Do you need to form an LLC, but you don’t want to bother with the complexities and hassles of forming your own LLC?
With this LegalZoom vs ZenBusiness comparison guide, you’ll find the information you need to make this choice laid out in a convenient manner. Which service is the right choice to form your new limited liability company?
Do LegalZoom and ZenBusiness Offer Good Value?
Before we dive into our comprehensive comparison of ZenBusiness and LegalZoom, let’s briefly talk about what a good deal for an LLC formation service looks like. While there are a lot of services like LegalZoom that charge $99 or more to form an LLC, there are a few services that’ll create an LLC for far less — and still include great features.
ZenBusiness, which is only $39, is one of the best deals online and includes a year of free registered agent service and customizable operating agreement with every package. That said, ZenBusiness is a far better deal than LegalZoom, which has so-so overall value.
6 Things They Have in Common
1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or LegalZoom, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.
2) Efficiency: These companies both work quickly, and they can get your business registered with the state in a matter of weeks or even days.
3) Customer Support: 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 LegalZoom?
4) Additional Services: Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness have many other services that they can provide to your business, from registered agent to annual report service and much more.
5) Experience: While LegalZoom certainly has more experience, with millions of customers served, ZenBusiness has also formed thousands of businesses in their own right. They’re both experienced companies with the expertise to get the job done right.
6) Informative: ZenBusiness has a blog where they share business tips, information about different entity types, etc. Similarly, LegalZoom’s Knowledge Center has plenty of info regarding legalities and other issues that commonly face entrepreneurs today.
Side by Side Comparisons
The two noteworthy differences between the $39 package offered by ZenBusiness and the $99 package offered by LegalZoom is that ZenBusiness includes registered agent service and customizable LLC operating agreement. This alone would cost $154 otherwise but is included free with every ZenBusiness package.
That said, ZenBusiness provides far more value than Rocket Lawyer at nearly 1/3 the price.
LegalZoom is one of the industry giants, as they’ve helped form over 2 million businesses since 1999. ZenBusiness has only been around since 2015, but they’ve already formed thousands of businesses in those few short years. LegalZoom clearly has the experience advantage, but ZenBusiness is doing their best to catch up.
LegalZoom has customer support available via email, web chat, or phone. Their extended support hours can be a great help, as they’re available on weekdays from 8am to 10pm ET, and Saturdays from 10am to 7pm ET.
ZenBusiness provides customer support from 10am to 7pm ET on weekdays. While they previously only offered customer service through their web-based chat app, they now also provide phone and email support.
Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness have turnaround times that are based not on the processing times of your state government, but instead on which level of service you purchase from them, although ZenBusiness does tailor their processing estimates a bit based on your state as well. In general, ZenBusiness has 3-4 week turnaround time with the Starter package, which you can cut down to 1-2 weeks with the Pro package, and 3-5 days with the Premium package.
With LegalZoom, their cheaper packages can take up to 30 business days to process, while their top-tier Express Gold package cuts that time down to 7-10 business days. In most states, ZenBusiness is definitely the quicker option.
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 service 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.
ZenBusiness includes free registered agent service with all of their LLC registration packages. LegalZoom does not include registered agent with any LLC packages, and they charge between $159-299 per year to add it on, which is a high price point that most other online incorporation services easily beat.
ZenBusiness excels when it comes to customer feedback, as they have nearly 900 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.
For their part, LegalZoom receives much more mixed feedback from their clients. We found over 1,000 LegalZoom reviews, and they’re split roughly equally between positive and negative opinions. Customers seem happy about how convenient their services are, but have issues with inconsistent customer support and their somewhat high prices.
Ease of Use
This category is pretty close, but in favor of ZenBusiness. While both services will present you with multiple screens of features, ZenBusiness’ approach is slightly more tasteful and less intimidating.
Which LLC Service Should You Choose?
LegalZoom and ZenBusiness are both very well known LLC formation services and either one of them can start an LLC on your behalf. However, in our opinion, ZenBusiness has some distinct advantages that make them the best LLC service.
However, if you’re still on the fence and aren’t sure which service to choose, let’s take a look at some scenarios that might help you decide.
➥ Choose ZenBusiness if:
Do you want one of the most affordable LLC services available while still getting excellent features? Are you interested in using the company with better customer reviews? Go with ZenBusiness.
➦ Choose LegalZoom if:
Do you prefer brand power and customer volume and you’re willing to pay a bit more to get it? Give LegalZoom a look.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
If I Decide to Use ZenBusiness, Which Package Should I Choose?
Depending on your budget and the needs of your business, there are two different ZenBusiness packages that we really like. (See Packages)
First, it’s hard to find any fault with their Starter plan, because it costs just $39, and it includes the full formation of your LLC, a year of registered agent service and a customizable operating agreement.
We also like their $149 Pro plan, which adds an EIN, managed annual report service and a banking resolution.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
Unfortunately, LegalZoom piles on quite a few upsells, and ZenBusiness has a handful as well. LegalZoom sprinkles in $1,080 worth of upsells as you work your way through their order form, which is the most excessive amount of upsells we’re aware of in this industry. ZenBusiness is much better in this regard, but they still attempt $285 in upsells.
Does ZenBusiness Handle New York Publication Requirements?
They sure do! ZenBusiness offers to take care of many state-specific compliance requirements, including publication.
For example, take a look for yourself at their description for their New York publication service. If your state has requirements that go above and beyond the typical steps, ZenBusiness is well worth a look.
How Does LegalZoom and ZenBusiness compare to IncFile?
When reviewing LLC formation services, it’s impossible to not talk about the extremely popular option, IncFile. If you’d like to see how the two services in this comparison stack up to it, see our ZenBusiness vs IncFile comparison or IncFile vs LegalZoom comparison.
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
While most competitors in this industry base their turnaround times on how quickly each individual state processes formations, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom instead have processing speeds based on which package you order from them. Let’s take a look at ZenBusiness’ turnaround times:
- Starter ($39-99/year): 3-4 weeks
- Pro ($149/year): 1-2 weeks
- Premium ($249/year): 3-5 days
*Note: ZenBusiness does mention that their formation times vary a bit depending on your state, in addition to which formation plan you buy.
And now let’s see how long it takes LegalZoom to process an order:
- Basic ($99): 30 business days
- Standard ($329): 15 business days
- Express Gold ($349): 7-10 business days
Do Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
ZenBusiness has a rather complex refund policy, so we’ll just let them speak in their own words on this topic: “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.”
LegalZoom has the advantage in this category, thanks to their solid satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not entirely pleased with their services, you have 60 days from the date of your initial purchase to request a refund, and they will grant it. No questions asked, no cancellation fees.
Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?
You always have the option to DIY LLC formation, and it’s actually not uncommon for entrepreneurs to form their own LLCs. If this is something you’d like to do, check out our step-by-step guide.
Ready to Create Your LLC Online?
Create your LLC with LegalZoom or save $60+ by choosing ZenBusiness.