Starting a limited liability company (LLC) can be a complicated and daunting process, which is why many entrepreneurs choose to hire an LLC formation service. These services file the necessary documents with your state and also offer other documents and services to help you get your LLC in order.
But with so many LLC services in the market, it can be difficult to decide which one to choose. You’ll have to explore your options and see which one is the right fit for you.
Here you’ll find details of the elements that you should look for as you do your LLC service research.
In addition to business formation, there are several other documents and services offered by LLC formation companies that can be extremely helpful to you when starting a business. One that is particularly important is an operating agreement.
An operating agreement is only required in a few states, but it’s critical for all LLCs to have one. The operating agreement will define ownership percentages of the LLC, how profits and losses will be distributed, and the management structure of the company. It will also include provisions regarding member voting rights, how ownership can be transferred, and what happens if a member becomes disabled or dies.
Unless you plan to have an attorney draw up your operating agreement, you’ll want to choose an LLC service that provides a customizable operating agreement template.
Other services you might need include:
- An EIN application service
- Registered agent services
- Business license guidance
- Annual compliance services to help you keep track of filing deadlines
- Business tax and accounting consultations
- Certificates of Good Standing
- Banking resolution documents
- Expedited filing of your LLC formation documents
Some services also offer extras such as a domain name and website.
It’s up to you to determine which services you need and to look for a service that meets your needs.
Of course, price is a consideration. Nearly all LLC formation services offer at least one package of services, but most offer three options. Package prices vary between services, sometimes significantly. Some services offer an entry-level package that has no fee except for normal state filing fees.
You’ll need to explore the package offerings of different services to find the plan that offers what you need at an affordable price.
Most LLC companies also offer a la carte services that you can add to any of their plans, or just buy alone. You’ll want to be conscious of the prices of these services, as some are just not worth the cost. For example, many services offer an EIN application service for around $100, but you can apply for an EIN easily yourself on the IRS website for free.
You certainly should hear what real customers have to say about the services! The Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot are great resources. Spend some time reading both good and bad reviews and look for red flags, such as surprise charges or slow turnaround times. Also, look at the overall ratings and scores for the LLC services that you’re researching to make comparisons.
You can also get more info by reading professional reviews. These are reviews generally done by companies that specialize in providing educational content for business owners. They generally explore all the elements of the LLC services from a customer’s perspective and provide detailed information about their experience.
Ease of Use
You should also gauge the usability of the site and the ease of the LLC formation ordering process. You’ll probably be using the company’s site on an ongoing basis to access your documents and for any ongoing services that you purchase, so you want a site that provides a good experience.
Also, consider how easy it is to find information on the site. You don’t want to have to spend time looking for information that you need.
You’ll want to check each service’s average turnaround times for your LLC formation. Some services will submit your documents right away, while others will only prioritize your documents if you pay an additional fee. Turnaround times are dependent on your state’s turnaround times, but you want to choose a service that will file your documents in a timely manner.
Some services disclose average turnaround times on their site, while with other services, you may have to call their customer support line to find out.
Most states also have the option to expedite your LLC formation for an additional state fee. The LLC services will give you the option to elect this state expedited filing, but you’ll pay fees to both the service and the state.
Some services include expedited filing in their service packages, but you’ll still be responsible for the state filing fees.
Read the fine print! You’ll want to thoroughly read the company’s cancellation policy to make sure that if you cancel recurring services, you’ll stop being charged right away. You’ll also want to find out the process of cancellation. Sometimes services require that you make certain filings with your state before they will cancel your services.
For example, if you purchased registered agent services but you want to cancel and be your own registered agent, you may have to notify the state before the LLC service company will stop charging you.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re going to receive excellent customer service from the company. Customer reviews are a good place to find out the good and the bad about each service’s customer support, but you’ll also want to test it yourself.
You’re likely to have questions before you order your services, so use their chat, email, and phone support and see how it goes. With some services, you’ll find that their customer support routes you to a salesperson, which means you’re going to get a sales pitch on purchasing additional services.
You want a company that will actually support you, not try to keep digging into your wallet.
It will take you some time and effort to explore your options, but it’s worth it to be able to find an LLC service that offers you what you need at a good price, and that will provide you with a positive overall experience. Having your LLC formation handled smoothly and properly can help your business get off on the right foot so that you can start making money!