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Forming a business entity is one of the first steps an entrepreneur will do when starting a business. IncFile is one of many popular services that helps entrepreneurs form their LLC. They claim to have served over 250,000 entrepreneurs with forming their business since 2004 and offer a free LLC formation package (plus state fees). How does IncFile stack up against other popular formation companies like LegalZoom and ZenBusiness?
Overview of the LLC Formation Services
IncFile offers a number of services for business owners forming their LLC or corporation. Some of the highlights include:
- Verifying business name availability
- Preparation and filing of the articles of organization (LLC) or articles of incorporation (corporation)
- State filing is processed by the next business day (not available on Silver Package)
- Free registered agent service for the first year
- Lifetime alerts on report deadlines (not available on Silver Package)
- Free business tax consultation
- Lifetime customer support
- Online access to incorporation documents (not available on Silver Package)
One of the unique benefits of IncFile’s versus the competition is their customer service. IncFile claims their phone and online support people are formation specialists with at least 6 years of experience and not sales people. They also offer phone support from 9am – 6pm CST which is a major benefit if you run into questions that quickly need answered by real person.
As with all formation service companies, the marketing copy all sounds good. Let’s dig deeper to see the details.
IncFile offers three LLC formation packages, ranging from free to $299 plus state fees. Let’s break each package down below to see if you really need more than their free version.
Silver Package $0 – IncFile’s Silver Package is free, plus the state fee. In the Silver Package you get a free business name search, filing of the articles of organization or incorporation is filed with the state, a registered agent is provided at no cost for one year, business tax consultation and lifetime company alerts, which is a great bargain.
One concern is that usually when something is free, there is a reason. IncFile recently made their Silver Package free and this question was on our minds too. So, we asked management of IncFile why and their response was that they want to create a long-term relationship with small business owners. Since most businesses get started by creating their entity, if IncFile provides a great first experience, IncFile expects business owners to trust them with the other services they provide. That of course is up to the business owners but with IncFile’s high ratings and no-cost formation, it seems hard to go wrong here.
While we like the free formation service, and what they offer is a great deal, there are some expensive upsells on the Silver Package such as registering an EIN, filing IRS form 2553, creating a banking resolution and contract templates. Other “review” sites may tell you the other two packages are a better value (to get a higher commission), but we can show you how to get a great bargain from the Silver Package and skip the upsells.
Another concern was that on the detailed pricing page, IncFile states that they strive to ensure that every order received is prepared and forwarded to the state within 1 business day. The silver package doesn’t have a check mark for the 1-day processing, which contradicts that statement, so we reached out to their customer service team by email to get more information. They responded saying that this may not stay permanent, but the Silver Package time is the same as the other two packages.
If the no-cost Silver Package sounds right to you and you don’t want to pay for the upsells, here is more information to finish the formation of your entity.
- Register an EIN
- Prepare and file IRS form 2553
- Create an Operating Agreement – Also read our article When Does an LLC Need an Operating Agreement
- Create a Banking Resolution
Gold Package – $149
The Gold Package offers all of the benefits of the Silver, but adds processing by the next day, EIN registration, Form 2553, an Operating Agreement, Banking Resolution and LLC binder. The LLC binder is claimed to be a $99 value from IncFile, while one that is similar to their more expensive Platinum Package can be purchased at Amazon for only $50. The binder is simply a convenient way to keep all of your entity documents together.
Next day processing means IncFile sends the paperwork to the state by the next day. The time for formation will depend on the states time to process.
Platinum Package – $299
The Platinum Package includes all that the Gold Package has to offer, but also includes expedited state filing, business contract templates and a free domain and email for one year.
If you need faster processing than the normal speed from the state, the expedited processing of the Platinum Package may be valuable as it will be completed within 2 business days in most cases.
IncFile Customer Reviews
One of things many people look at before making a purchase are the online reviews to see what actual customers had to say. We took care of this for you and found a few reliable sources of IncFile’s customer reviews including:
- Better Business Bureau – The IncFile BBB review shows they have been accredited since 2004. BBB gave IncFile an A+ Rating with an average rating from 116 customers of 4.4 / 5 stars.
- Shopper Approved – IncFile received a 4.8 out of 5 star satisfaction rating with 11,901 customer ratings.
While no company is perfect, it at least appears customers are generally happy with IncFile.
How much are IncFile’s registered agents after the first year?
A registered agent is provided at no cost for the first year when filing with IncFile. Provided you live in the state you are filing in, you can act as your LLC’s registered agent at no cost. The cost to renew the IncFile registered agent is $119 annually. Registered agent services tend to normally cost between $100-$150 per year, which makes IncFile’s renewal fairly priced. Many people like using a registered agent service for privacy reasons since most states publish the names and addresses of the LLC’s owners. In many states, using a registered agent service will hide the owner’s name and address.
IncFile promotes next day processing. This isn’t the actual time the LLC will be processed. Next day processing means the amount of time it takes IncFile to finalize documents and send them to the state. If you opt for the Gold or Platinum Package the formation paperwork gets shipped to the state in 1 business day. Expedited filing (additional cost or included with the Platinum Package) refers to the time to get the paperwork filed with the state. All states provide expedited processing to rush the paperwork for an additional fee. Depending on the state, this expedited processing usually means the LLC is filed in 1-2 business days (on top of the IncFile processing).
Why use IncFile to Form Your LLC?
There’s a lot to like about IncFile including the free entity formation that will take care of what most people need, with the positive feedback from so many customers. There are a few upsells, that while not any more expensive than the other formation companies, may not be necessary for your LLC or can be done in a matter of minutes by most people themselves at no cost.
Even with the free filing, IncFile doesn’t hold up the paperwork for 30 days like the basic LegalZoom package. It’s super simple to set up an LLC using the IncFile website too and we like that IncFile is confident enough to provide their entity formation package at no cost in an effort to be a long-term member of your business.
Do I have to use IncFile to form my LLC or corporation?
No! You can file an LLC or corporation without using an entity formation service or attorney. You can learn more with our guides to forming an LLC for free in every state. While you can do it yourself, some states are more difficult than others and is why having a formation service is beneficial since they do this work every day. Plus, with the free IncFile Silver Package, why stress over doing it yourself?