Read the Direct Incorporation vs Northwest review below or get Mark Cuban's recommendation (ZenBusiness) for $0 + state fee.
Northwest and Direct Incorporation are two of the most popular companies in the LLC services industry, and we’re quite confident in their abilities to efficiently form your compliant business entity. Each of these companies has its own advantages when compared to each other.
First and foremost, Northwest has strong customer support. While Direct Incorporation also has quality customer service, they don’t reach the same level of personalization that Northwest offers. In addition, 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 to make a decision between these two respected companies.
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.
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 definitely trust them to have the experience they need to form your compliant LLC.
5) Trustworthy: These are both entirely legitimate operations with strong track records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies, but rather they’re well-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 tons 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?
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Starts at $0 + state fee
Northwest charges $225 for its only LLC formation service package. Meanwhile, Direct Incorporation starts its pricing at $174. It’s worth noting that Direct Incorporation also has several higher-priced packages that cost $297, $429, $873, and $1,495.
Obviously, everyone would rather pay $174 than $225, right? Pricing is important, but it isn’t everything! Let’s see how these companies compare in other categories.
As we mentioned, Northwest bundles 12 months of registered agent service with any LLC formation package purchase, although they don’t include any other valuable features. In addition to their six months of registered agent, Direct Incorporation includes a federal tax ID number (EIN), and they will also acquire your S corporation tax election (if necessary).
It’s worth mentioning that Direct Incorporation’s higher-priced formation packages include tons of advanced features that Northwest doesn’t offer, like logo design, full-service web design, trademark protection service, and more.
This category is an interesting competition because both companies have their own advantages over the other. The additional six months of registered agent service from Northwest are valuable, but so is the EIN acquisition offered by Direct Incorporation.
Northwest was formed in 1998, and since then they’ve served more than 2 million customers. They also indicate on their website that they deal with hundreds of new LLCs and corporations every day. As for Direct Incorporation, they’ve helped more than 80,000 clients since opening in 2003.
Direct Incorporation offers customer support via phone, and in our experience, they are quite responsive, as we’ve never had to wait very long to get in touch with them. Their representatives are knowledgeable and helpful.
Northwest has personalized support. Their highly trained support representatives have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw upon, and they go way beyond the level of the traditional “call center” style of support offered by most competitors.
With Direct Incorporation, turnaround times are based on the requirements of each state. These processing times can vary from just a couple of business days all the way up to several weeks. Northwest’s turnaround times also vary based on state requirements, and they typically take roughly the same amount of time to process your order as Direct Incorporation does.
Both of these service providers have order-tracking tools available on their websites. Simply log into your account, and you’ll find your order status in your profile.
Every LLC in America is required to designate a registered agent, which is a person or business entity that receives important document deliveries (like service of process) from your state government, informs you of the receipt, then forwards the documents to you. This is so crucial because the state needs to have a reliable means of contacting your business at any time.
Northwest includes 12 months of registered agent service with any LLC formation, and this service costs $125 per year after that. Northwest also offers volume discounts if you need service in multiple states. Direct Incorporation bundles in six months of registered agent service with their LLC service packages, and they charge $159 per year for ongoing service once those six months are up.
Northwest receives mostly positive customer reviews. We found nearly 400 reviews of their services, and the vast majority of their feedback is quite positive. Still, for a company with millions of customers, we had hoped for a slightly higher volume of reviews.
As for Direct Incorporation, we found just 30 reviews online, and their review scores are decent yet unimpressive.
These companies are relative equals in this category, as they both make the LLC formation process quite simple compared to forming your own business using the DIY method.
With either of these companies, you can access a broad selection of additional business services. For instance, they both offer registered agent services, foreign qualifications, and business licensing research packages. However, there are also many 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 does not provide to its customers.
Northwest and Direct Incorporation have plenty of common characteristics that make them two of the top LLC formation services available, but they also have some major 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.
Regardless of which one you ultimately choose to help form your LLC, we think you’ll be quite pleased with the service you receive from these companies.
If receiving a full year of reliable registered agent service for your business at no extra cost is a priority for you, Northwest is a good option. Their high-quality customer support is a solid selling point as well.
If your company can take advantage of its advanced features, Direct Incorporation’s LLC service is usually worth the money. Very few competitors can match their offerings of logo design, web design, trademark service, and more. On the other hand, many businesses don’t need these features.
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Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes
Yes and no. Northwest doesn’t offer to handle state-specific requirements entirely, but they do offer significant 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.
If you’d like more information on the best options for New York LLC publication services, including ZenBusiness, check out our full guide on this topic.
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.
Of course, you can. In fact, thousands of American entrepreneurs form their own business entities each year. While there’s certainly 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 like Northwest or Direct Incorporation to form our businesses.
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