Northwest Registered Agent vs ZenBusiness (2024 Analysis)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 21, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
Methodology
We diligently evaluate each service provider showcased in our reviews and guides. By interacting anonymously with their business formation and services, and leveraging the insights of an independent review team, we strive to offer unbiased, evidence-based suggestions. Learn more

As a business owner who wants to launch an LLC, it's wise to hire an LLC service that's professional, prompt, and affordable.

As a business consultant with over a decade of practice, I have worked with different LLC formation services and am familiar with how each company system works.

We spent three months testing two popular LLC services, Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness, to see if they’re worth it.

In this Northwest Registered Agent vs. ZenBusiness review, we share the features of each service, along with their pricing plans, pros, and cons.

At a Glance: Northwest Registered Agent vs. ZenBusiness

Reviewing and comparing featured of both registered agent companies

Since its launch in 2015, ZenBusiness has assisted more than 500,000 consumers with business formation and compliance filing services.

ZenBusiness offers essential business formation services, including the formation of an LLC, Sole Proprietorship, or Corporation (S-Corp or C-corp).

Since its founding over 20 years ago, Northwest Registered Agent has expanded its offices to all 50 states in the US. Of all companies registered in the United States, Northwest maintains approximately 3 million businesses nationwide.

Northwest Registered Agent is an online business formation service that provides registered agents, annual report filing, address privacy, and other compliance services.

1. Northwest Registered Agent LLC Highlights

  • Registered Agent Service
  • Legal Forms
  • Corporate Bylaws
  • Free Mail Forwarding
  • Corporate Guide

Our #1 Recommendation

Northwest Registered Agent logo with an office worker in the background

NorthWest

Rated 4.65/5
4.5
Value
4.8
Support
4.8
Turnaround
4.5
Features

2. ZenBusiness LLC Highlights

Writing a product review between two registered agent companies
  • Domain and Email Address
  • Worry-free Compliance
  • 100% Accuracy Guarantee
  • Customizable Business Website
  • Rush Filing Speed

Our #1 Recommendation

ZenBusiness logo with a background of a business man using a laptop

ZenBusiness

Rated 4.95/5
5.0
Support
4.9
Price
5.0
Features
4.9
Turnaround

3. How Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness Stack Together

Both companies have a basic formation plan, but ZenBusiness offers a free starter package for a year and includes more features.

Northwest offers two LLC formation plans, while ZenBusiness provides three alternatives. Both online service providers feature additional services that only varies slightly in cost.

In our experience, both have excellent customer service, which could be reached through several mediums.

"The highest form of endeavor is service of others."

- Delina Chantel, Mergers & Acquisitions Specialist & Writer of Venture Smarter

Registered Agent Service

Northwest Registered Agent will act as your national statutory agent and handle and process your legal files from the state for $125 + state fees. You'll renew the service for the same amount each year.

ZenBusiness provides premium registered agent services in addition to LLC creation. If you want to retain ZenBusiness as your registered agent, you'll pay $199 per year for the service.

Since VentureSmarter has been working alongside ZenBusiness for years, we find their registered agent service reliable.

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Side-by-Side LLC Plan Comparisons

Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness offer the following LLC formation plans:

1. Basic Plan: ZenBusiness Starter

  • ZenBusiness' Starter ($0 plus state costs):  Besides name availability searches and preparation of your Articles of Incorporation, the LLC formation service package provides a 100% accuracy guarantee and the convenience of standard filing speed, usually ready within 2 to 3 weeks. You'll also get Banking and Bank Account services and financial management with Money Pro Bookkeeping and a Website Builder, all features with a 1-month free trial followed by affordable subscription fees [1].

2. Mid-level Plan Comparison: Northwest Special Business Formation Package vs ZenBusiness Pro

  • Northwest's Special Business Formation Package ($39 + state fees): If you sign up with Venture Smarter Special Package, Northwest Registered Agent will offer you comprehensive LLC formation, mail forwarding, business address, privacy by default, corporate and a free registered agent service.
  • ZenBusiness' Pro Package ($199/year plus state filing costs): In addition to the Starter LLC package, you'll get Zen Business now provides a range of enhanced offerings. These encompass a rapid "rush" filing speed, which expedited our application within 1 business day.

3. Top-level Plan Comparison: Northwest Business Formation Plan vs ZenBusiness Premium

  • Northwest's Business Formation Plan ($225 + state fees): Includes the $100 cost of forming an LLC in each of the 50 states and the $125 cost of registered agent services for a full year. You have the option to avail of an expedited plan which completes the process and charges corresponding fees depending on the state. The package also includes free domain name registration, website, business email address and phone, operating agreement, and Privacy by Default.
  • ZenBusiness' Premium Plan ($349/year + state fees): The plan includes all Pro features plus the domain name, company website, and business email address are included in this plan. Additionally, when we availed of the package, ZenBusiness provided business document templates.

Additional Services

Writing on a document and laptop

Aside from LLC formation packages, both companies offer additional services.

1. Annual Report

Northwest Registered Agent charges $100/yr to file an annual report to keep your entity compliant. With their annual report service, you get instant filing, professional preparation and filing, and due date monitoring.

You can hire ZenBusiness experts to draft and file your company's annual report for $100. VentureSmarter has been using the service to remain compliant with state business laws.

2. EIN

An EIN is a unique number that identifies your business entity and is important for tax filing and license applications.

Northwest Registered Agent offers EIN registration services for $50, while ZenBusiness offers EIN registration services for $99.

3. Certificate of Good Standing

With a Certificate of Good Standing, you prove that your business exists and complies with all the state rules and regulations.

You can request a Certificate of Good Standing from a Northwest Registered Agent for $50, while ZenBusiness charges $100.

"Opportunities are not based on luck. As a business owner, you create them."

- Danya Shafkeh, Corporate Attorney & Writer of Venture Smarter

4. DBA

A Doing Business As (DBA) name is a different title that your company operates under other than its legal name. ZenBusiness offers DBA registration services for $25 online and $45 by mail.

Customer Service

Northwest Registered Agent customer service is available from Monday through Friday, during regular business hours, Pacific Time, although no exact hours are provided on their website.

In our experience, Northwest Registered Agent also allocated us a professional corporate guide who helped us through every step of the procedure, from the establishment of the LLC to the delivery of the company paperwork.

Customer service for ZenBusiness is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm Central Standard Time (CST) and on Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm CST.

This online LLC formation service also offers prompt telephone and email customer service.

When we contacted their premium customer support via email, they responded within 1 hour.

Customer Reviews

Northwest Registered Agent vs. ZenBusiness Reviews

FAQs

Which is More Affordable, ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent?

ZenBusiness is more affordable since the basic plan costs $0 and includes a 1-month free trial. You’ll only have to shoulder state fees.

Is ZenBusiness Available in All States?

ZenBusiness is available in all 50 states to assist in the formation of limited liability companies.

Northwest Registered Agent vs. ZenBusiness: Our Recommendation

Hiring an LLC service to help you incorporate a business is a smart idea.

While Northwest Registered Agent is a good LLC service, I notice it’s quite expensive and has fewer service options than its counterpart.

We recommend ZenBusiness because it's affordable with a $0 basic LLC formation package, faster turnaround, a 100% accuracy guarantee, excellent customer service, and free CPA assessment.

As a reputable LLC service, ZenBusiness also makes things simpler for first-time small business owners and provides a well-defined onboarding sequence to help them choose the right formation and compliance services for their company.

Our #1 Recommendation

ZenBusiness

A working young entrepreneur and a ZenBusiness logo
Rated 4.95/5
5.0
Support
4.9
Price
5.0
Features
4.9
Turnaround
Pros
  • ZenBusiness offers basic, mi-level, and top-level formation plans.
  • Tha plans range from $0 to $349, which gives the client options suited for their budget.
  • Fast LLC formation turnaround through expedited service option.
  • Excellent customer service through phone, email, and online.
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of June
Cons
  • Additional features such as domain name registration and web hosting are more affordable on other service providers.

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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