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?
In this ZenBusiness vs BizFilings 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!
ZenBusiness and BizFilings are two of the most popular companies providing online LLC formation service, and they’re both able to efficiently and effectively form limited liability companies. They each have some advantages over the other, but we generally prefer ZenBusiness for the majority of our readers.
Most importantly, ZenBusiness provides more affordable formation service than BizFilings does, especially considering that ZenBusiness has an LLC package that’s entirely free, as long as you pay your state fee. Furthermore, they receive fantastic customer feedback, whereas BizFilings barely has any reviews available online.
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 ZenBusiness and BizFilings both have plenty of positives, neither of them are among our absolute favorite companies in this industry. In general, we prefer to use either IncFile or Northwest Registered Agent to form an LLC.
Both of these service providers include a full year of registered agent service with all of their LLC formation packages, which for IncFile start at $49 and for Northwest start at $79. Other than that, IncFile’s best attribute is their fabulous customer feedback reputation, with thousands of positive reviews all over the web. As for Northwest, they’re the only major national service provider that locally scans every document they receive as your registered agent, whereas most competitors only scan the government docs that they’re legally required to.
5 Things They Have in Common
1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or BizFilings, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.
2) Registered Agent Service: While ZenBusiness does not include registered agent with their free LLC formation package, they include a full year with all of their paid packages, and BizFilings provides six months of registered agent to all of their formation customers.
3) Efficiency: These companies both work quickly, and they can get your formation processed with the state in a matter of weeks or even days.
4) Experience: Both BizFilings and ZenBusiness 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.
4) Customer Support: While the methods they use to provide customer service are quite different (which we’ll discuss shortly), these two services both have customer support networks that can answer your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from ZenBusiness or BizFilings?
5) Informative: The BizFilings “Business Owner’s Toolkit” is one of the most helpful educational resources offered by any LLC formation service provider, with tons of info about business entity types, industry guides, and more. As for ZenBusiness, they have a blog where they share business tips and tricks. Both are excellent resources whether you’re a customer or not.
Side by Side Comparisons
It’s impossible to beat ZenBusiness in the pricing category, because their Basic LLC formation package is free of charge ― all you need to do is pay your state fee. BizFilings starts their formation service pricing at $99, which is a reasonable but unexciting price point.
For the most part, the free package offered by ZenBusiness is quite similar to the $99 BizFilings package, with the major exception being the six months of registered agent service included with all BizFilings LLC formations. Aside from that, both of these services provide the essentials with their entry-level packages, but little else.
ZenBusiness is a more recent addition to the industry, as they were founded in 2015, but they’ve formed thousands of businesses in just a few years. BizFilings is a more experienced option, as they opened in 1996 and have handled over 500,000 business filings since then.
ZenBusiness provides customer support from 10am to 7pm ET on weekdays. They do not offer support via phone or email. Instead, your only option is to contact them via web chat.
BizFilings has support availability from 9am until 8pm ET every weekday. You can access their support via phone, email, or web chat.
Both of these companies base their processing times on which level of service you purchase, rather than the actual requirements of your state. BizFilings says that their Basic package requires a 4-6 week turnaround, while their Standard and Complete packages take 7-10 business days.
As for ZenBusiness, they have a 4-week turnaround time for their Basic package, which you can cut down to 3-4 weeks with the Starter package, 1-2 weeks with the Pro package, and 3-5 days with the Premium package.
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 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. If you would like to see a list of our favorite registered agent service providers, simply click this link.
ZenBusiness includes registered agent service with all of their LLC formation packages except for the free Basic package, and this service costs $120 per year. BizFilings bundles in six months of registered agent with every one of their formation packages, but after that they charge $164 per year, which is more than ZenBusiness charges but still roughly average for this industry.
ZenBusiness excels when it comes to customer feedback, as they have over 500 reviews available online, and nearly all of them are positive. Their clients are clearly satisfied with their services, and they frequently praise their efficiency, along with the general ease of use provided by their platform.
We were only able to track down three customer reviews for BizFilings ― one positive, one neutral, and one negative. It’s impossible to meaningfully analyze such a small sample of data, so we’ll merely say that it’s odd that a company that’s completed 500,000 business filings only has three reviews online.
Ease of Use
Both of these services make the formation process far simpler than it is to DIY an LLC formation. We will give a slight edge to BizFilings in this category though, because their website is more intuitive and user-friendly than the ZenBusiness site, which is rather basic and can be surprisingly hard to navigate.
Which Is the Best LLC Service for You?
As you can see, ZenBusiness and BizFilings have many common characteristics, but they also have several aspects where they differ in significant ways. If you’re still undecided between them, let’s look at a couple scenarios that might help you figure out which company you’d like to form your new LLC.
No matter which one you choose, we’re confident that either of these companies is capable of correctly forming your compliant LLC.
Choose ZenBusiness if You Are:
Do you want the lowest price points for LLC formation? Do you place a high value on customer feedback? These are two of the best reasons to choose ZenBusiness.
Choose BizFilings if You Are:
Are experience and longevity important characteristics to you in a service provider? Do you need access to phone and email support, rather than just web chat? BizFilings is worth a look.
While both of the LLC services in this comparison offer decent overall value and have formed thousands of businesses, we think ZenBusiness 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
If I Decide to Use ZenBusiness, Which Package Should I Choose?
We really like two of the ZenBusiness LLC formation packages, and they’re the two most affordable options they have. Their Basic plan is obviously hard to complain about, because it’s completely free as long as you pay your own state fee. Their Starter plan for $10/month is also a solid bargain, because it adds registered agent service to your formation.
Does ZenBusiness Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?
They sure do! Unlike some competitors who advertise comprehensive LLC formations but don’t help with state-specific compliance requirements, ZenBusiness offers to handle every possible step of your formation, including publication requirements. If you would like an example, check out their description for New York publication service.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
This category is a pretty big advantage for BizFilings, because they keep the upsells to a minimum, whereas ZenBusiness has quite a few of them. As you progress through their order form, they’ll try to get you to add an EIN, expedited processing, an operating agreement, registered agent service, and annual report service ― features that total $495. This wouldn’t be too bad if you didn’t already pass up an opportunity to purchase these services on the package select screen.
Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?
As you take a look at the ZenBusiness LLC formation service package select screen, you’ll encounter offers for a free insurance quote, a free CPA consult session, a domain name, and accounting software. It’s important to note that ZenBusiness doesn’t provide any of these features themselves, but rather shares your info with third-party partners.
BizFilings also has a rather large number of info-sharing attempts in their LLC formation order form. These include deals with the following third-party partners: Palo Alto, ADP, Pitney Bowes SendPro, Grasshopper, Hubspot, and “a business insurance provider.” In short, we’re not impressed with ZenBusiness or BizFilings in this regard.
Do Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
This is another category where neither of these companies scores particularly well. BizFilings has a strict refund policy with significant processing fees attached. Any order canceled before any work is done on your formation carries a $50 fee, while any order canceled after they complete your preliminary name check has a $75 fee.
ZenBusiness has a refund policy that’s downright confusing, as it relies on “certain conditions” that are never clarified. Take a look for yourself at how they explain their refunds: “Once ZenBusiness has submitted your business for filing with the State under no circumstances can you charge-back or dispute the fees associated with forming your business. If you contact ZenBusiness before your business has been submitted for filing with the State, ZenBusiness may refund the charge, less a $50 cancellation fee, if certain conditions are met.”
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
Unlike the vast majority of competitors in this industry, these service providers don’t base their turnaround times on state processing speeds. Instead, both of these companies have turnaround estimates based on which level of LLC formation service you purchase from them. BizFilings has the following filing times:
- Basic: 4-6 weeks
- Standard: 7-10 days
- Complete: 7-10 days
And ZenBusiness processes orders at these speeds:
- Basic: 4 weeks
- Starter: 3-4 weeks
- Pro: 1-2 weeks
- Premium: 3-5 days
Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?
You certainly can. The DIY option is always available, and many entrepreneurs do in fact form their own LLCs every day in America. Our main issue with this is the fact that all 50 states have different rules and regulations for LLC formations, so it can be tricky to figure out what exactly your state requires. Furthermore, there’s no substitute for the peace of mind we get from professional services like ZenBusiness and BizFilings. They have a ton of experience, and we trust their expertise.