Are you looking forward to starting a new business, but you are confused about which incorporation service to select? Don’t worry; everyone gets confused, especially when making huge decisions. Personally, when I was starting the, I was possibly more confused than you are right now.
I read every review on ZenBusiness, Swyft Filings, LegalZoom, etc., just to be sure I was making the right choice. However, my confusion as a business owner increased as I read through. Now, my business has been in operation for the last nine years and still moving. You’re probably asking what I did. My answer is simple, I researched.
The information in this article is based on the findings of my research. I have prepared what helped me decide on the best LLC service for me. You can choose too; there is no magic about it. Where you are at the moment is probably where I was nine years ago.
- Both ZenBusiness and LegalZoom reduce paperwork.
- Both of these LLC formation services are affordable compared to hiring a lawyer.
- On their website, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom offer informative guides and articles to help make your decisions right when setting up the company.
- ZenBusiness and LegalZoom have reputable experience in company formation services. ZenBusiness was established several years ago but has served thousands of businesses. On the other hand, LegalZoom was established decades ago and has helped set up millions of businesses.
What are they:
Before making a head-to-head comparison between ZenBusiness and LegalZoom, let’s check what each one of them has to offer. Below is a quick overview of their registration process and business services.
LegalZoom is an online LLC formation service provider formed in 2001 when the founders launched their first ten web-based products. What is more, the company provides online legal services. The legal help comes either with the DIY services or you get attorney advice.
The LLC formation services help new small business owners set up and maintain their business and comply with the law. On the other hand, the legal services will help you protect your intellectual properties, plan your estate, and create wills and trusts. Ever since the onset, the company has helped form over 2 million businesses.
LegalZoom starts being helpful right from the start. If you have a hard time choosing, LegalZoom helps you decide what’s best for you. This LLC formation services offers five business entities;
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
This is the most popular business entity and has a less complicated structure that separates your assets from business liabilities.
Corporation (S-Corp, C-Corp)
They have a complicated structure but are best if your business may at one time want to go public. They also offer limited liability.
Doing Business As (DBA)
This business entity enables you to use a business name that is different from your LLC name.
This business entity allows the formation of a corporation for charitable reasons.
The first step of business registration with LegalZoom is choosing the correct business entity for you from the LegalZoom LLC packages. The cost of forming a business change with the business entities. The process takes 10-15 minutes at most.
Additionally, using the bar at the top of the page, you can monitor the process’s progress. What’s more, you can save the progress and complete the registration later.
Registered Agent Service
Legally, your business needs a registered agent who is the bridge between the business and the state. They receive the legal documents on behalf of your business. LegalZoom will be your agent for $249 annually.
It is an essential document that describes the managerial rights and the owner’s rights in a business. LegalZoom will create a customized operating agreement for $99.
Employer Identification Number
EIN is a number the federal government uses to identify your business for reasons of taxation. Additionally, these numbers are necessary when opening a business bank account number or employing people to work in your company. LegalZoom will obtain the EIN and help you create an operating agreement for $159.
It’s a legal requirement that every business must have permits and licenses from the local, state, and federal governments to begin operation. At the cost of $199, LegalZoom will do a license search for you, create an operating agreement and obtain the EIN.
This service provides you with the necessary help in hiring and managing employees. You will get unlimited 30-minute consultation and legal H.R. documents that you can customize when hiring. Smart employer costs a monthly fee of $39.99.
Your business needs to stay compliant to limit the chances of risk exposure. This service helps you file, keep records, and separate the personal and business assets and finances at the annual cost of $280.
Legally, a business should file ongoing reports. Filing helps them avoid penalties and keep your info with the state up to date. This service costs $55 annually.
This legal form application gives your nonprofit corporation exemptions from some taxes. It helps your corporation raise the money you need to run it. LegalZoom will help you apply at the cost of $595.
Will and Trust
This service enables you to do estate planning hassle-free. LegalZoom makes it easy using the legal services below;
- Estate Plan Bundle-$179
- Last Will and Testament-$89
- Living Trust- $279
- Power of Attorney- $39
- Living Will- $39
LegalZoom will help you settle your family issues silently and effectively. Below are some of the services;
- Name change
This service helps you protect everything that you have created with the following services.
- Trademark registration
- Trademark search
ZenBusiness is an LLC formation company that was founded in 2015 with the main aim being to create a simple way to start and run a successful business. This online LLC formation service has helped set up thousands of businesses. ZenBusiness has dozens of business services to keep you in a good stand with the government even after set up. Such services include registered agent service, annual reports, etc.
ZenBusiness’s formation process offers three business entities; limited liability company, corporation, and Doing Business As. All their company formation services are available in all 50 states. Unlike LegalZoom, all the business entities offered by ZenBusiness cost the same.
The business registration process with ZenBusiness takes 10-15 minutes to complete. The first step is choosing the business entity and the state of business formation. The second step is selecting a formation package, and unlike LegalZoom, you choose the ZenBusiness LLC packages first. What’s more, the LLC packages are very customizable.
The ZenBusiness registration process does not have a bar that shows you the process’s progress. Below are some of the details you will need to provide; personal, contact, and company information.
Registered Agent Service
Legally, every operating business must have a registered agent who receives the legal documents from the state on behalf of it. ZenBusiness offers a free registered agent service for one year, and then the service renews for $119 annually.
Operating Agreement Template
The operating agreement is the constitution of a company, and it stipulates the rights of the owners and the managers. Additionally, the document protects your assets from the liabilities of your business. ZenBusiness will customize your business’ operating agreement template for free.
Expedite and Rush Filing Speed
You may be running against time and, therefore, need the formation done fast. Depending on what you can offer and the state you are in, rush and expedite filing speeds will help you. Expedite filing speed in Arkansas costs $50 while the rush filing speed is $100.
Banking Resolution Template
Before thinking of opening a business bank account, you need a document showing the authorized people to transact on the account. ZenBusiness has a banking resolution template that you can easily customize. The template costs $30.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
EIN, also known as Fed Tax ID, is a number that the federal government uses to identify your business for taxation purposes uniquely. This number is required when you’re opening a business bank account and when hiring employees. ZenBusiness will obtain this number for you from the Internal Revenue Authority (IRS) for $70.
Your business should remain compliant with the government by making the annual filing, among other things. Failing to do so exposes you to fines, losing the LLC protection, among other things. The worry-free compliance will ensure that you remain compliant and notify you when the filing deadlines are nearing. This service will cost you $110 yearly.
A website gives you an opportunity where you can create a brand and tell your story. They also have customizable website templates, and therefore, very easy to create. ZenBusiness will create the website for you and host it for $50 yearly.
Business Domain Name
Your business name should be most preferably your domain name. However, if you don’t secure it, someone might probably register it as their domain. Such an action robs off you the brand and business identity. ZenBusiness will protect and host your domain name for $25 yearly.
Domain Name Privacy
If you are interested in the ZenBusiness business domain name, you might be interested in making it private. This service protects your domain name from junk mails, spam and limit solicitations. This service will cost an additional $10 yearly.
Business Email Address
You will get 5 G.B. worth of mail storage where you can organize your address book. This email enables you to sync your calendar with email software or mobile phones. Business email address costs $25 yearly.
ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom: Comparison
Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness have a lot in common. However, there are a few features that set their paths apart. The few issues will significantly influence what you choose between the two.
Let’s dive right in.
Packages and Pricing
The price of each package and what it offers determines whether you will buy it. Again, people work under a specific budget. Most people are looking for the most valuable services for the lowest service. Below is an overview of the two LLC formation services and what they offer from the pricing aspect.
First, LegalZoom offers four business entities, all of which cost differently. Forming a limited liability company starts at $79 + state fee, a corporation at $149 + state filing fee, Doing Business As (DBA) at $99 + state fees, and Nonprofit at $99+ state fees.
Secondly, LegalZoom packages are not easily customizable, which means you cannot add any other service to the already allocated. LegalZoom offers three LLC formation packages at the end of the registration process; Economy, Standard, and Express Gold.
This package is the slowest and costs $79 + state fees. The estimated processing time is 30 days. Below are the LLC services you get for the money;
- Comprehensive name search and business entity filing.
- Peace of mind review.
- Tax saving consultations.
- Complete digital LLC welcome packet.
- Digital packet.
- Lifetime customer support.
- Entrepreneurs business newsletter.
This package is slightly faster than the economy package and costs $329 + state fees. This package takes an estimated processing time of 15 days. In this package, you’ll get all the services in the economy package plus;
- Deluxe founders kit
- Embosser and membership certificates
This package is the fastest and costs $349 + state fees. The estimated processing time is ten days. This formation package offers all the services in the economy and standard package plus the following;
- VIP Processing
- Express shipping
Similarly, ZenBusiness offers three formation plans to help you form your business; Starter, pro, and Premium plans. You choose the package immediately when you begin the registration process. Unlike LegalZoom, in ZenBusiness, you can easily customize the packages. For example, you can buy a starter plan and add a service like a business website. Let’s have an overview of the three.
The starter plan is the cheapest service ZenBusiness offers and costs $49 + state filing fees. The package enjoys the standard processing time, which takes 2-3 weeks depending on your state. You can, however, subscribe to expedite or rush processing time to fasten the process. Here are the services you get for the money;
- Prepare and file LLC.
- Name availability search
- Phone and email support
- Online document access
- Statement of organizer
- Free accounting consultation
- Virtual business guide.
- Registered agent
- Operating agreement template
- Google ads credit
- Standard filing speed.
Pro plan is the most popular service on ZenBusiness. The plan costs $199 + state fees and has a formation speed of 8 to 11 business days, depending on the state. In this package, you get the Starter Plan services plus the following;
- Expedite filing speed
- Banking resolution template
- Employer Identification number
- Worry-free compliance
The premium plan is the most expensive formation package that ZenBusiness offers. The plan costs $299 + state fees and has a formation speed of up to 3 to 7 business days. This package gets you the starter and pro services plus the following;
- Business website
- Business domain name
- Domain name privacy
- Business email address
Comparing the two business formation companies, ZenBusiness is cheaper than LegalZoom. The former has a package that costs $49 and offers more services than the latter. Additionally, ZenBusiness packages are more customizable than Legal zoom.
Registered Agent Service
Legally, businesses are required by the law in all 50 states to have a registered agent service. Registered agents bridge between your business and the state and receive all the legal documents. You can choose anyone to be your registered agent, but there are dozens of advantages to having a professional registered agent.
LegalZoom offers registered agent service at the yearly cost of $249. LegalZoom promises you peace of mind and timely communication on matters that need urgency.
ZenBusiness offers free registered agent service for the first year when you form your business. However, after one year, this service will renew at the yearly cost of $119.
Comparing the two, ZenBusiness is cost-effective than LegalZoom. The former offers a one-year free registered agent and then renews at a lower price than LegalZoom.
Experience is essential when buying services from a business formation company. The number of years that the LLC service has been in operation suggests how comfortable you can be with their customer services.
Founded in 2001, LegalZoom has been in the market for long enough. Therefore, it is probable that they will handle the business formation process with the professionalism it deserves.
ZenBusiness was founded in 2015 and has been in existence for six years now. However, they have served thousands of clients already.
Comparing both of the options, LegalZoom has a high level of experience compared to ZenBusiness. Therefore, it is likely to handle the filing process with greater mastery than ZenBusiness LLC service.
Additional services are very beneficial because this means that the system will be more centralized. As a result, you can access every single service from one business formation service.
This business formation service has personal services, which can be very vital at one point. The company acts as a law firm by providing an extensive network of lawyers who you can access. The lawyers offer services in wills and trusts, testament, intellectual property protection, and estate planning.
Unlike LegalZoom, ZenBusiness does not offer very many additional services. However, they have a New York times publication service that is very important in states requiring publication, like New York.
In terms of additional services, LegalZoom is undisputed. It is an online legal service and a business formation company. On the other hand, ZenBusiness only focused on services involving business formation.
Customer reviews are essential, just like experience. They enable you to understand what others are saying about their experiences with customer services.
LegalZoom has a lot of customer reviews and feedback. They have helped more than 2 million customers with their business. However, most of their reviews have a lot of mixed reactions about their customer services. For example, on TrustPilot, only 63% of the customer reviews rate them four stars and above. Most complaints have their basis on finances and renewal of services.
ZenBusiness has thousands of reviews and customer feedback online, and they excel in it. Most reviews show customer service satisfaction; out of the 5229 reviews on TrustPilot, 95% rate ZenBusiness with four stars and above. Most customers praise the cheap services and the ease of use that ZenBusiness exhibits.
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Pros and Cons
Having set foot on both paths, you now probably know which road is bumpy and at which points. We have reviewed both of the services and certainly have an idea on which service excels where. Let’s look at the ups and downs of each LLC service.
- It has a lot of additional services.
- It has a payment plan.
- Has tons of experience
- They have a money-back guarantee.
- Provides free 30-minutes consultation for the first 10days
- Most of their services are super expensive.
- They have very poor customer reviews.
- They have cheap services.
- They have a high customer rating.
- Has registered agent service at an affordable price
- It gives you online access to your documents
- It has free accounting consultation
- It does not provide clear timelines on the processing time.
ZenBusiness would be the best choice for you, especially if you have a business startup. They have cheap services like the registered agent that you can afford. They have a high customer rating and reviews which again proves that customers have been treated right. On the other hand, LegalZoom has helped start over 2 million businesses. There is a reason why such a number have trusted them.