Are you looking for the best online incorporation service, but you’re not sure which one is the right choice for you? LegalZoom and Swyft Filings are both services that can form an LLC or corporation on your behalf.
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?
Comparison Based on the Five Key Points
In our review of each online incorporation service, we performed a “stress test” on each based on five key factors:
- Compared pricing and features to determine the overall value of each service.
- Researched their track record based on how many businesses they’ve formed.
- Assessed the quality of customer service based on customer reviews, as well as our own personal experience.
- Walked through the ordering process to determine each service’s ease of use.
- Reviewed the turnaround times for LLC and corporation formations.
Overall Pricing and Value
LegalZoom: LegalZoom is one of the most popular LLC and incorporation services available, but we found that does not translate into better value for their customers. While LegalZoom does offer an affordable $79 starting package to form an LLC and a $149 package to form a corporation, the number of upsells can get overwhelming — and expensive. Furthermore, they do not include registered agent service with any of their formation packages, and it costs $159 per year to add 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.
Winner = Swyft Filings
Neither of these companies exactly exceed expectations with impressive price points or formation packages stuffed with valuable features. Still, Swyft Filings has the lower price tag (especially for corporation formations), which means they’re our winner for this category.
Company Track Record & Experience
LegalZoom: LegalZoom was founded in 1999, and they’ve served 3.6 million customers since then. While their focus isn’t solely on business formation services, they have helped form over 1 million businesses to date. If you look through LegalZoom customer reviews on any third-party site, you will almost always find a large number of one-star ratings and equally as many five-star reviews, resulting in a decidedly more mixed bag of feedback than many competitors have.
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 20,000 reviews available online, and more than 90% of them are either 4- or 5-star ratings.
Winner = Tie
LegalZoom has a clear advantage in the areas of longevity and customer volume, but Swyft Filings blows them out of the water when it comes to customer reviews. All told, we’ll call this category a tie.
Customer Service Comparison
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 in-person customer service is great, their online 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.
Winner = Tie
This is a tough call, because Swyft Filings responded to our queries much more quickly, but LegalZoom’s phone support went above and beyond to thoroughly address our issues. With that in mind, we’ll call this category a tie, but depending on what’s important to you, you may prefer one over the other.
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.
Winner = Swyft Filings
This one is more of a matter of personal preference, but we tend to prefer selecting a package first and building out our order from there, as opposed to the LegalZoom method of selecting add-ons before you even decide which base package you’re adding onto.
Speed of Formation
LegalZoom: LegalZoom doesn’t specifically explain their own turnaround time for processing and filing your paperwork with the state, but they do offer an estimated total turnaround time. 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 seven 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.
Winner = Swyft Filings
Again, this category has a bit of personal preference involved. We prefer Swyft Filings’ method of basing turnaround times on the actual requirements of your state, because with LegalZoom, you’re only going to get a quick turnaround if you spend the big bucks to buy their top-tier package.
Seeing as LegalZoom didn’t even win one single category in our comparison, it should be no surprise that we prefer Swyft Filings overall. Their prices are better, their customer reviews are fantastic, their customer support is more responsive, their formation process is more straightforward, and their turnaround times are more exact.
LegalZoom is a popular option for a reason, as they’re a solid company depending on what you’re looking for. However, for most of our readers, Swyft Filings is clearly a better deal.