Read the Direct Incorporation vs IncFile review below or get Mark Cuban's recommendation (ZenBusiness) for $0 + state fee.
Direct Incorporation and IncFile are both popular choices for LLC formation services, and for good reason. They’re both reputable companies that have the necessary know-how to get the job done right. However, they do have some differences that set them apart.
First and foremost, IncFile’s free (plus state fee) base rate is obviously a much lower price than Direct Incorporation’s $174 price point. In addition, IncFile has tens of thousands of positive customer reviews available online, while Direct Incorporation barely has any feedback at all. However, Direct Incorporation offers premium packages with valuable business and marketing features that IncFile doesn’t have.
Need more information to make your decision? Read on to get the full details on what sets these two popular service providers apart. Which one is the better fit for your business?
1) Affordable: With either of these companies, you’ll save hundreds of dollars over hiring an attorney to draft and file your articles of organization. Furthermore, LLCs are fairly simple structures, so you may not need a lawyer’s expertise to begin with.
2) Customer Support: Of course, saving money isn’t the only priority. Direct Incorporation and IncFile both have customer support networks that can save you time and effort. Instead of looking for your own answers when you have questions, simply ask their service reps to get a quick and accurate response.
3) Experience: Both IncFile and Direct Incorporation have loads of experience forming businesses. They’ve each helped form thousands of LLCs, and they have the expertise necessary to form your new company.
4) Additional Services: Are you in the market for other business services in addition to your formation? IncFile and Direct Incorporation offer many other business solutions like federal tax ID numbers (EIN), business document preparation and filing, etc. Think of them as one-stop business service shops!
5) Efficiency: Do you need to get your new LLC up and running in a hurry? Direct Incorporation and IncFile both have expedited options that can really speed up the process, for an additional fee of course.
If you’re ready to officially start your business and protect your assets, let ZenBusiness take care of the paperwork. We have formed over 500,000 businesses and received thousands of positive customer reviews.
Starts at $0 + state fee
IncFile: IncFile’s Silver package for free (plus state fee) is one of the most popular business formation packages in the industry. Even with such a low price point, this plan includes 12 months of registered agent service. They also offer the $149 Gold package, which adds federal tax ID number (EIN) acquisition, as well as some business documents. Additionally, they have a reasonable rate for ongoing registered agent service ― after your free first year, it costs $119 per year.
Direct Incorporation: Their starting price point for business formation is $174 plus the state’s fee. However, this package does at least include six months of registered agent service, and they’ll also obtain your EIN. Their higher-cost plans are intriguing for the right entrepreneur, as they’re packed with advanced features that many competitors don’t offer. So, if you’re in the market for features like custom logos, full-service web design, trademark protections, and more, Direct Incorporation is worth a look.
IncFile: IncFile is on another level for experience, as they’ve been around since 2004, with 800,000+ clients served.
Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation was formed in 2003, and they’ve served more than 80,000 customers since then.
IncFile: IncFile’s customer service team is available via either phone or email, and we’ve used both of these options many times. IncFile’s phone support is typically responsive and helpful. However, its email support is much less responsive. Many of our emails have gone unanswered, and several of the responses we have received are just form emails that don’t directly address our questions.
Direct Incorporation: One of the things we appreciate about Direct Incorporation is the fact that they provide a full list of every employee’s direct contact information on their website. If you need specialized support, it’s easy to look through the list and find the perfect person to talk to about your questions or concerns. If you would rather contact their general support line, you can also do that via phone or email. Their hours of operation are nearly identical to IncFile’s, as you can contact them from 9 am to 6 pm ET, Monday through Friday.
IncFile: Like most competitors in this industry, IncFile’s turnaround times are based on how quickly each individual state is capable of processing business formations. They have estimated formation speeds for both standard and expedited processing available on their website, so there are never any surprises regarding how long the process will take. They also submit your formation documents to the state within one business day of your purchase.
Direct Incorporation: Like IncFile, their processing speeds are also based on state turnarounds, so they can be as quick as a few days or as slow as several weeks, depending on the requirements of your specific state. They also file your paperwork with the state by the next business day, and you can find all of their state-by-state formation speeds listed conveniently on one page on their website.
IncFile: Customer feedback is a strength for IncFile. They have almost 34,000 customer reviews available online, and nearly all of them are quite positive.
Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation has a few dozen reviews across the web. While a slight majority of their reviews are positive in nature, they also have more than just a small handful of negative reviews, and they clearly don’t have nearly the volume of feedback that IncFile has.
IncFile: IncFile simplifies the business formation process to the point where all you need to do is select which of their service packages you’d like to purchase, then supply them with some basic personal and business information. As you work your way through their order form, any potential add-on features are customized depending on your state of formation, and if you’re confused about any of their services, they have hyperlinks throughout the order form that explain each feature.
Direct Incorporation: In our experience, you can fill out their order form in under 15 minutes, and the entire process is streamlined and easily understood. Recently, they also redesigned their package selection screen, improving it from a somewhat convoluted setup to a much simpler presentation.
Both Direct Incorporation and IncFile provide access to a broad selection of other services that can help you maintain your business. They also offer many of the same services, including registered agent service, doing business as (DBA) names, foreign qualifications, amendments, annual reports, and more.
There are also several products and services that you can only access with Direct Incorporation. For example, they offer tax programs for startups, legal advice, and logo design, which are services that IncFile doesn’t provide. However, IncFile has a couple of unique services as well, as they offer business accounting services, while Direct Incorporation does not.
Direct Incorporation and IncFile are both capable of efficiently forming your new LLC. They’re experienced and trustworthy, and they’ll both save you hundreds of dollars over hiring a traditional law firm to handle your formation for you.
Because they’re both strong options, it wouldn’t surprise us if you are still undecided. With that in mind, let’s wrap up this comparison with a brief discussion of scenarios in which you might prefer to use one over the other.
Are you looking for the most affordable LLC service online? Or maybe you prioritize large volumes of positive customer feedback? These are two common reasons for business owners to choose IncFile.
Do you need features like trademark protection and logo design? Direct Incorporation is a popular choice for entrepreneurs who want to bundle advanced features in with their formation package. In general, they are a good IncFile LLC alternative.
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Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes
Our preferred option out of IncFile’s LLC formation packages is their Silver package, which is free (just pay your state’s state fee).
Even though it’s a completely free LLC setup, this package includes a year of registered agent service along with your formation.
If you’re looking for some advanced features with your formation, we wouldn’t blame you for selecting their $149 Gold package either, as it includes an EIN, a company alerts system, and an operating agreement.
IncFile is a very popular and well-known LLC service. To get a glimpse of how they compare to other top LLC formation websites, see the reviews below:
Unfortunately, IncFile does not offer to handle state-specific compliance requirements like publication service. We called them to get some clarification on this issue, and they said that publication requirements “need to be taken care of with the state directly.” For what it’s worth, Direct Incorporation also offers no assistance with the publication process.
Several competitors do offer assistance with these requirements, like ZenBusiness, so it’s a shame that IncFile and Direct Incorporation do not. For more information, check out our guide to the best New York LLC publication services.
In our opinion, Direct Incorporation and IncFile both keep the upsells to a minimum. They do provide opportunities for you to upgrade to a higher level of LLC formation service or to add features on an a la carte basis, but they aren’t pushy about it at all.
If you make a purchase through IncFile, you should make certain that you really want it before you buy because their refund policy is quite strict.
They only provide refunds less a $30 cancellation fee if you request one before they send any money to your formation state’s government, which usually takes place within 24 hours of placing your order. After that, you’re out of luck.
Direct Incorporation’s refund policy is rather similar. At best, you’ll get a refund less a $40 processing fee, but “any order that has been partially processed and has had formation documents sent to the state’s office for filing, and/or trademark documents sent to the USPTO is nonrefundable.”
Both Direct Incorporation and IncFile base their turnaround times on the ability of each state to process LLC formations. Therefore, their typical processing times are quite similar in the vast majority of states.
One or the other may be a day or two quicker in a few isolated states, but that’s about it.
Of course, you can. In fact, quite a few entrepreneurs do choose to form their own LLCs without any assistance. However, the DIY route doesn’t provide the peace of mind we get from hiring a professional service. In addition, each state sets its own rules and regulations for LLC formations, so it’s not always easy to figure out what your state requires.
When it comes down to it, Incfile provides more features at lower price points than most competitors, which is always an important advantage.
As for Direct Incorporation, their big advantage is the fact that they provide a number of features that few competitors offer, like their custom logo design and trademark protection service. Not everyone needs these features, but for those of you that do, it’s nice to see that they’re available.
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Very helpful and easy to use. Zen Business made the process of obtaining an LLC so much better than on my own!
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