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Is Inc Authority Legit In 2024? Maybe, But There Are Better Options

Is Inc Authority Legit In 2024? Maybe, But There Are Better Options

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Is Inc Authority Legit In 2024? Maybe, But There Are Better Options

As a new business owner, navigating the ins and outs of getting started isn’t always easy. You have an endless to-do list that seems to grow by the second, and you probably have more questions than you can count.

Starting a new business can be scary and complex, but filing and forming your LLC doesn’t have to be. There are countless LLC formation services to choose from that (should) help make the process easy.

Is Inc Authority one of those companies? With a bunch of 5-star customer reviews, you would think so, but to save you from reading this long review, the short answer is that I think there are much better LLC formation companies to work with. I’ve helped a lot of people register for their LLC, and if you read on, you’ll see why I think you should use just about anyone other than Inc Authority, regardless of how many 5-star reviews they have.

Inc Authority Pros & Cons

Overall Rating: 3.17/5

Pros

  • Free LLC formation
  • Free business name check
  • Free registered agent service (first year)

Cons

  • Numerous upsells (with a lot of incorrect information to scare you into signing up)
  • Limited customer support

Featured LLC Formation Services

ZenBusiness logo

Best for beginners
Pricing: $0 + State Fees

Bizee Logo 1

Best overall pricing
Pricing: $0 + State Fees

nw registered agent logo

Best privacy protection
Pricing: $39 + State Fees

Inc Authority Pricing

Pricing: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Inc Authority’s core free LLC plan offers a compelling value, it’s important to weigh other aspects. Most notably, the registered agent service, while free for the first year, renews at an annual fee of $179. This price is significantly higher compared to many competitors. In addition to the free plan, there are two other packages available – the Starter Business Bundle and the Fast Track Bundle. In my opinion, these packages are overpriced considering what they offer.

Last, while many of their additional services are reasonably priced, the language used in their marketing might pressure customers into buying services they don’t really need, which really isn’t a bargain…

Basic Plan: $0 plus state LLC filing fees

Inc Authority has a free basic entity formation package. They offer the entity setup service for free in the hopes you’ll gain trust in them and use them for other services down the road.

Included in the free plan is:

  • Filing the LLC paperwork with the state
  • 24-hour processing
  • Registered agent in the first year
  • Business name check
  • S corporation election form (this is the only business formation service that I know of that provides this for free)

While basic entity formation is free, they offer numerous upgrades and add-ons, which include:

  • An EIN number ($49 – though they run specials where you can get the EIN for free)
  • An operating agreement ($89)
  • Legal documents ($99)
  • Minutes and resolutions ($99)
  • 24-hour express processing ($49 – another service that is sometimes offered for $0)
  • Online business presence ($10)
  • Inc Success Advisor ($197/year)

Starter Business Bundle: $399 plus state LLC filing fees

  • Registered Agent Service (1yr)
  • Verify Business Name Availability
  • Custom State Filed Articles
  • Complete Operating Agreement or Bylaws
  • Deluxe Record Book
  • Ownership or Stock Certificates
  • Initial Meeting Minutes & Resolutions
  • EIN/Tax ID Number
  • Corporate Forms Package
  • Annual Compliance Notifications
  • Professional Tax Consultation
  • Web Domain + 5 Email Addresses

Fast Track Business Bundle: $499 plus state LLC filing fees

  • All Starter Plan services, plus
  • INC Success Advisor Package
  • Private Banking Specialist
  • Personalized Business Advice
  • Expedited State Filing

Which Inc Authority LLC package should I choose?

To be honest, the free LLC formation services in the Basic Inc Authority package are all you really need to start an LLC. The premium plans are very expensive for what they offer, and many of the services you more than likely don’t really need or can do yourself at little to no cost. For instance, you can get your EIN at no cost when registering directly from the IRS.

How easy is it to form an LLC with Inc Authority?

Ease of Formation: 3 out of 5 stars

It’s easy enough to form an LLC with Inc Authority, and I would have rated them higher, but wading through the multiple pages of upsells that are full of incorrect information is upsetting.

Setting up your LLC with Inc Authority is pretty easy. You can form the LLC directly with the state as well, but some states are easier than others to complete the paperwork. Inc Authority’s formation process is easy enough, but it’s the many pages of upsells that I can’t stand – I’ll show why in a bit).

Let’s walk through the process:

Click on the “Get Started” button.

Inc Authority LLC Review

Next, you will begin entering information about your company. In the first box, it will include the type of entity and the state where of formation. Here, I’ll select an LLC in my home state of Illinois.

Inc Authority Entity Selection

After that, you move on a few steps, where you are asked a number of questions about your business.

Inc Authority Review Step 2
Inc Authority open business

Your exact industry may not be listed, or you may fall under multiple choices, so choose the business type that most closely matches the main activity of your business.

Inc Authority what type of business

If you plan to hire employees, enter yes, as this will guide Inc Authority to set up the business.

Inc Authority hiring employees

This is an upsell disguised as a legitimate business formation question. Their merchant pricing may be competitive, but I recommend looking at a few other providers to compare pricing before picking one.

Inc Authority merchant processing

A service where Inc Authority will make a large commission by referring you is getting people to consider using their 401k to fund their business. While this can be a good option, I recommend talking with a financial planner as this may not be your best source of business funding, not to mention a potential disaster for your retirement if the business fails.

Inc Authority 401k funding

Now we get into providing details about the business. Enter your name, email address, and phone number. If there will be any additional co-owners or partners, click on the “+” and add their information.

Inc Authority Business Details

Next, enter the name you want to use for your LLC and briefly describe what your business will do. Every state requires that the name be unique to other LLCs in the state, and Inc Authority will double-check to verify the name is available before submitting the paperwork.

Insteringly, the only entity designator Inc Authority allows is the “, LLC”. Every state allows different ones, but generally you can choose from the LLC without the comma “LLC”, “Company” and Co.”

Inc Authority LLC Name

Next, enter the address for the business. If you don’t have a location yet, you will need a physical address, such as your home address, but a PO Box isn’t allowed by any state.

Inc Authority Business address 3

Next, you will register for an Inc Authority account or continue as a guest, and then we get into the first of several upsells.

The first upsell is for an operating agreement.

An operating agreement is an internal document for the LLC that outlines the framework of how the entity will operate. This document is required by a few states for LLCs, however a good idea to prepare one, especially for LLCs with multiple owners or investors. I don’t usually recommend a generic operating agreement template, especially when it’s $89. If there are investors or multiple LLC owners, I would recommend working with an attorney to develop a custom operating agreement.

Despite what Inc Authority says, not all banks will require an LLC operating agreement. If you are a single-member LLC, there is a good chance that you won’t be required to have one. Banks will all require multi-member LLCs to have one, however.

Providing new business owners with incorrect information who are already uncertain of all the requirements is irresponsible.

Inc Authority Operating Agreement Upsell

Next, this is a unique upsell. For the low price of $49, Inc Authority will open a bank account for you. This is a first for me. Almost all of the other entity formation companies will pay you $300 or so to open a business checking account.

Spoiler Alert: If you wait until the end of the upsells (you have a while to go), Inc Authority will offer you a bonus of $100 – $500 to sign up for a Bank of America business checking account.

Inc Authority Bank Upsell

The next upsell is for a legal documents package that claims lawsuit protection. Yes, you should have your legal documents in one place, but it’s a stretch to say that having custom ownership certificates is going to protect your business, especially for a single-member LLC.

You can create your own organization system using office supplies you probably already have on hand, or if you want the organization, you can also find one on Amazon with the binder, operating agreement, and membership certificates for only $50. 

Yet another questionable upsell.

Inc Authority Legal Documents Upsell

The next upsell is for LLC minutes and resolutions. While minutes are required for corporations, there is no state or federal legal requirement for an LLC to have meetings or take minutes. A resolution is a written record of an important decision made and approved by the members of an LLC. A common resolution is for the LLC to authorize a member to have access to the company bank account, and most banks give you one at no cost to fill out.

One of the benefits of having an LLC is that it provides liability protection without the requirements of a corporation. While it’s not required, if you have outside owners or investors, you really should have them, but not through a $99 template.

Inc Authority LLC Minutes Upsell

If you are counting, we have reached upsell number 5 (and we’re not done yet), where we are asked about establishing an online presence. Inc Authority offers their website creator, brand protection, and domain registration for the limited-time price of $10 (it’s been limited for at least the last three years, so you may be ok to wait). I’ve quite frankly lost interest in Inc Authority and couldn’t recommend anyone use their services. From my experience, getting a website from a company that is dedicated to websites and not LLC formations is going to be a better choice.

Inc Authority Online Presence

This leads us to an offer to get a professionally designed website. While $49 a month sounds like a good deal, this seems too good to be true. I don’t trust them to form an LLC, why have them build a website?

Inc Authority Professional Website Upsell

The upsells keep coming, and another unique upsell is the INC Success Advisor where you get unlimited phone and email support.

If you are looking for one-on-one advice, I would recommend using the no-cost services of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE, which are programs funded through the Small Business Administration. These advisors are free to talk with and are actually qualified to do so. Plus you don’t have to worry about someone who is going to try to upsell you.

Inc Authority Success Advisor 1

We still aren’t done with the upsells. I imagine it’s as hard for you to read all of these as it is for me to write, but the next upsell is for the registered agent service. Free is an appealing offer, but if you don’t plan to use the service after the first year, I wouldn’t recommend it as you have to file a form and often pay a state filing fee to change the registered agent. However, I consider this unethical, but when registering an LLC with Inc Authority, you don’t have a choice, but to accept the “free” registered agent.

Here is more information about what a registered agent is, but provided you are generally available at a specific address in the state of formation, you can be the registered agent, which is free. Some people prefer to hire a registered agent service for privacy.

Next, we are asked about signing up for an Employer Identification Number, and this is where things start going very wrong.

The renewal rate for the registered agent is $179, which is $50 (or more) higher than many other services. If you are interested in this service, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

Inc Authority Free Registered Agent

The next upsell is where Inc Authority submits the LLC paperwork to the state within 24 hours. Many of the entity formation companies hold the paperwork and then try to sell expedited services. This is on top of the state’s turnaround time. The kicker here is that some states process the LLC formation paperwork immediately without charging extra to do so.

Inc Authority Express Processing Upsell

Finally, we get to the end of the upsells – 10 if you weren’t counting. Provided you meet the signup requirements, you can get $100 to $500 for signing up for a business checking account and business credit card with Bank of America. Perhaps the only decent upsell, though if you don’t have a BoA close to you, I would personally skip it as it’s generally nice to have a local bank for when you need it.

Inc Authority Bank of America signup

Reputation

Reputation: 3 out of 5 stars

Despite the shady upsells and scare tactics, Inc Authority seems to have a lot of good reviews and happy customers. I wonder how their customer satisfaction rating would be one month after signing up?

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

There isn’t a lot to go off of through the Better Business Bureau. You may notice that this business is not BBB accredited, and while that sounds bad, it means Inc Authority hasn’t paid to be a member. What I look for is what customers have to say, but in this case, there are only 10, with a staggering 1.1/5 rating.

BBB Inc Authority Rating

Google

Inc Authority has 2,121 Google reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. Overall, the responses are positive, and many mention the in-depth care and helpful guidance they received from their case manager.

Google Review Inc Authority

Trustpilot

Then there are over 30,000 Trustpilot reviews, with around 94% being 5 star or better.

Trustpilot Inc Authority Review

What I Like About Inc Authority

Aside from their wicked-easy process, several things stood out about my experience. So, I want to walk through them and explain the benefits of using Inc Authority to set up your LLC.

1. Free Business Formation

It’s no secret there are a lot of unexpected expenses when it comes to starting a new business. And, as a new business owner, money is tight. Odds are, you don’t have extra cash to spend on things you could otherwise get done for free. 

Inc Authority is one company that offers free LLC formation (plus state fees of course).

2. Customer Support

During the signup process, they remind you they have a customer support team to help if you need it. Although their operating hours are from 6 am – 5 pm (PST) Monday through Friday, a representative called me around 6pm CST as I was going through the process. The rep seemed somewhat knowledgeable and was able to answer some basic questions.

Some people are going to find this phone call useful, and others (like me) find it annoying. It’s important to note that while they weren’t pushy, the real reason for the call was to sell me additional services. Since there is often a lot of uncertainty when starting a business, it is an easy way to sell additional services.

3. Free Business Name Check

You spent countless hours (if not days) deciding on the perfect name for your business. Imagine the devastation of filing your Limited Liability Company only to realize someone else is already using the name. Or realize after the fact that you made a typo amidst all your excitement!

To prevent this, Inc Authority runs a name check for other entities in your state and checks for common misspellings. So, you can rest easy knowing everything is spelled correctly and no one else is already using it BEFORE you pay to have it filed.

4. Free Registered Agent Service (For One Year)

All registered business entities have to provide a physical address for receiving legal documents and communications by mail. But, if you run your business online, you may not have a permanent business address to give.

Many business owners don’t like the idea of listing their name and home address to be on public record. And I don’t blame you. This is where a registered agent service comes in and saves the day, and your privacy, in many cases. This protection varies as many states also require the member’s name and address to be listed.

This service is free for new entities for one year, with the option to pay and extend these services after they expire. The current renewal price is $179 per year, which is very expensive.

Related: What is a Registered Agent and When Do I Need One?

What I Don’t Like About Inc Authority

As with every business out there, the bad comes with the good. During my experience with Inc Authority, I found several things I didn’t like. In light of full transparency, I want to share these with you and talk about why they matter.

1. Numerous Upsells Throughout the Registration Process

Because they operate using an “always free” model, Inc Authority makes money by offering extra services and upgrades throughout the registration process. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, many of the upgrades aren’t a good idea or can be done elsewhere for free.

What bothers me the most is that, in my opinion, the upsells are misleading, and many new business owners may not realize this. So, they may be “tricked” into paying extra for things they don’t actually need. Additionally, many of the upgrades they offer are blanket templates that won’t cover every type of business and could end up being a waste of money.

If you decline the upsells, at the end of the registration process, Inc Authority will offer a bundle of the EIN, online business presence, and operating agreement for $77.

2. Limited Customer Support Availability

Inc Authority’s customer service hours are limited to 6 am – 5 pm (PST) Monday through Friday. But, many business owners (myself included) don’t work normal hours. You may have a question at 7 o’clock in the evening, but you’ll have to wait until the morning for an answer.

While this may not be an issue for many people, it can be frustrating to experience a problem outside of their business hours and have to wait for support.

This is especially true if you pay for consultation services or 1-1 support.

What LLC Formation Services Do I Recommend Instead of Inc Authority?

I have reviewed Inc Authority in the past, and in a previous review, I thought they were a good option.

That was then.

But now, even though Inc Authority has a lot of positives compared to other formation companies, such as a super high customer satisfaction rating, 24-hour processing, and free and well-priced services, I do not recommend using them because I have a big problem with how they word their upsells with statements that aren’t true. After doing several reviews and using multiple services, this comes across to me as a way to scare new business owners into signing up for items they may not need.

There are many other LLC formation services out there that I have reviewed that I feel that operate with more integrity. For the free LLC formation services (plus state fees), I recommend ZenBusiness and Bizee (formerly IncFile). ZenBusiness because of the slick formation process and Bizee for the more competitive upsells. Out of the paid options, Northwest is at the top of my list because for only $39 plus state fees, you get a unique privacy benefit to keep your name off of state databases, and the upsell process is literally only one page.

If, after reading this Inc Authority review, you still want to use them, click here to get started.

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

Is Inc Authority Legit In 2024? Maybe, But There Are Better Options

Is Inc Authority Legit In 2024? Maybe, But There Are Better Options

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