For each company we reviewed, we formed a unique LLC, verified the paperwork was filed correctly and timely, monitored for unexpected charges, and then rated them on the following criteria:
LegalZoom brings a lot to the table. They have high prices when compared to others, but they have good customer service, and they offer a lot of services outside of LLC formation including online legal services and tax services.
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.
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.
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)
Lots of Upsells
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.
LegalZoom filed the paperwork for our LLC the next business day.
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.
LegalZoom offers a lot of services. Your’e going to know about all of them because they are offered at the time you signup. But they are very thorough, and the signup process is very user friendly.
In addition to standard LLC formation, LegalZoom offers a variety of unique specialty packages that include combinations of popular add-ons.
- Total Compliance Package: $280/yr
For this service, LegalZoom will send you a questionnaire each year. When you complete the questionnaire, they will file your annual report. The price does not include any state filing fees. In addition, they offer a lot of vague compliancy-type help, like a “compliance calendar” capable of seeing 18 months into the future. They market other things too, like an account from which to view that calendar. This all seems like fluff to us—the only actual valuable service offered being the annual report filing. It’s nice to have an annual report service, but $280 (plus state fees) annually seems like a lot of money for what you get.
- Complete Coverage Package: $199
This package includes operating agreement, an employer identification number (EIN), and a licenses report. For the licenses report, LegalZoom contracts a third party to look into your business and provide a list of all the licenses, permits, and state tax registration that will be required for your specific business. Whether this is a valuable package or not depends largely on how much you value this last part of the service, as EINs are free from the IRS and operating agreement templates are common on the web.
- Full-Service Tax + Accounting Plan: $159/mo
Tax prep and unlimited tax advice, plus access to Quickbooks
- Tax Prep Essentials Plan: $99/mo
Tax prep services (without the unlimited calls or access to Quickbooks)
- Legal Services: $49/mo
This service affords you access to LegalZoom’s legal forms library and unlimited 30 minute conversations with a lawyer for each unique topic. Their legal services include: wills and trusts, power of attorney, trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Utilizing these services will cost more, but LegalZoom claims it will be at a discounted price.
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.
- Northwest Registered Agent: Normally $225 plus state fees, including a year of registered agent service. Currently offering a promotional price of $39 plus state fees, plus a free year of registered agent service ($125 per year after that).
- Incfile: Starts at $0 plus state fees. Free year of registered agent service ($119 per year after that).
- ZenBusiness: Normally $49 plus state fees with registered agent service at $199 per year. Currently offering a promotional price of $39 plus state fees, plus a free year of registered agent service ($119 per year after that).
Want to see a side-by-side comparison? See how LegalZoom stacks up to others in our comparison reviews linked below: