A Brief Synopsis on Nolo’s LLC Service
Nolo has been in the online and offline legal assistance business for longer than most of its competitors. Despite their experience, Nolo’s quality in providing LLC formation and incorporation services leaves much to be desired.
Nolo is has a great website for online legal resources but their LLC formation service needs improvements.
We are unable to recommend this service due to slower filing times than the average, poor customer service, outsourcing basic LLC products to third-party services.
These issues are also evident in Nolo’s low customer feedback online.
Nolo (formerly Nolo Press) is an online legal assistance business that is based in Berkeley, California. The company specializes in DIY-style legal guides, legal documents, and online articles. The company also offers a variety of law-related services for individuals, small businesses, attorneys, and other professionals.
Nolo has been around since 1971. The company was known for its legal self-help books before they moved into an online-focused model. Nolo, which is now an Internet Brands subsidiary, has a network of approximately 50 websites that are related to legal matters.
Visit Nolo business formation service
According to the About Us page, the company’s mission statement is to “help consumers find answers to everyday legal and business questions.”
- Nolo offers an online service for LLC formation and related services.
- Access to operating agreements and other legal documents
- Customers can get a federal tax identification number (EIN).
- Additional fee for expedited LLC filing
- Access to many online articles that contain valuable legal information is free
- Nolo is a legal website and does not offer incorporation or LLC formation services.
- Basic package at an affordable price
- Online registration is simple
- Timelier turnaround than competitors
- They outsource many of the services
- Use terms and conditions are unclear
- Poor customer reviews
- Some services have unnecessarily high prices
Nolo outsources many of the LLC formation-related services to Vcorp Services.
Pricing for Nolo’s LLC Services
Nolo offers three levels of pricing. You can also purchase add-on services through partner companies.
Nolo Basic Plan: $49 + state fees
This package is the most affordable option. It includes checking whether your business name is available and filing Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State.
Nolo claims they will correct any errors in your application to ensure it goes through quickly and smoothly. However, the details of what this means are not listed on their website. Nolo claims that it takes 2-3 weeks to form an application.
Actual filing times may vary depending on where you form your LLC. Nolo claims they will file your paperwork in four to five days.
Nolo Standard Plan: $149 + state fees
The standard package contains most of the services that a new owner of a business would expect to receive when they create a new LLC.
Nolo can help you get a federal employer ID number. Nolo will send you a pre-filled SS-4 Form that you must sign and return to the IRS.
Nolo also provides access to 30 legal documents. These include commonly used documents such as non-disclosure agreements or sales contracts. Nolo will file your paperwork in four to five business day, as opposed to the 2-3 week timeframe for the Basic package.
Nolo Express: $299 + state fees
The express package is the most expensive option. It includes everything from the previous levels, plus a corporate seal and expedited rush filing.
This pricing tier is for those who need their LLC formed quickly. It takes 7-10 business days to form your LLC.
Nolo will file all paperwork within one day if you select this pricing package. Due to expedited filing, state fees might be higher than at lower pricing tiers.
This package includes a personal kit and seal. It includes a records binder that contains the company name and a seal that can be used for stamping documents. These are not legally required and will be of little use to most businesses.
Basic Formation: This covers the basics of creating a business entity. This includes, at a minimum, the filing of Articles of Organization as well as the drafting of Operating Agreements for LLCs or corporate bylaws.
Formation and Registered Agent Service: This also includes one year of registered agent service. This is something most business owners will find is needed.
Which Nolo bundle offers the best value?
Nolo’s Basic Bundle can be a cost-effective option to create your LLC. This is if you don’t require any additional services or don’t mind the two- to three-week processing time.
This bundle does not include key services such as Operating Agreement drafting which we consider essential for basic formation. You have the option of adding on additional services at checkout.
Nolo’s Express bundle, which includes a number of products that add little or nothing to the overall cost, is the most expensive tier.
A registered agent service is not included in any of the three tiers.
Northwest Registered Agent and Incfile both are service providers that offer greater value by bundling this service with all their packages.
Nolo Additional Costs and Services
Nolo offers additional services beyond the ones included in formation packages.
Registering Agent Service – $150/year: Nolo offers a registered agent service in partnership to Vcorp Services. Vcorp Services specializes in LLC and corporate services. During checkout, you will be able to choose this option. Vcorp is not available through Nolo. If you choose Vcorp to be your registered agent through their website, the annual cost would be $115
A customized operating agreement – $50 This will give you a basic and customized operating agreement. Nolo will need to know some details about your LLC, its members and how you plan to run the business. Nolo will generate an operating agreement that you can immediately download. For more information on operating agreements, please refer to the section below.
You can select if you wish to order additional services during the checkout process. These services include:
Business Licenses – $100 – This service is offered in partnership with Business Licenses LLC. It will help you get all the federal and state licenses that are necessary to run your business. This includes EIN registration, DBA Registration, seller’s permits and business licenses.
Accountant service $170/year: This service is offered by 1-800Accountant. It’s a virtual accounting company. This includes many tax-related services.
Website and Hosting – $135/year: This service gives you the basics to establish a web presence for yourself or your business. It includes web hosting, registration of a.com domain (URL), website building and security certification. web.com is a web technology company that provides this service.
Canceling Nolo services
Nolo’s parent company has set Nolo’s terms of service. They clearly state that all fees are non-refundable and that payments and purchases cannot be cancelled by the user.
You cannot cancel orders after they are made, so make sure you understand the pricing and offerings before you order any legal or formation services.
Nolo outsources its ongoing services to third parties. Vcorp is the example of Nolo’s register agent service. These services may be canceled by Nolo’s partners.
Vcorp’s terms allow you to cancel registered agent services at any time, provided you notify Vcorp in writing that your LLC has a new registered agents.
We believe Nolo stands out from RocketLawyer and LegalZoom.
1. Basic LLC Pricing that is affordable
Nolo’s most affordable package costs only $49 to form an LLC, which does not include the applicable state processing fees.
If you are looking for an affordable, basic package to start your LLC, Nolo may be the right choice. There are better options than Nolo if you feel you might need additional services such as EIN registration or registered agent service.
Nolo has one drawback: Depending on where your LLC is located, it can take up to three weeks to form your LLC. Nolo may be an acceptable option if you don’t care about the turnaround time.
2. Ease-of-Use online formation
Nolo’s service makes it easy to form an LLC. It is easy to give basic information about your business such as how many members you have and whether or not you plan on having employees.
Nolo’s partners and you will take care of the rest once your order is finalized. Nolo’s online service could be the best option for you if you want to create your LLC with minimal paperwork and all-in-one.
You can continue working on your LLC formation for as long as you like without having to purchase the service. Any answers you give are stored in the system so that you can take a break, then return later if necessary.
You should note that certain states may have additional requirements for LLC formation, such as the requirement to publish a notice on a newspaper. You can choose to have Nolo or their partner Vcorp do all the work for an additional charge.
Some supporting documentation, such as the state filing cost table, was not what we liked about the service. It was also hidden under layers of links.
Nolo still has a lot to learn. We believe Nolo should focus on these areas to achieve our recommended services.
1. Slower Turnaround Time
Nolo’s filing time is slower than other filing services.
Nolo will file the articles of organization for you if you choose the standard or basic LLC formation packages. This takes between four and five days depending on whether you choose the standard or basic package. Nolo’s most costly formation package is required if you require your LLC to be formed quickly.
Numerous competitors offer same-day filing at substantially lower prices than Nolo. This is a strike against Nolo.
2. They have only a few reviews from customers about LLC formation
Nolo’s LLC-formation service reviews are not very positive. They lack both quality and quantity. We cannot recommend this service based on the few reviews we have.
Nolo’s reviews are average to poor on major review sites like Trustpilot, SiteJabber and BBB. Most of these reviews relate to Nolo’s pay-per lead service, rather than its LLC formation.
If you’re starting an LLC or business, many of the negative aspects mentioned above may still be relevant.
Nolo’s LLC-formation service was only mentioned in two reviews. Although both reviews were positive, two reviews are not enough to make a recommendation, especially when you consider that there are hundreds of positive reviews about other products in the same field.
You might be better off choosing a company with a stronger reputation because of the poor reviews it has received.
3. Customer Support
Nolo doesn’t list an email address for customer support regarding LLC filings. Instead, customers are directed to an internet form that allows them to leave a message. Support for LLC filings can only be reached during normal business hours on weekdays.
We prefer to have a direct line with customers and extended support hours.
Many online reviews complain about Nolo’s inability to get in touch. Even worse, many customers reported poor customer service when they finally did get through.
Surprised to discover that Nolo’s LLC-formation service is not mentioned in any of the Nolo or Internet Brand’s terms and conditions. So that customers can make informed choices before they pay for any services, we expect companies to provide clear and easily readable terms of service.
Nolo’s competition has translated their terms of service into plain English. They clearly state the cancellation policy and warranty that their LLC formation services include.
Here, Nolo falls short.
5. Service outsourcing
Northwest Registered Agent and other competitors pride themselves in providing all aspects of LLC formation through their own staff. Nolo however appears to outsource almost all of their LLC formation services, if any, to third-party partners companies.
You would actually end up working with four companies if you used every service in Nolo’s online toolkit.
Additionally, Nolo seems to mark up some services’ costs compared to what would be paid if you went directly to Nolo’s partner companies.
Vcorp can be hired as a Nolo registered agent for $150 per year, but the price is only $115 per year if Vcorp offers the same service on its own website.
Nolo LLC Formation Services
Nolo offers a variety of legal services and products. Their LLC formation services are only a fraction of their overall business.
We summarized a few of most important services below, their contents, and whether they are worth your time and money.
Basic LLC Formation Service
All Basic, Standard, or Express Packages Included
LLCs are the most popular type of business structure. Creating a limited liability company can be a good first step in starting a new venture.
An LLC provides limited liability protections that allow you to do business without putting your personal assets at risk. This is especially important if your company takes on too many debts or is sued, and your ability to file for bankruptcy.
By filing Articles of Organization with a secretary of state, an LLC can be formed. Although it is possible to create an LLC by yourself, many business owners prefer to hire a lawyer or to have their LLC formed professionally.
These companies are familiarized with the state-specific formation procedures and can help ensure your LLC is set up quickly.
Nolo will handle your LLC filings and other related tasks for you. All three pricing levels include the LLC filing service. This includes automated error checking for common filing mistakes.
Nolo also offers validation of your business name. After you have provided two or three names, Nolo will match them with the business name register.
Registered Agent Service
$150/yr through Vcorp and Nolo
Nolo Registered Agent Service
Every business entity registered in the United States must appoint a registered agent in each state in which it is located.
The person responsible for serving process correspondence must be a resident in the state where your LLC was formed. This includes urgent notices like court summons in the event your LLC is involved with a lawsuit. It is crucial to have a trustworthy and reliable registered agent.
It is not required that you hire another person to act as your registered agent. However, it is perfectly legal to appoint yourself to be the registered agent of your LLC. However, you need to be aware of the potential downsides if this happens.
You might consider hiring a professional registered agent service depending on your situation.
- You frequently travel and are unable to be at your registered address during normal business hours.
- Privacy-conscious. You don’t want your personal data to be public.
- Your LLC intends to operate in more than one state.
- Your LLC does not have a physical address
- You are not a permanent resident or a citizen of the United States.
- Or maybe you just want to be free from the burden of administrative tasks
Operating agreement customized $50
Nolo Customizable Operating Agreement
When forming a new LLC, it is important to obtain and sign an operating agreement.
An operating agreement, which is legally binding, is signed by any member of a limited liability business. It outlines the rules under which the company will operate.
- An operating agreement is a key document that will help to define key aspects of the business.
- Separation of assets owned by the company from those owned by members.
- This separation will help ensure that your LLC’s limited liability protections are maintained.
- This also reduces the risk that your personal assets could be at risk in case of bankruptcy.
- How members are divided the interest in the business
- How are profits divided among members
- What happens to the member’s interest if they die or leave the company?
- What are the rights and responsibilities of each member regarding the operation or the business?
Most states don’t require LLCs have operating agreements. You can operate your LLC in these states without an operating agreement. The details of how the LLC operates will be set by the state law.
Federal Employee ID Number EIN
Nolo can assist you in obtaining a federal employer identification (EIN) number. We’ll show you what this is and explain why you may not need it.
A tax ID number is required for most business entities within the United States. This number is also known as a federal employer identification. The Internal Revenue Service uses this nine-digit number to track your LLC and corporation for tax purposes.
If you are:
- Your LLC will have employees
- Excess tax returns must be filed by your LLC
- Your LLC can be treated like a corporation by you for tax purposes
- Your LLC may have more than one member
- An EIN may be required to open a bank account for a business, or if the state requires it.
- An EIN can be obtained from the IRS by either completing a form SS-4(PDF) and sending it by mail or fax .
Nolo offers assistance with your EIN application as part of their Standard and Express LLC formation packages. Nolo will prepare and send you your SS-4 form. However, you will need to send it to the IRS yourself.
This service is not worth your time and money. Applying online for an EIN takes just a few minutes. Online applications for EINs will be processed immediately. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait several days.
Nolo’s LLC creation service is not as affordable as the rest, despite its years of experience in online legal aid and education.
There are many issues with the service, from slow turnaround times to file Articles of Organization to poor customer service to the outsourcing of vital and sensitive services to third parties.
Nolo’s service is also marred by the confusing documentation and high-priced comprehensive form package. It should not be surprising that Nolo’s LLC-formation service has received little positive feedback on major review sites.
Commonly Asked Questions
Is Nolo’s LLC service any good?
We do not recommend Nolo. Nolo is a tool that can help you form an LLC and file all necessary documents with the government. You can also get additional services from Nolo, including creating legal documentation. Unfortunately, Nolo’s pricing, customer service, and turnaround times leave much to be desired.
What does Nolo do for you?
Nolo offers legal advice and formation services. You can get connected to attorneys and help you file an LLC with the state government. Nolo also publishes articles on legal topics and guides that are DIY-friendly.
Which Nolo LLC package works best?
Nolo’s Basic package may be sufficient for some basic formations. If you decide to use Nolo, the Standard or Express packages will provide a complete LLC formation.
Where is Nolo based?
Nolo’s headquarters are located in Berkeley, California. They can be reached at Pleasanton, CA 94566, 6801 Koll Center Pkwy. and by phone at (800 728-3555).
Is there a Nolo refund policy?
Generally, no. Nolo’s terms and conditions of use state that all purchases, except as required by law are non-refundable. You can still request a refund by contacting Nolo and explaining your problem.
What does it cost to create an LLC using Nolo?
Nolo’s basic package costs $49 plus any applicable state fees to create an LLC. The Express package costs $299 plus applicable state fees to get your LLC established as fast as possible.
Are Nolo formations legal?
Yes, Nolo forms are legal. You can customize Nolo forms on their website. Once printed, you can use them immediately. You can contact a lawyer for more customized legal assistance.
Do you need a lawyer to form an LLC?
To form an LLC, you don’t need to hire a lawyer. An LLC formation company can be hired or form it yourself. An attorney may be able to help you if your situation is unusual or unique.
Who is Nolo the best for?
Nolo is a good option for creating an LLC online for an affordable. Nolo may be the right choice for you if you don’t require legal advice or a complex business structure.
What are Nolo’s pricing and plans?
Nolo offers three packages: a basic package at $49, a standard package at $149, and an express package at $299. The basic package provides a basic LLC formation. The standard package includes help in obtaining an EIN. The express package allows you to form an LLC within 7-10 days.
What’s the difference between LegalZoom & Nolo?
They offer almost identical services. Nolo and LegalZoom both provide legal documents, articles for free, and other services related to law, such as LLC formation services.
Which is better, LegalZoom or Nolo?
LegalZoom’s customer reviews are much higher on major review sites. Both can be used for your limited liability company. If you require additional services, both will be available.
How can I download an operating contract from Nolo
It is possible to order it and download it from Nolo’s site. Nolo allows you to add an operating agreement for your LLC formation. After you have customized it with the information of your LLC, you can download it from Nolo and print it.
How can I cancel a Nolo purchase?
Nolo offers ongoing LLC services through its partner companies. This includes businesses such as Vcorp Services and Business Licenses. To cancel a service, you may need to contact them directly.
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Jeff Beckley is a business expert, journalist, book author, and founder of the website Best Inc Services. Jeff can be reached at, firstname.lastname@example.org