LegalZoom pioneered the concept of online legal services. Born in 2001 as the brain child of Brian Liu, Brian Lee, and famed O.J. Simpson attorney, Robert Shapiro, LegalZoom is now a public company with a market cap over $2.8 billion and an annual revenue over $200 million. They now offer estate planning, business formation, real estate, trademark, and attorney advice services.
Today, LegalZoom is the most recognized name in the online business and legal services industry (thanks to a $20 million annual advertising budget). They offer comprehensive services and boast a clear website and good customer service. Their prices are high relative to similar competitors, but they offer that irreplaceable feeling of security that comes with brand recognition.
LegalZoom’s prices are high compared to other sites. LegalZoom charges $79 for LLC formation, only. They do not include an EIN or operating agreement in there basic price (other sites we review do).
LLC Formation only (No Registered Agent Services): $79 (+State Fees)
Operating Agreement: $99
Operating Agreement plus EIN: $159
LLC Formation, Operating Agreement, and EIN: $238 (+State Fees)
It might be helpful to think of LegalZoom as the concierge service of the business services industry. They are more expensive than their competitors, but they also offer everything you could want. If you don’t want to worry about how much you’re saving and just want to make sure you’re getting everything you could need, then LegalZoom may be your site of choice.
In addition to formation, they offer compliance, tax services, business licensing research, registered agent, and legal services. Many companies offer some of these services, but only LegalZoom offers them all.
LegalZoom has a 2.8 billion dollar market cap and boasts $200 million dollars in annual revenue. The advertising budget that this size of company affords has made LegalZoom a household name. LegalZoom banks on that recognition translating to trust, because in this industry, trust is important.
We called LegalZooms’s customer care center three separate times and had long hold times on each occasion (average of 12 minutes). However, once we got through, we found all customer service reps we spoke with to be friendly and helpful.
In addition to calling, you can also use their free chat device, which lowered the waiting time and resulted in equally good information. LegalZoom’s customer service hours are also longer than the competition. Customer service is available weekdays from 5am-7pm PST and weekends from 7am-4pm.
This positive experience was reflected by others we read about in their reviews: some long hold times, but quality people at the end.
About 72% of customers rate LegalZoom as excellent on Trustpilot.com, while 22% regard their experience as bad. Most of those reporting negative experiences cited unexpected charges. Many of may be user error, but it is easy to understand how someone could accidentally sign up for an unwanted service, as the sign up process includes so many upsells and add-ons.
— January 14, 2022
–January 19, 2022
LegalZoom costs more. $40 more for LLC formation than Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness and $130 more a year for registered agent services than Northwest Registered Agent and Incfile. In fact, almost all of their services cost more than they would at one of their close competitors.
The claim is that they earn the higher price by providing the best and most comprehensive services, while also offering the most knowledgeable staff. We didn’t find a lot of evidence for this. There service is good and so are their products, but not significantly more so than several less expensive alternatives.
You’ll want to be very careful while navigating the formation process because LegalZoom pitches a lot of expensive services along the way, and the site’s design makes it very easy to sign up for those services.
For example, to turn down LegalZoom’s registered agent service, you must scroll below the very obvious “Continue with LegalZoom” button down to the much less obvious “Appoint a different registered agent” button. Similar strategies are used throughout the sign up process. It’s a marketing strategy we’re all used to, but it is still annoying nonetheless. And if it results in you signing up for a service you don’t want or need, it could also be very expensive.
In addition to standard LLC formation, LegalZoom offers a variety of unique specialty packages that include combinations of popular add-ons.
Overall, we are impressed with LegalZoom’s breadth of services. They offer more than anyone else. Form a business, get a registered agent, acquire compliance management, and while you’re there get some legal and tax services, too. It’s truly a one stop shop. But for all those services, we just couldn’t get past the high prices when you could get similar quality of service elsewhere and for less.
Not sure if LegalZoom is right for your LLC? Check out our reviews of other top LLC formation services.
Want to see a side-by-side comparison? See how LegalZoom stacks up to others in our comparison reviews linked below: