First and foremost, Northwest includes a full year of registered agent service with any LLC service purchase, while LegalZoom doesn’t include this service in any of its LLC formation packages. However, LegalZoom offers a free (+ state fee) LLC package, while Northwest charges $225. In general, LegalZoom is a solid Northwest alternative.
1) Affordable: Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom can both help with your LLC formation without costing you an arm and a leg like hiring a business attorney to draft and file your formation documents.
2) Customer Support: This is one of the biggest reasons these services can be a benefit to you. Instead of going it alone when you have questions, you can contact their customer service department and get answers from knowledgeable professionals.
3) Experience: With thousands upon thousands of satisfied customers, LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent have the experience necessary to earn your trust.
4) Additional Services: After your LLC formation, these companies still have a lot to offer. Their business services can provide solutions for ongoing compliance requirements, including registered agent service and more.
5) Educational: Their websites have a number of free tools to help you learn about the business world and run your LLC. Both companies provide information on issues that confront many business owners, like asset protection, licensing, permits, etc.
6) Efficiency: Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom both offer expedited services that can speed up your formation process ― often from weeks or even months down to mere days. This costs extra, of course, but it can be worth it if you’re in a hurry.
Identify the LLC package and services that fit your needs and then get started.
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.
LegalZoom: While LegalZoom does offer a $0 (+ state fee) package for LLCs, the number of upsells can get overwhelming — and expensive. They charge $199 per year for registered agent service.
Northwest: Northwest Registered Agent has been around since 1998, and since then, they’ve served 2+ million customers.
LegalZoom: LegalZoom has served more than 2 million business customers since it started offering business services online in 2001.
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.
LegalZoom: LegalZoom offers phone and email support. We reached out twice via the email form on their site, but it took them a full week to respond. The response we received was generic, thanking us for reaching out but not answering our question.
When we contacted them via phone, our question was answered thoroughly. The representative went into detail about our different options and then sent us an email with their direct extension so that we could reach out directly with questions. Overall, while their customer service via phone is good, their online support could be improved.
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.
LegalZoom: Their turnarounds are based on which package you order rather than which state you’re forming in. With their most expensive package, you could receive your finalized business formation documents in 7-10 business days, but their cheaper packages take as long as 30 business days (six weeks).
Northwest: Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t have a ton of customer feedback, but they do have around 800 reviews, and they’re mostly positive.
LegalZoom: We found 6,000+ reviews for LegalZoom, and while they do have some negative reviews mixed in, a majority of this feedback is positive. Their satisfied customers often talk about how convenient and easy it is to use LegalZoom’s services.
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.
LegalZoom: First, you’ll pick your business entity type (LLC, corporation, nonprofit) and which of LegalZoom’s three packages you’d like to purchase. From there, you fill out your business information and payment details over a series of screens that also include upsells for registered agent service, an operating agreement, an EIN, a license research package, ongoing compliance assistance, a tax consultation, ongoing legal guidance, standard or complex tax returns, a legal protection plan, two options for business bank accounts, expedited processing, and an LLC kit and seal.
These companies provide many similar services, and you can count on either of them to provide registered agent service, annual reports, foreign registrations, and more.
However, LegalZoom has a wide variety of personal services that Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t offer. For instance, you can count on LegalZoom to create your estate plan or draft a pet protection agreement. They also offer their business clients consultations with attorneys, which Northwest doesn’t. However, Northwest also has a couple of services LegalZoom doesn’t have, like mail forwarding and virtual offices.
Even though they are both good LLC formation websites, there are plenty of differences between Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom. However, you may prefer one over the other for different reasons than we do. With that in mind, here are a couple of scenarios that can help you make your choice between these two services and us at ZenBusiness.
Are you looking for personalized customer support? Perhaps you place a high value on registered agent service? Northwest Registered Agent could be an option. Overall, they’re a decent LegalZoom alternative.
Do you prefer using the service that is more well-known, with a high volume of customers and lots of brand recognition? Do you want to save some money on your LLC formation? If so, LegalZoom might be worth a look.
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Northwest provides some help with state-specific requirements like publication, but they stop short of offering to take care of it for you entirely. For example, in New York, they allow their clients to use their Albany address as their principal office or “address for service of process.” They then provide you with a step-by-step guide to completing the rest of your publication requirement on your own. For what it’s worth, LegalZoom doesn’t offer publication service either.
This category is a big difference between Northwest and LegalZoom because LegalZoom pushes lots of upsells, whereas Northwest essentially doesn’t have any. With LegalZoom, you’ll need to navigate your way through more than $1,000 worth of upsells as you work your way through their order form.
LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee speaks to how confident they are in the quality of their products and services. In short, their guarantee says that as long as you request your refund within 60 days of your initial purchase, they will grant your refund within five business days. It’s nearly identical to our refund policy.
Northwest also has a refund policy, but it’s not up to the LegalZoom or ZenBusiness level. Northwest provides refunds, but they charge a fairly significant $25 processing fee, or in their own words, a “You changed your mind fee.”
Northwest’s turnaround times are based on the actual capabilities of your formation state, so it could take as little as a few days or as long as several weeks. LegalZoom’s are instead based on which level of service you purchase from them. Their cheapest package is the slowest (Economy, 30 business days), while their mid-tier Standard package speeds things up to 15 business days, and their most expensive Express Gold package takes 7-10 business days.
You can, and many entrepreneurs do form their own LLCs every day. However, we appreciate the peace of mind we receive from using a reputable formation service. In addition, each state has its own rules and regulations for LLC formations, so there can often be more legwork than people might expect.
LegalZoom has a few advantages, starting with pricing. It offers an LLC formation service package for free (+ state fee), while Northwest charges $225.
Northwest has a handful of advantages as well. We think their customer support is the biggest one, as they have personalized support with solid responsiveness, whereas LegalZoom has a more typical “call center” type of customer service system.
Both LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agent have plenty of features to keep your company in good standing with your state, although there are differences in their pricing models. LegalZoom offers registered agent service for $199 per year, and they also have annual report service available for $99. Northwest offers registered agent service for $125 per year. They also offer annual report service, which is available for $100 plus state fee.
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.
Northwest Registered Agent Comparisons