Review: Formation Service Examination

    by Benjamin Aronson
Updated March 29, 2021

When it comes to incorporation companies, is the oldest fish in the sea. And while wisdom often comes with age, it’s only a small part of what makes a company the best for your needs.

Let’s dive right into our review of and find out how they hold up against their younger competition.

Top Business Formation Services

Incfile logo


• Form an LLC for $0 + State Fees
• FREE Registered Agent Service for a Year
• Trusted by over 500,000+ Businesses
• 100% Transparency


• Form an LLC for $49 + State Fees
• FREE Registered Agent Service for a Year
• Launched over 80,000+ Businesses
• 100% Accuracy Guarantee

Northwest logo


• Form an LLC for $225 + state fees
• Registered Agent Service included ($125)
• Forming Businesses Since 1998
• 100% Error-Free Guarantee, based in Wilmington, Delaware, has been around since 1899. According to their website, they have helped form over 750,000 corporations and LLCs. That’s a long time and a lot of businesses!

Despite having been around for well over a hundred years, they don’t have many online reviews.

In fact, most of their reviews are not very flattering at all, and much of this has to do with their pricing and billing practices.

Let’s dive in and talk more in-depth about how they price their services!

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Many Package Pricing

Usually, when companies offer package pricing, it’s because you can save money by bundling services. And who wouldn’t want to save money, especially when you’re trying to start a business!

But buyers need to look carefully at the options that is offering. Their prices are significantly higher than some of their competitors and lack some of the services the competitors offer. offer 3 main formation packages that cover a variety of online services:

  • The Starter – $74 + state fees
  • The Essentials – $204 + state fees
  • The Works – $294 + state fees

Lets take a deep dive into each one of the packages that they offer! Starter Package

This package is the first tier offering from For $74 plus the cost of the fees in the state you’re starting your business, you can have the following benefits:

  • Formation documents completed and filed
  • $75,000 “Corporate Compliance Guarantee”
  • Access to your company documents online
  • Access to an online tool called CSC Navigator
  • 5-7 business days

The Corporate Compliance Guarantee is included with all of their packages. This guarantee says that if a court finds errors caused by, they will fix the problem or pay you up to $75,000 (not available to North Carolina businesses). That sounds like a decent offer and makes a person feel a little better about trusting them to handle your important documents!

But that’s also a lot of hoops to jump through to be reimbursed for an error that wasn’t your fault.

What is the CSC Navigator?

Now, what about the CSC Navigator? This tool helps you comply with state laws by letting you know when filings are due. It also allows you to store your documents online and gives you easy access to online payments and order tracking.

This feature also sounds helpful, but like many things in life, you need to look at the fine print!

It says, “This service is available only to customers who choose as their registered agent.”

Hmm, what’s that about, you ask?

While many corporation-forming services include a free registered agent for one year, does not. So you can’t actually access the CSC Navigator for the fee of $74; you need to spend additional money by paying for their registered agent service.

This will set you back an additional $235!

So far, we’ve reviewed several corporation companies which include a FREE registered agent for one year when you use them to form your company. These include Harbor Compliance, Incfile, Incauthority, and ZenBusiness, among others.

In our “Best Registered Agent Services” article, we reviewed five services. Every single one of them was cheaper than’s registered agent services.

If the CSC Navigator feature is important to you, you’ll need to shell out a grand total of $309 plus the cost of your state fees. That’s a big increase from what they have listed on their website! Essentials Package

This package costs $204 plus the cost of your state fees. For that price, you get everything included with the Starter package, plus:

  • The Corporate Kit
  • An Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Annual Report Preparation and Filing

The Corporate Kit appears to be an organization tool to help you keep all your important documents together. If you’re prone to losing things, it could be helpful to know all your important paperwork is in one place.

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is definitely important for your business to have. However, other corporation-forming services offer it as a cheaper add-on or include it for a lower total price. You can also apply for one yourself fairly easily, rather than paying the upcharge and having them to it for you.

And, lastly, the Annual Report preparation and filing is an essential part of making sure your business is compliant with the laws in your state. But wait – don’t forget about the fine print!

That’s right; there’s more fine print. To take advantage of this service, you must not only use as your registered agent (an additional cost of $235), but you must also pay them $150 to file this annual report for you, in addition to the state cost!

So let’s do some quick math:

Essentials Package ($204) + Registered Agent fee ($235) + Annual Report Fee ($150) = $589 plus your state fees to take full advantage of everything the Essentials Package has to offer. The Works Package

The Works package is the most extensive incorporation package has to offer. For the price of $249, you can get everything in the Essentials Package and Starter Package, plus two more perks:

  • Business License Research Package
  • Operating Agreement

With the Business License Research Package, researches to help you find out what permits, licenses, or registrations your business might need to get started. They can help you find the forms you need to fill out and the instructions for the forms.

They also complete an Operating Agreement, which is almost always a requirement when opening a business bank account.

However, don’t forget about that pesky fine print! You’ll still need to shell out the extra bucks for the Registered Agent Service and the Annual Report fee.

This brings your total to $634 plus any state fees to take advantage of all the perks of the package.

Free Information

One exciting thing that offers on its website is a plethora of free information. Their Learning Center has information on filing in every state, guides to tax laws, and information about keeping your company compliant.

While we recommend checking with your local, state, or federal authorities to make sure you’re following the laws, their Learning Center can be an excellent resource for digging in and finding information that could be helpful for you.

Even if you don’t use their services, this could be a valuable resource for double-checking that you’re filing all of the correct forms.’s Customer Reviews

We mentioned earlier that there aren’t many customer reviews out there. However, does have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Only one complaint is visible on the website, and it references being billed too frequently for services.

They have plenty of reviews on their website, but these may or may not be trustworthy.

Scam Report has several positive reviews, but the negative review listed also mentions problems with billing. In this case, the customer was billed even after they canceled the service.

If you do choose to use, we suggest checking your records to make sure you aren’t getting billed more often than you should be.

They are available and easy to get ahold of, and have a chat feature on their website along with a phone number and email address if you get hung up. Customer service is one area they appear to excel in.

Who Should Use

That’s an important question. Using an incorporation service is a no-brainer for a busy startup owner.

They take all the nitty-gritty paperwork off your desk and leave you free to keep working on your ideas. might be right for you if:

  • You don’t need a registered agent, or want to choose your own elsewhere
  • You want the security of knowing you’re working with a company that’s been around longer than your grandma

And that’s about it. If you do end up using, we’d recommend using the Starter Package only, and finding a less expensive company to use as a registered agent.

Is Worth the Money?

The short answer is: it depends!

When you’re starting your business, it’s important to get things right. You want your paperwork filled out correctly, and you want to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.

On that note, has a positive track record and consistently gets the job done.

While has been around for generations, the cost of doing business with them is much higher than other incorporation companies.

I must say, it’s a but irritating how they use the fine print to try to add services on and make businesses pay extra money for things they thought were included in the package.

Part of starting a business is being careful with your budget, especially in those first few months as you’re working on getting your ideas off the ground. And while we recommend using an incorporation service, has prices far and above what other companies have to offer.

As a new business owner, you’ll need to decide if their long-standing existence is worth the added cost.

Incfile is a well-established online legal services company that can get your LLC up and running starting from a price of $0 (+ state fee). After more than 15 years of experience and 500,000 happy clients, you bet you can trust them with your money (no matter how little you give them).

And just like Harbor Compliance, they also offer a full year of free registered agent service.

If you’re interested in Incfile, take a look at our Incfile vs LegalZoom review and see how they compare.

Why we like Incfile

Form your business for $0 + state fees
Year of FREE registered agent services
Great customer feedback

Why we dislike Incfile

Many upsells
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ZenBusiness is one of the top business formation services. The company was founded back in 2015 by 3 entrepreneurs driven to help small business owners incorporate.

ZenBusiness offers an unbelievably affordable price point of $39. They undoubtedly make the 5 best incorporation services.

We paid close attention to customer feedback with our research. Almost all of the reviews that we read were positive when it came down to online incorporation at ZenBusiness!

ZenBusiness does a great job of giving legal online service. To be honest, it was hard to find a single negative aspect of their business. However, we noticed that they aren’t completely accurate with their turnaround time estimates. Truth be told, they are usually faster than their advertised turnaround time.

Bottom line, ZenBusiness can help you register your business fast, easy, and cheap.

Why we like ZenBusiness

File your business for $49 + state fees
Year of FREE registered agent services
Highly rated customer reviews

Why we dislike ZenBusiness

Established in 2015, limited record
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ZenBusiness is not just another online formation service. It’s the real deal for small businesses and startups with a price point as low as $49 (+ state fee) and with over 80,000 successful formations.

They also offer one year of registered agent service for free.

Also, make sure you read our Incfile vs ZenBusiness comparison if you’re torn between the two.

Why we like Northwest Registered Agents

File your business for $100 + state fees
Year of FREE registered agent services
Quality customer service

Why we dislike Northwest Registered Agents

Slightly expensive
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The Verdict

All in all, we recommend Harbor Compliance for people who can afford the Compliance package and require an expert to guide them in every step. Besides, their user-friendly software will provide everything you need to keep track of things at all times.

Where they fall short, though, is the price, which can be quite high for someone who has a low budget. But if you decide to bite the bullet and go with them, it’s not just a price that they’re worth; it’s an investment that your business deserves.

But in the end, if you think you can’t afford it right now and you need to go forward with your LLC formation, consider our 3 alternatives and you’ll be in good hands…

Now, we want to thank you for taking the time to read this review and we’d love it if you shared it with others who might benefit from it. Just use the social media buttons below.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask us anything down in the comments. You may need more guidance or some clarification on a point… Whatever it is, we’d love to help you!