2021 LLC Provider Comparison

ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom

Do you want to start your limited liability company but can’t figure out whether to do it yourself or use an online formation service? Multiple online companies specialize in helping business owners file their paperwork. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two of the top companies in the industry, and each has its benefits and disadvantages. This ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom comparison guide looks at five key factors you should consider when deciding which service is best for your business. Here’s everything you need to know about pricing, features, customer service and more.

Pricing

The plans provided by ZenBusiness start at $39 plus your state’s filing fees. Not only is this price lower than many other formation services, but it also comes with many free features, including accounting services, affordable registered agent services and a customized operating agreement. The $149 package is also a good value and has additional features for those who want a more tailored experience. This package includes compliance monitoring, a federal tax ID number, a banking resolution template and an annual report service.

LegalZoom is one of the most used services in the business and has served millions of customers. LegalZoom is so popular because of several factors, including its large advertising budget and one-stop-shop status. However, LegalZoom is more expensive than some of its competitors. Its cheapest package is $79 plus your state’s filing fees. Also, it does not offer free registered agent services with any packages. Customers must pay a sizeable fee if they wish to take advantage of this bonus.

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Based on prices alone, ZenBusiness is the best choice. It offers a cheaper starting package and more free features than LegalZoom. ZenBusiness charges $99 for a year of registered agent service while LegalZoom charges upward of $300 for the same thing.

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Company Experience

Founded in 2015, ZenBusiness is one of the newest LLC formation services. However, it has established an impressive customer base in a few short years and does not show any signs of slowing down. ZenBusiness has served thousands of customers and receives mostly positive feedback, as shown in its many 4- and 5-star reviews online. While ZenBusiness does not have the decades-long experience of other companies, it has established a positive track record in the industry.

LegalZoom is one of the most recognizable internet companies. Formed in 1999, it has helped millions of customers file business formation documents. LegalZoom has served more customers than many other companies combined. However, it does not have as many positive customer reviews as ZenBusiness. While LegalZoom certainly has some satisfied customers, reviews are more of a mixed bag.

LegalZoom is the clear choice if you are looking for a company with industry experience. However, ZenBusiness has more satisfied customers and has established a solid reputation within a few short years.

Customer Service

ZenBusiness offers customer service through various modalities, including phone, chat and email. Most of its agents are helpful and friendly, and the wait times are minimal. ZenBusiness is also one of the few companies that offer chat customer support, which benefits many customers who have a question but cannot place a phone call.

LegalZoom also provides live customer support via phone, chat and email. LegalZoom has a more extensive customer base than ZenBusiness, and this difference is apparent in the long response times. Its email support is notorious for taking days to resolve questions, with some customers waiting up to a week before getting a reply. Once they do hear back, people find that most answers are general and do not address specifics. However, LegalZoom’s phone support is much better. The response times are short, and most agents are helpful and friendly.

While you will likely receive a quicker response from ZenBusiness during business hours, LegalZoom agents are available for more hours. LegalZoom is likely the best option if you often wait until the weekend or evening to call customer support.

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Convenience

The ZenBusiness website is simple, and you can fill out the order form quickly. You first need to select the package you’d like to purchase and provide some basic information on your LLC. ZenBusiness attempts to upsell you during the registration process, which can be distracting,  making the order process a bit more cumbersome.

LegalZoom’s registration process is different from most other LLC formation companies. You start by entering your personal information instead of selecting a package. You add basic information about your company and the LLC’s owners. LegalZoom then guides you through several upsell attempts — some exceeding $1,000 — before it allows you to select your package. These upsells make the registration process long and difficult to navigate.

Despite both companies having upsells to deal with during registration, ZenBusiness has the more simple, straightforward process. Getting started with LegalZoom is complex and often results in customers adding hundreds of dollars of unnecessary products to their bills. Dismissing most of LegalZoom’s upsells is important if you decide to use its service.

Document Turnaround Times

Receiving your finalized LLC documents can take a few days to a few weeks — it all depends on how long it takes your state to approve applications. ZenBusiness’s document turnaround times correspond with your state’s processing speeds. You can find a list of average wait lengths per package on the ZenBusiness website. The starter package takes four weeks, the pro package takes two weeks and the premium package takes an average of five days.

LegalZoom processes business formation documents in the same way as ZenBusiness. Processing times depend on your state and not the level of package you choose. However, it seems that the cheaper packages do have longer turnaround times. For example, its most affordable package processes documents in 30 days, while its most expensive package processes in an average of seven days.

Either service is a solid choice when comparing ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom. Your document turnaround times correspond with your state’s requirements, not the money you spend.

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LegalZoom vs ZenBusiness
Frequently Asked Questions

If you are comparing ZenBusiness and LegalZoom, you likely want to know more about the best packages and refund policies. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

The biggest advantage of using ZenBusiness is its pricing. It offers a basic LLC formation process for $39 plus your state’s filing fees. On the other hand, LegalZoom requires users to pay at least $79 for the same services.

However, there are many advantages of choosing LegalZoom if you are willing to pay a higher price. LegalZoom is the most popular LLC formation business in the industry and has served far more customers than ZenBusiness.

While the best package depends on your budget, choosing the basic is a good start. ZenBusiness’s most affordable offering at $39 comes with a year of free registered agent service and other helpful features you need to succeed in your first year of business. After the first 12 months, the most basic plan renews for $119 annually, which is a great deal for ongoing business compliance.

Owners concerned about finances should also choose LegalZoom’s most affordable package. At $79, it is adequate for most new LLCs. However, owners wanting a more personalized experience should select one of the more premium packages.

Either service is a solid choice when comparing ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom’s available packages. While LegalZoom is more expensive, it still offers excellent features.

One of the major advantages of choosing LegalZoom is its generous refund policy. If you are not happy with the service, it will refund your money within 60 days of your initial purchase. There are no questions asked, and your refund comes promptly.

ZenBusiness’ refund policy is more complex. You can get a refund if your paperwork has not yet been delivered to your state for processing. However, there is a $50 cancellation fee even if you are within the refund window. Thus, you will end up losing money if you choose the starter package. You cannot get a refund if ZenBusiness has already submitted your documents for processing.

Most people form their LLC in the state where their business is located. You can also register your LLC with multiple states if you have numerous locations. However, some people choose to form their LLCs in another state — like Delaware or Nevada — because of tax laws. In this case, you must qualify your business in your home state first to conduct business legally.

Most people choose to form LLCs for pass-through taxation reasons. LLC owners can report company profits and taxes on their individual tax returns instead of filing a business tax return. The United States government does not tax your LLC separately, and business owners are not personally responsible for company debts. A tax lawyer or accountant can provide more information.

You are not required to use an LLC formation service to file your documents. You can file the documents yourself or hire a lawyer to file them on your behalf. However, lawyers often charge a lot more than formation services. An online service can streamline the process and ensure you fill out the documentation appropriately. You should consider using professional assistance if you are unfamiliar with the LLC formation process.

When choosing ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom, consider features including price, customer service and industry experience. Check your state’s filing requirements to learn more about forming an LLC. Hiring a formation service is a great way to make sure your company complies with the law.

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