ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Which Is Right for Your Business?
Compare ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom to determine which is best for your business formation and attorney needs.
ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are both online legal services that can help your business with formation and ongoing operational tasks. To decide which might be right for your small business, you may need to dive into the features, pricing, pros, cons and reviews of each service.
ZenBusiness is all about business formation; therefore, its services are there to help you do just that. LegalZoom, while offering many documents for business formation, also offers other services to help you continue to run your business.
ZenBusiness explains its five-step formation process, so you know exactly what to expect from the service.
- Select filing package and any additional business services.
- ZenBusiness files business documents with your state.
- State confirms your business.
- ZenBusiness delivers all business documents to your user dashboard.
- Ongoing services to keep your business compliant with state requirements.
Some of the specific features it offers are:
- Business formation plans.
- Registered agent service.
- EIN service.
- Operating agreement.
- Annual reports.
- New York certificate of publication (New York is one of the few remaining states that requires a published announcement of your LLC formation.).
- Business formation experts for customers to chat with.
LegalZoom has many features that make it a comprehensive legal service for those looking to form their business and continue to run it. Below are business formation services offered by LegalZoom, and the types of business you’ll be able to form:
- Limited Liability Company (LLC).
- Sole proprietorship.
- DBA, or “doing business as”.
- Employer identification number (EIN).
- Business naming services.
- Tax, license and permit services.
- Additional business services like registered agent, certificate of good standing and more.
Pricing for online legal services can be hard to determine, especially since LegalZoom offers a pricing structure where each service and document is priced differently. ZenBusiness, on the other hand, lists its pricing right on its homepage and has standard packages you can choose from, or individual services and document pricing similar to LegalZoom.
ZenBusiness offers three package options that cover a wide range of needs and services.
$119 per year after a promotional first-year price of $49 + state fees
$179 per year* + state fees
Everything in Starter, plus:
$299 per year* + state fees
Everything in Starter and Pro, plus:
In addition to those packages, customers can pick and choose certain services to add to a package or create their own package.
- New York LLC certificate: $200 plus the publication fees.
- Assign ZenBusiness as your registered agent: starting at $99 per year.
- ZenBusiness’s worry-free compliance (covers annual report and up to two yearly amendments): $119 per year.
- EIN: $70 (keep in mind, you can apply for your EIN for free directly from the IRS).
- Operating agreement: $35.
- Annual reports: $75 plus state fees.
- Expedited filing speed: $50.
- Rush filing speed: $100.
- Banking resolution: $30.
- Business website: $100 per year.
- Business domain name: $25 per year.
- Domain name privacy: $10 per year.
- Doing business as (DBA) registrations: $95.
- DBA compliance: $50 per year.
- Certificate of good standing: $75 plus state fee.
- Business email address: $25 per year.
- Business bank account: $110 per year.
- Accounting and bookkeeping: $50 to $200 per month.
- Business credit card (through a partnership with Divvy): free to apply.
- Business name reservation: $50 plus state fee.
If you’re in need of more than one of the services offered above, it makes sense to go with one of the package options, as the cost really adds up when adding them a la carte.
LegalZoom has a bit of a different pricing structure than ZenBusiness, as there are no set package options or memberships. Each formation service will come with its own set of packages with prices varying depending on service and state. For example, here is how LLC pricing breaks down:
$79 + state filing fee
$329 + state filing fee
Everything included in Economy, plus:
$349 + state filing fee
Everything included in Economy and Standard, plus:
The LLC Next Steps Guide is step-by-step instructions to review your LLC documents. Peace of Mind review is when LegalZoom personally reviews your order before anything is filed and your business is formed. LegalZoom offers 20 personalized company membership certificates and an official company seal with the Standard and Express Gold packages.
Just like ZenBusiness, LegalZoom offers extra services that you can add on to whichever package you choose, or purchase on their own. Here is a sampling of what is offered:
- Registered agent services: $299 per year for the first year, then subject to change.
- DBA/business names: starting at $99 plus state filing fees.
- Trademark search: starting at $199.
- Certificate of good standing: starting at $45 plus state filing fees.
- EIN: $79.
LegalZoom does offer attorney access for any questions or concerns, and that comes in two package options: Legal Advantage Plus and the Business Advisory plans. Plans start at $31.25 per month and $9.99 per month, respectively.
Pros and cons
Both ZenBusiness and LegalZoom have plenty of pros and cons for you to consider when choosing between the two legal services. Keeping in mind what your business needs most from this type of service will help you determine which are deal-breakers.
- User-friendly website.
- Clear pricing right on homepage.
- Services can be purchased separately from packages.
- Easy cancellation.
- Chat function on website to get in touch with customer service quickly.
- Access for business formation experts.
- Can view, download or print documents at any time with the registered agent service.
- No access to attorneys — formation experts are not attorneys.
- Chat function on website can take up to two hours for a response, depending on traffic.
- Doesn’t offer legal documents like LegalZoom does.
- Customers get sent copies of documents that have been filed on their behalf.
- No monthly membership, unless you opt for the legal advice plans.
- Free newsletter for tips and information.
- Mobile app for iOS and Android.
- Reasonable, flat-fee pricing, since you only pay for what you need.
- No downloads or edits allowed on any documents.
- Legal advice only with paid plan.
- Pricing is only straightforward and easy to find if you know what services you need.
- Wording on website can be confusing and lead to you signing up for (or not opting out of) services you don’t need or want.
Customer reviews are a mix of good and bad for both ZenBusiness and LegalZoom.
While the customer service chat option on its website is convenient and makes it seem like you’re talking to a real person, customers felt like they were just working off of scripted responses and didn’t deviate from exact wording when asking for clarification on a subject. However, others have said that the personalized customer service they received was outstanding, so your experience may vary.
Customers love the reasonable prices and the fact that they weren’t upsold or hit with hidden fees and charges. Overall, the reviews for ZenBusiness are overwhelmingly positive, which is a good sign if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to form your business.
LegalZoom has hundreds of reviews, and while there is a mix of positive and negative, a lot of them focus on the negative.
The most common complaints seem to be about hidden charges, LegalZoom not making it clear what is an add-on that can be opted out of and customer service. Many people noted that they were still being charged for services they hadn’t received or after canceling their various plans and memberships.
For instance, while a registered agent is required by law for anyone operating a business, LegalZoom doesn’t necessarily make it clear that it doesn’t need to be your registered agent. If you don’t opt-out of that service, you will automatically be charged for it.
When it comes to customer service, many reviewers noted long wait times or it being impossible to get in touch with anyone at all, and when they did they were met with less than ideal assistance. Again, like with ZenBusiness, this experience can vary from person to person.
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Which is the Best LLC Formation Service?
Find out which company is the best option for you and your business
If you are looking to form an LLC for your own business, there are several options available that make this process simple and efficient. Two popular companies that help customers form LLCs are ZenBusiness and LegalZoom. While both are great options, we found that while LegalZoom has more to offer entrepreneurs in terms of services, ZenBusiness is the better choice for simple LLC filing. In this review, we at the Home Media reviews team will compare the two online services so you can decide which business formation service best fits your needs.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours reviewing the top business formation services on the market and found that ZenBusiness and LegalZoom ranked among the top five companies.
At a glance: Comparing ZenBusiness and LegalZoom
ZenBusiness is a venture-funded public benefit corporation founded in 2015 and based in Austin, Texas. Despite being a younger company in the legal tech space, ZenBusiness has managed to help more than 200,000 people with business formations. LegalZoom has been around a bit longer, founded in 2001 in Glendale, Calif., and has helped over two million entrepreneurs create businesses in that time while also providing other legal help. Both companies have strong reputations in the online legal space and have received thousands of positive reviews online.
Here are a few highlights about ZenBusiness:
- Great, low pricing for LLC filing
- All-inclusive business formation, even in the basic package
- Quick turnaround times with options for expedited filing
LegalZoom’s highlights include:
- 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee
- Regular access to an attorney
- Business plan includes tax advice and annual business evaluation
Entrepreneurs can easily and quickly file a Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation or a DBA (Doing Business As) name.
Name availability search
ZenBusiness’ formation agents will run your business name through your state’s database to verify that it’s unique and available. If it is not, they will contact you to find an acceptable alternative before filing.
Phone and email support
Agents are available by phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT. ZenBusiness also guarantees agents will respond to emails within one business day, and we found the company´s web chat feature to be super helpful, with a representative responding to our question within three minutes.
Online document access
ZenBusiness gives clients access to templates for important legal documents that might be needed to conduct business, such as operating agreements, corporate bylaws and banking resolutions. These documents are accessible 24/7 via your personalized online dashboard.
Virtual business guide
Customers who form an LLC with ZenBusiness will be given a guide that includes a basic checklist with everything they need to run their business virtually, as well as helpful tools and advice for how to better market themselves online and stay up to date with the latest trends.
All businesses are required by law to have a registered agent. In U.S. business law, a registered agent is an individual or entity that accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of the business. Fortunately, ZenBusiness can take care of this responsibility by acting as the registered agent for all businesses formed through its site.
Operating agreement template
ZenBusiness includes an operating agreement in each of its business formation plans. This document protects the business owner’s personal assets from the actions of their LLC, clearly outlines which actions are acceptable for the business and creates a succession plan should the owner exit the business.
Google Ads credit
ZenBusiness has partnered with Google to offer all business formation customers up to a $150 Google Ads credit, so you can start advertising and promoting your products and services online to help increase traffic, phone calls, purchases and revenue for your business.
Banking resolution template
ZenBusiness provides a banking resolution template so that your business can quickly and easily complete the resolution to open your business bank account and assign signature authority. A banking resolution is the simplest way to authorize someone to open a bank account and be able to provide a signature for the business.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called a Tax ID Number, is a 9-digit code assigned by the IRS to identify your business. An EIN is required for a partnership, corporation or LLC to open a business bank account, gain financing, hire employees and more. ZenBusiness includes an EIN in its Pro and Premium packages, and it can be added to the company´s Starter package for an additional $70.
ZenBusiness’ Worry-Free Compliance service will send you alerts for important compliance and filing events, support your annual filings and up to two yearly amendments, and provide expert support should you miss a filing event and need to regain your good standing and LLC protection from the state. This is included in the Pro and Premium packages and can be added to the Starter package for $119 per year.
Website and email set-up
If your business needs a website, ZenBusiness can set one up for you. It also offers services for securing a business domain name, domain name privacy and a business email address. These features are all included in ZenBusiness’ Premium package and can be added to Basic and Pro for the following rates:
- Business website: $100 per year
- Business domain name: $25 per year
- Domain name privacy: $10 per year
- Business email address: $25 per year
Various formation services
LegalZoom’s business formation services extend beyond LLC filing, with the option for entrepreneurs to file a corporation, nonprofit or DBA through the online site. No matter which you choose, LegalZoom agents will take care of all of the documents needed to form your business, including the articles of incorporation.
Name check and business filing
Your LegalZoom representative will complete your business formation paperwork and correctly file it for you with its Peace of Mind™ review, ensuring that all boxes are checked and everything is up to your state’s standards.
LLC next steps guide
Once your business is filed, LegalZoom provides step-by-step instructions for how to review your LLC documents and get your business started.
Lifetime customer support
LegalZoom agents are available by phone 7 days a week (Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT and weekends from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m). You can also submit a question through its website with a statement from the company that promises agents will get back to you by email “as soon as possible.” You can also choose to take advantage of the online chat feature.
Financial account authorization letter
LegalZoom’s business formation services also include a financial account authorization letter, which is a document that indicates who is authorized to open a bank account for the LLC.
Other LegalZoom offerings (outside of the formation packages)
If entrepreneurs already have their businesses established or want to take advantage of LegalZoom’s services to keep their business up and running, there are some additional business features available, including:
- Registered agent services
- Annual reports
- Compliance calendar
- Minutes manager
- Operating agreement
- Tax help
- Contracts and agreements
- Intellectual property protection
LLC plan comparisons
|ZenBusiness Starter||LegalZoom Economy|
|Cost||$49/year plus state fee||$79/year plus state fee|
|Order Processing Time||10-14 business days||30 business days|
|Operating Agreement Included||Yes||No, can add for $99 extra|
|EIN Registration Included||No, can add for $70||No, can add for $60, but it must be bundled with operating agreement ($159 total)|
|Business Domain Name||$25/year||No|
|Business Email Address||$25/year, but must be bundled with domain name ($50 total)||No|
Note: ZenBusiness allows customers to pay extra for expedited filing of 4-9 business days ($50) or Rush filing of 1-3 business days ($100) with a basic membership
Mid-level plan comparison
Top-level plan comparison
ZenBusiness and LegalZoom reviews
When it comes to customer satisfaction, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom both appear to have won over their customers with dozens of positive reviews. Both businesses have received “Excellent” ratings on Trustpilot, but ZenBusiness has an edge over LegalZoom with a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 from over 7,000 reviews compared to LegalZoom’s 4.3 stars from just over 1,000 reviews. As mentioned earlier, ZenBusiness has only been around about six years compared to LegalZoom´s presence of over 20 years in the industry, so it’s especially impressive that ZenBusiness has such a vast number of positive reviews already.
Both ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited businesses with A ratings and more than 4 stars in customer reviews.
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Which do we recommend?
After comparing ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom, we think that ZenBusiness is the better option for LLC filing. While both companies are reputable choices with great services and reviews, we found that ZenBusiness offers a much more complete business formation service and better benefits at a lower cost.
For example, ZenBusiness’ starter plan costs first-time business filers $49 plus state fee with a 10 to 14 day processing time, while LegalZoom’s Economy plan is $79 plus state fee with a 30-day processing time. ZenBusiness’ $49 basic package also includes an operating agreement while LegalZoom’s basic package does not.
That being said, if your business requires more legal assistance or you’re looking to file a nonprofit, LegalZoom would probably be a better fit for your needs.
Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom for business formation services. We collected data from both providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The result was an overall rating for each provider based on the following factors:
- Price: 25%
- Order processing time: 15%
- Registered agent included: 15%
- Operating agreement included: 15%
- Customer satisfaction: 15%
- Customer support: 10%
- Geographic coverage: 5%
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Which Is Right for Your Business?
When we started comparing ZenBusiness and LegalZoom, we focused on three main questions for our review:
- Is it a good deal?
- Is there a better deal?
- Who uses this LLC service and how did they review their experience?
We analyzed the LLC formation services’ overall value, customer reviews, customer service, included features, and ease of use to determine which company is best for you and your business.
1. Choose ZenBusiness if you want high-quality, affordable business formation services: ZenBusiness is the best LLC service if you are looking for great customer support, value, and affordable business formation services.
ZenBusiness has straightforward, competitive pricing and plans. They offer the most convenient packages available for your individual business needs.
Starting at only $39 plus state fees, ZenBusiness offers Articles of Organization filing, one year of included registered agent services, and an Operating Agreement.
All in all, the combination of great customer service, positive customer reviews, competitive pricing, and straightforward LLC formation plans makes ZenBusiness an excellent choice.
2. Choose LegalZoom if you prefer a more well-known brand: Consider LegalZoom if you’re comfortable with a more recognized company. However, LegalZoom’s LLC formation packages are complicated and more expensive, starting at $79 plus state fees. Additionally, when we spoke to their customer service department to sign up, their upsell tactics made everything seem more difficult and stressful for business owners.
All things considered, there are better options to start your business in a fast, affordable, and reliable way.
If you are specifically looking for a company that offers ongoing legal services past LLC formation, we recommend checking out our Rocket Lawyer New Business Bundle.
Read our full list of the best LegalZoom alternatives!
Need more details? Read on for a more in-depth breakdown of our ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom LLC services comparison.
LLC Packages: ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom
ZenBusiness and LegalZoom offer additional business formation services beyond starting your LLC. Some features can be purchased independently, offering even more pricing flexibility. Below, you’ll find a comparison of their basic packages and the features that are valuable when forming an LLC.
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Customer Reviews
ZenBusiness is used by entrepreneurs who:
- Want premium-level service and support on a smart budget
- Have the desire to form an LLC fast without having to pay a significant premium
- Want ongoing alerts and reminders about upcoming filing deadlines
- Enjoy the benefit of an annual filing and submittal through a Worry Free Guarantee
Here are some verified ZenBusiness reviews (from Trustpilot) by customers who used this formation service to help launch their business:
“I am extremely happy with the service . They are reasonably priced and professional and really make things easy for you to form an LLC . They also offer a variety of services. They completed my order much quicker than I had planned. I really think if you are starting a business, there is no better way to go! I will be using their services again!”
“Zen was extremely easy to use. I must admit, I was skeptical because the price was so low, but I was able to ask questions online via chat and was answered immediately. The process was extremely easy and fast. I definitely recommend Zen Business to anyone!”
“I thought this was too good to be true, but it was completely legit. I was very pleased with how quick and easy ZenBusiness made the process of becoming an LLC. They offer plenty of helpful add-on options that you can pay for, but they don’t push them on you. It’s also nice that everything is conveniently in a dashboard on their site for me. When I want to get an EIN or make amendments or anything, I can do it super easily from their site. Definitely would recommend.”
LegalZoom is used by entrepreneurs who:
- Want to work with a well-known brand to form their LLC
- Are willing to pay extra for premium services and features
- Are not in a rush to form their LLC or are willing to pay a considerable premium to expedite their order
- Want full legal services beyond company formation
Here are some verified LegalZoom reviews (from their website and Trustpilot) by customers who used this formation service to help launch their business:
“I had never started a business before, so LegalZoom was a perfect place to go. It let me take my vision for the company and make it a reality, legally.”
“I think too many people expect too much from this company. Let’s be clear, when you do business with Legal Zoom, it’s not the same as hiring an attorney. But for simple legal tasks, it’s hard to beat Legal Zoom and their great prices.”
“We’ve used [LegalZoom] for quite a few things over the years, and overall it’s gone very smoothly. They’ve been easy to work with and very affordable.”
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom Review Ratings
After conducting a quick comparison, we completed a more comprehensive review of LegalZoom and ZenBusiness LLC services based on:
- Cost Value
- Customer Service
- Ease of Use
- Included Features
ZenBusiness has carefully created LLC services with small business owners in mind.
These are quality business formation bundles that offer the same products at a significantly lower price when compared to all other services in the LLC formation market. In addition, ZenBusiness provides other features that take into account a small business’s budget. Overall, businesses of all sizes can benefit either way from ZenBusiness LLC services.
ZenBusiness’s customer support stands out amongst business formation services– especially when compared to LegalZoom.
There are hundreds of positive ZenBusiness reviews online. We were impressed by their professional, thoughtful, and thorough responses on the Better Business Bureau website.
Ease of Use
Both LLC services are easy to use and have efficient checkout times.
LegalZoom’s entire order process should take no longer than 15-20 minutes. In case you are unable to complete an order in one sitting, LegalZoom emails a link to your saved answers so you can complete your order at a later time. ZenBusiness has an advantage over LegalZoom because the LLC service offers a personalized online dashboard; this feature acts as a central location for important documents that the user can access at any time using their ZenBusiness login.
ZenBusiness stands alone in this category.
The company offers business formation services for only $39 per year (plus state fees). All 3 LLC packages include registered agent services, Operating Agreement, and a Worry Free CPA Assessment; this feature will provide you with an evaluation of your company finances and recommend the proper licensed CPA for your specific needs at no charge. The suggested accounting services are a great way to keep track of your company’s monetary flow, file taxes, and stay organized.
Their Worry Free Compliance Guarantee is a great option for busy entrepreneurs.
This guarantee includes:
- Annual filing report alerts
- Documents submitted on your behalf (you will only be responsible for state fees).
- You are allowed two free changes to your filings per year (state filing fees may still apply).
- Covers the costs required to regain good standing if your company should miss a deadline or state requirement.
Business email, website, and domain privacy are add-on features that are included in ZenBusiness’s Premium LLC formation package. These are great products that can help your business so your clients can easily contact you, gain visibility, and protect your private information.
LegalZoom LLC Cost
LegalZoom offers a very basic plan for $79 + state fees. Aside from lifetime customer support, they don’t include as many helpful features as ZenBusiness that are essential for starting a business. For example, ZenBusiness provides an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in their middle and top LLC formation packages, while LegalZoom charges extra for one in each of their plans.
6 Things They Have in Common
1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or LegalZoom, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process – especially with ZenBusiness.
2) Efficiency: These companies both work quickly, and they can get your business registered with the state in a matter of weeks or even days.
3) Customer Support: These two services both have customer support networks that can answer your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from ZenBusiness or LegalZoom?
4) Additional Services: Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness have many other services that they can provide to your business, from registered agent service to annual report service and much more.
5) Experience: While LegalZoom certainly has more experience, with millions of customers served, ZenBusiness has also formed thousands of businesses in their own right. They’re both experienced companies with the expertise to get the job done right.
6) Informative: ZenBusiness has a blog where they share business tips, information about different entity types, etc. Similarly, LegalZoom’s Knowledge Center has plenty of info regarding legalities and other issues that commonly face entrepreneurs today.
Side by Side Comparisons
It’s hard for anyone to compete with ZenBusiness when it comes to pricing, seeing as they’ll form an LLC for just $39. LegalZoom charges $79. (See ZenBusiness Pricing)
While everyone would obviously rather pay $39 than $79 for similar services, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the advantages of ZenBusiness over LegalZoom. In fact, not only does ZenBusiness offer LLC formations for less than half the cost of LegalZoom, but they also include more valuable features in their formation packages.
The two noteworthy differences between the $39 package offered by ZenBusiness and the $79 package offered by LegalZoom are that ZenBusiness includes registered agent service and an LLC operating agreement template.
This alone would cost $154 otherwise but is included free with every ZenBusiness package.
In our opinion, ZenBusiness provides more value than LegalZoom while also charging $40 less. If you wanted to add registered agent service and an operating agreement template to your LegalZoom formation package, you would spend a total of $427 ($79 LLC formation + $249 registered agent service + $99 operating agreement) instead of $39 with ZenBusiness.
LegalZoom is one of the industry giants, as they’ve helped form more than 2 million businesses since 1999. ZenBusiness has only been around since 2015, but they’ve already formed thousands of businesses in those few short years. LegalZoom clearly has the experience advantage, but ZenBusiness is doing its best to catch up.
LegalZoom has customer support available via email, chat, or phone. Their extended support hours can be a great help, as they’re available on weekdays from 8 am to 10 pm ET, and weekends from 10 am to 7 pm ET.
ZenBusiness offers phone, email, and chat support Monday through Friday between 9 am and 9 pm ET and on Sundays from 11 am-8 pm ET. Whenever we’ve contacted them, we’ve received prompt support and accurate responses.
Both of these service providers have order tracking tools available on their websites. Simply log into your account and you’ll find your order status in your profile.
Registered Agent Service
Every LLC in America is required to designate a registered agent, which is a person or service that receives important document deliveries (like service of process) from your state government, informs you of the receipt, then forwards the documents to you. This is so crucial because the state needs to have a reliable means of contacting your business at any time.
ZenBusiness includes free registered agent service with all of its LLC registration packages. LegalZoom does not include registered agent service with any LLC packages, and they charge $249 per year to add it on, which is a price point that many other online incorporation services can beat.
ZenBusiness excels when it comes to customer feedback, as they have thousands of reviews (more than 8,300) available online, and nearly all of them are positive. Their clients are clearly satisfied with their services, and they frequently praise their efficiency, along with the general ease of use.
For their part, LegalZoom also receives mostly positive customer feedback with a similar volume of reviews. While LegalZoom’s average rating scores aren’t quite as high as those of ZenBusiness, they’re still strong. LegalZoom customers seem to love the convenience of their services.
Ease of Use
This category is pretty close, but in favor of ZenBusiness. While both services will present you with multiple screens of features, ZenBusiness’ approach is slightly more tasteful and accommodating.
LegalZoom offers far more additional services than ZenBusiness does, partially because LegalZoom provides a wide variety of personal services in addition to their business offerings. For example, LegalZoom can help you create a last will and testament, divorce papers, property deeds, probate and executor assistance, and more.
While these companies provide similar business services, there are some areas of exclusivity as well. ZenBusiness offers publication services in states that require them (like New York), which LegalZoom does not. On the other hand, LegalZoom provides its customers with a broad selection of copyright protection and trademark registration services, which ZenBusiness lacks.
Which LLC Service Should You Choose?
LegalZoom and ZenBusiness are both very well-known LLC formation services and either one of them can start an LLC on your behalf.
If you’re still on the fence and aren’t sure which service to choose, let’s take a look at some scenarios that might help you decide.
➥ Choose ZenBusiness if:
Do you want one of the most affordable LLC services available while still getting excellent features? Are you interested in using a socially conscious company that gives back to the communities it serves? Go with ZenBusiness.
➦ Choose LegalZoom if:
Do you prefer brand power and customer volume and you’re willing to pay a bit more to get it? Do their extended customer support hours appeal to you? Give LegalZoom a look.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
If I Decide to Use ZenBusiness, Which Package Should I Choose?
Depending on your budget and the needs of your business, there are two different ZenBusiness packages that we really like.
First, it’s hard to find any fault with their Starter plan, because it costs just $39, and it includes the full formation of your LLC, a year of registered agent service, and an operating agreement template.
We also like their $149 Pro plan, which adds an EIN, managed annual report service, and a banking resolution template.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
Unfortunately, LegalZoom piles on quite a few upsells, and ZenBusiness has a handful as well.
LegalZoom sprinkles in $1,080 worth of upsells as you work your way through their order form, which is the most excessive amount of upsells we’re aware of in this industry. ZenBusiness is much better in this regard, but they still attempt $285 in upsells.
Does ZenBusiness Handle New York Publication Requirements?
They sure do! ZenBusiness offers to take care of many state-specific compliance requirements, including publication.
For example, take a look for yourself at their description for their New York publication service. If your state has requirements that go above and beyond the typical steps, ZenBusiness is well worth a look.
For what it’s worth, LegalZoom does not offer publication services.
How Do LegalZoom and ZenBusiness Compare to IncFile?
When reviewing LLC formation services, it’s impossible to not talk about the extremely popular option, IncFile.
IncFile is a great option thanks to its free LLC formation service offer — all you need to pay is your state fee. If you’d like to see how the two services in this comparison stack up to it, see our ZenBusiness vs IncFile comparison or IncFile vs LegalZoom comparison.
Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
ZenBusiness has a rather complex refund policy, so we’ll just let them speak in their own words on this topic:
“Once ZenBusiness has submitted your business for filing with the State under no circumstances can you charge-back or dispute the fees associated with forming your business. If you contact ZenBusiness before your business has been submitted for filing with the State, ZenBusiness may refund the charge, less a $50 cancellation fee, if certain conditions are met.”
LegalZoom has the advantage in this category, thanks to its solid satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not entirely pleased with their services, you have 60 days from the date of your initial purchase to request a refund, and they will grant it. No questions asked, and no cancellation fees.
What Is the Biggest Advantage of Each Service? The biggest advantage for ZenBusiness is the fact that they offer a business formation process that costs just $39 (except for your state fee), whereas with LegalZoom you’ll pay at least $149 for incorporation service. LegalZoom has some advantages of their own though, especially their experience and customer volume, as they’ve been around for much longer and served many more clients than ZenBusiness has. Which Is the Best Package Available From These Services? We typically advise that our readers select the most affordable business formation package that includes registered agent service. With that in mind, we prefer the ZenBusiness Starter package for $39, which includes one year of registered agent service, along with a corporate bylaws template, and a free accounting assessment. After your first year, the Starter plan renews for $119 per year, which is still a great price point for ongoing business compliance. This package truly provides everything you need and nothing you don’t. Which Company Offers More Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements? You can get assistance with ongoing compliance issues from either of these companies, although their prices for providing these services have some differences. With ZenBusiness, you can obtain registered agent service for $99 per year, and their annual report service costs $75 per year. As for LegalZoom, you can get their registered agent service for a variable annual fee of $159-299, but their annual report service is very competitively priced at $55 per year. Can I Get a Refund if I Need One? LegalZoom has a fantastic refund policy. If you decide at any time within 60 days of your purchase that you’re less than satisfied, they will provide a full refund of your service fees. There are no questions asked, and they don’t charge any sort of processing fee. It’s a different story for ZenBusiness, as their refund policy is complicated: “Once ZenBusiness has submitted your business for filing with the State under no circumstances can you charge-back or dispute the fees associated with forming your business. If you contact ZenBusiness before your business has been submitted for filing with the State, ZenBusiness may refund the charge, less a $50 cancellation fee, if certain conditions are met.” Which Is the Better Option if I Need Publication Service? In some states, you need to publish your company’s formation in a regional newspaper. For example, Arizona and Nebraska require publication for LLCs and corporations, New York requires it for LLCs only, and Pennsylvania and Georgia have this requirement for corporations only. While LegalZoom does not handle this step for you and does not offer any sort of assistance, ZenBusiness actually offers to take care of your entire publication requirement on your behalf. Do Either of These Services Go Overboard With Upsells? Both of these companies have their fair share of upsells. As you work your way through the ZenBusiness Starter order form, you’ll find around $200 in upsell attempts, as they try to convince you to add on features that are included with their more expensive packages. With LegalZoom, you’ll encounter many more upsells, as their order form has $1,080 in upsell attempts on it. Obviously, this isn’t a strength for either of these companies, but LegalZoom is certainly much worse in this regard. Am I Required to Use a Company Formation Service? You are not legally required to use any sort of professional service to help form your business entity. If you would rather form your own corporation or nonprofit corporation, we have a detailed step-by-step guide that you can reference throughout the process. However, you should know that the corporation is a complicated business structure in general, and we don’t usually recommend forming your own unless you’re already experienced with the incorporation process.
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