Do 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 online companies like Inc Authority and LegalZoom 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 Inc Authority vs LegalZoom 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 Inc Authority and LegalZoom Offer Good Value?
|🥇 Inc Authority||Starts at $0||(4.6/5)||Excellent||Absolutely|
|LegalZoom||Starts at $99||(3.7/5)||Fair||Sometimes|
Inc Authority and LegalZoom 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 Inc Authority.
First and foremost, Inc Authority has a huge advantage in the area of customer feedback. They receive almost uniformly positive reviews, whereas LegalZoom is more of a mixed bag. In addition, Inc Authority has much more affordable pricing than LegalZoom does, especially when you consider that Inc Authority includes a year of registered agent service and LegalZoom does not.
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.
Is There a Better Alternative?
While Inc Authority and LegalZoom both have plenty of positives, neither are among our absolute favorite companies in this industry. In general, we recommend ZenBusiness to form an LLC.
We think ZenBusiness is the most well-rounded company in this industry today. They have an outstanding pricing model that ensures every entrepreneur can afford to form an LLC, and their customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
Plus, they’re a socially conscious organization that gives back.
These two companies each have their own advantages over ZenBusiness in certain areas — LegalZoom has more experience, and Inc Authority has a lower entry-level price point — but ZenBusiness still comes out ahead of both companies, in our opinion.
7 Things They Have in Common
1) Affordable: With either LegalZoom or Inc Authority, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.
2) Efficiency: These companies both work quickly, and they can get your formation processed 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 all of your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from LegalZoom or Inc Authority?
4) Experience: Both Inc Authority and LegalZoom 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 with plenty of expertise to get the job done right.
6) Additional Services: Both LegalZoom and Inc Authority have many other services that they can provide to your business, from registered agent service to annual reports and much more.
7) Informative: Inc Authority 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 impossible to beat Inc Authority’s offer when it comes to pricing. That’s because they’re one of only two companies in this industry that offers free LLC formation, as long as you pay your own state fee. As for LegalZoom, their base-rate business formation package costs $99.
Of course, everyone would rather pay $0 than $99, but this is far from the end of Inc Authority’s advantages. Not only will they form your LLC for free, but as you’ll see in the next section, Inc Authority actually provides more valuable features in their free formation package than LegalZoom does in their $99 package.
In their free package, Inc Authority includes one year of registered agent service and an S corporation tax election filing (which most LLCs don’t need). By contrast, LegalZoom’s $99 package only includes a banking resolution to help you open a business bank account.
In our opinion, the tax election filing and the banking resolution are roughly equivalent in value, but the full year of registered agent service is a huge advantage for Inc Authority. If you wanted to add 12 months of registered agent service to your LegalZoom LLC package, it would cost an additional $249.
This is a category where LegalZoom has a noteworthy advantage. Inc Authority was formed in 1989, and they’ve formed more than 140,000 LLCs and corporations over the years. On the other hand, LegalZoom has formed more than 2 million business entities since 2001.
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 10 am to 8 pm ET, and weekends from 10 am to 7 pm ET.
Inc Authority offers support through the same three mediums of phone, email, or chat. Their hours are shorter than LegalZoom’s due to their lack of weekend availability, as Inc Authority’s reps are only available from 11 am to 8 pm ET on weekdays.
We think this category is a tie, simply because each company has one major advantage over the other. LegalZoom obviously comes away as a big winner when it comes to hours of operation, but Inc Authority has faster response times in our experience.
With Inc Authority, 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.
LegalZoom 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. Their cheaper packages can take up to 30 business days to process, while their top-tier Express Gold package cuts that time down to 7-10 business days.
We prefer Inc Authority in this category, because they base their processing speeds on the actual capabilities of each state, rather than arbitrarily increasing or decreasing your turnaround times based on how much money you paid them.
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 online 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.
Inc Authority includes 12 months of registered agent service with any LLC formation package, and they charge a reasonable $99 per year otherwise. As for LegalZoom, they do not include registered agent service with any of their three business formation plans. If you want to add registered agent service to a formation package, they charge $299 per year.
Inc Authority’s customer satisfaction reputation is fantastic. We found more than 4,000 reviews of their services, and they were overwhelmingly positive. Their clients clearly love their free LLC formation service offer and they also seem to appreciate their quick processing speeds.
For their part, LegalZoom receives much more mixed feedback from their clients. We found more than 1,000 LegalZoom reviews, and while their positive reviews outweigh the negative ones, there is still plenty of each. Their customers seem happy about how convenient their services are, but have issues with inconsistent customer support and their somewhat high prices.
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. Still, we will give LegalZoom a slight edge because their website is a bit more streamlined and user-friendly than the Inc Authority site is.
Inc Authority and LegalZoom offer many of the same services, but they also each have some services the other one doesn’t offer. Specifically, Inc Authority has a business funding service and business credit package that LegalZoom doesn’t provide. However, LegalZoom has more business services available for intellectual property issues, and they also offer a wider variety of personal services like estate planning.
Which Is the Best LLC Website for You?
LegalZoom and Inc Authority 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.
|🥇 Inc Authority||Starts at $0||(4.6/5)||Excellent||Absolutely|
|LegalZoom||Starts at $99||(3.7/5)||Fair||Sometimes|
➥ Choose Inc Authority if You Are:
Do you want the best prices? Are you interested in using the company with a better reputation for customer satisfaction? Inc Authority is a great choice.
➦ Choose LegalZoom if You Are:
Do you place a high value on brand power and customer volume, and you’re willing to pay a bit more to get it? Give LegalZoom a look.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I Decide to Use Inc Authority, Which Package Should I Choose?
As it turns out, Inc Authority’s entry-level LLC formation package is the only one we like. Not only is it free of charge (except for your state fee), but it also includes a year of registered agent service and an S corporation tax election filing. However, their premium packages are all overpriced in our opinion.
Does Inc Authority Handle State Requirements Like New York Publication?
New York LLCs have additional compliance steps – publishing your LLC’s formation in a reputable local newspaper.
Unfortunately, Inc Authority does not offer publication service, so you’ll need to handle this step on your own. In case you’re wondering, LegalZoom doesn’t offer publication assistance either.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
Unfortunately, LegalZoom piles on the upsells, and Inc Authority has a few of them 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.
Inc Authority includes a page of optional add-on features at the end of their order form, but seeing as they’re a free service to begin with, this doesn’t really bother us.
Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
On Inc Authority’s website, they specifically mention that they will not grant any refund requests for any reason. LegalZoom has a massive advantage in this category, thanks to their fantastic 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, no cancellation fees!
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
Inc Authority’s turnaround times vary from state to state ― in some states, they can get your LLC formed in just a few days, while in some others it will take several weeks.
LegalZoom has a different tactic for calculating processing speeds, and it’s based on how much money you spend on their platform, rather than on each state’s actual capabilities. Here’s how long they take to process an order (keep in mind that these can vary by state):
- Basic ($99): 30 business days
- Standard ($329): 15 business days
- Express Gold ($349): 7-10 business 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 LegalZoom and Inc Authority.
Ready to Create Your LLC Online?
Create your LLC with LegalZoom or save $99+ by choosing Inc Authority.