April 15, 2024

ZenBusiness Review

Read more about ZenBusiness
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ZenBusiness is an online formation company that helps start your LLC at a low price. Find out if it's right for your business in this review. Get a special LLC offer.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Free LLC formation
  • More services
  • Excellent support
  • Aggressive upsells
  • Pricey extras

Bottom Line

Affordable LLC service for small businesses

Starting at $0 + state fees, ZenBusiness can start your LLC or corporation anywhere in the country with minimal fuss.

But they're not the only company that offers free LLC formation services. Whether they're the right fit for your company depends on what you're looking for.

Read on to find out more about ZenBusiness and its offers so you can decide if they're the best option for you.

What Is ZenBusiness?

ZenBusiness is a Texas-based business formation service that helps business owners start an LLC or corporation at a low cost. Founded in 2015, its goal is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed and thrive, regardless of industry or background.

Aside from business formation, ZenBusiness also has a wide range of other services. Registered agent services, EIN application assistance, and more add-on services can make running and managing your company easier.

Once your business is formed, ZenBusiness can handle your compliance requirements so your company doesn't lose its good standing with the state.

Is ZenBusiness legit?
Yes, ZenBusiness is legit. It has helped over 500,000 businesses throughout the years and received mostly positive reviews from customers. ZenBusiness is also BBB-accredited and has an "A+" rating.[1]

Who Should Use ZenBusiness?

ZenBusiness is best for small business owners who want simple yet efficient business formation services at an affordable price. With the Starter plan, you only have to pay for the state filing fees to form your LLC or corporation.

New or aspiring entrepreneurs will also benefit from the company's extensive online resources and small business support.

However, ZenBusiness might not be the best choice if you're trying to save every penny you can but want all the features needed for an LLC. For example, its registered agent services cost extra even if you upgrade to a paid plan.

Is ZenBusiness worth it?
ZenBusiness is worth it if you just need basic LLC formation from a reputable company. But you'll have to pay extra for other features, like a registered agent, an EIN, or an operating agreement.

What's your main reason for considering a formation company like ZenBusiness for starting your LLC?

Why Choose ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness is one of the country's best LLC services. They're considered on the same level as industry veterans like Northwest Registered Agent, LegalZoom, and Bizee (formerly Incfile).

Here are some of Zenbusiness' benefits:

  • Free business formation in every state
    ZenBusiness can start your business entity in any state for free. You just have to pay the state fees. It's a convenient way to formalize your business structure without worrying about your budget.

  • Wide selection of other services
    From registered agents to bookkeeping, ZenBusiness has add-on services to cover your company's needs. It even has Worry-Free Compliance services to help your business stay on top of its annual requirements.

  • Excellent customer support
    ZenBusiness has a solid track record when it comes to customer service quality. This is supported by the many positive online reviews it's received over the years. Its customer service is known for quick response. You don't have to wait long for an update.

    ZenBusiness has an average score of 4.7/5 on Trustpilot and A+ BBB rating.[2][1]

  • Accuracy and money-back guarantees
    ZenBusiness strives to make sure that all of your paperwork's information is correct and accurate before submitting it to the state. In case of mistakes, they'll be resolved ASAP at no additional cost.

    If you're not satisfied with how ZenBusiness handled your order, take advantage of its money-back guarantee. You can request a full refund within 60 days (minus state fees and third-party processing fees).

  • Free resources and other small business support
    As a public benefit corporation (PBC), ZenBusiness is committed to creating a positive social impact. You can get plenty of online resources from its website for free.

    Moreover, ZenBusiness has many small business programs designed to support different types of entrepreneurs, like grants, small business loans, and more.

Is ZenBusiness good for an LLC?
ZenBusiness is a good choice if you want to start an LLC at no additional cost. With the Starter plan, you only have to pay for the state fees.

What feature of ZenBusiness matters most to you?

Why Look Elsewhere

ZenBusiness has a lot to offer beyond free LLC formation. But it's not without its downsides. Here are the main ones:

  • Costs can pile up quickly
    The basic formation package might be free, but you still have to pay extra for other LLC requirements. The more services you need, the more expensive it gets.

  • Agressive upsells
    ZenBusiness can be quite pushy with the upsells during checkout. Double-check everything before finalizing your order so you don't end up paying for services you didn't intend to get.

Does ZenBusiness have hidden fees?
ZenBusiness doesn't have hidden fees. But the pushy upselling can sometimes result in customers accidentally signing up for services they didn't want.

ZenBusiness Plans and Pricing

ZenBusiness has three formation packages to choose from.[3] Here's what you get with each one:

  1. Starter: $0 + state fees
    Starter is ZenBusiness' free formation plan. It's the easiest and cheapest way to start an LLC with ZenBusiness.

    With Starter, you get standard formation features, like:

    • Business name search
    • Preparation and filing of formation documents
    • Phone and email support
    • 100% accuracy guarantee
    • Online account for order tracking and document access

    The Starter plan also comes with a free year of Worry-Free Compliance services, a free tax savings consultation, and an exclusive offer from Bank of America.

    If you choose the Starter package, ZenBusiness will file your paperwork within 2 to 3 weeks. However, the actual time it takes to process your application will still depend on the state's average.

    If you want quicker turnaround times or additional features, consider upgrading to a paid plan.

    Is ZenBusiness really free?
    ZenBusiness' free services only mean they don't charge you a processing fee to start your LLC. You still have to pay for the state filing fees and any add-on services you get.

  2. Pro: $199/yr + state fees
    Pro is ZenBusiness' mid-tier plan. It charges a recurring annual fee on top of the state fees. It's an ideal option if you want ZenBusiness to handle most of your LLC's requirements without paying for each one separately.

    With Pro, you get everything in Starter plus the following:

    If you choose the Pro package, ZenBusiness will file your paperwork with the state within 1 to 5 business days.

  3. Premium: $349/yr + state fees
    Premium is ZenBusiness' most expensive plan. Like Pro, you're charged a recurring annual fee instead of a one-time payment.

    With Premium, you get everything in the first two plans, plus the following:

    • Unlimited access to Zenbusiness' business template library
    • A website builder
    • A domain name with domain privacy
    • A business email address

    The Premium package is the best option if you want everything your business might need, not just LLC formation.

How long does it take ZenBusiness to form my LLC?
ZenBusiness will file your LLC application within 2 to 3 weeks if you choose Starter. If you upgrade to Pro or Premium, it'll be within 1 to 5 business days. You can also opt for expedited filing for an extra $79. Just remember that the actual processing time will still depend on the state.

ZenBusiness Add-On Services

You can get additional services if the features in ZenBusiness' existing packages aren't enough or if you want a more personalized plan.

Here are some of the add-ons you can get:

  • Registered agent services: $199/yr
    Most states require LLCs and corporations to appoint a registered agent. For an annual fee, ZenBusiness can act as your registered agent and receive all your company's incoming legal mail.

  • Worry-Free Compliance: $199/yr
    ZenBusiness will remind you of upcoming compliance deadlines so you don't miss any of them. Paperwork will be filed on your behalf, including up to two business amendments per year. You can opt to file annual reports and amendments separately for $100 + state fees per service.

  • Expedited filing: $79
    This is already included in Zenbusiness' paid plans, but you can still get it as a paid add-on with the Starter plan. Keep in mind that how quickly your LLC or corporation is formed will still depend on how fast the state processes your application.

  • Operating agreement: $125
    An LLC operating agreement details how your company will operate and reinforces its liability protection. Some states, like California, also require LLCs to have a written operating agreement.[4] ZenBusiness can draft yours for an extra fee.

  • Employer identification number (EIN): $99
    Even if you're not hiring employees, you need to get an EIN for your LLC or corporation. It's mainly used for tax purposes, but you also need it to open a business bank account, apply for additional funding, and more.

  • Business license report: $99
    Depending on your location, industry, and business activities, you might need to get additional licenses or permits to operate legally. ZenBusiness can look up the ones your business needs and generate a comprehensive report.

  • New York publication: $200 + state & publication fees
    New York is one of the few states that has a publication requirement. You need to announce your LLC's formation in local newspapers to remain compliant.[5]

    ZenBusiness will help you meet this requirement by handling the entire process after your LLC is approved. This includes submitting your Certificate of Publication to the New York Department of State.

  • Certificate of Good Standing: $100 + state fees
    You may need a Certificate of Good Standing to prove your business is operating legally and has a good track record with the government. ZenBusiness can do the legwork to secure yours, like verifying if your company has complied with the state's requirements.

  • Business document templates: $99
    ZenBusiness has a large library of templates for business documents, like contracts, waivers, and agreements. You can customize them to fit your company's needs. Unlimited access to the template library is already included in the Premium plan. But you can get it as an add-on.

ZenBusiness' additional services include creating a business website, complete with a domain name and business email address. And it has services that help keep your business and personal finances separate — a critical requirement for LLCs.

ZenBusiness has a service called "ZenBusiness Money Pro".
This helps keep track of and organize your LLC's financial records. It usually offers a 1-month free trial, you can check it out before committing to a monthly subscription.

How to Get Started with ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness makes getting started easy with a user-friendly platform and a guided step-by-step ordering process.

To hire ZenBusiness for your LLC, just pick one of the formation packages. Then, you'll be directed to the order page, where you'll input information about your business, such as your business name, state of formation, industry, and more.

ZenBusiness will also inform you about different LLC requirements, like registered agents, and suggest add-on services as you go on.

After you provide all the required information, review and finalize everything before paying. If you're getting the free LLC package and don't want to pay add-ons, the total bill should be equal to the state fees.

How do I cancel my ZenBusiness account?
To cancel your ZenBusiness account, you need to email them at support@zenbusiness.com. Or call their hotline at 1-844-493-6249.

How ZenBusiness Compares

ZenBusiness is a solid choice for most business owners, but it's not the only LLC service around.

Here's how ZenBusiness compares against its top competitors:

Have you used an online LLC formation service? If yes, how was your experience?

ZenBusiness vs. Northwest Registered Agent

Why ZenBusinessWhy Northwest Registered Agent
Lower pricesBetter value for money
Free LLC formationFaster filing times
More business servicesExcellent privacy protection

ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent are reputable companies known for their reliable and efficient formation services. They also offer excellent customer support and are available in all 50 states.

However, ZenBusiness has lower prices overall, including a free LLC formation package. It also has more business services than Northwest, so you have more options to choose from.

On the other hand, Northwest Registered Agent has the advantage when it comes to data privacy. It uses its business address on all public forms, keeping yours private. Northwest also has quicker turnaround times than ZenBusiness.

ZenBusiness vs. Bizee (formerly Incfile)

Why ZenBusinessWhy Bizee
Great customer supportFaster filing times
More flexible refund policyFree registered agent on the 1st year
Small business supportBetter value for money

ZenBusiness and Bizee are more similar because both offer free LLC formation services. They also have a wide selection of business services with free online resources.

However, ZenBusiness is better when it comes to customer support because of its quick response times. Its refund policy is also more flexible, allowing customers to request full refunds within 60 days with no additional fee.[6]

Bizee, on the other hand, offers more value for money by including a free year of registered agent services in every plan. It also has faster turnaround times, usually submitting the paperwork to the state within one business day.

ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom

Why ZenBusinessWhy LegalZoom
Great customer supportBusiness and personal legal assistance
Lower prices overallFormation for other entity types
Small business supportMore legal services

LegalZoom and ZenBusiness offer free LLC formation, reliable services, and competitive money-back guarantees. Both also have a wide selection of business services to choose from.

ZenBusiness' main advantage over LegalZoom is its customer support. It has extended hours and multiple channels for communication. ZenBusiness also has lower prices overall for its paid services.

However, LegalZoom has better support for both personal and business legal concerns. It can also form other business entities besides LLCs and corporations.

Which one is better, ZenBusiness or LegalZoom?
If you only need basic LLC formation with excellent customer support and affordable prices, ZenBusiness is your best bet. But if you need more hands-on legal assistance, LegalZoom is the better option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to pay ZenBusiness every year?
You have to pay ZenBusiness every year if you get a paid package or other services with recurring charges, like its Worry-Free Compliance or registered agent services.

What is ZenBusiness' refund policy?
ZenBusiness has a 60-day money-back guarantee. You can request a full refund (minus state fees and third-party processing fees) within 60 days if you're not satisfied with its services.

How much does it cost to form an LLC with ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness can start your LLC for free with the Starter plan. Just pay for the state filing fees. If you choose Pro or Premium, you have to pay an annual fee of $199/yr or $349/yr respectively, plus the state fees.

Is ZenBusiness easy to use?
Yes, ZenBusiness is generally easy to use. Its user-friendly platform is easy to navigate, so you can easily find what you need.

Bottom Line

ZenBusiness makes LLC formation easier and more accessible to business owners, especially those on a tight budget. Its extensive library of free resources is also great for new entrepreneurs who are still learning the ropes.

The main downside is there's an extra charge for LLC essentials, like registered agents, which competitors like Bizee (formerly Incfile) already include for one year. So it can get expensive quickly, especially the more services you need.

But overall, ZenBusiness is still a solid option if you want to start an LLC in your state without breaking the bank.

References

  1. ^ BBB. ZenBusiness Inc., Retrieved 01/25/2024
  2. ^ Trustpilot. ZenBusiness, Retrieved 01/25/2024
  3. ^ ZenBusiness. Compare LLC Packages, Retrieved 01/25/2024
  4. ^ California Secretary of State. Starting a Business - Entity Types, Retrieved 03/08/2024
  5. ^ New York Department of State. Certificate of Publication for Domestic Limited Liability Company, Retrieved 03/08/2024
  6. ^ ZenBusiness. Terms of Use, 01/27/2024
ZenBusiness

Starter - $0 + State Filing Fees

  • Includes 1 optional free year of Worry-Free Compliance that renews at $199/year
  • Standard filing speed
  • 100% accuracy guaranteed
  • Other services are available with additional costs
LegalZoom

Form Your LLC at $0 + State Filing Fees

Form your business at $0, just pay the state filing fees, with the Basic package. The Basic package includes:
  • Articles of organization
  • Name check service
  • Digital welcome packet
  • Customizable website
Northwest Registered Agent

Business Formation Service - $39 + State Fees

  • Form Your LLC, Corporation, or Nonprofit Today
  • A Fully-Formed Business
  • Registered Agent Service
  • Business Address
  • Mail Forwarding
  • Privacy by Default

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