Are you ready to form a new corporation for your business, but you’re not sure which of the many online incorporation services is the right choice to assist you?
This incorporation service comparison guide takes a look at the five crucial points you need to consider in order to make the right decision for your business. Is ZenBusiness the best option for you? Or perhaps Rocket Lawyer is preferable? Read on as we weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of each service.
Key Comparison Factors
In our review and comparison of each online incorporation service, we performed a “stress test” on each based on 5 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 Rocket Lawyer are reliable business incorporation services.
However, ZenBusiness wins our vote as the better option (in this comparison and the against other top services) due to their inclusion of a full year registered agent service and $60 lower prices.
Overall Pricing and Value
ZenBusiness: Would you like to form your new LLC or corporation for just $39, except for paying your state fee? ZenBusiness is the only company that offers an incorporation package at such a low rate. Furthermore, it’s a remarkably fully featured plan that includes registered agent service, corporate bylaws, and an assessment from one of their in-house CPAs. We also like their $149 package, which adds annual report service, compliance monitoring, a banking resolution, and a federal tax ID number (EIN).
Rocket Lawyer: Unlike most competitors, Rocket Lawyer does not offer several different business formation packages to choose from. Instead, they provide one general formation package for $99.99, which you can then add features to on an a la carte basis. We will note that if you’re interested in their legal services subscription for $39.99/month, you can receive discounted or even free business formation service.
Winner = ZenBusiness
The Rocket Lawyer business formation package for $99.99 has far fewer features than the $39 plan provided by ZenBusiness. That’s all we need to know in order to say that this category is a blowout victory for ZenBusiness.
Company Track Record & Experience
ZenBusiness: They’re one of the more recent additions to the online incorporation service industry, as ZenBusiness just opened for business in 2015. In those few short years, they’ve already formed thousands of business entities, and they say that they want to form one million businesses in the next five years, which is quite the ambitious expansion plan. Their customer feedback is almost entirely positive, as they have hundreds of reviews and high average rating scores.
Rocket Lawyer: It’s nearly impossible to compete with Rocket Lawyer’s incredible popularity, as they’ve served over 20 million customers since opening in 2008. It’s important to note that not all of these customers are business clients, as Rocket Lawyer also offers a wide variety of personal services, like wills. Customer feedback is a pro for Rocket Lawyer, as they have hundreds of reviews available online, with mostly positive ratings.
Winner = Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer has more longevity and a higher volume of customers than ZenBusiness, and customer feedback is basically a toss-up between these two companies. Therefore, this category goes to Rocket Lawyer.
ZenBusiness: We really appreciate most aspects of ZenBusiness, and customer support is no exception. You can contact their support team by phone, email, or chat, and in our experience they respond quickly no matter which route you choose. Their representatives are friendly, and they’ve been able to answer every tough question we’ve asked them. Their hours of operation run from 9am to 7pm ET on weekdays.
Rocket Lawyer: Rocket Lawyer provides customer support via phone, email, or web chat, and their hours of availability from 9am to 9pm ET provide two more hours per day of support than ZenBusiness does. They have quick response times, and their representatives are well-informed regarding the services Rocket Lawyer provides.
Winner = Rocket Lawyer
All things are relatively equal in this category, but Rocket Lawyer’s two extra hours of availability per day put them over the top. This was another close category, but ultimately Rocket Lawyer pulled out the victory.
Ease of Use
ZenBusiness: There’s nothing too complicated about forming a business with ZenBusiness. All you need to do is choose your formation package, provide them with your relevant personal and business information, and select any additional features that you may want. The only issue we have in this area is the fact that ZenBusiness has a couple of upsells and third-party partnerships to navigate through as you fill out their order form.
Rocket Lawyer: On one hand, Rocket Lawyer only has one business formation package, so it’s quite simple to decide which one you want to purchase. On the other hand, it can be a hassle to walk through their additional services. Still, overall it only took us around 10 minutes to complete the entire order form, which reflects how quick and easy the process is with Rocket Lawyer. The fact that they avoid upsells and third-party partnerships is the icing on the cake.
Winner = Tie
Each company has its advantages in this area. For ZenBusiness, we like how convenient the process is, especially compared to the a la carte ordering process for Rocket Lawyer. On the other hand, Rocket Lawyer doesn’t have upsells or third-party offers. Therefore, we’ll call this category a draw.
Speed of Formation
ZenBusiness: Most incorporation services base their turnaround times on the capabilities of each state to process business formations, but ZenBusiness takes a different approach entirely. Their turnaround estimates instead depend on how much money you spend on the ZenBusiness platform. Their Starter package has a 3-4 week turnaround, their Pro package can be completed in 1-2 weeks, and their top-tier Premium plan takes 3-5 days.
Rocket Lawyer: Rocket Lawyer’s formation speeds are determined by how quickly your state can form your business entity. In fact, they have a convenient page on their website where they list average processing times for both standard and expedited service. We really appreciate the transparency provided by Rocket Lawyer when it comes to turnaround times.
Winner = Rocket Lawyer
We strongly prefer when companies base their turnaround times on each state’s actual capabilities, as opposed to speeding up or slowing down your formation based on how much money you spend. With this in mind, this category is a slam dunk for Rocket Lawyer.
While ZenBusiness picked up a big win in our overall pricing and value category, Rocket Lawyer swept three of the other four categories with relative ease. The pricing offered by ZenBusiness is a huge advantage, but Rocket Lawyer has them beat for experience, customer support, and formation speeds.
At the end of the day, this comparison comes down to whether Rocket Lawyer wins those three other categories by enough to overcome the fact that ZenBusiness provides much more value per dollar. In our opinion, ZenBusiness is the better overall option because they simply deliver far more bang for your buck than Rocket Lawyer does.
That said, this competition was extremely close, and if you prefer Rocket Lawyer, we wouldn’t blame you at all.
What Is the Biggest Advantage of Each Service?
ZenBusiness has one advantage over Rocket Lawyer, but it’s a big one. Their offer of an incorporation package for just $39 (plus your state fee) is a unique and highly valuable attribute, which no competitor in this industry can match.
Rocket Lawyer has a handful of advantages in this comparison, with the most significant one being their high level of experience. They’ve helped millions of customers over the years, which is a track record that blows ZenBusiness out of the water.
Which Is the Best Package Available From These Services?
When we’re shopping for business formation service, we like to select the most affordable package that includes registered agent service.
With these two companies, we prefer the Starter plan from ZenBusiness, which costs $39 for your first year ($119 for each subsequent year), and includes both your incorporation and registered agent, along with corporate bylaws and a CPA assessment.
Which Company Offers More Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
ZenBusiness has a significant advantage in this area, as they offer a wide variety of services that can help your business stay compliant down the line.
ZenBusiness offers registered agent service for a rate of $119 per year, while Rocket Lawyer provides this service for an annual fee of $149.99. If you want annual report service, you can purchase it from ZenBusiness for $75, while Rocket Lawyer does not provide this feature at all.
Can I Get a Refund if I Need One?
Let’s have them explain themselves in their own words on this topic: “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.”
Rocket Lawyer has a big advantage in this category, as their refund policy gives you 30 days to analyze your purchase. If you decide that you’re unsatisfied for any reason, they will provide a full refund of your service fees, with no convenience 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.
For those of you forming businesses in these five states, you’re in luck ― both of these companies offer publication service. Rocket Lawyer has a rather steep price point of $299 (plus publication fees) for this feature though, whereas ZenBusiness charges just $200.
Do Either of These Services Go Overboard With Upsells or Third-Party Partnerships?
Rocket Lawyer doesn’t push any third-party partnership “deals” on their clients, and they also avoid upsells for the most part ― if we were being picky, we could categorize their ordering process of adding a la carte features to their base package as “upsells,” but they don’t feel pushy in any way.
ZenBusiness has a few upsells, as you’ll encounter a couple hundred dollars’ worth of them as you work your way through their order form, and they also have some third-party partnership offers in their top-tier package.
Am I Required to Use a Formation Service?
Legally speaking, there is no requirement that forces entrepreneurs to use professional formation services. If you would rather form your own business entity, that is always an option. In fact, we have our own instructional guide for forming corporations.
However, we will point out that the corporation is a generally complicated business structure, and we only recommend forming your own if you’re entirely comfortable with the incorporation process.