You want to start a Limited Liability Company. You have your vision, your business name, and the motivation to make your dream a reality. But you want some help getting started, so you’ve decided to hire a business formation service.
But that leads to a big decision: which service should you use? There are a lot of options available, but they’re not created equal. Two popular services are Northwest and MyCorporation.
In this guide, we’ll give you a side-by-side comparison of these two services. Then you can pick the right service for you.
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.
Our philosophy: What makes a formation service “good?”
Ultimately, the “best” formation service boils down to a matter of opinion. Which one is best for you depends on what you want from a service. But that said, there are certain qualities that make one formation service better than another. Whenever we compare LLC services, here are some questions we ask:
- Does this service give me a good value for what I’m paying?
- Does this company have a proven record of supplying high-quality service?
- What is the quality of this company’s customer service?
- How easy is it to use this service?
- How quickly will my business be formed?
A good LLC formation service will receive high marks in these categories. We’ll consider the answers to these questions in our in-depth comparison below.
Northwest vs. MyCorporation: What’s the difference?
On the surface, Northwest and MyCorporation seem to accomplish the same purpose: helping you form your LLC. And while that’s true, the difference between them goes deeper than that. We’ll give you our full analysis in just a moment, but here are a few key differences:
- Northwest has some of the best pricing and customer support in the entire industry.
- MyCorporation and Northwest are the same age—both started in 1998—but MyCorporation has a lot more customer reviews online.
Both Northwest and MyCorporation can help you form an LLC online. That said, we honestly prefer Northwest for the majority of our readers. But to give you a better idea of which is right for you, let’s jump in to the specifics.
Pricing and packages
Whenever you make a purchase, you want to know that what you’re buying is truly worth the cost. The same goes for Northwest and MyCorporation. For us, Northwest takes a clear win. But to prove why we say that, let’s take a look at their packages:
- Basic: Northwest’s entry-level package rings in at a very competitive $49. For that price, they’ll file your formation documents for you. They also throw in a year of free registered agent service, but theirs costs $125 after the first year.
- Deluxe: The Deluxe package costs $149. For that fee, you’ll get everything in Basic, plus a Federal Tax ID and an operating agreement.
- Premium: This top-tier package from Northwest makes a jump to $199. That extra $50 gets you expedited processing.
- Basic: MyCorporation’s base package starts at $133. It doesn’t include a lot of bells and whistles, but they will run a business name availability check and file your Articles of Organization on your behalf.
- Standard: With Standard, MyCorporation makes a nice addition to their package by throwing in annual report service for a total price of $158. You’ll also get all the features of Basic, too.
- Deluxe: Deluxe costs $258, and it includes all the features of Standard, plus a year’s worth of registered agent service.
- Premium: The package prices at MyCorporation cap out at $358 for the Premium package. This bundle offers everything above, plus a year of their MaintainMyBiz compliance service. You can also select four different documents or services, such as an S Corporation election, bylaws, and more.
If you look at MyCorporation’s website, you’ll see slightly different prices. That’s because they charge a $34 shipping charge for each package. Their prices would be decent (but not as great as Northwest’s) without it. But we can’t really justify this extra charge; why does it cost $34 to ship pieces of paper?
In contrast, Northwest has excellent price points. And since they also give you a year of free registered agent service, we give them the win.
How easy it is to use the service
Any business service is supposed to make your life easier, right? That’s why we always consider how easy it is to use a service when we evaluate them. After all, why would you bother paying someone to file your paperwork if it’s harder to hire them than it is to do it yourself?
We tested both incorporation services, and they’re both relatively straightforward. Here’s the run-down of the two:
- Choosing a package: With Northwest, all you have to do to get started is pick between their Basic, Deluxe, and Premium packages.
- Up-sells: With Northwest, there aren’t any upsells! Their order form is as simple as it gets.
- Order time: There are really only three steps to ordering an LLC formation package with Northwest—choose your package, enter your business details, and pay for your order. That’s all there is to it, so it takes very little time.
- Choosing a package: With MyCorporation, you’ll have to enter your state of formation and the type of business you want to form. Then you can choose one of their 4 packages.
- Up-sells: Right before you pay, MyCorporation will present you with a brief series of up-sells and third-party offers. If you choose one, your price automatically updates.
- Order time: As long as you have your business name already picked, you can finish your order with MyCorporation within 10-15 minutes. If you select add-ons, it may take a bit longer.
We nearly called this category a tie; both Northwest and MyCorporation are quite easy to use. But we do shy away from third-party offers and up-sells. And since Northwest doesn’t have any up-sells whatsoever, they edge out MyCorporation.
Buying a product is one thing. But getting support for that product is just as important. After all, if a company doesn’t stand behind its product, why should you? But when a company helps you throughout the entire process—choosing a product, purchasing it, and keeping that product up-to-date—you’ll be happier with your purchase.
The same goes for business formation services. If they help you pick the package that’s right for you, assist you with the paperwork, answer your questions, and make it clear that they want to help you more than make money off you, you’ll keep using them. You might even recommend them to your friends.
In our opinion, both MyCorporation and Northwest have good customer support teams, but we do have a strong preference. Here’s a summary of our thoughts on the customer service of both services:
- Types of support: Northwest also offers support via phone and email.
- Availability: Northwest doesn’t post the exact hours for their customer support department on their website. However, when we tested their support, we received an email within 24 hours. We didn’t wait that long for our phone call, though (thankfully).
- Quality of support: Northwest fully delivers on their promise to provide next-level support. They’ll be your contact whenever you have questions, so you’ll get advice from someone who already knows your business situation, not a phone grunt.
- Types of support: MyCorporation offers support via phone and email.
- Availability: MyCorporation has a pretty wide range of support hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday through Friday.
- Quality of support: When we tested MyCorporation’s customer support, we got a quick response. The answer was helpful, but we got a little more detail over the phone than by email.
The team at MyCorporation does a great job with their customer support. Every time you call or email, they’ll get you the help you need. We honestly have no complaints. But compared to Northwest, they come up a bit short. We love Northwest’s personalized approach to customer support, so they claim another win.
Company track record
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with using a new company to form your business. But working with an established, trusted brand gives you confidence. You can trust a company that has already served thousands of happy customers.
MyCorporation and Northwest both have excellent track records, but each service shows that track record in slightly different ways. Here’s how the two stack up:
- Years in business: Northwest is one of the oldest formation services; they joined the market in 1998.
- Businesses formed: Northwest boasts more than 2 million businesses formed.
- Customer reviews: For as well-established as Northwest is, they have very surprisingly few reviews online. They are mostly positive, though.
- Years in business: MyCorporation and Northwest share the same year of formation: 1998.
- Businesses formed: MyCorporation has helped create more than 1 million different businesses.
- Customer reviews: MyCorporation has not formed as many businesses as Northwest, but they do have more reviews. Of the few hundred reviews for MyCorporation,the majority are positive.
This category is honestly too close to call. Northwest and MyCorporation are the same age (give or take a few months). And while Northwest has more businesses to its name, MyCorporation has more reviews. So it’s ultimately up to you to decide which is more important: number of customers or customer reviews. For us, these two come up as track record equals.
If you ever change your mind about a product you’ve purchased, you want to be able to return it, right? Unfortunately, with any business formation service, a full refund is impossible. That’s because part of the money goes to the state as their incorporation fee, and states do not refund those fees.
But occasionally, a customer changes their mind about a package they purchased. Perhaps they no longer want to subscribe to the registered agent service, or the company completes the process incorrectly. Each company has their own policy for refunds, and MyCorporation and Northwest are no exception. We’ll summarize those policies here.
We’ll let Northwest speak for themselves here: “We will not take your money twice, and if we screw something up, we will give your money back.” Much like they have excellent customer support, Northwest makes it their priority to serve their customers, not get money from you. So if you’re ever disappointed with their service, you can get a refund. Their only stipulations are that you must request the refund within 60 days. There’s also a $25 fee.
MyCorporation has a nearly identical refund policy: you can request one within 60 days of your purchase. They also charge a $25 convenience fee. The only difference is that the fee only applies to physical products. If you cancel an electronic service, there is no fee.
Assistance with ongoing compliance
Starting your business takes a lot of time and effort, but so does maintaining it! Each state is a little different; some require annual reports, some require you to renew your license each year, and more. Keeping track of these requirements can be confusing.
That’s why a lot of services help you with ongoing compliance. But just how much help you’ll get depends on what service you choose.
Northwest offers two separate services for ongoing compliance assistance. One is their registered agent service, which costs $125 annually after your first year. You can also subscribe to their annual report filing service for $99, which helps you meet all your yearly requirements.
MyCorporation offers the same registered agent services and annual report services to help keep your business compliant. Their prices are pretty similar, too: $99 for annual report service and $120 for registered agent service.
So, which service do we recommend?
MyCorporation is a great formation service in their own right. After all, they’ve got a great track record with their customers, and their customer service is good.
Despite that, our top recommendation goes to Northwest. The primary reason for that is simply that Northwest is a much better value. We put a big emphasis on good pricing. And since Northwest beats MyCorporation in a few other categories, they’re our recommendation.