LegalZoom and ZenBusiness both offer reliable products, great user experiences on their websites, and lots of helpful supplementary services. But how do they compare side by side?
Read below for an in-depth look into how these sites stack up in terms of: price, ease of use, customer support, and customer satisfaction.
Below, we’ve compared the features offered by both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness in their basic LLC formation packages.
|LLC Formation Price||Filing Formation Documents||Registered Agent Service||Operating Agreement||EIN||Order Processing Speed|
|LegalZoom||$79 plus state fees||Included||Not included||$99||$60, must bundle w/ operating agreement||Up to 30 days, filing more expensive orders first|
|ZenBusiness||$39 plus state fees (promotional price*)||Included||Free for a year, then $119/yr||$49||$99||2-4 business days with $99 rush filing|
*Promotional prices available when signing up through website ads or affiliate links. Standard price for ZenBusiness is $49 plus state fees (add $199/yr for registered agent service).
LegalZoom’s budget LLC package is $79 (plus state fees). This does not include the registered agent service, which you can order separately for $299/yr. The sign up process is a breeze and though the customer service was slow (we waited on hold for 12 minutes), it was ultimately helpful. In addition, while signing up, you will be offered all of the things you could possibly need while starting a business. Get an EIN number for $60 or a prefilled operating agreement for $99.
For $39 (plus state fees) ZenBusiness will form your LLC and give you the first year of registered agent services for free. This is a tremendous value considering every LLC must list a registered agent. Just remember that the registered agent services are $119 per year after that and that you are auto enrolled in that service. $119 is not cheap, but you can also cancel the service anytime you want if you’re not happy.
ZenBusiness clearly offers the better value. For $39 they are basically giving you their formation service and throwing in a year of registered agent service. We assume this is being done at a loss. The hook is that you are auto-enrolled in their registered agent service going forward at $119/yr, but that’s still cheaper than LegalZoom’s registered agent service at $299/yr.
LegalZoom has built a very user friendly website, an impressive feat considering the breadth of services they offer. They take a terrifying endeavor like forming an LLC and makes it as easy as answering some questions on a visually pleasing website. And by that we mean that their site sign up forms are actually designed to look like a chat thread.
What we didn’t like about LegalZoom (we have the same gripe about ZenBusiness) is that they make it so hard to figure out exactly how much you’re paying for things until you’ve given them all your personal information. It just doesn’t seem all the way right to us.
ZenBusiness employs a very focused websites, and when it comes to ease of use, it’s a big benefit—if you’re looking to form a business. New business owners are ZenBusiness’s target market. They are looking for the type of business owner that is looking to be told exactly what to do.
If you’re feeling done learning about this stuff and you just want someone else to worry about, ZenBusiness is a great call. But we thought they sacrificed to much transparency in the name of simplicity. We felt they collected too much personal information before giving us a total price, and that annoyed us.
Both companies share a quality that we dislike, which is a lack of price transparency. Both sites collect a lot of your data, including things like phone number and email before giving you a firm grasp on how much it’s going to cost you. We just keep coming back to that in our evaluations, and it bothers us… a lot. For this reason, we couldn’t give either company a five star rating in this category.
We waited on hold 12 minutes the first time we called and 10 minutes the second time we called LegalZoom’s customer support line. However, when we did get through we were greeted with helpful people each time who answered our questions to the best of their ability. They were careful not to give us legal advice, but they did tell us a few benefits of Delaware LLCs, and that, yes, a lot of people form Delaware LLCs. One agent even gave us their name and direct extension in case we had any more questions.
We called ZenBusiness twice and did not wait on hold either time. Both times customer service was polite and helpful. When we asked them if we should start an LLC in Delaware, they were careful not to give any specific tax advice, but they did let us know that lots of people start their LLCs in Delaware. When we asked whether we could form an LLC in Delaware if we lived in Illinois, they responded that Delaware does not record an address, so it would be fine. They were only tripped up by our question about the Court of Chancery. The representative we spoke with was unfamiliar with the term, but they still exceeded our expectations.
Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness proved competent in our customer service test. LegalZoom just made us wait longer for it.
Customer reviews for LegalZoom are generally favorable across a number of rating platforms. TrustPilot rates LegalZoom 4.4/5, BBB gives a 4.46/5 rating, and Consumer Affairs averages them at 4.6/5.
Most of those reporting negative experiences cited unexpected charges and long hold times for customer service. We agree about the long hold times and find it 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.
ZenBusiness also does well on customer review sites. TrustPilot gives ZenBusiness 4.7/5 stars, BBB gives a 4.33/5. Customers who left less than perfect reviews often complained about the number of services offered during the sign up process. This is definitely ZenBusiness’s strategy, though—to offer you everything you might need while you form a business.
Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness are well-rated, leaving the majority of customers satisfied. When customers do complain, unclear fees or upsells tend to be at the root of the issue.
Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness are respected companies in the industry. Both have lots of happy customers in the rear view mirror. Both continue to evolve as the industry evolves. Both also have their issues.
Overall, ZenBusiness provides a comparable level of service but for much less than LegalZoom. LegalZoom does shine in a few areas—namely brand recognition and plenty of service options—but generally, most companies can get what they need with ZenBusiness for less.