Are you forming a new LLC, but going it alone with the DIY route is unappealing to you?
With this Incorporate.com vs LegalZoom comparison, you’ll find the information you need laid out in a convenient manner. By reviewing their commonalities and differences, we hope this helps make your decision a bit easier.
With Incorporate.com and LegalZoom, we’re talking about two of the most popular LLC formation service providers available. They’re both quality companies that are easy to recommend, in our opinion. Still, LegalZoom has a couple of advantages that make them our preferred pick and the better alternative.
First off, LegalZoom has a level of brand power and customer volume that’s unrivaled in this industry. Additionally, their extended customer support hours can come in really handy.
Would you like some more info before making your decision? Read on as we break down the major factors that set these two companies apart.
Is There a Better Alternative?
While Incorporate.com and LegalZoom both have plenty of positives, neither of them are among our absolute favorite companies in this industry.
In general, we prefer to use a service like ZenBusiness, IncFile and Northwest Registered Agent. They include a full year of registered agent service with all of their LLC formation packages and a lot of other solid features. Plus, they have fabulous customer feedback reputations, with hundreds of positive reviews all over the web.
6 Things They Have In Common
1) Affordable: Whether you choose Incorporate.com or LegalZoom, you can save lots of money over enlisting the services of a traditional business attorney. Most LLC formations aren’t complex enough to necessitate a lawyer, so these providers can fit your needs nicely.
2) Customer Support: One of the best selling points for these companies is the customer service. Instead of spending hours digging around on your own whenever you have a question or concern, you can simply email or call them to get your issues resolved quickly.
3) Guaranteed Services: Both of these providers offer strong guarantees to back up their services. LegalZoom has a satisfaction guarantee which states that if you’re unhappy for any reason, they will refund the fees you paid them. Incorporate.com has a Corporate Compliance Guarantee which says they’ll pay you up to $75,000 if they make a mistake while filing your formation documents.
4) Experience: If experience matters to you, both of these companies have plenty of it. LegalZoom has served millions of customers, while Incorporate.com has been open since the 19th century.
5) Additional Services: LegalZoom and Incorporate.com both offer many additional services that you may find convenient after your formation. Whether you need registered agent service or EIN obtainment, they can provide these and many more services.
6) Educational: Incorporate.com and LegalZoom have tremendous amounts of free learning tools on their websites. If you want to know more about taxation issues, compliance requirements, etc., the information you’re looking for is right at your fingertips.
Side by Side Comparisons
Incorporate.com and LegalZoom both start their LLC service pricing at the same base rate of $99 plus state fee.
Both of these companies have extensive experience. Incorporate.com has served more than 750,000 businesses, and they’ve been around since 1899. No one can match their longevity. As for LegalZoom, they’ve served more than 2 million business clients since they started offering web-based services in 2001, a volume few competitors can touch.
Incorporate.com has helpful, professional service reps ready to assist you whenever you call or email them. They’re available from 8 am to 8 pm ET on weekdays and from 9 am to 6 pm on Saturdays.
LegalZoom’s service department is a bit inconsistent in our experience. Some of their agents are great, but with any company this big, it’s inevitable that not all of their reps are top-notch. Their extended support hours are always appreciated though, as they’re open from 10 am to 8 pm ET on weekdays and 10 am to 7 pm ET on weekends.
LegalZoom’s turnaround times vary depending on the level of LLC formation service you purchase. Their top-tier Express Gold package has 7-10 business day turnarounds, whereas their Standard package takes about 15 business days, and Economy takes around 30 days.
Incorporate.com bases its turnaround times on your state of formation, and estimates for all 50 states can be found on their website.
Incorporate.com has a slick real-time order status tracking tool on their website, so you’ll always know exactly where you stand with your formation. LegalZoom has an order status checking function on their site as well that will give you live updates.
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.
LegalZoom’s registered agent costs $299 per year, and Incorporate.com charges $235 annually. Considering that there are some competitors offering this exact same service for around $100 or less, these price points are thoroughly unimpressive. Furthermore, neither LegalZoom nor Incorporate.com includes registered agent service in their LLC formation packages, as some of their competitors do.
Incorporate.com only has a few dozen reviews across the web, and most of them are critical in nature. Many customers complain about being signed up for registered agent service without their knowledge.
On the other hand, LegalZoom has about 2,000 reviews available online, and they’re more mixed in nature ― a slight majority of their feedback is positive, but they also receive plenty of negative reviews. Overall, LegalZoom has the advantage when it comes to feedback, but it’s not exactly a major strength for them either.
Ease of Use
Both LegalZoom and Incorporate.com offer easy-to-use services and user-friendly websites. This area is a toss-up.
With either LegalZoom or Incorporate.com, you can access quite a few additional business services and these two companies offer many of the same services as well. For example, you can purchase registered agent service, annual reports, business licensing packages, operating agreements, EIN acquisition, doing business as (DBA) names, and more from either one of them.
However, only Incorporate.com offers mail forwarding, and only LegalZoom offers assistance with trademarks and patents. In addition, LegalZoom provides its customers with a wide variety of personal services, like last will and testament, divorce forms, and power of attorney documents.
Better Service to Form an LLC?
Incorporate.com and LegalZoom are both capable and trustworthy companies with quality LLC formation service. We understand some of you still might be undecided, so to close let’s discuss situations where you may prefer one over the other.
➥ Choose LegalZoom if You Are:
If you’re looking for brand power and want to save money, LegalZoom is a strong pick for LLC formation service.
➦ Choose Incorporate.com if You Are:
If you prefer to use companies that have been around for a long time, they’ve been in business since the 19th century.
While both of the LLC services in this comparison offer good overall value and have formed thousands of businesses, we think LegalZoom is the better option. However, in the larger picture, neither of these LLC services are our top pick.
We highly recommend checking out our list of the top LLC services to see which is the best option available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
If I Decide to Use LegalZoom, Which Package Should I Choose?
Our favorite LegalZoom LLC formation package is their Economy package for $99 (plus state fee). This package includes the basics of formation, along with a banking resolution to help you open a business bank account.
We do not recommend their $329 Standard or $349 Express Gold packages though, because they’re significantly overpriced considering what you get in the way of features.
Does LegalZoom Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?
Unfortunately, they do not. When we called LegalZoom’s customer support team to get clarification on this issue, they told us that they do not provide publication service because that requirement takes place after the actual formation of the LLC.
If you’re looking for a company to handle this step on your behalf, we recommend taking a look at ZenBusiness or BizFilings.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
LegalZoom has a ton of upsells, and they’re actually the reason we include this question in our FAQ.
Before they even let you choose which LLC formation package you’d like to purchase, they attempt an incredible $1,080 worth of upsells. How do you even know which additional features you want before you’ve chosen your formation package?
Incorporate.com also attempts quite a few upsells, but in their case, they just repeatedly push their overpriced registered agent service. They even go so far as to advertise features on their LLC package select screen that aren’t actually included with any of those packages ― you have to read the fine print to discover that their annual report service and online compliance dashboard are only accessible if you also purchase registered agent service.
Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?
While several of their competitors try repeatedly to get you to opt into “special offers” or “free extras” that are actually just ways for them to share your info with third-party partners, Incorporate.com and LegalZoom do not do this.
Instead, they both focus on doing what they do best, which is providing their own products and services to the best of their ability.
Does Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
LegalZoom has one of the best refund policies in this entire industry. As long as you request a refund within 60 days of your initial purchase date, they will grant it within five business days. They don’t even charge any sort of convenience or processing fee.
As for Incorporate.com, the language in their refund policy leads us to believe that you should not be relying on their willingness to provide refunds. Here’s the way they describe it in their own words: “If you cancel your order before we have submitted it to a federal, state, or local office, Incorporate.com will refund the total amount paid for such order less a service fee. If you cancel your order after we have already submitted it, we will use our discretion to determine what portion, if any, we will refund.”
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
The answer to this question depends on which state you’re forming your business in, because these two companies take entirely different approaches to turnaround times.
Incorporate.com bases their processing times on how quickly each individual state processes LLC formations, but LegalZoom’s turnarounds are based on which formation package you purchase from them.
The LegalZoom Economy package takes 30 business days, while the Standard package has a 15 business day turnaround, and the Express Gold package has a 7-10 business day processing time.
Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?
Of course you can. The DIY route is always an option.
The only reason we don’t typically recommend this option is that each state has its own guidelines for LLC formations, and to form your own LLC, you’ll need to learn all the details of your state’s rules and regulations.
Also, we always appreciate the peace of mind we get from hiring a professional service like Incorporate.com or LegalZoom, because we trust their expertise to get the job done right.
Ready to Setup Your LLC?
Create your LLC with LegalZoom or read our comparison of the 7 top LLC services.