LLC formation services are the modern entrepreneur’s best friend. After all, filing paperwork is annoying (if you don’t mind paperwork, then this guide probably isn’t for you), so an LLC formation service can remove some of that headache for you.
But which formation service should you use? There are dozens of options available to choose from. To put your money to good use, you’ll want to choose the perfect one.
Generally speaking, a good formation service does two things. First, they help you form your business, offering advice along the way. Second, they’ll help you maintain your new company by reminding you of due dates, state requirements, and more. Other important factors to consider are the service’s track record, their cost, and how easy it is to use their service.
In this review, we’ll give you our in-depth opinion of Rocket Lawyer’s LLC formation service.
Rocket Tip: Looking for the best and most affordable LLC formation services? Compare the most affordable LLC services to see how they stack up.
Our philosophy: What makes a formation service “good?”
Ultimately, the “top LLC formation service” boils down to a matter of opinion. Which one is best for you depends on what you want from a service. But that said, there are certain qualities that make one formation service better than another.
Whenever we evaluate an online LLC service, here are some questions we like to ask:
- Does this service give me a good value for what I’m paying?
- Does this company have a proven record of supplying high-quality service?
- What is the quality of this company’s customer service?
- How easy is it to use this service?
- How quickly will my business be formed?
A good LLC service will receive high marks in these categories. We’ll consider the answers to these questions in our in-depth review below.
What is Rocket Lawyer?
In 2008, Rocket Lawyer’s founders saw a need: regular people have legal questions. But they don’t always have the time or money to get those questions answered. So they founded Rocket Lawyer to help regular people get a lawyer’s answers to their questions—without the hefty consultation fees or the inconvenience of going to a law firm.
Rocket Lawyer serves businesses and individuals alike. Whether you need to write a will or you’re ready to start an LLC, Rocket Lawyer can help.
In the decade since their founding, Rocket Lawyer has helped more than 20 million customers. That number includes individuals and businesses alike, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
How does their service work?
LLC formation services is just one of the services offered by Rocket Lawyer. In general, Rocket Lawyer’s customers become members by subscription. With that subscription comes access to a full library of legal documents, legal consultations, their Document Defense program, and much more.
Forming a business with them is an à-la-carte feature: you can use this service as a non-member or as a member. But to make it worth your while to become a member, Rocket Lawyer does offer free incorporation service to new members. Existing members get 20% off.
Once you’ve selected your state and business type, incorporating with Rocket Lawyer is a 3-step process. Granted, Step 2 is rather long, but here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect:
Step 1: Provide information about the business, including the primary contact person, the name of the business, the business address, who will own and manage the LLC, who will be your registered agent (you can hire them to do it), and more. This information allows Rocket Lawyer to file your Articles of Organization on your behalf.
Step 2: Select any add-on legal services you’d like. The default fee for a business formation is $99, and any additional service you purchase will cost extra. We’ll go into these add-ons in greater detail later, but they include a subscription to Rocket Lawyer’s legal service, expedited filings, getting an EIN, and more.
Step 3: To finalize your purchase and get your business started, you’ll need to have a credit card on hand to pay Rocket Lawyer’s fees and any state fees that apply.
Is Rocket Lawyer a good option?
Rocket Lawyer isn’t the best business formation service out there, but they do get the job done.
It’s an especially good option for businesses that will want a lot of legal advice and forms along the way. That’s because their legal service subscription can go hand-in-hand with your LLC formation.
The primary drawback to using Rocket Lawyer is that their base fee for forming an LLC is much more expensive than their competitors. So if keeping your purchase budget-friendly is more important than legal advice, then another service may be better for you.
What are Rocket Lawyer’s customers saying?
Rocket Lawyer used to receive a lot of negative reviews, but in the past few years, their customer experience has taken a turn for the better. Of course, they’re not perfect—and no business is—but they’re trending in the right direction.
A lot of their bad reviews occurred because people misunderstood the free trial for their legal subscription service. But now Rocket Lawyer has made it obvious how the trial works, so that confusion occurs far less often. The up-tick in positive reviews reflects that.
Here are some of the positive things people have to say about Rocket Lawyer:
- Easy access to a wide variety of forms (both business and personal)
- Great customer service
And here’s what the naysayers had to say:
- Difficult to cancel the legal service subscription
Rocket Lawyer has gotten better about communicating their terms of the free trial, helping their ratings significantly. That said, we always recommend that you read the terms and conditions carefully before you sign up for any service. The good news is that the legal subscription service gives you a lot of helpful forms and advice to go hand-in-hand with your business formation.
LegalZoom vs. Rocket Lawyer: What’s the difference?
On the surface, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer seem to accomplish the same purpose: helping you form your LLC. And while that’s true, the difference between them goes much deeper than that. We’ll give you our full analysis in just a moment, but here are a few key differences:
- LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer both offer business and private legal services alike. Not all online formation services have such a broad customer base.
- Rocket Lawyer only offers one package option, so their pricing model is as simple as it gets. LegalZoom has a lot more package options.
- Rocket Lawyer used to get negative reviews pretty often, especially because it was hard to withdraw from their some of their free trials. Since then, they’ve made huge strides in correcting these issues, so their feedback has improved a lot.
Who is Rocket Lawyer best for?
Rocket Lawyer specializes in bundled legal services. They offer a unique legal subscription service that gives access to valuable discounts, registered agent, business legal templates, and more.
That’s why Rocket Lawyer may be a better option for businesses with a lot of legal needs; if you subscribe to their service, you’ll get consultations with lawyers, legal review of each document, and discounts on multiple services.
And if you are a new customer subscribing to their legal service, then Rocket Lawyer throws in free business formation services.
Our in-depth review
Cost to form an LLC
For a business, money is always a factor. That goes for new and established businesses alike. That’s why you should always factor in cost when considering an LLC formation service. Rocket Lawyer is no exception.
One of the biggest downsides to Rocket Lawyer is that they charge significantly more than their competitors. For example, their base price for LLC formation is $99, and anything extra will raise that price even higher. That’s two times as much as some competitors charge, and most other services throw in a free year of registered agent service, too.
That said, Rocket Lawyer does use a unique pricing model: they don’t have packages. There’s the base price, and you add on anything else you want. All of the add-ons are optional, too.
Here’s a quick rundown of the add-ons you can get:
Expedite your filings: The fee for this service varies based on your state; some have a very small fee, others a heftier one.
EIN: For an additional $59.99, Rocket Lawyer will obtain your Employer Identification number for you.
Company binder and seal: If you’d like, you can get an embossed binder and seal for your business. This isn’t a requirement for any business, but some like the formal look it gives. You can get both for $99 or just the seal for $59.
Registered agent: Rocket Lawyer doesn’t include registered agent service in their business formation service. But you can still hire them for $149 a year. Legal service subscribers get 25% off this service.
Legal services subscription: For $39.99 per month, you can subscribe to Rocket Lawyer’s legal services. This feature makes Rocket Lawyer unique, and if you’d like to test it out, they do offer a 7-day trial. This service includes a wide variety of features, including discounts on legal fees, ability to ask a lawyer your legal questions, legal review of your business documents, and much more.
Rocket Lawyer’s order process
Have you ever tried to order something online, only to get lost in a never-ending series of cluttered web pages? The harder it is to order a service, the less likely you are to use it. Streamlined ordering is an important component of any good formation service.
Rocket Lawyer’s order process is both confusing and straightforward at the same time. Here’s why: you don’t know exactly what you’re spending until you reach the checkout. That’s due in part to the fact that there are no “packages” with Rocket Lawyer. In a sense, you build your own package.
In a way, that puts the ball in the customer’s court, which can either be empowering or frustrating depending on your preferences. If you want a single-click, one-shot order process, you’ll be disappointed. But if want to pick and choose your features, you’ll find Rocket Lawyer helps you do just that.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long to get through the entire order menu; when we tested it, we took about ten minutes. And they do a good job of explaining each add-on, too.
Customer Support Friendliness
Availability: Rocket Lawyer has pretty similar availability to LegalZoom’s, with hours ranging from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET every weekday.
Since online formation services are entirely virtual, they can sometimes feel a bit impersonal. But good customer support—complete with friendly, prompt customer service representatives—brings a personal touch to your experience.
Rocket Lawyer does quite well on the customer support front. You can contact them in three ways: phone, email or chat. We tested all three routes, and we found them to be quite helpful…but a little pushy on the sales side. For example, when we called them, they did make a brief plug for their legal service subscription during the call. But since they accepted our call within one minute and they were very helpful in answering our question, we’ll call it a positive experience.
Their email support was a touch slower, but we did receive a detailed response within 24 hours. They pointed us towards next steps, too.
The chat support isn’t exactly a chat, in our opinion: it’s more like a searchable FAQ. You input keywords from your question, and the chat tool pulls up helpful links. If this doesn’t cover your needs, you can request live assistance. That’s when you reach an actual chat with a customer service representative. So even though the chat feature seems confusing at first, it’s ultimately quite helpful.
LLC Formation Speed
Technically speaking, you can file your own LLC paperwork yourself. But you’re a busy, budding entrepreneur, so you may not have the time to spare. Hiring a formation service like Rocket Lawyer can save you time—provided they’re fast enough. Poor processing times could leave you wishing you’d formed on your own instead.
Rocket Lawyer’s turnaround times are mid-pack; they’re not fast, but they aren’t slow. And to their credit, they do provide detailed estimates for these turnaround times for both expedited and standard filings in your selected state. (You can find these estimates on the page where you choose whether or not to expedite).
We’d honestly prefer it if they put these estimates earlier on in the order process, but we’re glad they’ve put them out.
If you ever change your mind about a product you’ve purchased, you want to be able to return it, right? Unfortunately, with any business formation service, a full refund is impossible. That’s because part of the money goes to the state as their incorporation fee, and states do not refund those fees.
But occasionally, a customer changes their mind about a package they purchased. Perhaps they no longer want to subscribe to the registered agent service, or the company completes the process incorrectly.
With Rocket Lawyer, getting a refund is a little bit tougher; you have a 30-day window. If you request a refund during that time, you won’t even have to pay a convenience fee. However, Rocket Lawyer can’t offer refunds on any third-party services or fees paid to your state.
Assistance with ongoing compliance
Starting your business takes a lot of time and effort, but so does maintaining it! Each state is a little different; some require annual reports, some require you to renew your license each year, and more. Keeping track of these requirements can be confusing.
That’s why a lot of services help you with ongoing compliance. But just how much help you’ll get depends on what service you choose.
Rocket Lawyer does not offer a specific business compliance program. But their legal subscription service is its own kind of compliance assistance: a lawyer will review all of your official documents before you file them. This service costs $39.99 per month.
Rocket Lawyer’s final score
Rocket Lawyer operates under a unique business model, making legal help more accessible to everyone. But their legal assistance in forming an LLC for you comes at a hefty price — twice as much as other LLC services like ZenBusiness and Incfile.
Granted, that disadvantage goes away if you subscribe to their legal service. Businesses who regularly want templates for employment documents, banking resolutions, and other legal documents may find this to be a perfect solution.
Either way, the order process and formation speed you’ll experience with Rocket Lawyer is adequate. That’s why we give them a final score of 3.5/5.