Six of the Best Online Business Formation Services Compared
Choosing the right business formation service can mean the difference between a smooth business launch and a nightmare of misfiled government forms. Here at CorpNet, we stake our reputation on providing you with the best business formation service possible. But with all of the other options available today, it’s worth asking whether or not CorpNet is always the best choice for your business.
We wanted to see how we stack up against the other guys and find out if we really do provide five-star quality service. So we compared the most complete business formation packages offered by the leading online providers.
Then we dove into the data to help you understand exactly what your options are, and whether or not you’d be better off using a different provider. Here’s how CorpNet measures up against the competition.
Which Formation Service is Right for Your Business?
Different companies have different names for their top-tier service packages, but they all include a more-or-less complete list of the services you need to incorporate a business, form a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or file a DBA (fictitious business name).
For evaluation purposes, we ran a side-by-side comparison of these top service packages:
- CorpNet: Complete Package
- BizFilings: Complete Package
- Incfile: Platinum Package
- Incorporate.com: The Works Package
- LegalZoom: Express Gold Package
- Swyft Filings: Premium Package
What We Discovered Surprised Even Us
The process of starting a business or forming a corporation is slightly different in every state. Considering that all of these providers offer business formation packages in all 50 states, you might expect to find that they all offer more or less the same services.
But we learned that there are tremendous differences from one provider to the next. Not only in the menu of services offered and the package pricing (which can vary by up to 44%), but especially in the overall customer experience.
Most providers require you to fill out a lengthy order form, up to 18 pages long in some cases. Hidden in the fine print is the fact that much of the information they collect on those order forms will be shared with third parties and used for marketing purposes.
CorpNet is the only provider that has a simple two-page order form that’s easy to fill out—and also the only provider that keeps your personal information private from third parties.
Our Head-To-Head Business Service Comparisons
When it comes to choosing a business formation service, it pays to know who you’re really dealing with. Would you rather work with a company that was founded by entrepreneurs just like you? Or one that’s operated by a huge foreign corporation? Some companies are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, while others have nothing but one-star reviews. Here’s the inside story behind the leading providers.
Founded by a husband-and-wife team in 2009, CorpNet offers comprehensive business incorporation services in all 50 states. The team at CorpNet has formed more than 100,000 businesses to date and offers the industry’s best 100% satisfaction guarantee. Based in Westlake Village, California, the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, with a BBB rating of A+.
Started in 1997, BizFilings sells online business incorporation services to small business owners. This company is actually part of Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services, a large portfolio of legal services companies headquartered in the Netherlands.
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Incfile is a national document filing service. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Incorporate.com is a registered trademark of the Corporation Service Company, based in Wilmington, Delaware. The company has been accredited by the BBB since 2010, but as of December 2019, their reviews average less than two stars.
Launched in 1999, LegalZoom is based in Glendale, California. They do not specialize in business incorporation services but instead provide online general legal services. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but as of December 2019, their reviews average only one star.
Started in 2012 by a lawyer, Swyft Filings is based in Houston, Texas. They operate in all 50 states and provide incorporation services to small and medium-sized businesses. The company is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Business Formation Services: Detailed Analysis
Clearly, CorpNet provides an easier ordering experience, higher privacy control, and better customer service, not to mention a total business formation solution.
But what happens if we dig down into the details of each service package to find out exactly what’s included, and what costs extra? Does CorpNet still come out on top? We’ve already done the hard work for you. Here’s an in-depth, point-by-point comparison of the services and options available from all of the major providers.
A Comparison of Packages
|Available Business Formation Packages|
|LLC Formation Packages|
|Corporation Formation Packages |
|Nonprofit Formation Packages|
|Professional Corpration Formation Packages|
|Formation Package Pricing |
|Base Packages Starting at $79 or Less|
|Mid-Level Packages Starting at $199 or Less|
|Premium Packages Starting at $249 or Less|
|Articles of Organization and Articles of Incorporation|
Preparation and Filing Included in Packages
|Registered Agent Services |
One-Year Free With Formation Packages
|Obtain EIN from IRS|
|Free with Mid-Level and Premium Packages|
|$69 or Less with Basic Packages|
|Free Online Access to LLC Formation|
and Incorporation Documents
 Does not include state fees.
 CorpNet basic package equals two months free.
The Core Components of Business Formation
Types of Formation Packages
All of the companies we surveyed offered some variation of Basic, Standard, and Complete packages, under different names. It’s important to note that state fees are additional, and not included in package pricing.
Name Availability Check
This is a fundamental part of the business formation process and is included in all packages from all providers.
Articles of Organization (LLC) Preparation and Filing
This is only relevant if you are forming a Limited Liability Company, but preparation and filing are included in all packages.
Articles of Incorporation (Corporation) Preparation and Filing
Like the LLC service, you can expect this to be included in all incorporation packages.
Free Registered Agent Services
Only two services offer a full year of free registered agent services in their top-tier packages: CorpNet and Incfile. The others offer only a few months or nothing at all.
Initial Incorporator Resolutions
CorpNet and BizFilings are the only two providers who offer these for free (although BizFilings tacks on a $39 fee if you only have the Basic package). The other providers charge a fee or don’t offer initial incorporator resolutions at all.
LegalZoom charges an extra $99 fee for bylaws, even if you purchase their top-level Express Gold package. All other providers include bylaws in their premium packages, and charge a fee to add bylaws to a basic package.
Custom LLC Operating Agreement and Minutes
Here again, LegalZoom tacks on an extra $99 fee for custom LLC operating agreement and minutes, even if you have their top-level package. All other providers include this at the top level, and only charge a fee (between $25 and $99) to add it to a lower-tier package.
Obtaining an EIN
An EIN in most top-tier packages, except LegalZoom (which charges up to $159 extra for an add-on package).
S-Corporation Election Form Preparation
An S-Corporation election is free from several providers (CorpNet, Incfile, Incorporate.com, and Swyft Filings), but BizFilings charges up to $45 extra, and LegalZoom charges $60 extra.
Business License and Permit Research
Business license and permit research is generally considered an add-on service, so you can expect to pay anywhere from $99 to $249 extra.
Expedited Document Preparation, Filing, and Processing
The pricing and availability of this service depend partly on your state. It may be included in some packages, otherwise, fees range from $50 to $139.
LLC Kit or Corporate Kit and Company Seal
Kits and company seals are included in all top-tier service packages from all of the major providers. At lower tiers, you can expect to pay an additional fee, typically $99.
Shipping and Handling Fees
These fees vary widely. Some packages include standard shipping, while others may charge extra.
Online Access to LLC or Incorporation Documents
All of the providers we compared offer online access with every service package (even Basic).
The Best Price is Just Part of the Package
Choosing the right business formation service is crucial for getting your new venture up and running smoothly. That’s why we set out to find out exactly how we stack up against the competition–and the winner is clear.
Here at CorpNet, we’re proud of our successful track record. We offer the industry’s best 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee, unsurpassed customer service, and the easiest ordering experience in the business.
But don’t just take our word for it. Try CorpNet and see the difference for yourself.