If you’re looking to incorporate your small business, you may have discovered that doing so isn’t necessarily the easiest or most straightforward endeavor. Thankfully, there are online legal services, like ZenBusiness, that can make the whole process a bit easier.
ZenBusiness: Start Your Dream Business
Start today for as low at $0 plus state fees
on ZenBusiness' website
» MORE: NerdWallet's best online legal services for small businesses
ZenBusiness makes straightforward legal filings easier and more affordable for small-business owners. With ZenBusiness, you can prepare and file your own business formation documents, avoiding the need to bring lawyers or other potentially costly professionals in to do the work for you.
If you’ve tried to go it alone in terms of carrying out one of the many legal steps required to start a business, you know how challenging it can be to make sure you’ve taken care of each and every task — especially when states vary in terms of business licenses, requirements and forms. Not only does this require steadfast attention to detail, but it also takes up a significant amount of time on your side (and can take a long time for the state to approve your documents).
Luckily, as an online business formation service, ZenBusiness makes it easier to keep track of these tasks, as well as many others that you are likely to encounter as your business grows. Although the features you receive with ZenBusiness will vary based on your pricing plan and location, some of its most noteworthy services include:
Business formation (LLCs or corporations).
Name availability search.
Registered agent services.
DBA (doing business as) registration.
Federal employer ID number.
Ongoing state compliance requirements.
Annual business reports.
New York state business formation publication.
Certificates of good standing.
The ZenBusiness suite of services also includes add-on features, such as a complimentary assessment from a certified accountant to help set up bookkeeping, accounting and tax considerations within your first year of operation.
You can also acquire a business domain name from ZenBusiness, get quotes for business insurance from leading providers and weigh your options for the best business credit cards from within the platform itself.
ZenBusiness offers three service tiers, varying in terms of the number of features included (and, of course, price). Anyone can start off at a more basic (and less expensive) service tier and upgrade as necessary afterward, which prevents you from overpaying for features and services you may not need.
You can also opt-in for certain services at an additional cost, such as a business website and domain name, while remaining on a lower-priced plan.
ZenBusiness Starter costs $49 when billed annually — excluding state-level fees (which depend on your state and business entity type) or additional costs from add-on services.
With this plan, you’ll be able to take advantage of the standard business filing service, which includes name availability search tools, standard filing speed, phone and email support and access to your documents through the ZenBusiness portal.
You’ll also get a complimentary year of registered agent support, which provides companies with a dedicated address for being served legal notices. Note that this service auto-renews at $119 per year once the first year of service is completed.
Plus, this service tier includes the production of operating agreements and bylaws, as well as a CPA assessment to help determine what kind of accounting and bookkeeping you may need for your business as it gets off the ground.
You can also incorporate a few a-la-carte options in this plan, such as expedited or rushed filing, employer ID number (EIN) registration and website hosting, among others. These add-on services, of course, will each have their own respective fees.
In addition to the features of the Starter plan, ZenBusiness Pro steps up the offerings significantly by including expedited filing, banking resolution documents, employer ID number creation and compliance checks and reminders.
This plan costs $199 annually, plus state filing fees and any additional features you might add to your package. You can add rush filing for a $100 fee, as well as a business website and domain registration for $100 and $25 per year, respectively.
ZenBusiness Premium includes every service the platform provides for a $299 annual membership (plus state filing fees).
This plan is a great option for business owners who want access to an all-inclusive legal service to handle all of the work that comes with starting a new business. This plan includes all of the filing basics and registered agent service, as well as assistance with setting up a website, email addresses and other ongoing forms that businesses need to file every year.
ZenBusiness also offers a build-your-own package service, which allows you a greater amount of flexibility with the services you purchase.
To access this service, you’ll have to register for an account and provide ZenBusiness with a fair amount of personal information.
You can see all the pricing on a per-item level on the ZenBusiness pricing homepage.
Although ZenBusiness hasn’t been around as long as some of its competitors, this online legal service has plenty of reviews (both positive and negative) across the internet. For starters, ZenBusiness has 4.7 out of 5 stars from Trustpilot and 4.8 out of 5 stars from Google.
Most positive ZenBusiness reviews cite how easy it is to navigate the platform and set up an LLC with minimal effort. ZenBusiness also gets praise for walking customers through the process, making it easier to wade through the otherwise challenging prospect of registering a business.
The main thread that connects most of the positive feedback centers around just how simple it is to use the platform — a positive attribute for any program designed to get people up and running with their business.
ZenBusiness reviews aren’t perfect, however. Some users have complained about the software guiding them through the process of setting up an LLC, only to need a limited liability partnership (LLP) based on where they live.
Others have expressed confusion about recurring charges, particularly around registered agent services they may not have canceled. According to some reviews, other competitors provide faster service.
Here are a few of the top pros for using the ZenBusiness platform.
All-inclusive business formation service: In terms of giving business owners everything they need to get their new business registered and filed with their respective state, ZenBusiness hits the mark. The platform makes the filing process straightforward, quick and about as painless as possible.
Variety of add-on products: Moreover, if you don’t want to shop around for other products, such as business credit cards, web hosting or registered agent services, ZenBusiness has you covered there too.
Pricing: ZenBusiness gets high marks for its straightforward pricing model, especially for a-la-carte services. Not every business wants or needs the suite of services ZenBusiness includes in its annual plans (for example, if you only want help setting up your LLC). If that’s the case, it’s easy to pay for a single service without having to purchase a yearly subscription. For those who want an easy and inexpensive way to take care of annual forms and filings, ZenBusiness’s three tiers are competitively priced.
Alerts: One of the other key features ZenBusiness provides is a set of alerts to help business owners keep track of when certain recurring filings are due. This can be a huge help that not every filing company provides. Keeping on top of deadlines for form submissions can be a chore if done manually, and therefore, having ZenBusiness keep track for you means one less thing to worry about.
On the other hand, ZenBusiness has a few drawbacks that are important to consider:
Better deals for ancillary services elsewhere: ZenBusiness includes a range of features that aren’t necessarily helpful for most business owners looking for help filing registration and incorporation documents. Finding the right business credit card isn’t something most business owners need from their filing provider. Rather, they should consider getting the advice of a financial professional. Other features, such as domain name registration and web hosting, might be more affordable if done elsewhere too.
Recurring fee for registered agent services in basic package: Including a year’s worth of registered agent services in a basic-tier package is a helpful thing to have for most businesses. Opting purchasers into a recurring registered agent service after buying a year’s subscription to ZenBusiness isn’t the best user experience, however. It may, in fact, be cheaper to find your own registered agent. Or, at the very least, users should not have to worry about making sure they cancel their registered agent services before the $119 fee kicks in.
ZenBusiness: Start Your Dream Business
Start today for as low at $0 plus state fees
on ZenBusiness' website
If you’re trying to decide if ZenBusiness is right for your business, you may want to consider one of the many ZenBusiness alternatives on the market before making a final decision. Fortunately, there is a variety to choose from.
LegalZoom is perhaps the best-known player in this space and has the incumbent’s advantage as far as ZenBusiness alternatives go. This platform is an originator when it comes to offering basic legal services for small businesses.
With a platform as robust as LegalZoom, there’s likely to be a solution for any of your common legal needs, but expect to pay more than you might with a straightforward document filing service like ZenBusiness.
Swyft Filings provides many of the same services as ZenBusiness, as it is also a digital service provider designed to file all the forms needed to get a company registered and ready for operation. Swyft Filings includes all the same state filing capabilities as ZenBusiness, as well as some of the other add-ons like web hosting and employer identification number filing.
Note that Swyft Filings doesn’t include an option to purchase registered agent services, however. The entry-level option also costs $49, and the mid-priced tier is slightly less expensive than ZenBusiness, at $149 annually.
Incfile is another solid option for an online business document filing system. This platform also costs $49 at the base level, and includes the same suite of tools that you’d get with ZenBusiness.
You can also get registered agent services with Incfile as you would with ZenBusiness. All in all, ZenBusiness gets an edge in terms of cost, as it comes out to be less expensive in most cases, depending on the services included.
» MORE: NerdWallet's best small-business apps
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet
ZenBusiness tops our best LLC services list for multiple reasons, including its affordability, ease of use and its unique offerings. The company offers three paid plans to help you form your business, whether that's an LLC or corporation. Plans range from free offerings to $299 per year, plus state filing fees.Can you trust ZenBusiness? ›
For starters, ZenBusiness has 4.7 out of 5 stars from Trustpilot and 4.8 out of 5 stars from Google. Most positive ZenBusiness reviews cite how easy it is to navigate the platform and set up an LLC with minimal effort.Is ZenBusiness a good registered agent? ›
ZenBusiness enjoys a great reputation among the customers. Out of more than 7,000 reviewers on TrustPilot, the company boasts an average rating of 4.7/5. Most customers are impressed with the included features on their registered agent packages, outstanding customer support, and affordability.Who is better ZenBusiness or LegalZoom? ›
LegalZoom is better for those who need legal advice, while ZenBusiness is a more cost-effective option for business formation filing. You could even use each service in tandem, delegating all legal services to LegalZoom and your business growth services to ZenBusiness.Does ZenBusiness do your taxes? ›
ZenBusiness Money Pro can save you both time and money on your tax filings. Customers who have purchased ZenBusiness Money Pro receive a free annual tax filing through TaxSlayer (https://www.taxslayer.com/), which includes filing federal taxes plus one state.How long does ZenBusiness take to process? ›
Get the fastest filing speeds available online
An expedited filing typically takes 4 to 6 business days, while rush filing is fastest at 1 to 2 business days. Starts at $0.
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BBB has determined that ZenBusiness Inc meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.How do I cancel my ZenBusiness account? ›
How do I cancel my account? There are no fees or penalties for canceling your account with us. If you would like to cancel your account with us, you can email us or call us directly at 1-844-493-6249 during normal business hours on Monday – Friday from 8 am – 8 pm Central time or Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm Central time.How much do I pay a registered agent for LLC? ›
Registered agent services typically cost somewhere between $100 and $300 per year. For some business owners, it's well worth the fee to not have to track the official notices and annual report due dates with the state.
You can even set up recurring payments. Costs/Fees: Self-employed professionals and microbusinesses can bill up to five clients per month for $15 per month. For up to 50 billable clients per month, the fee is $25. It costs $50 per month to bill up to 500 clients.Who owns ZenBusiness? ›
Ross Buhrdorf - CEO - ZenBusiness Inc. LinkedIn.What is the best website to set up an LLC? ›
Best for Online Business LegalZoom
LegalZoom is a large, recognized name in online legal services and earns our top spot as the best LLC filing company for online businesses. LegalZoom is our winner thanks to its low-cost option for new LLC filings.
Finally, a number of reviewers mention that using LegalZoom is more affordable and simpler than hiring and paying for an attorney every time you need legal assistance.Is Incfile cheaper than ZenBusiness? ›
Both Incfile and ZenBusiness offer fast, expert formation, but ZenBusiness is 70% more expensive over 5 years. Learn more about the differences below. Join the 1,000,000+ businesses that trust Incfile to start, manage and grow their business.What is ZenBusiness money pro? ›
ZenBusiness Money Pro is a service built for self-employed entrepreneurs that tracks all your mileage, expenses, income streams, and tax deductions in real time.What exactly does ZenBusiness do? ›
The ZenBusiness platform was built to meet your needs throughout the life of your business. Once you get started, you'll have access to a personalized dashboard for storing important formation documents, receiving state compliance alerts, or even managing a domain name and website for your business.Does ZenBusiness help with trademark? ›
If the trademark process has you feeling overwhelmed or distracted, remember you can lean on ZenBusiness for trustworthy assistance in everything from domain name registration to business name reservation at the state level — let us help you start, run, and grow your business when it comes to other important areas.How do I cancel my ZenBusiness money pro? ›
How do I cancel my account? There are no fees or penalties for canceling your account with us. If you would like to cancel your account with us, you can email us or call us directly at 1-844-493-6249 during normal business hours on Monday – Friday from 8 am – 8 pm Central time or Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm Central time.How does ZenBusiness make money? ›
ZenBusiness clients pay the fees when they accept payments from their customers.
After looking at MANY tracking apps, I finally settled on Money Pro for $5 (to bypass Lite restrictions).