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 ZenBusiness’s LLC formation service.
Rocket Tip: Looking for the best and most affordable LLC formation services? Compare the top 3 options (ZenBusiness vs Incfile vs Northwest) to see how they stack up.
What is ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness is a newcomer to the online business formation game. In fact, they were founded in 2015. Because they’re so new, they’re also a small company, but that’s part of their charm. ZenBusiness loves to help small business owners chase their dreams of starting, running, and growing their own business.
Don’t let their youth deceive you, however; ZenBusiness has already formed thousands of businesses in just a few short years. They’ve even set a goal to form over a million in the next five years.
Unlike their competitors, ZenBusiness is actually a Public Benefit Corporation. They’ve committed themselves to helping out underserved businesses. Each year, ZenBusiness donates money (through Kiva.org) to women-owned and minority-owned businesses as part of their Pay-It-Forward initiative.
How does ZenBusiness work?
ZenBusiness helps new businesses get off the ground by combining automated technology with their own small-team mentality. When you order a package from ZenBusiness, you can expect a fairly simple process. Here’s a fly-by of what you can expect once you hit their “Start Now” button:
1) Select your package: There are three packages to choose from. To get a full idea of your expenses, be sure to indicate the state you’re choosing and business type at the top of the page.
2) Give information about yourself: To officially registered your business and get everything in order, ZenBusiness needs some basic information, including your name and contact information. (They will not share your contact information without your permission.)
3) Tell ZenBusiness about your business: In most cases, this is the most time-consuming step in the process. But, it’s easy; you just need to tell ZenBusiness all the details about the LLC you want to create, including your desired name, your business address, who will own the business, who will manage it, and more. This information helps ZenBusiness fill out your paperwork with the Secretary of State and other government offices as needed.
4) Provide payment information: To complete your order, you’ll need a credit card on hand. This will cover their service fee and any state LLC formation fees.
Is ZenBusiness a good option?
ZenBusiness is one of the top LLC formation services on our list. That’s because they’ve established themselves as a reliable and very affordable service in such a short period of time.
And better yet, their Starter package is one of the cheapest options we’ve encountered so far. Granted, with such a small company, there are a few drawbacks. The biggest one is that their processing times are slower than some competitors’.
Ultimately, ZenBusiness is an excellent, reliable option with few bells and whistles (unless you want them). They are an especially good option if you want to work with a smaller team that has a personalized feel to form your LLC. Last but not least, if you want to support a company that gives back to its community, there’s no better option.
What are their customers saying?
Even though ZenBusiness is new to the online business formation scene, they’ve already established themselves as a reputable, dependable service. An overwhelming majority of their reviews are positive. In fact, most of their negative reviews stem from a state or IRS filing error and not a problem they caused.
Here are the features reviewers love about ZenBusiness:
- Stress-free order process
- Affordable packages
And here’s what they didn’t like:
- Just as fast to complete some of their services on your own
We’ll dive into these ideas in our in-depth LLC review of ZenBusiness below. In terms of affordability, no one matches ZenBusiness’s price points. And for many, the simplicity of their process outshines their lackluster processing times.
Who is ZenBusiness best for?
ZenBusiness is best for entrepreneurs who want the convenience of using an online LLC formation service but don’t want to deal with a huge company. Since ZenBusiness is somewhat new to the industry, you won’t get that big-operation feeling or lack of personalization that you’d encounter with other options.
And if you want the best possible prices, ZenBusiness is the way to go; they’ll charge you some of the best rates we’ve seen.
ZenBusiness: 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. ZenBusiness is no exception.
ZenBusiness offers three different package options at a wide variety of price points, so there’s something for everyone. Here’s a breakdown of their package options:
Starter: The starter package starts out at $39 for the first year, and you’ll pay $119 per year every following year for their registered agent service. For that fee, you’ll get LLC formation, one year of included registered agent service and a customizable sample operating agreement. Estimated processing speed is 2-3 weeks.
Pro: The Pro package is Zen’s most popular package. It makes a $100 jump for a total price of $149, and it adds several features to the Starter package that you may or may not need. With this package, ZenBusiness will obtain an Employer Identification Number (an important feature) for you. And they’ll also give you their Worry-Free Guarantee. This service entails that ZenBusiness will help you file your annual reports, and they’ll also help you manage your business compliance. Last but not least, the processing speed for Pro takes roughly 6-8 business days.
Premium: At $249, we think that the Premium package is, well…fluffy. The added features aren’t really worth the extra cost. The premium package includes third-party offers, such as a business email address, domain name registration, and domain name protection. Premium also expedites your filings, so they’re processed within 3-5 days.
Add-ons: ZenBusiness offers a wide variety of add-ons to these packages. Two of their most popular add-ons are banking services and insurance policies through their partners. You can get these services elsewhere, but some customers appreciate the one-stop-shop for their business needs.
ZenBusiness’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 business formation service.
ZenBusiness’s order process is relatively straightforward. The form is simple—you simply provide them with information about yourself and the type of business you want to form—and ZenBusiness offers helpful guidance along the way, too. ZenBusiness does throw in a few upsells that clutter their order process. We’d personally like their order form better if they held off the extras until the last step.
All in all, though, it’s very easy to use ZenBusiness to create an LLC.
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.
ZenBusiness does well in this category, especially in terms of accessibility. Here’s why: ZenBusiness offers email support, phone support and chat support. Most companies in the industry only offer phone and email support. That said, if you need help or have questions, you can catch them most easily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during weekdays.
When we tested it out with a few questions of our own regarding the process of starting an LLC and a couple of their services – we received a fairly quick response. And the representative we talked with seemed knowledgeable, too.
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 or energy to spare. Hiring a formation service like ZenBusiness can save you time—provided they’re fast enough. Poor processing times could leave you wishing you’d formed on your own instead.
ZenBusiness is a bit odd in how they process orders. Most other companies base their estimates on the state’s turnaround times. ZenBusiness matches your order’s speed to the package you purchase.
So, if you purchase Starter, you can expect your business to be formed within roughly two-three weeks. With the Pro package, the processing time estimate is six-eight days. Premium has a speedy turnaround of 3-5 days. But that speed will cost you a little more than necessary, in our opinion.
That said, we recommend the Pro plan to most entrepreneurs because of their price to feature and processing time ratio. It’s the package that’ll form your LLC the quickest while including the best features for the most reasonable price.
ZenBusiness’ final score
ZenBusiness is by far one of our favorite LLC formation services and scored a 4.7/5 stars on our rating system. They have some of the best prices while including all the important features without the extra fluff other services have.
Despite being a younger company, they’ve established a loyal and happy customer base with a lot of positive customer reviews. Plus, their social mission of supporting women and minority-owned businesses is refreshing and worth supporting.