LawFuel’s review of the top LLC services for business . . .
A part of the American dream is to own your business. Do you have that dream also?
The Commerce Institute reports that over five million businesses start in the U.S. annually. The Small Business Administration says there are over 30 million small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 500 employees) in the United States. They represent 99.9% of all American businesses.
You may operate the business as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
Many chose to operate their business as an LLC for these benefits:
- Limit personal liability for business operations
- Potential tax benefits
- Flexible ownership structure
- Easy to form and maintain with less paperwork
- Flexible management structure
- Profit distribution
What is an LLC?
An LLC is a limited liability company registered in the state where the company operates in America or a foreign jurisdiction. The LLC legal structure is supposed to protect the LLC owners from any liabilities that may arise from the operation of the LLC. For example, suppose an LLC goes out of business. In that case, the owners are not usually responsible for the debts of the LLC unless they signed personal guarantees or fraudulently conducted business.
How to Form an LLC
It is easy to form an LLC online.
We reviewed the top five LLC online filing companies for you to use as a guide when choosing an LLC filing service.
Top 5 LLC Filing Companies
Forming an LLC is done by filling out the paperwork using an online tool, paying the fee for the formation service (if any), and paying the filing fee for the state where you want the LLC to be registered.
The top 5 LLC registration companies offer their services for all 50 states. In general, it is a good idea to form an LLC in the state where it will operate. However, there are circumstances where using an LLC from another location may be appropriate such as buying real estate. Consult your attorney and tax advisor for advice on what state to register your LLC.
In addition to any fees the company charges, all companies that help with forming an LLC charge a pass-through amount to pay the legally-required state filing fees. The state LLC filing fee ranges from the low in Kentucky of $40 to the high in California of $900.
Please Note: The costs and fees given in this article are current as of its writing but are subject to change.
The cost to create an LLC is $49 plus state fees. The resident agent service is $199 per year.
Since its inception in 2015, more than 30 million people have started a business with this service.
Here is a full discussion of the costs of forming an LLC.
You can use the Tailor Brands online LLC formation tool, select a state, and get a quote for the full cost.
Forming an LLC is pretty basic. Once you complete the process, you might be amazed at how easy it is to set up an LLC, especially when you work with Tailor Brands. What we like about Tailor Brands, and why they get the number slot on our top-five LLC filing companies list, is that they excel in follow-through after the LLC begins.
An LLC must have a registered agent that maintains a physical address (not a post office box) in the state where the LLC operates. If you do not have a physical office in the state for your company, Tailor Brands provides this service.
Another reason we like Tailor Brands is that most entrepreneurs form a company based on their idea, which is often a brand. In addition to the LLC filing service, Tailor Brands offers a full branding suite.
The all-in-one Branding Suite option includes your full online presence with a logo, website domain, business email address, and digital business card. You may also choose printed business cards and branded merchandise. The Tailor Brands professionals can build a website, manage search engine optimization, and business listings for you too.
There is no reason to put off your dreams of having your own business any longer when Tailor Brands makes it so easy to get started.
The cost to create an LLC is $100 plus state filing fees and to serve as the registered agent is $125 per year for a total of $225.
The company has been in business since 1998 and has over two million customers.
The company specializes in being a registered agent that requires having a physical office in each state with the ability to accept legal papers during normal business hours on your behalf. They also offer enhanced services, which include privacy, free mail-forwarding, free legal and business forms, phone service, virtual offices, and expert guidance.
Optional services include legal help, trademark registration, and operational expansion by registering your LLC in additional states.
The cost to create an LLC is $49, and the registered agent service is $199 per year for a total of $248 plus state filing fees.
Zen Business started in 2015 and now has just over 300,000 customers.
Besides LLC and resident agent services, Zen Business has options services to maintain regulatory compliance, prepare an operating agreement, and prepare annual reports. Most states do not require an operating agreement to form an LLC; however, it does help when running an LLC, especially if there are business partners.
If you plan to form an LLC in New York, the state requires the publication of an announcement of the new LLC that runs for six consecutive weeks in two acceptable newspapers. Zen Business has an optional service to do this for $200 plus the publication fees.
The company gets kudos for being a public benefits corporation. The company was formed in Delaware, a popular state for LLCs and corporations that want a national presence. A Delaware public benefits corporation has written into its bylaws that the company works for the public benefit responsibly, which is sustainable.
Zen Business takes a portion of its profits to give back to small businesses. The company made more than $100,000 in grants during 2020 aimed at underserved groups, such as women-owned businesses, the LGBTQIA+ community, and BIPOC.
The cost to create an LLC is $79, and the registered agent service is $299 per year for a total of $348 plus state filing fees. The registered agent fee is one of the highest in the industry.
This system has nearly 6 million customers.
Besides offering LLC filing and resident agency services, Legal zoom has a unique legal form creation tool. You can use it to customize and then download legal forms to print for your LLC’s use. Even if you form your LLC with another service, you should consider using LegalZoom for common business needs regarding legal documents.
Attorneys would not like to admit that they use standard “boilerplate” documents for things that business owners frequently use, such as independent contractor agreements, non-disclosure agreements, consulting service agreements, etc.
You may still want to consult with an attorney on legal issues, but it helps to have legal form templates to guide your discussion as a starting point for common legal contract issues.
Creating an LLC is a one-time package fee of $0 to $299, depending on the service level you choose. There is no additional filing fee except for the state filing fees. The registered agent service is free for the first year when forming an LLC with them and $119 per year after that.
This system started in 2004 and has over 800,000 customers.
Their website offers a “free LLC” for $0 + state fee. This free service is for the basic filing and resident agency service for a year. Then, you start to pay $119 for the resident agent service each year after that.
Incfile offers an upgrade for a one-time package fee of $199. This upgrade includes extra goodies such as an EIN (you can get from the IRS online for free also), a business bank account, and an operating agreement. For the top level, which costs the one-time package fee of $299, you get even more goodies, including the next-day business filing service, business contract templates, and a website domain name.
When forming your LLC, cheaper is not necessarily better. A better indication of the usefulness of the services is a company serving more customers with a comprehensive product line. A massive customer base shows customer loyalty. Customer interest comes from quality and value in the company’s products and services.