Owning a business is a very hands-on and engaging position to be in and this causes a lot of hassle and unwanted situations for your personal assets and life. If you ever want to go to larger horizons with your business, you will have to start thinking about incorporating your business online.
By turning your business company into an LLC (Limited Liability Company), you will be able to classify your business as a separate entity from your personal assets.
It provides a cushion of sorts for when your business does not do as well as you’d like, protecting your personal assets from your business’ debts and liabilities.
An LLC allows you to open bank accounts, sign contracts, hire employees and obtain permits and licenses for your business under your LLC.
Most states also require an annual filing and fee to keep your business in the good eyes of the state you are in all without people knowing where your home is. So now you can tell that forming an LLC is the next viable step for your business.
Now you may already know all of these and are currently researching something we call a Registered Agent. They are extremely useful for their LLC service as they take out most of the workload of forming an LLC.
Instead of needing to spend your limited and important time in researching and gaining knowledge yourself to form your LLC by yourself. These agents are here to provide the LLC service and help you instead so you can divert your time to more important matters.
Most importantly, in most states, it is required for a certified agent to be named in the document forming an LLC. An LLC service is authorized to receive service of process in the event of a lawsuit and other important documents on the behalf of your business.
This article will be reviewing a particular LLC service provider called LegalZoom.
This LegalZoom review will be giving you the important details on why you should or should not choose LegalZoom as your main LLC formation and service provider and at the end, we will also give you a comparison between LegalZoom and another similar company providing the same LLC service.
Before we begin, we will help you in deciding if you actually do want to form an LLC as it is a very big step for most new companies to do so. We have provided a checklist below in which you can see if there is anything you relate to or if any fits your criteria.
- You want to keep your personal assets separate from your business assets
- You own multiple locations in multiple states
- You do not want/have a physical address
- You plan to change your address once your business gets bigger
- You want to have more relaxed working hours in the office
- You want/need instant access to your legal documents on the go
- You want to have your documents electronically scanned for safekeeping or backup uses
- You want to be reminded of state compliance requirements
If you are sure you want to form an LLC now, we hope our review will help you in deciding if LegalZoom is the right choice for you for your LLC service needs! So let’s proceed on with our LegalZoom review.
LegalZoom could and might be considered the most popular and well-known legal help service provider such as LLC service available.
Thanks to their aggressive marketing and ad campaigns, LegalZoom single-handedly made themselves the most recognizable LLC formation service providers available.
Founded in 1999, LegalZoom found a strong foothold on the legal and business formation service grounds and this can be backed up by their millions of customers.
LegalZoom is considered by far the most used business formation service provider out of any other LLC formation services. If brand power and customer volume is your game, then LegalZoom’s LLC service is the way to go for most newcomers.
What Does Legalzoom Have to Offer?
We will be mainly focusing on the LLC formation services aspect of LegalZoom as this is what most people look for. Their LLC service comes bundled with a Registered Agent service (find out more on registered agent companies) so both will be taken care of for you although it is an upsell feature so it would cost extra.
LegalZoom offers three tiers for their LLC service packages starting with the Economy package which starts at $79 although do keep in mind these prices can go up to $149 as the state filing fees are not included.
The Standard package will set you back $329 and their top tier Express Gold is another 20 dollars more at $349.
Each tier comes with the essentials provided by LegalZoom so that would not be a worry as you will get your LLC formation completed with any package.
The higher tier packages will include more features that you may or may not find useful so please consult the pricing list on our articled and the main website for LegalZoom for more information.
Money Back Guarantee
One of the large pros for LegalZoom is that they provide a 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee which LegalZoom proudly stated that they are the longest in the industry and we would have to say that LegalZoom has a big advantage to other services.
I am sure that customers would want nothing more than their money back guarantee if the service fails.
So if you have any doubts about LegalZoom or are not satisfied with the service you have been receiving from LegalZoom, you can easily backout and get your money returned.
Business Name Availability Checker
There are only so many names in the world that it is quite likely some other entity already has your desired business name taken.
You can either check if your business name is already taken yourself which is time-consuming in itself or with the help of LegalZoom’s business database which is unique for each state.
LegalZoom helps you to determine if your business name is available in a very quick and easy process that will save you loads of time. There is no doubt that Legal Zoom will save a lot of your time and customer feedback also shows that many customers appreciate this.
LegalZoom in Filing of your Articles and Legal documents
With the help of their service, you will not have to handle forms and filing yourself and it will all be done by an agent representing LegalZoom.
All you have two do is fill out a questionnaire provided by LegalZoom and everything else will be handled on LegalZooms side including drafting of articles of organization and filing them with your state of formation, business advisory plan included.
Now, you don’t have to worry about forgetting a crucial part in your articles of organization when forming your LLC as online legal services like LegalZoom are here to save the day.
Lifetime Customer Support
LegalZoom boasts their lifetime customer support service, their service team is available all throughout the seven days a week even providing extended support that runs from 10 pm ET Monday to Friday and 7 pm ET on weekends.
You won’t have to worry about not having questions answered by LegalZoom anymore as you will literally have customer support at any time. Their extended customer support availability would be something we think you will appreciate.
Customers can expect to easily get in contact with LegalZoom’s customer support team. However, it must be highlighted that a few reviews have mentioned that it can take quite some time for them to reply to your enquiries.
This is something you have to take note of especially if you are one of the smaller businesses.
LegalZoom charges flat fees
LegalZoom has made an emphasis on how they charge users with their services, promising that they will only charge flat fees so your fees won’t fluctuate depending on your usage.
This means you can say goodbye to hidden fees and you will receive what you paid for by LegalZoom. Although LegalZoom does do quite a number of attempts in upselling, which can be easily dismissed.
Real Customer Reviews
We will now show you a few LegalZoom reviews from actual business owners who might give a better and more relatable insight than us about LegalZoom, so check them out below.
“I didn’t have time to go through an attorney and I figured it would be easier going through LegalZoom and let them take care of it. LegalZoom did all the paperwork for the LLC and everything went great.
They were like my agent. The online process was very easy. I also spoke to someone during the process where they had to ask a few questions. I’m very pleased. For what I’ve done, I can’t ask for anything better.”
James of Ville Platte, LA (Source)
“Last month, I formed my LLC. LegalZoom was straightforward. I went on, put in my info, waited a few days and got my LLC, so I’m happy. They also offered the option to pay half now and pay half later.
That was a big incentive and I know that’s is a big deal for a lot of people right now. I can put some money towards some other things getting started and then pay it off later. I’m thinking about using them again for another business I’m thinking to form shortly.
With LegalZoom, I can find the documents that I need after the fact, like my articles of organization or anything that I need to pull up for my bank account and things of that nature. It’s very easy to go right to that one screen and print out my paperwork.”
Marquita of Rochester, NY (Source)
These are their top most helpful LegalZoom reviews, as LegalZoom has such a large customer user base we will summarise the positive and the negative LegalZoom reviews so you will have a better idea of what a general consumer thinks.
The reviews LegalZoom that are positive reviews state that LegalZoom has been very helpful and was able to get them the legal information they needed in a very quick duration and it is usually cheaper than what they have to pay at a law firm.
They also like how many legal services are offered at LegalZoom so they can get multiple things addressed and done during a visit to the website.
Most negative reviews about LegalZoom are focused on their poor customer service, with most people being put on hold for a long time before being able to reach an actual customer service representative. This should be expected for a large service such as LegalZoom however.
What to Do if You Still Can Not Make a Decision?
As we have stated before, LegalZoom may or may not be the LLC business formation service provider that fits your needs and criterias and that is understandable.
There are numerous other companies that might be suitable for your LLC needs, such as Rocket Lawyer and IncLife.Althought Rocket Lawyer is very similar to LegalZoom. This is why we are here to help you in your selection process.
LegalZoom may be a very experienced service provider with more than a decade of experience but you may not have the money or want to easily whip out over $149 (for the base package plus filing fees) for an LLC business formation.
The good news about this is that there are a number of other services you can choose instead of LegalZoom.
If you are on the verge of choosing LegalZoom but are still a bit unsure, we will do a comparison between LegalZoom and another well known service provider so you will have at least another option to pick from.
We will be providing an in-depth comparison between LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Both can help you form your LLC and both provide registered agent services but as always there will be differences between each service that you should be mindful of when you are picking between LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Comparison Between ZenBusiness and LegalZoom
Age, Experience and Track Record
LegalZoom has a major advantage in this case as they have been around way before Zenbusiness was even founded. With LegalZoom being founded in 1999 compared to Zenbusiness’s young age being founded in 2015.
With this in mind, and along with LegalZoom’s already large customer user base you can safely say that they know what they are doing.
LegalZoom is able to handle a higher volume of customers compared to any other competitor. That said, there are a few occasions where they weren’t able to maintain their quality and standards for each customer as seen in the customer reviews.
On the other hand, a smaller company like Zenbusiness boasts a better overall satisfaction rating than LegalZoom. While it may have something to do with the age of each company, it is still something you should take note of.
We’ve also written a comprehensive review for you to read about ZenBusiness LLC. You should definitely check it out if you want to engage in their services.
Quality of Customer Service
As stated, LegalZoom provides lifetime customer service with support available all throughout the week. You can contact their customer service department through call or email.
Whereas with Zenbusiness, you can get through to their department via phone call, email or through their chat service application on their website. Both customer service departments have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Legalzoom has extended support hours and some say that Zenbusiness’s reps are very friendly and helpful.
An issue with LegalZoom is that their email support might have a long response time, with people waiting up to a week at times before receiving any support from LegalZoom which is probably due to how many customers they have to handle.
We got better luck with phone calls however with LegalZoom’s after-sales service representatives providing good detail when responding to questions. Both offer week long after-sales support, so there is no worry about that.
Ease of Use
To sign up for an LLC business formation, LegalZoom has more roadbumps compared to Zenbusiness, their ordering process starts off with the selection of one of their three tier packages and proceeding on with the usual questionnaire form so they know what exactly you need.
LegalZoom does try to upsell you in many cases so sometimes your expected budget may be exceeded so do be wary of reading carefully on what features you actually want to have.
The LegalZoom process is definitely a long one but the ease of ordering a service is actually quite guided despite the sneaky upsells they try to pull on you.
Zenbusiness on the other hand has an ordering process that takes a very short amount of time to complete, you can complete an order in a jiffy as their instructions are simple and very straightforward.
Similar to LegalZoom, you will first select what package you planned to purchase and then they will also give you a form to fill out which requires you to fill in some basic information about you and your business company.
Upsells are also present in the Zenbusiness process although the frequency of upsells are way less than LegalZoom so in that aspect Zenbusiness is the better user experience although not at a large margin.
If you never use a website before to order LLC services, LegalZoom and Zenbusiness both have great navigation tools for people who never use websites to do legal services.
LegalZoom is the pricier option of the two with their base package at $79 not including state filing fees and upsells while Zenbusiness sits at an impressive $39 package offer which is quite impressive and is one of the cheapest offerings available around.
The services provided by each service allows us to see what value we are getting if we hire either of them, one big advantage Zenbusiness has over LegalZoom is definitely the bundling of their Registered Agent service.
Zenbusiness will assign an agent to you with your LLC formation package which is a great value as they will help handle all your legal documents.
With LegalZoom, this will be offered in the form of an upsell during your ordering process which could turn your base $79 package to prices as high as $159 which includes state filing fees, the service itself and a customizable LLC operating agreement.
So in the pricing category, Zenbusiness definitely has a more alluring and eye-catching model than LegalZoom. Offering essential services at no extra cost as it is included in the package bundle.
Customers are often surprised when they see how cheap the services Zenbusiness offers. Although most LegalZoom customers pay for the price of quality.
Speed of LLC Formation
In this category, both LegalZoom and Zenbusiness use the same model of basing turnaround times. In which the processing times are not based on each state’s government processing speed but actually based on how high your package tier is.
Although one minor difference is that Zenbusiness does factor in processing estimates on what state you are in.
Processing speeds for LegalZoom is acceptable with their lowest tier package processing time having a 30 business day or 6 week turnaround time.
That said, you get a faster speed of formation if you purchase LegalZoom’s highest tier package where you can get an LLC formation done in an impressive 7-10 days.
Zenbusiness, on the other hand, has a 3 to 4 weeks turnaround time with their lowest starter tier package plan which can be cut down to 1 to 2 weeks with the pro package and 3 to 5 days with their premium package.
Overall, you can expect Zenbusiness to be the faster LLC formation service compared to LegalZoom.
Registered Agent Service
As we have stated, in America you will be required to have a certified agent’s signature on your legal document in order for you to form your LLC.
This particular agent handles important legal forms, documents from the state government your business is in, they also inform you of receipts and forward documents to you.
Basically, it allows the state government to have an easy way of contacting your business at any opportune time. So you can say that having an agent is a very convenient and useful feature to have especially with the amount of legal forms you have to handle.
Zenbusiness assigns free services for all of its LLC formation packages which is very much welcomed at a low low price point of $39. Whereas LegalZoom charges you up to $249 per year as an add on or upsell which we honestly have to say is a very steep and high price point.
So if you are planning on having an agent to handle your affairs for you, LegalZoom will be the pricier option than Zenbusiness so you have to take that into account. You should not need to spend hundreds of dollars for this LLC formation service in our opinion.
Extra additional services
LegalZoom is a legal business services provider by heart, meaning they do not only provide LLC formations but they also provide a plethora of other legal business services such as attorneys and more.
They strive to be your one shop stop for legal services so it might be a bit more convenient for you to already be their customer and have access to a range of different legal services at hand.
Both have services that the other does not have, for example LegalZoom provides copyright protection and trademark registration services and the likes of all that whereas Zenbusiness offers publication services in states such as New York that need them.
Another important factor to consider is each services refund policy, LegalZoom and Zenbusiness’ refund policies are handled very differently, so you have to choose the right one just in case their service is not up to par or you found another better service that fits your needs much better than the two.
Zenbusiness has a very strict refund policy so please do take note of it, you will no longer be able to request a refund after they have submitted your business for filing with your state.
Although in the event that they have not yet filed your business to the state, you may be able to proceed with a chargeback or you might be slammed with a $50 cancellation fee.
Comparing this to LegalZoom’s refund policy which is much more lenient and relaxed in our opinion, they promise a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy.
If you are able to request a refund for your money within 60 days of your purchasing date, they will happily provide you a full refund with no further questions asked.
We do think the pricing of the services play a part in how their refund policy is written, with Zenbusiness having a larger penalty for their already cheaper service compared to LegalZoom.
Which Service Should I Pick?
Now that we have laid out all the differences for each service for you, it may be time for you to pick which of the two you would like for your LLC formation services.
As you can clearly see, both LegalZoom and Zenbusiness have their pros and cons with one service excelling in an area better than the other one.
We think whichever one you pick, both LegalZoom and Zenbusiness will be able to help you with your LLC formation needs at the end of the day because it is what they both strive to do best.
To summarise all of this, LegalZoom is the pricier option compared to Zenbusiness. ZenBusiness provides all the same essential LLC formation services at a lower price as compared to LegalZoom.
However, LegalZoom is the more experienced company with decades of experience which helps build their reputation and maintain their track record.
Legalzoom has a well-established infrastructure and is the most brand recognised service available because of its reliable and professional services.
Zenbusiness on the other hand is on the rise with their incredible value while still being able to provide and carry out the essential needs for LLC formation.
They have also bundled in a registered agent service along with their LLC formation service, this is something that you will have to pay extra for if you decide to pick LegalZoom.
So would you rather pick a well-established brand recognised service like LegalZoom? Or would you rather pick Zenbusiness which has more or less the same features and even more although they are the younger newer company in the area of LLC formation.
Customers who also used LegalZoom for their legal service needs also find them satisfactory. Check out our comprehensive comparison between Zenbusiness vs LegalZoom to find out more.
LegalZoom is a well-established business company that provides top of the line legal services including LLC formation and more.
Their experience in the field will give you peace of mind as they help you in making your business incorporated and you will be guaranteed an LLC formation as they make it their mission.
Their website provides great ease of use and you can hire their services with their intuitive online order form.
They will try to sneak in some upsells to you unfortunately but it is to be expected and despite the upsells the ordering process is very easy although you do have to read into what they are offering carefully or else you might be paying more than you expected.
Ordering a service should take no longer than 15 minutes and overall the LegalZoom experience is not bad and you will be provided with whatever tools you need to help in your LLC formation process allowing you to focus more on other elements of your company.
You won’t be disappointed in being a LegalZoom customer. They offer the essentials plus more even though you have to pay more so we hope you have a great time using LegalZoom. We thank you so much for reading our article on our experience with LegalZoom.
If you wish to have an even better idea on how will Legal Zoom fair against its competitors, we’ve done a comprehensive comparison between
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is LegalZoom trustworthy?
In terms of being trustworthy, LegalZoom and its services have been around for a long time since 1999. During that time they have served millions and millions of customers so it is very much expected that they are a very trustworthy and reliable business service.
Although during recent times the quality of their services has faltered a bit, but that is just due to the amount of customers LegalZoom receives. Despite that, you won’t regret being a LegalZoom customer.
Why should I NOT use LegalZoom?
If you are a business owner that does not like to see upsells or if you do not want to pay for an agent and instead want it bundled, we can safely say that there are many other options such as Zenbusiness which offer what you want.
So this could be a reason why you should not use LegalZoom for your LLC formation services needs.
Do LegalZoom documents hold up in court?
Yes, you can use LegalZoom to create items like contracts, articles of organization and etc. They don’t only LLC formation services after all and their other services have many customers too.
They are a legal services company and their legal service offers great legal advice. LegalZoom customer feedback who used LegalZoom shows that their legal plan and advice are great to follow so you can take that into account too.
Should I reserve an LLC company name first before forming an LLC with LegalZoom?
This really depends on which state your business is in. In most states excluding Florida, you have a way to reserve a business name before forming your LLC entity.
This is only really needed if you are not sure or ready to enter the LLC formation process and usually, there is no reason to reserve a business name before forming an LLC with LegalZoom.
There really is no need for reserving an LLC name for your business and small businesses alike as well. And also LegalZoom provides you with a company name checker in all of their package plans.
Should I form an LLC on my own?
If you really do want to, of course, it is possible although there are a lot of processes to be done before you form one. We would really only recommend this if you already have legal expertise as you will have full control over every filing and legal document.
Make sure to research each state’s rules and regulations on how LLCs are formed, although we do really recommend using services like LegalZoom as it removes a lot of hassles.
What else does LegalZoom provide apart from LLC formation?
LegalZoom provides personal services as well in addition to their usual business offerings with services such as creating people’s last will and testaments, power of attorney, divorce papers etc.
Apart from LLC formation, LegalZoom also offers certified agents as mentioned, EIN acquisition, business licensing and much more.
EIN acquisition can very much well be relevant for people who want to form an LLC as some of them need it, it will be less of a hassle as you do not need to get one yourself through the IRS which is very convenient.
Starting a business correctly doesn’t have to be difficult. With over 15 years of experience consulting new businesses and start ups, Matthew is probably the best person to help you set a strong foundation for your business.