LLC formation services are the modern entrepreneur’s best friend. After all, filing paperwork is annoying (if you don’t mind paperwork, then this guide probably isn’t for you), so an LLC formation service can remove some of that headache for you.
But which formation service should you use? There are dozens of options available to choose from. To put your money to good use, you’ll want to choose the perfect one.
Generally speaking, a good formation service does two things. First, they help you form your business, offering advice along the way. Second, they’ll help you maintain your new company by reminding you of due dates, state requirements, and more. Other important factors to consider are the service’s track record, their cost, and how easy it is to use their service.
In this review, we’ll give you our in-depth opinion of Incorporate.com’s LLC formation service.
Rocket Tip: Looking for the best and most affordable LLC formation services? Compare the top 3 options (ZenBusiness vs Incfile vs Northwest) to see how they stack up.
What is Incorporate.com?
Incorporate.com is an LLC formation service dedicated to helping small businesses get started. And when we say “dedicated,” we do mean dedicated—they’ve been in business since 1899. This makes them the oldest business service we’ve ever reviewed.
During that time, they’ve formed more than 750,000 businesses. They say they “love corporations more than anything else in the world,” so it’s no surprise they’ve lasted so long.
How does their service work?
If you choose to use Incorporate.com, you can expect a relatively straightforward 4-step process. (The hardest part is navigating through their upsells, which we’ll cover later). Here’s a quick flyby of those steps:
- Select your state and business type. In this case, you’ll want an LLC.
- Choose your package and add-ons. These can include an EIN, a corporate kit, an operating agreement, a business license compliance package, and more.
- Provide contact information for the company. Usually, each business will have one person to serve as their primary point of contact.
- Fill in other company information. For example, you’ll need to give the name of your new company, who will serve as your registered agent, and more.
Overall, it’s a fairly straightforward process. Once you have all your information submitted, Incorporate.com will file your formation documents on your behalf.
Is Incorporate.com a good option?
Incorporate.com is at the bottom of our list of business formation services and we honestly don’t recommend them.
Sure, they’ve been in business for over 100 years and they do an okay job with their customer service and processing times. But they overcharge for their packages, and some of their pricing borders on misleading, too.
What are their customers saying?
For a company that’s operated for over 100 years, Incorporate.com does not have many reviews on external websites. You can find lots of positive quotes on their website, but we don’t place a lot of stock in those.
On external reviews, Incorporate.com falls short. They really only have one positive review that we could find (out of 14 total). That review said that the registered agent service was incredibly helpful.
But there are lots of negatives to consider. Here are some of the things customers didn’t like about Incorporate.com:
- Hidden fees for services
- Nearly impossible to subscribe from services
We agree that Incorporate.com is overpriced, and it’s hard to know exactly what they’re charging you until you’ve already paid the fees. We’ll dig into this in more detail in our in-depth review below.
Who is their service best for?
We do not recommend Incorporate.com. There are much more affordable options that have much better features.
Incorporate.com: Our in-depth review
Cost to form an LLC
For a business, money is always a factor. That goes for new and established businesses alike. That’s why you should always factor in cost when considering an LLC formation service. Incorporate.com is no exception.
Maybe we should just say 1/5 stars. Their final prices are astronomical compared to their competitors.
One feature we always consider when judging cost is registered agent service. A lot of companies include six months to a year of registered agent service for free when you buy a formation package. Incorporate.com…doesn’t. In fact, they charge $235 per year for the service. That’s double what most of their competitors charge.
And that’s on top of their package fees. Those are pretty expensive, too. But before we break down their features, there’s one more thing to consider: some of the features they advertise as “included” aren’t actually included unless you add registered agent service, too. This includes their compliance dashboard and their annual report service (which actually costs $150 a year on top of the package price).
If you find that irritating, we have to agree. It’s one of the primary complaints in their customer reviews.
Last, let’s talk about their packages:
Starter: Incorporate.com’s entry-level package costs $99. That’s double what some competitors charge. Unfortunately, you don’t get double the features; this package includes filing of your formation documents and online access to those documents.
The Essentials: Incorporate.com says the surface price for this package is $249, but there’s a catch: you have to pay for the “included features” of registered agent service and annual report service. These cost $235 and $150 respectively. So, the actual cost is $634. And for that price, you get the Starter package plus an EIN, a business kit and seal, access to their compliance dashboard, and annual report service.
The Works: This package is like the above: you have to get registered agent service and annual report service to truly use this package. So that drives the sticker price of $349 to $734 total. You’ll get all of The Essentials, a custom operating agreement, and a business license research program which helps you get the licenses and permits required by your state.
Incorporate.com’s order process
Have you ever tried to order something online, only to get lost in a never-ending series of cluttered web pages? The harder it is to order a service, the less likely you are to use it. Streamlined ordering is an important component of any good formation service.
On the surface, Incorporate.com seems fairly simple to use. Their business startup wizard does make it easier to choose what business type is right for you. And they also link FAQs about the entity type to help you decide.
You can also check out their pricing page to decide which package is right for you (just remember that their compliance package and annual report services aren’t actually included in the listed price).
Despite all their little “helps” along the way, Incorporate.com loses a lot of order process points because of their upsells: there are seven upsells along the way. Add to that their odd pricing and you get a pretty annoying order process.
Customer Support Friendliness
Since online formation services are entirely virtual, they can sometimes feel a bit impersonal. But good customer support—complete with friendly, prompt customer service representatives—brings a personal touch to your experience.
Customer service is one of the few categories that we don’t really have complaints about. Incorporate.com matches the industry standard by offering phone, email, and chat support. We tested all three types, and we were pleased with them.
The chat feature got us a near-instantaneous response, and the answer we got was helpful and friendly. For email, we received an answer in just over 24 hours. That’s a little slow, but they did give us a lot of detail in that response, so we weren’t too bothered.
We had a pretty similar response with their phone service. The representative we spoke with was friendly and professional. And although they didn’t give us a ton of detail in the response, they did ask if we needed any other assistance. All in all, they won’t win a “best-in-show” for customer service, but they get the job done well.
LLC Formation Speed
Technically speaking, you can file your own LLC paperwork yourself. But you’re a busy, budding entrepreneur, so you may not have the time to spare. Hiring a formation service like Incorporate.com can save you time—provided they’re fast enough. Poor processing times could leave you wishing you’d formed on your own instead.
Some services commit to filing your documents the same day or by the next business day. Incorporate.com doesn’t make that commitment: instead, they promise to file your documents as soon as possible. So as long as you provide them with all the information they need, they’ll file as quickly as they can.