Incfile Alternatives are a dime a dozen, but there’s one Incfile alternative that let’s you create your LLC faster than you ever would with Incfile and saves you a few hundred dollars as well.
If you want to pay $350-$500 to Incfile or one of these other Incfile alternatives, then knock yourself out. But if you want to hear about a better way that saves you money, time and gives you more than Infile or any alternative would… then read on.
Experience with Incfile
Before I tell you the best Incfile alternative to these business formation services, let me tell you what it’s like to work with one so you don’t waste your time.
I used Incfile several years ago to create an LLC (and serve as my registered agent) and overall the process was smooth until I asked them a fairly basic question. Their customer support team responded (no exaggeration) 4 months later!
Instead of looking for Incfile alternatives, I tried them again recently (before I realized how much of a rip-off these registered agent and LLC formation services are) and I almost wasted my money with them again. However, several days after completing the transaction, I received a hostile “you must comply” email telling me that I must send them a photocopy of my credit card via email. Here’s a small excerpt from the email coped below:
No … sorry, Incfile. I am not sending you a photocopy of my credit card through an unencrypted channel to sit in the inbox of one of your offshore customer support representatives (and be forwarded who knows how many times).
I understand that some businesses have their own protocols that they want to create for their own reasons, but no other company asks me to send a photocopy of my credit card. Furthermore, if they are not going to accept my money, then they shouldn’t wait 4 days to tell me that! (which is how long it took before I received this email).
… in hindsight they did me a favor because they made me take a closer look at their service and how “scammy” these business formation and registered agent services are. The hunt for an Incfile alternative was on.
Keep reading to find out how to create your business entity on your own, at no cost, in a fraction of the time.
Incfile Alternatives: Go Directly to Your State
For an Incfile alternative, rather than flush your money down the toilet by using one of these entity creation / registered agent services, go directly to your state’s website where you will apply for an LLC (we’ll get to the registered agent topic in a second).
This website will be different for every state, but you can find your state’s site in under 30 seconds with a quick google search. Look for websites that end in .gov or something similar. Here are the sites for California and Texas, but in this example I will be following the Florida process for business creation.
If you’re thinking of shopping around different states to find which one has the lowest formation fees, don’t bother. Create your business in the state that you live; otherwise, you will end up having to do twice the work and pay more because you still have filing requirements within your state even if you create a business in a different state. Keep things simple and create your business in the state that you live or do business.
Sunbiz.org - Incfile Alternative
If you are creating your entity in the state of Florida, then you can expect to follow a very simple process. You will be required to answer the exact same questions and provide the exact same information that you would to Incfile or any Incfile altenative.
Simply go to Sunbiz.org and follow the instructions on how to create an LLC (or whichever entity type is right for your business).
The entire process for me took about 10 minutes. After I paid the fee (which in Florida is currently $125), I received a confirmation email and confirmation of payment.
One thing to note about your state’s formation fee: you can’t avoid it by paying Incfile or alternatives. This is a fee that you will pay in addition to the cost of paying a business formation service like Incfile, or an alternative to Incfile.
Once you receive your confirmation of payment from your state, this does not yet mean that your LLC has been created. Now you are in the queue and they will review your application. Wait for an email notification from your state that tells you that your LLC is now created.
In Florida, I received this confirmation in 6 days. I filed for creation of the LLC on Saturday and by the following Friday morning I had confirmation.
"Fast Filing" and Other Nonsense
Note: one of the add-ons that Incfile and Incfile alternatives will try to sell you is “fast filing”. The price ranges but it will probably be around $30 to get your application submitted to the state quickly. Otherwise they tell you that the LLC creation will take about 1-2 months. This is absurd!!! You are basically paying them to sit on their hands unless you agree to pay them more fees for “super fast filing”.
This is yet another reason to avoid Incfile and Incfile alternatives like ZenBusiness, SwiftFilings, LegalZoom, etc. When you create your business directly with your state, you will be required to answer all the same questions and provide all the same information to Incfile or alternatives. They are not making the process easier as there is no one (other than bots) that answer any questions that you might have.
All they do is slow down the process of entity creation and take a couple hundred dollars of your money on top of what you owe to the state.
No thank you!
"Don't I need a Registered Agent?"
One of the primary selling points of business formation services is that they can serve as your “registered agent”. It’s true that you will need to give your state the name and address of your registered agent.
However, it’s still a waste to pay for a registered agent service. Here’s why:
- Your name will NOT be hidden by hiring a registered agent and someone can still find your name by searching the state’s database of registered companies.
- The address is ONLY for receiving legal notifications. You cannot use it as your business mailing address.
On the first point, many of these services will sell privacy as a benefit of using a registered agent. But it’s not very private when your name is still available on the state’s database. It’s true that they can hide your home address, but there’s a better, cheaper alternative.
You will need to have a mailing address for your business anyway so why pay for a registered agent address AND a business mailing address? It’s far more economical to buy a business mailing address and use THAT as your registered agent address. After all .. your name will NOT be private even if you pay for a registered agent, …so registered agent services (like Incfile and alternatives), only conceal your address … not your name.
And since you’ll likely have to pay for a business mailing address, there’s no point to paying a registered agent which only serves as a location to send legal documents.
If you have a retail location or an office where customers physically visit you, then there is absolutely no point to a registered agent address because presumably you’re not trying to hide your address. In all likelihood, you want the public to know where you’re located.
If you have an online business or some other type of business where you don’t want your home address revealed, buy a business mailbox and use THAT as both your business mailing address and your registered agent address.
For a business mailbox, you have the option of using a local service like a UPS Store that you can physically go and pick up your mail. Or … you can buy a “virtual mailbox” that serves as your business address. When a virtual mailbox service receives mail on your behalf, they send you a notification and give you the option to either open, scan and email the letter as an attachment, or forward it to your home address.
There are many of these services out there and I personally used Traveling Mailbox to serve as my virtual business address.
What about an EIN number from the IRS?
To get an EIN number for your business, there is DEFINITELY no reason to pay Incfile alternatives for this.
The IRS even warns about paying for this service when you can get it for free from www.IRS.gov directly.
Here is what the IRS has to say about paying a service for an EIN number. The screenshot below was taken off of the IRS website (you can click the screenshot copied below to be taken to the page on the IRS website where they discuss this).
You still want to give your money to these Incfile alternatives? Go ahead and knock yourself out… I personally prefer to do it myself in less than 20 minutes and save a couple hundred dollars in the process.