If you own and operate a limited liability company (LLC), you should have an operating agreement whether your state requires it or not.
An operating agreement is sort of a user’s manual for an LLC — it’s where you outline the internal operating procedures of your business. While most states do not require you to file an operating agreement for your LLC, you still need one because it can prevent ownership disputes down the line.
More specifically, the operating agreement allows entrepreneurs to describe how they want their businesses to run and outline details about ownership, management, and much more. You can create your own operating agreement, hire an attorney to draft one on your behalf, or use an online business services company.
While an attorney will provide the most specialized service for your LLC, and the DIY method is obviously the cheapest, business services companies do a great job of occupying the middle ground. These companies offer professional operating agreement services for a fraction of the price of an attorney. Let’s figure out which one has the best offer for you!
An Overview of LLC Operating Agreement Services
As you’ll learn in this analysis, there is quite a wide range of LLC operating agreement services available online. Some companies offer operating agreement templates that you can fill out yourself. Meanwhile, some competitors provide full-service LLC operating agreement services, presenting each customer with a complete, fully customized document.
If you still need to form your LLC as well, the options only get more intriguing, as there are several highly reputable companies that bundle LLC formation and operating agreement services together into money-saving bundles.
Let’s dig into the details and figure out which companies excel in each of the following three categories: operating agreement templates, full-service customized operating agreements, and LLC formation and operating agreement service bundles.
Best LLC Operating Agreement Template
- TRUiC (FREE)
- Northwest Registered Agent (FREE)
- Harvard Business Services (FREE)
The most affordable option if you’re seeking assistance with your LLC operating agreement is, of course, a free service! When these three high-quality services offer operating agreement templates for free, what’s the point of including any options that charge $35+ for the same thing?
TRUiC is a company that provides advice and information for entrepreneurs on a wide variety of topics, from how to form an LLC to how to create a business plan and much more.
While this company isn’t a business services provider like the other options in this guide, TRUiC has some great resources like a top-quality business name generator and this LLC operating agreement template.
What makes TRUiC’s operating agreement such a great pick? One of the things we appreciate about them is how they’re not trying to convince you to buy anything. Unlike the other services in this guide, TRUiC doesn’t sell LLC formation packages or offer to serve as your company’s registered agent. This means there’s no agenda involved — they’re not using this free service as a means to dip into your pocket for other services.
We like how adjustable the TRUiC operating agreement template is, and how you can easily tailor it to your business preferences. For instance, you can choose to create a single-member or multi-member operating agreement, and you can select between member-managed or manager-managed structures as well. TRUiC even allows you to add custom clauses and sections, enabling you to create an operating agreement that perfectly suits your needs.
Northwest Registered Agent (FREE)
Northwest is one of the most popular companies in this industry for a wide variety of services, thanks to its personalized customer support network. While many of their competitors outsource their support services to call centers, Northwest’s representatives are true professionals who know what they’re talking about.
When it comes to operating agreements, Northwest Registered Agent provides a good template that stands toe-to-toe with any paid template.
In addition, Northwest takes online privacy seriously. They write their own code and run their own servers to ensure no third party ever gains access to your private information. For a free operating agreement template from a company you can trust, look no further than Northwest Registered Agent.
Harvard Business Services (FREE)
Harvard Business Services is a consistently top-notch company in many ways, but isn’t widely recommended because it only offers its services in Delaware.
While Harvard Business Services’ operating agreement templates are tailored toward Delaware LLCs, the operating agreement isn’t a document that varies much from state to state.
One of the biggest advantages Harvard Business Services has over most competitors is customer feedback quality. They have more than 3,500 reviews available online, and nearly all of them are positive. In fact, they maintain an average rating score of 4.9 out of 5 stars! If Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t feel like the perfect choice for you, Harvard Business Services provides a solid alternative.
Best Full-Service LLC Operating Agreements
- Swyft Filings ($35)
- IncFile ($40)
If you want to find a company to create an operating agreement for you, instead of providing you with a template that you can fill out yourself, there are plenty of services that can do just that.
Quite a few companies charge around $100 for this service, but we found two that offer significantly lower price points. Much like the previous section, we decided to cut the “Top 3” to a “Top 2” and feature these two reputable companies.
Swyft Filings ($35)
We have always appreciated what Swyft Filings has to offer, as they live up to their name with some of the fastest business filing turnaround times in the industry.
In addition, Swyft Filings has the most affordable pricing model we’ve seen for full-service LLC operating agreements, as this $35 price point actually undercuts several competitors’ offers for templates!
Swyft Filings offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee that enables customers to get a full refund of their service fees if they’re unhappy with their purchase for any reason. When you factor in Swyft Filings’ incredible customer satisfaction reputation — they have roughly 47,000 reviews online with stellar rating scores — it’s easy to see why they’re a popular choice for full-service operating agreements.
Incfile is another company that receives positive reviews from its customers. With more than 27,000 reviews available online and high ratings, it’s clear that Incfile’s customers appreciate what they offer. When it comes to operating agreements, Incfile comes close to Swyft Filings’ pricing model, with a $40 offering for a full-service document.
Incfile’s big claim to fame is its entirely free LLC formation service package, making them one of just three companies we know of that offer free business formations (the others being ZenBusiness and Inc Authority).
However, their customer support is a bit hit-and-miss — sometimes they reply right away, other times they might not respond at all. Overall, Incfile is a good choice for a full-service operating agreement.
Best LLC Formation Service with Operating Agreement
- ZenBusiness ($199)
- MyCompanyWorks ($59)
- Incfile ($149)
- Swyft Filings ($149)
Do you still need to form your LLC? If so, there are a handful of reputable companies offering bundles that include both an LLC formation and an operating agreement.
Not only does this save you some money, but it also provides a high level of convenience as you can kill two birds with one stone.
ZenBusiness is a popular choice for business formation services, and we include a full-service custom operating agreement with our $199 and $299 LLC formation packages.
Even though the other companies in this section have lower overall price points for this combination of services, we think ZenBusiness still has a highly impressive offer. One of the biggest advantages ZenBusiness has is the inclusion of a free year of Worry-Free Compliance (annual report service with up to two amendments) in our premium packages.
ZenBusiness also boasts an amazing customer satisfaction reputation, with more than 10,000 reviews online and nearly all of them being positive. We are also dedicated to giving back, as this company donates money and partners with Kiva.org to help lift disadvantaged entrepreneurs out of poverty through financial lending.
At just $59, MyCompanyWorks offers the combination of LLC formation and operating agreement services for less than half as much as most competitors charge.
MyCompanyWorks’ offering is a full-service operating agreement along with access to its company alerts system that keeps your business informed of important due dates and filing deadlines.
With 3,700+ reviews and mostly positive feedback from their customers, MyCompanyWorks has a solid reputation when it comes to customer satisfaction. In addition, they have a highly responsive support team, as they respond to most calls and emails within just 20 minutes.
Although MyCompanyWorks does not sell operating agreements as a standalone feature, they’re a good choice for the combination of LLC formation and operating agreement services.
Much like ZenBusiness, Incfile’s base-rate LLC formation service package is entirely free (as long as you pay your state fee), and they also offer two paid packages, including the $149 Gold package.
With this bundle, you’ll receive the formation of your LLC, one year of registered agent service, access to Incfile’s lifetime company alerts system, a federal tax ID number (EIN), a custom operating agreement, S corporation tax election paperwork (if applicable), and a business tax consultation session.
Overall, it’s a well-rounded package that includes everything you need to get your compliant business off the ground.
Swyft Filings ($149)
Just like Incfile found a way to occupy two spots in this guide, here comes Swyft Filings for another round!
Swyft Filings’ $149 Premium package is quite similar to Incfile’s Gold package, as it includes the full preparation and filing of your LLC formation documents, a business tax consultation, access to their company alerts system, a free domain name for a year, an EIN, a custom operating agreement, and a banking resolution. However, it does not include registered agent service or annual reports.
With Swyft Filings, you’d need to add an additional $149 to get a year of registered agent service, doubling your total price point compared to Incfile. (And neither of these companies bundles in annual report service like ZenBusiness does.)
LLCs in Highly Regulated Industries: Nationwide Incorporators (call for pricing)
If you operate an LLC in an industry with lots of regulations, you might want some additional expertise behind the creation of your operating agreement.
If this sounds like you, look no further than Nationwide Incorporators. While their services are typically more expensive than the other companies in this guide, Nationwide Incorporators ensures that every document they sell is either drafted or reviewed (or both!) by an experienced business attorney.
Nationwide Incorporators is a good choice for standalone operating agreement service or bundled service with an LLC formation. You’ll need to contact them for pricing if you want your operating agreement on an a la carte basis.
For operating agreements bundled with formation service, Nationwide Incorporators offers a template with its $200 Basic package, or you can get a full-service operating agreement with its $425 Priority Deluxe or $475 Priority Premium packages.
Nationwide Incorporators is owned by a business attorney with more than 25 years of experience, and he often answers the phone himself when customers call. In addition, Nationwide Incorporators provides assistance with all state-level compliance requirements, like publication processes. Overall, they’re a solid choice for companies that need a bit more specialized help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Choose a Template or a Full-Service Operating Agreement?
This is truly up to you to determine which option is the best one for your needs. If you don’t mind spending a few minutes filling out a customizable template, you can save some money going that route. However, if you’re the type of entrepreneur who prioritizes time over money, you might want to spend a few extra bucks to get an entirely personalized operating agreement.
Are These Websites Legit?
We understand that some of you may have doubts about these services. However, all of the companies discussed in this guide are entirely legitimate, and they’re the same websites we use ourselves when we purchase business services. We obviously can’t promise that you’ll be a satisfied customer but we can reassure you that these are all trustworthy operations.
Why Should I Use These Services Instead of a Lawyer?
For the most part, it all comes down to saving money. The companies we’ve discussed throughout this article can all save you hundreds of dollars over hiring a business attorney to create your operating agreement. That said, you are obviously sacrificing some of the attorney’s expertise in order to save this money. If you’re at all concerned about the operational guidelines of your business, hiring a lawyer is a good plan.
What Else Can Online Business Services Companies Provide?
Depending on the company you choose, the list of additional services available may vary. However, most of these companies also offer things like business formations, registered agent service, annual reports, foreign qualifications, federal tax ID numbers (EIN), and much more.
Can’t I Just Draft My Own Operating Agreement?
You always have this option, and many entrepreneurs do create their own operating agreements. That said, these services can save you quite a bit of time and hassle that you can instead invest into operating and expanding your business.
If you’d like to check out more reviews to help start and run your business, here are some of the most popular: