Choosing the Best Incorporation Service
Take this simple multiple choice test to see if you know how to best select an online incorporation service. (The correct answer will be revealed when selected)
Find the cheapest service because a corporation is a corporation
Hey, you're forming a legal entity to run your business, not buying toner for your printer! While any online service can file papers to legally form a corporation or LLC with your state, there's a lot more to consider. How about talking to an expert first to get information about different corporations and LLC types and the advantages and disadvantages of each before just filling out an online questionnaire?
Even if you're confident you know the best entity type for your particular business, there are many additional formation documents required to properly complete your incorporation. A corporation will have bylaws, organizational minutes, and stock certificates to issue to the initial shareholders. An LLC will need a written operating agreement (like a partnership agreement) between the members.
But wait, there's more! There are federal and often state tax application forms to complete and tax ID numbers to obtain from state and federal agencies. You may need your S Corporation election form completed and processed with the IRS. There may be an Initial Report due in your state shortly after incorporation and even a requirement to publish notice of your incorporation. Are you prepared to handle all these requirements on your own? Does the online service with the cheapest advertised price offer all of these services?
Fortunately, you were wise enough to select this choice and become enlightened before making the wrong selection. Why not try another choice?
Choose the one with the highest search engine ranking
This is an extremely smart choice because we all know that the top page ranking is always based on the most qualified, reputable, and well–respected business offering that particular service. Or, perhaps it's because that particular service outbid all competitors for the number 1 (or 2) rankings for the particular keyword(s) you happened to enter in your search engine. Maybe the ranking doesn't necessarily give you any indication about the company's credentials, the quality of its services or products, or the capabilities of its staff whatsoever.
It may be a starting point, but there's no substitute for carefully reading a website's description of services, credentials and experience of its staff, and those not-so-prominently displayed legal disclaimers that may put any claims or misimpressions in perspective.
Choose one that was founded by attorneys from top law firms
You're getting warmer. Forming a corporation or LLC is an important legal matter that is best handled by an attorney. So if you're choosing one that was formed by top attorneys, they personally must be reviewing your information and preparing your documents, right? Not necessarily. You need to take a closer look. Review the website, specifically the legal disclaimers, to find out if you're dealing with an attorney or not. (Note: the legal disclaimer is often that barely visible link set off in a corner or very bottom of the website in a small font size). The disclaimer may reveal that you're not dealing with an attorney at all, whether on the phone or in having your documents prepared. You may simply be providing some information for a company's automated software to fill in the blanks in pre–prepared forms that will then be sent off to the state for filing and plugged into your other formation documents without any attorney review.
Are you really getting value by saving the cost of having an experienced attorney prepare your formation documents if an attorney isn't handling your matter at all?
Click here to read one person's experience with a service founded by "attorneys from top law firms".
Choose one that is staffed with "incorporation specialists."
We all know this is the age of specialization, right? How can you go wrong if you're dealing with an "incorporation specialist?" I mean, it's not like someone can just pin this label on himself, can he?
Well, there's no certificate issued by any agency after passing an incorporation test or performing a certain number of incorporations to designate someone as an "incorporation specialist," nor is there any trade school or other institution that certifies this status. No, this title doesn't tell you much at all. You better take a closer look at who's behind the company and the experience and credentials of the people behind the company who are providing information and preparing your documents and forms.
Choose the one that was founded by an experienced attorney and provides attorney-prepared customized documents at about the same price as the biggest online services
Bingo! There's no need to pay outrageous hourly rates or even unaffordable package prices for quality services provided by an experienced attorney. If you look hard enough (hint: you may have already succeeded), you may find a service that offers all the assistance and information you need to select the best entity for your particular business, prepares fully customized and complete formation documents and forms processed for you in a timely fashion, all done by an experienced attorney for about the same prices charged by the "leading" online services.
It's your business that's being incorporated. Don't you deserve to have it done by an experienced and qualified professional?