If you want to form an LLC in the United States, you will need to designate a registered agent. The role of the registered agent involves the usage of their address as your official business address, which means they’ll receive important document deliveries on your behalf, including court summons and other official correspondence from your state government.
While you can legally serve as your own agent and still operate a compliant business entity, there are some other benefits of hiring a registered agent service, like the ability to keep your personal information out of the public record. In addition, having a registered agent makes it so that you don’t need to be available at your place of business during all standard business hours, and it also cuts down on the amount of junk mail you’ll receive.
There are many companies that offer this vital service to businesses, and it can be difficult to discern which one is the best option for your company. In this review, we’ll take a close look at LegalZoom, one of the most popular service providers in the industry. Are they the right registered agent service for your business?
Since they formed in 1999, LegalZoom has served around 6 million customers, which includes the formation of more than 2 million businesses. While they clearly have a high degree of experience, LegalZoom’s high price points are a bit of a drawback for many entrepreneurs.
LegalZoom’s entire business model revolves around helping people confidently accomplish tricky tasks in the business world.
According to the “Our commitment” portion of their website, “You’re never alone — our Customer Care agents, independent network of attorneys, and tax pro service partner are along for the ride. Call, email, or chat if you ever need support (or a pep talk).”
A fun fact about LegalZoom is that they have relationships with many qualified business attorneys. LegalZoom says they have a thorough vetting process for their affiliated lawyers, and that they focus on building relationships with attorneys “who are friendly and speak in plain English.”
30-Second Summary of Our Review
LegalZoom is probably the most recognizable name in the online business services market, as they’ve served millions of customers and they have an enormous advertising budget.
They offer a wide array of products and features that can make your life easier as an entrepreneur, including registered agent service.
While they may seem like a solid option for this service, LegalZoom has a somewhat high price point for registered agent service, as there are competitors that charge 1/3 as much money to provide this exact same service.
- Lots of experience and high customer volume – Not many competitors can say that they’ve served millions of customers, but LegalZoom can. They have a ton of experience that gives them an advantage over most companies in this industry.
- Wide-reaching name recognition – LegalZoom advertises more than the vast majority of their competitors, which is part of why they’re so popular. Their brand power is unrivaled.
- Many other services available – Few companies offer as wide a variety of services as LegalZoom does. They provide personal services like wills and power of attorney, and of course they also have a vast array of business services as well.
- High prices – LegalZoom’s registered agent service costs $299 per year, or $249 for the first year if you add it to a business formation package. While there are a couple of competing companies that charge more than that, there are dozens of services with lower price points.
- No registered agent included with LLC formations – Some competitors, like Northwest Registered Agent and Incfile, include a full year of annual reports or registered agent service with any business formation package. LegalZoom does not.
Pricing & Additional Features
LegalZoom charges an annual fee of $299 to serve as your registered agent, although if you purchase business formation service from them, they’ll provide your first year for $249. In addition to the essentials of registered agent service, they also include a compliance calendar for annual reports and tax deadlines.
LegalZoom vs Other Registered Agent Services
There are several aspects of LegalZoom’s services that we appreciate, but overall there are quite a few competing companies that offer more affordable registered agent service.
LegalZoom has a very high price point for this service. For example, ZenBusiness provides your first year of registered agent service for just $99, and we have a solid $199/year price point after that as well. For more information on your other options, take a look at our guide to the top registered agent services available.
Online Customer Reviews
We were able to find more than 6,000 reviews for LegalZoom’s services, with the three largest collections of feedback belonging to Sitejabber, Consumer Affairs, and the Better Business Bureau.
The majority of these reviews are positive, as LegalZoom maintains an average rating score of roughly 4.3 out of 5 across the three sites.
In their positive reviews, LegalZoom clients often comment on the helpful support they received from LegalZoom representatives, frequently thanking them by name. However, in their negative reviews, clients often complain about the poor quality of customer support, so it seems this aspect of their business is a bit inconsistent.
Customer Service Quality
In our experience, their phone support is quite good, as we’ve received thorough and accurate responses from their service reps whenever we’ve called them with questions or concerns.
On the other hand, we’ve also tested their email support, which is a different story entirely. We’ve actually waited over a full week to get a response to emails in the past, and when LegalZoom does respond to email inquiries, it’s often just a form email that doesn’t actually answer our questions.
In short, we can see why they have a mixed reputation in this regard, because our own experiences with them have been hit-or-miss as well. That said, we always appreciate their long hours of availability, as LegalZoom’s support team is available on evenings and weekends when most competitors are out of the office.
Main Reasons to Use LegalZoom
If you prioritize experience and customer volume, LegalZoom is clearly a great option. The best argument in their favor is the “millions of customers can’t be wrong” reasoning, which does have some merit.
Main Reasons Not to Use LegalZoom
Do you prefer to use services that can save you some money, while also providing additional features? ZenBusiness significantly undercuts LegalZoom’s pricing for both registered agent service and LLC formations, while also providing more valuable features.
LegalZoom has significant brand power, with millions of customers served and broad advertising initiatives. It also receives solid customer reviews, although its pricing models are all average at best.