Do you want to form an LLC, but you don’t know if ZenBusiness is the best company to assist with your formation? With so many choices for LLC service online, it can be tricky to figure out which one would best serve your company.
This ZenBusiness LLC service alternatives guide is structured in a way that gives you a quick rundown on a few of their competitors, in order to discern if one of them might be a better choice for you.
Since they opened for business back in 2004, IncFile has served over 250,000 customers. They’re our favorite overall LLC formation service, due to their mix of great prices and valuable features. Let’s see how they compare to ZenBusiness in several key areas.
- IncFile’s base formation package costs $49 plus state fee, and that price includes a full year of registered agent service. While ZenBusiness does provide an option for free LLC service if you pay your state fee, their price to include registered agent is $120/year, which is obviously a higher upfront cost than IncFile charges for this combination.
- With IncFile, you have access to their excellent customer support network that includes unlimited phone and email support. ZenBusiness only provides customer service via their online web chat tool.
- While ZenBusiness receives strong customer reviews, IncFile still has the advantage in this area. This is thanks to the fact that IncFile has well over 10,000 reviews available online, while still maintaining high average rating scores. ZenBusiness has about 500 reviews and similarly high scores, but they can’t match the volume of feedback IncFile has.
IncFile has several distinct advantages compared to most of their competitors, which is why they’re our favorite choice to form a new LLC. That said, if you don’t need or want registered agent service, the ZenBusiness free package is still definitely a strong contender for your business formation.
Since their formation in 1998, Northwest Registered Agent has helped form thousands of limited liability companies. They offer some premium features that most competitors can’t match, so let’s see how they stack up next to ZenBusiness.
- Northwest offers LLC formation service starting at $79 (plus state fee), which includes a year of their registered agent service. This is an advantage over ZenBusiness, which has a $120 per year price point for LLC formation with registered agent. After the first free year with Northwest, their registered agent pricing is $125, which puts them on essentially equal footing with ZenBusiness.
- Is customer support a priority for you? If so, Northwest will almost certainly appeal to you. Thanks to their Corporate Guide system, each customer receives direct access to one of their highly knowledgeable representatives. Whenever you have questions or concerns, you can talk to the same person every time!
- Northwest is the only major nationwide business services provider that locally scans every document they receive as your registered agent. By contrast, their competitors only scan the government documents that they’re legally required to scan.
They also have a strong reputation for customer feedback, although Northwest doesn’t match the volume of reviews that IncFile or even ZenBusiness has. Overall, Northwest is one of our favorite companies in this industry, and we never hesitate to recommend their services.
The last company we’ll discuss in this comparison guide is LegalZoom, one of the true giants of this industry. LegalZoom has served millions of customers since they launched their web-based services in 2001, making them the most experienced option in this guide. But does all that experience come at the expense of other features?
- LegalZoom’s $99 (plus state fee) base price point is pretty expensive when you consider that this package doesn’t include registered agent service, or really any valuable features other than the absolute basics. If all you want is the essentials, there’s really no reason to spend $99 on LegalZoom when ZenBusiness can do the same thing for free.
- LegalZoom provides a welcome safety net for their customers in the form of their 100% satisfaction guarantee. As long as you request your refund within 60 days of your original purchase, LegalZoom promises to refund their fees to you within five days.
- While they do have plenty of points in their favor, LegalZoom also has some drawbacks. They are relentless about upsells, as they attempt over $1,000 of upsells whenever you try to order LLC formation service. They also change their prices on a near-constant basis that makes it exceedingly difficult to stay on top of what they’re currently offering.
If experience is of high importance to you, then LegalZoom is definitely worth a look, as they are a much more established company than ZenBusiness is. That said, LegalZoom’s pricing is not great, and their customer feedback is decidedly mixed compared to the other options in this guide.
All told, these are four of the top limited liability company formation services available. They’re all quite reliable, and there is no question regarding their legitimacy. In general, ZenBusiness has the lowest prices, IncFile has the best rate for LLC formation and registered agent bundled together, Northwest has the best customer support, and LegalZoom has the most experience.
No matter which one you choose, any of these companies can form your new LLC while saving you hundreds of dollars compared to paying an attorney to form your business.
Overall, our favorite alternative to ZenBusiness is IncFile. They have a great low rate on the combination of LLC formation and registered agent service, and they have outstanding customer feedback as well. Whether you ultimately choose IncFile, ZenBusiness, or one of these other options, we’re confident that you’ll be pleased with the service you receive from these reputable service providers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Service Is the Best for Entrepreneurs on a Limited Budget?
Considering the fact that the ZenBusiness Basic package is entirely free as long as you pay your own state fee, this is clearly our pick in this category. We’re also big fans of IncFile’s Silver package for $49 (plus state fee), which also provides your LLC formation but also adds a year of registered agent service. If you have room in your budget, IncFile Silver is a great choice, but ZenBusiness Basic is our top pick for cash-strapped entrepreneurs.
Which Service Has the Best Customer Support?
There’s a wide gulf between what these companies offer for customer support, from the chat-only support offered by ZenBusiness all the way up to Northwest’s highly personalized one-on-one customer service. With that in mind, Northwest’s Corporate Guide system is our favorite customer support solution, as their clients each receive support from a dedicated representative. That person helps walk you through each step of the formation process, and you receive their direct contact info if you need to get help with a question or concern at any time.
Do Any of These Services Handle State-Specific Requirements Like Publication?
ZenBusiness is the only one of the four companies in this guide that offers state-specific compliance requirements like the publication step found in several states. Northwest Registered Agent is the only other option we’ve discussed that provides any assistance with publication, but in their case it’s just a set of instructions for you to complete the requirement yourself.
Which Service Has the Fewest Upsells?
IncFile and Northwest both do a good job of minimizing the upsell attempts, but we unfortunately cannot say the same thing for ZenBusiness and LegalZoom. ZenBusiness has quite a few upsells to navigate as you work your way through their order form, totaling $495 of upsell attempts, but LegalZoom takes things to the next level by comparison. Before you even reach their LLC formation service package select screen, LegalZoom attempts $1,080 of upsells, which is the most upsells we’ve seen in this industry.
Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?
LegalZoom and Northwest avoid third-party partnership offers, but ZenBusiness and IncFile embrace them. IncFile’s LLC formation service order form has several “special offers” that are attempts to get your permission to share your personal info with other companies. Specifically, their business bank account, website and domain name, and tax consultation offers are provided through info-sharing agreements. As for ZenBusiness, their upper-tier formation packages are stuffed with features like CPA consults, domain name registration, accounting software, and insurance quotes, all of which are just attempts to share your info.
Are Any of These Services Faster Than the Others?
Like most other companies in this industry, IncFile and Northwest base their turnarounds on the abilities of each state to process LLC formations, and therefore they have very similar processing speeds in most states. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom do things differently, as they both base their turnaround estimates on how much money you spend on their services. Take a look at the average processing speeds for ZenBusiness:
- Basic ($0): 4 weeks
- Starter ($10/month): 3-4 weeks
- Pro ($30/month): 1-2 weeks
- Premium ($60/month): 3-5 days
And here are the typical turnarounds for LegalZoom:
- Economy ($99): 30 business days
- Standard ($329): 15 business days
- Express Gold ($349): 7-10 business days
Which Service Has the Best Refund Policy?
LegalZoom wins big when it comes to refund policies, as they have a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If you decide that you’re unhappy with their service for any reason, all you need to do is request a refund and they will grant it. They don’t even charge any processing fees!
Can I Just Form an LLC on My Own, Without a Service?
You always have the option to form your own LLC using the DIY method, and quite a few entrepreneurs do just that. We would simply like to mention that we don’t usually recommend the DIY option, because each state has its own rules and regulations for LLC formations, and it can be a hassle to figure out what your state requires. Furthermore, there’s no substitute for the peace of mind we receive from hiring a professional service, because we trust their expertise.