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ZenBusiness LLC Formation Service Review
4.6 out of 5.0Visit Site
|LLC Formation Starting Price:||$49+ state filing fees|
- Low Starting Price of $49
- Easy to Choose Packages
- Lowest Price for LLC Essentials
ZenBusiness Review Table of Contents:
ZenBusiness was founded in 2015 and is based out of Austin, Texas. While they are one of the newest online LLC formation service providers, they have grown quickly and amassed over 6,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews. ZenBusiness positions its services towards service small business owners and freelancers and states, “our goal is to make the dream of starting a new business accessible to everyone across the country.” Zen is a bit unique in that they are a small business themselves and are formed as a Public Benefit Corporation, meaning they balance the financial performance for their shareholders with creating a positive impact on society. In 2020, they even awarded over $100,000 in grants to help small businesses.
ZenBusiness’s LLC formation service using a 3-tier package model. Their three packages are:
Note: Package prices do not include state filing fees
This is ZenBusiness’s most basic package and includes the basic services you need to get your LLC formed like verification of your desired LLC name availability and the preparation & filing of your LLC formation documents with the secretary of state.
Key Services and Features Included:
- Free Accounting Consultation – A basic accounting and tax assessment to determine your booking, accounting, and tax needs. This assessment is basically to provide you with other relevant services based on your business’s projected needs.
- Annual Report Service – A simple service that sends you automated alerts to notify you when your annual report (known as franchise tax in some states) is due. This can be helpful, however, you should be aware that the secretary of state office also sends notices out when these filings are due. If feel like getting notices in the mail isn’t going to be a good enough reminder you should also keep in mind that you’ll get these types of updates from most registered agent service providers.
- Operating Agreement Template – While not required, it’s highly recommended that your LLC have an operating agreement. An operating agreement can help maintain your limited liability status if you are sued. It’s also helpful as it outlines key operational tasks as well as determines a formal way to resolve disputes between members.
- Google Ads Credit – Create a Google Ads account and Google will match what you spend up to $150 (spend $150 – get a $150 credit). This is a good value, however, you should be aware that this is not an exclusive offer from ZenBusiness. Any new Google Ads account is eligible for this offer.
ZenBusiness Starter Recommendation
The ZenBusiness Starter package is a great option for those who are looking for a low-cost option to form an LLC and get a basic operating agreement. Of the 10 LLC formation service providers we evaluated, Zen’s Starter package was the cheapest option available that included LLC formation and an LLC operating agreement.
ZenBusiness Pro includes all the services and features included in the Starter package and a few essential items such as EIN obtainment, Banking Resolution Template, and Expedited Filing.
Key Services and Features Included:
- Expedite Filing Speed – This increases the speed that your LLC filing will be completed. Typically this will mean that your LLC will be formed in around 3-4 days faster than if you used the Starter package.
- Banking Resolution Template – A banking resolution document outlines the LLC members, managers, and other authorized people in the business and what types of power to make changes and access they are allowed to banking services. This can help clarify who is authorized to do what regarding your LLC’s business bank account. While this document isn’t required, it’s a nice add-on that provides some value.
- Employer ID Number (EIN) – EINs are ID numbers issued by the IRS that identify businesses for tax and employment purposes, much like a social security number. All multi-member LLCs are required to obtain an EIN. However, even if not required, obtaining an EIN is highly recommended as you’ll need one to open a business bank account for your LLC. It’s important to note that you can apply for an EIN on your own for free, but having professional help to obtain one can be helpful, especially if you’ve never done it before.
- Worry Free Compliance – The ZenBusiness team handles all your ongoing state filings, so you don’t need to worry about deadlines or making mistakes. You also get two free yearly amendment filings so that you can update your business name, address, or ownership information, and you’ll only need to pay state fees. This is a nice add-on that can help give business owners peace of mind. With this being said, this feature will likely not be needed often by most businesses unless they plan on moving locations or changing core information about your LLC with any frequency.
ZenBusiness Pro Recommendation
The Pro package from ZenBusiness provides quite a bit more value to the customer than the Starter package, in our opinion. This package includes all the essential pieces you’ll need to start an LLC, such as the LLC filing with the state, increased filing speed, EIN, and operating agreement.
The Premium package is the top-level option available from ZenBusiness. This package includes all features in the previous two packages plus the fastest filing speed (Zen refers to this as Rush Filing Speed), a basic business website that provides domain name, hosting, domain privacy, and business email address.
Key Services and Features Included:
- Rush Filing Speed – The fastest filing speed option available from ZenBusiness. This increases the speed of your LLC filing to around 2-5 business days on average, which is about three days faster than the expedited filing option and about seven days faster than standard processing. So if you’re trying to get your LLC formed in the fastest time possible with ZenBusiness, this is your best bet.
- Business Domain Name – This is for the registration and renewal of your website domain name. You need to register a domain name first before using a business email or building a website. ZenBusiness charges $25/year for this service as a stand-alone, but it’s included in your annual fee in the Premium package.
- Business Name Privacy – This adds a layer of privacy and protection for business owners. When registering a business name, you’ll need to provide the owner’s contact details to register the domain with ICANN, the global accreditation group for domain registration. Usually, this information would be available publicly and can lead to abuse by spammers. By having domain privacy, your contact details are kept private from spammers and internet scammers.
- Business Website – A basic website that can be customized using templates. This is a good option for businesses that only need a basic website with a small number of information-only pages.
- Business Email – ZenBusiness will help create a business email using your business website domain. A business email address increases your business’s professionalism by allowing you to use your business domain name rather than a personal email like those from gmail or yahoo.
ZenBusiness Premium Recommendation
ZenBusiness’ Premium package is a good option for those who are also seeking to set up an online presence with some assistance, on top of having all the essentials needed to start an LLC properly.
ZenBusiness customer reviews and feedback are excellent, with over 6,000 reviews and a 4.8 out of 5 rating on Trust Pilot. There are very few 1 or 2 star reviews, making up only 3% of ZenBusiness’ reviews on Trust Pilot. Their high rating and high amount of reviews in such as short amount of time show that ZenBusiness customers are generally very happy with the service they receive.
ZenBusiness has some great package options, and their Starter package is the best offer available for customers looking for a basic formation that includes an operating agreement. With that in mind, we have three main ways that we evaluate formation providers, where we find there might be better options available:
- Cheapest Basic LLC Formation – For those looking for the absolute most affordable option available to form an LLC, regardless of other add-ons or other features.
- LLC Essentials – In our opinion, the most valuable collection of items should include the essentials you’ll need to get your LLC off the ground. This consists of the LLC formation itself, EIN, and Operating Agreement.
- Premium Package – For those seeking a complete service that includes the essentials and other valuable add-on features.
If you’re only interested in getting the absolute cheapest price to form an LLC and you’re not interested in any other add-on services or features, Inc Authority is your best bet. Inc Authority offers a basic LLC formation service that is completely free, where you only pay state filing fees. So it’s basically like getting free help to complete your LLC filing. When you check out, you’ll have the option to choose other services if you want them, but they are not required.
$0 + state feesForm your LLC
with Inc Authority
$49 + state feesForm your LLC with
When you’re forming an LLC there are a few items that we consider as essential. These are the LLC filing, EIN, LLC Operating Agreement, and Registered Agent Service.
Why are these items “Essential”? To maintain your limited liability status, you need to ensure that you have a clear separation between yourself and your LLC. This separation makes it much harder in the unfortunate event your business is sued or is unable to pay its debts that a court cannot attempt to pierce the corporate veil. To ensure this doesn’t happen, every LLC should have a completely separate business bank account used only for business transactions. In addition, it’s crucial to have an operating agreement that defines some of the essential elements of your LLC and has clearly defined how disputes between owners are resolved.
|LLC Essentials w/o Registered Agent Service||$138||$119|
|LLC Essentials with Registered Agent Service||$138||$268|
|Annual Registered Agent Renewal Fee||$99||$199|
As you can see, if you’re looking for the LLC essentials, you can get a slightly lower price by choosing ZenBusiness Starter plan, which includes the operating agreement, and adding the EIN service for $70, which totals out to $119. However, you should also be aware that when signing up for the ZenBusiness Starter plan, you agree to auto-renew at $119 in the coming years.
If you want to have a registered agent, it’s important to note that ZenBusiness’s offer does not include registered agent service. Therefore, if you want registered agent service, you’ll need to pay $149 for the first year and $199 for the second year onward. In contrast, with Inc Authority’s offer, you get a free year of registered agent service with your order which renews at $99 for future years. As a result, if you’re looking for LLC essentials with registered agent service, Inc Authority’s offer is cheaper both in the initial purchase and has a lower ongoing annual fee.
Our Recommendation for LLC Essentials
- Don’t want or need Registered Agent Service
Go with ZenBusiness Starter plan and add the EIN option during checkout for a slightly lower price.
Choose ZenBusiness Starter
- Want to have Registered Agent Service
Choose Inc Authority as you’ll get the first year free, and it renews at half the rate of ZenBusiness.
Choose Inc Authority
ZenBusiness’ Premium package is a great choice, but if you’re looking for an alternative to ZenBusiness’s Premium package, there’s a great alternative available from Better Legal. Better Legal is a newer player in the online business formation market that started in 2016. Better Legal doesn’t offer packages; instead, they focus exclusively on providing a premium service. As a result, the order process can be a bit more streamlined since they don’t need to upsell you on additional features or services throughout the order process.
ZenBusiness Premium Package vs. Better Legal
Here’s how the two providers services stack up to each other feature and price-wise:
|Feature Name||ZenBusiness Premium||Better Legal|
|Articles of Organization Filing|
|Employer ID Number (EIN)|
|Business Checking Account|
|Payroll, Benefits, and HR Platform|
|1st Year Registered Agent Service||$149||$90|
|2nd Year+ Registered Agent Service||$199||$90|
|Package Price||$299 +state fees||$299 +state fees|
|Form with ZenBusiness Premium||Form with Better Legal’s service|
Overall, ZenBusiness has great offerings for nearly every type of person looking to start an LLC. Zen’s services are best for 2 primary groups of people:
- Those looking for the lowest cost formation service that includes an operating agreement.
- Customers that want the essential services of EIN obtainment and an operating agreement with their LLC formation but don’t need registered agent service