ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent

Last updated: May 31st, 2024
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Looking to start a new LLC or corporation? While you can do it on your own, it’s often recommended to use a service to help. Two popular options are ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent. These services can help you navigate the complex world of new business registration, helping to ensure accuracy and efficiency. In this article, we will compare and contrast these two options.

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ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent: Quick look

Both ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent are business formation services. That means that they help entrepreneurs form new companies, by working with state agencies to satisfy all necessary requirements. The services are similar – but there are also some key differences to consider.

Similarities between ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent

  • Both make it much easier to form a new business entity
  • Both help with the formation of new LLCs and corporations
  • Both can serve as your Registered Agent, a requirement in most states
  • Both help you file all important documents, including articles of organization, LLC operating agreement, banking resolution, etc.
  • Both can help with extras, like Doing Business As (DBA) names, obtaining tax ID numbers, etc.
  • Both make it easy to find a business name with a company name availability search
  • Both can help you form a company in any US state

Differences between ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent

  • ZenBusiness has premade bundles; Northwest lets you customize your plan
  • Northwest supports nonprofit foundation; ZenBusiness does not
  • Northwest has many tools and services to help protect your privacy; ZenBusiness has more basic offerings
  • ZenBusiness has partnerships, “special offers”, and upsells; Northwest keeps it simple
  • Northwest pairs you one-on-one with a personal Corporate Guide; ZenBusiness has a more traditional customer service model

ZenBusiness basics

ZenBusiness is a subscription-based online service provider. They focus on the core of business formation services. With ZenBusiness, you can start a new:

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

ZenBusiness has helped tens of thousands of business owners start new companies. They have a great reputation with hundreds of positive reviews.

One unique aspect of ZenBusiness is that it’s subscription-based. Their plans all have annual fees, but provide valuable ongoing services and features. All plans include Registered Agent services.

See the full review of ZenBusiness here.

Northwest Registered Agent basics

Northwest Registered Agent is a business formation and Registered Agent service. They offer a simple, straightforward approach to the industry, with a focus on privacy and personalized service. With Northwest, you can form a new:

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

Northwest takes a simpler approach compared to most competitors. They don’t have fancy bundles or all the bells-and-whistles. What they do have is a streamlined, efficient, and personalized level of service.

Northwest focuses on a few things: Privacy, data security, and personalized service. They genuinely care about their clients, and strive to help them achieve their business goals. Each customer is paired with a personal Corporate Guide, who helps throughout the entire process. Plus, Northwest lets you use their business address on forms, helping to protect your privacy.

See the full review of Northwest Registered Agent here.

ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent: Pricing

There are several important factors to consider when it comes to pricing. First off, ZenBusiness is a subscription service, while Northwest is more of a one-time-fee (with the option to keep ongoing services). Also, ZenBusiness sells “bundles” of services, while Northwest has a basic package with the option to add on additional services. Here are the details. ​​​​

ZenBusiness pricing

  • Starter Package – $129/year + state filing fees (varies by state) – The ZenBusiness starter plan covers the basics of new business formation. It also comes with free Registered Agent services.
  • Pro Package – $249/year + state filing fees (varies by state) – The ZenBusiness Pro plan covers the basics, and adds additional features like an Employer Identification Number (EIN), banking resolution, corporate bylaws, and various templates for your use.
  • Premium Package – $349/year + state filing fees (varies by state) – The ZenBusiness Premium plan adds bonus marketing tools, including a free domain name, business website, and business email address. ZenBusiness offers expedited turnaround time with this plan, as well.

Northwest Registered Agent pricing

  • Business Formation Service – starts at $39 + state fees – Northwest’s first year is free (plus state fees), then $39/year (plus state fees), and covers all the basics of forming a new company (LLC, nonprofit, or corporation). Processing and filing speed is expedited by default. On top of this service, you can add on various additional services.
  • Registered Agent – starts at $39/year plus state fees
  • 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+ (varies by state)

Comparing pricing on these two services requires close attention to detail. ZenBusiness may appear more expensive at first glance, particularly considering they only offer ongoing subscription services. Likewise, Northwest’s fee starts at $39 plus state fees may seem quite attractive. But, it really just depends which features you want.

If you don’t need a Registered Agent, Northwest is clearly a better value. But if you do opt to keep Registered Agent service, ZenBusiness may offer more bang for your buck.

The biggest factor here is whether you want to build your own plan, or choose a premade plan. ZenBusiness only offers bundles, while Northwest keeps things simpler, allowing you to select the services you actually need.

Overall, price points on these two services are in-line with competing filing services like Bizee, LegalZoom, and other LLC formation services.

ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent: Features

There are several important factors to consider when comparing the features and services from these two incorporation services. For one, ZenBusiness offers marketing tools, like business websites, domain names, etc. Northwest does not have these features.

On the other hand, Northwest Registered Agent offers substantial privacy-boosting features. For instance, their Virtual Office and Mail Forwarding services mean that you can use their address as your official business address, helping protect your personal information. Plus, Northwest works hard to protect client data and privacy in a number of ways.

As for the basics of business formation, both services are similar. Each can help with all the required steps, and both serve as your Registered Agent. Northwest does support nonprofit formation, while ZenBusiness does not. For founders of LLCs and corporations, the options are largely similar.

Ease of use is similar on both services – they are each quite simple to use. Turnaround time is also similar – although ZenBusiness has different processing time for different packages, while Northwest has the same rapid processing regardless of the services you choose. Both services generally process your applications within a few business days.

Northwest Registered Agent vs ZenBusiness: Customer service

Both of these companies are known for great customer support – but their approaches are substantially different.

  • Northwest Registered Agent customer support can be reached during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, Pacific Time (no specific hours are listed on their website). You can reach them via phone or email.
  • ZenBusiness customer support can be reached Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm Central Time (CST), and Sunday from 10am – 7pm CST. Both phone and email support is available, as well as an online support chat.

ZenBusiness uses a traditional support model. If you have an issue or a question, you simply call in, email, or chat, and you’ll be paired with an available agent. Northwest, on the other hand, uses a more personalized approach.

When you first sign up for Northwest Registered Agent, you’ll be paired with a “Corporate Guide”. This agent will serve as your own personal customer service representative, and will help guide you through the formation process.

To be clear, both services have great reputations and track records. If you look at customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), TrustPilot, etc. you’ll find that both Northwest and ZenBusiness have excellent ratings.

Which should you choose?

We’ve reviewed all the details – but which is the best LLC service for your small business or startup?

Choose ZenBusiness if…

  • You want a bundle formation package of useful services. ZenBusiness’ LLC formation packages offer many services bundled together, which in many cases offers great value for clients.
  • You want to keep Registered Agent services. ZenBusiness includes Registered Agent in all plans – and in many cases, it’s cheaper than Northwest’s comparable service level.
  • You want a business website, domain name, etc. ZenBusiness partners with marketing service providers to offer tools like a business email address, domain name, and website builder.

Choose Northwest Registered Agent if…

  • You want personalized support. Northwest makes a point to build relationships with their clients, fostering a long-term beneficial arrangement for all parties.
  • You want privacy-boosting features. Northwest works hard to protect client data, and boosts privacy by offering mail forwarding, virtual office, and more.
  • You don’t want upsells or “special offers”. Many competitors make most of their profit by sharing your data with partners, or giving you “special offers” for other products. Northwest does not participate in this practice.
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