It’s a good idea to incorporate your business, to make sure you protect your personal assets from any consequences arising from your business deals. Incorporating your business these days is generally a lot easier, especially with online incorporation services that lets you start the process without leaving home.
But of course, it all depends on the online incorporation service you choose. This leads us to this direct comparison between Incorporate.com and ZenBusiness. They’re both rather reputable brands, but in some ways, they’re very different.
Incorporate.com has actually been around far longer than any other incorporation service. ZenBusiness, on the other hand, is relatively newer but it has climbed the very summit of the industry in such a short time.
Which one is better? Let’s compare them directly to find out, focusing on the most important factors.
Brand History and Reputation
Let’s look at how these brands have done over the years.
Incorporate.com is actually the small business division of CSC, which has been around in some form or another for more than 120 years. That’s not a typo—they established themselves way back in 1899! They’re the only 19th-century outfit in the entire history of incorporation services that is still ticking.
Their business goal has always been to serve companies of all sizes, at every phase of their business life cycle. That’s why they help startups and they’ve also assisted up to 90% of all Fortune 500 companies. With more than a century of experience, it’s no surprise that they’ve helped at least 700,000 startups over the years, even before incorporation services came online.
Unfortunately, their reputation isn’t all that sterling with customers. You’ll rarely find customer reviews regarding Incorporate.com, and most of them are complaints about poor services and negative experiences.
In contrast, ZenBusiness is basically a baby in the incorporation service industry compared to Incorporate.com. They only started in 2015, which means they’re not even near the decade mark.
Yet in just a short time, ZenBusiness has quickly carved a stellar reputation for its brand in the industry. You’ll find plenty of glowing customer reviews on ZenBusiness, and they’ve already helped more than 80,000 startups incorporate.
In fact, they’re still growing. They’re adding even more services and hiring more employees. Even in this age of the Covid pandemic, ZenBusiness revenues doubled in 2020. Investor money continues to pour in, with $4.5 million in 2018 and another $15 million in 2019. In 2020, investor confidence was so high in the ZenBusiness brand that they raised another $55 million.
This is a no-contest comparison. True, Incorporate.com is undoubtedly the oldest incorporation service in the industry. It’s also true that must be doing something right to still be alive and kicking after 120 years.
But the poor reviews are very telling. Incorporate.com has to improve and clean up its act, or else it may not last all that long in the future.
ZenBusiness may be new, but it’s even growing in this challenging business environment. Its terrific reputation is well deserved, judging from the glowing customer reviews.
Incorporation Costs and Value for Money
Here’s another area that emphasizes the difference between Incorporate.com and ZenBusiness. Check out the incorporation packages they offer, while keeping in mind that these prices don’t include the state fees. The state fees are additional, and how much more you pay depends on the state you plan to do business in.
Here are the prices for the standard service when forming a corporation:
|Packages||Cost||Features and Services|
|The Essentials||$204||Starter features, plus:
|The Works||$294||The Essentials features, plus:
As you can see, there’s no registered agent service included with the packages. That service will cost you an extra $235. For that money, your package will also give you access to the CSCNavigator online tool. You also get the Annual Report Preparation and Filing service if you opt for The Essentials or The Works.
The $75,000 Corporate Compliance guarantee will pay for your legal fees if any mishandling on Incorporate.com’s part gets you in legal trouble. This is available for all states, except for North Carolina.
Here are the packages from ZenBusiness, and you’ll quickly notice the low prices with the excellent features:
|Package Option||Cost||Features and Services|
|Starter||$49 + state fee||
|Pro||$199 + state fee||Starter package features, plus:
|Premium||$299 + state fee||Pro package features, plus:
Yes, the prices are lower, and you get more for your money. In fact, just the inclusion of the free registered agent service is a big deal. You get that even when you pay just $49 for the Starter package.
Winner: ZenBusiness (hands down)
Incorporate.com had no chance of winning this particular area, not when they don’t offer free registered agent service for any of their packages. That particular feature is very common these days, and it’s become a standard offer. It seems like Incorporate.com has gotten into the modern age just yet.
ZenBusiness simply offers a lot of bang for the buck, and this is one of the main reasons for the brand’s quick ascent in the online incorporation service industry.
Ease of Process
Back in the old days (when CSC was already operating), you have to meet up with the incorporation service professionals to get the process started. Now everything is online. But how easy is it to use these websites?
ZenBusiness skyrocketed to fame not just with their low prices, but also with their intuitive recognition of what their customers want. And that helps explain the design of their website, which is very easy to use. They offer detailed instructions and explanations that you can understand. They also don’t add too many upsell offers to the application process, which makes it easy and quick to complete the form.
You start by picking whether you want to form an LLC or a corporation. You then have your package options laid out nicely, with clear prices and a list of expected features. Choose your package, and then finish things off by adding the required info about your business. That’s it, as ZenBusiness does everything else.
The Incorporate.com website isn’t as intuitive, and we had to check out various web pages for the info we needed. It also doesn’t help that they list certain features that aren’t actually part of the packages. The application process also takes more time, since they have upsell offers inserted into the process. There are actually a lot of upsell offers.
It’s true that the website design is nice and clean, and navigating isn’t all that hard. But it’s not as efficient as the ZenBusiness design, and the upsells in the application process is just a bit annoying.
It’s not that the Incorporate.com website design is all that bad, even though the upsells in the application process should be limited. But the ZenBusiness design is really helpful and easy, which makes it the clear winner in this direct comparison.
How long do you have to wait to get everything done? Admittedly, a lot of this has to do with the efficiency of the state filing office you’re dealing with. It just takes a long time for some states. But it sure doesn’t help when the incorporation service isn’t all that efficient either.
The good news with Incorporate.com is that it’s not really all that popular. So, when you’re relegated at the back of the line, the line isn’t all that long. So, it doesn’t really take you too long for the process to get started and get done. In fact, they tend to file on your behalf basically right away once you’re done with the application form.
They don’t say anything about the completion time until you complete the application order. Who knows why not? Maybe they think it might discourage you to go through the application if you knew how long it will take.
But once you’re done with the application, at least you get the estimated completion time with the standard and with the expedited service. There’s no chance that you’d get things done the same day, but it’s still fairly quick.
ZenBusiness is upfront about how long it will take, and for some states, it can take a really long while. It also doesn’t help that you get set at the back of a very long line, since ZenBusiness is extremely popular. For the standard service, expect a wait of about 3 to 4 weeks.
That gets cut down to just 1 to 2 weeks when you opt for the expedited service. That’s an add-on for the Starter plan, but it’s part of the Pro package. You get ahead of the line and at the back of the line of the expedited service instead.
The rush filing service is the fastest, but you will have to pay an extra $100 for that. That will cut the entire process down to maybe 3 to 5 business days.
The Incorporate.com service is quite professional, so they’re not dallying. They get to filing your documents as quickly as they can. Since they’re not all that popular, they get things done more quickly. It’s also nice that you have a clear idea of how long it will take.
It may take a bit longer with ZenBusiness since they’re so popular. It’s annoying that they have 2 tiers for expediting the process, and it’s quite expensive.
This is one area that’s also not even close. ZenBusiness offers excellent customer support. That’s not quite true with Incorporate.com, and that’s one of the more common complaints in too many customer reviews on them.
There’s a phone line you can contact, you can send an email through a contact form, and a chat message service. We tried to look up what times we can use the phone and chat message, and we couldn’t find the info.
When you do get them over the phone, you at least get some answers. The same goes for chat, with succinct answers to your questions. The best one is with email, as you get even a more detailed response.
With ZenBusiness, you’re getting one of the top customer support services in the industry. They also offer phone, email, and chat services, and they also post info on when you’re able to use them.
With chat, you get customer support from Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 8PP (Central Time). They’re even available on Sundays, from 10AM to 7PM.
You’re also able to call them up on Sundays, during the same time the chat service is available. That’s from 10AM to 7PM. On weekdays, you can call them from 9AM to 7PM.
For both chat and phone, the responses are quick and very informative. For email, the delay isn’t all that long. You’ll usually get a response within a business day. What’s more, you’ll get a more detailed explanation via the email message.
The ZenBusiness customer support is simply terrific. They offer prompt responses and the answers are clear and informative. You know when and how to contact them.
The Incorporate.com customer support is good, but you just don’t know when you’re able to use the phone or chat. The quality of the responses is good, but you get better with ZenBusiness.
ZenBusiness wins. It’s not even close. There are plenty of good reasons why ZenBusiness skyrocketed to the top of the industry, and that’s because, in all of the factors here, they’re very good.
Incorporate.com doesn’t really compare, and it doesn’t even feel like they’re trying. The lack of a registered agent service as part of a package is very telling, and they need to get in with the times.
Just pick ZenBusiness for your online incorporation service, and you’ll be fine!