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 formation services in the industry.
In this review, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ZenBusiness in order to make an informed decision for your business.
ZenBusiness Scored 9/10
When choosing an incorporation service to form your new business, there are several factors that you need to consider, including:
- Do they provide strong value for your money?
- Do they have the experience necessary to provide a reliable service?
- Are they able to deliver top-notch customer support if you need it?
- How simple is the process of ordering incorporation service?
- How quickly are they able to form your business?
Considering these criteria, we determined that ZenBusiness deserves a score of 9/10 and tops our list as one of the best incorporation services online. Their biggest advantage is that their pricing is outstanding, as they offer online incorporation service for just $39 (plus state fee).
In addition, their customer feedback is almost all positive, as their hundreds of reviews maintain strong average rating scores.
In Depth: ZenBusiness Review
Overall Pricing and Value – 10/10
As we compared all of the most popular business formation services available today, we decided that ZenBusiness is definitely worthy of a spot near the top of our list. Our favorite attribute of ZenBusiness is their Starter plan, which costs just $39 and includes the full prep and filing of your articles of incorporation, along with registered agent service, and a risk-free consultation with one of their in-house CPAs.
If you step up to their $149/year Pro plan ― which ZenBusiness says is their most popular ― they’ll add managed annual report and compliance management service, a federal tax ID number (EIN), and a banking resolution.
The most expensive plan available from ZenBusiness is their aptly named Premium package, which costs $249 per year. We’re not big fans of this package, as most of the added features compared to the Pro plan are third-party partnership offers that add relatively little value to the overall package.
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.
As we mentioned earlier, nearly all of ZenBusiness’ 900+ 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 – 8/10
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 seem knowledgeable, and they’ve been able to answer all of our questions. You can contact ZenBusiness representatives from 9am to 7pm ET on weekdays.
Ease of Placing an Order – 10/10
Most people who use services like this to incorporate 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
Most of their competitors base turnaround times on how quickly each individual state processes formations, but ZenBusiness has a different method. Instead, their processing speeds are based on which level of service you purchase from them.
With their Starter plan, they will form your business within 3-4 weeks, while the Pro package takes 1-2 weeks. With their Premium package, you can cut your turnaround time down to 3-5 days. 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, you should contact them and ask.
ZenBusiness Pricing & Features
With ZenBusiness, you have your choice of four 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.
Let’s take a look at what each of their packages has to offer, and figure out which one is the best option for you along the way!
$39 for Starter Package
Best For: Entrepreneurs on a budget who want registered agent service along with their formation.
The Starter package starts with the basics of incorporation, then adds registered agent service to create a well-rounded offering. Every corporation needs to designate a registered agent to remain compliant with your state government, as your agent receives important document deliveries on behalf of your business. With the ZenBusiness Starter package, they will serve as your registered agent, crossing off one more item from your startup to-do list.
In addition, they’ll provide a customizable corporate bylaws form to help you describe the ownership structure of your company, along with a risk-free assessment with one of their in-house accountants.
*With this package, your first year will cost $39, with a $119 price point for each following year for their registered agent service.
$149 for Pro Package
Best For: Entrepreneurs who need a selection of advanced features to assist with the startup and operation of your business entity.
When you step up to the Pro package, ZenBusiness adds quite a bit to your order. With the Pro plan, ZenBusiness will provide a banking resolution, and acquire a federal tax ID number (EIN) from the IRS on behalf of your company, which most businesses need. An EIN is basically a social security number for a business entity, and it allows you to hire employees, open business bank accounts, pay taxes, and more.
You’ll also receive their Worry Free Guarantee, which is their name for managed annual report and compliance management service. Every year, they will prepare and file your annual report, and this feature also includes the prep/filing of two amendments per year, which you may or may not ever need. Finally, the formation speed for this package clocks in at around 1-2 weeks.
$249 for Premium Package
Best For: We honestly don’t recommend the Premium package for any of our readers.
The top-tier package available from ZenBusiness adds a ton of fluff, and very little in regards to actual added value. This package only adds third-party partnership offers, which is rather unappealing, seeing as it costs $100 more than the Pro package.
The Premium plan adds domain name registration and a domain-name privacy feature to keep your personal information private when registering a domain. It also includes a business website and email address package.
Final Thoughts on ZenBusiness
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 $39 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 does.
All in all, if you’re starting a business on a tight budget and are looking for the best-priced incorporation service, ZenBusiness is a very solid choice. In our opinion, their many positives far outweigh their few negatives.
How Does ZenBusiness Compare to LegalZoom?
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.
In addition, ZenBusiness receives excellent feedback from their clients, whereas LegalZoom has a fairly equal mix of positive and negative customer reviews. See our VS review for more info.
What Are ZenBusiness’ Biggest Advantage and Disadvantage?
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, the most affordable way to get these features is to purchase their $39 Starter package, which increases in price to $119/year after your first year. Just to be clear, even at $119, this package is reasonably priced.
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 registered agent service with all of their incorporation packages, which is a great way to ensure the ongoing compliance of your business.
With their “Worry Free Guarantee” 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?
If you’re going to use ZenBusiness, we strongly suggest making sure you ordered exactly what you want before you reach the checkout screen. This is because ZenBusiness has a confusing refund policy that is very oddly explained.
Here it is in their own words: “Once ZenBusiness has submitted your business for filing with the State under no circumstances can you charge-back or dispute the fees associated with forming your business. If you contact ZenBusiness before your business has been submitted for filing with the State, ZenBusiness may refund the charge, less a $50 cancellation fee, if certain conditions are met.”
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 both 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.