Since opening in 1999, LegalZoom has built its brand to be the most well-known LLC formation service available.
There are dozens of service providers that will form an LLC for you online, but LegalZoom is by far the most recognizable brand, thanks to its millions of customers and extensive advertising campaigns.
As with anything, there are pros and cons to using their services. This LegalZoom LLC formation service review will outline everything you need to know before forming an LLC online.
Pros & Cons of LegalZoom
Pros of LegalZoom:
✔ When it comes to experience, LegalZoom is second to none in this industry. They have millions of business customers, they have more brand power than any other LLC service provider, and they’ve been well-established for decades.
✔ LegalZoom offers a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee that you can leverage at any time within 60 days of your purchase. Not all competitors have such a guarantee, and nearly none of them give you two full months to make your decision.
✔ You can do a business name availability search on LegalZoom’s website for free, whether you’re a customer or not.
✔ We appreciate LegalZoom’s extended customer service hours that run until 10pm ET on weekdays and 7pm ET on weekends. Not many online incorporation services can beat that availability.
✔ Beyond your LLC formation, LegalZoom has some other business services that we really like. For example, their annual report filing service is among the best values in the industry.
Cons of LegalZoom:
✖ LegalZoom’s pricing is more expensive than alternative cheaper LLC services that charge far less to form an LLC. LegalZoom’s cheapest “Economy” LLC formation package costs $79 plus state fee, but they don’t include any advanced features.
✖ LegalZoom’s ordering process includes a seemingly never-ending series of upsells. Before you even reach their package selection screen, they’ll put you through upsells for their registered agent service, EIN acquisition, a business license research package, business tax software, a legal services subscription service, and compliance assistance. If you accepted all of these up-sells, you would be on the hook for a huge $1,080 ― and that doesn’t even include the cost of your actual state registration fee.
LegalZoom LLC Formation Prices & Packages
LegalZoom offers three levels of LLC formation service packages: Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. To review the full details of each package yourself, take a look at the breakdown below.
Economy = $79 + State Fee
➢ Business Name Availability Check: LegalZoom searches through the business database of the state you’re forming an LLC in to determine whether the business name you want is available, or if it’s claimed by another entity.
➢ Preparation and Filing of Your Articles of Organization: These documents are the forms required by the state to create your new LLC. LegalZoom will draft your articles of organization, then file them with your state of formation.
➢ Lifetime Customer Support: LegalZoom’s customer service team is available seven days a week, with extended support hours that run until 10pm ET Monday through Friday, and 7pm ET on weekends.
➢ Banking Resolution: This financial account authorization letter indicates who is eligible to open a checking or savings account on your LLC’s behalf, and can help you acquire a business bank account.
Standard = $329 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Economy package, plus…
➢ Deluxe Organizer: A box embossed with your company name.
➢ Membership Certificates and Seal: They include 20 personalized membership certificates for your LLC’s owners, along with a decorative seal.
➢ VIP Processing: LegalZoom prioritizes your order above those of customers from the Economy tier.
Express Gold = $349 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Standard package, plus…
➢ Expedited Processing With Secretary of State: If your state of formation offers expedited processing, LegalZoom will pursue that option. This can cut your turnaround times from weeks down to days. If you’re in a rush to start an LLC, this is worthwhile.
➢ Express Shipping: They’ll ship your completed documents via Express Mail with a tracking number.
Popular LegalZoom LLC Alternative
There are a lot of LLC formation services out there. If LegalZoom doesn’t feel like the right fit or you’d at least like to check out other options, here is our favorite LLC service. We think ZenBusiness has the best overall value online — especially compared to LegalZoom.
Here’s a quick comparison of LegalZoom vs ZenBusiness:
- Pricing: LegalZoom is $40 more expensive. Rather than paying $79 to set up an LLC with LegalZoom, you can get an LLC with ZenBusiness for $39.
- Features: ZenBusiness offers a lot more bang for your buck compared to any of LegalZoom’s LLC formation packages. You’ll get a free operating agreement, 12 months free registered agent service, and other free add ons.
- Ease of Use: This area is a tie. Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness make it very easy to form an LLC through their website.
LegalZoom Reviews From Customers
|SiteJabber (1,006 reviews)||3.6 out of 5 stars|
|Consumer Affairs (713 reviews)||4.5 out of 5 stars|
|Better Business Bureau (2,351 reviews)||4.2 out of 5 stars|
There’s certainly no shortage of customer feedback available online for LegalZoom, as they have hundreds of reviews all across the web.
Customers used to be split rather evenly between having positive and negative impressions of forming an LLC through LegalZoom but in recent years, the company has improved its reputation considerably. To get a closer look at their feedback, below we listed their rating on the top 3rd party customer feedback sites online.
In general though, customers are impressed with their quick turnaround times, although some have issues with inconsistent customer service representatives.
Should You Form an LLC with LegalZoom?
At the end of the day, LegalZoom has some meaningful positives, but they also have some serious disadvantages that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s when you should and shouldn’t form an LLC with LegalZoom.
✔ When to Form an LLC with LegalZoom:
If you place a high value on working with a massive online legal service, LegalZoom is your best bet.
✖ When NOT to Form an LLC with LegalZoom:
If you want to save some money and add valuable features at the same time, there are many alternative LLC services that can beat what LegalZoom has to offer.
Their pricing just isn’t competitive with many other LLC service providers, and their service packages lack some features that you can find rather easily elsewhere. On the other hand, they have a ton of experience, and their 100% satisfaction guarantee is a nice safety net. Overall, we prefer other services to start an LLC, but we can certainly understand if you’d rather go with the track record of LegalZoom.
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What Other Services Does LegalZoom Offer?
As with most competitors, LegalZoom provides a wide variety of additional services to help entrepreneurs form, maintain, and grow their businesses. We dug into the list of features LegalZoom offers to see how much they charge for each of these services, which can be especially interesting when examining a la carte pricing for features included in their formation packages.
Let’s take a look at everything LegalZoom offers and discuss which services are good deals and which ones you can ignore.
- DBA Name ($99): A DBA (doing business as) name is an alternative to forming a business entity, as it gives you the legal right to use an assumed business name. The $99 price point is roughly the industry standard.
- Annual Report ($55): Most states require some sort of annual or biennial report from entrepreneurs. This report keeps the state updated regarding some basic attributes of your business, like your address or your registered agent’s name. This is an outstanding price point that beats most competitors’ pricing models for this service.
- Initial Report ($35): A few states require a similar filing to the annual report when you first open your business. If you operate your LLC in one of these states, LegalZoom will take care of this requirement for just $35 — an excellent bargain.
- Compliance Calendar ($69 per year): LegalZoom will track your annual report and tax filing due dates, helping your LLC stay compliant with state regulations. Some competitors offer a similar feature for free with LLC formation packages, so this isn’t a great deal.
- Registered Agent Service ($299): Every LLC needs a registered agent to receive important document deliveries from the state. Unlike many competitors, LegalZoom does not include a free year of this vital service in its LLC formation packages. Moreover, the $299 annual price point is significantly higher than most other companies (IncFile charges $119, ZenBusiness charges $99, etc.). They will give you your first year for $249 if you add it on to your LLC formation purchase, but this is still not impressive.
- Operating Agreement ($99): An operating agreement outlines some important internal operating procedures for your company. Every business should have one, but $99 is a steep price. Swyft Filings will create a custom operating agreement for your LLC for just $35!
- Amendments ($129): If you need to amend your LLC’s formation documents to reflect important changes made to your business, LegalZoom will file amendments for $129 each, plus the state fee. This price is a bit higher than most competitors charge, as the industry standard is around $100.
- Dissolution ($129): Are you ready to shut your LLC’s doors for good? LegalZoom will complete and file your dissolution paperwork for the highly competitive rate of $129, closing your business and removing your responsibility for keeping up with ongoing maintenance requirements.
- Foreign Qualification ($229): If your LLC already exists in another state, you need to file a foreign qualification rather than a formation. Most competitors only charge around $150 for this service.
- Conversion ($229): Do you want to convert your corporation to an LLC (or vice versa)? LegalZoom will file the necessary paperwork for $229. Many competitors don’t offer conversion services at all.
- EIN ($79): It’s very easy to obtain your own EIN from the IRS, so it’s probably unnecessary to spend $79 having LegalZoom acquire one on your behalf. That said, this is a relatively standard price point around the industry.
- Business License Research Package ($99.99): This feature includes a list of all the licenses and permits your business needs to operate in compliance with federal, state, and local law. You still have to apply for the licenses yourself, but it’s quite helpful to get a list of everything you need.
- LLC Kit ($70): This feature is a binder with your LLC’s name stamped on it. To be honest, no one needs an LLC kit and we would not advise spending very much on this product. However, $70 is a lower price point than most competitors charge for LLC kits.
- Certified Copy ($45): If you need any official copies of your state-filed business documents, LegalZoom will acquire them for $45. This is a solid price point that’s right in line with industry norms.
- Certificate of Good Standing ($45): This is a form that proves your LLC is current and compliant with all regulations in your state. The $45 LegalZoom fee for this service is a solid bargain, as most competitors charge more for this document.
- Business Advisory Plan ($31.25 per month): This feature provides assistance from attorneys for things like contracts, agreements, trademarks, and trusts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got LegalZoom LLC questions? We’ve got answers.
How Does LegalZoom Compare to Other LLC Services?
There are a handful of other companies that we prefer when it comes to LLC formation service, although LegalZoom is a solid option in their own right. If LegalZoom improved their pricing model just a little bit, they would have a good shot at moving up in our rankings.
Overall, LegalZoom ranks fifth in our “7 Best LLC Services” guide. While we do think they provide worthwhile services, we prefer ZenBusiness, Northwest Registered Agent, or IncFile to form our LLCs. Simply put, these companies provide more valuable features at better price points.
Is LegalZoom Legit?
LegalZoom has been around since 1999, and they’ve served millions of customers with reliable and trustworthy business services since then. Their customer feedback is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s been improving in recent years. They have thousands of reviews available online, and more of them are positive than negative. Their clients love their speedy services, but they also have some issues with inconsistent customer support.
Is LegalZoom the LLC Website You Recommend to Family and Friends?
This is a somewhat difficult question to answer. If our mom asked whether IncFile is worth using, we would say that we appreciate their experience and impressive client volume, but also that there are still a couple of other options that we prefer.
We would ultimately recommend ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent. ZenBusiness is a tremendously well-rounded company that gives back to the community as a public benefit corporation, while Northwest is a premium service with next-level customer support.
Does LegalZoom Offer Any Discounts?
Unfortunately, we were unable to find any promo codes, discounts, coupons, or sales for LegalZoom’s services. It’s especially disappointing seeing as all they need to compete with the top companies in this industry is a slight price reduction.
Does LegalZoom Have More Up-sells Than Other Services?
To be perfectly honest, LegalZoom goes way overboard with the attempted upsells — much more than other LLC formation services.
Before you even select which LLC formation package you’d like to purchase, LegalZoom attempts six up-sells totaling $1,080 over the course of your LLC’s first year in business.
There are many aspects to LegalZoom’s products and services that we like quite a bit, but this is a significant negative. If this is something you’d like to avoid, form your LLC through an alternative incorporation service.
Does LegalZoom Have Good Customer Support?
We really like LegalZoom’s extended customer support availability, as they have longer hours than most competitors.
They do get some complaints about the quality and consistency of that support though, and sometimes you’ll need to wait a while during peak times, but these are both characteristics that are quite normal for companies as large as LegalZoom.
Do They Have a Refund Policy?
LegalZoom has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you request a refund within 60 days of your purchase date, they’ll provide it with no questions asked.
Can I Form an LLC on My Own?
You certainly do have this option and plenty of entrepreneurs do choose to form their own LLCs. The DIY option is really only a good idea if you’re willing to do the research and file with the state yourself.
You’ll need to look into your specific state’s compliance requirements, and it’ll definitely take more time than starting an LLC with a service like LegalZoom.
Should I Reserve My LLC Name Before Forming an LLC With LegalZoom?
It depends. Each state (minus Florida) has a way to reserve a business name before forming your entity itself. In general, this is only necessary if you aren’t yet ready to enter the LLC formation process.
If you’re ready to start your business, there’s no reason to reserve your name before forming your LLC with LegalZoom. We will note that certain states (like Alabama) require you to reserve a name before you form your business.
Does LegalZoom Handle Additional State-Specific Requirements?
We contacted LegalZoom’s customer support via phone, and they told us that while they do handle each step of the actual LLC formation process, they don’t offer assistance with publication requirements because that step technically occurs after the business entity itself is formed.
They do, however, take care of steps that occur during the formation process, like Alabama’s name reservation.
What Is the LegalZoom Customer Support Phone Number and Email?
You can contact LegalZoom via phone by calling 1-800-773-0888. Instead of listing an email address on their website, they have a form you can fill out on their “Contact Us” page to initiate their email support function.
How Quickly Does LegalZoom Process LLC Formations?
LegalZoom’s processing times are based on which formation package you purchase rather than on the actual requirements of your state.
Their basic Economy package is the slowest (30 business days), while the mid-tier Standard package is a bit faster (15 days), and the top-shelf Express Gold is the fastest (7-10).
Can I Form an LLC Without Physically Being in the United States?
Yes, there is no requirement that you be present in the U.S. to form an LLC. In fact, you don’t need to be an American citizen or resident to form an LLC either, as foreign nationals are allowed to own and operate LLCs just like American citizens are.
Other Than LLC Formation, What Else Can LegalZoom Do?
LegalZoom offers more additional services than the vast majority of its competitors, partially due to the fact that they provide many personal services in addition to their business offerings. For example, they can help individuals with their last will and testament, power of attorney, divorce proceedings, etc.
As for their business services, LegalZoom has a laundry list of them. They offer registered agent service, trademark and copyright protection, doing business as (DBA) names, amendments, dissolutions, foreign qualifications, conversions, annual reports, operating agreements, EIN acquisition, business licensing, and much more.
My LLC Needs an EIN but it's an Extra $79. Is It Worth the Money?
This is a tough question to answer without knowing the specific needs of your unique business. Some entrepreneurs enjoy getting an EIN included with their LLC formation, even if it means spending extra to add it on.
The convenience of not having to get one themselves through the IRS is worth it, and they like to have articles of organization and EIN confirmation in the same place – the LLC services’ dashboard.
However, we completely understand if you’d rather save some money and acquire your own EIN from the IRS directly, which is totally free.
Ready to Start Your LLC?
Start your LLC with LegalZoom or read our comparison of the 7 top rated LLC services.