to collect as much of your data as possible before giving you any pricing information. In our opinion, everything is easier when you know what’s going on. Additionally, Northwest Registered Agent makes the rest of the sign up process a breeze with lots of helpful text to help with the most obvious questions that might pop up.
In the past, we found the content on the rest of Northwest Registered Agent’s website a little confusing to navigate at first. We discovered this is in large part a function of the sheer volume of informational guides and services available. The site just has a ton of content on a host of business topics, but it takes a little time to learn to navigate it. The navigation, however, has recently been updated, making it much easier to find the most popular core services and helpful guides.
LegalZoom has a very user-friendly website. From the homepage, it is easy to guide yourself through their legal and business topics. Just click “Business Formation” on the homepage, and the site easily guides users through their particular service needs.
What we like less about using this site is the lack of price transparency. LegalZoom wants you to disclose your business’s name, a lot of information about your business, your email address, and your phone number before giving you any concrete idea of how much you’re going to be paying. Even though a lot of sites in the industry do this, we find it annoying.
Though both of these sites offer very user friendly experiences, we give Northwest a slight edge because of its pricing transparency. Price transparency is particularly important for first time business owners unfamiliar with state fees or the costs of additional services. For us, having a running itemized total next to your order form really has a great way of putting the mind at ease.
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent employs “Corporate Guides” for its customer support. These are highly trained customer service agents with industry-wide reputations for friendly and helpful customer service. We found this reputation to be well earned.
When we called, we were sent to voicemail, but were called back in ten minutes. The wait was worth it. The Corporate Guide we spoke with went above and beyond our state cost questions by explaining “Annual Report” fees to us and explaining how that factors into overall cost. We were very impressed by Northwest Registered Agent. Our positive experience is mirrored in many customer reviews as well, like this one:
When we called LegalZoom we waited on hold for twelve minutes, a long time to listen to elevator music. However, when we were finally connected we were impressed with the knowledge of the representative we spoke with. They were friendly and helpful and answered all our questions. When we asked a question intended to stump them, the person we spoke with gave us their direct line and offered to call us back, which we appreciated.
LegalZoom’s friendly and knowledgeable customer support was also frequently noted in customer reviews like this one:
This one was pretty close. We found ourselves waiting for about ten minutes to speak with both companies. Representatives of both companies were plenty competent to answer the questions we asked, and our questions were answered in a thorough and friendly manner. Northwest’s Corporate Guide had a slight edge, able to provide a bit more on-the-spot information.
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent enjoys overwhelmingly favorable reviews. BBB rates them at 4.4/5 and Google rates them at a 4.5. Northwest Registered Agent also has a high response rate to user complaints. Most complaints against Northwest seem to be caused by charging glitches (people who were charged incorrectly for services). These problems were addressed quickly by Northwest customer service.
Likewise, LegalZoom generally receives positive reviews online. Their Google review function is turned off, so we looked at TrustPilot, which rates them at 4.3/5 and Consumer Affairs, which rates them at 4.6/5, in addition to BBB, which rates them at 4.42/5.
Most complaints against LegalZoom involve unexpected charges for services people didn’t realize they were signing up for. LegalZoom seems motivated to resolve these problems, as they have a high response rate. In our experience, it’s easy to understand how this happens as LegalZoom uses design techniques that can make it easy to sign up for services unintentionally.
LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent were too close to call in terms of reviews. Both companies enjoy largely positive reviews. LegalZoom has a lot more reviews in general, due to their sheer volume. For example, BBB has accumulated 82 reviews of Northwest but 3,827 reviews for LegalZoom.
Both companies are credible businesses that are very good at what they do. In the end, however, we feel that Northwest does it all for less and a little more transparently. Their prices are lower and their services and fees are more clearly stated. But either way you go, you’ll find a variety of services, a comprehensive website and many satisfied customers.