You want to start an LLC. You have your vision, your business name, and the motivation to make your dream a reality. But you want some help getting started, so you’ve decided to hire a business formation service.
But that leads to a big decision: which service should you use? There are a lot of options available, but they’re not created equal. Two popular services are ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings.
In this guide, we’ll give you a side-by-side comparison of these two services. Then you can pick the right service for you.
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.
Our philosophy: What makes a formation service “good”?
Ultimately, the “best business formation service” boils down to a matter of opinion. Which one is best for you depends on what you want. But that said, there are certain qualities that make one formation service better than another. Whenever we evaluate LLC services, 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 formation service will receive high marks in these categories. We’ll consider the answers to these questions in our in-depth comparison below.
ZenBusiness vs. Swyft Filings: What’s the difference?
On the surface, ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings seem to accomplish the same purpose: helping you form your LLC. And while that’s true, the difference between them goes deeper than that. We’ll give you our full analysis in just a moment, but here are a few key differences:
- ZenBusiness has a very competitive entry-level package. With a price tag of just $39, it’s an impressive offering that even includes registered agent service and operating agreement.
- Swyft Filings is one of the fastest formation services in the industry. If you need to form your business quickly, then there’s no better choice.
Both ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings can help you make set up an LLC online. We honestly like both, but think ZenBusiness is a better fit for most entrepreneurs. To give you a better idea of which is right for you, let’s jump into the specifics.
Pricing and packages
Whenever you make a purchase, you want to know that what you’re buying is truly worth the cost. The same goes for ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings. Both services have an entry-level package that costs under $50. But the components of those packages are actually quite different. Let’s take a look at them:
- Starter: The first package with ZenBusiness costs $39 to form an LLC. For that price, you get your business formation, their annual registered agent service, and customizable operating agreement, making it an excellent option.
- Pro: The pro package makes a jump to $149 per year. That includes an EIN, their Worry-Free Guarantee (essentially a compliance assistance program), and a faster processing time.
- Premium: We don’t honestly recommend this package because it throws in a lot of third-party offers that you don’t really need. And with a price of $249, it’s a lot of money to shell out for a new business.
- Basic: The simplest package from Swyft Filings also costs $49, and it’s pretty simple. They’ll file your business paperwork for you, and you’ll also be added to a company alert system. The main drawback is that they don’t include registered agent service like ZenBusiness does. In fact, none of their packages include registered agent service.
- Standard: The next package adds $100 for a total price of $149. It includes a banking resolution, a custom operating agreement, and an outline for customized meeting minutes.
- Premium: The highest-level package from Swyft costs $299, but it doesn’t really add much to the Standard package. You get instant digital delivery of your documents, a digital business kit, and an upgrade to FedEx shipping. The digital kit includes a digital seal, custom stock certificates, and a business ledger.
On the surface, the value of Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness is similar. Both charge an affordable $39-$49 for their basic packages. But there’s a big difference in what that gets you. With ZenBusiness, you get a lot more value per dollar. And we really appreciate that they include registered agent service in that package. Swyft Filings just can’t compete with that.
How easy it is to use the service
Any business service is supposed to make your life easier, right? That’s why we always consider how easy it is to use a service when we evaluate them. After all, why would you bother paying someone to file your LLC paperwork if it’s harder to hire them than it is to do it yourself?
We tested both services, and they’re both relatively straightforward. Here’s the run-down of the two:
- Choosing a package: Just pick the right package for your business to get started.
- Up-sells: ZenBusiness does present a few extra up-sells throughout the process, which can be annoying. Thankfully, they are easy to navigate.
- Order time: When we tested the order process for ZenBusiness, we took just a few minutes to reach the final step. If you select any of their add-ons of third-party offers, it can take a bit longer.
- Choosing a package: Once you designate the business type and state where you want to form, you’ll be directed to choose your package. It’s pretty simple.
- Up-sells: Swyft Filings does offer a few up-sells and third-party offers. Thankfully, they aren’t in your face, and it’s easy to navigate past them if you don’t want them.
- Order time: All told, Swyft Filings is relatively easy to use. When we tested their application form, it took us about ten to fifteen minutes to finish the form.
ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings both are easy to use. They have clean websites, and it doesn’t take long to form a business with them.
Usually, when we’re comparing these services, this category is decided based on the up-sells and third-party offers. But Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness are quite similar. You’ll encounter roughly the same number of “extras” with either service. This category ends in a perfect tie.
Buying a product is one thing. But getting support for that product is just as important. After all, if a company doesn’t stand behind its product, why should you? But when a company helps you throughout the entire process—choosing a product, purchasing it, and keeping that product up-to-date—you’ll be happier with your purchase.
The same goes for online LLC formation services. If they help you pick the package that’s right for you, assist you with the paperwork, answer your questions, and make it clear that they want to help you more than make money off you, you’ll keep using them. You might even recommend them to your friends.
In our opinion, both ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings have good customer service. Here’s a summary of our thoughts:
- Types of support: ZenBusiness uses a web-based chat support for their customer support. You can also contact them via email and phone.
- Availability: ZenBusiness usually gives a prompt response if you contact them during their regular business hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
- Quality of support: When we tested them, we found the representatives at ZenBusiness to be knowledgeable and prompt.
- Types of support: Swyft Filings offers support via phone, email, and chat.
- Availability: You can contact Swyft Filings Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Quality of support: Swyft Filings lives up to their name when it comes to how fast they respond. When we tested their support, we received responses almost instantly, regardless of how we contacted them. Their answers were adequate, too. We didn’t get in-depth detail, but we did get the answers we needed.
For us, this category is an easy decision: tie. Both LLC services have good availability and helpful support reps.
Company track record
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with using a new company to form your business. But working with an established, trusted brand gives you confidence. You can trust a company that has already served thousands of happy customers.
ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings both have good track records, but ZenBusiness is a tad newer. Here’s how the two stack up:
- Years in business: ZenBusiness was founded in 2015, so it’s celebrating its fourth anniversary this year.
- Businesses formed: ZenBusiness has created thousands of businesses in their short time in business.
- Customer reviews: Customers have lots of good things to say about ZenBusiness, with excellent ratings on both Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau.
- Years in business: Swyft Filings joined the business formation scene in 2012, so they’re fairly new.
- Businesses formed: Swyft Filings may not be very old, but they have formed more than 10,000 businesses.
- Customer reviews: Swyft Filings has more than 20,000 reviews online, and a majority of them are either 4 or 5 stars.
For as young as they are, ZenBusiness has established an impeccable track record. We fully expect that they’ll continue doing so. Swyft Filings isn’t much older, and they have an equally impressive record.
This category is almost a tie. But Swyft Filings does edge out ZenBusiness in terms of longevity. They also have a lot more reviews online. We give this win to Swyft Filings.
Assistance with ongoing compliance
Starting a 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.
If you purchase the Pro package from ZenBusiness, then you are automatically subscribed to their Worry Free Compliance Guarantee. This program allows ZenBusiness to conduct an annual audit of your business to ensure that you meet your annual requirements. You can also purchase the program separately for $110 per year.
There are two primary services for online business compliance: registered agent service and annual report service. Swyft Filings charges a bit more for these services than ZenBusiness. You’ll pay $99 for their annual report service and $149 for registered agent service. Both will help keep your business up-to-date.
So, which LLC service do we recommend?
At first glance, it looks Swyft Filings takes the win. After all, they claim more categories than ZenBusiness.
But ZenBusiness does take the most important category: pricing and value. For most of our readers, pricing matters a lot more than longevity or ease of use. In addition, Swyft Filings didn’t win its categories by a huge margin, so they’re relatively even.
At the end of the day, we recommend ZenBusiness as our top choice. But if you prefer Swyft Filings, that’s okay, too. They’re still a good option.