Are you looking to create a company but you’d rather hire a professional service instead of filing the paperwork on your own? ZenBusiness is one of the top-rated business formation services (for incorporation and LLC formation) in the industry and has helped form over 300,000 businesses so far.
In this review of ZenBusiness, we’ll discuss everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision for your business.
ZenBusiness Review Overview
When choosing an online incorporation service, there are 5 main factors you need to consider:
- Is it a good deal?
- Is it a reliable company?
- Is there good customer support?
- Is the website easy to use?
- How quickly do they incorporate?
Overall, we think these factors really matter. At the end of the day, it’s not just your money. It’s also your business. We think it makes sense to go with a company that puts you and your business first.
That said, we determined that ZenBusiness deserves a score of 9/10 and tops our list as the best incorporation service online. They’re a respectable company with excellent pricing and features – for just $49.
Plus, their customer feedback is almost all positive, as 10,000+ customer reviews maintain strong average rating scores.
ZenBusiness Incorporation Packages
With ZenBusiness, you have your choice of three different packages for incorporating online. In this section, we’ll briefly discuss how these packages differ, and what kind of entrepreneur each one of them should appeal to.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of each ZenBusiness incorporation package:
$49 for Starter Package
This Package IS Best For:
Entrepreneurs on a budget who want a free Worry Free Compliance service along with their business formation.
The Starter package starts with the basics of incorporation, then adds a year of annual report service to create a well-rounded offering. In addition, they’ll provide up to two amendments per year and some customizable business documents, along with a risk-free accounting assessment.
*With this package, your first year will cost $49, with a $199 price point for each following year.
$199 for Pro Package
This Package Best For:
Entrepreneurs who need advanced features to assist with the startup and operation of your business.
When you step up to the Pro package, ZenBusiness adds custom corporate bylaws and faster processing. Every corporation needs corporate bylaws to outline its operational aspects and comply with state law. However, the “expedited filing” does not actually expedite your order with the state. Instead, it simply speeds up ZenBusiness’ internal process before the company sends your documents to the state.
$299 for Premium Package
This Package is Best For:
Entrepreneurs looking for the fastest business incorporation time, more documents, and a business website.
The top-tier package available from ZenBusiness adds a ton of extra perks at a price increase of $100.
The rush filing speed, domain registration/privacy, business email, and website create an affordable way for customers to set up their online presence at a very reasonable price compared to other options.
Guru Fact: We used to not recommend this package, however ZenBusiness has drastically increased the value here, making it a great deal.
Our Deep Dive: Review of ZenBusiness
Overall Pricing and Value – 9/10
As we compared all of the most popular business formation services available today, we decided that ZenBusiness is the #1 option overall.
Our favorite attribute of ZenBusiness is their Starter plan, which costs just $49 and includes the full prep and filing of your articles of incorporation, along with annual report service, up to two amendments per year, some sample business documents, and a risk-free accounting consultation.
If you step up to their $199 Pro plan ― which ZenBusiness says is their most popular ― they’ll add custom corporate bylaws and speed up your processing. To be honest, this is our least favorite of the three ZenBusiness incorporation packages.
The most expensive plan available from ZenBusiness is their aptly named Premium package, which costs $299/year. It adds a business website package, including domain name registration and privacy and a business email address. Furthermore, ZenBusiness will speed up its in-house processing to its fastest levels.
Track Record – 8/10
ZenBusiness is based out of Austin, Texas, and was formed quite recently, in 2015. Despite the fact that they’re one of the youngest companies in the business formation industry, their staff has carved out a spot for ZenBusiness in this crowded marketplace due in large part to their embrace of technology.
ZenBusiness uses automation to complete a variety of business services, which enables them to offer lower rates than many competitors. In their few short years in operation, ZenBusiness has already formed thousands of businesses, and they say that their goal is to form over one million new businesses in the next five years.
Nearly all of ZenBusiness’ 10,000+ customer reviews are positive, so let’s take a look at what some of their clients have to say about their services:
“After reading prior reviews I decided to go with ZenBusiness to form my company. It was so simple, I just had to fill out some simple information and they handled everything for me. Everything was done 5 days before the estimate they gave me, so that was a greater perk. I would definitely recommend using ZenBusiness to anyone I know who is forming their business.”
“I thought about setting up my LLC myself. I really did. In the end, however, I decided to use ZenBusiness ― and I’m glad I did. The entire process took minutes, and follow-up was immediate. I feel that I’m in good hands.”
“We used ZenBusiness to incorporate our company, and find bookkeeping and insurance coverage. They were so incredibly knowledgeable and helpful that it took a lot of the worry out of setting up a business. It’s a fantastic resource for any first-time business owner or a serial entrepreneur!”
Customer Support – 9/10
ZenBusiness provides customer service by phone, email, or web chat. We’ve tried all three options, and in our experience, they provide timely responses with accurate information. They say that they reply to all emails within one business day, and we’ve never waited more than a few minutes to get ahold of someone by phone or chat.
As for the quality of their support, we’ve found that their representatives are knowledgeable, and they’ve been able to answer all of our questions.
You can contact ZenBusiness customer support from 8am to 8pm CT on weekdays or Sundays (and some Saturdays) from 10am-7pm CT. These extended hours of operation are very unique in the space — warranting a higher score on customer support.
Ease of Placing an Order – 10/10
Most people who use services like this to incorporate or start an LLC don’t have much experience forming business entities. Maybe the formation process seems a bit confusing, or you just don’t want to deal with the hassle. Whatever the reason, using services like ZenBusiness should be simple.
The entire reason for using a formation service is to save time and energy by hiring out this crucial part of the process. However, with some competing service providers, there’s still so much work required that you might as well just tackle the DIY route. Thankfully, this is not the case with ZenBusiness.
It only takes a few minutes to fill out the ZenBusiness formation service order form, and the instructions are quite simple to follow. All you need to do is choose which package you’d like to purchase, enter some basic info about your business, and they’ll take care of the rest. They do have some upsells and third-party offers throughout the process that we’re not crazy about, but they’re fairly unobtrusive.
Overall Turnaround Time – 8/10
Whereas most companies in this industry base their turnaround times on the actual processing speeds of each state, ZenBusiness instead chooses to structure your formation speed based on the package or rush filing you choose.
Overall though, when compared to other formation services, they are either just as fast or slightly faster.
It’s important to note that they do specify that your formation state can cause these estimates to vary a bit, so if you want an exact estimate, simply select your state on their website and get an immediate answer.
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 an overview 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 register 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 or corporation 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.
Who is ZenBusiness Best for?
ZenBusiness is best for entrepreneurs who want the convenience of using an online incorporation website but don’t want to deal with a massive company like LegalZoom. 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 and features, ZenBusiness is the way to go; they’ll charge you some of the best rates we’ve seen.
What are ZenBusiness Customers Saying?
Even though ZenBusiness is fairly new to the online business formation scene, they have established themselves as a reputable, dependable service with over 300,000 businesses formed so far.
The overwhelming majority of their customer reviews are positive. In fact, most of the ZenBusiness 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:
- Chat support isn’t helpful
ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom: What’s the Difference?
We get lots of questions from our readers about LegalZoom, which isn’t terribly surprising. After all, they have the most brand power and name recognition in the industry, thanks in large part to their massive advertising budget.
In our opinion, ZenBusiness is a better choice for incorporation service than LegalZoom is, primarily because ZenBusiness offers far more value per dollar. Other than that, though, here are a few of the key differences between ZenBusiness and LegalZoom:
- LegalZoom has been in business for much longer than ZenBusiness, and has formed more than 2 million businesses. During that time, LegalZoom has accrued about 6,000 reviews, with mostly positive average scores that still fall a bit short of Zen’s ratings.
- As a Public Benefit Corporation, ZenBusiness gives back to support women and minority-owned small businesses with its Pay-It-Forward initiative.
- ZenBusiness receives excellent feedback from their clients, with an even higher amount of reviews than LegalZoom and slightly better scores as well.
- LegalZoom offers much more expensive packages and sends more upsells your way during the order process, so it’s easy to spend more than you intended with them.
Our Final Thoughts
Overall, ZenBusiness has some important attributes that make them a strong contender and one of the best services online.
We think they deserve a 9/10 score and feel very comfortable recommending them.
We love their $49 Starter package because of the impressive value-per-dollar it provides, and they receive fabulous customer reviews. On the other hand, while it shouldn’t sway your decision, they don’t have the level of track record that larger incorporators like LegalZoom do.
All in all, if you’re starting a business on a tight budget and are looking for an incorporation service with great overall value, ZenBusiness is a very solid choice. In our opinion, their many positives far outweigh their few negatives.
What is ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness is a newcomer to the online business formation game. In fact, they were founded in 2015. Because they’re newer, 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 businesses.
Don’t let their youth deceive you, however; ZenBusiness has already formed over 300,000 businesses in just a few short years. Unlike their competitors, ZenBusiness is 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.
Is ZenBusiness Actually a Good Option?
ZenBusiness is one of the top LLC websites and incorporation services. 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, there are a few drawbacks: their other services aren’t always stellar deals and their processing times are slightly 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 ZenBusiness’ Biggest Advantages and Disadvantages?
The biggest advantage for ZenBusiness is the fact that they offer incorporation service for such an affordable price. As for their biggest disadvantage, we would probably say it’s their lack of experience, relative to some of their competitors.
If I Use ZenBusiness, Which Features Should I Buy?
In our opinion, it’s usually advisable to acquire the combination of formation service and registered agent service. With ZenBusiness, you can’t bundle incorporation with registered agent service, so our favorite package is the $49 Starter package that includes a year of annual report service and two amendments, among other features.
Do They Offer 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.
We were pleased to see that ZenBusiness does offer publication service, which is a solid advantage if you’re forming a business in a state that requires it.
Does ZenBusiness Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
We’ve already discussed the fact that ZenBusiness offers annual report service with all of their incorporation packages, which is a great way to ensure the ongoing compliance of your business.
With this “Worry-Free Compliance” feature, they’ll also take care of your annual reports and provide you with two amendments per year. They even offer to help you regain your good standing if you miss a filing deadline at any time.
What Is Their Refund Policy?
We think the ZenBusiness refund policy is one of the best you’ll find with incorporation services. They give you 60 days to analyze your purchase. If you decide that you’re unhappy for any reason, all you have to do is request a refund and they will grant it. There are no “convenience” fees or strings attached!
Do I Need to Use a Business Formation Service?
There is no legal requirement to use a professional formation service like ZenBusiness.
If you would rather form your own business entity, there are DIY options available for LLCs, corporations and nonprofits, but we don’t necessarily recommend trying them for yourself. The laws governing incorporating vary from state to state, so it’s not always easy to determine exactly what your state requires.
What is the Order Process Like with ZenBusiness?
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 incorporate with ZenBusiness.