By finding the best LLC service for you, we earn an affiliate commission to keep the lights on. Here’s how.

Last updated on:

ZenBusiness vs Direct IncorporationDo you need to form a limited liability company, but you don’t want to bother with the complexities and hassles of forming your own LLC?

There are many companies like ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation that offer high-quality LLC formation service, but it can be tough to figure out which one is the best option for your new business.

In this ZenBusiness vs Direct Incorporation comparison guide, you’ll find all the relevant information about these two reputable service providers organized in a convenient manner. Let’s find out which one is the right choice for your LLC!

 

Do These LLC Websites Offer Good Value?

LLC ServicePriceScoreValueRecommended?
🥇ZenBusinessStarts at $39★★★★★ (4.8/5)ExcellentAbsolutely
Direct IncorporationStarts at $147★★★★☆ (3.9/5)FairSometimes

ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation are two of our favorite companies in the LLC services industry, and we’re quite confident in their abilities to efficiently form your compliant business entity. Each of these companies has its own advantages when compared to each other, but in general, we prefer ZenBusiness for most of our readers.

Most importantly, if you use our discount to ZenBusiness, they offer LLC formation service for just $39, which is more than $100 cheaper than Direct Incorporation’s entry-level LLC package. In addition, ZenBusiness has well over a thousand positive customer reviews available online, whereas Direct Incorporation has a few dozen.

Would you like to learn the details that set these service providers apart, as well as the common characteristics they both share? Read on as we discuss all the information you need to make a decision between these two respected companies.

Direct Incorporation (Starts at $147)

  • If you want a one-stop
  • LLC service & more features

 

7 Things They Have in Common

1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or Direct Incorporation, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.

2) Registered Agent Service: Both of these companies provide their LLC formation clients with free registered agent service. ZenBusiness provides a full year, while Direct Incorporation includes six months.

3) Efficiency: Whether you choose ZenBusiness or Direct Incorporation, you’re getting a service provider that’s capable of processing an LLC formation quickly. If you’re in a hurry, they both have options available that can speed up your formation.

4) Experience: Both Direct Incorporation and ZenBusiness have helped form thousands of businesses over the years, and they both have plenty of expertise. You can definitely trust them to have the experience they need to form your compliant LLC.

5) Trustworthy: These are both entirely legitimate operations with strong track records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies, but rather they’re well-respected entities that know how to get the job done right.

6) Additional Services: LLC formation is far from the only service offered by ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation. They both have tons of other services available, from registered agent service to foreign qualifications and much more. They’re one-stop shops for business services.

7) 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 Direct Incorporation?

 

Side by Side Comparisons

Pricing

It’s quite difficult to beat ZenBusiness when it comes to pricing, seeing as they offer their Starter LLC formation package for just $39. Direct Incorporation has a starting price point of $147 for LLC formation services.

Obviously, when you’re talking about a difference of more than $100, we’re going to need to see a big advantage for Direct Incorporation in the next category. While that may be the case if you upgrade to their more expensive premium packages, we actually think ZenBusiness gives you more value for your $39 than Direct Incorporation provides for $147.

Features

The ZenBusiness Starter plan includes one year of registered agent service, as well as an LLC operating agreement. In addition to their six months of registered agent service, Direct Incorporation includes a federal tax ID number (EIN), and they will also acquire your S corporation tax election (if necessary). It’s worth mentioning that Direct Incorporation’s higher-priced formation packages include tons of advanced features that ZenBusiness doesn’t offer, like logo design, full-service web design, trademark protection service, and more.

In our opinion, the LLC operating agreement provided by ZenBusiness is roughly equivalent in value to the EIN offered by Direct Incorporation. For the vast majority of entrepreneurs, the six additional months of registered agent service ZenBusiness includes is more valuable than Direct Incorporation’s S corporation filing, so ZenBusiness wins this category too.

Experience

ZenBusiness is a recent addition to this industry, as they were founded in 2015. Since then, they’ve served thousands of customers, and they say that their goal is to form one million LLCs and corporations by 2024. As for Direct Incorporation, they’ve helped more than 80,000 clients since opening in 2003.

Customer Support

Direct Incorporation offers customer support via phone from 10 am to 5 pm ET on weekdays, and in our experience, they are quite responsive, as we’ve never had to wait very long to get in touch with them. ZenBusiness is available from 9 am to 9 pm ET weekdays and 11 am to 8 pm on Sundays, and you can contact them by phone, chat, or email.

Both of these companies offer reliable and friendly customer support, with quick response times. However, we think this category is still a big win for ZenBusiness because Direct Incorporation has such limited availability for support. The extended availability of ZenBusiness is a huge advantage.

Turnaround Times

With Direct Incorporation, turnaround times are based on the requirements of each state. These processing times can vary from just a couple of business days all the way up to several weeks. ZenBusiness takes a different approach that bases processing times on which level of LLC formation service package you purchase from them, although they do say that these speeds vary a bit in some states. In general, they have a 3-4 week turnaround time with the Starter package, which they’ll speed up to 1-2 weeks with the Pro package, and 3-5 days with the Premium package.

Order Tracking

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 business entity 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 registered agent service with all of its LLC formation packages, and this service costs $99 per year if ordered separately. Direct Incorporation bundles in six months of registered agent service with their LLC service packages, and they charge $159 per year for ongoing service once that six months is up. Again, this is an obvious advantage for ZenBusiness.

Customer Reviews

ZenBusiness excels when it comes to customer feedback, as they have more than 2,500 reviews 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 provided by their platform.

As for Direct Incorporation, they have a few dozen reviews available. While a slight majority of them are positive, there are some critical reviews out there as well. For instance, their average rating score on Facebook is 3.9 stars out of 5, which is pretty good but not great.

Ease of Use

These companies are relative equals in this category, as they both make the LLC formation process quite simple compared to forming your own business using the DIY method. This category is a tie for Direct Incorporation and ZenBusiness.

Additional Services

With either Direct Incorporation or ZenBusiness, you can access an impressive variety of additional business services. There are several services that you can purchase from either of these companies, like registered agent service, annual reports, operating agreements, amendments, and more. However, each company has some exclusive services as well.

For instance, only ZenBusiness offers publication service in states that require it for LLC formations, while Direct Incorporation provides access to a broad selection of advanced services, including logo and web design, as well as marketing and tax advice through their Executive Club service.

 

Which Is the Best LLC Service for You?

ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation have plenty of common characteristics that make them two of the top LLC formation services available, but they also have some major differences that set them apart. If you haven’t yet made up your mind between them, let’s finish this comparison by quickly describing some scenarios that may sway your opinion one way or the other.

Regardless of which one you ultimately choose to help form your LLC, we think you’ll be quite pleased with the service you receive from these great companies.

LLC ServicePriceScoreValueRecommended?
🥇ZenBusinessStarts at $39★★★★★ (4.8/5)ExcellentAbsolutely
Direct IncorporationStarts at $147★★★★☆ (3.9/5)FairSometimes

➥ Choose ZenBusiness if You Are:

Are you seeking the lowest possible price points? The $39 LLC formation package offered by ZenBusiness is just about as cheap as it gets in this industry. In addition, if you’re in the market for registered agent service, ZenBusiness is a no-brainer.

➦ Choose Direct Incorporation if You Are:

If your company can take advantage of its advanced features, Direct Incorporation’s LLC service is usually worth the money. Very few competitors can match their offerings of logo design, web design, trademark service, and more. On the other hand, many businesses don’t need these features.

Direct Incorporation (Starts at $147)

  • If you want a one-stop
  • LLC service & more features

Frequently Asked Questions

If I Decide to Use ZenBusiness, Which Package Should I Choose?

It’s impossible to not be a fan of the ZenBusiness Starter plan, because it costs just $39 aside from your state fee, and it even includes registered agent service. We also appreciate their Pro package for $149, which adds EIN obtainment, managed annual reports, and a banking resolution.

Does ZenBusiness Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?

While some competitors won’t handle state-specific compliance requirements on your behalf, ZenBusiness offers a truly comprehensive LLC formation service.

This means that if you’re forming a business in a state that requires publication service to form a compliant LLC, ZenBusiness offers to take care of it for you. For example, here’s their description of their excellent New York publication service.

Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?

In our opinion, Direct Incorporation comes away as a big winner in this category, because they’re one of the few LLC formation service providers that doesn’t attempt any annoying upsells.

As for ZenBusiness, they certainly have their fair share of them. Throughout their LLC service order form, we found a series of upsells that totals $385, which is especially bothersome because every one of those upsell attempts is a feature that you already had a chance to buy on a previous screen, which means that there’s no logical reason to present them to you again.

Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?

For the most part, Direct Incorporation avoids sharing your info with third-party partners.

The only real exception to this is found in the fine print of their privacy policy, where they state that their clients “may from time to time be contacted by a third-party merchant card service to discuss merchant card services and accepting credit cards.” That’s not exactly a welcome feature, but it’s not egregious either.

ZenBusiness has a few third-party partnership offers that require sharing your info. Specifically, keep an eye out for their domain name registration and business website offers, as these are not in-house services.

Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?

Direct Incorporation’s refund policy is pretty strict. At best, you’ll get a refund less a $40 processing fee, but “any order that has been partially processed and has had formation documents sent to the state’s office for filing, and/or trademark documents sent to the USPTO is nonrefundable.”

As for ZenBusiness, their refund policy is somewhat unclear, as it relies on conditions that are not explained. Here’s how they describe their refund policy in their own words: “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 LLC Formation Website Is Faster?

Direct Incorporation, like most companies in this industry, bases turnaround times on each state’s ability to process LLC formations in a timely fashion. This means that your processing speed could be as quick as a few days, or as long as several weeks, depending on your state.

ZenBusiness has a different method for estimating turnaround times that is based on which LLC formation service package you purchase from them, although they do say that there is some state-to-state variation as well. Customers who choose their Starter package should expect a 3-4 week turnaround. If you buy their Pro plan, they’ll form your business in 1-2 weeks, and the Premium package has a quick turnaround of 3-5 days.

Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?

Quite a few people do choose to form their own LLCs using the DIY option, and this option is available to you as well. We don’t typically recommend that our readers try the DIY route though, because every state has different rules and regulations for LLC formations, and it can be a real hassle to figure out exactly what your state requires.

Additionally, there’s no substitute for the peace of mind we receive from professional services like ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation. They have so much experience that it’s easy to trust them to get the job done right.

 

Ready to Create Your LLC Online?

Create your LLC with Direct Incorporation or save $100+ by choosing ZenBusiness.

Direct Incorporation (Starts at $147)

  • If you want a one-stop
  • LLC service & more features


About Aaron Franklin

Frustrated by all the options and aggressive online sales tactics, I created BestLLCServices.com to cut the clutter and bring clarity to entrepreneurs starting an LLC. Our focus is on reviewing and comparing the top LLC formation services while also crafting free resources that help you start a business. We sincerely believe finding the right service and free information should be a simple process so you can get started with minimal friction.