After all, both are well-established in the industry backed by years of experience. However, there are a few key differences between them, even though they provide similar offerings.
For one thing, LegalZoom is a bigger company with a stronger focus on legal services. On the other hand, ZenBusiness is simpler and more straightforward, specializing in forming LLCs. Also, the latter is more affordable, but aside from price, there are other factors that are important to consider such as customer support and ease of use.
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Starting Price||$0 + state filing fees||$0 + state filing fees|
|Ongoing Compliance||$199 per year (included in advanced and premium plans)||$280 per year|
|Operating Agreement and Bylaws||$125 (included in advanced and premium plans)||$99 (included in advanced and premium plans)|
|Registered Agent Services||$199 per year||$249 per year (if you form an LLC with the company)|
|EIN Registration & Business Documents||$149||$100 (included in advanced and premium plans)|
ZenBusiness Company Overview
Founded in 2015, ZenBusiness quickly became one of the leading LLC service providers, owing to its cheap and streamlined offerings. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and it’s known for its commitment to simplicity, transparency and customer satisfaction.
It offers a range of services for businesses, including LLC formation, registered agent services and business compliance services. Notably, its LLC packages are designed to make the entire process as hassle-free as possible. In addition, it provides online tools and resources targeted at new and experienced business owners alike to help them form and operate their businesses with confidence and ease.
LegalZoom Company Overview
Established in 1999 and headquartered in Glendale, California, LegalZoom is among the most reputable online legal service providers in the United States. Its services include LLC formation and registered agent services, as well as attorney consultation and legal form templates. In the industry, it’s one of the largest companies, and it has helped launch more than 3 million businesses.
LLC Formation Packages and Pricing
As noted, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom provide similar products. For instance, they offer three tiers of their LLC formation packages, which can basically be generically categorized as basic, pro and premium. Moreover, they provide EIN registration and registered agent services. What sets them apart is that LegalZoom offers more legal services, as its name suggests. However, if you only need business formation services, then ZenBusiness may be the more practical option.
The basic package of ZenBusiness is called Starter, and it’s priced at $0 + state filing fees. It includes Worry-Free Compliance for $199 annually, Operating Agreement for $125, EIN registration and business documents for $149 and registered agent services for $199 per year. Meanwhile, LegalZoom’s Basic plan also starts at $0 + state filing fees. It includes ongoing compliance services for $280 a year, Operating Agreement template for $99, EIN and business documents for $100 and registered agent services for $249 per year. To put two and two together, ZenBusiness’s entry-level plan totals to $672 for the first year, which is more affordable than LegalZoom’s similar offering that clocks in at $728.
It’s more or less the same story with the more premium tiers. ZenBusiness manages to keep its prices lower by including yearly costs in more advanced packages, such as ongoing compliance fees. That’s aside from the fact that it offers relatively lower starting price points. (Refer to the chart above for a more detailed comparison of their services and costs.)
Note: LegalZoom tends to change its pricing frequently. However, the features included in each package are almost always the same.
Registered Agent Service
ZenBusiness offers two kinds of registered agent services: Standard Coverage and Complete Coverage. Put simply, the main difference between the two is the latter includes Worry-Free Compliance, which means the company will file the annual report of your LLC for you.
Now it’s worth mentioning that the Pro and Premium of ZenBusiness’s packages already include Worry-Free Compliance. In other words, it’d be better to opt for the Standard Coverage of its registered agent services if you’re subscribing to its more advanced plans. That way, you won’t have to pay for the ongoing compliance fee twice.
In contrast, LegalZoom’s registered agent service is more expensive. It costs $299 per year, but the company does reduce it to $249 a year if you go ahead and avail one of its LLC packages. To put that into context, it’s costlier compared to similar services of other competitors, despite the discount.
On average, ZenBusiness sends your LLC documents to the state within only two days—that is, if you’re subscribed to its starter package. If you’ve signed up for their Pro or Premium plan, then you get expedited processing times. That means the company will immediately send the necessary paperwork to the state. However, it should be noted that two business days to send documents is already pretty fast, or at the very least, it’s speedier compared to most competitors. Also, you can opt for faster processing speeds too so that the state will approve your LLC filing sooner. It goes without saying that this has an additional fee, however.
In comparison, LegalZoom takes a while to get everything set up. Usually, it needs about a week or two to file your LLC documents. However, if you do get either one of its more advanced packages, the process is a whole deal faster. In select states, it only needs one business day if you’ve signed up for its Premium package. On a similar note, you can also choose to expedite the state’s processing speed for an extra fee.
Ease of Use
While this may be subjective, ZenBusiness’s website and overall process of forming an LLC is more user-friendly. For starters, it features an automated chat that guides you through every step of the way. On top of that, it provides detailed explanations as well, so you can be well aware of what you’re signing up for. Afterward, its dashboard also makes it painless to manage every aspect for your compliance requirements. That includes your registered agent service and annual report filing.
Meanwhile, LegalZoom’s website may be up-to-date by modern standards, but it doesn’t make it easy to set things up. First off, you’ll likely need to go to a variety of pages just to get certain info, and navigating through them starts to get complicated real quick. It also doesn’t help that the interface seems intentionally designed to be confusing, making it difficult to spot upsells and such. Put differently, some users may end up paying more than what they need if they miss something.
For a better idea of what to expect, LegalZoom is a bit aggressive to the point that you need to decline upsells multiple times before it stops “persuading” you to get them. If that weren’t bad enough, it also repeatedly offers subscriptions to other services, all of which can get in the way when forming an LLC. In fact, most folks likely won’t need the majority of these services anyway.
Sure, ZenBusiness also has some of its upsells. However, they’re far from intrusive, so you get a pretty clear idea of what you’re getting and what you can opt out of. It should be mentioned that most of these extras can be done for free on your own, but it’s nice to see that the company isn’t pushy about it.
To start things off, ZenBusiness’s customer service is available via chat, phone and email. You can get in touch with the company through chat or phone Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CT and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT. If you send them an email, you can expect to get a response after one business day.
On the other hand, LegalZoom’s customer service is available through phone or contact form. Its schedule for calls is Monday to Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT. If you’re reaching out via contact form, it usually replies within 24 hours after submission.
As for the quality of their customer care, ZenBusiness is reliable. Though its agents don’t exactly try to provide helpful suggestions on their own, they do answer what you ask for. In its defense, they don’t try to sell anything extra either, which is a nice touch.
With LegalZoom, its customer service has a tendency to coax you into availing its online legal services. What’s more, its agents will try to get you to start forming your LLC right away more often than not rather than respond to your questions. Also, it can become quite a chore to get answers if you’re a new customer since it’ll ask for a ton of details about your business first.
ZenBusiness stands out because of its affordable pricing, excellent customer service and user-friendly experience. It even throws in some useful features such as ongoing compliance services and an operating agreement template with its advanced packages. Additionally, it offers a speedy turnaround time, and its registered agent services are easier on the budget than most. LegalZoom isn’t without its charm, though. It offers plenty of online legal services and attorney consultation, all of which can come in handy if you need them. But in the context for LLC formation, most of them may not be necessary.