ZenBusiness vs. Direct Incorporation : What should you Choose?

The chance of making a good profit is what tempts people into running a small business. But there’s also the risk that their business activities may well cause them to lose their personal bank account or even their house. Employees and customers may sue you for damages, and your business assets may not be enough to cover your liabilities. Even creditors may take your home to cover your debts. That’s why incorporating is so crucial, as it helps to protect your personal assets in such cases. 

Incorporating your small business can be a hassle, but it’s a much simpler issue to just have a professional outfit do it for you. Today, all you need to do is to go to a website, place your incorporation order, and have it done for you within a few weeks. Of course, you do need to make sure you’re working with the right online incorporation service. 

Which one is better for you? ZenBusiness or Direct Incorporation? You can find the answer for yourself in this head-to-head faceoff. 

The Incorporation Packages

Here are your incorporation options from the 2 brands:

ZenBusiness (Full Review) Direct Incorporation
Starter: $49

  • Registered agent services 
  • Prepare and file LLC or corporation 
  • Name availability search 
  • Online document service. You’re able to view and print the documents your business receives in your personal ZenBusiness dashboard. 
  • Special credit card offer from Divvy
  • Statement of Organizer 
  • Free accounting consultation 
  • Virtual business guide 
  • Operating agreement or bylaws 
  • Google ads credit. ZenBusiness will match whatever you spend on Google Ads for the first month (up to $150). 
Standard: $147

  • Preparing and filing incorporation documents with the state 
  • Online document storage
  • Name availability search
  • Registered agent service for 6 months
  • Articles of incorporation or organization
  • S-Corp Election Prep for S-Corps
  • EIN
  • Domain name 
Pro: $199

This includes all the Starter services, plus:

  • Expedited filing speed
  • Banking resolution template
  • Employer ID number
  • Worry-free compliance 
Premiere: $297

All the Standard features, plus: 

  • Customized Corporate Records Binder
  • 20 Stock/Membership Certificates
  • Stock transfer ledger
  • Corporate Bylaws (for corporations)
  • Operating Agreement (for LLCs)
  • Embossed Corporate or LLC seal with your company name
  • Corporate Suite: Contains corporate documents, minutes, resolutions, and guides
  • Attorney-drafted sample forms: confidentiality agreement, contract with an independent contractor, covenant not to compete, NDA, the offer of employment, etc.
Premium: $299

You get all the Pro services, plus:

  • Rush filing speed
  • Business website
  • Busines domain name
  • Domain name privacy
  • Business email address
Elite: $429

All the Premiere features, plus:

  • Stock logo
  • DIY website
  • 5 email accounts 
  Venture: $873

All the Elite features, plus:

  • Custom logo
  • Pro website
  • Trademark service
  • Executive club (including Business Compliance Program and advice on tax, accounting, and marketing)
  Venture Plus: $1,495

All the Venture features, plus:

  • 2nd trademark or copyright service
  • US business address (including a physical office address in Michigan)
  • Organizational meeting live support
  • Annual meeting live support

ZenBusiness’s Official Website

 

It seems clear that these 2 brands are very different when it comes to their prices, services, and overall focus. That makes it much easier for you to choose between them. 

With ZenBusiness, the Starter package is an astonishing offer. You get so much for so little money! You get the basic incorporation service, help with your documents, and other bonuses that get your small business running. All for the measly price of $49. 

More importantly, you also get the registered agent services for an entire year included. For the second year and thereafter, you’ll have to pay $99 a year for these services. 

Basically, with ZenBusiness you can get everything you need when it comes to incorporating, and you won’t have to pay through the nose. In contrast, Direct Incorporation is all about helping you get your corporation started. Incorporating is just one step in that process, which is why they offer so many services to help get started. 

Of course, they offer a lot when it comes to the incorporation process. These services include helping to create all those crucial documents you’ll need to get your business going. But you also get website help, and assistance with logos too. 

These Direct Incorporation packages tend to be more expensive, but then again you get more features as well. As long as you remember that it’s not just about incorporation, then you’re getting a lot for your money. 

What all this means is that if all you’re interested in is incorporation, then ZenBusiness offers a better deal. That free registered agent service for an entire year is a great bonus, especially at just $49. There’s nothing that beats that deal in the entire industry. 

If you’re more interested in getting all the works to get your business started, then Direct Incorporation offers more levels of assistance. They simply have the features that ZenBusiness, or even other outfits, don’t offer. 

However, one of the key features missing in the Direct Incorporation lineup of services is the publication service. This is a requirement in some states, when you’re required to publish the news of the formation of your corporation or LLC in a local newspaper. 

Nebraska and Arizona require this for LLCs and corporations. It’s a requirement only for corporations in Georgia and Pennsylvania. It’s only required for LLCs in New York. 

There’s no mention of this service in the Direct Incorporation website. That means if you go with Direct Incorporation, you’d have to go to a third-party outfit to get this done for you. But ZenBusiness offers this publication service for $200, which is a reasonable fee for the service. 

 

Incorporation Track Record and History

This is important, because you really don’t want to go with an incorporation service that has just sprung up recently. How will you know that they’re capable of filing your incorporation documents with the state? You can’t even be sure they’ll get anything done. What you need is a solid track record with lots of positive online customer reviews to reassure you. 

ZenBusiness is fairly new, but they’ve been in the industry since 2015. Since then, their rise in the industry has been meteoric. It does help that it’s a US brand, and that they sure offer low prices for lots of services. They do have plenty of customers already, and they’re projected to serve their 1-millionth customer by 2025. Plenty of industry experts believe that they will be a lot more popular in the future. 

The brand already has thousands of customer reviews online, and the vast majority of these reviews offer a lot of praise. Most of them remark on the exceptional value they got for their money.

Direct Incorporation is actually much older, as it started out way back in 2003. They’re among the oldest names in the industry, and they’ve already helped out more than 80,000 customers over the years. 

That’s doesn’t really match the other older brands, as a few of those brands have already gone more than 1 million customers. One outfit has even served more than 4 million customers already. Direct Incorporation has probably served fewer customers than ZenBusiness. 

But with these prices, it’s probably not surprising that they only serve about 5,000 customers a year. that’s about 100 customers a week, or 20 a day. 

They don’t have as many customer reviews online, and you may find only about 50 or so of these reviews after an extensive search. You’ll find more positive reviews than negative ones, but you still get a rather sizable number of complaints. After all, the prices are higher and so are some expectations. 

Direct Incorporation’s Official Website

 

How Easy Is It to Use the Website?

This is a crucial factor to consider since you don’t really want a complicated website with lots of unclear directions and confusing explanations. Fortunately, both websites offer simple processes with their straightforward websites. 

ZenBusiness offers you their 3 packages side by side, so you can make easy comparisons between them by checking out the features for each. You get clear explanations for the services offered, and the prices for add-ons are also stated right out. There are no nasty surprises afterward. 

Direct Incorporation is even easier to use. The website has pages where they have all the packages and features listed, and you can just click on a feature to get a more in-depth explanation for each feature. This is great since they sure have a lot more services to offer. Their FAQs section is also very informative. They don’t even bother you too much with upsell offers, as you can just pick the package and the features you want. 

All in all, these 2 outfits offer the same level of simplicity. You won’t have trouble with any of these websites. Maybe Direct Incorporation has a slight edge, though. They offer more features, but you may be able to finish the order form in just 15 minutes or so. 

Customer Support

You may still have questions during the incorporation process, or perhaps you need advice on which features to go for. That means you have to contact customer support. 

The ZenBusiness customer support is excellent, starting with how you can contact the agents via phone, email, or chat. They respond quickly enough, and they’re quite friendly while they offer clear explanations and complete answers. This is one of the strengths of ZenBusiness, as very few outfits can match the quality of their customer support. 

You can call them on weekdays from 9AM to 7PM Central Time. You can even call them on Sundays, from 10AM to 7PM. If you send them an email, you will get your reply within a business day. The chat service is available 8AM to 8PM Central Time, and also on Sundays from 10AM to 7PM. 

But the Direct Incorporation customer support is just as good, and perhaps even a tad better. They don’t offer chat support, but over the phone and email, they’re very responsive and extremely helpful. In addition, you even have a page on the website listing the direct line and email address of each employee. That way, you can talk to the same agent when you have follow-up questions. 

Completion Speed

ZenBusiness is able to offer lower rates for their services because they use a lot of automation in their incorporation service. As a consequence, things can go a lot faster. But they still have plenty of customers to serve per day, and the filing may not start that same day you complete your order. That’s because you’re placed at the end of the line. 

You may have to wait for about 3 to 4 weeks before the entire incorporation process is finished. A lot of it depends on the state you’re filing in. 

But you can opt for the expedited service, so you can cut in the line ahead of those who opted for the standard filing speed. This will cost you an extra $50, and your waiting time is shortened to just 1 to 2 weeks. If you’re really in a hurry, you can even opt for the rush service, which costs $100. Then the whole process gets done in just 3 to 5 business days. 

With Direct Incorporation, you actually have a webpage displaying the estimated completion time for each state. They also offer expedited service, which can really cut down on the waiting time. For example, in Delaware, you may have to wait 20 business days to get everything done. But if you expedite the process, you may only have to wait a single business day! 

 

Conclusion

All in all, these 2 brands present terrific offers. ZenBusiness is perhaps your better choice if you have a more limited budget, and you’re only interested in the basic incorporation features. Your $49 still gets you the needed registered agent services for an entire year. 

But if you want the complete works so that you can really get your business started, it’s hard to top Direct Incorporation. They offer quick service, excellent customer support, and a website that’s easy to use. The prices are a bit higher, but then you’re able to pick from a long list of services.

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