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I Formed an LLC With Inc Authority And Here’s What You Need To Know (2022 Review)
As a new business owner, navigating the ins and outs of getting started isn’t always easy. You have an endless to-do list that seems to grow by the second and you probably have more questions than you can count.
It’s 18-hour days, confusing legal jargon, and number crunching. Lying awake at night trying to figure out what you forgot to do that day. Wondering if you filed your taxes correctly. It’s pulling your hair out trying to get (and keep) everything organized.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone.
But being a business owner is also the freedom of working for yourself. Bringing your dreams and vision to life. Working hard every day to make an impact and illicit change in your community. And rolling out of bed excited to get to work.
Starting a new business IS scary and complex but filing and forming your LLC doesn’t have to be. There are countless LLC formation services to choose from that help make the process easy.
Inc Authority is one of those companies. With a client list of 130,000+ entities and thousands of online five-star reviews, they’re a powerhouse in their industry and know how to get the job done.
Their “always free” pricing model is unique in an industry saturated with tiered pricing structures, hidden fees, and impossible-to-read fine print. It’s a breath of fresh air, really. I was curious about how it works, so I set up an LLC using their services.
In this review, I cover the ups and downs of their pricing structure, my individual experience, what I like and don’t like, multiple user reviews, and their reputation as a company. By the end, you’ll know whether Inc Authority is the right LLC service for bringing your LLC (and lifelong dream) to life.
So, let’s dive in!
Summary: High-Level Pros and Cons of Using Inc Authority
As I mentioned, I used Inc Authority to set up a Limited Liability Company. As I went through the process, I noticed things I liked and some things I didn’t. Here’s an overview of my experience in a nutshell (in case you don’t want to read the full review).
What I like (AKA the good stuff):
- Creating your corporation or LLC is always 100% free (aside from state fees)
- They’re partnered with Bank of America which makes setting up a bank account easy
- A specialist called within 10 minutes of signing up to chat about what happens next
- They do a free business name check within your state
- They provide a free year of registered agent service
What I don’t like (AKA the not-so-good stuff):
- Free incorporation services mean they have to upsell you to make money
- Their customer support is limited to 8 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday
- They charge $49 to provide you with an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is free through the IRS
- No tiered payment option to bundle (and discount) upgrades
Overall, Inc Authority’s registration process is very easy. All you have to do is answer a few questions and provide your contact information to get things moving. However, they offer countless upsells for things you don’t actually need to file or for things you can get somewhere else for free.
Setting up an LLC with Inc Authority
To be honest, setting up your LLC with IncAuthority is probably one of the easiest parts of starting your business. There’s no hair pulling and it takes about five minutes. But, I still want to walk you through my experience using Inc Authority’s software and filing services.
First, getting started is easy. On their home page, there’s a bright green button that says “Start Now for Free”. From there, they ask what type of entity you want to form and the state you want to file in.
After that, you move on to step two — providing your business details. This includes:
- Your contact information
- Your co-owners information (if you have one)
- Business name and type
- Mailing and shipping address
Once you provide this information, you move to step three — forming your new business. This is where things get a bit tricky and they start offering paid upgrades. As you finish the process, they offer you:
- An EIN number for $49 — While much less expensive than many other business formation services, you can get this number for free directly with the IRS. Learn how to file your EIN.
- An LLC operating agreement for $89 — this is only required by a few states for LLCs, however a good idea to prepare one for most. But you should work with your attorney to develop a custom agreement for your business. Learn more regarding why an LLC should need an operating agreement.
- A record book and ownership certificate for $99 — you can create your own organization system using office supplies you probably already have on hand. You can also find one on Amazon with the binder, operating agreement, membership certificates for only $50.
- Minutes and resolutions for $79 — you should always consult with your attorney on the forms and documents you need to stay compliant with federal guidelines. You can get free minutes form from Law Depot.
- Express processing for $49 — this moves you to the front of the line meaning your paperwork gets filed quicker. I can see where this might be necessary, but in most cases, it isn’t.
- A domain name for $19 — there are businesses that specialize in domains and hosting services. I recommend sticking with those options (plus they might be cheaper).
- Inc Protection Adviser for $197/year — you should get these services through your lawyer rather than Inc Authority. But, if you don’t have an attorney, this might work for you.
I chose to move forward without any of these add ons. However, they’re completely optional and may make sense for your situation. So, think through what you actually need and what you should speak with your lawyer about before making any decisions.
The last step is entering your payment information for any upgrades you chose and the Secretary of State filing fee. After that, you’re done. Hazzzah! That’s it. A (social distancing/digital) high-five and congratulations are in order!
Note: Someone from their office is probably going to call you to confirm your information and make sure you understand the next steps. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and get any additional information you need.
What I Like About Inc Authority
Aside from their wicked-easy process, several things stood out about my experience. So, I want to walk through them and explain the benefits of using Inc Authority to set up your LLC.
1. Free Business Formation for LLCs and S-Corporations
It’s no secret there are a lot of unexpected expenses when it comes to starting a new business. And, as a new business owner, money is tight. Odds are, you don’t have extra cash to spend on things you could otherwise get done for free.
Other companies use a tiered payment approach which means you may have to pay for essential features. But, Inc Authority’s “always free” business formation lets you choose what you need (and what you don’t) while keeping more money in the bank.
2. Tax Planning Consultation
Included at no cost with Inc Authority is meeting with a tax planner. Taxes are always an important subject when starting a business, and it is nice to get another point of view about any tax questions you have, especially with which tax election to go with.
3. Bank of America Partnership
Setting up a business checking account is an essential step for every new business owner. With thousands of banks and accounts out there, making the right decision may seem impossible.
But, Inc Authority’s partnership with Bank of America makes the process seamless.
Their exclusive partnership gives you access to special incentives (like cashback or reward points) and merchant services otherwise not available. This means:
- Extra cashback to use for your business
- Accepting credit card payments with lower processing fees
- Reward points to use for travel and other business expenses
- Earning interest on your checking account (with certain accounts)
- Online and mobile money management on the go
4. Top-Notch Customer Support
During the signup process, they remind you they have a customer support team to help if you need it. Although their operating hours are from 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday, a representative called me around 6 pm, right after I finished the process.
She walked me through what happens next and offered to answer any questions I had about forming my new LLC. Additionally, she gave me her phone number to answer questions in the future.
As a new business owner, you might feel uncertain and confused. This is NORMAL. So, having access to top-notch customer service support is essential for easing your fears and answering your questions quickly.
5. Free Business Name Check
You spent countless hours (if not days) deciding on the perfect name for your business. Imagine the devastation of filing your Limited Liability Company only to realize someone else is already using the name. Or realizing after the fact that you made a typo amidst all your excitement!
To prevent this, Inc Authority runs a name check for other entities in your state and checks for common misspellings. So, you can rest easy knowing everything is spelled correctly and no one else is already using it BEFORE you pay to have it filed.
6. Free Registered Agent Service (For One Year)
All registered business entities have to provide a physical address for receiving legal documents and communications by mail. But, if you run your business online, you may not have a permanent business address to give.
Many business owners don’t like the idea of listing their home address on public record. And I don’t blame you. This is where a registered agent service comes in and saves the day (and your privacy).
Inc Authority offers up their business address for receiving documents and communications for you as well as keeping your home address private. This service is free for new entities for one year with the option to pay and extend these services after they expire.
What I Don’t Like About Inc Authority
As with every business out there, the bad comes with the good. During my experience with Inc Authority, I found several things I didn’t like. In light of full transparency, I want to share these with you and talk about why they matter.
1. Numerous Upsells Throughout the Registration Process
Because they operate using an “always free” model, Inc Authority makes money by offering extra services and upgrades throughout the registration process. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, many of the upgrades aren’t a good idea or can be done elsewhere for free.
Many new business owners may not realize this. So, they may be “tricked” into paying extra for things they don’t actually need. Additionally, many of the upgrades they offer are blanket templates that won’t cover every type of business and could end up being a waste of money.
One of these paid upgrades is their credit building system which registers your business credit reporting bureau, Dun & Bradstreet, and provides a DUNS number. This isn’t needed for most businesses, but you can do it yourself at no cost.
I recommend speaking with an attorney and doing thorough research before deciding which upgrades you need.
2. Limited Customer Support Availability
Inc Authority’s customer service hours are limited to 9 am – 5 pm (PST) Monday through Friday. But, many business owners (myself included) don’t work normal hours. You may have a question at 7 o’clock in the evening but you’ll have to wait until the morning for an answer.
While this may not be an issue for many people, it can be frustrating to experience a problem outside of their business hours and have to wait for support.
This is especially true if you pay for consultation services or 1-1 support.
3. They Charge $49 for an EIN/Tax Identification Number
As a new business owner, you may not realize you can get an EIN number for free through the IRS. Yet, Inc Authority offers this service as an upgrade for $49. This offer may be tempting for someone who doesn’t know they can easily get it for free.
The EIN application process with the IRS is easy. And after your information is verified, you can access your documentation and EIN number digitally to save to your computer.
Pro-tip: Instead of paying Inc Authority, learn how to apply for an EIN for free from the IRS.
Inc Authority Plans, Pricing, and Add-ons
Basic Plan – $0 plus state filing fees
Unlike most business entity formation services, Inc Authority has a free basic entity formation package. They offer the entity setup service for free in the hopes you’ll gain trust in them and use them for other services down the road.
While basic entity formation is free, they offer numerous upgrades and add-ons to make things easier for you. Throughout the registration process, these add-ons include:
- An EIN number ($49)
- An operating agreement ($89)
- A record book ($99)
- Minutes and resolutions forms ($79)
- Express processing ($49)
- A domain name ($19)
- Inc protection advisor ($197/year)
I chose to file without any of these upgrades, although you should research them and speak with an attorney about the specifics for your business. These may make sense in your situation or if you don’t have access to a lawyer.
It’s important to remember that spending extra now may save you in legal expenses later. Every business is unique. So, do your research and make an educated decision that works best for your business and situation.
If you are looking for additional bundled services, Inc Authority offers some premium corporation and LLC formation packages that may be of interest.
Starter Business Bundle – $399 plus state filing fees
- Business name verification
- Custom state filed Articles of Organization (LLC) or Articles of Incorporation (Corporation)
- Operating agreement for LLCs or bylaws for corporations
- Record book and company seal
- Initial meeting minutes and resolutions
- Stock or membership ownership certificates
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Business credit and funding analysis
- Tax planning consultation
- One year of INC success advisory services
Executive Business Bundle – $499 plus state filing fees
- All Starter Plan services, plus
- Business license report
- Website domain
Tycoon Business Bundle – $799 plus state filing fees
- Inc Authority’s premium package which includes the Executive Plan services, plus
- Express processing
- BizCredit express
- Business credit coach
- Multi-tiered credit building system
- Business credit LaunchPad
- D&B credit bureau registration
To be honest, the free LLC formation services in Basic Plan are all you really need to start a business. The premium plans are pretty expensive for what they offer, and many of the services you more
than likely don’t really need or can do yourself at little to no cost yourself. For instance, you can get your EIN at no cost when registering directly from the IRS. Though I can see a benefit for the business license report as it gives a double-check to make sure you have all your licenses in order. You can do a business license search through IncFile for only $99. The credit services in the Tycoon package are not likely to help any startup or most existing businesses, for that matter.
Additionally, Inc Authority offers other services as well. The costs of these services aren’t available online. But, you can give them a call to learn more about these services and what you can expect to pay for them.
My experience with Inc Authority was positive aside from slight pressure to purchase upgrades and additional services. However, it’s also important to note that there have been three complaints filed with BBB within the last three years.
All of these complaints mention being charged for services they did not agree to nor want. But, it seems these issues were dealt with in a reasonable manner. You can read these complaints and how they were handled, here.
As always, be sure to review everything throughout your registration process and reach out to their customer support team if anything seems incorrect or you don’t get what you asked for.
Inc Authority Customer Reviews from BBB, Google, and Trust Pilot
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Inc Authority has one review on the Better Business Bureau from 2018. It’s a five-star review in which the customer was satisfied with Inc Authority’s services.
“Inc Authority LLC helped me get my business LLC. They were professional and helpful through the whole process.” –Larry S (December 14, 2018)
They have 651 Google reviews with an average of 4.6 stars. Overall, the responses are positive, and many mention the in-depth care and helpful guidance they received from their case manager.
“Cher deserves a huge thank you as she made the whole process of starting my LLC so easy and pleasant. She took the time to explain what we were doing every step of the way. This took a lot of stress away. I deeply appreciate her professional manner and will always recommend Inc Authority to any in need of the services they provide.” –K Irthum (February 2020)
Trust Pilot Reviews
There are thousands of five-star Inc Authority reviews, with only 2% being less than average.
“Was a little scared to get my LLC, but Joseph Charles made the process easy and very welcoming. He answered all my questions and shows excellent customer service skills. Thank you!!” –Danyel Searles (April 23, 2020)
TLDR; Inc Authority User Reviews Conclusion
Inc Authority is a trusted business entity formation service provider with thousands of online five-star reviews and happy customers. Their customer service team is patient and kind when answering questions and they’re quick to fix their mistakes.
The Bottom Line
If you’re interested in forming an LLC or S-corporation, Inc Authority offers a quick and hassle-free solution. Their “always free” pricing model means you pay for what you need and save on what you don’t (aside from the state fee).
While this may not be the best route if you’re interested in various consultations and additional add-ons, it’s a great option for anyone who’s never done it and is looking for a quick and easy process.
Overall, my experience and that of others are positive and relatively painless. So, you can rest easy knowing Inc Authority will take the time to answer your questions and walk you through the process.