As you navigate the world of starting a new business, it oftentimes feels like you meet a roadblock at every step.
It’s no secret turning your phenomenal idea into a legitimate business is complicated.
Some things make you want to pull your hair out, and others leave you screaming at your laptop at 2 AM, wondering why nothing seems to be going your way. Some things may even make you cry and consider giving up.
But… forming your LLC and registering it with the state isn’t one of those things. In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest parts of legitimizing your new idea thanks to business entity formation services like Northwest Registered Agent.
Best known (as you may tell by their name) as a registered agent service provider (called resident agent or statutory agent in some states), Northwest also offers entity formation services where they fill out and file legal forms with the Secretary of State. This is one of the more expensive formation services, but you are getting more in both perks and customer service than the free companies. To get started, all you have to do is give them your basic information so they can get started… and pay them ($225 + filing fees, to be exact).
When it comes to online entity formation, Northwest Registered Agent comes hand in hand with a hefty price tag. If you’re wondering if their services are worth the hype and dent in your wallet, you’re in the right place.
I used their services to set up my LLC to help answer your most pressing questions. In this review, I cover how to use their services, what I like about them, what I don’t like, their pricing structure, and real-life customer reviews.
So, let’s get started!
Summary: High-Level Pros and Cons of Using Northwest Registered Agent
As I went through the steps of forming my LLC, I documented what I enjoyed and the things I didn’t like about their process. Here’s my experience in a nutshell (in case you don’t want to read the full review).
What I like (AKA the good stuff):
- They offer numerous legal forms for free
- Same business day filing is included
- Ease of use
- Name availability search
- Access to an online dashboard
- Registered agent services are included at no cost in the first year
- They don’t sell your data to third parties
- 100% transparency (and no hidden fees)
What I don’t like (AKA the not-so-good stuff):
- They don’t have a free filing plan (or any plans for that matter)
- They charge for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Numerous add-ons and upsells
Overall, Northwest Registered Agent is a premium Limited Liability Company formation service that includes a lot of extra services other service providers charge big bucks for. So, their value-added justifies the premium price tag.
They value transparency, privacy, and simplifying the complex world of starting and maintaining a business regardless of where and how you do business. They don’t sell your data to anyone, and their team consists of top-notch industry experts who know how to get the job done.
However, they do charge $50 for an EIN number (which you can get elsewhere for free) and don’t offer a free filing plan. Additionally, they have several add-ons throughout the registration process, but they do a great job of presenting these as non-essential options.
How to Set up an LLC with NorthWest Registered Agent
To get started, scroll past the introduction paragraph on the home page. Under “Form a New LLC or Corporation,” click the “same-day filings” button.
From there, you’ll see a page that explains their business formation services. This page shows everything that’s included in their services, how much it costs, and ten reasons their customers love hiring them.
Choose your state and formation type from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. After that, you’ll automatically redirect to your state and entity type’s overview page.
You’ll see a step-by-step guide walking you through the entire process to form an LLC in your state. Yours might differ from the screenshot above, but the process is similar in every state.
As you scroll down, you have three options:
- Download the Articles of Organization PDF to submit to the state on your own
- Create a free self-service account that walks you through the process from start to finish
- Hire Northwest Registered Agent to fill out and file everything for you
- Includes registered agent services, same business day filing, an operating agreement, and more services you’ll otherwise pay for separately
*Your total will differ depending on your state’s filing fees.
Northwest Registered Agent Prices and Plans
Free PDF Download — Option 1
If you want to fill out and file everything yourself, you can download the PDF by clicking the “free download” button. The PDF explains how to fill out the form, where to file it with the state, and how to pay your state’s filing fees.
Self-Service Do It Yourself Online — Option 2
If you choose to do it yourself online, you’ll start by creating an account with your name, contact email, and password. From there, you’ll automatically redirect to your account dashboard. Inside, you have free access to all the state forms you need to start and maintain your business.
Alternatively, you can hire Northwest Registered Agent to do the paperwork for you from inside your personalized dashboard. But if you want to get started for free, click on “Free Business Forms” on the left.
Fill in your company name and select the entity type from the drop-down menu. Start with the Articles of Organization document (this is the first step from their step-by-step filing guide). From there, you’ll have the option to choose between filing online and filing by mail.
Select the online filing method. On this page, they give you the link to file online with your state as well as your Secretary of State’s contact information.
Click the link and follow their instructions to get started.
Hire Northwest Registered Agent — Option 3
Click on the orange “Hire Us” button to get started. Choose your entity type and double-check you have the right state selected from the drop-down menu. On the right, you’ll see a breakdown of your total filing fee.
Once everything on your screen is correct, click continue. Then, enter the name of your business. You can decide if you want to use a generic business purpose or type in the services, products, and/or software you offer.
Then, choose the physical and mailing address you want on file with the state. Forming your entity with Northwest Registered Agents means you can use their address for no extra charge.
This is nice because it keeps your address off the public record.
From there, indicate if your LLC is member or manager owned. You can click on the question mark next to each option to learn more about them. Most LLCs are member-owned but choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.
Then, enter the contact information for each member or manager, you want to be listed on the LLC filing paperwork. Again, you can choose to use Northwest Registered Agent’s address in place of your own to keep your address private.
Click the plus sign to add as many members as you need. Then click continue.
Next, set up your account using your email address and preferred password. Fill in your contact information and determine if you want them to send a copy of any lawsuits or legal notices to your attorney. If so, fill in your attorney’s information so they can do so.
Then click continue.
After that, you have the option to add additional services. We’ll talk more about each of these services, what they mean, and why you might need them later. But for now, these include:
- Annual compliance filing — $100 + state fee per filing
- Federal Tax ID Number — $50 with an SSN and $200 without
- S-Corporation election — $50
- Premium mail forwarding — $40/month
- Virtual office — $49/month
- Certificate of Good Standing — $62.50
- Certified copy – $67
- Apostille — $400
- 2nd telephone number — $9/month per state
- Corporate supplies
- GoBook — $40
- GoBook and corporate seal — $70
- Binder/Slipcase — $80
- Binder/Slipcase and embossing seal — $100
- Embossing seal — $30
- Notary stamp — $35
- 10 certificates — $15
- Overseas shipping for corporate supplies — $150
- FMCSA BOC-3 Filing — $125/year
- FCC 499-A Registration — $125/year
Decide which options make sense for your business and budget. You can see your total cost on the right, so you always know exactly how much you owe. When you’re ready, click continue. All that’s left is entering your payment information… and you’re DONE!
That wasn’t near as complicated as you thought it would be, right? Congrats on your new LLC!
What I Like About NorthWest Registered Agent
Now that you know the full process of forming an LLC with NorthWest Registered Agent, I want to talk about the good things that stood out to me. I also want to dive deep and discuss why they matter and what they mean for you.
1. Numerous FREE Legal Forms
They have 17 free LLC legal forms (plus countless forms for other entity types) you can use to start and maintain your business. While you may be able to find these online, it’s nice having access to everything you need in one place. The full list includes:
- Articles of Organization
- Articles of Organization in Guam
- Meeting minutes
- Operating agreement
- Single-Member operating agreement
- Manager-Managed operating agreement
- Multi-Member operating agreement
- LLC capital contribution
- LLC membership certificate
- LLC EIN
- LLC bank account
- LLC member resolution
- LLC manager resolution
- Articles of amendment
- LLC operating agreement amendment
- LLC capital contributions bill of sale
- LLC membership interest bill of sale
They’re organized in an easy-to-understand manner. And If you have experience doing it (or are feeling particularly adventurous), you can use these forms to file them with your state/the IRS on your own.
In my opinion, this shows how dedicated Northwest Registered Agent is to helping with your business. Their end goal isn’t to make millions of dollars; it’s to simplify the complex process of starting a business.
2. Same Business Day Filing Is Included
Every other entity formation service provider I’ve used charges for expedited filing. But Northwest Registered Agent provides same business day filing for every order. They believe you shouldn’t have to pay for quick processing, and this proves it.
3. Personalized Online Dashboard
Whether you opt for the self-service route or hire Northwest Registered Agent, you instantly get access to a personalized online dashboard. This is where they store your documents and any legal correspondence they receive as your registered agent.
Additionally, you can immediately see any unread documents, invoices, and things that require your immediate attention. You can also see the status of any pending orders.
This makes keeping track of your documents easy and ensures you don’t miss important deadlines or anything else requiring your attention.
While many service providers offer this, not all of them do, and they’re not as easy to use as Northwest. One thing that makes theirs unique is that forms are automatically populated with information you’ve provided, so you don’t have to spend hours giving them the same info over and over again.
4. Registered Agent Services Are Included
Any registered business (such as an LLC) has to have a registered agent on file with the state they filed in. This person or entity receives service of process to comply with due process laws in the United States.
Related: When is a registered agent needed?
Hiring a registered agent through Northwest means:
- Your address is private and off the public record
- You don’t have to be available during normal hours of operation to receive mail
- No annual report date tracking on your part (as they send annual report reminders when things are due)
- You can avoid embarrassing situations at your place of business
Most (but not all) entity formation services offer registered agent service free for the first full year. So, this doesn’t particularly make Northwest Registered Agent special.
They normally charge $125/year (which is cheaper than many other providers). But it’s included in your package when you use them to form your LLC.
It’s also important to note that this is their core service offering.
They utilize top-of-the-line technology to provide an excellent experience for their customers. In fact, they’re the only national registered agent that has the ability to locally scan your correspondence in real-time.
5. They Don’t Sell Your Data to Third Parties
Whether they tell you or not, many entity formation providers make big bucks selling your information to third parties. Oftentimes they make thousands of dollars by giving your email and contact info to other people.
Additionally, the company you signed up for may get kickbacks for sending you to other providers to fulfill the promises they made to you. They may outsource their registered agent services, customer support, or other departments.
But Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t. They do everything in-house and minimize their use of third-party apps and software to keep your data private. They’ve never sold their customer’s information and say they never will.
You can rest easy knowing no one else has access to your sensitive data and you’re in good hands. You can even use their address on your state filings to create an extra level of separation between your business assets and personal life.
6. 100% Business Transparency
At Northwest Registered Agent, “We believe wholeheartedly that getting a job well done should not be considered a luxury, nor should a customer ever be tricked into buying something they don’t need. And a customer should never be sold something they don’t need.”
The company was started by a ski bum who saw an opportunity to help business owners and entrepreneurs like you simplify the process of starting a business. Because of that, they do business differently with a foundation built on transparency, privacy, and simplicity.
You always know how much you’re going to pay without scratching your head in confusion. Everything is laid out in layman’s terms that are easy to understand. And if there’s anything you don’t get, you can contact them at any time.
They have a custom-coded chat interface inside your personalized dashboard, or you can give them a call whenever you need to.
They take pride in the fact that they don’t hide behind phone trees, and everyone who answers the phone is a seasoned industry expert with the knowledge to answer your questions and guide you forward.
What I Don’t Like About Northwest Registered Agent
The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages of Northwest, but I did notice a few things I didn’t particularly like throughout the process. None of them are deal-breakers, in my opinion, but I still want to go through them and talk about why they stood out.
1. No Free Filing Plan (Or Any Plans for that Matter)
Other entity formation services (competitors like IncFile and Inc Authority) offer a basic package for forming an LLC for free plus the state filing fees. Alternatively, many other service providers offer tiered pricing plans so you can bundle services and save money.
With Northwest Registered Agent, they have one plan. It’s not free (it’s $225 + state fee), which equates to a mid to high-priced plan with other providers. So, it’s a bit on the expensive side (but not as bad as others, like LegalZoom).
With that being said, Northwest Registered Agent provides a lot of added-value other providers don’t. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s inherently bad. Plus, it cuts out a decision you have to make and simplifies the process.
As a free alternative, you can set up an account with them and fill out their legal forms to file everything with the state on your own. This will require more work on your part, but it could be good practice and a way to save money if you’re on a tight budget.
2. They Charge for an EIN Number
An EIN number is required to hire employees and open a business bank account. Additionally, it helps create a barrier between your personal assets and your business assets by replacing your social security number on legal documents and tax purposes.
Every LLC formation service I’ve used charges for an EIN number, so this isn’t something unique to Northwest Registered Agent. However, it’s something I don’t agree with because you can easily apply for an EIN number for free through the IRS.
3. Numerous Add-Ons
Like all other entity formation services, Northwest Registered Agent offers numerous add-ons throughout the registration process. But because they believe no one should buy something they don’t need, they don’t present them as essential services.
Other providers tend to oversell these add-ons as something you have to have for your business. However, Northwest Registered agents don’t.
They show you a list of options with the opportunity to learn more about them and make an educated decision on whether or not you need each one. It’s clear from the start that each one is optional and not required to move forward through the LLC formation process.
And the dynamic pricing table on the right updates to match your choices, so you always know how much you’re going to pay for each service.
Northwest Registered Agent Company Plans, Pricing, and Add-ons
Most other service providers have multiple pricing plans (or are free). But Northwest Registered Agent has one LLC formation plan that starts at $225 + state filing fees. This makes it easy for you to get started because you don’t have to spend hours sifting through different options.
It’s a straightforward, transparent, and unquestionably honest approach to LLC formation services I haven’t seen anywhere else. Plus, their value-added services included in their plan and their unique business operation justify the premium price tag.
You get a customized operating agreement, customized bylaws, meeting minutes, resolutions, and member certificates for free. Other service providers charge for these individually, and you may end up paying more buying them a la carte elsewhere.
They also offer numerous add-ons throughout the registration process. These include:
- Annual compliance filing — these reports are usually due once a year or every other year. Hiring Northwest Registered Agent means they do the paperwork and use their contact information to file annual reports with your state when they’re due. There aren’t any upfront fees with this service, but they will automatically charge you $100 + state filing fees approximately 90 days before your next report is due.
- Federal Tax ID Number — also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you have a social security number, this service is $50. If you don’t have one, it’s $200 and may take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to complete. Alternatively, you can apply for an EIN directly with the IRS for free.
- S-Corporation election — many LLCs lower their tax obligations by being taxed as an s-corporation. Hiring Northwest Registered Agent to do this means they file the paperwork with the IRS and charge you a one-time $50 fee. You can also learn how to do it on your own by filing IRS Form 2553 with the IRS at no additional cost.
- Premium mail forwarding — They’ll provide an address and suite number for your business in the state in which you wish to receive mail. This service is $40/month and is unlimited with the choice of digital scanning or physical mail forwarding.
- Virtual office — an alternative to premium mail forwarding that costs $49/month.
- Certificate of Good Standing — The Certificate of Good Standing is an official document that shows you meet the requirements to operate as an LLC in your state. It’s most commonly used if you want to do business in another state. This service costs $62.50.
- Certified copy – proof that your filing paperwork is authentic. You’ll get an official document with your state’s seal and a signature from your Secretary of State. This isn’t required to form your LLC, but you may need one if you want to do business in another state. This service is $67.
- Apostille — a document that certifies your certification. This is only necessary for foreign nationals that want to have an American company do business in another country. This service is $400.
- 2nd telephone number — a secondary phone number in any state (with any area code) that forwards to your personal home/cell/business phone. You can use this number in place of your personal number to keep your phone number private. This service is $9/month. If you want a phone number in every state, it’s $459/month.
- Corporate supplies — extra physical items you may like to have for your business (you can get something similar on Amazon for $50). These options include:
- GoBook — a zippered binder organizer ($40)
- GoBook and embossing seal ($70)
- Binder/Slipcase — a 3-ring binder with a slipcase cover ($80)
- Binder/Slipcase and embossing seal ($100)
- Embossing seal ($30)
- Notary stamp ($35)
- 10 certificates ($15)
- Overseas shipping for corporate supplies ($150)
- FMCSA BOC-3 Filing — agent coverage for trucking services. This is a nationwide service for DOT registration and is $125/year with no additional documentation fees.
- FCC 499-A Registration — FCC telecommunications service. This service is $125/year and includes registered agent services to complete your registration requirements with the FCC.
In all, that’s nearly $1,000 in one-time fees, $350 in annual fees, and $548 in monthly fees. But, the good news is most of these add-ons aren’t necessary for most businesses.
In fact, the only options I would consider choosing are annual compliance filing, s-corporation election, and a secondary phone number. The rest are completely dependent on the type of business you have, and whether you’d like to extend operations outside the state you’re in.
Additional Northwest Registered Agent Services
Entity formation services aren’t among Northwest Registered Agents core services. In fact, most of their business revolves around high-quality registered agent services.
Additionally, they offer other services to help new and seasoned business owners alike start and maintain their businesses. Several of them are included (or add-ons) in their LLC formation package but are offered as standalone products as well. These services include:
- Registered agent services — $125/year
- Annual report filing service — $100 + state fees per filing
- Mail forwarding — $40/month
- Virtual office — $49/month
- Corporation formation — $225 + state fees
- Foreign LLC registration — $225 + state fees
- Non-US-Resident formation — varies
Northwest Registered Agent’s Reputation
Of all the entity formation services I’ve used, Northwest Registered Agent has the highest ratings and overall industry reputation. They’re considered a premium, trustworthy, and quick incorporation service with an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau and 4.4/5 from customer reviews.
Their strong moral principles shine through in their customer reviews and their quick response time and friendly response to all customer issues and complaints.
Their last customer complaint was filed in September of 2020. It mentions having difficulty canceling services. But, Northwest Registered Agent resolved the issue within four days of it being placed. You can read the full complaint here.
Real Northwest Registered Agent Reviews from BBB and Google
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Northwest Registered Agent has 33 reviews on the Better Business Bureau with an average rating of 4.25 stars. You can see the complete list of official reviews here. Or take a look at what some of their recent customers have to say:
“I’m so happy I found them! Customer service is immaculate, and they made it so easy for me to start my business. I will always use their services! Thanks Morgan!” – Jade T (May 2, 2020)
“What a refreshing service. In a world of automation and robot call trees, Northwest is a breath of fresh air. It’s never been so easy for me to register an LLC (this was my 4th), and I can’t imagine EVER using another service now that I’ve found them. Real people! That’s the best part of NWRA… real people. And their customer service is over the top amazing. I rarely gush about service providers, but this time I found a company who truly deserves it and walks the talk.” – Nico J. (January 15, 2020)
There are 121 Google Northwest Registered Agent reviews with an average of 4.7 stars. Among them is a recurring theme of high-quality and responsive customer service from Northwest’s guides, quick service, and nothing but top recommendations from real-life users.
Read the complete list of Google Reviews or check out what these recent customers have to say about their experience:
“I received exceptional service from Brad at Northwest Registered Agent. Brand went above and beyond my expectations to file my entity formation in an expedited fashion, then hung with me when I decided to make a change that required him to call the Secretary of State directly to alter my filing — incredible! Northwest is way more than just another online registered agent — there actually are highly competent and genuine service-oriented people behind it. I’m thrilled with my choice to work with Northwest and Brad!” – Brian Steinbrueck (February 2020)
“Thank you so much for your fine customer service experience. I was bragging to my team about Melody. She took what I thought would be a long and arduous call and turned it into a very positive, even uplifting experience. That is hard to find in business. I hope our team does as good a job with our clients as Melody did with me.” – Mary Beth Pennington (March 2020)
TLDR; Northwest Registered Agent Reviews Conclusion
I had a hard time finding any negative reviews and customer issues that weren’t quickly taken care of and resolved in a professional manner. In fact, most of the reviews online mention top-notch customer service from friendly and educated people invested in helping their customers succeed.
You can rest easy knowing they’re a legitimate business offering exceptional registered agent and entity formation services. They’re quick to respond and fix their mistakes while providing a helping hand to anyone who needs it along the way.
Final Thoughts on the Northwest Registered Agent LLC Service Review
Although their services come with a premium price tag, you get a ton of added value as well as a premium customer support team dedicated to helping you and your business succeed. Plus, you can reach out to them at any time with questions, concerns, or any confusion you may have.
Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t try to sell you non-essential services masked as essential, and their foundation is built on transparency, privacy, and lending a helping hand. Their single pricing plan makes one less decision for you, and their complete transparency is a breath of fresh air.
With hundreds of happy customers and 13 years of service, you can rest easy knowing they deliver on their promises and are a friend to help you through the complex world of starting a business.
Get started forming your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent!
Free plan offers a lot of value (state filing fees still apply)
Lifetime customer support
Free registered agent in the first year
Free 1-hour tax consultation
Free plan offers a lot of value (state filing fees still apply)
Lifetime customer support
Free registered agent in the first year
Proactive customer service called to discuss next steps
No free plan, but pricing is fair and upfront
Lifetime customer support
Free registered agent in the first year
Free business name availability check