ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom

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When you’re starting a business, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom can help you stay compliant. Both platforms have resources to protect your business and succeed in your industry. We looked at how they stack up against each other when it comes to the services they offer, processing times, ease of use, and customer support availability to show you how they can benefit your business.

ZenBusiness’s easy-to-use platform makes starting your new business efficient. It offers fast processing and Worry-Free Compliance to reduce the stress of building a business and keep you on track. ZenBusiness’s speed, paired with high-quality accounting services, helps you not only start but grow your business over time. Start your business at $0 plus state fees.

LegalZoom has extensive knowledge of business regulations, thanks to two decades in the industry. Its services protect your business, products, and even intellectual property. It stands out by providing expert knowledge of local regulations, ensuring your business is always compliant. Start your LLC for $0 plus state filing fees.

Brand logos for ZenBusiness and LegalZoom.

ZenBusiness and LegalZoom Compared to the Best Business Formation Services

Explore our Golden Eggs and learn more about similar services for starting your business with our top picks from the best business formation services. ZenBusiness made it one of the best on our list, and LegalZoom was noted as a great option for legal assistance when forming a business.

Bizee (formerly Incfile) offers free business formation services with the same high quality you’d expect from a paid service. Start your business for free and get Bizee’s expertise with a free year of registered agent services and an EIN.

Northwest Registered Agent is ideal for incorporating your business and finding professional resources, including a registered agent. Sign up for a free account to get an all-in-one business formation solution.

Rocket Lawyer gives legal advice while you’re forming your business and eliminates the risk that comes with creating important documents yourself. Try it free for seven days and get legal advice before you start your business.

ZenBusiness Compared to LegalZoom

ZenBusiness and LegalZoom both offer excellent solutions for starting your business and keep you compliant with industry regulations from the start. They have resources for many different kinds of businesses, including LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits, and protect your business with sound legal advice. Here, we’ll get more in-depth and show you exactly how LegalZoom and ZenBusiness can work for you.

ZenBusiness Highlights

ZenBusiness has proven itself as the top pick among our best business formation service reviews. It’s great for first-time business owners. As an all-in-one platform, it offers comprehensive resources for forming your business.

It offers services that guide you through planning with resources for researching your market, calculating costs, building your brand, and finding the right business structure if you’re at the very beginning of your business journey.

With ZenBusiness, you can form an LLC for free with only state filing fees. You can also set up a corporation or nonprofit, and the company doesn’t abandon you once you’re up and running. It offers services to help you run your business, including Worry-Free Compliance, which keeps you up to date on everything you need for filings to reduce risk to your business.

ZenBusiness comes with accounting services that take care of the more frequent invoicing and tax obligations. It has solutions to get you funding, open additional locations, and buy businesses that support yours.

LegalZoom Highlights

LegalZoom has so many services that it can feel overwhelming at first glance. With the company, you can register your business as an LLC, corporation, DBA, nonprofit, sole proprietorship, and more. If you’re not sure which one applies to you, LegalZoom will help you figure it out.

Once you’ve started your business, LegalZoom has solutions for running it with registered agents, licensing and agreements, and legal knowledge that includes your local business regulations. The company goes beyond basic formation services and protects your intellectual property through trademark and copyright. That means it keeps your brand exclusive to you and protects anything you create through your business.

LegalZoom also offers personal services, including wills and trusts, family legal help, and real estate.

ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Pros and Cons

ZenBusiness and LegalZoom each serve big-name clients and offer services to not only form your business but keep it growing and compliant. But that doesn’t automatically mean they’re right for you. Here, we’ve outlined their strengths and weaknesses to help you determine if either service meets your needs.

Where ZenBusiness Shines

Streamlined Platform: ZenBusiness keeps all your business information in one place so that you don’t have to switch platforms to take the next steps. Keeping everything in one place means you file on time and stay updated with minimal hassle. The service can also track each step you take toward building your business and includes services like invoicing, preparing, and filing, and shows business growth factors.

Fast Processing: ZenBusiness claims to file on average in four to six days with its Pro package, compared to LegalZoom’s 10 days. The free package typically takes two or three weeks, which is still faster than LegalZoom’s 30 days with the same plan. ZenBusiness’s expedited filing with its Pro and Premium plans can be as fast as one or two days, so if you’re in a hurry to file or leave something until the last minute, ZenBusiness comes through so that you always get your filing done on time.

Screenshot from ZenBusiness's pricing worry free web page of a header that reads “Peace of mind, all the time.” There are three icons in boxed beneath the header with text below them that reads, from left to right, “Covers annual reports,” “Makes changes easy,” and “Keeps your good standing.”

Worry-Free Compliance: One of ZenBusiness’s most unique and helpful features, Worry-Free Compliance sends you alerts to tell you when compliance or regulation changes happen and when a deadline is coming up. That way, you can focus on other areas of your business with less stress. Worry-Free Compliance also covers annual reports to keep your business in good standing and reduce errors made by manual tracking and reporting.

Accounting Services: ZenBusiness’s accounting and tax services give you more than just annual or quarterly filing, which puts it a step up from LegalZoom. It takes care of invoices, payments, and bookkeeping, giving you a day-to-day accounting solution. Plus, if you run a small business, ZenBusiness’s services become even more helpful with tips made to make taxes more efficient and less stressful.

Affordable Plans: ZenBusiness is one of the more accessible business formation services available due to its cost. Its Pro plan comes in significantly cheaper than LegalZoom. While both offer a $0 starting package (plus filing fees), ZenBusiness’s Pro package is $199, and Premium is $349. These packages have essential features like faster filing, Worry-Free Compliance, and guided operating agreements. You can build your own business website with ZenBusiness and get your own domain name and email address.

Excellent Customer Support and Resources: ZenBusiness has live experts and self-help resources on its website. You can contact an expert by chat, phone, and email or take advantage of written guides and article resources on its website. It also has a Q&A feature where you can ask direct questions and get answers. ZenBusiness even provides resources specific to small businesses to show you your business formation options and help you decide which ones are right for you every step of the way.

Where ZenBusiness Needs Improvement

Decreasing Subscription Value: ZenBusiness’s plans look great at first glance—and they are, for many businesses. But over time, you get less for what you pay. For example, certain registration features are usually a one-time service, like forming an LLC. However, you still pay the same price annually, which can lower the value for some business owners.

Limited Website Capabilities: ZenBusiness lets you create your own business website through its services, which can be convenient if you’re just starting out. However, keep in mind that you might be able to find more customizability and better templates elsewhere. Before you create your site, check out other website builders to determine whether their options suit your business needs better.

Costly Registered Agent Add-on: ZenBusiness doesn’t include a registered agent in its package, so you’ll have to buy the $199 add-on if you want one. It’s still cheaper than LegalZoom’s $249 option, but when ZenBusiness’s Pro package costs $199 on its own, you’re already paying double for this one add-on.

Where LegalZoom Shines

Comprehensive Business Services: While ZenBusiness offers a range of services, LegalZoom’s selection outshines it. It offers services for many different business types, including LLCs, corporations, nonprofits, and sole proprietorships. It also focuses more on the broad legal aspects of starting a business and protects your brand beyond its initial formation.

Local Legal Compliance: Many business formation services focus more on national or even international compliance, but local regulations are just as important. LegalZoom doesn’t neglect any area of your compliance. On the company’s website, you’ll find laws and processes for forming an LLC in each of the 50 states, with documents that you can reference to ensure you comply. This is especially useful because each state’s laws differ, so having them handy with LegalZoom makes a complicated step that much more convenient.

Extensive Experience: LegalZoom has been in business for 20 years, giving them plenty of time to hone their expertise on legal compliance of all kinds. With so much experience and over two million customers over the course of their history, you can trust that their experts know how to help you set up your business the right way from the beginning.

A screenshot from LegalZoom's business intellectual property web page of a header that reads, “Get the right intellectual property protection.” Below the header are three boxes with headers that read, “Trademark,” “Copyright,” and “Patent” with icons representing their services beneath them.

IP Services: ZenBusiness doesn’t offer specific intellectual property services, which puts LegalZoom ahead in this area. LegalZoom has the services you need to file trademarks, patents, and copyrights. These come in handy if you invent a new and unique product or if you create art, whether it’s a song or a visual logo, and want to protect it. It also protects your brand so that no one else can use your name, logo, and other aspects of your brand that help customers identify your business.

Customer Support Quality and Availability: LegalZoom has worked to improve its customer support over the years, which shows that they pay attention to customer experience and needs. Most people find that contacting support solves their problem and gives them the information they need to build their business and stay compliant. You can contact them by phone, email, and chat from 5 am-7 pm on weekdays and 7 am-4 pm on weekends, making them more available than most other companies, including ZenBusiness.

Where LegalZoom Needs Improvement

Costly Plans and Extra Services: With extra services come extra costs, but even LegalZoom’s initial plans are expensive. At $249 for its Pro plan and $349 for Premium, you do get more resources, help, and tools than ZenBusiness. Depending on how much help you want with forming your business, you may find it worth it, but this may not work if you’re on a budget. Plus, you get the company’s reputation and know you’re in good hands.

Long Wait Time for LLC Formation: While you’ll wait for a maximum of three weeks for ZenBusiness’s processing, many customers have reported wait times of 30 days or more with LegalZoom. This isn’t ideal if you tend to cut deadlines close, and LegalZoom doesn’t have the same Worry-Free Compliance features that ZenBusiness does to automatically make sure you’re up to date.

Too Many Upsells: LegalZoom comes with a lot of services in its plans, but there are a few essential ones that you can’t get unless you pay for extras. For example, it doesn’t include a registered agent, operating agreement, or EIN, whereas ZenBusiness includes an operating agreement and EIN in packages without making you pay extra. The registered agent add-on is the only thing from LegalZoom that’s cheaper than ZenBusiness.

Fewer Accounting Services: LegalZoom provides extensive legal advice and essential tax compliance services, but it doesn’t have the same day-to-day accounting services that ZenBusiness offers. It focuses more on compliance, as opposed to giving you the tools for invoicing and similar business needs. This may not be a drawback for everyone, but some business owners appreciate having everything in one place, and LegalZoom doesn’t always provide that.

The Last Word on ZenBusiness Compared to LegalZoom

LegalZoom and ZenBusiness offer plenty of services to make forming your business and keeping it compliant easier. Each one provides necessary legal advice, documents, accounting services, and more, which allows you to spend more time running your business the way you want.

ZenBusiness’s fast processing and Worry-Free Compliance make it an excellent choice for small businesses and first-time business owners, despite its costly registered agent services. Meanwhile, LegalZoom excels when it comes to legal advice, experience, and a wider variety of services, but the cost and wait times may deter some people.

While ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are both excellent choices for helping you set up your new business, there are many more options available. Check out our reviews of the best business formation services to learn about other companies that may work even better for you.

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