ZenBusiness is an extremely popular LLC formation company for a lot of reasons. Many entrepreneurs have been able to build their LLC entities from the ground up with this provider, but is it really worth it? Do they really offer the best services around, or is there a better option?
In this ZenBusiness review, we?re diving into the nitty-gritty of what ZenBusiness offers and we?re comparing it to other leading services as well.
A Little Background About Zen Business
Zen Business is an LLC formation service for current or soon-to-be-business owners. Founded in 2015, this Texas-based company has helped thousands of entrepreneurs around the US in building their LLC companies from scratch.
They provide everything you need to kick-start your business, including registered agent services, CPA assessments, EIN acquisition, compliance guarantee, and even website-building services. Zen Business also offers three plans to choose from: Starter, Pro, and Premium.
Compared to other LLC formation services, Zen Business offers some of the cheapest packages. And whichever you choose, you already get a free year of registered agent services.
ZenBusiness is popular mainly due to the range of features that business owners get to enjoy. Here are the highlights of what ZenBusiness offers:
Features and Services
- Registered Agent Service
- Operating Agreement
- Worry-Free Compliance
- Formation Speed Options
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- DBA Name Registration
- Banking Resolution
- Annual Reports
- Domain Name Registration
- Domain Name Privacy
- Business Website
- Business Email Address
- New York Publication
- Filing Amendment
- Certificate of Good Standing
- Business Bank Account
- Business Insurance
- Business Name Reservation
You can choose from the 3 packages that ZenBusiness offers, depending on the services and features you want to be included:
1. Starter Package ($49/year)
*Includes Standard Filing Speed, Registered Agent Service, Operating Agreement, and 100% Accuracy Guarantee.
2. Pro Package ($179/year) (most popular)
*Includes Expedite Filing Speed, Registered Agent, Operating Agreement, Employer ID Number (EIN), Banking Resolution, Worry-Free Compliance, and 100% Accuracy Guarantee.
3. Premium Package
*Includes Registered Agent, Operating Agreement, Employer ID Number (EIN), Banking Resolution, Worry-Free Compliance, Business Domain Name, Business Website, Business Email Address, and 100% Accuracy Guarantee.
Registered Agent Service
All ZenBusiness packages, even the starter package, include a reliable registered agent service. Anyone who?s started a company knows that such service has a higher price tag, so cheap LLC formation service plans don?t often include registered agent service at all.
Entrepreneurs find it appealing that ZenBusiness?s cheapest plan cover registered agent service, as it covers all correspondence with the Secretary of State as well as other agencies, to ensure that all documents are kept private.
Each ZenBusiness plan also has an operating agreement included. This is one of the basic things you need to form an LLC, which covers the ownership and member duties of your company.
Worry-Free Compliance Guarantee
The worry-free guarantee is included in the Pro and Premium plans of the ZenBusiness LLC formation company. It allows you to receive annual LLC filing report alerts and compliance deadlines to make sure your business would remain in good standing with the state.
Even if your company misses a deadline or a state requirement, ZenBusiness covers the costs required to see that your business remains in good standing. Other service providers don?t have this feature, making it one of the best services offered by ZenBusiness.
Formation Speed Options
Depending on your ZenBusiness plan, there are different processing speeds you?re entitled to, which does exclude the state filing times.
The Starter Package guarantees 2?3 weeks of processing, which is fast enough if you?re not in a rush. For the Pro plan, it will be 5?8 business days and for the Premium plan, 2?4 business days.
With these differences in processing speed, entrepreneurs get to choose the service that fits their needs, whether they?re willing to wait or they want to form an LLC stat. However, others offer same-day processing services (read Northwest Registered Agent reviews).
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
The EIN is like the social security number for your company. It?s essentially your identification and the one you use to hire employees or open a bank account.
In the ZenBusiness Pro and Premium plans, they will obtain an EIN for you and have it delivered digitally. It saves you the hassle of getting one yourself, and it?s another thing to check off of your to-do list as you create your LLC.
DBA Name Registration
If you want your company to operate under a different name from its legal name, you?ll be using your DBA (?doing business as?) name. Often referred to as a trade name or assumed name, DBA is just an additional business name that you can use while staying legal.
However, it?s quite difficult to obtain a DBA in the US. ZenBusiness solves this problem by offering a DBA Name Registration, all while complying with your state-specific requirements and guidelines. With this service, you don?t have to undergo the complex process of obtaining a DBA name yourself.
In the ZenBusiness Pro Package, you also get a banking resolution. It?s a necessary document for authorizing a person in your business to open a bank account and provide a signature as well.
With a banking resolution, you can have a complete record of any company decision made. Plus, it?s also an official proof to financial institutions that only an authorized person in your business is acting for your company.
The state requires annual reports from businesses every year to ensure that the companies are in full compliance with the state laws. As an LLC, failing to file your company?s annual reports will result in hefty fines, and in severe cases, revocation of your business license.
To ensure this doesn?t happen, ZenBusiness can file your annual reports for you in a timely manner. As such, you?re always in good standing with the state.
Domain Name Registration
An online presence is crucial to the development of your business. Having a website lets customers know that you?re legitimate, and ZenBusiness helps you with that by securing a domain name for you.
With this, you don?t have to undergo the process of reserving your own domain name or even outsourcing a web developer to create one for you. If you?re planning to build your website in the future anyway, ZenBusiness can already help you with the first few steps.
Domain Name Privacy
Along with filing a domain name, there comes the risk of having your information displayed in public. That?s because after your domain name is filed, your personal info is saved in a public database called the WHOIS.
To protect you against possible hacks, ZenBusiness adds a domain name privacy service to change your info in WHOIS with that of a forwarding service. As a result, your company details are kept hidden from the public eye.
An online presence is a must for businesses today. ZenBusiness can provide you with a website, so you don?t have to outsource another service to build your own.
Business Email Address
Aside from communication and marketing purposes, a business email address gives more credibility to your business as well.
New York Publication
If you want to do business in New York, you should keep in mind Section 206 of the New York State Limited Liability Company Law.
According to this law, you need to publish a notice in two separate newspapers if you?re forming an LLC or registering an out-of-state LLC to do business in New York. Also, the newspapers must be within the same county where the LLC?s ?office? is.
Once published, you will be provided with an Affidavit of Publication and Certificate of Publication which you?ll be sending to the New York Division of Corporations. After that, you can legally do business in NY.
While ZenBusiness doesn?t explicitly include this in their LLC formation packages, they can still help you with New York Publication. I tried calling customer service about this requirement, and they were more than happy to help with the process.
Aside from the annual reports, ZenBusiness stays true to its ?Worry-Free Guarantee? by providing you with two free amendments per year.
Of course, businesses are ever-changing, so if you?re planning to make a few modifications, ZenBusiness helps you deal with it with no trouble.
Certificate of Good Standing
This certification is issued by the state, proving that your LLC business is in compliance with all laws and requirements. For your company, a certificate of good standing would help in several situations.
A few instances where you can use this document would be if you?re renewing permits, completing large transactions, or partnering with investors. As such, it?s something handy to have whenever a crucial opportunity pops up.
Business Bank Account
Opening a business bank account has many benefits. It separates your personal finances from your business transactions, establishes your legitimacy, and helps you build banking relations as well.
ZenBusiness helps you reap these perks by opening a bank account for you in Radius Bank. That?s another item off of your LLC to-do list.
One of ZenBusiness?s goals is to work with entrepreneurs who don?t have insurance yet. If that?s something you?re looking for as well, ZenBusiness has partnered with Bold Penguin to help you with the commercial insurance process.
The main purpose of insurance is to protect your business and personal assets, so this is something worth looking into when starting your LLC business as well.
Business Name Reservation
ZenBusiness also offers one of the most important services you need when forming an LLC: business name reservation.
The good thing about this service is you can avail it even if you?re not yet ready to form your company. ZenBusiness gives you the option to reserve your business name so no one else can take it while you?re still preparing yourself for entrepreneurship.
Worry-Free CPA assessment
As accounting can be one of the most daunting tasks for an entrepreneur, ZenBusiness offers a CPA assessment feature to evaluate your company finances.
Part of their LLC business formation service is matching you with the right CPA at no charge. So, you?re able to keep track of your cash flow, taxes, and other bookkeeping needs with ease.
Real-time Customer Support
All ZenBusiness LLC plans offer real-time online customer support during their business hours, from 9 am to 8 pm ET on Mondays through Fridays.
In our experience, the fastest way to reach ZenBusiness is through their website chat. If you don?t prefer chat support, you can also request for information or services by phone or by email.
Let?s take a look at the ZenBusiness LLC packages and how they?re different from each other. These prices exclude the state fee, so that?s just something to note.
Starter Package ($49/year plus state fees)
The starter package covers all the basics you need for your LLC business. It includes the standard filing service, an operating agreement, a registered agent, and real-time business support. It?s one of the cheapest LLC business formation plans in the market that come with registered agent service.
However, note the Registered Agent service is only free for a year, and will cost your business $119/year afterwards.
Get the Starter Package
Pro Package ($179/year plus state fees)
The Pro Package includes an expedited filing speed, operating agreement, a registered agent service, EIN, and a worry-free compliance guarantee.
The compliance guarantee gives you an annual report plus the option to make two new business amendments every year for free. In addition, ZenBusiness also provides you a banking resolution template.
Get the Pro Package
Premium Package ($299/year plus state fees)
The premium package, which provides the most value, is the most expensive plan at $299 per year. Aside from all the features of the ZenBusiness Pro package, you get rush filing speed and a few extra things that you need for your startup.
This package can also come with a business domain, business website and a business email address package for your business? online presence.
ZenBusiness Premium is basically a wide umbrella that covers it all, so all you need to do is reach out to your customers and start doing business.
Get the Premium Package
What about customer reviews and feedback? is it positive or negative?
Zen Business Customer Reviews & Feedback
Our experience with ZenBusiness was smooth-sailing and hassle-free, but how does it fare when it comes to customer reviews?
In our research of Zen Business reviews online, we?ve found that, like us, there are many people who are satisfied with the experience they?ve had. ZenBusiness has a positive reception among its users, particularly because of the excellent deals (excluding state fee) and the entirely smooth process.
Generally speaking, it looks like ZenBusiness? customers are happy with their services. On Trustpilot, they have got 4.7 stars averagely from over 1,400 reviews.
Customers are also pleased that they experienced far fewer upsells with ZenBusiness compared to other business formation services. This proves that the company is not cutting corners despite the low price point.
ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom
ZenBusiness is only one of the many LLC formation services in the market. So, we have compared its services to another popular LLC formation service ? LegalZoom.
LLC formation services
In our experience and review, the feature-packed plans of Zenbusiness make them the smart choice for the buyer who?s looking for value. The pricing is cheaper than LegalZoom and has more to offer with inclusions that are well-rounded to help entrepreneurs form an LLC. They even offer registered agent service free for a year (it?s $119/year afterward).
LegalZoom?s main advantage over ZenBusiness is brand recognition. Their business services have been used by millions of customers and they?re the most popular LLC formation service around.
However, the plans they offer are more expensive compared to ZenBusiness, although cheaper when LegalZoom is compared to Rocket Lawyer and other competitors.
I recommend ZenBusiness for its more affordable pricing with the same (if not better) offers per package.
ZenBusiness, established only in 2015, may be the new kid in town but their services provide a great deal of convenience and value to their customers, and that?s backed up by many customer reviews as well.
LegalZoom was formed in 1999, and their many years in the business is the main reason why they?re trusted by many. LegalZoom?s LLC services have already reached millions of customers and are also heavily advertised.
If you want to further assess its performance in the industry, see how LegalZoom matches up to Incfile.
LegalZoom has been providing services longer than ZenBusiness, but both have good track records so far.
When it comes to pricing, ZenBusiness blows the competition out of the water. Their plans are competitive, starting only at $49 per year excluding the state fee.
Their standard package already has registered agent services included for a year and also an operating agreement. Without additional features, a registered agent costs $119 in annual pricing. But again, you can get it for free in the first year of your plan.
We?ve found LegalZoom?s plans to bee more complex to understand compared to ZenBusiness. Their LLC business formation packages start at the economy package ($79 excluding state filing fees), which is pricier than ZenBusiness, although cheaper than other services, like Bizfilings (full review here).
The economy plan gets you the organization and filing service within your state and a banking authorization letter to help you open business bank accounts. As for their registered agent service, the cost is pretty high at $299 per year without the additional features.
If you purchase a business formation plan from LegalZoom, you also get a registered agent service for $159 in the first year. Their other fees include the Standard and Express Gold, which cost $329 an $349, respectively. Similar to ZenBusiness, these fees don?t include state filing fees.
So overall, the total price for an LLC formation and a year of registered agent services for ZenBusiness is $49, while Legal Zoom has it priced at $238.
From the price difference alone, it?s clear that compared to LegalZoom, ZenBusiness offers a better deal.
Ease of use
Based on our experience, both LLC business  formation services are efficient and easy to use.
LegalZoom saves your info as you input them, so they can email you the saved answers if you accidentally closed the tab. This is convenient as you won?t have to start over the next time you visit the site.
On the other hand, the edge of ZenBusiness lies on their personalized online dashboard. This becomes the central location for your documents to help you access information anytime during your login online.
The order process is convenient for both ZenBusiness and LegalZoom and everything takes only a few minutes.
As mentioned by many positive customer reviews online, the company responds to every single concern people have about their business.
Their customer support team is reachable in a number of ways: phone, email, and chat. However, I found that the online chat as the best option when asking questions. This customer support service is available during their office hours and replies quickly in order to resolve any problem.
Another interesting fact about ZenBusiness is that they?re also registered as a public benefit corporation (PBC). This means they?re also doing charitable efforts such as lending options for minority-owned businesses and low-income individuals. This goes to show that their customer service really goes beyond the business itself.
We?ve found Legal Zoom?s phone support to be superb because the representatives give accurate responses to questions and concerns.
However, their email support is not very responsive. As such, for people who prefer email correspondence, LegalZoom won?t be much help.
Zenbusiness wins over LegalZoom in terms of customer support based on their responsiveness and variety of support options.
A whopping 97% of ZenBusiness reviews on Trustpilot are positive. Some of the things people are pointing out are the features, customer service, ease of use, and the price.
Despite the incredibly strong brand power, LegalZoom has a shaky reputation among customers. Some say their services are good and some say they?re not.
LegalZoom does enjoy its positive reviews like ZenBusiness, but the ones on Consumer Affairs are about 50/50 in this aspect. As for the Better Business Bureau, which is another review site, the majority of the ratings are negative.
Based on my experience and other actual customer reviews, ZenBusiness gives a better customer experience than LegalZoom.
Forming an LLC can be difficult as the procedures vary from state to state. Fortunately, you can get a service like ZenBusiness to form the LLC entity for you.
For entrepreneurs wanting to build an LLC, ZenBusiness offers everything you need to build your business. Their plans cover a registered agent service, operating agreements, employer ID number, CPA assessment, compliance guarantee, and reliable customer service.
If you?re looking to build a company website and email in the future, the ZenBusiness Premium plan offers that as well.
Compared to Legal Zoom, ZenBusiness offers a lot more features for a lower price. Although Legal Zoom is the more recognizable brand between the two, it does have shortcomings, especially in terms of pricing and performance.
Overall, the value and functions you get from ZenBusiness make it a better and smarter choice.