Expanding your business to an additional state? If so, you’ll need to obtain a foreign qualification, which gives you permission to operate your business in a state other than the one where you formed it.
You can go the do-it-yourself route if you want to, but this is such an important document filing that we prefer leaving it up to a professional. You could hire an attorney to draft and file your Certificate of Authority application, but this can be very expensive. Thankfully, some of the same companies offering the best LLC formation services also offer foreign qualifications.
Northwest Registered Agent is a popular foreign qualification service due to its personalized customer support and commitment to privacy. But is Northwest the best service for your company’s unique needs and circumstances?
In many states, the foreign qualification process is quite similar to the business formation process, although the fact that each state creates its own rules and regulations can complicate things a bit. Essentially, foreign qualification is obtained by filing a form usually known as the Certificate of Authority, which grants your business the right to operate in an additional state.
With a foreign qualification service like Northwest Registered Agent (a popular Incfile alternative), all you have to do is provide them with some basic info, and they’ll take care of the rest. You won’t need to worry about filling out any forms or filing them with the Secretary of State. Instead, you can pay Northwest (or another top incorporation service) a reasonable fee and spend that time growing your business.
Northwest Registered Agent is a popular pick for foreign qualification services for a handful of reasons. Let’s quickly review its pros and cons before we dig into the details.
Northwest Registered Agent’s foreign qualification service costs $225, plus your state’s fee. It includes a preliminary name search of your state’s business database, along with the preparation and filing of your Certificate of Authority (or similarly named document). In addition, you’ll receive a year of registered agent service.
At $225 (+ state fee), Northwest Registered Agent’s price point for foreign qualification is a bit high unless you highly value the included year of registered agent service. While we do appreciate Northwest’s domestic business formation service, it too has a higher price point than most Northwest competitors.
Northwest was founded in 1998 out of Spokane, Washington. They’ve found a niche in being a medium-sized business and boast a motto of “We’re Just Not Annoying.” Their primary goal is to simplify business formation and registered agent services while being transparent with their customers.
Since its founding, Northwest has helped form around 2 million businesses. They share on their site that they’re currently working with upwards of 200 new LLCs and corporations each day. While there aren’t too many reviews online for the company (around 800), most of the ones we found were positive and aligned with the mission and values promised by Northwest.
Northwest offers phone and email support. You can fill out a form on their site to send an email. 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 them. The representative who answered the phone took the time to ask for details so that he could give us the most accurate answer. Whereas some competitors in this industry outsource their customer support to large, anonymous call centers, we appreciate Northwest’s commitment to providing personalized customer service.
The entire point of using a foreign qualification service is to make this part of your business run seamlessly with little-to-no effort on your part. Northwest Registered Agent fits the bill, as it’s simple to place orders, renew services, and navigate its website.
However, Northwest’s foreign qualification order form includes a host of upsell attempts, including those for annual report service, mail forwarding, virtual office services, trademark service, phone service, and corporate supplies.
The process of ordering foreign qualification service from Northwest Registered Agent is simple. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when you click the “GET STARTED” button on the Northwest foreign qualification service page. Keep in mind that the process for foreign qualification can vary from state to state, but in most states, it will look something like this.
Compared to some companies in this industry that have thousands of reviews available online, we only found a few hundred for Northwest Registered Agent. That said, while the volume of reviews isn’t as high as some competitors, it’s tough to complain about the quality of feedback this company receives.
On Google, we found around 800 reviews for Northwest with an average rating score of 4.7 out of 5. We discovered that its customers like the customer support they receive and the lack of pushy sales tactics. There are annual report services with larger volumes of customer feedback (for instance, we have 12,000+ positive customer reviews available online), but not many with a higher quality of reviews than Northwest Registered Agent.
We appreciate this company’s personalized customer support and commitment to privacy, although it also has a couple of drawbacks as well. Its pricing for foreign qualifications is a bit high, and it also has quite a few upsells on the order form for this service.
Overall, while we realize that each business has its own unique needs and characteristics, we think Northwest is a viable option for foreign qualification service. For more information on its competitors, check out our guide to the best foreign qualification services.
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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