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Starting a business involves lots of paperwork and can be overwhelming, but ZenBusiness makes the process easier and smoother. ZenBusiness can help business owners file their business formation documents with your state, providing a customized experience with more guidance than business owners would have if trying to navigate the process independently. With its affordable prices, fast processing times, and a suite of available services, ZenBusiness is a valuable option for new business owners. From time-saving benefits to increased peace of mind, this platform has many benefits, especially for anyone new to business ownership.
Comparing ZenBusiness to The Best Business Formation Services
ZenBusiness offers many benefits, particularly when it comes to establishing your business correctly and legally. It also is known for having excellent customer service and affordable rates. When we researched the top business formation services, ZenBusiness came in near the top of the list due to its affordability and specialization in LLC filings.
Two of its top competitors are LegalZoom and BizFilings. LegalZoom offers a ton of extras like fraud protection, compliance tips, and annual reports for a relatively affordable fee starting at $79 plus state filings. BizFilings has been in the business formation industry for over two decades and comes with a very handy compliance monitoring tool. Its pricing starts at $99 plus state fees. Check out the rest of our top choices and the methodology behind them. See all of our top picks.
ZenBusiness: The Good and The Bad
Centralized, Integrated Platform: ZenBusiness streamlines all of the work you’ll have to do to start up a new business, and it keeps all of that essential information on one platform. With ZenBusiness, it’s easy to track the progress of each step you’re taking to create your business, and you don’t have to try to manage deadlines and priorities across multiple platforms.
Excellent Support: ZenBusiness formation experts are available to provide customer support during business hours. That support is available for the entire life of your business. Additionally, ZenBusiness provides detailed Q&As and resources, including articles, to help you start your business.
Extra Add-Ons: While ZenBusiness offers three main packages, it also provides an array of add-on services, like worry-free compliance and annual reporting services. You can add on the specific services you need, tailoring a package for your business without paying a high price for services you won’t use.
Worry-Free Compliance: One of the more valuable services ZenBusiness offers is its Worry-Free Compliance. With this service, ZenBusiness handles your state filings, helping keep you compliant. If you ever fall out of compliance, you’ll have support from ZenBusiness experts to get you back on track. This service can offer significant peace of mind, especially for new business owners.
Quick Processing Times: Many ZenBusiness customers report quick LLC formation processing times of just a few days. The Pro and Premium plans offer accelerated processing if you’re in a rush and want to speed up the process even more.
Pay It Forward: ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation, meaning it helps small businesses grow by awarding them grants and loans. Your business will be supporting a company that then supports other small businesses. ZenBusiness awarded more than $100,000 worth of grants to small businesses in 2020.
Helpful Resources: A quick look around the ZenBusiness site makes it evident that this business is designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. There’s useful guidance and information on nearly every page that gives you the background details you need to make well-informed decisions about how to best run your business.
Business Website Option: Unlike some other business formation services, ZenBusiness offers a set of tools to help you put together a professional online presence. It includes a business website, domain name, security certificate, and more.
Filing Fees Not Included: Because filing fees vary by state, they’re not included in ZenBusiness’ pricing. You’ll need to verify the fees with your state if you’re trying to budget for the total costs you’ll see with ZenBusiness.
Subscription Model: ZenBusiness runs on a subscription model with annual billing. Since most of its services, like LLC formation, occur only once, these plans lose significant value after the first year. A one-time payment for business formation services would be a more practical option.
Limited Website Capabilities: Though it offers business website services, there are limited website templates and customization options. If your company is in ecommerce or otherwise relies on your website, you may be better off with a dedicated website builder with more options, functionality, and customization.
ZenBusiness Pricing and Options
ZenBusiness offers three business formation plans that are billed annually. Keep in mind that these plan prices don’t include your state’s filing fees, which can vary depending on where you live. Check your state’s filing fees and add them into the plan rates for the most accurate idea of what to budget.
The Starter plan costs $49 per year and offers the basic services you’ll need to create an LLC and start to run your business. In addition to filing your LLC paperwork, the plan includes a service to help with your annual report, as well as an operating agreement template that you can use when starting your business.
The Pro plan costs $199 and is likely the best fit for most businesses. It has everything from the Starter plan and includes valuable items like a banking resolution template and a 100% accuracy guarantee. Most importantly, the Pro plan includes an Employer ID Number, which you’ll need to operate your LLC. The Pro plan will also expedite your filing speed, ideal if you need to start your LLC quickly and are anxious to get the business running.
Stepping up to the Premium plan at $299 per year gets you a more comprehensive plan, but you’ll want to consider whether you need the additional items included in this plan. In addition to the items in the Pro plan, the Premium plan includes a business website, a business domain name, domain name privacy, and a business email address. If you haven’t yet made plans to create your business website and email yourself, this can be a convenient way to get your business online quickly. However, if you’ve already begun work on these items, this addition would be redundant and unnecessary.
It’s also important to note that some users have spoken of limited website templates and functionality. If you plan to build a business that relies heavily on your website, it will likely make more sense to go with a website builder like Wix, WordPress, or Shopify. As a dedicated service in that field, you’ll get a lot more options and be able to tailor your website to your needs.
These three plans offer various pricing options. The Starter plan is ideal for a small business on a budget, and the Premium plan offering convenience but still being highly affordable. In terms of overall value, the Pro plan makes the most sense for most businesses, especially since it gives you peace of mind with its accuracy guarantee and worry-free compliance. If you want to ensure that your business is established legally and that you’re starting it off correctly, this plan can be a worthwhile investment, particularly during the first year of business.
While these plans offer decent value because of their LLC filing assistance, that’s only essential when you’re starting your business. These plans provide less value and use in the following years, so you may want to consider canceling after your business has gotten what you need out of it.
ZenBusiness Business Formation Services
ZenBusiness is best known for its business formation services. Whether you need an LLC or a corporation structure, you can choose the appropriate services, and ZenBusiness collects and files your paperwork with your state. The state confirms everything, and ZenBusiness provides you with your documents right in your dashboard. This makes it easy to access the information that you need.
ZenBusiness offers four primary filing services:
- C Corp
- DBA (doing business as)
- Business name reservation
ZenBusiness can help you navigate the filing process for each entity. The option you choose depends on the business form that’s right for your scenario. You’ll find lots of information about the differences between these types of filings on the ZenBusiness website.
ZenBusiness also offers the option to reserve your business name, which is a strategy that some newer business owners might not be aware of. Coming up with the perfect business name can be a challenge, and you don’t want to let that name get away while you’re working out the logistics of starting your business. ZenBusiness can reserve your business name before officially registering your business, giving you some leeway to pick your structure and get the paperwork started. While the amount of time can vary depending on your state, many states let you lock in your name for 120 days.
In addition to these filling options, ZenBusiness offers several services that can help you get your business running faster. Its operating agreement template can help you to protect your personal assets and outline business rules and ownership. The template helps ensure you haven’t missed anything important when planning and outlining your business, and it’s an easy way to approach your business professionally.
To operate your business, you’ll also need an EIN, and ZenBusiness can help with that, too. You’ll need your EIN to open a business bank account, hire employees, and separate your business finances from your personal finances. You can request an EIN through ZenBusiness, and keep that information right in your dashboard so that it’s easily accessible.
ZenBusiness Business Operation Services
Once you’ve created your business, ZenBusiness offers a variety of services that can help you run your business professionally and efficiently.
With ZenBusiness, you can easily register for a business domain name. You can then use that domain for your website, your business email, and more. Registration costs $25 per year, and it’s one of the first essential steps in branding your business and building an online presence.
ZenBusiness also offers the ability to create and manage a customized business website. You can pair that site with your domain name and use the available editable templates to save time in building your business. While ZenBusiness provides limited information on its website building options, it offers the convenience of having your website, domain registration, and all of the business’ state filings in one dashboard.
You can also use ZenBusiness to file your annual report. Many states require businesses to file annual reports, and it can be time-consuming. Missing filing deadlines can cause your business to fall out of compliance, but ZenBusiness can make the process of filing an annual report easier and faster. The platform sends you notifications to keep you updated about approaching annual report deadlines. You can track your annual report documents right in the ZenBusiness dashboard and access them for future reports to save time.
How ZenBusiness Ranks
When compared to other business formation services like LegalZoom, ZenBusiness is a top choice for multiple reasons. ZenBusiness is a more affordable option than many competitors, including LegalZoom, and its Worry-Free Compliance feature is a significant benefit.
However, we know that business services are not a one-size-fits-all proposition, so here are our other top picks for the best business formation services online today:
- LegalZoom – Best for Most
- ZenBusiness – Best for LLC Filing
- BizFilings – Best for Compliance Monitoring
- Rocket Lawyer – Best for Quick Legal Advice
- Swyft Filings – Best for Customer Support
You can see our reviews and methodology in our business formation buying guide.
ZenBusiness is an appealing option for new business owners who want some guidance and reassurance as they establish their companies. This service does offer excellent value in its first year, especially if you’re worried about navigating the process of filing an LLC, establishing a C Corp, or even just taking care of all those documents you need to get your business up and running. If you aren’t ready to hire a lawyer, ZenBusiness can increase the chances of establishing your business correctly and being set up properly to pay taxes. While some of the plans’ value decreases after the first year, ZenBusiness can be a valuable tool to help entrepreneurs navigate that tricky first year of starting a business.