Last updated: November 28, 2022

There are many LLC formation services in California, and it can be challenging to determine which is suitable for your entity. So we decided to review some of our top client's picks for the best LLC formation services in 2022.

We've spent over a month researching all the essential elements, including cost, speed, and customer service, to help you make the right choice. We also based the review on first-hand experiences with some California LLC services.

Each LLC service has its strengths and weaknesses, so compare them carefully before making your final pick.

Here are the top seven LLC services in California.


Top 7 Best LLC Services in California (November 2022)

1 - ZenBusiness (Editor's Choice)

ZenBusiness with an office worker in the background

With quality LLC service package features matched with affordable pricing, ZenBusiness stands as the best LLC service for California startups and entrepreneurs.

ZenBusiness (a venture-funded public benefit firm founded in 2015 by Ross Buhrdorf) is responsible for the LLC service of more than 300,000 enterprises by delivering international quality LLC services at cheap costs and runs an average 4.7/5 rating across 4,500 online client reviews.

ZenBusiness focuses on business formation services, and despite its youth, it is outperforming its competitors with low-cost plans and high-quality customer support. ZenBusiness simplifies and lowers the cost of simple legal filings for small-business entrepreneurs.

You may draft and file your own business formation paperwork with ZenBusiness, eliminating the need to hire attorneys or other potentially pricey specialists to perform the job for you.

Service Features:

  • Starter Formation Package (starts at $39): Includes LLC formation, one-year registered agent service, and a free operating agreement template. ZenBusiness offers three LLC formation package tiers, with the most basic starting at $39 per year plus the California state fee.
  • Pro package: Includes EIN (Employer Identification Number) registration, VIP processing, handling of annual report filings, and two yearly amendments.
  • Premium package: Includes rush filing, business domain name, website email address, and domain privacy.
  • Registered Agent Services (starts at $99): All three of its LLC formation packages include a full year of free registered agent service. The service then renews annually for $119 or $99 a la carte.
Pros
  • They provide a number of formation packages from which to choose
  • The cost for each plan is reasonable
  • They provide everything you'll need to get your business up and running
  • They hasten the growth of enterprises
  • Has garnered several positive consumer comments
Cons
  • Brand recognition is lacking
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2 - Northwest

Northwest Registered Agent logo with office workers in the background

Providing LLC formation service since 1998, Northwest Registered Agent has already made a name for itself for having top-notch customer support in the industry and an affordable LLC service package. In addition to client service, the organization provides a strong privacy policy.

Northwest registered agent is a family-owned business. Its headquarters are in Spokane, Washington, despite having branches throughout all 50 states. It has grown to be one of the greatest LLC firms in the United States.

If you value high-quality client service, Northwest Registered Agent is the company for you. A staff of Corporate Guides is available to help each customer throughout the formation process. You may also seek a Corporate Guide with whom you have worked previously.

You may also contact them at any moment if you have any questions or require assistance.

Service Features:

  • Base Formation Package (starts at $39): Includes all paperwork required for the formation process, such as name searches, registration, and filing of all legal documents. The 1-year free registered agent is also included. Plus, their highly trained customer support team can assist you through each stage of the formation process.
  • Deluxe Package: Includes services from the base package plus access to an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Registered Agent Services: Includes a free year of registered agent service. The service then renews annually for $125.
Pros
  • They have over 20 years of experience
  • They maintain your personal information hidden
  • Their pricing is straightforward
  • If you utilize their formation package, they will provide you with a free one-year service
Cons
  • They have high prices
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3 - IncFile

Incfile logo with business people in the background

If you’re concerned about high startup fees in California and only need your formation documents filed, then InFile is your best pick.

Since 2004, Incfile has assisted in the formation of over 75,000 corporations. Incfile is a corporation that provides business creation and registered agent service.

They provide a comprehensive range of formation, compliance, and filing services. Incfile provides a variety of services linked to forming an LLC and maintaining a business. IncFile's customer service department is also plausible with its rapid response time.

Limited liability companies (LLCs), C-corporations, S-corporations, and charities may all be formed using Incfile. This is corroborated by over 10,000 customer reviews, nearly all of which have perfect five-star ratings.

Service Features:

  • Free Silver Package: Includes California LLC formation service, 1 year of free registered agent service, and lifetime company compliance alerts. They charge $0 for their California LLC formation services, leaving you to pay only state fees and other minor charges like address and certification fees.
  • Incfile Gold: Includes preparation of operating agreement, banking resolution, and EIN registration.
  • Platinum Package: Adds free business website and domain name, business contract templates, and priority expedited filing.
  • Registered Agent Services: Includes a free year of registered agent service. The service then renews annually for $119.
Pros
  • LLC service options are offered at a low cost
  • The LLC incorporation package also comes with a year of free registered agent service
  • They helped in the establishment of nearly 500,000 enterprises
  • Telephone and e-mail help are obtainable
Cons
  • LLC service upsells are excessive
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4 - LegalZoom

Legalzoom logo with business people in the background

LegalZoom represents one of the most well-known names in the LLC formation and incorporation industry. They are well-known not only because of their formation services but also for their extensive range of online legal services and contractual arrangements templates they provide.

You do not require a legal background or extensive technology skills to use LegalZoom; they'll handle nearly every aspect of your business. You may also expect fast response times when filing and obtaining papers. LegalZoom provides experience, an almost two-decade track successful track record, and unparalleled customer service.

They have assisted over 4 million people and businesses in various ways since its founding in 2011, half of which involve the formation of LLCs. But, compared to some other LLC services in this list, LegalZoom prices are too high for what you get.

Service Features:

  • LLC formation Economy Package (starts at $79): Includes basic LLC filing services.
  • Basic Economy Package (starts at $329): Adds business name search, Peace of Mind Review™ compliance check, and 30-minute tax savings consultation.
  • Standard Package (starts at $349): Adds deluxe organizer and official certificates and seal.
  • Express Gold Package (starts at $349): Adds express shipping and VIP processing.
  • Business Advisory Plan: Offers tax advice, attorney help, and access to legal forms.
  • Registered Agent Services ($159): The price is $159 in the first year if added to a formation package. The service then renews annually for $249.
Pros
  • Established brand in LLC service
  • Extended customer support hours
  • Extensive legal services for your California LLC
  • High client volume
Cons
  • LLC formation packages don’t include a lot of features
  • No registered agent included
  • Many upsell to high-priced add-on services
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5 - Swyft Filings

Swyftfilings logo with two office people working in the background

Swyft Filings serves as one of the most recent LLC creation service providers. They have just been in operation since 2015. Swyft Filings, on the other hand, has quickly become well-known for its Limited Liability Company formations.

Their incorporation service is particularly focused on assisting you in establishing your business as quickly, reliably, and inexpensively as feasible.

You'll receive all of the tools you need to get your company started quickly, thanks to their short approval process and excellent customer service team. It is ideal for small enterprises or entrepreneurs that need their company to start fast and at a reasonable cost.

Service Features:

  • The Basic package ($49): It contains everything you'll require to start your own business, such as the preparatory work and filing of articles of incorporation (if applicable), a free 30-minute business tax consultation, a company name availability check, the preparation and filing of articles of organization, ComplianceGuard company alerts, a free domain name, and a standard filing duration.
  • The Standard package ($149): Covers all listed above, in addition to a customized LLC banking resolution, customized organizational minutes, a customized federal tax ID (EIN), and a customized LLC operating agreement.
  • The Premium package ($299): It includes a complimentary business website and web hosting, express filing, all Basic and Standard solutions, the electronic delivery of state paperwork, a personalized digital LLC kit, and FedEx expedited and monitored delivery.
  • Registered Agent Service: Swyft Filings bundles do not come with a registered agent service; thus, you must purchase $149 per year to use it.
Pros
  • Customers have given them positive reviews.
  • This enables you to pay for the formation of your LLC in installments instead of everything at once.
  • Swyft Filings offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which means they will reimburse your service payments with no questions asked if you are dissatisfied for any cause.
Cons
  • Unlike several other companies, neither one of their LLC creation packages offer yearly reports or registered agent service.
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6 - Harbor Compliance

Two businessmen talking while looking to a gadget

If you've been looking for relevant formation services, Harbor Compliance has most likely surfaced on very few listings. They provide companies and NGOs with full-service compliance solutions throughout their years of existence.

Harbor Compliance is a trustworthy expert firm that provides LLC forms, incorporation, as well as other company compliance-related solutions. They may assist you with a variety of critical responsibilities associated with launching a new firm.

Harbor Compliance is very famous for its excellent customer service. They are manned with qualified individuals that can assist you with just about any issue that may arise, unlike most of the rivals who outsource their assistance to third-party contact centers.

They're extremely concerned with your privacy, and they safeguard their website with Norton and Trustwave screening and data encryption.

Service features: 

  • Formation Package ($399): Covers existence of Names, operating agreement form, articles of incorporation, EIN federal, and a registered representative
  • Compliance Package($799): This includes everything mentioned above, in addition to a financial statement/annual reports management service, S Corporation vs. C Corporation taxation, initial report, ongoing assistance, and publishing.
  • Registered Agent Service ($99): Among all LLC formations, Harbor Compliance offers a one-year period of registered agent service. This service will continue yearly at a price of $99 once the period term expires.
Pros
  • Harbor Compliance provides exceptional support for its clients.
  • Processing time of one day
  • Harbor Compliance provides a cost-cutting alternative.
Cons
  • Extremely costly
  • If you are dissatisfied, Harbor Compliance will not return your money.
  • The web page is old, out of date, and factually inaccurate.
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7 - SunDoc Filings

SunDoc logo with business people in the background

SunDoc is not among the top companies overall, but since you’re here to look for the best LLC service in California, you might want to consider this.

It is based in Sacramento and offers to hand-deliver paperwork to the California Secretary of State's office three times every day–that’s already an advantage when it comes to turnaround time.

Because of this, SunDoc has gained popularity among California entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Plus, the majority of the 3,000 reviews we found online were positive.

Service Features:

  • Key Package: Price starts at $99. Includes preparation and filing of your LLC formation documents. There is a $79 option but requires you to draft your own articles of organization.
  • Premier Package: Price starts at $279. Includes EIN registration.
Pros
  • Guaranteed quick California LLC formation turnaround time
  • Excellent customer feedback
  • Efficient and ease of use order process
Cons
  • No registered agent included
  • Expensive bare minimum packages

Advantages of Creating an LLC in California

A businessman looking at his phone

There are various benefits to establishing a limited liability company in California after evaluating service providers. This business entity offers the best of both worlds: the personal liability protection given by corporations and the taxes of a sole proprietorship. Read below for more information.

Personal Liability Protection

Incorporating LLC as a business entity can keep you protected from personal creditors. In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons entrepreneurs and business owners start an LLC in California. But, LLCs do more than protect small businesses from debt collectors.

They also protect them from potential personal liability incurred or brought on by other owners or members of the LLC.

Pass-Through Taxation

Forming an LLC in California gives you an advantage over forming a corporation, especially with taxation. As an LLC, you can access pass-through taxation which means that your California-based LLC will not have to pay taxes twice, unlike most large corporations, which are required to pay taxes at both the corporate and personal levels.

Taxes Specific to California LLCs

Setting up an LLC in California is a relatively simple process that does not involve a large sum of money. However, there are taxes associated with this legal structure that must be paid.

These are yearly LLC franchise taxes, a tax estimated fee tailored to your company, and an LLC return of revenue.

The California business landscape may have a few restrictions and strict regulations when it comes to establishing large corporations, however, there are many favorable laws for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

California LLC Formation Process

A person using a laptop to search for LLC Services in California

Technically, the California Secretary of State does not necessitate the use of an LLC formation service.

Although these services are quite advantageous, you may save money by completing the process yourself. You may form a California LLC in eight easy steps:

  • Step 1: Find a suitable LLC name
  • Step 2: Find a California registered agent
  • Step 3: File California LLC Articles of Organization
  • Step 4: File LLC Initial Statement of Information
  • Step 5: Decide on the type of your California LLC
  • Step 6: Make an LLC operating agreement
  • Step 7: Obtain a California LLC EIN
  • Step 8: Obtain LLC licenses and business permits

Qualities to Look For in an LLC Service

An office person using a white laptop on a white table

There are a few factors to consider when selecting among California LLC formation services.

Some of the qualities of the best LLC services to look for are as follows:

  • Competitive pricing of packages: Consider a reasonably priced bundle that includes all of the tools to establish your own business.
  • Ease of use: The order process of forming a business should be simple. An LLC formation service with an easy-to-use internet interface is also a plus as it gives a better online experience.
  • Customer support: For a hassle-free and worry-free experience, LLC formation services with a quick response time are the ideal option.
  • Proven track record: Customer reviews are there for a reason. Check to see if the firm has an excellent track record and client reviews. These things are easily found online.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Form My LLC in California?

It takes around 3 business days to form your LLC in California by online filing. In-person filing in the California Secretary of State takes around 5 to 6 business days.

How Much Does Forming an LLC Cost in California?

Forming an LLC in California costs $105. The California Secretary of State charges an $85 filing fee for the articles of organization. In addition, the statement of information must be provided within 90 days after the formation of the LLC, with a filing fee of $20.

Do I Need an LLC Service?

Yes, you need an LLC service if you don’t want to deal with all of the paperwork that comes with the LLC formation process. However, the Secretary of State does not require hiring LLC services for your business formation.

Is California a Good Place to Start an LLC?

Yes, California is a good place to start an LLC. LLCs, like those in other states, have limited liability protection, which means they are not personally liable for the company's debts and if the company’s being sued. They also benefit from pass-through taxation and other advantages.

How to Choose the Best LLC Service in California for You...

Though many California LLC formation services may assist you in forming your LLC, based on our personal experience and research, we recommend ZenBusiness.

They are the best choice because of their well-rounded services and customer support. Their services will provide you with everything you need to get your business up and running for a reasonable price.

We were delighted with the service formation packages, registered agent services, and processing time. Positive reviews from their former clients also testify to this.

Speed up the process of forming your LLC and choose ZenBusiness today.

Our #1 Recommendation

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness with an office worker in the background
Support
5.0
Price
4.9
Features
5.0
Turnaround
4.9
Overall Score
5.0
Pros
  • They provide a number of formation packages from which to choose
  • The cost for each plan is reasonable
  • They provide everything you'll need to get your business up and running
  • They hasten the growth of enterprises
  • Has garnered several positive consumer comments
Cons
  • Brand recognition is lacking

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