With its emphasis on simplicity and ease of use, Zenbusiness targets new business owners looking for a pain free company formation process. And they do a great job of it.
We like Zenbusiness because of their pleasing website, their excellent customer service, and their reasonable prices. Zenbusiness’ $49 basic LLC formation package includes:
* Auto renews at $199/yr. Does not include registered agent service
|DE State Fees $90 +||Credit Card Fee $0 +||Zenbusiness Fee $49 =||Total $139|
When we decided to create a review section for our site, we approached it like we do everything else, with reckless abandon and a merciless pursuit of the truth. For each review we conducted we actually formed an LLC with the site we reviewed.
Instead of simply reading customer reviews, we became a customer. We called each site’s customer service line and asked some tough questions and reported their responses. We monitored our bank account for unexpected charges, and if any funny business occurred we automatically removed that site from our list of contenders.
All of the sites we’ve included in the review section are ones that get our stamp of approval.
Unlike many of Zen’s competitors, who barrage the senses with services and offers and packages, Zen seeks to calm everything way down. They want to form your business. That is very clear from the home page. They’d like you to begin by entering your desired business name. And if you are willing to make that leap, then the truth is, the process is pretty simple and affordable.
Within the process, you’ll be pitched all of their various add-ons at appropriate times. We liked that this is done in an orderly way. We didn’t feel tricked by any of the language, and the products aren’t lumped into confusing packages that make it difficult to parse their true value.
Zen boasts a 60-day money back guarantee (minus any state or third party fees). They say if you are unsatisfied in any way, call customer support for a refund. In addition, although you are billed annually for the services, you can cancel for a pro-rated refund at any time.
We put Zen’s Customer Service Department to the test and were mostly impressed. First, there was no hold time. We called three times and were never put on hold. This is much different than say LegalZoom where we waited on hold for an average of 12 minutes each time we called. It makes a big difference to us.
We do have a couple of gripes.
Zen uses a confusing pricing structure. Their $49 starter LLC package is a good deal, but to get it you have to jump through some hoops, decline a few upgraded packages. Once you do jump through those hoops, you’ll find in small print that the plan auto renews at $199/yr. And it doesn’t auto renew to include a registered agent service, but instead it auto renews to include Zen’s Worry Free Compliance service, which is just an annual report reminder with a link to complete your annual report.
We hate it when websites design their signup forms so that you can’t see what sensitive information you’ll need to divulge to complete your order until your already halfway through the signup process. Zenbusiness does this and we just had to say something about it.
Zenbusiness has recently changed the user interface for their website so that it resembles a texting experience.
This is a highly specific approach, which we think a person could either love or hate.
Getting Zen’s $49 formation deal is a little tricky. You’ll need to decline their Registered agent service (you actually have to decline twice). Next you’ll need to defer their recommended package, which $199 per year. Instead, select “other options” and scroll past the premium packages until you get to their “starter Package”.
Even their starter package renews at $199/yr. What do you get for that $199/yr? We had trouble figuring that out, too. This means that ZenBusiness sends you a reminder with a simple link to file your annual report. They also allow you to make two amendments per year. You will have the option of canceling this service before it renews.
Overall, customer reviews for ZenBusiness are favorable. Trustpilot reports 87% of customers rate Zen as excellent, while only 2% rate them badly. The chief complaint among ZenBusiness customers involves unexpected fees, which we are not surprised by. Zen’s push for simplicity comes at a cost of clarity. Those who were most surprised seem to be unclear that when they formed a business with Zen, they also signed up for the annual registered agent service. This is not a valueless service. In fact it is a required component of LLC ownership, but if you haven’t done your homework and are blasting through the formation process, it would be easy to miss.
Other complaints come from people charged for additional services they did not request. Be sure when signing up to read each page carefully. Many optional services are offered and clicking “yes” on one you don’t want could be an easy mistake to make.
Below are a few examples of ZenBusiness customer reviews:
Besides business formation and registered agent services, ZenBusiness also offers:
Bank resolution ($30)
Business domain ($25/yr)
Website creation ($100/yr)
Business folio ($70)
Mailing address ($15/mo)
Business license report ($99)
Business document templates ($100)
Tax filing with auto expenses ($15/mo)
In addition to these paid services, Zen also offers a host of free business guides on topics ranging from “how to create a business plan” to “estimating your business costs.” They have also partnered with businesses like LendingClub to offer banking and insurance services.
We reviewed ZenBusiness’s top competitors so you can decide for yourself which LLC formation service is best for your new company.
For a side-by-side comparison, see how ZenBusiness fares in our comparison reviews linked below: