When looking to incorporate, there are three primary options available to you. Two of them, lawyers and third-party services, have been around for quite a while. These are the two most commonly chosen options for a reason. They are time-tested and true, and will spare you from a lot of hassle. The third option, fostered by the spread of information over the Internet, is to simply do it yourself.
Using a lawyer is usually the most expensive choice of the three, but can yield the best results. For the money you spend on an incorporation lawyer, you get a knowledgeable professional, fully versed in incorporation law, at your disposal. Every question that you have about incorporating your business, including the pitfalls of various corporation types and different ways to run your business, will be answered quickly and with a level of confidence that only experience can provide.
However, money should always be at the forefront of your mind when you are starting a business. Yes, this option means everything will definitely be done correctly and gives you direct access to a great source of knowledge, but is that worth the lawyer fees that you will have to pay? More often than not, the amount of money you are paying to this lawyer is to access their professional opinion. Sometimes they will also offer to be on retainer for any future legal problems you may face. If you do not see yourself needing a lot of legal advice, you should look to what a lot of lawyers actually use as affiliate services for their client’s incorporation needs: third-party companies.
There are a lot of third-party companies out there that will file incorporation papers and help you along your way to creating your business. While they typically will not give advice due to legal restrictions, they do know the ins and outs of incorporating; after all, that’s what they do. You get the experience and service that an incorporation lawyer will provide without having to pay the lawyer’s fee. They typically guarantee their services, so they will deal with any problems along the way.
Still, this option also costs money, and there is an option available for the more frugal entrepreneurs: doing it themselves.
The DIY Option
This is the cheapest of the options, because you only have to pay the government fees associated with incorporating. This option is also fairly new; before the Internet made answers to nearly any imaginable question easily available, you had to have professional help if you ever hoped to incorporate properly. But all the steps are online for all 50 states, along with all the paperwork and addresses that you need.
The problem is that every bit of responsibility falls on your shoulders. If you mess up, you are going to be the one that has to deal with any problems that arise from your error. The time involved in doing the research necessary to know how to incorporate your business must also be factored into this choice; time is money, so how much do you stand to lose by taking this option?
In the end, the choice is yours. But be sure to think long and hard before you make that choice. The last thing that you want is to lose all of your hard work on a technicality and end up having to hire a professional anyway. So analyze your business, its size, location, and product, and then decide which route is best for you.
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