Incorporate.com is a business services company that is owned and run by the Corporation Service Company (CSC). CSC was founded in 1899 and has been working with businesses ever since. CSC claims to have helped found over 750,000 businesses, both through Incorporate.com and other formation services.
Incorporate.com offers a wide range of business formation and compliance services. They can help you open up everything from an LLC to a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Our Incorporate.com LLC review looks at how they form an LLC and what their Registered Agent service offers.
Incorporate.com LLC Formation Packages
Incorporate.com offers three separate packages of LLC formation services at different price points: “The Starter,” “The Essentials,” and “The Works.”
Unlike other LLC formation companies, none of Incorporate.com’s packages includes a year of free Registered Agent service. While that might seem forgivable since it’s just an extra expense, we have bad news: Incorporate.com won’t let you use anyone else as your Registered Agent! You can’t be your own Registered Agent, and you can’t select a different company.
If you form your LLC with Incorporate.com you must use CSC as your Registered Agent and you must pay $235 per year for the Registered Agent service.
$235 is definitely one of the most expensive Registered Agent service annual fees we’ve seen. Prices normally range from $50 to $300.
The Starter Package
The Starter package is the most affordable of Incorporate.com’s formation packages. However, it is expensive compared to the entry-level packages offered by competitors. It costs $99 plus state fees (plus $235 per year for CSC Registered Agent service that you must purchase).
For this price, Incorporate.com will complete and file your Articles of Organization with the state. You will be able to download a copy of your Articles of Organization and state approval documents.
We don’t think this package is a good value, as many competitors offer a similar service package for around $50 plus state fees.
The Essentials Package
Incorporate.com’s intermediate service package is The Essentials. This package costs $249 plus state fees (plus $235 per year for the CSC Registered Agent service that you must purchase).
The Essentials package includes everything from The Starter, plus a corporate kit and Employer Identification Number (EIN) filing.
The corporate kit includes a custom binder and a custom seal. These are not necessary or required to open an LLC. And if you want to order a business seal or other stationery items, we recommend Moo.com. You can design and fully customize everything you order from Moo.com, unlike the bundled items through Incorporate.com.
The EIN service doesn’t add much value .You can easily get an EIN for your LLC yourself in just a few minutes – and an EIN is free from the IRS.
In some places, Incorporate.com claims that an annual report filing service is included with this package, but it actually costs an extra $150 on top of the $249 package cost.
The Works Package
Incorporate.com’s premium package is The Works. It is priced at an eye-watering $349 plus state fees (plus $235 per year for CSC’s Registered Agent service that you must purchase).
The Works includes everything from The Starter and The Essentials, plus an Operating Agreement and a business license compliance package. This isn’t good value, because you can make an LLC Operating Agreement at home with our free template.
Cheap States: Nevada and Delaware
Note that Incorporate.com’s packages are slightly cheaper if you are forming your LLC in Nevada or Delaware. If you are registering your business in one of these states, The Starter package costs $79, The Essentials package costs $199, and The Works package costs $279.
But don’t forget: You must add state fees to these prices ($90 in Delaware, and $425 in Nevada), and the $235 per year for CSC’s Registered Agent service that you must purchase.
Warning! If you don’t live or do business in the state where Incorporate.com forms your LLC, you’ll need to register your LLC as a Foreign LLC in your home state. This means you need to maintain two LLC filings, pay two state filing fees, and maintain two Registered Agents.
Please see Best state to form an LLC to make sure you’re forming an LLC in the right state.
Incorporate.com offers mediocre turnaround times. When you go through the order process, Incorporate.com gives an estimate of 2 to 3 business days before they file your Articles of Organization with your state. They don’t have an expedited processing option.
Like their competitors, Incorporate.com lets you select expedited processing if your state offers it. But paying for this service doesn’t make Incorporate.com process your paperwork any faster. For more information on which states offer expedited processing and how much it costs, check out How long does it take to get an LLC?
Incorporate.com offers many upsells, which is pretty common for business formation companies. We felt that Incorporate.com was pushy with their upsells. They try to get you to purchase optional services at multiple points during the LLC formation process.
Incorporate.com charges $99 for an Operating Agreement if you choose The Starter or The Essentials packages (it’s included in The Works). This isn’t worth it, since you can easily draft an LLC Operating Agreement at home with our free template.
Employer Identification Number (EIN) filing is an $80 upsell if you choose The Starter package. But you can easily request an EIN for your LLC online for free from the IRS.
If you are not a US resident, Incorporate.com charges $95 for the EIN service. That’s pretty expensive, since you can easily request an EIN without an SSN by mail for just the cost of postage.
Inexplicably, Incorporate.com also offers an “expedited EIN service.” If you pay an additional $75, they will get you an EIN the same day your LLC is approved. They claim that “routine EINs” are processed in 3-4 days.
Since the IRS.gov EIN Application is processed immediately and your EIN is generated at the end of the process, we can only assume this fee means that Incorporate.com employees will prioritize your LLC over others in the queue. The actual EIN filing process is already immediate, so it can’t be “expedited”.
Incorporate.com’s annual report service is a $150 upsell. The Incorporate.com website says this is “included” in The Essentials and The Works packages, but if you select it, a $150 charge gets added to your total.
Most competitors charge around $100 for an annual report compliance service, making Incorporate.com’s service overpriced. Besides, most LLCs only have one deadline to keep track of each year, so you don’t have to hire a service. Read more about LLC annual reports and decide for yourself.
Business License Research Package
For $99, Incorporate.com will determine what licenses your business needs to operate if you choose The Starter or The Essentials package. This business license research package is included in The Works package. $99 is about the average amongst competitors for this service.
DBA (Fictitious Name)
Incorporate.com will help you file for a Doing Business As (DBA) fictitious name for your business for $150. Most competitors charge $100 or less for this service, so $150 isn’t a good value.
However, you don’t have to file a DBA for your new LLC. Check out our article Do I need a DBA for my LLC?
Incorporate.com will accept mail for you at their Delaware office and forward it to you for $200 per year ($275 if you have an international address). This means you can keep your home address off public record by using Incorporate.com’s address as the mailing address for your business.
If you don’t want to pay an extra $200 per year for that, our favorite Registered Agent and LLC formation company, Northwest Registered Agent, will let you use their address on state filings. They include this in the cost of Registered Agent service, so there’s no extra annual charges.
Incorporate.com uses misleading language and information throughout their website. As previously mentioned, they claim that their annual report filing service is included with The Essentials and The Works packages, when it actually costs an additional $150. Also, many of their optional services either don’t have listed prices or have prices that are difficult to find.
We were disappointed by the “Advantages and Disadvantages of Starting an LLC” page on Incorporate.com’s site. Some of the things listed are false and misleading.
We also don’t like that Incorporate.com pushes users to register their LLC in Delaware. LLC University® frequently debunks this myth about Delaware.
Incorporate.com’s customer service is one of their strong suits. This is because customer service is handled through the Corporation Services Company, which is a large company with lots of well-trained employees.
They offer both phone and chat support, while some competitors only offer phone-based customer service. It can be a little tricky to get through to a real person when using Incorporate.com’s chat support, but the support rep we chatted with was friendly and helpful.
When we tried out Incorporate.com’s phone-based customer support, we had to listen to a lengthy pre-recorded message before we could speak to a rep. The rep we spoke to was well-informed and friendly.
Want something better? Hire Northwest ($39 + state fee) to form your LLC. They’re our favorite company and who we recommend to friends and family. Northwest doesn’t hire any sales reps. Instead, their entire staff are subject matter experts and they’re genuinely happy to answer any LLC questions you have!
Check out our Northwest Registered Agent review for more info.
Incorporate.com offers a mediocre user experience. Their order process is simple and straightforward, though you have to deal with a lot of upselling. Their online dashboard, CSCNavigator, offers many features once you learn how to use them.
However, we found several concerning issues during the LLC formation process:
- The form asks you for your business’s “industry” twice, with two different drop down lists. This makes it confusing to know which one to choose since you can’t select the same thing twice in some cases.
- The form asks about the effective date, but doesn’t explain the question or what it means. (What’s an LLC effective date?)
- The form requires you to enter “beneficial owners”. This wasn’t a required item in the Articles of Organization in the states we tested, so we can’t understand why Incorporate.com demands the information and won’t let you continue without it.
- We didn’t like that Incorporate.com demands contact information for all of the following (competitors only ask for the primary business address and mailing address):
- Primary Business Address
- Business Owners (even if the state you’re filing in doesn’t require this information on the Articles of Organization)
- Beneficial Owners (even if the state you’re filing in doesn’t require this information on the Articles of Organization)
- Where to send service of process that Incorporate.com receives for your LLC
- Where to send invoices for Incorporate.com’s Registered Agent service
- Where to send state notices and tax notices that Incorporate.com receives for your LLC
- Where to send the formation documents and corporate kit
Our biggest complaint with the LLC formation order process: If you get to the end of the process and look at the price and decide to make a change (whether it’s removing an upsell like EIN service, or changing the package selection), even if you use the “Modify Cart” buttons on Incorporate.com’s site, you have to re-enter every single item in the formation process screen. That takes forever!
Additional Services & Features Offered
Many business services companies throw in additional services and features to supplement the LLC formation services in their service packages. These additional services may include web design or a Google Ads credit. The only additional service offered by Incorporate.com is a corporate kit featuring a custom binder and a custom seal. Everything else is part of the business formation process.
Registered Agent Service
For $235 per year, Incorporate.com will accept legal mail sent to your LLC and forward it to you. This is very expensive for Registered Agent services.
None of Incorpoate.com’s packages include a free year of Registered Agent Service, which most other filing companies do. But here’s the real problem – you can’t use anyone else as your Registered Agent! You can’t be your own Registered Agent, and you can’t select a different company. We don’t like that they force you to use their service, especially at that sky-high price!
All mail (except mail requiring a written signature) is scanned and uploaded to the CSCNavigator dashboard. Mail requiring a written signature will be mailed to the address that Incorporate.com has on file for your business.
Incorporate.com Isn’t Worth It
In conclusion, Incorporate.com isn’t a good choice for LLC services or registered agent services. Their services are very overpriced, and the company is misleading about these prices. We really don’t like that they force you to use their Registered Agent Service, especially given how crazy expensive it is.