Are you in the process of forming a new corporation, 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 5 Comparison Points
When we reviewed each of these service providers, we performed a stress test on each, which was based on the following five crucial 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.
As you’ll see in this comparison of ZenBusiness and Incfile, they are both excellent value incorporation services. While it’s an extremely close call, we think ZenBusiness has a slight edge and the better overall option because of their lower prices and fewer 3rd party upsells.
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 $39, they’ll form your corporation and provide a year of registered agent service, along with corporate bylaws and an assessment from one of their in-house CPAs. Their $149 plan is a good deal too, because it adds annual report service, compliance monitoring, a federal tax ID number (EIN), and a banking resolution.
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.
Winner = ZenBusiness
These two companies have similar price points for the combination of business formation and registered agent service, but Incfile offers free business incorporation services. On the other hand, ZenBusiness includes incorporation, bylaws and registered agent. It’s everything you’ll need and nothing you don’t – for the best overall price.
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 hundreds 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 over 250,000 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 regardless of which format you use to contact them, and their employees usually provide plenty of information to answer our questions. We have personally gotten more thorough answers via email than by phone, but they provide quality assistance either way.
It’s a tie!
The customer support offerings by these two companies are quite similar, and they also have the exact same hours of operation. In our opinion, this category is a true toss-up.
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. The only negative in this area for ZenBusiness is the handful of upsells and third-party offers they sprinkle in throughout the process.
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. Incfile does have a couple of third-party partnership offers, but they don’t really have anything we would call an upsell.
It’s a tie!
Both of these companies provide services that are easy to leverage, which means that this category ultimately comes down to the upsells and third-party offers. While they both have a relatively minimal number of third-party partnerships, ZenBusiness has more upsells than Incfile does, providing Incfile with a closely contested win in this category.
Speed of Formation
ZenBusiness: Unlike the majority of their competitors (including Incfile), ZenBusiness doesn’t base their turnaround times on the processing speeds provided by the state. Instead, your turnaround is based on which level of service you purchase from them. With their Starter package, you should expect a 3-4 week turnaround time, which you can speed up to 1-2 weeks (Pro), or 3-5 days (Premium) with their more costly packages.
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 an easy win for them.
Overall, this one is a tough call for us. While there were many ties and Incfile picked up wins in two categories, and a tie in three others, ZenBusiness won our most important category, which is overall pricing and value.
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 the most bang for your buck, as their $39 plan is the best-value option for incorporation service that we’re aware of, and it’s a fully-featured package.
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 offer an LLC or incorporation service package that costs just $39, compared to Incfile’s entry-level price point of $0. 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.
The ZenBusiness Starter package for $39 (plus state fee) isn’t just our favorite option between these two companies, but it’s also in the running for our favorite overall formation package. With this plan, ZenBusiness provides the full preparation and filing of your business formation documents, as well as one year of registered agent, corporate bylaws, and a CPA assessment.
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 and Incfile both provide registered agent service for the exact same rate of $119 per year.
Both of them provide annual report service too, although Incfile’s $88 price point is a bit more expensive than the $75 you’ll pay with ZenBusiness.
Can I Get a Refund if I Need One?
Check out what ZenBusiness says 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.”
Unfortunately, Incfile isn’t much better in this regard, as their refund policy is very restrictive. They only ever provide refunds if you request one before they submit payment to your state, which is usually within a 24-hour window. Even then, there’s a $30 cancellation 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.
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.