Need to set up your business entity? Fortunately there are a number of online services to help you with this now. Quite a number, in fact.
How can you chose the right online business incorporation service then?
Here’s what I did. First, I found a bunch of them through simple Google (GOOG) searches. Then I decided to sort them by their Alexa rankings. (I also did a quick comparison against their Compete rankings.)
Why? Because I wasn’t able to find any articles comparing these services to help me make an informed decision. Therefore, I figured a basic popularity rating is better than nothing. Maybe a service that’s popular would have slightly better offerings and customer service—or at least have enough customers to teach them how to run a quality business.
Is that really true? Hardly, but eh, it was better than nothing.
The search results and rankings produced this list:
- Active Filings
- The Incorporation Company
The top four sites ranked high on both Alexa and Compete. Below that and the rankings were quite different. This list is sorted by Alexa rankings only.
Then I looked at the top six. I originally examined just the top four, but decided to go +2 for more variety. Scientific? Hardly.
- For a Delaware LLC, prices range from $99 – $199 with what appears to be a limited-time discount, or $149 – $399 normally.
- Since this is owned by Intuit (INTU)—creator of Quicken, QuickBooks, and TurboTax—I assume they have a fair amount of business knowledge. For a Delaware LLC, prices range from $288 – $488.
- Advertised heavily in entrepreneurial publications, they offer a lot of useful articles and tips on business incorporation. For a Delaware LLC, prices range from $99 – 329.
- Though their site isn’t much to look at, they seem to have quite a few free extras. For any state and entity type, prices range from $139 – 288.
- They also own the domain name corporation.com, so they could be ranking high simply because of effective SEO. These guys only offer business incorporation services for Delaware. For any entity type, prices range from $189 – $598.
- Active Filings
- Also not much to look at, they seem to be on the more expensive side. For a Delaware LLC, prices range from $289 – $589.
It would seem to me that MyCorporation, BizFilings, or DirectIncorporation seem to be as good a pick as any. Disclaimer: I am involved with businesses that have used BizFilings and DirectIncorporation. Since MyCorporation is from Intuit, I’d consider using them too, though they’re a bit pricey. Incorporate.com could be a fair budget choice as well.
Another disclaimer: There are obvious problems with this method of selecting an online business incorporation service. For one, this favors sites that have good SEO resources. There could be a great service that’s not listed on the Google search results. This also doesn’t compare actual quality factors—or define what those quality factors are. Unfortunately, business incorporation isn’t a common multiple-use service, so few people would be in a position to do an in-depth comparison. However, if anyone has any anecdotes or experiences about these services, I’d love to hear about them. Perhaps this could be the start of such a comparison.
UPDATE 3/14/2008: Corrected entries for Incorporate.com and IncNow.com. Removed my error in stating that corporation.com redirects to incorporate.com; it actually redirects to incnow.com. Thanks for the correction, Frank!