Do you need to form a new corporation, but you can’t decide which incorporation service is the right option to help you with the formation process?
This comparison guide takes a look at the five key factors that we use to analyze incorporation services. Which one of these reputable companies is the best choice to form your new business entity? Read on as we discuss all the relevant details.
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.
As you’ll see in this comparison, both ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation are good incorporation services. Which one is the best for your unique needs?
Overall Pricing and Value
ZenBusiness: If you’re interested in forming a corporation or LLC for free (plus state fee), ZenBusiness is a great option. Even at such a low price point, this package includes the full incorporation process for your business. If you want some more advanced features, our $199 Pro package adds ongoing compliance assistance, a guided operating agreement or corporate bylaws, and faster processing. You also might like our $299 plan, which adds our fastest processing, a domain name, and a business website package.
Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation’s pricing starts with the Standard package at $174 (plus state fee), which includes six months of registered agent service, along with EIN acquisition. While that’s not exactly a great deal, they do have some interesting features in their more expensive packages that most competitors don’t offer, like trademark protection, custom logo design, full-service web design, and more.
Company Track Record & Experience
ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness was formed in 2015. Even though we’re a relatively recent addition to this industry, we’ve already helped form 300,000+ businesses, and we want to form a million LLCs and corporations within the next five years. Our customer feedback is exceptional, as the thousands of reviews we have available are almost all positive in nature.
Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation has been around since 2003, and they’ve served over 80,000 clients over the years. They don’t have a ton of customer reviews available though, as we were only able to track down 30 total reviews. More of their reviews are positive than negative, but not overwhelmingly so ― they do still have a handful of critical feedback from their clients.
ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness provides access to our customer service team by phone, email, or web chat. We have expanded availability that even includes Sundays — very few competitors have any weekend availability. We pride ourselves in continuously improving the quality and responsiveness of our customer support, and we believe we compare favorably to the vast majority of competitors in this area.
Direct Incorporation: With Direct Incorporation, you can access customer support via phone or email. One aspect of their customer service that we really appreciate is the fact that they have every employee’s direct extension and email address on their website. In our experience, their support is quite responsive, and their representatives are knowledgeable.
Ease of Use
ZenBusiness: Forming a new business entity is simple with ZenBusiness. You’ll start by selecting your formation package, then you’ll provide us with some basic information about yourself and your business. After that, we’ll take care of the rest. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Direct Incorporation: We were able to complete Direct Incorporation’s order form in less than 15 minutes, which is pretty impressive. They explain all of their features clearly, and they recently redesigned their package selection screen to improve the ease of use. They also have FAQs that can help you decide which package is the right one for you.
Speed of Formation
ZenBusiness: With ZenBusiness, all formation speeds vary based on state capabilities. Also, if you’re in a hurry, you can choose one of our premium packages to speed things up a bit! When compared to other formation services, we are usually either just as fast or slightly faster. To find out your turnaround time, simply plug in your state and immediately see your estimated processing speed.
Direct Incorporation: On Direct Incorporation’s website, you can pull up a page that conveniently lists their estimated processing speeds for each state, including both standard and expedited service options. They also usually prepare your business formation documents and submit them to the state within one business day, which is always impressive.
What Is the Biggest Advantage of Each Service?
ZenBusiness has a significant advantage over most other companies in this industry, Direct Incorporation included. That, of course, is our outstanding offer of a free business formation package ― no other company in this industry can beat this offering.
Direct Incorporation has a few of their own advantages, with the biggest one being advanced features. If your company needs branding or marketing tools, or needs a new website, Direct Incorporation’s higher-priced packages are quite appealing.
Which Company Offers More Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
You can get assistance with ongoing compliance issues by using either of these services, as both have several features that can help you maintain your good standing with the state.
With ZenBusiness, registered agent service costs $99 for the first year and $199 per year after that, and we also have annual report service available for a rate of $100. Direct Incorporation offers these features as well, with annual reports costing $97. Their registered agent service is included for free for six months with any formation package, but they provide no information regarding the price of this service after that.
Can I Get a Refund if I Need One?
ZenBusiness has one of the best refund policies in the industry. This company provides you with 60 days in which to analyze your purchase. If you’re unhappy for any reason, you can simply request a refund and we will grant it. We don’t even charge any cancellation fees!
Direct Incorporation doesn’t exactly excel in this area. Their refund policy says that they will grant any refund request, but they do assess a $40 processing fee.
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 Direct Incorporation does not provide any level of assistance for publication requirements, ZenBusiness actually offers to handle the entire process on your behalf. We charge a reasonable rate of $200 for this service, which is about average compared to our competitors.
Am I Required to Use a Formation Service?
All 50 states allow you to form your own corporation or LLC, as there is no law that dictates the usage of a professional formation service. In fact, if you want to give the DIY option a shot, we have extensive how-to guides available on this site (here’s the link for corporations).
However, we should point out that the corporation is a complex business structure that can be difficult to form, so we only recommend the DIY option if you’re entirely comfortable with the incorporation process. Meanwhile, LLCs have different guidelines in each state, so they can be tricky to form as well.
If you’d like to check out more reviews to help start and run your business, here are some of the most popular: