Northwest Registered Agent vs LegalZoom

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Deal alert! Our favorite company, Northwest, is forming LLCs for $39 (60% off!) See details.

Are you deciding between Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom for your LLC formation company? We know, it can be confusing. But don’t worry! Read our helpful comparison guide below, to learn which company is the best for you.

LLC service providers all seem to offer the same services, but is price the only thing you should consider? We think user experience, including friendliness of website language and customer support, are really important too. That’s why we tried out their websites to see what it’s like to start your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent or LegalZoom, and we called their customer support teams multiple times to help you select the best company to form your LLC.

It can help to look at the values of each company: Northwest focuses on protecting customer privacy, while LegalZoom is a big legal services company that offers many options. We compared Northwest Registered Agent to LegalZoom on 10 different features of their business formation services.

Winner: Northwest Registered Agent is the clear winner over LegalZoom. With their simple pricing, privacy protection, and top quality customer support, Northwest is the best choice for small business owners starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Is Northwest the best? We think so, yes! However, there are other companies out there. Check out our Best LLC Services page for more.

About Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent review
The Northwest Registered Agent logo is a registered trademark of Northwest Registered Agent.

Northwest Registered Agent is a well-established business that has been in operation for over 20 years. Besides being one of the largest Registered Agent service and business formation companies, Northwest also offers LLC formation service and other business document filing help.

Northwest has offices in all 50 states, so they can help you with your business needs no matter where you’re located. Best of all, Northwest has a dedicated team of subject matter experts that genuinely care about their customers.

Want to learn more about Northwest?

Read more about their unique privacy protections and other quality features in our Northwest Registered Agent review

About LegalZoom

Legal Zoom LLC Review Logo
The LegalZoom logo is a registered trademark of LegalZoom.

LegalZoom is an online legal technology company that offers a wide variety of legal services, including business formation services. According to their website, LegalZoom was founded in 1999 and has launched over 4 million businesses.

LegalZoom offers LLC formation packages that include various documents as well as other legal services like legal forms templates and consultations with attorneys. While LegalZoom is a large company, they don’t always get the best customer reviews.

Want to learn more about LegalZoom?

Read more about their services in our LegalZoom LLC Review.

LLC Formation Services: LegalZoom vs Northwest Registered Agent

The Basic LLC Package: What do you get?

We compared the features offered in the basic LLC formation package at each company. What else do you get besides the actual Articles of Organization filing with the state?

Northwest Registered Agent
The basic package includes access to the best customer service in the business, plus:

  • one year of free Registered Agent service
  • free Annual Report reminders service
  • an Operating Agreement template
  • a bank account resolution
  • LLC Membership Certificates
  • and a free trial of VoIP phone service.

LegalZoom

The basic package (called “Economy”) includes a customized Operating Agreement, and a financial account authorization letter. It doesn’t include a year of free Registered Agent service; you will have to pay $249 for that.

Winner: Northwest Registered Agent definitely offers better features in their basic package.

Pricing

Note: None of the prices below include the state LLC filing fees.

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest offers LLC formation for $100 – but LLC University® users get a discounted rate of $39! Click here to get our special offer.

Northwest offers 1 LLC service package.

Northwest decided to keep things simple and not offer several different LLC formation packages. Many competitors’ packages have unnecessary items bundled with the formation services. Often the extra services they include can be done at home for free, or are just plain unnecessary. Sometimes we wonder if the competitors add these extra items to justify charging more for the packages.

Northwest also lets you pay for your LLC formation service in monthly installments, instead of all at once. If you choose to pay monthly instead of upfront, you’ll pay $47 when you order and then Northwest will spread out their service fee and the state filing fee over monthly payments.

Plus, with the monthly payment option, Northwest will get an EIN number for your business for free. You still get all the other services like an Operating Agreement and free year of Registered Agent service.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom offers the Economy package for $79, the Standard package for $329, and the Express Gold package for $349.

Legal Zoom LLC Review LLC Packages

The Economy package is an okay value for business formation, but we really can’t justify the high prices for the Standard and Express Gold packages. Both get your LLC approved a little bit faster, and offer some extras (read the full description of each package in our LegalZoom review). However, the extras aren’t necessary to start your business, and you can get them cheaper with other companies, or you can do it yourself.

Winner: Northwest Registered Agent has simpler prices and better value for money.

LLC Service Turnaround Time

Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest says they process your order the same day you submit it. They will call to confirm the details of your submission – that call might be the next business day, if you submit your information on a weekend or in the evening.

Like their competitors, Northwest can help you pay for expedited filing through the state for faster approval if you pay the state expedited fee.

LegalZoom

Despite being a big company, LegalZoom doesn’t offer very fast business formation turnaround time. Your documents will be filed within 1-2 weeks of purchasing LegalZoom’s LLC formation services.

If you pay extra for the Express Gold package, LegalZoom will process your documents within 2-3 days. You can also pay extra for the state expedited processing, and get your LLC faster.

Winner: Northwest Registered Agent offers faster turnaround times, which means you get your LLC opened sooner.

Upsells: Northwest is Just Not Annoying

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest has a few upsells, but they’re never intrusive or annoying with these offers.

Some of the additional products are things you can do yourself at home, like requesting an EIN for your LLC.

Northwest also offers special business document services for transportation (trucking) and telecommunications registration. These are a unique offering and if you’re in those industries, these filings are essential.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom offers a ton of upsells, but bundles them into packages. This means you end up paying more for the LLC service you want, plus some extras you may not need. We don’t like that LegalZoom’s upsells are intrusive and sometimes need to be declined more than once to make them go away.

You’ll also be bombarded by offers for other subscriptions, like the Legal Protect Plan and Total Compliance package. Overall, LegalZoom has a lot of upsells during their business formation process and most of them aren’t worth the cost.

Legal Zoom LLC Review Total Compliance

Winner: Northwest Registered Agent isn’t annoying with their upsells, and offers more relevant services.

Language: Honesty Counts

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest keeps the language on their website clear, concise and friendly. They have helpful tips to explain the products and services they offer. But, it can be difficult to find the prices for some of Northwest’s services until you’re in a checkout flow.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom’s website has a lot of fancy language to make their services sound like you can’t live without them. They hide a lot of important details about limitations of the services (in particular, the Legal Protect Plan has a lot of exclusions). And LegalZoom isn’t clear about how the pricing really works on their packages.

Winner: Northwest Registered Agent wins for honest, simple language.

Customer Service: Northwest’s Experts Beat LegalZoom’s Salespeople

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest offers chat or phone support, and both are excellent.

Unlike some competitors, Northwest representatives are subject matter experts who can answer any questions you have. We consistently found that Northwest reps gave extra details and advice, making sure to explain everything thoroughly.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom offers customer support by phone or online chat. But if you’re a new customer or just trying to get information, LegalZoom requires you to give them a lot of details about your business before they will even try to answer your questions.

We were disappointed to find that they were more interested in getting us to start the LLC formation process or to purchase online legal services, rather than helping us with our questions.

Winner: Northwest wins for the best customer service.

User Experience: Logical vs Tricky

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest’s website is calm and pleasant. There aren’t lots of menus and options to click through. Since their website is focused on LLC formation and Registered Agent Services, there aren’t a lot of distractions and you can easily find the service you want.

And after forming your LLC, the user dashboard is well-designed and engaging. You can see your approved LLC documents, as well as mail for your LLC received by Northwest Registered Agent.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom offers a sleek, modern website design. However, it sends you through a lot of different pages to get the information you need. Also, the LLC formation process uses confusing layouts that make avoiding the upsells tricky.

Winner: Both sites are modern and pleasant, but Northwest’s is much easier to navigate and use.

Additional Features: Freebies and Extra Fees

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest automatically gives you a free trial with a VoIP phone service. This means you don’t need to purchase a separate cell phone or landline for your business.

Northwest can also help you figure out what e-commerce sites work best for your LLC.

These extras don’t cost you anything up front (the phone service is $9 per month after the trial ends).

LegalZoom

LegalZoom offers additional services, but most have a monthly fee (instead of a one-time purchase). For example, the Legal Forms library, the Legal Protect Plan, and the Total Compliance subscriptions. These are expensive add-ons that LegalZoom describes as life-savers, but which actually have a lot of limitations. We don’t recommend spending your money on them.

Winner: Northwest keeps their services focused on business needs and doesn’t have confusing subscription packages.

Northwest vs LegalZoom: Registered Agent Service

Price Per Year

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest charges $125 per year for Registered Agent services.

Northwest offers Registered Agent service for $125/year.

Plus, Northwest has taken special care to place their offices in strategic locations to save you money on publication requirements and other state fees.

Privacy Protection. Northwest lets you use their address on state filings to protect your privacy. Some companies do this for a fee, but Northwest includes it for free as part of your Registered Agent service.

An address is required to form an LLC with the state, so Northwest lets you use their address instead of your home or office address. This helps keep your address off of public records and online searches. It’ll also reduce the amount of spam and junk mail you’ll receive.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom charges $299 per year for Registered Agent service, which is one of the most expensive prices in the industry. In some states, LegalZoom discounts this price to $249 per year if you form your LLC with them. That’s still very expensive compared to the competitors.

LegalZoom Registered Agent service is $299/year

Winner: Northwest has a better price on Registered Agent services and gives you more for your money.

Mail Forwarding and Service of Process

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest scans and uploads legal mail sent to your LLC. You access these uploads on the same dashboard as your other Northwest documents (like the LLC approval letter).

LegalZoom

LegalZoom also scans and uploads legal mail sent to your LLC (including service of process). They also have an online dashboard where you can access your documents.

Winner: This was a tie: both companies offer the same service.

Northwest Registered Agent vs LegalZoom: Who’s the winner?

When you compare Northwest Registered Agent vs LegalZoom, Northwest is the clear winner.

Here’s why:

Northwest Registered Agent has excellent customer service and they are industry experts. LegalZoom seems to hire only salespeople, and only wants to offer you subscriptions.

Northwest really values customers’ privacy, so they keep your address off public records and don’t sell your data to third parties.

LegalZoom makes things complicated with lots of fine print, and their services are offered in confusing packages and monthly subscriptions. On the other hand, Northwest has a simple, easy-to-use website with clear and friendly language.

We don’t like that LegalZoom is focused on selling you their other legal services – especially consultations with their attorneys. If all you need is help starting and running your LLC, Northwest is a much better choice.

Overall, Northwest Registered Agent is our favorite company and they’re also a better option if you’re on a tight budget.

We’ve been using Northwest for our own LLCs for many years and we highly recommend them.

File yourself with our free LLC guides

If neither Northwest or LegalZoom seems like the right fit, and you want to save money, you can form your LLC yourself. And we can help!

At LLC University®, we offer step-by-step guides that teach you how to form your LLC yourself. You just pay the state filing fee.

Get started here: How to start an LLC in all 50 states

The Hybrid Approach: Hire Northwest and DIY the little things

And even if you do hire Northwest Registered Agent to file your LLC, you can still save money in other ways. There are several upsells that you can skip and DIY instead:

Instead of paying for an LLC Operating Agreement, you can download our free LLC Operating Agreement template.

If you see an upsell for LLC Membership Certificates, you can skip it. We provide free LLC Membership Certificates here.

If you see an upsell for a Banking Resolution (aka financial account authorization letter), you can ignore it. This document isn’t actually needed to open an LLC business bank account. Banks will provide their own form.

If you’d rather not pay for someone to file your LLC Annual Report, you can do that yourself. Go to our LLC Annual Report page and select your state.

And you don’t have to hire someone to be your LLC’s Registered Agent. Instead, you can be the Registered Agent for your LLC. Check out our Registered Agent page for more details. All you need is a physical address in the state where you form your LLC. Being your own Registered Agent can save you more than $100 per year.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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How to form a US LLC

Non-US residents: If you want to form an LLC in the US, we recommend hiring doola.

doola specializes in forming US LLCs for international entrepreneurs.

They'll form your LLC, open your business bank account, and help with taxes. doola also has excellent customer service.

Hope that helps!

Matt Horwitz founder of LLC University
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator
LLC University®