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 Incorporate.com 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 Incorporate.com are both well-known service providers in the LLC formation industry, and they’re both capable of quickly and correctly forming your new business entity. They each have their own set of unique advantages over the other, but in general we strongly prefer ZenBusiness for the vast majority of our readers.
First off, ZenBusiness has a far more affordable pricing model than Incorporate.com does, often undercutting their prices by $100 or more. Secondly, ZenBusiness receives excellent customer reviews, while Incorporate.com struggles in the realm of client feedback.
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 Incorporate.com 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.
6 Things They Have in Common
1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or Incorporate.com, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.
2) 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 Incorporate.com?
3) Additional Services: Both Incorporate.com and ZenBusiness have many other services that they can provide to your business, from registered agent to annual report service and much more.
4) Efficiency: These companies both work quickly, and they can get your formation processed with the state in a matter of weeks or even days.
5) Informative: Incorporate.com has a tremendously helpful Learning Center on their website that includes information on startup tasks, comparison guides on different types of business entities, and much more. As for ZenBusiness, they have a blog where they share business tips and tricks. Both are excellent educational resources whether you’re a customer or not.
6) Trustworthy: These are both entirely legitimate operations with strong track records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies, but rather they’re well-respected entities with plenty of expertise to get the job done right.
Side by Side Comparisons
It’s quite difficult to beat ZenBusiness when it comes to pricing, seeing as they offer their Basic LLC formation package for free, as long as you pay your state fee.
By comparison, Incorporate.com’s pricing is unappealing, to say the least. Their LLC formation packages start at $99 plus state fee, which is a package that offers zero features beyond the basics.
There is essentially no difference between the ZenBusiness free package and the Incorporate.com $99 package. They both offer a name availability check, as well as the preparation and filing of your articles of organization, but that’s about it.
ZenBusiness just opened a few years ago in 2015. Since then, they’ve helped form thousands of businesses, but they’re still a relatively young company, especially compared to Incorporate.com. Although it’s been known by a few different names over the years, Incorporate.com has been around since way back in 1899, and they’ve formed 750,000+ business entities since then.
One of the most significant differences between these companies is the way they approach customer support. Incorporate.com draws on their extensive experience to provide support via phone, email, or web chat, and they say that you can “expect a response within one business day.”
As for ZenBusiness, customer support is their only real weakness in our eyes. Their support is responsive and their reps are knowledgeable, but they only provide support via web chat. You cannot call them or even email them if you have a problem.
ZenBusiness has turnaround times that are based on which level of service you purchase from them. 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.
Incorporate.com bases their processing times on the actual requirements of each state, rather than how much money you spend on their services. For the most part, they can process your order within 5-10 business days, although there is some variance depending on your state.
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. This is another area where these companies differ considerably, because Incorporate.com does not include registered agent with any of their formation packages, and it costs $235 per year to add it on, which is nearly twice as much as ZenBusiness charges for the exact same service.
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.
On the other hand, Incorporate.com’s customer reviews are a bit of a disaster. We were only able to find around 50 reviews online, and the vast majority of them are negative. We find both the low quality and the low quantity of their customer feedback to be surprises, and not in a good way.
Ease of Use
These companies are relative equals in this category, as they both make the LLC formation process quite simple compared to forming your own business using the DIY method. Still, we will give Incorporate.com a slight edge because their website is a bit more streamlined and user-friendly than the ZenBusiness site is.
Which Is the Best LLC Service for You?
As you can see, there are many areas where ZenBusiness and Incorporate.com overlap when it comes to providing LLC formation service, but there are also some significant differences between them. If you’re still undecided, let’s wrap up this comparison by outlining a couple scenarios that might make you prefer one over the other.
No matter which one you choose to help you form your new LLC, we’re confident that you’ll be satisfied with the quality work these reputable companies do.
Choose ZenBusiness if You Are:
Do you want to use the company with the lowest price points? Do you place a high value on positive customer feedback? These are a couple of the reasons we prefer ZenBusiness.
Choose Incorporate.com if You Are:
Are you looking for a company that offers customer support via phone? Or perhaps you want to use the most experienced service provider? If so, you might want to look at Incorporate.com.
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?
There are two ZenBusiness packages that we like quite a bit. Of course, it’s pretty hard to argue with their Basic plan, seeing as it doesn’t cost you a dime outside of your state fee. We also like their Starter plan for $10/month, because it adds registered agent service to your LLC formation.
Does ZenBusiness Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?
Yes! There are a surprising amount of companies in this industry that claim to be complete LLC formation services, but don’t handle state-specific publication requirements. ZenBusiness is a truly comprehensive formation service, because they will take care of any state requirements you might have. Take a look at their New York publication service offer as an example.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
Unfortunately, both of these companies have more than their fair share of upsells. Incorporate.com does everything in their power to convince you that you should add their overpriced $235/year registered agent service to your order. They even incorporate some incredibly misleading language on their LLC package select screen, as they have two features listed (“Access to online tool: CSCNavigator” and “Annual report prep & file”) that are only available to their registered agent customers.
ZenBusiness isn’t great about this either, as they have quite a few upsells on their LLC formation order form. When we selected their Basic plan, we found $495 worth of upsell attempts as we navigated the order form, which is especially annoying considering that every one of the features they pushed on us was already something we’d turned down on their package select screen.
Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?
Incorporate.com does not have any third-party partnership offers that we’ve noticed, but ZenBusiness does. When you examine their LLC formation packages, you’ll notice several features that are provided through other companies, like their CPA consultations, free insurance quotes, domain name registration, and accounting software offer. These are all just clever ways to get you to consent to ZenBusiness sharing your personal information with other business entities.
Do Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
To be perfectly honest, these two companies have the two most confusing refund policies in the industry, to the point where it’s difficult to tell if they actually offer refunds, or how much their processing fees are for requesting one. With this in mind, we’ll simply copy and paste each of their refund policies here, so you can try to figure them out for yourselves.
Here’s Incorporate.com: “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.”
As for ZenBusiness, things aren’t much clearer on their end: “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?
Incorporate.com has turnaround times that are quite similar to the majority of their competitors, because they all base them on the same thing: each state’s ability to process LLC formations. In some states, that can be as quick as just a few days, while in others it could be a matter of weeks.
ZenBusiness has an entirely different method for calculating processing times, as theirs are based on how much money you spend on your formation package. Check out the way they structure their turnaround times:
- Basic (Free): 4 weeks
- Starter ($10/month): 3-4 weeks
- Pro ($30/month): 1-2 weeks
- Premium ($60/month): 3-5 days
Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?
Absolutely. In fact, quite a few entrepreneurs do form their own LLCs without any help from a professional service. Still, we’re not huge fans of the DIY route, because all 50 states have their own rules and regulations regarding how LLCs should be formed. It can be a surprising hassle to figure out exactly what your formation state requires for an LLC formation. Also, there’s nothing quite like the peace of mind we receive from using a service like ZenBusiness or Incorporate.com, because we trust their experience to get the job done right.