7 Best LLC Services in California for Your Business (2024)

Opening a limited liability company (LLC) in California can be a complex process, but utilizing the services of a reputable LLC service can greatly simplify the process

Over the years, we have opened various LLCs and offered financial advice to entrepreneurs looking to make the filing process easier for their California businesses, so we understand the importance of choosing the best LLC service provider.

In the following sections, we will explore the top LLC formation services in California and highlight how reputable providers can positively impact your business’s success.

7 Best LLC Formation Services in 2024

1 – ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness is a company that was founded in 2015 and is based in Austin, Texas. They aim to provide affordable and easy LLC services to entrepreneurs and have a top-notch California LLC service division.

In addition to LLC formation, ZenBusiness also offers registered agent services, annual report filing, and business website creation.

On Trustpilot, the company has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 based on over 11,000 reviews, with many customers regarding it as the best California LLC service.

Our experience:

We found ZenBusiness to be a user-friendly platform that made the LLC formation process straightforward and hassle-free.

Their customer support team was responsive and provided helpful guidance throughout the process, helping us understand what is included in each of the company’s LLC formation packages.

Based on our observations, ZenBusiness offers excellent value for money with its affordable pricing and comprehensive service packages.

Service Features:

  • Starter ($0 + $0 State Fee): Includes standard filing service, document tracking, and free tax advice.
  • Pro ($199 + $0 State Fee): Offers additional features such as expedited filing, federal tax ID number (EIN) acquisition, operating agreement, and worry-free compliance.
  • Premium ($299 + $0 State Fee): Includes all the features of the Pro package, along with business domain registration and business email address.
  • Agent Service ($199 per year): Provides a professional registered agent to handle legal documents and ensure compliance.
  • User-friendly platform and straightforward process
  • Free LLC service
  • Excellent customer support
  • Positive reviews on Trustpilot
  • Extra features like a registered agent service and compliance support
  • Some extra services are only available in higher-priced packages
  • Limited customization options for operating agreements

2 – Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent has been in operation since 1998 and is headquartered in Spokane, Washington. They are a family-owned business and have built a reputation for providing reliable and efficient LLC formation services.

In addition to LLC formation, Northwest offers its own registered agent service, annual report filing, and mail forwarding.

Northwest is regarded as one of the best LLC services in California and the majority of states, and it is Better Business Bureau approved and rated with 4.52 stars for its excellent customer service and professional way of conducting business.

Our experience:

Northwest impressed us with their attention to detail and personalized customer service. Their website and interface were easy to navigate, and we found their California LLC filing process to be smooth and efficient.

We had a positive experience with their customer support team, who were knowledgeable and responsive to our inquiries.

Service Features:

  • Basic ($39 + $0 State Fee): Includes standard LLC formation service and one year of registered agent service.
  • Full Formation ($225 + $0 State Fee): Offers additional features such as expedited filing, a custom operating agreement, mail forwarding, and organizational meeting minutes.
  • Agent Service ($125): Physical address for your business entity and correspondence forwarding. Free for the first year.
  • Attention to detail and personalized customer service
  • User-friendly website and interface
  • Free registered agent service
  • One of the most secure California LLC services
  • Slightly higher pricing compared to some competitors
  • Limited options for lower-tier LLC formation service packages

3 – IncFile

IncFile was founded in 2004 and has grown to become one of the leading LLC formation services in the industry. They are located in Houston, Texas, and have assisted thousands of entrepreneurs in forming their LLCs.

Aside from LLC services, IncFile offers free registered agent services, EIN acquisition, and ongoing compliance support.

This LLC service in California has solid customer reviews on Shopper Approved, with a score of 4.8 out of 5, and is also rated as an A+ LLC formation service on BBB. On Trustpilot, thousands of customers rated it with a 4.7 stars score.

Our experience:

We found IncFile to be a reliable and efficient LLC formation service. The process of using their platform was simple, and their website provided clear instructions and guidance throughout.

We were pleased with their customer support team, who promptly addressed our queries and provided helpful assistance. Overall, our experience with IncFile was positive.

Service Features:

  • Silver ($0 + $0 State Fee): Includes basic LLC services, one year of registered agent service, and online access to the company’s formation documents.
  • Gold ($199 + $0 State Fee): Offers additional features such as an operating agreement, EIN registration, business tax consultation, and help with opening a business bank account.
  • Platinum ($299 + $0 State Fee): Includes all the features of the Gold package, along with expedited processing, business contract templates, and domain name registration.
  • Agent Service($119): Offers a business address plus SMS notifications and mail forwarding.
  • Free basic package available
  • User-friendly platform and clear instructions
  • Excellent customer support
  • Free registered agent service
  • Upselling of add-ons during the checkout process
  • Some optional features may incur additional costs

4 – Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings has been in the LLC filing industry since 2012. Based in Houston, Texas, they specialize in delivering basic LLC services and personalized customer support.

Swyft Filings offers a range of services, including LLC filing, registered agent services, EIN acquisition, and compliance assistance.

When it comes to customer reviews, Swyft Filings has received positive feedback on platforms like Trustpilot, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 based on over 6,000 reviews.

Our experience:

Based on our firsthand experience, we found Swyft Filings to be a satisfactory California LLC formation service. The process of forming an LLC through their platform was straightforward, although it did not feel as streamlined as some other LLC formation services.

Nonetheless, we found their customer support to be responsive and helpful in addressing our queries. 

Service Features:

  • Basic Package ($0 + $0 State Fee): Includes California LLC filing, business name availability check, and filing of Articles of Organization.
  • Standard Package ($199 + $0vState Fee): Offers additional features such as a customizable operating agreement, EIN registration, and banking resolution.
  • Premium Package ($299 + $0 State Fee): Includes all the features of the Standard package, along with expedited processing, domain name registration, and business website.
  • Registered Agent ($199/year): Receives formal correspondence from government agencies and sends over important documents on time.
  • Affordable basic LLC formation package
  • Easily customizable LLC formation documents
  • Responsive customer support
  • The basic LLC service package is not free
  • Some optional features may cost extra

5 – LegalZoom

With its straightforward filing process and online document storage portal, LegalZoom is the right business formation service for many business owners looking for a local company to start their California business.

The company has received an excellent rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot, and many customers praise it for being the best LLC service in California.

Apart from California LLC filing, LegalZoom offers services such as premium registered agent service, business name search, tax consulting, online legal services, and legal document preparation.

Our experience:

We had a somewhat average experience with LegalZoom. While their platform was easy to navigate and offered a comprehensive range of services, we encountered some challenges with their customer support.

Our inquiries took longer than expected to be addressed, and the responses we received lacked thoroughness at times.

Additionally, we found that the pricing structure of LegalZoom’s services could be a bit confusing, with certain add-ons and upsells not clearly explained during the checkout process.

Service Features:

  • Basic ($0 + $0 State Fee): Includes LLC paperwork filing, business name availability search, and a professional website.
  • Pro ($249 + $0 State Fee): Offers additional features such as a deluxe organizer, official certificates, tax consultation, LLC operating agreement template, EIN, business licenses, and a seal.
  • Premium ($299+ $0 State Fee): Includes all the features of the Pro package, along with express shipping, priority processing, and a business advisory plan.
  • Agent Service ($249): Available during business hours to receive your business correspondence and deliver it to you through email the same day.
  • Long-standing reputation and extensive experience in the industry
  • Wide range of legal services beyond online LLC services
  • Various package options to suit different needs and budgets
  • Inconsistent customer support with delayed responses
  • The pricing structure can be confusing, with potential hidden fees

6 – Rocket Lawyer

With headquarters in San Francisco, California, Rocket Lawyer offers a wide range of legal services, including a reputable online LLC formation service.

Their platform combines legal document creation, access to a network of business attorneys, and various legal tools for small business owners, including help to acquire business insurance.

Over the years, the company has garnered a positive reputation for its user-friendly interface and affordable pricing, with a 4.6 score on BBB and Trustpilot.

Our experience:

Based on our observations, Rocket Lawyer provided a user-friendly experience throughout the California LLC formation process. Their website was intuitive and easy to navigate, making it simple to complete the necessary steps.

However, we encountered some issues with their customer support. Response times were often delayed, and the information provided lacked depth and clarity, leaving us wanting more comprehensive guidance.

While their self-help resources were helpful to some extent, we expected more robust support from a legal service provider.

Service Features:

  • Basic Legal Services ($39.99/month or $99 billed once + $0 State Fees): Offers access to Articles of Organization and unlimited e-signing.
  • Agent Service ($149.99 for 1 year/ $111.99 with member discount): VIP members receive a 25% discount, and this service includes an agent in Califonia who receives all your legal documents, making sure that you receive them on time.
  • Affordable monthly subscription plans
  • Access to a network of attorneys for legal consultations and document review
  • Wide range of legal document templates and self-help resources
  • Delays in customer support response times
  • Pooer customer support interactions

Harbor Compliance is an LLC filing service that was founded in 2012 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The company aims to simplify the process of forming and maintaining limited liability companies by providing comprehensive compliance solutions.

They primarily cater to businesses and entrepreneurs seeking assistance with legal and regulatory compliance.

Harbor Compliance offers a range of services to support LLC filing and compliance, including LLC filing services, affordable registered agent services, compliance monitoring and management, annual report filing, and business licensing and permits

When it comes to reviews on external platforms such as Trustpilot, Harbor Compliance has received mixed reviews, with an average score of 2.9, which reflects their inconsistency in providing good customer service with their great business formation service.

Our Experience:

Our experience with Harbor Compliance was relatively positive overall. We found their California LLC filing process to be streamlined. The company’s website provided clear instructions, guiding us through each step efficiently.

However, we did encounter a slight delay in receiving confirmation of our filing, which caused a bit of uncertainty. Additionally, while their customer support was responsive, the level of expertise provided was somewhat limited.

We expected more comprehensive assistance, particularly for complex legal matters.

Service Features:

  • LLC Formation Package ($99 + $0 State Fee): Includes preparation and filing of articles of organization, agent service for one year, compliance guarantee, and access to compliance tools.
  • Agent Services ($99): Get a 5%- 10% discount by paying upfront for at least 2 years. Completes the business formation services by providing an individual or business entity and an address to receive correspondence from the state in your name.
  • Straightforward LLC filing process
  • Ongoing compliance support and annual report filings
  • Professional registered agent service available
  • Slight delay in receiving confirmation of filing
  • Higher price point compared to some other California LLC services
  • Limited expertise in customer support

Factors We Considered When Reviewing the Best California LLC Formation Services

When evaluating the best California LLC formation services, we took into account various elements to determine our top recommended products. Here’s how each of these factors affects the formation services and the standout performers for each category:

Formation Speed

The speed at which an LLC filing service processes and files the necessary formation documents can greatly impact entrepreneurs.

Faster formation speed means quicker legal recognition, allowing businesses to start operating sooner and access benefits like opening bank accounts or entering into contracts.

Services like ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent, known for their efficient processing times, expedite the process and help entrepreneurs get their LLCs up and running quickly.

Customer service

Prompt and reliable customer service is crucial during the filing process. Responsive and knowledgeable support teams can address queries, provide guidance, and alleviate concerns.

Exceptional customer service, as offered by Swyft Filings and IncFile, ensures a positive experience and helps entrepreneurs navigate any challenges they encounter.

Cost

The cost of LLC services varies, and entrepreneurs often seek affordable options without compromising on quality, as financial hurdles were reported as one of the main causes of company failure in the first year of life.

Competitive pricing structures, such as those provided by Harbor Compliance and Rocket Lawyer, enable entrepreneurs to form their LLCs without excessive expenses, making them more accessible for small businesses and startups.

Privacy and Security

Robust privacy measures protect sensitive business information and maintain confidentiality.

With more than 88% of small business owners believing that their businesses are somehow vulnerable to cyber attacks, services like Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom which prioritize privacy and employ stringent security protocols can give you peace of mind.

Ease of use

According to this report, in 2021, 95% of small business owners said that ease of use was important when assessing new technology for their company. Intuitive tools, clear instructions, and easy navigation enhance user satisfaction.

ZenBusiness and Rocket Lawyer offer intuitive interfaces, making it easy for entrepreneurs to complete the necessary steps and forms without complications.

Additional services offered

Most LLC service providers go beyond the basic formation process and provide extra services that support businesses in various stages of their operations.

Some of the best LLC services like LegalZoom and IncFile offer a range of supplementary services such as registered agent service, tax consultation, legal document review, and ongoing compliance support.

Are There Any Other Factors to Have In Mind When Choosing The Top LLC Service Providers?

These extra factors further impact the business formation services and can significantly influence the overall experience for entrepreneurs.

Experience and Reputation

Considering the experience and reputation of LLC service providers is crucial when choosing the top providers.

Established companies like LegalZoom and IncFile have a proven track record, indicating their ability to deliver reliable and quality services based on their years of experience in the industry.

Refund Policy

An effective refund policy is important as it provides assurance to customers in case they are unsatisfied with the online service.

ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings offer customer-friendly refund policies, allowing customers to request a refund if they are not satisfied with the service provided.

Customization

Finally, the ability to customize services according to specific business needs is highly valuable.

Companies like Rocket Lawyer and Northwest Registered Agent offer customizable packages and extra services, enabling entrepreneurs to tailor their LLC filing experience to their unique requirements.

Benefits of Using an LLC Service Company

Using an LLC filing company offers a range of advantages for entrepreneurs looking to establish and manage their California limited liability company. In this section, we will explore the various benefits associated with utilizing an LLC service:

Legal Expertise

Company formation businesses provide valuable legal expertise, ensuring that the formation and compliance processes adhere to state regulations and requirements.

Their knowledge and guidance can help prevent legal complications and ensure that your LLC in California operates within the boundaries of the law.

Privacy

By using an LLC service, entrepreneurs can maintain a level of privacy. The service provider’s address and contact information are used in public records, keeping personal information separate from the business and reducing the risk of unwanted solicitations or privacy breaches.

Ongoing Compliance Support

LLC filing companies offer ongoing support to ensure your California business remains compliant with state regulations.

They can assist with annual reports, filing deadlines, and other compliance obligations, helping entrepreneurs avoid penalties and stay on track with their legal responsibilities.

Cost-Effective

Engaging an LLC service in California is often more cost-effective than hiring an attorney or managing the filing process independently.

Service packages are typically priced competitively and provide a comprehensive set of services, so they may help you save money and time compared to individual service procurement.

Access to Additional Services

Many LLC services offer a range of add-ons beyond formation, such as registered agent services, obtaining employer identification numbers (EINs), operating agreement drafting, and business license research.

These convenient add-on services provide entrepreneurs with a one-stop solution for various business needs.

Convenience

LLC service providers streamline the filing process, handling paperwork, document preparation, and filing on behalf of the entrepreneur.

This convenience allows business owners to focus on other aspects of their venture, such as strategy and operations, while leaving the administrative tasks to the experts.

Personal Liability Protection

One of the key advantages of forming an LLC is the personal liability protection it provides. By utilizing an LLC service, entrepreneurs can ensure that the general business liability policy is properly established, shielding personal assets from business-related liabilities.

Time Savings

Entrusting the LLC formation and ongoing compliance tasks to a service company saves entrepreneurs significant time and effort.

Professionals with expertise in this area can navigate the paperwork, expedite the process, and handle administrative responsibilities efficiently, enabling entrepreneurs to concentrate on their core business activities.

Why Trust Us?

As experienced financial advisors, we pride ourselves on providing reliable and trustworthy information to assist entrepreneurs in making informed decisions.

By employing rigorous research methods and combining them with our expertise in the field, we aim to provide unbiased and accurate assessments of the best California LLC services available.

Our investigation involves analyzing each filing company’s website, assessing their service offerings, and examining user reviews from reputable platforms.

We also engage with users who have purchased formation packages from these companies, gathering firsthand feedback on their experiences.

In addition to these methods, we go the extra mile by directly interacting with the sales teams of these service providers. Through these conversations, we gain valuable insights into their customer service, response times, and overall professionalism.

Steps to Start an LLC in California

Starting an LLC in California involves several important steps. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Select a unique and available name for your LLC that complies with California’s naming requirements.
  2. Prepare and file the Articles of Organization with the California Secretary of State and pay state filing fees.
  3. Designate a California registered agent who will receive legal and official documents on behalf of your LLC in California.
  4. Create an operating agreement that outlines the ownership and operating procedures of your LLC to provide personal asset protection.
  5. Depending on your business activities, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits at the federal, state, or local level.
  6. File a Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State within 90 days of forming your LLC, and subsequently, file biennially.
  7. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if your LLC has more than one member or employee.

Our Nr. #1 Pick

ZenBusiness

Our number one pick for the best LLC services in California is ZenBusiness.

While it’s true that you can open an LLC without using a service provider, we believe that utilizing the experience and knowledge offered by companies like ZenBusiness can be incredibly valuable, especially considering that some of them provide free services.

We selected ZenBusiness as the best LLC service based on a thorough evaluation and our experience with this company was exceptional.

By choosing this LLC formation company, you can leverage its expertise and resources to ensure a smooth and efficient business formation process while minimizing any potential hurdles or complexities along the way.

Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson

An accomplished business guru, our CEO holds a degree from Philadelphia's esteemed Fox School of Business, accredited by AACSB. With a knack for practicality, they've orchestrated the launch of diverse small enterprises and guided fellow entrepreneurs in optimizing their ventures. Trust their seasoned insights for invaluable advice tailored to new businesses and LLCs.