Are you looking for the best online incorporation service, but you’re not sure which one is the right choice for you?
In this comparison, we’ll walk through the five main factors you need to consider when choosing between these services. Which one is the better overall option?
Key Comparison Points
In our review and comparison of each online incorporation service, we performed a “stress test” on each based on five key factors:
- Compared pricing and features to determine overall value.
- Researched their track record.
- Assessed the quality of customer service.
- Tested their ordering process and service’s ease of use.
- Reviewed the turnaround times for incorporating online.
Overall Pricing and Value
LegalZoom: LegalZoom is one of the most popular LLC services and incorporation services available, but we found that does not translate into better value for their customers. While LegalZoom does offer a $149 package to form a corporation and a $79 package for LLCs, the number of upsells can get overwhelming — and expensive. Furthermore, they do not include registered agent service with any of their formation packages, and you’ll need to pay a variable fee of $249-299 per year to add it on.
Swyft Filings: Their Basic package only costs $49, which is a highly competitive price point on the surface, but doesn’t include any extras outside of helping you to establish your business. Their $149 Standard package is still pretty reasonable for the value, but their $299 Deluxe package is significantly more expensive. In addition, their registered agent service costs $149 extra for the year. If this service was included as a feature on their packages, it would provide much-needed value.
Company Track Record & Experience
LegalZoom: LegalZoom was founded in 1999, and they’ve served 6 million customers since then. While their focus isn’t solely on business formation services, they have helped form more than 2 million businesses to date. If you look through LegalZoom customer reviews on any third-party site, you will find a few thousand mostly positive reviews with a small amount of critical feedback mixed in.
Swyft Filings: Founded by an attorney in 2012, Swyft Filings entered the online incorporation business fairly recently. When it comes to customer reviews, Swyft Filings has a major advantage. In fact, we would say that client feedback is one of their major strengths, because they have well over 40,000 reviews available online, and more than 90% of them are either 4- or 5-star ratings.
LegalZoom: LegalZoom offers phone and email support. We reached out twice via the email form on their site, but it took them a full week to respond. The response we received was generic – thanking us for reaching out, but not answering our question.
When we reached out via phone, our question was answered very thoroughly. The representative went into detail about our different options, and then sent us an email with their direct extension so that we could reach out directly with questions. Overall, while their phone support is great, their email support could be improved.
Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings provides customer support via phone, email, and chat. We tested all three options, and found that no matter which one we chose, their response times are very fast (one of many areas where they truly live up to their name). However, they didn’t elaborate much on their answers, as we received quick, to-the-point responses via phone, email, and chat.
Ease of Use
LegalZoom: Unlike most competitors, LegalZoom doesn’t give you your package options to begin the application. Instead, you enter your personal info first, then navigate through a series of rather costly upsells before you select your formation package. It’s a bit convoluted, and it can result in some surprisingly high price points by the time you work your way through the order forms to the package select screen.
Swyft Filings: Once you’ve selected a package and any add-ons you need for your business, the application process doesn’t take long ― maybe 10-15 minutes at the most, as long as you have all of the information you need. Swyft Filings has a few upsells along the way, but they’re generally unobtrusive.
Speed of Formation
LegalZoom: Unlike most competitors, their turnarounds are based on which package you order, rather than which state you’re forming in. With their most expensive package, you could receive your finalized business formation documents in 7-10 business days, but their cheaper packages take as long as 30 business days (six weeks).
Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings promises same- or next-business-day processing. Depending on your state’s expediting options, Swyft Filings will also provide rush service with your state government, for an additional fee of course. Whether you choose standard or expedited service, they will provide you with a time estimate for your specific state as you’re selecting a package.
What Is the Biggest Advantage of Each Service?
LegalZoom’s big advantage is their incredible track record of experience. They serve a massive volume of clients, and their level of brand power and name recognition is second to none. As for Swyft Filings, their biggest advantage over LegalZoom is their pricing, as Swyft Filings undercuts LegalZoom’s pricing on nearly every possible level.
Which Company Offers More Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
Both of these companies have extensive solutions for ongoing compliance issues, but their price points for these services are quite different. LegalZoom has a variable price point for registered agent service in the $249-299 range.
Even if you’re on the low end of that scale, Swyft Filings has a cheaper price tag of $149. As for annual report service, LegalZoom has a fantastic $55 annual fee, which is much lower than the $99 charged by Swyft Filings.
Can I Get a Refund if I Need One?
These two companies both have excellent refund policies that are better than nearly all of their competitors. Swyft Filings has a 100% satisfaction guarantee that ensures any customer that is not entirely satisfied will receive a full refund, with no cancellation fees.
LegalZoom has a very similar policy, with basically zero differences from Swyft Filings except for their 60-day refund window (Swyft Filings has no limits in this regard).
Which Is the Better Option if I Need Publication Service?
In some states, you need to publish your company’s formation in a regional newspaper. For example, Arizona and Nebraska require publication for LLCs and corporations, New York requires it for LLCs only, and Pennsylvania and Georgia have this requirement for corporations only.
While LegalZoom provides no assistance whatsoever for publication requirements, Swyft Filings actually offers to handle it on your behalf. It’s a major advantage if you’re forming a business in one of these five states.
If you’d like to check out more reviews to help start and run your business, here are some of the most popular: