Nolo vs LegalZoom (Comparison 2024 – What’s Better?)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: April 15, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
Methodology
We diligently evaluate each service provider showcased in our reviews and guides. By interacting anonymously with their business formation and services, and leveraging the insights of an independent review team, we strive to offer unbiased, evidence-based suggestions. Learn more

Are you looking to create a limited liability company but don't know which business formation service to use? Venture Smarter team believes Nolo and LegalZoom offer business formation plans with the additional benefit of online legal services that you should try.

As a business consultant with a decade of experience using LLC formation companies, I have evaluated Nolo and LegalZoom based on their features, price, additional service, and performance to help you decide which company is best suited to the needs of your business.

At a Glance: Nolo and LegalZoom

Comparing Nolo and Legalzoom

Nolo is an all-in-one formation and legal service. They have been in business since 1971, helping small business owners with legal matters and the business formation process.

LegalZoom is a company that provides business formation and legal services since its founding in 2001. The company assisted over 2 million individuals and businesses.

1. Nolo LLC Highlights

  • Business formation services
  • Competitively priced packages
  • Legal documents
  • Rush processing
  • DIY guides

2. LegalZoom LLC Highlights

  • Business Formation
  • Legal consultation
  • Online document prep
  • Digital welcome packet
  • Legal forms

Our #1 Recommendation

Typing on a laptop in a busy office

LegalZoom

Rated 4.80/5
4.8
Support
4.7
Price
4.8
Features
4.9
Turnaround

3. How Nolo and LegalZoom Stack Together

In the USA, 90% of new startups fail, while only 10% survive past the first year, as reported by the Chamber of Commerce [1]. This statistic highlights the harsh realities of business operation and underlines the importance of sound business planning and support services, which LLC formation services can provide to increase the likelihood of success for new businesses​.

Nolo offers a basic LLC formation package but does not provide the necessary services to maintain a business. The platform serves more as an informational website that provides legal consultation.

LegalZoom offers a more comprehensive package in the formation of LLCs and provides legal counsel, as well as, additional services to manage and maintain a company.

Side-by-Side LLC Plan Comparisons

Calculating the pricing for both businesses

Both LegalZoom and Nolo are top LLC service companies that offer comprehensive LLC formation packages for new business owners.

"Both companies fair well regarding customer service, processing times, and user experience. Their fee structures are also favorable to most business owners."

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

1. Basic Plan Comparison: Nolo Basic vs LegalZoom Basic

  • Nolo's Basic Package ($49 + state fees): The plan includes a name check, filing Articles of Organization, automated error checking, customer service phone support, and a guide to formalizing your LLC – which I found very helpful. The guide contains information on how to maintain your business and remain compliant with the law.
  • LegalZoom's Basic Package ($0 + state fees): The plan includes filing of your LLC formation document, name search, a digital welcome packet, and a customizable website.

2. Mid-Level Plan Comparison: Nolo Standard vs LegalZoom Pro

  • Nolo Standard Plan ($149 + state fees): The features include everything from the basic package, plus the EIN application and business forms. A client of mine was offered over 30 business document templates, including non-disclosure agreements, sales contracts, independent contractor agreements, and other documentation.
  • LegalZoom's Pro ($249 + state fees): The pro plan includes everything from the previous package, plus an operating agreement, EIN, over 150 customizable documents, and phone consultation regarding business insurance and taxes.

3. Top-Level Plan Comparison: Nolo Express vs LegalZoom Premium

  • Nolo's Express ($299 + state fees): The Express plan includes everything from previous packages, plus a personalized LLC records kit, seal, and priority rush filing.
  • LegalZoom's Premium ($299 + state fees): The plan includes everything from the Pro package plus hands-on attorney guidance, legal consultation, and business document amendments.

Registered Agent Service

Nolo charges $150 per year for a registered agent service which may or may not be outsourced from other companies.

LegalZoom charges $249 a year for their professional registered agent service. The package includes mail alerts, emails regarding tax and annual report deadlines, and unlimited cloud storage.

Additional Services

Shaking hands for Nolo Formation Services

Apart from the basic formation features and supporting products, both companies offer additional services aimed at supporting and maintaining your business.

1. Nolo Do-It-Yourself Products

Nolo's do-it-yourself products, which range from online forms and software books, allow consumers and business owners to handle legal matters themselves by simply following the instructions on the platform.

When I tried to avail of an LLC Operating Agreement online form, I learned that the company charges $99 for a 1-year subscription which allows you to create, save, and edit the document.

2. Trademark Registration

With LegalZoom, you can register your trademark for $599 plus state fees. The service comes with legal management and guidelines to ensure that your trademark is approved.

Nolo does not offer a trademark registration service; however, you can order a book online for $27.99. The book contains guidelines on how to choose a trademark to differentiate your business from competitors, search for available names, and register a trademark.

3. Annual Reports

To stay compliant with business laws and remain in good standing with the state, Venture Smarter recommends filing annual reports on or before the due date.

A client of mine availed of LegalZoom's annual report plan for $99 plus state fees. The package includes the creation and filing of annual reports to the state.

Nolo does not offer an annual report filing service.

4. Virtual Mail Service

Virtual mail services are a force to reckon with in the digital era, and its market size is expected to reach $2842.16 million in 2031, from 1500 million in 2021, according to Business Research insights [2].

LegalZoom offers a virtual mail service that provides your company with a business address of your choice in order to help you manage your correspondence and packages.

Nolo does not offer a virtual mail service.

Customer Service

LegalZoom provides support by phone or live chat from Monday to Friday 5 am to 7 pm PST and on the weekends from 7 am to 4 pm PST.

"You have to provide details about your business before your concern may be addressed."

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers and Acquisitions

Nolo only offers phone technical support from Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm PST. They have good quality customer service and their representatives are helpful and knowledgeable.

Related articles:

Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews for Nolo and LegalZoom

Venture Smarter retrieved these reviews for Nolo and LegalZoom.

FAQs

Which is More Affordable, Nolo or LegalZoom?

LegalZoom is more affordable because it offers a basic package of $0 that features all the basic necessary services to form an LLC.

What is Nolo Best Used For?

Nolo is best used as an information platform to determine business guidelines and legal matters, which they provide through books and online forms.

LegalZoom vs. Nolo: Our Recommendation

Both LegalZoom and Nolo offer mostly the same services. In our experience, both companies can meet your legal needs, as well as, help you with business formation, registered agent service, and other resources you might need while starting a business.

While both LegalZoom and Nolo offer great LLC formation services, Venture Smarter recommend ZenBusiness, since they offer free business formation, expedited filing, a business website, worry-free compliance, business financial planning, and more, all at an affordable price.

If you need help with starting a business, ZenBusiness could be a good option.

Our #1 Recommendation

ZenBusiness

Man with ZenBusiness logo overlay
Rated 4.95/5
5.0
Support
4.9
Price
5.0
Features
4.9
Turnaround
Pros
  • Worry free compliance
  • Base plan at $0
  • Great value
  • Expedited filing options
  • User-friendly platform
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of June
Cons
  • Have to pay additionally for a registered agent service.

References:

  1. https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/small-business-statistics/
  2. https://www.businessresearchinsights.com/market-reports/virtual-mailbox-software-market-102719

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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