ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom

Last updated: June 22nd, 2024
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Starting a new company can feel intimidating – but when it comes to the initial business formation process, there are several services that can help. Two popular options are ZenBusiness and LegalZoom, both of which can help you navigate the business registration process. In this article, we will compare and contrast LegalZoom vs ZenBusiness.

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ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom: Quick look

These two companies are actually quite different from one another. However, for the purpose of this article, we will focus on the business formation features offered by these two service providers. Essentially, both can help you start a new business entity, such as an LLC or corporation, by working with your state’s relevant department.

Similarities between ZenBusiness and LegalZoom

  • Both make it easy to start a new LLC or corporation in your state
  • Both are compatible with state requirements throughout the US
  • Both simplify the often-complex business formation process
  • Both can be your Registered Agent
  • Both can help with ongoing business compliance and filing, such as annual reports
  • Both offer good ease of use, making it easy to navigate
  • Both offer a variety of formation packages, as well as add-ons and upsells
  • Both offer your choice of processing time, from standard speed to rush filing in just a few business days
  • Both can help you select a business name that’s available

Differences between ZenBusiness and LegalZoom

  • LegalZoom supports nonprofits and partnership business entity structures; ZenBusiness does not
  • LegalZoom offers a wide range of legal services; ZenBusiness focuses only on business formation
  • ZenBusiness is an ongoing subscription service; LegalZoom has both one-time-fee and ongoing subscription options
  • ZenBusiness offers some marketing tools, like a business website; LegalZoom does not
  • ZenBusiness pricing is based on bundles, while LegalZoom has base packages + a variety of add-ons
  • LegalZoom offers personalized legal advice services, while ZenBusiness does not

ZenBusiness basics

ZenBusiness is an online business services provider. They focus on helping you start a new company, while also providing some services to help with business growth and ongoing compliance. With ZenBusiness, you can start a new:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation (S-corp or C-corp)

The service is designed to help make starting a new company much easier. ZenBusiness is compatible with requirements in all US states. They offer a simplified, streamlined process to help you start your next business entity. ZenBusiness LLC and corporation formation packages are an attractive option for entrepreneurs.

ZenBusiness is a subscription service, meaning there’s an annual fee, and the service provides a lot of value on an ongoing basis. ZenBusiness can serve as your Registered Agent, help you with ongoing compliance requirements, and more.

LegalZoom basics

LegalZoom is an online legal services provider. They can help you form your business, but that’s just one of the many aspects of their services. With LegalZoom, you can form a new:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation (C-corp or S-corp)
  • Nonprofit Corporation
  • Partnership (LP and LLP)

LegalZoom satisfies state requirements in each US state to help you form a new business. Beyond that, they offer a huge range of legal services. On the business side, they can help with intellectual property protections, like copyrights and trademarks. And they can help you review business contracts, provide customized legal advice, and more.

LegalZoom serves small business owners and individuals alike. On the personal side, the service can help with estate planning tasks, like drafting a Last Will and Testament. They even have a legal services advisory service which you can use to get advice from a qualified attorney, in a cost-effective manner.

ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom: Pricing

The pricing structures for these two companies differ. ZenBusiness offers “bundles” of services, while LegalZoom offers flat fee + the option to add on many services. Likewise, ZenBusiness is automatically a subscription service, while LegalZoom has the option for one-time fees or ongoing services. Here is a side by side comparison.

ZenBusiness pricing

  • Starter Package – $129/year + state filing fees (varies by state) – The Starter plan covers the basics you’ll need to start a new company. Registered Agent service is also included.
  • Pro Package – $249/year + state filing fees (varies by state) – The Pro package builds on the Starter, adding an employer identification number tax ID (EIN), various business contract templates, a banking resolution, corporate bylaws, and more.
  • Premium Package – $349/year + state filing fees (varies by state) – The Premium plan speeds up the process by offering Rush turnaround time. It also adds marketing tools, like a business website, free domain name, and more.

LegalZoom pricing

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – LegalZoom LLC formation packages begin at $79 + state fees
  • Corporations (C-corp, S-corp)  – LegalZoom corporation packages begin at $149 + state fees
  • Nonprofit entities – LegalZoom nonprofit packages begin at $149 + state fees
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) – LegalZoom partnership packages begin at $149 + state fees
  • Limited Partnership (LP) – LegalZoom partnership packages begin at $149 + state fees

LegalZoom’s business formation packages cover the basics, helping you file all the necessary documents to start your new company. They do not cover Registered Agent, however – it must be added on ($249/year) if desired.

Other Services from LegalZoom

  • Registered Agent services – from $249/year
  • Business advisory plan with licensed attorneys – from $31.25/month
  • Personal legal advisory services – from $9.99/month
  • Trademark registration – from $199 + federal fees
  • Copyright registration – from $114 + federal fees
  • Patents – from $699 + fees

Because the offerings from these two companies are so different, it can be a bit confusing to compare the two. Here’s a quick recap.

If you want Registered Agent services on an ongoing basis, ZenBusiness is a better value by far. If you plan to be your own Registered Agent, then the two services are more similarly priced.

LegalZoom pricing appears lower at first glance, but it can be a bit misleading. Once you start adding on features (at various price points), it can quickly exceed the cost of ZenBusiness’ plans.

On the other hand, ZenBusiness is an ongoing subscription service. If you’d rather keep it simple with a one-time fee, LegalZoom may be a better option.

Overall, the pricing for these two companies is competitive with similar business formation services and incorporation services. While not as cheap as ultra-budget competitors like Bizee, these two companies offer very good value overall.

ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom: Features

When it comes to available features and services, LegalZoom clearly offers more. On the business formation front, LegalZoom supports partnerships, nonprofits, LLCs, and corporations, while ZenBusiness only covers LLCs and corporations. For those looking to start a new LLC or corporation, the two companies are similar – but ZenBusiness is likely cheaper, particularly if you want Registered Agent services.

For ongoing business services, LegalZoom has intellectual property protections, like copyrights and trademarks. They also have business legal advisory services, which can help you navigate business disputes, contract negotiations, and more. ZenBusiness, on the other hand, has more marketing tools, like a business website, business email, and domain name. ZenBusiness also has a useful Worry-Free Compliance service, which helps you keep your business in good standing by handling state filing requirements, and features a Worry-Free guarantee.

Also worth noting is LegalZoom’s extensive selection of personal legal services. They have estate planning tools, custom legal advice, and more. LegalZoom also has secure online storage for important documents and various legal documents.

ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom: Customer service

Both companies offer lifetime customer support for their products. Here are the details.

  • ZenBusiness customer support can be reached by phone, email, or online chat. Their available hours are Monday – Friday from 8 am – 8 pm CST, and Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm CST.
  • LegalZoom customer support can be reached by email or phone. Their available hours are Monday – Friday from 5 am to 7 pm PT, and Saturday & Sunday from 7 am to 4 pm PT

LegalZoom is available on Saturdays, while ZenBusiness is not. However, that’s the only real advantage that LegalZoom has in this category – overall, ZenBusiness seems to have better support.

ZenBusiness is far better rated in customer reviews relating to customer support. They have a great reputation, while LegalZoom’s track record is much more mixed. If you look on sites like Trustpilot or the Better Business Bureau (BBB), you will find that ZenBusiness has far better customer feedback than LegalZoom.

Which should you choose?

We’ve covered the finer details of these two LLC formation services, but what’s the bottom line?

Choose ZenBusiness if…

  • You want Registered Agent services. ZenBusiness includes this in all plans; LegalZoom charges an extra $249/year for the service.
  • You value working with a company with a great reputation. ZenBusiness has excellent customer reviews, while LegalZoom’s are much more mixed.
  • You want a cost-effective, premade package. ZenBusiness offers tiered bundles of services, at a great value.

Choose LegalZoom if…

  • You want a wider range of legal services. LegalZoom offers a broad range of specialty services, like trademarks, copyrights, and business legal advice.
  • You want business or personal legal advice. LegalZoom’s unique subscription advisory service offers very low-cost access to qualified legal advice.
  • You want to build your own bundle of services. LegalZoom makes it easier to customize your plan.

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