Plenty of industry experts and customer reviews recommend ZenBusiness for those who wish to establish their own LLC or corporation. Find out if you can afford it, and if you’re getting your money’s worth.
I keep these five factors in mind while rating an online incorporation service
- Reputation of the brand
- Transparency in Pricing
- Customer Support
- Turn around time.
When you try to find out the best incorporation service provider these days, you find that ZenBusiness isn’t really the most popular option. It’s not the oldest brand either. You may find another brand which provide zero cost incorporation service (apart from state fees), while another brand may have the best reputation for customer support. But when you consider all of the above factors, it’s hard to argue with the proposition that if ZenBusiness isn’t the outright best for incorporating your business, then it’s at least among the top 3. In this review, I will discuss different packages of ZenBusiness and its suitability according to various paraments. We will also compare this Texas based ZenBusiness to other popular brands.
Who Should Use It: If you need a basic reliable registered agent service at a great price, ZenBusiness is a good choice.
- Affordable pricing. Plans start from $99/year. Offers free registered agent service with its incorporation service
- Convenient online dashboard for documents
- Offers business formation services
- It is a public benefit corporation.
- BBB accredited (A-) and positive word of mouth on internet communities.
- Does not forward mails.
- No pro-rated refunds.
About ZenBusiness, The Brand
Zenbusiness is an Austin, Texas-based company, founded in 2017 by Ross Buhrdorf. It has raised around $275M investment from VCs till date and is valued over $1B. Its relatively shorter track record compared to its peers is overshadowed by its high private market valuation.
“ZenBusiness is registered as a Delaware public benefit corporation, meaning that we formed our company specifically to provide a benefit to the public in a responsible and sustainable manner, in addition to making a profit. While the official description of the benefit we provide is “to promote entrepreneurship by providing accessible products and responsive support,”
How Trustworthy is ZenBusiness?
BBB – 4.34 out of 5 (167 customer reviews)
BBB accredited business with B+ rating
Trustpilot – 4.7 out of 5 (from 10K+ ratings)
Google- 4.7 out of 5 (400 customer reviews)
Reddit – Neutral to Positive word of mouth. A lot of users recommending to do it yourself and only buy registered agent service.
VC backed business with $1B+ valuation.
ZenBusiness offers 3 packages to pick from to form your own LLC or corporation. If you’re undecided, you can even chat with a ZenBusiness representative so they can help you pick your most suitable option. Note that, all the three packages include Incorporation/LLC formation, free registered agent for one year and free operating agreement. Just keep in mind that the prices quoted here don’t yet include the state fees. Those fees vary depending on the state.
Starter Plan: $39+State Fees
Turnaround time: 12-15 days
Right off, this is an extremely affordable option. Very few of their competitors can better this price, and some of the other top brands may charge you a whole lot more for their basic package.
The ZenBusiness Starter package offers the basic services, plus other services that other brands don’t offer in their more expensive basic incorporation.
- Registered agent services. States generally require corporations and LLCs to keep a Registered Agent. This registered agent’s main function is to receive government and legal documents for you at their physical address during business hours. (You get these services free for a year, and then you can continue to receive these services for $119 a year.)
- Prepare and file LLC or corporation. Either way, you’re able to protect your personal assets from any business disasters in the future (you never know). You just have to specify first if you’re forming an LLC or a corporation.
- Name availability search. This makes sure that your proposed corporation name isn’t already in use.
- Customer support. You can contact ZenBusiness using the phone, the chat service, or through email.
- Online document service. You’re able to view and print the documents your business receives in your personal ZenBusiness dashboard. This dashboard also tracks the progress of your formation filing, and it lets you add extra services easily and easily.
- Special credit card offer. ZenBusiness lets you use Divvy so you can get a business credit card, which is separate from your personal business card.
- Statement of Organizer. This is basically a document that ZenBusiness prepares for you after the formation process. Sometimes banks will require this document before you’re able to open a business bank account with them.
- Free accounting consultation. ZenBusiness has licensed CPAs that can do a quick assessment of your accounting, bookkeeping, and tax needs. They can then offer advice, helpful resources, and no-obligations recommendations to help you out.
- Virtual business guide. These are the helpful tools you might need to run a business online. The guide offers online marketing tips and advice on how to boost your productivity.
- Operating agreement or bylaws. These documents basically set the rules for operating and owning the business. ZenBusiness helps you to set your operating agreement or corporate bylaws properly.
- Google ads credit. ZenBusiness will match whatever you spend on Google Ads for the first month (up to $150).
Should I choose starter plan?
If you are a small business or start-up in a tight budget, this package might be suitable for you. Note that, you would have to pay extra get EIN though you can always get EIN yourself from IRS website.
You’re offered add-on features along the way, but some of these features can be added only with the more expensive packages.
Pro Plan: $149+ State Fees
Turnaround time: 7-11 days
ZenBusiness says this is their most popular plan. The package includes every feature in the Starter plan, plus the following:
- Expedited filing speed. You cut the queue and get it done faster than the standard filing speed in the Starter package. This would’ve cost you $50 if you wanted this extra service as part of the Starter package as an add-on.
- Banking resolution template. ZenBusiness helps you to form this document right away. It authorizes your business bank account opening and specifies who can sign for it at the bank. As an add-on, this costs $30.
- Employee ID number. This is your EIN or tax ID number, which is basically your company’s Social Security number. It’s absolutely required for a corporation or an LLC, or even just a partnership. This normally costs $70 as an extra service.
- Worry-free compliance. ZenBusiness handles your annual report filing, and can also handle 2 amendments to your formation documents per year. They’ll also send you updates and deadline alerts to make sure you don’t end up paying a state fine for missing a deadline. You can obtain these services with your Starter package for an extra $110 per year.
If you tacked on these 4 features as add-ons to your Starter Package, you’d pay an additional $260. The Pro plan is cheaper, as you just pay an extra $110 to upgrade your Starter plan.
Should I choose Pro plan?
If you are a mid sized business or do not mind to pay extra $100 for expediated processing, EIN filing and worry for compliance, pro plan is most suitable for you.
Premium Plan: $249+State Fees
Turnaround time: 4-6 days
You also get all the features offered in the Pro plan. This time, you pay $100 more for website and email services that 3rd-party companies offer in partnership with ZenBusiness.
- Business website. It costs $50 a year as an add-on.
- Business domain name. Separately, this costs $15-25 a year.
- Domain name privacy. You might be able to get this elsewhere for $10 a year. You can get this free on Namecheap or Dynadot.
- Business email address. This normally costs $25 a year.
Perhaps the main advantage here is that it also puts you near the head of the line, which accelerates the filing speed. This “rush” filing speed normally costs $100. If you’re getting this add-on as part of the Pro plan, you may as well upgrade to the Premium plan and get the website and email add-ons as well.
Should I choose Premium plan?
This plan is most suitable for businesses which do not mind paying extra for ultra fast turn around. We would not recommend to choose this plan for website and email services as you are better off by buying these services separately from reputed service providers.
You can buy following add-ons individually
- Annual Report Filing- $100 + state fees
- New York Publication- $200 + publication cost
- Filing Amendment- $100 + state fees
- Certificate of Good Standing- $100 + state fees
- Business License Report- $99
- Business Document Templates Library- $99
- Business Bank Account- $110 yearly
You can opt for following add-ons at checkout as an upgrade.
- Worry-free Compliance- $119 yearly
- Employer ID Number- $99
- Banking Resolution Template- $30
- Expedite Filing Speed- $50
- Rush Filing Speed- $100
- Business Website- $100 yearly
- Business Domain Name- $25 yearly
How Does ZenBusiness Perform?
Let’s take a closer look at what ZenBusiness really offers when you require their incorporation services. We’ve broken down the most crucial considerations and checked out how well ZenBusiness performed in each of these factors.
Pricing and Bang for the Buck
The prices, in general, can really fit a tight budget and offer a lot of value in return. This is especially true with the Starter package, which conveniently includes the required registered agent services. This plan only costs $39, and it really offers a lot. The services to cost ratio here is simply outstanding, and perhaps no other plan from any other brand can give you this level of bang for the buck.
Keep in mind that some other brands, including even the most popular ones, may not offer registered agent services at all as part of the package. One brand even charges $299 a year for their optional registered agent services.
The Pro plan is great as well if you have a bigger formation budget and you really want the more advanced features. The Premium plan is perhaps the weakest offer of the bunch, as it doesn’t really add much to the set of services while you’re paying a whole lot more.
History and Popularity
Lots of people first consider a brand’s history, regardless of the type of consumer item or service they want to get. Often, the longevity of a brand speaks to its consistently excellent offerings. After all, the brand wouldn’t have lasted this long if it wasn’t good.
In a similar vein, consumers also take a brand’s popularity into account. It’s often believed that something isn’t popular if it isn’t good. That may not be true for pop music (with the unfortunate popularity of boy bands over the years), but in most cases, it’s often true.
ZenBusiness is relatively new, so it doesn’t quite have the long track record of other brands. Though it’s a US company (which is a good thing for most people), it was only started recently in 2015. Some of the other brands started much earlier, being formed in the late 1990s.
Also, they don’t have as many customers as the older brands. They estimate that they will be able to form their one-millionth business by 2025 or so. In comparison, other brands have already reached that benchmark. One of the oldest brands has even served more than 4 million customers so far.
Yet, even in the few short years that ZenBusiness has existed, they’ve managed to receive more than 3,000 online reviews. The vast majority of these reviews heaps lots of praises for the brand, so you know that ZenBusiness comes highly recommended. We’re not the only ones who say they offer the absolute best value for your money.
ZenBusiness managed to offer a lot of high-quality services for really low prices by using modern technology. They use a lot of automation for many of their services, which really drives the cost down.
It’s a safe bet that in the next few years, ZenBusiness will be regarded as the best and it will gain a lot more customers.
Quality of Customer Support
ZenBusiness excels in this area as well. While they can’t claim the be the absolute best in incorporation service customer support, they’re probably among the best.
It helps that they offer customer service via the phone, chat, and email. Most of their competitors only offer phone and email customer support.
- You can use the chat service during weekdays from 8 AM to 8 PM (Central Time), and also on Sundays from 10 AM to 7 PM.
- For phone calls, you can make your call during weekdays from 9 AM to 7 PM (Central Time), and also on Sundays from 10 AM to 7 PM.
- Or you can send them an email, and they promise to reply within a business day.
They’re very timely with their responses, so you don’t have to wait too long to get someone to help. For chat and phone calls, you’ll never have to wait for longer than a few minutes before someone knowledgeable gets to help you.
They also answer your emails within a single business day every time. Send them an email in the morning, and usually, you won’t even have to wait for the next day to get your answer.
In addition, you’ll also appreciate the accuracy and helpfulness of the answers you get. The people you reach really know their stuff, so they can answer all your questions.
How Easy Is It to Place an Order?
With ZenBusiness, it’s very easy. Everything’s laid out nicely, so you don’t have to bother customer support for questions about the website process. You can limit your questions to those about the formation of the business instead.
You start with the formation service order form. These come with instructions that you can easily understand, so you only need a few minutes to complete the form. Basically, you’re asked whether you’re forming an LLC or a corporation, and then you get to pick which package you want. Then you enter some basic information about your business, and your part of the process is done. ZenBusiness handles the rest of the process.
True, along the way you’ll encounter upsell offers and third-party services. These are offered discreetly, and not obnoxiously at all. In contrast, one popular alternative brand even offers you the add-ons while requiring you to enter your info, before you get to see how much you’ll end up paying.
With ZenBusiness, everything’s much faster, a lot easier, and certainly less annoying.
How long does ZenBusiness take to process?
The standard filing time (which you get with the Starter plan) takes about 3 to 4 weeks. With the “expedited” process, that’s reduced to 1 or 2 weeks. The best is the “rush” option, which really speeds up the process to just 3 to 5 business days.
Just keep in mind that these estimates are generic since it also depends on the efficiency of your state government department handling business formation. But you can call customer support, and they can tell you how long it will really take based on their experience with your state.
All in all, it’s fairly good. It’s great if you want the option to jump to the head of the line, although you may want to consider if that’s worth adding an extra $100 to the cost. But even if you stick to the standard processing package, ZenBusiness is quite efficient.
Does Zenbusiness sell your information?
Vermont Disclosures. If your ZenBusiness Money account has a Vermont mailing address, we will not share personal information we collect about you with non-affiliates unless the law so allows or you provide authorization
How many customers does ZenBusiness have?
More than 300K+.
How much does ZenBusiness cost per year?
$39/mo for Starter Plan, $149/year for pro plan and $249/year for premium plan.
Is ZenBusiness credible?
Yes, It is a trustworthy and legitimate VC backed business and has registered over 300K+ business with good customer ratings.
How do I cancel my ZenBusiness account?
There are no penalties for canceling your account. 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.
What is Zenbusiness’s refund policy?
They offer 60 days money back guarantee after deducting for state fees and third party charges.
Northwest registered Agent and Incfile are two decent alternatives of Zenbusiness. You can check the comparison here and here.
So, is ZenBusiness the best brand you can go with if you need incorporation services? While the answer for you depends on you and your particular preferences and situations, the short answer is yes. For most people, it really is the best deal for incorporation.
They do really well in all the major areas of contention. But what they excel in is in providing you with a lot of top-notch incorporation services for a relatively low price. That Starter package is first-rate and offers the greatest bang for the buck. The Pro plan is terrific as well, especially if you require more advanced incorporation features.
When you’re launching and incorporating your own business, you want to make sure that you use your capital wisely. This is certainly a smart way of spending your incorporation service budget. ZenBusiness will get it right, and you won’t have to pay dearly for the privilege. They may not be as popular as other brands right now, but they will be if they continue with this level of service.
6 thoughts on “ZenBusiness Review : Is It Really the Best?”
Don’t make the mistake of registering all by yourself if you want to raise money. You are more likely to run into problems down the road if you use “stock” LLC documents, such as content linked from Zenbusiness or copied from the web. Are you starting a simple LLC that you won’t ever take on any equity partners or investors? It probably won’t be an issue. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with complex matters, your stock documents might prove either insufficient or detrimental to your objectives. Doing the filing of the documents for incorporation, but not making them fit your unique situation, is essentially sacrificing the opportunity to write your own rules. Yes, it’s true that you’re subject to a ton of rules and regulations, but the latitude granted to companies in their operating documents is tremendous.
Incompetent. Run away! They lied to me several times, they went with the wrong name with the state, they failed to respond to the state at the time and they failed to respond to me at the time, they wasted so much time and eventually I had to pay more money and time than was necessary. Take a look at legalzoom or direct incorporation.
When I started my first company, I wanted it to be “done right,” so I hired an attorney I trusted (I’d previously used him). He persuaded me to give him a third of the company in exchange for the legal work, and instead of an LLC he took me under a S-corporation. Having broken his promises, we embarked on our own journey, and several years later after getting angel investors, he showed up again to demand his share in the business. As much as I should have sued him immediately, that would have wrecked the funding, so he got a smaller share, but installed his son on the board. This is the stuff of nightmares. Since then, I’ve always gone to ZenBusiness to start my companies. It takes me only 15 minutes and about $130 later to get my business going.
I accidentally bought an additional service when I signed up for their service. After I contacted them, they refunded my money immediately. The fact that they care about their customers shows that their company operates ethically.
Jenna was very helpful and knowledgeable when I needed to amend my contract. Throughout the process, she walked me through confidently and patiently, told me when the State could finish up the filing, and encouraged me to reach out if I needed anything. Overall I would recommend Zenbusiness!
Your upselling methods are tiresome and time-consuming. Increasing the price of an Operating Agreement by $50 is not just repulsive; it demonstrates that you’d rather take full advantage of your clients than provide a viable service with customer service advantages.