ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom (2024 Comparison: What’s Better?)
Establishing a business entity and navigating the legal complexities can sometimes be challenging. However, there are two prominent formation services in the industry that can help, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom.
These companies offer services to entrepreneurs and individuals looking to complete the process efficiently, quickly, and simply by featuring comprehensive plans.
As a business consultant with a decade of experience, I had the opportunity to work with several formation services, familiarizing me with the working system.
I'll share my insights on ZenBusiness and LegalZoom based on their features, plans, additional services, and performance to help you decide which company better suits your LLC's needs.
At a Glance: ZenBusiness and LegalZoom
ZenBusiness is a business formation company founded in 2015. They provide a comprehensive platform with tools and educational programs to support aspiring business owners.
Founded in 2001, LegalZoom is a trusted business formation service and legal company that helped over 2 million clients. They offer an array of legal services, including the creation of legal documents without the need to hire a lawyer.
1. ZenBusiness LLC Highlights
- Business formation services
- Registered agent services
- Compliance assistance
- Website design and hosting
2. LegalZoom LLC Highlights
- Legal document templates
- Business formation services
- Trademark services
- Legal advice and consultation
3. How ZenBusiness and LegalZoom Stack Together
Comparatively, both companies feature a basic platform and complete packages needed to form an LLC. However, LegalZoom offers legal consultation, guidance, and a business legal plan.
Apart from its basic formation package, ZenBusiness offers financial services through business banking, expense tracking, business credit cards, and tax consultation.
Side-by-Side LLC Plan Comparisons
ZenBusiness and LegalZoom offer the following LLC formation services to help you establish your business efficiently.
1. Basic Plan Comparison: ZenBusiness Starter vs LegalZoom Basic
- ZenBusiness' Starter ($0 + State Fees): The plan includes business filing, worry-free compliance free for the first year (optional, $199/yr upon renewal if accepted), a 100% accuracy guarantee, and standard filing speed that delivers your LLC formation in approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
- LegalZoom's Basic ($0 + state fees): The plan includes name check, articles of organization, a digital welcome packet, and customizable website powered by WIX. A client of mine was pleased to receive a comprehensive checklist and guidelines after the LLC was registered and established.
2. Mid-Level Plan Comparison: ZenBusiness Pro vs LegalZoom Pro
- ZenBusiness' Pro ($199 + State Fees): When we availed of the plan, we received all the features from the Starter package, including an operating agreement template and an Employer Identification Number for your LLC. You'll also get an expedited "rush" filing speed, with an average turnaround of 1-5 business days.
- LegalZoom's Pro ($249 + state fees): The plan includes all features of the basic package, plus an operating agreement, EIN, customizable document templates, and phone consultation regarding business insurance and taxes.
3. Top-Level Plan Comparison: ZenBusiness Premium vs LegalZoom Premium
- ZenBusiness' Premium ($349/year + State Fees): The package includes all Pro plan features plus business document templates, domain name and email address, and business website builder .
- LegalZoom's Premium ($299 + state fees): It features all services included in the Pro package plus attorney guidance, a 30-minute legal counsel, and document amendments for 30 days, which we found helpful .
Registered Agent Services
ZenBusiness offers professional registered agent services to perform service of process and help businesses meet their legal obligations for $199 annually. You have to avail of the service as an add-on since it is not included in their basic plan.
With LegalZoom, a registered agent service costs $249 per year. The package includes mail alerts, annual reports and tax notification deadline, and unlimited cloud storage.
Aside from the services included in their packages, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom offer the following additional features designed to address maintenance and management purposes:
1. DBA Name
ZenBusiness offers DBA registration for companies that want to operate under a different name from their registered title.
For specific pricing and details, we had to access the website and initiate the transaction through online chat. The service is available only in selected states as long as your LLC is in good standing.
LegalZoom offers services for DBA registrations which costs $99 plus state filing fees.
2. Annual Reports Filing
ZenBusiness offers annual report filing requirements for a fee of $100, ensuring that your LLC remains compliant with the state's business requirements.
LegalZoom assists businesses with annual reports for an additional fee, which varies depending on the state. The price for yearly report filing starts at $99 plus state fees.
3. Trademark Registration
When a client wanted to trademark their business, they availed LegalZoom's services for $599 excluding federal filing fees. The company assists businesses in conducting direct hit searches, filing electronically, and providing dedicated support.
Unfortunately, ZenBusiness does not offer trademark registration service.
4. Business Licenses
With LegalZoom, you can determine which licenses and permits are required of your business by availing of their business license report package for $99.
ZenBusiness offers a similar service that provides your company with the summary of the necessary licenses and permits needed to operate your business for $99.
5. Business Banking
I inquired about the business banking feature of ZenBusiness and learned that the service allows me to open a business bank account with no maintaining balance while providing bookkeeping and tax preparation for $5 a month.
LegalZoom does not offer business banking services but provides accountancy management services.
ZenBusiness offers customer support through phone and web-based application form. You may call customer service on weekdays, 8am to 8 pm CST and Sundays, 9 am to 6 pm CST. They satisfactorily responded to our inquiries within one business day.
Customer service from LegalZoom is available via phone and live chat on weekdays between 5 am and 7 pm PST and weekends from 7 am to 4 pm PST.
When we called customer support, the staff were knowledgeable, supportive, and professional when it came to our inquiries.
Which Company has Catered to More Clients, ZenBusiness or LegalZoom?
LegalZoom has catered to more than 2 million clients while ZenBusiness has helped over 500,000 businesses in the industry.
Which is More Affordable, ZenBusiness or LegalZoom?
ZenBusiness and LegalZoom offer affordable packages at $0 basic plan. Coincidentally, their mid-level and top-level packages both costs $548 when computed collectively.
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Our Recommendation
ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two of the very best business formation services. Their offerings are affordable, and thousands of businesses patronize them globally.
In my years in the industry, I have considerable experience working with both companies. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom provide entrepreneurs and new business owners a comprehensive platform in order to launch their companies successfully.
While both platforms offer excellent LLC formation services, we recommend ZenBusiness.
ZenBusiness offers cost-effectiveness, allowing entrepreneurs and small business owners with limited budgets to access quality services. Their commitment to worry-free compliance ensures businesses stay on top of critical deadlines.