This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
Read our review guidelines.
- Fundraising support
- Option for pay-per-service
- Native collaboration features
- Legal compliance for startups
- Only does C-Corps
- No money-back guarantee
Do you have a startup that you want to launch in the US market? You know it’s essential for you to have the proper legal paperwork filed as an entrepreneur or business owner.
However, with an incorporation and business formation service, filing the right paperwork and getting guidance post-incorporation is easy.
One ideal service platform that is emerging and getting positive praise is Clerky. It is an online legal service that assists startups, even non-US citizens, with compliance paperwork.
However, how does it work and offer value for money? Also, how does it compare to similar services?
Let us find out in this Clerky review.
SMB Guide’s Evaluation Factors for Clerky
We follow a set of criteria when evaluating an incorporation and formation service. Here are the factors we consider.
- Pricing & Plans
- Business Formation Services
- Processing Time
- Registered Agent Services and Costs
- Name Availability Search
- Online Document Access
- Money-Back Guarantees
- Customer Support
What is Clerky?
Clerky is an online legal service that helps startups, and first-time founders file legal documents for compliance.
Now, the platform guides entrepreneurs from formation and fundraising to hiring. Not only that, businesses can set up their venture in Delaware.
Something to note is that entrepreneurs can only form a C Corp. Now, how does it work?
You sign up to the platform and fill in the forms, and then the software sets up a Delaware C Corp.
Clerky then submits the documents to a third-party registered agent to file with the state and DoS.
Pricing & Plans
Clerky has a pricing package that gives startups a choice between a one-time payment or pay-per-use. The Lifetime plan is the universal package on offer.
However, if a startup only needs a specific service like hiring, fundraising, formation, or any other, they can pay for it per use.
So, here is what startups get with the Lifetime package.
Company Lifetime Package
It is an all-inclusive plan that startups can pay a one-time fee and access all the services. Whether it’s formation, maintenance, or incorporation, it has everything a business needs.
- Expedited incorporation filing fees
- Delaware registered agent first-year fee
- Reminders on franchise tax and annual report
Who it’s for: Startups that need legal guidance and help in Delaware C Corp formation and incorporation.
Business Formation Services
Clerky focuses its business formation services on startups by providing them with the legal help of filing their documents to ensure compliance.
The service also has a platform where startups can access its dashboard to do extra-legal paperwork for hiring or fundraising.
Besides providing business formation services, startups get lifetime access to updates and all the necessary formation documents.
The range of services that startups can expect in business formation are:
- Incorporation: Clerky offers only one type of entity, C Corp. The service will help file the documents with Delaware State for permits.
- Post-Incorporation: Clerky can help manage your business by issuing stock options, adding authorized shares, and more.
- Foreign Qualification: Startups outside the US can use the Clerky services to incorporate their venture into the US market.
The processing times that startups can expect vary, and here are the times it takes for the services.
- Incorporation: Clerky offers an expedited service that takes 2 – 3 days for a Delaware state certificate of incorporation.
- Foreign Qualification: States like California process their state qualifications in 3-4 weeks. Now, if you want an expedited service, it takes 2 days at an extra fee of $350 to the state. In New York, the foreign qualification process also takes 2 days.
One thing to note is that Clerky doesn’t offer post-incorporation and stock plan adoption services. As a startup, you can finalize the two processes independently, but consulting an attorney is recommended.
Registered Agent Services and Costs
Startups can use Clerky as a registered agent and get all the services they need during incorporation and management. Whether it’s an annual report on tax filing for compliance or franchise tax payment.
Now, Clerky charges $125 annually for startups as a registered agent, but the service lacks compliance support.
However, the only additional costs are from state filing fees. The perks that the fee covers include unlimited retrieval and document storage.
One thing to note is that, as your registered agent, Clerky doesn’t provide physical address verification. Not only that, they don’t provide legal representation; the responsibility is on the startup.
Name Availability Search
Startups will find that Clerky’s name availability search tool is accurate and easy to use. Businesses can key in their chosen name and see if it’s available in Delaware or any other US state.
From there, you can verify the name availability on your own. The tool is also accurate in its results, using each state’s official online business search tool.
Not only that, the Clerky tool gets regular updates and doesn’t allow automated records access. In case the name a startup is checking for isn’t available or some entities share a similar name, it warns them to avoid it.
The tool is also comprehensive, covering all US states, including Delaware. Now, the best part of the tool is that, as a startup, you can see which entity types can use a specific name.
Online Document Access
Startups can access their formation documents online through the Clerky portal. You can share the document by email, view it on the dashboard, or download the documents.
It provides convenience for anyone outside the US since it reduces the need for shipping and other related charges.
Clerky eases access to company documents where an entrepreneur can log in to their account through an email.
From there, they can search for a specific document using a specific term.
Startups will not find an explicit claim from Clerky that they provide a money-back guarantee. One thing they say is that they only charge after finalizing the document filing.
Not only that, Clerky states they support foreign qualification in New York and California, where they set up startups with a $160 minimum discount.
All these claims show they care about their clientele, but it’s not enough to give them peace of mind. Overall, it shows they don’t offer a money-back guarantee.
The support that startups can expect from Clerky is below average. The main channel for reaching out is through email only; response times can take 5-8 hours, which is not convenient in an emergency.
Now, startups looking for in-depth info on Clerky’s inner workings will find a helpful help center, handbook, and blog.
The help center has FAQs that answer the common issues startups have when looking to incorporate. Not only that, the service has a Twitter (X) and Facebook account where they share valuable tips.
Clerky – Additional Services
Besides the legal formation and incorporation services, Clerky provides extra features to ensure compliance and success for startups.
- Hiring: As a startup, you can rely on Clerky when hiring consultants staff and issuing equity compensation through stock options. Not only that, but the service also covers valuation caps, board consents, and more.
- Maintenance: You can get services like maintenance of corporate status where the service helps add or remove directors. Not only that, change a corporate name and even increase authorized share numbers.
- Compliance: You can use Clerky to help file annual tax reports and get guidance on incorporating in states like NY and CA.
“We’re obsessed with assisting first-time founders with lower chances of having legal problems during business formation. Clerky’s objective is to help startups get the legal documents done safely and fast.”Chris Field, Co-founder @ Clerky
What Experts Say About Clerky
Clerky doesn’t have many reviews online. Mostly, the testimonials come from verified users on Twitter (X), and this is what they said:
A verified user who is a small business owner said, “Attorneys charge a premium when seeking their services and often it can drain all the budget. Clerky helped me save on the legal fees that often you would pay an attorney. Plus, getting started with the service and understanding the processes is easy.”
Andre Gharakhanian, partner at Silicon Legal Strategy, said, “The market is full of online services that claim to create legal documents. However, they don’t compare to Clerky, on how it combines a user-friendly approach and its focus on supporting startups. No other service offers an effective online business formation service like Clerky to help startups avoid due diligence issues.”
Brian, a startup founder, said, “I have been looking for a service that’s all inclusive and nothing comes close to what Clerky provided me with my startup. The services they offer have helped my business and the support team is helpful.”
SMB Guide’s Verdict for Clerky
Startups will find Clerky a decent incorporation and business formation service. We have been evaluating the platform for several weeks, and here is what we found about the platform.
Clerky provides decent legal services to help startups form and incorporate their C-Corp startup documents in Delaware.
Not only that, startups get help to file annual tax reports and get guidance on incorporating in other states like NY and CA.
The service also has added services like hiring, maintenance, and compliance that are helpful in the post-formation of startups.
Now, the customer support is decent, but they lack some essential services. The support channel is email only, and they don’t offer a money-back guarantee.
After compiling all these services and giving it a thorough evaluation, we give it a 7 out of 10.
Clerky is a decent service for startups looking for legal guidance in business formation, but it’s not the only one offering these services.
We took it upon ourselves to find worthy alternatives offering what Clerky lacks.
Firstbase is a business formation and incorporation platform that helps startups launch their venture in the US.
Unlike Clerky, which uses a comprehensive approach to business incorporation, Firstbase streamlines business setup, simplifying incorporation.
Clerky offers more services outside incorporation, like tax filing, which Firstbase doesn’t. Now, the pricing package Firstbase offers is similar to Clerky, which offers a one-time package.
The package costs $399 and has a money-back guarantee of 7 days. It makes Firstbase suit startups globally that want to launch and scale their venture in the US.
LegalZoom is known for its extensive legal service offerings beyond business formation. They provide a wide array of legal documents, including wills and trademarks, making them a comprehensive legal solutions provider.
It’s best for entrepreneurs seeking a one-stop-shop for various legal needs, including business formation and other personal legal documents.
LegalZoom offers a range of pricing options, with their most basic package starting at a competitive price point.
ZenBusiness is known for its affordable pricing structure, with options designed to suit the needs of small businesses and startups.
ZenBusiness stands out for its commitment to social responsibility. They offer a unique feature where they’ll cover the cost of filing for a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status, aligning with businesses that prioritize social impact.
Entrepreneurs who value affordability and social responsibility, especially those looking to establish nonprofit organizations, should give ZenBusiness a whirl.
Get Started with Clerky
Startups will find Clerky helpful in forming their business in Delaware and any US State. Not only that, you can launch a C Corp and even add Clerky as your registered agent.
Combining all these services makes it all rounded, simplifying launching and scaling a business venture even for non-US citizens.
So, sign up to Clerky today and start streamlining your startup C Corp processes.
Must my Delaware startup register to do business in other states?
It is a requirement for all corporations to register with the US state they do business in. In most cases, the entire “foreign qualification” process is a must since the business is a foreign entity besides the incorporation state.
What if a founder is outside the USA?
Clerky has no restrictions on foreign startups unless imposed by law (OFAC). Clerky can support startups with non-US citizens for a Delaware C Corp.
What if I already have an LLC?
There are ways to go about it, and one is converting to a C Corp. However, we recommend consulting with an attorney to find the best approach.
Clerky is a popular online service for startup legal paperwork, including Delaware C corporation incorporation.
Product Brand: Clerky, Inc.