Direct Incorporation vs. Northwest key differences

Northwest and Direct Incorporation are two of the most popular companies in the LLC services industry, and we’re confident in their abilities to efficiently form your compliant business entity. Each of these companies has its own advantages when compared to the other.

For example, Northwest has a better customer feedback reputation than Direct Incorporation. That said, Direct Incorporation has lower prices.

Would you like to learn the details that set these service providers apart, as well as the common characteristics they both share? Read on as we discuss all the information you need.

7 Things They Have in Common

1) Affordable: With either Northwest or Direct Incorporation, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.

2) Registered Agent Service: Both of these companies provide their LLC formation clients with free registered agent service. Northwest provides a full year, while Direct Incorporation includes six months. Every LLC needs to designate a registered agent, so this is a valuable feature.

3) Efficiency: Whether you choose Northwest or Direct Incorporation, you’re getting a service provider that’s capable of processing an LLC formation quickly. If you’re in a hurry, they both have options available that can speed up your formation (for an extra fee, of course).

4) Experience: Both Direct Incorporation and Northwest have helped form thousands of businesses over the years, and they both have plenty of expertise. You can trust them to have the experience they need to form your compliant LLC.

5) Trustworthy: These are both legitimate operations with strong track records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies, but rather they’re respected entities with plenty of expertise to get the job done right.

6) Additional Services: LLC formation is far from the only service offered by Northwest and Direct Incorporation. They both have plenty of other services available, from registered agent service to foreign qualifications and much more. They’re one-stop shops for business services.

7) Customer Support: While the ways they go about providing it vary somewhat, these two services both have customer support networks that can answer your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from Northwest or Direct Incorporation?

Direct Incorporation vs. Northwest Comparisons


Northwest: At $225, their price point is high compared to many competitors. Still, the inclusion of a full year of their registered agent service is a good feature that makes their pricing more attractive. Once the first year is up, the registered agent service will renew at $125 per year.

Direct Incorporation: Their starting price point for business formation is $174 plus the state’s fee. However, this package does 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 include advanced features that some competitors don’t offer. So, if you’re in the market for features like custom logos, web design, trademark protections, and more, Direct Incorporation could be worth a look.


Northwest: Northwest Registered Agent has been around since 1998, and since then, they’ve served 2+ million customers.

Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation opened in 2003, and as a mid-sized company, they’ve served more than 80,000 customers since then.

Customer Support

Northwest: Northwest offers phone and email support. We first tested their email support, and while it took nearly 24 hours to receive an email back, the response was detailed, and the rep went beyond simply answering our question and checking off an email response. We also called and received similarly impressive service. The representative who answered the phone took the time to ask for details so that he could give us the most accurate answer.

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 right 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.

Turnaround Times

Northwest: When you select your state from the dropdown menu of the application, an estimated turnaround time will display on the screen. Most states have expedited service available for an additional fee, so you’ll see two turnaround times on the order form.

Direct Incorporation: 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 usually 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.

Customer Reviews

Northwest: Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t have a ton of customer feedback, but they do have around 800 reviews, and they’re mostly 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 some competitors have.

Ease of Use

Northwest: The application process with Northwest is streamlined and easy to follow. You simply enter your personal info and business details and pay for the order. There aren’t any upsells, and Northwest only offers one LLC formation service package.

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.

Additional Services

With either of these companies, you can access a selection of additional business services. For instance, they both offer registered agent services, foreign qualifications, and business licensing research packages. However, there are also some services offered by Direct Incorporation that Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t offer.

For example, Direct Incorporation can help you with access to legal advice, and they also offer trademark protection, business websites, domain names, logo design, and much more. These are all services that Northwest doesn’t provide to its customers.

Which is the best LLC service for you?

Northwest and Direct Incorporation have plenty of common characteristics that make them two of the most popular LLC formation services available, but they also have some differences that set them apart. If you haven’t yet made up your mind between them, let’s finish this comparison by quickly describing some scenarios that may sway your opinion one way or the other.

➥ Choose Northwest if You Are:

If receiving a full year of reliable registered agent service for your business at no extra cost is a priority for you, Northwest is an option. Their high-quality customer support is a solid selling point as well.

➦ Choose Direct Incorporation if You Are:

If your company can take advantage of its advanced features, Direct Incorporation’s LLC service can be worth the money. On the other hand, many businesses don’t need these features.

🎉 Choose ZenBusiness if You Are:

If you’d like to form your LLC with ZenBusiness, we’re here to help. We offer LLC formations starting at $0 (+ state fee), and we have many more positive customer reviews than either Direct Incorporation or Northwest. Form your LLC quickly and get more tools to start your dream business.

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More InfoWe do everything needed to file your application with the state and make your business official. Standard LLC Filing
More InfoWe’ll file your paperwork quickly and accurately. If there are any errors with your filing, our team will do what’s needed to make it right. 100% Accuracy Guarantee
More InfoKeeps you compliant with all state-required annual report and amendment filings to maintain LLC protections and avoid fines. Worry-Free Compliance
More InfoThis essential document is like the constitution for your business. Operating Agreement
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Frequently Asked Questions About Northwest Registered Agent and Direct Incorporation

  • Yes and no. Northwest doesn’t offer to handle state-specific requirements entirely, but they do offer some assistance with them. If, for example, you need to complete New York’s publication requirement, Northwest encourages you to use their Albany, NY address as an “address for service of process” or a “principal office.”

    They then provide you with step-by-step instructions to help you complete this requirement. However, they leave you on your own to do all the legwork. Meanwhile, Direct Incorporation offers no assistance with these requirements at all. Looking for a company to handle this requirement on your behalf? Check out our New York publication service offer.

  • We appreciate both of these companies in this regard, as neither of them gets pushy with upsells like some of their competitors do. For instance, LegalZoom attempts $1,000+ in upsells throughout its LLC formation service order form, while Northwest and Direct Incorporation don’t pressure you nearly as much.

  • Direct Incorporation’s refund policy is pretty strict. 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.” As for Northwest, they have a flat $25 fee for refunds, which they refer to as a “You changed your mind fee.”

  • Generally speaking, these companies are pretty close when it comes to turnaround times. There are some exceptions, however. We’ve noticed that Direct Incorporation is sometimes a bit faster for standard processing, but Northwest offers expedited service in more states.

  • You can. In fact, thousands of American entrepreneurs form their own business entities each year. While there’s nothing wrong with doing this, we will caution that, because each state is allowed to create its own rules regarding how LLCs are formed, there is some variance from state to state regarding how an LLC is formed. Furthermore, we appreciate the peace of mind we receive from hiring a reputable company to form our businesses.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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