In this review, we will cut to the chase and go over what you really need to know about BizFilings’ LLC formation and incorporation services, including:
- The true pricing of BizFilings’ LLC formation services
- Expected formation turnaround time
- BizFilings’ reliability, customer reviews, support offerings, and much more
We will also provide clear explanations of all other relevant, formation-related services BizFilings offers.
Below is a quick summary of our findings. Further down, you’ll find our more comprehensive review. There, we go into greater detail on BizFilings’ prices and services and explain what factors went into our ratings.
Is BizFilings Right for You?
Turnaround Time: 3/5
Help & Support: 4/5
Customer Satisfaction: 3/5*
Ease of Use: 4/5
Scoring Weights: Pricing (2x), Turnaround Time (2x) and Customer Satisfaction (1.5x) have been given additional weights in our scoring.
BizFilings has been in business for decades and is generally a reliable LLC formation and incorporation service provider. They offer straightforward, online LLC formations. They also bundle six-months of their registered agent service with every formation.
Unfortunately, BizFilings’s high costs and slower turnaround times make it difficult for us to recommend the company – multiple competitors offer similar services at lower price points. We’re also not fans of BizFilings’ practice of automatically subscribing customers to their $199/yr registered agent service, without the option to opt-out.
Read on to find out how we arrived at our conclusions, or take a look at our other LLC formation service reviews to learn more about possible alternatives.
Table of Contents
BizFilings Quick Overview
BizFilings, also known as Business Filings Incorporated, is a Madison, Wisconsin-based company that specializes in business entity formations and other corporate services. Their services are available to US-based customers and residents of foreign countries.
BizFilings was founded in 1996 by Brian Wiegand and Rick Oster. The company is currently a part of CT and Wolters Kluwer, a publicly traded Dutch corporation. They are among the oldest and most experienced LLC filing and incorporation services, having filed well over 500,000 business entities.
BizFilings’ products and services are aimed towards entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking to streamline their business formation and legal compliance processes.
According to their About Us page, BizFilings “work[s] with companies of all sizes and offer[s] products, services, and tools that provide companies the support they need throughout the life of their business”.
Among the services which BizFilings offers are:
- An LLC formation and incorporation service, including business name verification, available in all 50 states
- A registered agent service, bundled with its business entity formations or available as a standalone product
- Various tax registration services for both federal and state agencies(e.g., obtaining an EIN or registering for state sales taxes)
- Customizable templates for commonly used documents, such as Operating Agreements
- An online compliance management tool, intended to help ensure your company maintains its good standing with the government
- Various partner offers intended to simplify the operation of your business
- … and other minor services and products.
We will delve into the specifics of all services relevant to LLC formation or incorporation further down, in the “services” section of our review.
If you need legal advice concerning your company’s formation or operations, you should consult with a legal professional.
Below, we’ve summarized BizFilings’ pricing for its formation packages and key add-on services:
|Service||Basic ($99)||Standard ($229)||Complete ($359)||International ($399)|
|Basic LLC Filing||Included||Included||Included||Included|
|Registered Agent||Free for six months, then $199/yr||Free for six months, then $199/yr||Free for six months, then $199/yr||Free for six months, then $199/yr|
Note: State processing fees are not included. Package prices differ in six states.
As with many LLC formation services, BizFilings uses a tiered pricing system. For domestic formations, you can choose between three LLC formation packages – Basic, Standard, and Complete.
Unlike most of its competitors, BizFilings also offers a separate package specifically tailored to international customers.
- Alaska: Basic - $99; Standard - $229; Complete - $434
- California: Basic - $99; Standard - $229; Complete - $434
- Delaware: Basic - $99; Standard - $159; Complete - $199
- Nebraska: Basic - $99; Standard - $229; Complete - $389
- Nevada: Basic - $174; Standard - $244; Complete - $284
- Washington: Basic - $99; Standard - $229; Complete - $434
Any of the services available with higher-tier packages can be added to lower-tier ones as one-off add-ons.
BizFilings Basic: $99 + State Fees
BizFilings’ Basic package is its most affordable. It includes only the bare essentials for LLC formation, but it offers the best overall value.
We recommend this package if you want to avoid the hassle of forming an LLC on your own, but only if you’re not pressed for time and you don’t need any additional services.
The Basic package contains:
Business Name Verification and document filing – BizFilings will run a business name search against the two names you have provided (a first choice and a backup choice) and file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State to form your LLC. They will use standard filing, which usually results in a total processing time of between four and six weeks.
BizComply Online Tool – This online tool, provided by BizFilings, will help you ensure that your new LLC stays compliant with state law and maintains its good standing. The tool will alert you of important due dates for compliance tasks, such as filing your LLC’s annual reports.
Also included is a dashboard with your LLC’s profile, key information, and a library of form documents.
Registered Agent Service – BizFilings includes a six-month term of its registered agent service for free with every business entity creation. You should be aware that you will have to pay a recurring fee for this service once the six-month term expires.
Unlike many of its competitors, BizFilings does not allow you to choose a different registered agent during sign-up.
BizFilings Standard: $229 + State Fees
This package is more comprehensive – we recommend it if you need a speedier LLC formation and don’t mind the additional fees.
The Standard package includes everything we consider truly essential for the creation of an LLC, such as an Operating Agreement. The overall value of this package is somewhat lower than the basic option, though, especially considering that you may not have any use for the LLC kit.
The Standard package includes everything from the Basic tier, plus:
Expedited Processing: This will shorten the total turnaround time of your LLC formation. Internally, BizFilings processes expedited orders before standard orders. They will also opt for expedited processing with your filing state, if it is available. This reduces the total turnaround time to between one and two weeks.
Keep in mind that expedited processing might increase the state processing fee as well. Be sure to click the “Fee Breakdown” button on the package selection screen to make sure you are comfortable with any added costs.
Operating Agreement and other documents: BizFilings will provide you with a CD containing customizable templates for common formation and operation-related documents, such as Operating Agreements, resolutions, and meeting minutes,
LLC Kit and Seal: The LLC kit consists of a customized binder and seal, a membership ledger, and ten membership certificates. Some business owners may enjoy having these, but none of them are legally required.
BizFilings Complete: $359 + State Fees
BizFilings Complete package is its most comprehensive and expensive package. As it includes expedited processing, the quoted turnaround time for this package is between one and two weeks.
We don’t recommend the Complete package. The additional services it offers aren’t necessary and don’t justify the package’s very high cost.
Federal EIN filing can be done for free, in minutes, online, and the remaining services, while slightly more useful, still don’t justify the big price hike.
If you need a certified copy or overnight shipping, consider adding them as one-off services to one of the lower-tier packages.
The Complete package includes everything offered with the Standard, plus:
Federal Tax ID (EIN) Service: BizFilings can obtain a tax ID number from the IRS on your behalf. We encourage you to read our services section to find out why you might not need this service.
Compliance DVD “Now That You’re Formed”: An informational DVD regarding legal state requirements for LLCs.
Certified copy of state documents: BizFilings will obtain a certified copy of your Articles of Organization from the relevant state filing office. You should be aware that you may incur an additional state processing fee for this service.
Overnight Shipping: BizFilings will ship your formation or incorporation documents to you via UPS Overnight shipping.
BizFilings International: $399 + State Fees
This special package is intended for customers who are located outside the United States. By default it uses standard processing (although expedited processing can be added), resulting in a turnaround time of between four and six weeks.
We do not recommend this package. The cost is excessively high, especially considering that it includes fewer services than the Complete package for no apparent reason.
There are other LLC formation services that accept international customers and can help with the creation of your business entity for a much lower price.
The International package includes an LLC Kit (see above) and the following two services:
Apostille: An apostille is used in order to certify the authenticity of an official document filed or created in another country. Some foreign national or state governments require certain business documents to be apostille certified – essentially, they want to ensure that the business you are running in the U.S. is legitimate.
International Shipping: BizFilings will ship your approval documents internationally via UPS and provide you with a tracking number.
BizFilings Additional Costs & Upsells
BizFilings’ advertised prices do not include state processing fees. Some of the additional services, such as ordering an apostille or shortening your state’s processing time, will incur an additional state processing fee.
You can check states’ processing fees by clicking the “Fee Breakdown” link at the bottom of the service listing page.
BizFilings also offers several services that are not included with any of its packages. You will have to select these services individually from the order screen. Be sure to check out the “Services” section of this review for more information about these add-ons.
Sales Tax Registration – $199: BizFilings will help you obtain a state tax ID number.
Payroll Tax Registration – $199: BizFilings will help you register with state authorities for payroll-related obligations.
Business License Application Package – $99: BizFilings will research and compile a list of the business licenses your specific business might require.
Palo Alto Live Plan – $99: A partner offer that will help you develop a business plan.
ADP Payroll Service – Pricing on request: This online service can help you process payroll for your company and do other related tasks.
BizFilings vs Competitors Pricing
Below, you will find a table comparing BizFilings’ formation prices with those of its main competitors.
Prices quoted in this table are independent of BizFilings’ package prices. They are standardized for comparison with competitors. Included annual costs are for one year only.
Basic Formation, Full Formation, and Full Formation + Website are defined below the table.
Note: BizFilings only includes a six-month term of their registered agent service; we have therefore added half of their annual registered agent cost to come up with a Full Formation price.
Basic Formation: Covers the essential business entity creation. Includes – at minimum – filing of Articles of Organization and the drafting of an Operating Agreement for an LLC or corporate bylaws for a corporation.
Full Formation: Additionally includes – at minimum – a registered agent service, which most owners will find essential.
Full Formation + Website: In addition to full formation services, includes a website, domain, security certificate, and other services necessary to securing your company’s online presence.
Which bundle is the best value for money?
We believe that the Basic package provides the most value for your money and includes most of the services we consider to be essential. BizFilings’ other packages, on the other hand, are fairly expensive and include lots of unnecessary services.
You may want to consider adding a customizable Operating Agreement and other document templates to the basic package. This will provide you with everything you need for a “full formation” of your LLC.
Even with the Basic package, though, BizFilings’ prices are on the high side. Be sure to take a look at our reviews of more affordable competitors, such as ZenBusiness, to see if their offerings are better suited to you and your budget.
Cancelling BizFilings Services
With BizFilings, you may be able to cancel incorporation orders if they have not yet been processed. You should contact BizFilings’ customer service department in order to cancel your order. You can call them at 800-981-7183.
If you are making use of BizFilings’ registered agent service and would like to cancel it, you may do so freely at any time. However, you will have to provide written proof of having appointed a new registered agent with the state before you can cancel the service.
BizFilings refund policy
- Phone at 800-981-7183 or 608-827-5300
- Online through this form
- Web chat on their website
- Mail at: BizFilings; 8020 Excelsior Dr.; Suite 200; Madison, WI 53717
In all cases, state processing fees already paid to the state authorities are non-refundable.
In this section, we will look at some of BizFilings’ strong points.
Warranty against filing errors
BizFilings prominently offers a warranty on their LLC formation or incorporation services, as well as on some related services. This warranty guarantees that BizFilings will absorb the cost of any filing errors they make in the process of creating your business entity. This warranty applies for the life of your company or corporation.
In the event that they make a mistake, they will work to rectify the error. Any costs that are incurred to fix their mistake will be paid for by BizFilings. This guarantee applies to the following services:
- Articles of Organization/Incorporation
- Foreign Qualifications
- Name Reservations
It is somewhat rare for formation services to offer explicit warranties (only Incorporate.com provides something similar), so we consider BizFilings’ promise a major plus. Click here to read more about BizFilings’ warranty.
Additional help with compliance
While BizFilings isn’t the only formation company to offer additional services regarding business compliance, their offerings are more comprehensive than average.
Their (paid) business license application package and their registration service for federal and state taxes can help simplify your business’s start-up process. The company also includes its annual reporting reminder tool, BizComply, for free with all incorporation orders.
Whether you will find these services useful depends on your business’ location and industry. Some states make it quick and easy to handle any paperwork online, but in others it may be more of a hassle.
Decades-long track record
BizFilings has been in the corporate service business since 1996. During this time, they have formed hundreds of thousands of LLCs and corporations. Their long track record shows that they are a stable and experienced company and that you can generally count on them to deliver on what they promise.
Nowadays, more and more online legal aid services, such as Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom, are branching out into the business entity formation industry. We generally recommend specialists over non-specialists, and so we consider it a plus that BizFilings specializes exclusively in business entity formation.
Unfortunately, BizFilings also has several weak points. We’ll go over them below.
As previously mentioned, BizFilings’ costs are high compared to its competitors. Their LLC formation and incorporation packages and their standalone registered agent services are significantly more expensive than those offered by alternative formation companies.
Customers should also pay special attention to the additional state fees when choosing their service package. Many of the services included for free with higher tiers, such as receiving a certified copy of documents, carry their own state processing fees. These state fees can add up quickly, increasing the cost of BizFilings’ already expensive products.
No online reviews from customers
We were somewhat surprised to discover that BizFilings does not have any customer reviews on the major feedback platforms, such as Trustpilot or Sitejabber.
We try to always supplement our reviews with the opinions of ordinary customers. Unfortunately, we cannot do so with BizFilings.
BizFilings does not have any presence on major or minor online review platforms. For a company that has been in business for as long as BizFilings, this is highly unusual. Even smaller, younger formation companies typically have at least a few dozen reviews available. Some larger competitors have thousands of reviews.
This lack of review engagement contrasts sharply with other companies, such as Swyft Filings, who, in addition to having many reviews themselves, go out of their way to reply to all negative user reviews, provide meaningful explanations, and offer solutions.
Auto-enrollment in paid registered agent service
We were particularly disappointed to see that BizFilings forces customers into signing up for their in-house registered agent service.
The web interface BizFilings uses for LLC formation sign-ups does not allow the user to select their own registered agent. Instead, it only lets customers choose the billing period of BizFilings registered agent service.
We find this aspect of BizFilings service especially unfavorable given the high cost of their registered agent service – $199 per year – and the fact that changing one’s registered agent is a hassle – it requires written proof of having appointed a new one.
Other providers, such as Northwest Registered Agent, offer the same service for a significantly lower price.
BizFilings’ advertised filing time is unimpressive. Their website states that standard orders are expected to have a total turnaround time of between four and six weeks. Using an expedited order reduces this number to between one and two weeks. Both figures place BizFilings behind much of the competition.
BizFilings claims that they process expedited orders before standard orders. Other competitors make no such distinction. Instead, they process and file all orders on the same day they are submitted by the customer.
Furthermore, expedited filing does not ensure that your order will be filed using the quickest processing time offered by your given state. In some states, you may have to pay an additional fee for that.
If you need your business to be up and running as quickly as possible, we recommend that you consider an alternative filing service.
In this section we will explain BizFilings’ services, why you may need them, and what they will cost.
LLC Formation service
Included with all packages
By default, any business you start by yourself is considered a sole proprietorship and does not provide you with any legal protections. Most people, therefore, form a business entity, such as an LLC, in order to legally separate themselves from their business.
You will have to choose a business type before forming an entity. There are several business entity types, but the limited liability company is the most commonly used. It has several features which make it an attractive option for the vast majority of business owners.
The limited liability protections offered by an LLC help keep your personal assets safe, even if your business goes bankrupt or gets sued. The LLC’s passthrough status allows owners to avoid double taxation. Plus, LLCs have fewer recordkeeping and management requirements than standard corporations.
You can form an LLC in all 50 states by filing a document, usually called Articles of Organization, with your state’s Secretary of State. You are not legally required to hire an attorney or company to do this for you. Since the formation of LLCs is done at the state level, the exact process and requirements can vary.
For this reason, many business owners and entrepreneurs choose to entrust the formation of their LLC (or other business entity type) to specialized professionals who are familiar with the specifics of each state’s bureaucracy. They can save you some hassle and ensure that your LLC’s formation is carried out swiftly, correctly, and without unnecessary delays.
BizFilings specializes in the formation of business entities. You can form your LLC or corporation fully online through BizFilings’ incorporation wizard tool. You will only have to provide some basic information regarding your future business, such as the desired name for your LLC, your address, etc. They will then handle all the necessary interactions with the government.
Most states allow you to perform such searches on their specific Secretary of State website. You should also do a search with the trademark database of the US Patent and Trademark office.
When filing for an LLC, you are generally required to pay a processing fee to the state. This fee varies, depending on the state, from $40 to $500. BizFilings will collect this fee from you and forward it to your state’s Secretary of State office.
You should keep in mind that this processing fee is always non-refundable.
According to BizFilings’ website, the turnaround time for their standard LLC formation service is between four and six weeks. If your purchase includes the expedited processing service (either included with your package, or $60 as an add-on), this turnaround time is reduced to between one and two weeks.
In some states, you may have the option to pay another additional fee for a 24 or 48 hour expedited filing option.
BizFilings’ Registered Agent Service
$199/yr, free for the first six months with any formation package
All US states require that business entities appoint and maintain a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that acts as a point of contact for official correspondence and service of process (the serving of legal documents, such as lawsuits).
Your registered agent (RA) must be a resident of the state where your company is registered. You will also need a registered agent in any other state where your LLC does business. RAs must always be available during business hours. Failure to appoint a registered agent can jeopardize your company’s good standing and lead to penalties.
It is important to ensure that your registered agent is reliable and trustworthy so that you may never miss important legal documents or government notices.
You are generally allowed to appoint yourself as the registered agent for your LLC. There are some good reasons why you may not want to do so. You may not want to be your own RA if:
- You are a frequent traveler and cannot reliably be at one place during business hours
- Your business operates in multiple states
- You would like your personal information to remain private
- Your business does not have a physical location
- You are not a resident of the United States
For an ongoing annual fee, BizFilings can act as your registered agent. This service is available in all 50 states. Your RA will receive legal correspondence for you, digitally scan it, make it available to you electronically, and promptly notify you. For an additional shipping fee, they can also forward the physical documents to you.
BizFilings includes a six-month term of their registered agent service with all LLC formations. Unlike many other services, they do not give you the option to opt out of this service and appoint your own registered agent during the checkout process.
You will also be automatically enrolled into BizFilings’annual registered agent service, and your payment method will be charged once the initial six months pass. BizFilings will notify you of the renewal, but it is on you to cancel the service if you would like to opt out.
Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
EIN: Included with Complete package, otherwise $79
Most US-based businesses will need to acquire a federal tax identification number (EIN). This number, which is somewhat like an SSN for companies, is assigned by the IRS.
Not all businesses are required to have an EIN, but most are. Among other possible reasons, your LLC will need an EIN if any of the following statements apply:
- Your business will need to file excise tax returns
- Your business will have several members
- Your business has or will have employees
- Your business has made an S-Corp tax status election with the IRS
BizFilings can file the necessary paperwork with the IRS on your behalf in order to obtain an EIN for your LLC. The quoted turnaround time for this service is between four and five business days. You will have to provide them with an electronic signature in order to authorize them to carry out this service.
We generally recommend against any paid services that obtain an EIN for you. You can easily and conveniently apply for an EIN online through the IRS website by going to this link. Applying this way is free and easy, and you will receive your EIN within minutes. This service is available between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m EST during weekdays.
Sales tax and payroll tax registration
This service is somewhat similar to the federal tax ID application service, but it is carried out at the state level. Depending on your location and business type, you may need to register your business with state and local authorities for tax purposes. The rules and regulations applicable to your specific business can vary greatly depending on your state’s laws. Failure to comply with tax registration requirements may result in significant penalties for your business.
For a fee, BizFilings will collect all the necessary documents for your particular jurisdiction and handle the interactions with the authorities on your behalf. They will also collect any necessary processing fees and forward them to the appropriate government authorities.
Customizable Operating Agreement and other LLC Forms
Included with Standard and Complete package; otherwise $39
Most LLC formation services provide their customers with certain commonly used documents. BizFilings offers digital templates of such documents with some of its formation packages, or for an additional fee as an add-on. The documents are provided on a CD.
The most important of these documents is an Operating Agreement. This document sets out the guidelines of how an LLC will operate, how it will be managed, and what rights and responsibilities its members have.
Most states don’t legally require that you have an operating agreement. Without one, the basic rules that govern the operation of your LLC will simply be determined by state law. Nevertheless, it is in your best interest to have an operating agreement.
An operating agreement will not only allow you (and your fellow members) to determine how your LLC will be run, but it can also help protect the limited liability protections of your company, should they be challenged in court at a later date.
Business License Application Package
Most businesses will need a number of permits and licenses from state and local authorities. Which ones you need and how you obtain them depends on both the jurisdiction where your business operates and the industry you’re engaged in. Failure to obtain required permits may result in significant penalties for your business.
BizFilings can help you streamline your business’s launch by assembling all forms and documents needed for your particular business in a single place. They will research and compile the permits and licenses you may need and collect the appropriate application forms. Instructions and tips will be included too.
This entire permit and license package will be delivered to you via email. You can download a sample of a business license application package through this link (PDF).
In addition to various in-house services, BizFilings also offers a handful of products and services in coordination with third parties. BizFilings clearly marks these services as partner offers. They are not strictly necessary for your business formation, and you have to explicitly opt into these products.
Palo Alto’s Live Plan – $99: This online tool, produced by Palo Alto Software, can help your new startup by guiding you through the creation of a comprehensive and professional business plan.
The tool includes more than 500 sample business plans and can be used to create professional-looking documents that you can show to potential investors. Click here for more details.
ADP Payroll Service – Price not listed: This service can ease the burden of running a new business with employees. It will provide you with an online tool that allows you to quickly process payroll and calculate applicable taxes. The tool can also help you ease some of your reporting obligations. Plus, you’ll be able to have your questions answered by experienced payroll professionals.
Do we recommend BizFilings?
No, we do not.
Despite its many years in the business entity formation business, BizFilings’ LLC formation offerings did not manage to wow us.
Their LLC formation services, while comprehensive, have costs that are simply too high to be justified. BizFilings’ service is further marred by slower-than-average turnaround times. A complete lack of reviews from customers also raises a red flag, especially considering how long BizFilings has been active.
We especially dislike that BizFilings automatically enrolls all customers in their $199/yr registered agent service, with no opportunity to opt-out and select a different service for your company.
Unfortunately, BizFilings’ stronger points, such as their warranty and business entity compliance services, are not enough to warrant our recommendation. With multiple competitors advertising very similar services at lower price points, there is almost certainly a better option available to you.
To find out more about possible alternatives to BizFilings, be sure to check out our other reviews and take a look at our best LLC service comparison page.
Is BizFilings any good?
BizFilings is an experienced and reliable LLC formation service. However, they are expensive compared to the competition.
What does BizFilings do?
BizFilings can form an LLC or corporation on your behalf. They also provide other related services, such as a registered agent service.
Which BizFilings LLC package is best?
The BizFilings Basic package is sufficient for a bare-bones LLC formation. If you need additional services, you might consider the Standard package - such services can also be tacked on individually as add-ons.
Where is BizFilings located?
Does BizFilings have a refund policy?
How much does it cost to form an LLC with BizFilings?
It costs $99 to form an LLC with the BizFilings Basic package. You can also pay for a higher-tier package or add individual services to the Basic package.
Are BizFilings forms legal?
Yes, BizFilings forms are legal. You can use their templates, such as their Operating Agreement template, to create legal documents for your business.
Should you use a lawyer to form an LLC?
You don’t necessarily have to use a lawyer to form an LLC. You can use an LLC formation service or do it yourself. If your company formation is particularly complex or you need legal advice, you may still want to talk to an attorney.
Who is BizFilings best for?
BizFilings is best for small business owners and entrepreneurs. They can streamline your business formation and help you stay compliant with regulations.
What are BizFilings’ different plans and pricing structures?
BizFilings offers three domestic formation packages - Basic for $99, Standard for $229, and Complete for $359. These prices differ in six states, including California and Delaware. They also have a special plan for international customers, which costs $399. You can add on services individually if they are not included in your selected package.
What is the difference between LegalZoom and BizFilings?
BizFilings specializes in the creation of LLCs, corporations, and non-profit organizations. LegalZoom offers similar legal services, but they don’t specialize in this field and offer many other legal aid services.
How do I download an operating agreement from BizFilings?
BizFilings provides their form documents on a CD. Most competitors allow you to download documents directly from their websites.
How do I cancel a purchase with BizFilings?
If you have changed your mind, you should quickly contact customer service. You can reach them by phone at 800-981-7183 or 608-827-5300 or you can use this link to send a message or open a live chat. If your order has already been processed, you may not be able to cancel it or receive a partial refund.
- Warranty against filing errors
- Additional help with compliance
- Decades-long track record
- No online customer reviews
- Auto-enrollment in paid registered agent service
- Slow turnaround times