LegalZoom vs. Northwest
Which Is Better for LLC Formation?

Northwest vs. LegalZoom Review Image


Searching for the right service to help you start an LLC? We used LegalZoom and Northwest to form LLCs, then compared their features.

In this LegalZoom vs. Northwest review, we answer three simple questions to help guide you through choosing the best service for starting your business. We also recommend checking out our list of the top 5 LLC formation services.

RECOMMENDED SERVICE


four point six out of five Northwest ($49 + State Fees)



KEY CONSIDERATIONS: NORTHWEST VS. LEGALZOOM

Choosing a service that helps you start and manage your own business can be stressful. That’s why we’ve presented three questions that will simplify the process and steer you toward the right decision.

Is It a Good Deal?

Northwest

Northwest’s checkout process is one of the most straightforward we’ve seen. There are no confusing a la carte options for the basic bundle and they progressively add features, like getting an EIN and Operating agreement templates for your business, as the price points increase. There are no hidden costs, and the process is easy to complete.

The overall cost savings between the two services are fairly significant. For example, with Northwest’s most basic package, you save more than just $40.

For example, Northwest offers a free year of registered agent service, then charges $125 per year after that. LegalZoom does not offer the first year for free, and charges $159 per year every year you use them.

Want to learn more about what a registered agent is and why it’s required for LLC formation? Read our guide here!


LegalZoom

LegalZoom is ideal if you would rather use a service with brand power and are willing to pay premium prices.

It’s important to note that LegalZoom recently lowered the pricing at all levels, starting with $29 for their most basic LLC formation tier. However, with this change, features such as operating agreement creation, EIN registration, and licensing searches are not included in the packages. Instead, they are added as a la carte options from $99 to $199 on top of the initial cost. This, along with $159 for registered agent services in the first year, make LegalZoom more expensive than it seems at first.

Who Uses Northwest and LegalZoom?

Northwest

Those who want to start their own business, or just need a new registered agent, use Northwest.

While LegalZoom is one of the most recognized service providers, Northwest has built a strong reputation and trust with their customers. This is pretty impressive, since the company is relatively new to the LLC filing industry.

Here are some verified reviews (pulled from Better Business Bureau) by people who used Northwest to help launch their businesses:

“I LOVE Northwest. The handled my LLC filing efficiently, and answered all of my questions in a timely manner ( there were many, and they responded within 24hours). Well worth the money for their expertise. I couldn’t have done it without them. I highly recommend their services.”

“Down-to-earth pricing with no hidden gotchas, fast turnaround, responsive customer service and all round pleasurable company/service to deal with.”

LegalZoom

Similar to Northwest, those who want to start an LLC, corporation, non-profit, and so forth use LegalZoom. One of the main differences is that LegalZoom is more focused on full legal services for business beyond just company formation. Here are some reviews (pulled from LegalZoom’s website) by people who used LegalZoom to help launch their businesses:

"I had never started a business before, so LegalZoom was a perfect place to go. It let me take my vision for the company and make it a reality, legally."

"We've used [LegalZoom] for quite a few things over the years, and overall it's gone very smoothly. They've been easy to work with and very affordable."

Is There a Better Deal to Form My LLC?

Northwest comes out of this comparison with an advantage in every category. Everything from cost to ease of checkout, availability of features and best-in-class customer support makes Northwest an excellent choice over LegalZoom.

Takeaway

Based on the questions above, Northwest Registered Agent is a good choice if you want affordable features and fast service.

LegalZoom is a decent choice if you prefer a more well-known brand.

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RECOMMENDED

four point six out of five Northwest ($49 + State Fees)

RATING DETAILS: NORTHWEST VS. LEGALZOOM

After answering the three questions, we further investigated what you should keep in mind before making your choice. We’ve separated these points into four topics which are outlined below.

Northwest LegalZoom
Overall 4.6/5 3.4/5
Cost Value 5/5 3/5
Customer Service 5/5 3.7/5
Ease of Use 4.5/5 3.7/5
Included Features 4/5 3/5

Customer Service

Northwest's customer service is the best among the LLC formation services we’ve reviewed.

The customer support reps we talked to from Northwest are extremely knowledgeable and consistent, and they always answer the phone. You can even choose to work with a rep you’ve worked with before if you had a good experience.

Included Features

Northwest includes a full year of their premium registered agent service.

You can choose to have Northwest serve as your registered agent at no additional cost for 365 days. This will save you more than $100 compared to what you’d pay if you hired LegalZoom for just that service.

Ease of Use

Both companies have a user-friendly checkout process.

Northwest has an advantage over LegalZoom because the service offers a convenient online dashboard, which neatly organizes all of your LLC paperwork. Northwest’s site isn’t quite as easy to navigate as other competitors’, but the order forms and checkout pages are laid out in a way that provides great transparency to their customers.

Northwest's turnaround time beats LegalZoom’s even at the highest tier.

While you will be subject to the filing timelines of the state you’re forming an LLC with, Northwest beats LegalZoom in processing time on their end. LegalZoom’s $349 Express Gold price package only guarantees a 7-day processing time, where Northwest’s has guaranteed same-day processing for the $199 Premium package.

Value

Northwest's base price and low cost for additional features-- like an operating agreement and EIN number--adds substantial value to their package.

These same features are an additional $159 on top of any package cost with LegalZoom. Once you also account for the base price of LegalZoom’s middle tier offer, ordering the same services from them will cost you an extra $500.

See our top 5 service reviews

four point seven out of five ZenBusiness ($49 + State Fees)

four point six out of five Incfile ($49 + State Fees)

four point six out of five Northwest ($49 + State Fees)

Three out of Five Stars LegalZoom ($79 + State Fees)

Three out of Five Stars Rocket Lawyer ($99 + State Fees)

PRODUCT COMPARISONS: NORTHWEST VS. LEGALZOOM

Northwest and LegalZoom offer additional services beyond forming your LLC. Some features can be purchased independently, offering even more pricing flexibility. Below, you’ll find a side-by-side comparison of their basic packages and the features that actually matter.

Please note that the service costs for each tier do not include the State filing fees.

Basic Plan Comparison

A legal document that declares the name or names of an LLC’s owners, their percentage of ownership, and operating procedures for the company.

Northwest
1-3 business days
LegalZoom
30 days

The company will act as your legal point of contact for the government to receive important notifications or mailings on your behalf.

Northwest
Free for one year, then $125/year
LegalZoom
$159 extra per year

A legal document that declares the name or names of an LLC’s owners, their percentage of ownership, and operating procedures for the company.

Northwest
Not included in this package
LegalZoom
$99 Extra

Employer Identification Number (EIN) works essentially the same as an individual’s social security number, except for businesses. It’s how the government is able to keep track of your business’ tax status.

Northwest
Not included in this package
LegalZoom
$60 extra, must be bundled with Operating Agreement for a total of $159

The company will keep you notified of upcoming legal filing requirements, such as your annual reports.

Northwest
Included with their free registered agent
LegalZoom
One month free, $320/year after

Basic Plan Highlights

For $49, Northwest will form your LLC, give you a year of free registered agent service at no extra cost, and process your order within 3 business days. LegalZoom, by contrast will only form your LLC, and requires an additional $159 for a year of registered agent service, meaning this plan saves you just a little more than $200 if LegalZoom is chosen as your registered agent.


Middle Plan Comparison

A legal document that declares the name or names of an LLC’s owners, their percentage of ownership, and operating procedures for the company.

Northwest
1-3 business days
LegalZoom
15 days

The company will act as your legal point of contact for the government to receive important notifications or mailings on your behalf.

Northwest
Free for one year, then $125/year
LegalZoom
$159/year

A legal document that declares the name or names of an LLC’s owners, their percentage of ownership, and operating procedures for the company.

Northwest
Included in this package
LegalZoom
$99 extra

Employer Identification Number (EIN) works essentially the same as an individual’s social security number, except for businesses. It’s how the government is able to keep track of your business’ tax status.

Northwest
Included in this package
LegalZoom
$60 extra, must be bundled with Operating Agreement for a total of $159

The company will keep you notified of upcoming legal filing requirements, such as your annual reports.

Northwest
Included with their free registered agent
LegalZoom
One month free, $320/year after

Middle Plan Highlights

At this tier, Northwest stands out by including EIN registration and the creation of an operating agreement for your company, which you would have to purchase separately with LegalZoom. Plus, Northwest’s typical 3-day order time beats LegalZoom’s 15-day turnaround. Still, LegalZoom does offer a deluxe, physical organizer along with printed certificates of ownership and an official company seal. This can add a degree of professionalism to your new business.

Ultimately though, your business would save $508 by going with Northwest at these price points, assuming you were to order the EIN, operating agreement, and registered agent service from LegalZoom.


Top Plan Comparison

A legal document that declares the name or names of an LLC’s owners, their percentage of ownership, and operating procedures for the company.

Northwest
Guaranteed same-day processing
LegalZoom
15 days

The company will act as your legal point of contact for the government to receive important notifications or mailings on your behalf.

Northwest
Free for one year, then $125/year
LegalZoom
$159/year

Included in this package $99 Extra A legal document that declares the name or names of an LLC’s owners, their percentage of ownership, and operating procedures for the company.

Northwest
Included in this package
LegalZoom
$99 Extra

Employer Identification Number (EIN) works essentially the same as an individual’s social security number, except for businesses. It’s how the government is able to keep track of your business’ tax status.

Northwest
included in this package
LegalZoom
$60 extra, must be bundled with Operating Agreement for a total of $159

The company will keep you notified of upcoming legal filing requirements, such as your annual reports.

Northwest
Included with their free registered agent
LegalZoom
One month free, $320/year after

Top Plan Highlights

Finally, LegalZoom’s Express Gold adds faster shipping and processing as well as access to a 7 day a week customer support line. By comparison, Northwest offers same-day order processing to get the formation process started as soon as possible.

SEE OUR TOP 5 SERVICE REVIEWS

four point seven out of five ZenBusiness ($49 + State Fees)
four point six out of five Incfile  ($49 + State Fees)
four point six out of five Northwest  ($49 + State Fees)
three point four out of five LegalZoom  ($79 + State Fees)
three point three out of five Rocket Lawyer  ($99 + State Fees)

FORM AN LLC FOR FREE USING OUR GUIDE