Incfile vs Northwest Registered Agent

Starting a new company can be a daunting task. Each state has different rules, and for those looking to form an LLC or corporation, the requirements can be confusing. Fortunately, several online service providers can help. Incfile and Northwest Registered Agent are two popular options, which we’ll compare in the article below.

Incfile vs Northwest Registered Agent: Quick look

Both of these companies are business formation services, otherwise known as incorporation services or LLC formation services. Essentially, they help you meet all the state requirements necessary to form a new business entity. Instead of working directly with your state, you’ll work with the company and their online tools. The result is a much simpler, more streamlined business formation experience. 

Although Incfile and Northwest offer similar services for business owners, there is a lot to consider when choosing between these two companies.

Similarities between Incfile and Northwest Registered Agent

  • Both provide a simple, efficient way to start a new company
  • Both give you the choice of LLC or corporation
  • Both also support the formation of nonprofit entities
  • Both can serve as your Registered Agent
  • Both are compatible with regulations in all US states
  • Both help you file all necessary paperwork to get registered, including articles of organization/incorporation, operating agreements, and more
  • Both can help with extras, such as Employer Identification Numbers (EIN), Doing Business As (DBA) names, and more
  • Both make it easier to select an available company name with a name availability search

Differences between Incfile and Northwest Registered Agent

  • Incfile pitches you with partner offers and upsells; Northwest does not 
  • Northwest works hard to protect your data and does not sell you as a lead; Incfile’s business model requires them to share your data with partners
  • Incfile’s pricing starts at $0 + state fees; Northwest is $100 + state fees
  • Incfile has tiered packages which bundle services together; Northwest has a flat-fee model, with the option to add on extras
  • Northwest offers Virtual Office and Mail Forwarding services; Incfile does not
  • Incfile supports the formation of partnerships; Northwest does not

Check out our roundup of Best LLC Services

Incfile basics

Incfile is a popular LLC formation service that’s been in business since 2004. Since then, they’ve been integral to the formation of more than 250,000 new business entities, and counting. With Incfile, you can start a new:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation (C-corp or S-corp)
  • Nonprofit corporation
  • Partnership (LP or LLP)

Incfile is best known for being the lowest-cost provider of business formation services. Their base plan is actually free; you just pay state fees. So if you’re looking for a way to form your LLC for as cheap as possible, Incfile may be a good option.

That said, you may wonder how they are able to offer this “free” plan. The answer is that they have financial relationships with various partners. When you sign up, Incfile recommends various products to you, such as banking products, business website hosting, and more. They may also share your data with partners, so it’s important to be aware of this. 

See the full review of Incfile here.

Northwest Registered Agent basics

Northwest Registered Agent is another popular option for business formation. As the name suggests, it started as a Registered Agent service - but today, it offers a wider range of services. With Northwest, you can start a new:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation (S-corporation or C-corporation)
  • Nonprofit corporation

Northwest is best known for excellent customer service. When you sign up for Northwest, you’ll be assigned a personal Corporate Guide. This guide will serve as your personal customer support agent, and will help guide you through the entire process. Northwest genuinely works to form relationships with their clients, fostering trust and long-term business relationships.

Another facet of Northwest’s commitment is protecting your privacy. They take many additional steps to ensure that your data is secure, and they never sell your personal information. Plus, they have privacy-boosting add-on services, like Virtual Office, Mail Forwarding, and a business address to use on forms, so that you don’t have to use your personal information.

See the full review of Northwest Registered Agent here.

Incfile vs Northwest Registered Agent: Pricing

Incfile has premade formation packages, ranging from $0 to $299. Northwest uses a simpler, flat-fee structure, charging $100 + state fees for business formation. 

Incfile pricing

  • Silver Package - $0 + state filing fees - Standard business formation documents, standard filing speed. Includes one year free Registered Agent services (renews at $119/year). Includes bonuses like partner offers for business bank accounts, web hosting, business domain name etc.
  • Gold Package - $149 + state filing fees - All features of the Silver package, plus express shipping, EIN application, LLC operating agreement & banking resolution.
  • Platinum Package - $299 + state filing fees - All features of the Gold package, plus expedited filing + shipping. Adds additional templates, business domain/email, and more.

Northwest Registered Agent pricing

  • Business Formation Service - $100 + state filing fees
    Northwest uses a flat-fee structure of $100 to help you form a new company, whether it’s an LLC, corporation, or nonprofit. This includes all the basics you need, as well as fast processing and filing speed. On top of the basic package, you can add on various additional services:
  • Registered Agent - $125/year
  • Annual Report - $100/year
  • EIN tax ID application - $50
  • S-Corp Election - $50
  • Virtual Office - $49/month
  • Mail Forwarding - $40/month
  • Business Phone Number (VoIP) - $9/month
  • Certificate of Good Standing - $50-$70+, depending on the state 

As you can see from the pricing, Incfile is certainly cheaper - particularly for the first year, and for their most basic plan. Incfile’s plan is $0 + state fees, whereas the cheapest option at Northwest is $100 + state fees. If you want Registered Agent services, Incfile is even cheaper. Incfile includes one full year of Registered Agent services for free (renews at $119/year), while Northwest charges $125/year. So, while the ongoing difference is small, the upfront costs for the first year are substantial. 

That said, there’s a tradeoff to consider here. Incfile is able to offer free and low-cost plans because of their partnerships with other companies. If you’d rather avoid these upsells, Northwest is a good option. 

Overall, both companies offer good value, with pricing in-line with competing filing services like LegalZoom, ZenBusiness, and others. 

Incfile vs Northwest Registered Agent: Features

Both of these services have a lot to offer. When it comes to business formation features, the two are fairly similar. They cover all the basics, and can also both help with applying for an EIN, selecting DBA business names, electing S-corp status, and more. One noteworthy difference to consider is that Incfile supports partnerships, while Northwest does not.

When it comes to ongoing services, there’s more to consider. Both can help with annual report filing, company alerts, and Registered Agent services. Northwest offers a number of unique services, including Virtual Office, business VoIP phone, mail forwarding, and more. 

As for ease of use, both offer intuitive online platforms to help you navigate the business formation process. Of course, Northwest is unique in that they pair you one-on-one with a Corporate Guide. If you appreciate more personalized help, Northwest is a great choice. 

Turnaround time depends on the package you choose and the state you live in. Processing time can be same-day, a few business days, or it can take up to several weeks, depending on a variety of factors. 

Northwest vs Incfile: Customer service

Northwest and Incfile both have solid customer support, but their approaches are quite different.

  • Northwest Registered Agent customer support offers email and phone support. Agents can be reached during normal business hours, PST. 
  • Incfile customer support offers both phone and email support. Agents can be reached Monday - Friday from 9am to 6pm CST. 

Incfile has a fairly traditional support setup: if you have an issue, you call in and can speak to a representative. Northwest, on the other hand, uses a Corporate Guide system. You’re assigned a personal liaison when you use Northwest’s services, and this person will be your point of contact for any issues you may have.

If you read through customer feedback, you’ll notice that Northwest has far more positive reviews than Incfile. In fact, Northwest’s customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, etc. are excellent, while Incfile’s track record is mediocre at best. 

Which should you choose? 

After reviewing all the details, let’s consider a recap. Which of these two services is best for your small business?

Choose Incfile if…

  • You want the cheapest option possible. Incfile’s silver plan can save you at least $100 compared to Northwest’s base plan.
  • You want to form a partnership. Incfile supports LLP and LP businesses; Northwest does not. 

Choose Northwest Registered Agent if…

  • You value a company with a great reputation. Northwest’s ratings among customers and experts alike are excellent.
  • You want to protect your data. Northwest never sells your data, and they don’t have “partner offers” and upsells, like Incfile does.
  • You want privacy-boosting features. Northwest lets you use their business address on forms, protecting your data. They also have mail forwarding, virtual offices, and more. 
  • You want personalized help. Northwest uses its Corporate Guide system to pair you with your own personalized guide and customer service representative.

About the Author Nell

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