Legalzoom vs. Northwest (2021 Comparison): Who’s The Best?

For more than twenty years, LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent have been helping entrepreneurs to form Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) hassle-free. These are both respected companies with countless LLC incorporations under their belts.

However, between these two competitors, which should you choose for your LLC formation? That is why we are here. Let’s take a look at what these two companies provide and how they shape up against each other. That way, you can see which one provides the better overall service. Let’s get started!

Our Comparison Points

In order to see which of these companies can provide a better overall experience, we need some criteria to measure them by. Here are the criteria we are going to use to determine which company provides the better service.

  • Price and Features: Pretty much every small business’s first question for any service provider is going to be, how much does it cost? So, we are definitely going to take a look at this, including the different options they may provide. However, in order to get the full picture, we are definitely going to need to see how much they provide for the price. After all, they may justify a higher price if they provide a lot more value for it.
  • Ease of Use: If you are going to pay for a service to file your LLC for you, you definitely want it to be easy for you. After all, that’s basically what you are paying for. We are going to take a look at how easy these companies make the process for you.
  • Customer Support: Things can go wrong in any activity, no matter how easy the company successfully makes the process. It’s important that the service is there for you to help when it’s needed. We are going to take a look at how well these companies do when it comes to helping their customers and if they are going to be available when you need them.
  • Turnaround Time: When it comes to forming your LLC, you likely want to get it done fast so you can get back to business. Thus, turnaround time is an important component of the overall service. Every LLC formation service offers a different turnaround time and often multiple options for speed depending on the formation package you choose. We will look at all of these options and which company can form your LLC the fastest.
  • Customer Reviews: Once you know all of the different things that make up each of these services, you should know what former customers have to say about it. Whether former customers were satisfied with the service can be a good indicator of how satisfied you will be with the service. We now have some criteria to measure these two companies by, so let’s make use of them and see which company offers the best service.
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Quick Legalzoom & Northwest Comparison

As an entrepreneur, you may be too busy to go through a detailed comparison of these companies. That’s why we prepared this quick comparison so you can check out which of these companies did better.

Price and Features

Price

Northwest offers one LLC formation package for $225 plus state fees (or $35/monthly). This comes with basic business formation services, registered agent services, and support from their expert Corporate Guides. Overall this is a solid package, but it comes at a premium price.

LegalZoom offers three incorporation packages ranging in cost from $79 to $349. Any of these will offer basic incorporation, and at the highest end, this will provide expedited shipping as well as support from their customer service department. However, none of these packages will offer a registered agent, and at the lower price point, it really does not come with much other than filing your articles of formation with the state.

Overall we are going to call this one a win for Northwest Registered agent because though they do not offer the cheapest price point, it is a far greater value.


Customer Support

Customer-Service_2

Northwest provides some of the best customer support in the industry. With Northwest, you have a guaranteed response time and no automated phone lines. Their representatives are all knowledgeable about the entire formation process. Also, you can choose to work with a specific representative if you had a good experience previously.

LegalZoom has a professional customer service department with extended and weekend hours, so they are available at a convenient time. However, they lack any guaranteed callback time, so it is possible to find yourself frustrated hours down the line.

We are going to have to give this category to Northwest Registered Agent due to both their quality customer service and guaranteed callback time.


Ease of Use

Ease-to-Use-1

Both LegalZoom and Northwest have a fast and easy checkout process. However, Northwest’s site seems a little out of date and confusing to navigate at times. On the other hand, they do offer a very convenient dashboard to organize all of the paperwork for your LLC.

LegalZoom has an all-around quite clear website, and they make it quite easy to select a package and file for your LLC. Afterward, they provide a functional dashboard for managing your LLC.

This one is a tie because though LegalZoom has a somewhat better website design Northwest Registered Agent provides a superior dashboard for managing your paperwork.

  • The Winner: It’s a tie!

Turnaround Time

Fast Service - Turn Arround Time

Northwest provides an individual estimate of how long your filing will take based on your state of formation. It will also change if you choose their expedited service in states where it is available.

LegalZoom does things a bit differently and bases their estimates on which package you choose without accounting on the state filing time at all. This often results in their service being better or worse at turnaround time depending on the state. Their estimated times are Economy 30 days, Standard 15 days, and Express Gold 7-10 days.

We are going to have to call this one for Northwest Registered Agent. They provide estimates that are more accurate due to taking into account individual states and providing state expediting service when it is available.


Customer Reviews

Customer-Reviews

LegalZoom has many more reviews for its services available online. However, they are extremely mixed. Though Northwest has a far more limited base to work from, they are overwhelmingly more positive. We’re going to give this one to Northwest Registered Agent.


Price and Features: LegalZoom vs Northwest

As the thing most budget-strapped entrepreneurs are likely most concerned with, we will cover price and features first. When it comes to LLC formation packages, the price and features they offer vary considerably from company to company. Let’s take a look at these two very distinct companies starting with a quick snapshot comparing these two companies’ basic packages.

 LegalZoomNorthwest
Time To Process30 Business Day1-3 Business Days
Includes Operating AgreementNo: Costs an extra $99 or for expedited processing $199Yes
Includes Registered Agent ServiceNo: Costs an extra $299Yes: The first year free and then $125 annually
Includes EIN FilingNo: Costs an extra $60 dollars and has to be purchased alongside an operating agreement for a total of $159None
Annual Compliance ServiceNo: Costs an extra $55 to $75No: Included with purchase of registered agent services

LegalZoom Pricing Packages

LegalZoom offers three distinct business formation packages tiered by price. These are from cheapest to costliest Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. The more expensive packages offer additional features. However, the primary incentive for these more expensive packages is the quick turnaround time they offer. Let’s take a look at each of these packages.

Start forming your LLC with LegalZoom.

  • Economy Package: The Economy Package costs $79 plus state filing fees and comes with the bare necessities to get your LLC started. This LLC formation package comes with a 30 day turnaround time and includes features such as business filing, filing of articles of organization with the state, an LLC next steps guide, and a business name check.
  • Standard Package: The Standard Package costs $329 plus state filing fees. This package accelerates the turnaround time from 30 to 15 days, and LegalZoom will prioritize your order above those who chose the lower package. It contains everything from the previous package, as well as a deluxe organizer, 20 LLC membership certificates, and a company seal.
  • Express Gold Package: The Express Gold Package costs $349 plus state filing fees. This package will reduce the turnaround time even further to 7-10 business days. This package will prioritize your order above the orders of those who bought the less expensive packages. It includes everything from the previous packages as well as express shipping for your paperwork.

Northwest Registered Agent Pricing Packages

Northwest Registered Agent offers one package that contains all of the features this company offers. This may not be for everyone looking for a low-priced package without any extra features, but it definitely has an advantage by simplifying the process over shopping between all of the optional extras.

Start forming your LLC with Northwest.

Northwest Registered Agent’s Formation Package: Northwest’s formation package costs $225 plus state filing fees. This comes with a speedy filing and an estimated turnaround time based on your state of formation. In states where it is available, you can opt for expedited processing, in which case you will receive an estimated time based on this option.

Northwest will perform a name availability search against the official business name database of your state of formation to ensure the name you have chosen isn’t already claimed by another business entity.

They will also prepare and file your Articles of Organization with your state of formation. These are the documents that contain the basic information of the company you are attempting to file. These will be filed with the state to officially form your LLC.

This service will also come with an operating agreement. Though this document is typically not required by the state, it can be extremely useful and help you to acquire bank accounts and settle disputes between members. An operating agreement will describe the ownership structure of your company and how it will be operated.

Finally, Northwest will provide one year free of their registered agent services. This is important because every LLC must have a registered agent to receive legal communications on behalf of the company. Though this can be a member of the LLC, most business owners choose to designate a service to act on their behalf for many reasons, so it is likely you would choose to nominate one anyway. After one year is up, the service costs $125 annually.

Northwest wins this one because though they cost more than LegalZoom’s lowest-priced package, it provides much more value than its competitor. Northwest’s service comes with an operating agreement and a year of registered agent services the latter of which is a considerable expense to purchase separately. This makes Northwest a very good deal and wins them this category.


Customer Support: LegalZoom vs. Northwest

Even the best product will often turn out worthless if something goes wrong and there is no one there to help. When things go wrong, it’s important that these companies are there to help. So, let’s see how they do.

LegalZoom Customer Support

LegalZoom provides phone, email, and live chat support with hours from 5 am to 7 pm PT Weekday and from 7 am to 4 pm PT weekends. These are longer hours than many of their competitors, and they maintain a large customer service department that will generally get back to you in a reasonable amount of time. However, there are many customer complaints that claim they took days to get back in touch.

Northwest Customer Support

Northwest provides support by phone and email. They guarantee a response by email within a day, and if you do not get in touch directly by phone, they guarantee a call back within two hours. This is very impressive by itself and all of their customer support agents or as they call them corporate guides are based in the US and trained in every part of the LLC formation process.

Generally, LegalZoom offers good customer support; however, Northwest excels at it. Their corporate guides are knowledgeable and skilled at providing top-notch service. Plus, the guaranteed response time is truly impressive and a service most of their competitors could learn something from.


Ease of Use: LegalZoom vs Northwest

Figuring out how to form an LLC for your business can be challenging, and that’s just what you’re paying these services to do for you. So, how easy they make their service to use is important. Let’s see how well they do.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom has a different process than many other LLC formation services. You need to give them some personal information and choose whether or not to purchase some add-ons. Then, you choose your formation package and finish the process. Having the upsells before picking a formation package can be inconvenient if you’re not already sure what package you want.

Northwest

Northwest’s ordering process is very easy but their website is a little old fashioned and difficult to navigate. They have only one package, so there are not a lot of choices to make. Also, to place your order, you just give a few details about yourself and your business. Then, you pay, and you’re done.

  • The Winner: It’s a Tie

Northwest and LegalZoom tie this category. They both make their ordering process easy. Northwest doesn’t have a lot of upsells like their competitor. Unlike Northwest Registered Agent, LegalZoom has upsells, but their website is easier to navigate. Overall, neither is perfect, but they get the job done pretty well.


Turnaround Time: LegalZoom vs. Northwest

Nobody likes being made to wait, particularly when it comes to starting their business. This can cost time but also a considerable amount of money. A fast turnaround time can be a make or break for many small business owners. Let’s see how fast these companies work.

LegalZoom TAT

The turnaround times for LegalZoom depend on the package you purchase instead of which state you have chosen to form your LLC in. People who purchase more expensive packages have their orders prioritized over the orders from less expensive packages. With the Express Gold Package, the turnaround time is 7-10 business days. Whereas, the turnaround time for the Standard Package is 15 business days. The Economy Package has the slowest turnaround time at 30 business days.

Northwest TAT

The turnaround time for your LLC formation with Northwest depends on the state’s processing time. Northwest will show you an estimated processing time. For most states, they will show two estimated processing times since most states offer expedited service.

Northwest wins this category. LegalZoom’s turnaround times are pretty long if you don’t purchase one of their more expensive packages. In comparison, Northwest’s turnaround times depend on the processing time of your state of formation. This can be long as well at times. But, at least you don’t need to pay more to get a better turnaround time.


Customer Reviews: LegalZoom vs Northwest

Whether or not they look good on paper, a former customer’s experience can say a lot about a company. Let’s take a look at what these companies former customers have to say about them

LegalZoom Reviews

LegalZoom gets mixed customer reviews. On Trustpilot, they get 4.1 out of 5 stars, and most of the people reviewing the service seemed happy with the service. However, 26% did rate LegalZoom as bad. Many of the complaints were about turnaround times.

The Better Business Bureau gives LegalZoom an A rating, and it gets 4.23 out of 5 stars from its customer reviews. Here are two examples of these reviews below.

“LegalZoom helped me out I had an older LLC that Maryland had closed and instead of wasting time in energy trying to go back to Maryland the representative knew the fax and delete gallery and steered me in the proper direction I opened up a new LLC in minutes and kept my business up and running and profits coming in. LegalZoom understood my situation and help me keep on track outstanding service.”

I started my LLC with LegalZoom. Paid an extra $300 to have it done in 10 days. After a month and a half I contacted LegalZoom to find out what was going on. They told me it was the state that was holding things up. I contacted the state and they said all paperwork had been sent back to LegalZoom on the 13th of May. On June 1st I received my package. Three months after I paid $800 to get my biz started. This place is a scam and will not even return calls or emails to hear my complaint. Go to your bank and get the same thing done in two hours. I ended up starting another company under a different name this way for a couple hundred dollars. I had been waiting couldn’t get a call back and needed to rent a building. I will never use this company again and suggest no one else does either. I have to close the biz I set up with LegalZoom and that will cost me even more money. Yet they won’t even return my calls.

Northwest Registered Agent Reviews

Northwest Registered Agent does not have enough reviews on Trustpilot to get a rating. However, the reviews they received are good. Northwest gets 4.28 out of 5 stars from customers on the Better Business Bureau website and an A rating. Here are two of the reviews they received.

They are phenomenal in my quest of business ownership I have had the tendency to jump the gun on decisions sometimes without all the knowledge. My most recent situation was whether or not to LLC another business or DBA it. Now they could have easily benefited monetarily by just doing the LLC. However, James Turner guided me through a few different scenarios and took the time to explain them and what would work best for me financially. I was so appreciative of his concern and care as that is a quality that I see less and less of now a days. I couldn’t be happier with this company they are truly a blessing and James Turner is a shining example of what their company exudes. Thank you all involved and James Turner kudos on portraying exceptional customer service skills your going places kiddo!

I paid $350 to start a business and received 0 information from them after paying and giving the business information. I called today and they said nothing on the phone about information being needed, but yet I get an email 20 minutes later from them saying I need a better explanation of the purpose of the business when HANDYMAN is in the name of the business. I am baffled as to why it took 16 days to tell me the purpose is not correct? My experience thus far is terrible…save your money

Northwest does not have the same considerable number of reviews that LegalZoom has received, but the ones they have certainly say a lot. Customers seem to be overwhelmingly happy with Northwest.


Final Thoughts

LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent have both been in the business of forming LLCs for a long time, and either one will certainly get the job done well. But we set out to determine who would get it done better, and we have definitely found our victor.

We have seen what these two companies have to offer their customers and how they measure up. Northwest has won in four out of five of our criteria and tied in another. Using this as our point to measure, it is pretty clear that Northwest has more to offer customers in need of LLC Formation services.

From $35+State Fees

star rating image

Rating: 4.9/5
Review count: 4150+

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Form an LLC today with Nortwest. They have 98% customer satisfaction rating and over 4150+ verified reviews. They will include 1 year of free registered agent service!

$79

star rating image

Rating: 3.8/5
Review count: 2850+

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Form an LLC today with LegalZoom starting from $79 + state fees. They have above-average customer satisfaction rating and over 2850+ verified reviews.


FAQs About Northwest & LegalZoom

Will these companies help me stay in compliance with state requirements?

Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom both have services that will help your LLC stay in compliance with your state. However, they have different packages and prices.

LegalZoom will provide your LLC with registered agent service, but they do not include this service in their packages. They charge $299 per year for their registered agent service. LegalZoom will also file your annual report for $55.

Northwest Registered Agent includes a year of free registered agent service with all of their packages and charges $125 per year after the first year.

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About the Author
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Founder & author

Ian Broderick is an avid author and owner of LLCGuys.com. He's been involved with the LLC formation field for over 4 years. On top of that, he has worked in several well-known LLC formation service providers. Now he decided to share his knowledge and advice with everybody. Since there are a lot of questions and concerns surrounding this field - his aim is to make LLCGuys a top-notch information provider in regards to LLC creation, service reviews and etc..

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