ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent: Clear Winner?

Why Compare ZenBusiness vs Northwest Registered Agent?

Starting your Limited Liability Company (LLC) but need help with all the complexities and hassles? Fortunately, there are many companies that offer high-quality LLC formation services to help you save time and focus on more important aspects, such as growing your business. With hundreds of LLC formation companies out there, choosing a reliable service provider is not as easy as it sounds.

Among the top LLC formation service providers, ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent stand out as the two most reliable options to help you navigate the complex world of new business registration by ensuring accuracy and efficiency. There are actually many factors that come into play when picking the best LLC formation service to start an LLC.

To help you decide on which is the best LLC service for you, we’ve done extensive research on both these two business formation service providers to help you decide on which is the right one for you. While they both provide similar services, there are many features that set them both apart.

Both these formation packages have their own set of unique advantages and advantages. Hence, it is important for you to evaluate your business needs and budget in order to choose the right LLC formation service. We hope today’s Zenbusiness and Northwest Registered Agent Services review will help facilitate your purchasing decision.

ZenBusiness vs. Northwest Registered Agent: Quick Look

Commonalities Between Northwest Registered Agent & ZenBusiness

Affordable

Both Northwest and ZenBusiness offer significant amounts of money saved on your LLC formation compared to hiring a dedicated business attorney just to handle your formation process. However, Northwest Registered Agent is more expensive compared to ZenBusiness.

Nonetheless, both businesses offer excellent packages that suit the needs and budgets of different customers. You need to remember not to select an LLC formation service based just on their price, but to also review and compare the features offered by both companies before making the final decision.

Registered Agent Service

Both ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent offer customers a full year of free registered agent service with all of their LLC formation packages. This is obviously a very valuable feature since every Limited Liability Company will need to designate a registered agent to receive official documents on their behalf.

Customer Support

Both Northwest and ZenBusiness have received excellent customer reviews for their services. ZenBusiness has a team of professional customer service crew that is friendly, accurate, and provides timely answers. The customer service team can be reached via phone, email, or a web-based chat portal.

Northwest Registered Agent, on the other hand, assigns each customer account a dedicated Corporate Guide. Northwest will provide the client with their dedicated customer support personnel’s direct contact information. This means that customers only need to contact the same person for any issues, any time, making the experience much more personal and meaningful.

Efficiency

Setting up your limited liability company often needs to be completed quickly so that you can begin running your business as soon as possible. This is why both ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent work efficiently to help you form your LLC quickly. Both companies are efficient and can get your formation processed with the state in a matter of days.

There are many LLC formation services on the market that base their turnaround times on the processing speed of each state but ZenBusiness will put a rush on your application depending on the package you choose. Compared to most LLC formation services, ZenBusiness is certainly much quicker, making them an ideal choice for those in a rush.

Northwest Registered Agent bases the turnaround time on specific state processing times. Some states may take a few days just to process your LLC formation while others may possibly drag your process up to several weeks. Though this is no fault of Northwest – it is simply how long the state department takes to complete the process.

Experience

Northwest Registered Agent was established back in 1998 and has already helped form more than 2 million business entities. Based on their website, the company works with more than 200 clients each day.

Despite the number of customers, it is a bit surprising to see that they only have approximately 100 positive customer reviews on their site. Nonetheless, these reviews are mostly positive with good feedback on Northwest’s operations.

Compared to Northwest, ZenBusiness is very new to the scene, having only been founded in 2015. In spite of that, ZenBusiness has thousands of customer reviews on their website, most of which are also positive feedback.

Additional Services

Both Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness offer additional services to their clients other than LLC formation. This allows clients to spend more time on building and expanding their business instead of getting too hassled over all kinds of business paperwork.

Who is ZenBusiness?

ZenBusiness is a subscription-based online LLC service provider that’s focused on business formation services. ZenBusiness is dedicated to helping clients form:

  • LLC (Limited Liability Company) and
  • Corporations (C-Corporation or S-Corporation)

To date, ZenBusiness has helped tens of thousands of business owners form an LLC. The company has a great reputation among business owners with hundreds of positive reviews available on their website. Something that makes ZenBusiness stand out is that the company’s formation packages are subscription-based. Their plans have annual fees but the valuable ongoing services and features can be added to their packages. All their plans also come included with Registered Agent services.

Who is Northwest Registered Agent?

Northwest Registered Agent is a business formation and Registered Agent service that offers a straightforward and simple approach to forming your LLC. Northwest is dedicated to helping clients form:

  • LLC (Limited Liability Company)
  • Corporations (C-Corporation or S-Corporation) and
  • Nonprofit Corporations

Northwest Registered Agent takes a simpler approach compared to other companies on the market. They do not over-complicate their packages with fancy bundles or all the bells-and-whistles, instead, they offer a streamlined, efficient, and personalized level of service to help clients achieve a more meaningful experience.

Northwest genuinely care about each of their clients and strive to help them achieve their business goals. In fact, the company pairs each customer with a personal Corporate Guide as customer support to help customers throughout the entire process.

Features

Both ZenBusiness and Northwest provide their customers with similar features in their entry-level LLC formation packages. Both provide full preparation and filing of your company’s articles of organization, along with registered agent service for free for an entire year.

Beyond their base package, ZenBusiness also includes an LLC operating agreement template and free accounting/tax assessment services to help business owners with their bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs.

In this aspect, it is obvious that ZenBusiness provides more features compared to Northwest Registered Agent, making them the better bang for your buck. However, we are confident that Northwest Registered Agent will quickly put together an impressive comeback in the next few categories to make them a worthy competition.

Experience

As mentioned in the earlier section, Northwest has more experience since they were established in 1998 and has served over two million customers. ZenBusiness only started in 2015 but they’ve also gained a reputation among their database of several thousand businesses.

Customer Support

In the customer support department, Northwest has got to be a leader in this thanks to its Corporate Guide system. Out of all the registered agent services on the market, Northwest’s customer service team is top-notch and has been proven to be far more knowledgeable than most competitors.

ZenBusiness’ customer support team is available via phone, email and chat support on Mondays to Fridays between 9 am to 9 pm ET and Sundays from 11 am to 8 pm ET. While they’re not dedicated Corporate Guides, the customer support team was still able to deliver prompt support with accurate responses to help you through any concerns.

Processing Time

Both LLC service providers will show exactly how long it takes to form an LLC in different states. You’ll only need to go on their website, select the LLC tab, select the state where you want to form your LLC and the website will present the processing time. Northwest Registered Agent structures its turnaround times based on each state’s processing time. However, their LLC formations are still more efficient than most competitors.

ZenBusiness, on the other hand, adopts a different setup. While their turnaround times also vary by state, ZenBusiness may also intentionally slow down the formation process for those who purchase their lower-cost packages as they prioritize who subscribe to their more premium packages.

Registered Agent Service

Every limited liability company in the US is required to assign a registered agent, which is a person or agent service that is appointed as the official contact to receive important document deliveries from the state government. This is a very important role as the state needs to have a reliable means of contacting your business any time it is required to.

Northwest bundles a year of registered agent service in all of its packages and they charge $125 per year for the 2nd year onwards. On the flip side, ZenBusiness LLS service includes free registered agent service in all of their LLC formation packages. If ordered separately, the service costs $99 per year if ordered separately.

However, it is worth noting that Northwest is the only major national registered agent service provider that will scan every document they receive on your behalf and upload them online for you to access at any time. Other companies will only scan government-issued documents that they’re legally required to scan in the first place.

 Customer Reviews

ZenBusiness has more than 6,200 reviews available on their website, most of which are positive. Customer’s frequent praises on the company’s efficiency and general ease of use prove that they are clearly satisfied with ZenBusiness’ services.

Despite having served more than 2 million businesses, Northwest Registered Agent only has a few hundred reviews on its website. They’re also overwhelmingly positive in nature as customers love Northwest’s industry-best customer support and their speed in processing formations.

Additional Services

The entry-level LLC service offered by both companies is almost the same. Both Northwest and ZenBusinessoffer full preparation and filing for your business’ articles of organization as well as one year of registered agent services. The companies also provide customers with access to many additional valuable business services such as EIN acquisition, annual reports, foreign registrations, and more.

Beyond the basic package, ZenBusiness offers bookkeeping and accounting services which Northwest doesn’t. Whereas Northwest offers more premium service to specific clients who need their needs such as a virtual office and mail forwarding options. Hence, it is important for you to take into account which services your business needs in order to decide on which is the right service for you.

Ease of Use

The ZenBusiness platform is very user-friendly and easy to use. In fact, ordering their business formation services is quite simple with ZenBusiness. You can begin by selecting the LLC package that best fits your needs, then provides some basic information about yourself and the business.

ZenBusiness will then recommend a few add-on features that you may want to consider depending on your needs. The entire process is very streamlined and does not get confusing.

Northwest also has an easy-to-use platform where customers can place an entire order without taking more than ten minutes. We love how the website does not have any third-party information or upsells throughout the process to confuse you. In this aspect, Northwest Registered Agent’s website might just have a slight edge against ZenBusiness since it is more straightforward.

Pricing Comparison Between ZenBusiness vs Northwest

ZenBusiness Packages

Here are the business formation packages the company offers:

Starter ($39 + state fees)

  • LLC formation
  • Registered agent for one year ($119/year for 2nd year onwards)
  • Operating Agreement
  • Worry-Free CPA Assessment
  • 3-4 weeks filing time

Pro ($149 + state fees)

  • Employer ID Number (EIN)
  • Worry-Free Compliance Guarantee
  • Expedite filing speed
  • Premium ($249 + state fee)
  • Rush filing speed
  • Domain name registration and domain name privacy
  • Business website
  • Business email address
  • Northwest Packages

Incorporation Service ($225 + state fee)

  • Corporate Guides to take care of LLC filing
  • Premium registered agent services
  • Operating Agreement
  • LLC Membership Certificates or Corporation Stock Certificates
  • Annual report compliance
  • Online account to access important business documents

Northwest Packages

DIY Free Account ($0 + State Fees)

Pay in Full ($225 + State Fees)

VIP Service (Monthly Fee Depending on LLC Location)

Northwest vs ZenBusiness – So, Which Should You Choose?

Now that we’ve reviewed the important details, which is the best LLC service for you to start a business?

Choose ZenBusiness if…

You want a bundle formation package of useful services. ZenBusiness offers great LLC packages that come with many services bundled together to offer clients great value.

You want to keep Registered Agent services. ZenBusiness includes Registered Agents in all their plans and if purchased separately, it’s still cheaper than Northwest.

You want a business website, domain name, etc. ZenBusiness partners with marketing service providers to offer their customers useful tools such as setting up a business email address, domain name, and website builder.

Choose Northwest if…

You want personalized support. Northwest’s main goal is to build meaningful relationships with their clients by fostering long-term beneficial arrangements for all parties. They provide Corporate Guides for each customer account.

You want privacy-boosting features. Northwest works hard to protect client data and boost privacy by offering customers mail forwarding and virtual office services.

You don’t want to deal with upsells or “special offers”. Many com[panies in the market make most of their profit by sharing your data with partners or giving you “special offers” for certain products. Fortunately, Northwest does not participate in any of such practices.

Conclusion & Final Verdict

Each of these companies secured a win in this competition: ZenBusiness wins in the pricing and features category while Northwest wins in the customer service category. This is definitely a close call, but we believe that ZenBusiness’ significant pricing advantage outweighs Northwest’s support offerings.

Northwest certainly has better service quality overall, but they do charge a premium price for their services that end up pricing themselves out of the competition. Nonetheless, Northwest is still a great choice for customers looking to have a more meaningful experience with second-to-none customer support. Those looking for a more affordable overall incorporation package would prefer ZenBusiness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the biggest advantage of each service?

ZenBusiness is not the absolute cheapest option for incorporation service, but at only $39, there are very few companies that can beat their pricing. You just need to pay the state fee and $39 ZenBusiness service fee and the company will handle everything for your limited liability company.

Northwest’s most significant advantage is its customer service – which is the best in the industry. They offer a high level of personalization that ZenBusiness and most other formation package services cannot match.

Which is the best LLC package from these two services?

Whether you choose ZenBusiness or Northwest, they both offer their customers superior quality packages. If you’re looking to save more money, you should opt for ZenBusiness since their starter package is only $39.

But if you’re looking for a company that provides quality customer service that walks you through every step of the way, then you should opt for Northwest. They do charge a higher fee of $225 for their basic package, but you get superior service for the money you spend.

Which company offers more help with ongoing compliance requirements?

Regardless of whether you’re choosing ZenBusines or Northwest, they both are great at helping you to keep your business in good standing down the line. When it comes to pricing, ZenBusiness charges $99 per year for their registered agent service, which is cheaper than the $125 annual fee charged by Northwest. As for annual reports, Northwest offers this service for $100 and ZenBusiness is $75.

Which company offers publication service?

ZenBusiness provides publication services whereas Northwest does not. ZenBusiness understands that several states like Arizona, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia might need you to post your company’s formation in regional newspapers, and that’s why they offer their customer this service.

Am I required to use a business formation service?

No, you’re not required to use a business formation service. There’s no legal statute that dictates a business entity must hire a professional incorporation service just to start their company.

That said, we do have some reservations about business owners forming their own companies. With limited liability companies, every state will have its own guidelines and you’ll need to do the necessary research to figure out what your specific state requires. Corporations are a rather complicated business type and we only recommend the DIY option for those who are more comfortable with the incorporation process.

Which business entity creation service has fewer upsells?

Northwest has far fewer upsells compared to ZenBusiness. Northwest keeps their upsells to an absolute minimum while ZenBusiness sprinkles them throughout the ordering process.

For example, if you choose ZenBusiness’ Starter plan, the company will try to add encourage you to get their “add-on” features such as an EIN for $70, Worry-Free Guarantee for $119/year, a banking resolution for $30, a business website formation package for $100/year, or a domain name for $25/year.

Do these companies share my information with third parties?

Northwest never shares or sells any of your information to third parties. They place a strong emphasis on your privacy and security, which is why they run their own servers and write their own code in order to avoid exposing any of your information to someone else.

ZenBusiness does attempt to share your information with third-party partners, such as by offering to help you handle your business domain name and business website package.

Do these services have a refund policy?

Northwest charges a convenience fee of $25 for processing refunds, or also known as a “You changed your mind” fee. ZenBusiness also has a similar system for refunds, but they charge a slightly higher cancellation fee of $50. If you’re looking for companies with a 100% refund policy, you can consider LegalZoom since they offer 100$ satisfaction guarantees where you can get your money back if you’re unhappy in any way.

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