Are you in the process of forming a company, but you’re not sure which of the many online incorporation services is the best fit for your business?
In this comparison guide, we’ll discuss the five crucial factors you need to keep in mind as you analyze which of these services to use. Is ZenBusiness or Incfile the right choice for your business? Let’s find out.
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 the service’s ease of use.
- Reviewed the turnaround times for incorporating online.
As you’ll see in this comparison of ZenBusiness and Incfile, they are both excellent value incorporation services. While it’s a close call, we think ZenBusiness has a slight edge and is the better overall option because they include just enough extra features to overcome Incfile’s pricing advantage.
Overall Pricing & Value
ZenBusiness: If you’re looking for a full-service incorporation company with some of the lowest prices in the industry, look no further than ZenBusiness. For just $49, they’ll form your corporation and provide a year of annual report service, along with some sample business documents and an accounting assessment. Their $299 plan is a good deal too, because it adds an operating agreement or corporate bylaws and a business website package.
Incfile: At just $0 plus state fee, Incfile’s entry-level incorporation package is even more impressively priced than ZenBusiness, and all of Incfile’s packages include 12 months of registered agent service, after which you’ll pay $119 per year. Their $149 Gold package adds some valuable features as well, like business documents and an EIN. Overall, Incfile provides their clients with excellent value.
It’s a tie!
We know what you’re thinking: why should you spend $49 when you can spend nothing for a similar service? While the offer of free incorporation is obviously inviting, ZenBusiness’ upper-tier packages include more value than Incfile’s comparable packages, especially considering that ZenBusiness includes annual report service. Given that each company has a significant advantage over the other in this category, we’ll call it a tie.
Company Track Record & Experience
ZenBusiness: They just opened for business a few years ago, in 2015. However, ZenBusiness has already successfully formed thousands of businesses, and they aim to form one million business entities in the next five years. When it comes to customer feedback, ZenBusiness truly excels, because they have thousands of reviews available online, and nearly all of them are perfect five-star scores.
Incfile: Incfile has been in business since 2004, and they’ve formed more than 500,000 business entities over the years. They have stellar client feedback, as their thousands of positive reviews easily outweigh their small handful of negative feedback.
Winner = Incfile
In this category, ZenBusiness does quite well, but Incfile is simply on another level. Incfile has more experience than ZenBusiness, and they also have a higher quantity of positive customer reviews.
ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness has customer support available by phone, email, or the web chat application on their website. In our experience, all three of these options connect you with pleasant and well-informed representatives who can answer all of our tough questions. They reply to all emails within one business day, and wait times for phone or chat support are rarely more than a few minutes.
Incfile: Incfile provides customer support via phone or email, and we have plenty of experience with either option. They always reply quickly if you contact them via phone, and their employees usually provide plenty of information to answer our questions. However, Incfile’s email support leaves a lot to be desired, as they often don’t reply at all, and when they do, it’s often just a form response.
Winner = ZenBusiness
These companies are trending in opposite directions for customer support. While ZenBusiness continues to improve in this area, Incfile’s customer service team seems overwhelmed, and its email support is essentially nonfunctional. This is a solid win for ZenBusiness.
Ease of Use
ZenBusiness: Preparing for the incorporation process is quick and easy with ZenBusiness. All you need to do is choose which package you’d like to start with, fill out their order form to provide them with your personal and business information, and they’ll take it from there.
Incfile: Incfile makes using their services quite simple. As you fill out their order form, they personalize your steps based on the state you’re forming a business in, as well as which type of business entity you’re creating. They also provide links throughout the application that can help you figure out if you need the various features in each package.
It’s a tie!
Both of these LLC formation services have websites that are easy to leverage, which means that this category ultimately comes down to the upsells and third-party offers — and neither company goes overboard in this regard.
Speed of Formation
ZenBusiness: 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. To find out your turnaround time, simply plug in your state and immediately see your turnaround time.
Incfile: Incfile promises to submit your business formation documents to your state within just one business day, which is a welcome attribute. Their turnaround times depend on how quickly each state can process a business formation, so in some states they’re as quick as just a couple days, and in others they can take several weeks. They also have expedited service available that can drastically improve your formation speeds in many states.
Winner = Incfile
We don’t particularly like the ZenBusiness method of speeding up or slowing down your formation process based on how much money you spend on their platform. Incfile’s processing speeds are solid, so this is a win for them.
Conclusion – Which to Choose?
Overall, this one is a tough call for us. While there were two ties and Incfile picked up wins in two categories, ZenBusiness has a pretty significant advantage for customer support.
So, your choice between these two likely comes down to your personal preferences.
Incfile has more experience, and they provide strong ease of use and fast formation speeds as well. On the other hand, ZenBusiness is a great option if you prioritize getting advanced features or consistent customer service. Either way, you really can’t go wrong with these two very good options.
What Is the Biggest Advantage of Each Service?
The most significant advantage that ZenBusiness holds over Incfile is the fact that they include more valuable features in their incorporation packages. As for Incfile, they have quite a few advantages compared to ZenBusiness, but the biggest one is their high level of experience in this industry.
Which Is the Best Package From These Services?
In most circumstances, we recommend that our readers select the most affordable formation package that includes registered agent service. Of course, Incfile’s free package that includes a year of registered agent service fits the bill perfectly! That said, if you’re looking for more advanced features, we prefer Zen’s $299 Premium package to any of Incfile’s upgraded offerings.
Which Company Offers More Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
Both of these companies provide assistance with your ongoing compliance requirements, helping your business stay in good standing down the road. ZenBusiness ($99 for the first year, $199 after that) and Incfile ($119/year) both provide registered agent service, but only Incfile includes a free year with any incorporation package purchase.
Both of them provide annual report service too, although ZenBusiness bundles a year of this service in with your incorporation and Incfile does not.
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.
Incfile provides no assistance for entrepreneurs who need help with publication requirements, but ZenBusiness actually offers to take care of the whole thing for you.
Am I Required to Use a Business Formation Service?
Before you get started with the DIY option though, we’d like to point out the reason why we don’t typically recommend this route: corporations are generally complex business structures, and we only recommend forming your own if you’re already comfortable with the incorporation process.