ZenBusiness Review: The Good and Bad in 2022
For business owners, the idea of incorporating your business is an enticing prospect due to the many benefits it can bring. However, tackling this challenge by yourself can quickly become an issue because of the intricacies involved in the process. Using an online business formation service like ZenBusiness can take away many of these pain points.
ZenBusiness offers various business formation services needed by entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking to form an LLC or corporation. Essentially, the site enables you to form a state-recognized limited liability company (LLC) in just a few clicks.
In this ZenBusiness review, you’ll learn the ins and outs of its business formation services, helping you decide whether this specific software can meet your needs.
We also provide you with some ZenBusiness alternatives, including:
Let’s start with the basics. ZenBusiness is a venture-funded public benefit corporation that was founded in 2015 by Ross Buhrdorf in Austin, Texas. The company continues to be headquartered in Austin to this day. Over a few short years of the life of this business, they have managed to achieve a valuation of $1.7 billion – quickly ascending the ranks within the fintech industry.
With company values of transparency, protection, and paying it forward, ZenBusiness was created on the principles of operating with integrity while ensuring their clients’ businesses follow all governmental regulations.
ZenBusiness aims to empower and uplift entrepreneurs on their journey to success. The company does this by providing innovative tools and various educational resources.
In fact, some of the profits garnered by this company are given away as small grants to further promote innovation in the field. ZenBusiness has helped launch a staggering 300,000 businesses since their formation.
What is ZenBusiness?
Looking a little deeper, ZenBusiness is an online business formation service that offers solutions for starting, running, and growing your business over time. Their services run the gamut – from starting a business from the ground up to scaling a business after it is already established.
While ZenBusiness is relatively new to the space of online LLC solutions and other types of business formation services, its competitive pricing has allowed them to grow rapidly since its founding. Unlike many competitors, ZenBusiness uses automation to complete a variety of business needs, which has allowed them to service tens of thousands of customers.
With a fast and simple online incorporation service, excellent customer support, and worry-free compliance solutions, it’s clear why ZenBusiness is one of the most popular sites to form an LLC.
ZenBusiness allows an individual or group to form their business and receive support throughout the life of that business. The company does this by providing a number of innovative features and tools geared towards starting a business, incorporating it, and maintaining it.
These features include, but are not limited to:
Business Entity Formation
ZenBusiness offers its entity formation services across all 50 states. Businesses can be formed as LLCs or corporations. All packages offer worry-free services and support needed to make either the corporation or LLC formation process as quick and seamless as possible.
This includes verifying the availability of your chosen business name and all setup details. Once established, there are additional services offered that can help you run and grow your business – including tools for setting up your business website, business bank account, and more.
Registered Agent Service
All businesses are required to have a registered agent associated with the LLC or C Corp, and ZenBusiness meets this qualification by acting as a registered agent service for your business.
A registered agent is an individual or entity that’s designated by the company to receive official documents for the business. These include tax notices, business registration renewal notices from the Secretary of State, and court papers if the business is being sued.
ZenBusiness offers registered agent services to receive these documents on your behalf and forward them promptly. Because ZenBusiness is a professional registered agent service, you will have the assurance that someone will always be available to take delivery of notices and other important documents. Nothing will fall between the cracks.
Regulatory Compliance Services
ZenBusiness helps to ensure that your business follows all legal guidelines and is in compliance with local, state, and federal government regulations that are relevant to your business type and industry.
This online LLC formation service also helps ensure that you stay in good standing with the government by handling reporting requirements on your behalf. This annual report service includes ongoing state filings and amendment filings if you need to update your business documents with a new name, address, or ownership details.
Online Business Website Creation
For those in need of a website, ZenBusiness can get the process started by registering a business domain name for you. ZenBusiness will also assist with setting up the site for your LLC or corporation, depending on how you chose to incorporate your business.
Legal Document Assistance
The legal documents associated with launching a business can be extremely overwhelming. You’ll need to file paperwork to get an employer identification number (EIN), also referred to as a Tax ID Number, from the IRS. This enables you to hire employees, open a bank account for your business, and even protect your personal assets. ZenBusiness can help organize this document on your behalf by providing templates that are ready to go.
You should also consider completing an operating agreement to structure your business. ZenBusiness offers an operating agreement template to help you develop the rules and frameworks that govern your company. The document is entirely interactive, meaning it functions like a custom operating agreement.
ZenBusiness Pricing and Plans
Small business owners can choose from three main packages when looking to form an LLC or corporation.
Each plan is competitively priced and offers a variety of features that range from simple to complex, dependent on your needs. Here is a breakdown of what each package has to offer:
ZenBusiness Starter Plan
The Starter plan offered by ZenBusiness starts at $49 per year, plus state filing fees. At the end of the first year, it will renew for $199 per year. Delivery of the services provided will be completed in about two to three weeks after submitting all information.
Under this package, you can receive:
- Business filing services
- Name availability search
- Registered agent services
- Access to comprehensive customer support
- Your own virtual business guide
- Standard filing speed
- Worry-free compliance
- Expense and deduction tracking
The Starter plan is best for those who don’t have many intricacies involved with the formation of their business. For startups and small business owners, the Starter plan is a comprehensive solution for business formation.
ZenBusiness Pro Plan
Taking things one step further, the Pro plan offered by ZenBusiness costs $199 per year, plus any state filing fees. Rather than taking two to three weeks for completion, as with the Starter package, the Pro package features a turnaround time of four to six days.
This package offers all of the services from the Starter plan along with:
- Faster expedited filing speed
- Guided operating agreements
- Banking resolution template
- Filing for an Employee ID number
The ZenBusiness Pro package is geared more towards mid-sized businesses that may have the ability to handle certain parts of the setup process on their own, but need additional services that come from managing a larger business size.
ZenBusiness Premium Plan
Finally, the ZenBusiness Premium plan costs $299 per year, plus any state filing fees. The trade-off for the higher price is an extremely expedited filing service that includes a one to two-day turnaround time for filing.
All of the services from the Starter and Pro packages are included with the Premium package, in addition to:
- Rush filing speed
- Domain name and email address setup
- Customizable business website
- Business domain name privacy
Given the fact that this Premium package is an all-inclusive option that covers almost any service that may be needed for business formation, it is more suitable for larger organizations that require all the bells and whistles, plus a rush filing service.
What Add-Ons Does ZenBusiness Offer?
Regardless of the package you choose for business entity formation services, ZenBusiness also offers a large number of add-ons that may not be included in the package you wish to purchase.
Here are some extras to consider:
- Guided Operating Agreement – One-time $125 fee
- Employer ID Number – One-time $99 fee
- Business Documents Template Library – One-time $99 fee
- Fast Filing Speeds – One-time $49-$99 fee
- New York Publication – One-time $200 fee
- Business License Report – One-time $99 fee
- Annual Report Service – One-time $100 fee
- Amendment Filing – One-time $100 fee
- Certificate of Good Standing – One-time $100 fee
While some of the above add-ons are featured in certain packages, they can be added to lower-tier packages as standalone items.
How to Set Up an Account
With industry-leading online business formation services and reliable registered agent services, ZenBusiness specializes in simplifying the process of getting your business up and running. This is done with four concise steps:
- Choose a Package: The first step of the business formation process is selecting which package suits your business and its needs the best. There are three primary options to choose from, with each offering a range of online legal services. You can also choose any potential add-on features that your specific business may need. Furthermore, you will need to indicate your state and business type (LLC or corporation) at this stage.
- Provide Required Information: After choosing your package and providing the basic information above, you will be required to give ZenBusiness your name and contact information, both of which are needed to complete the business formation process.
- Give a Business Description: To properly register your business with the Secretary of State, ZenBusiness will need additional details about your organization. These details may include the name of the business, the address of the business, its owners, and more.
- Payment: Finally, once all the necessary information is gathered, ZenBusiness will ask you to submit your payment for their service, plus any applicable state fees.
The above steps are all automated on ZenBusiness, which makes the process quick and smooth.
Competitive Pricing with Several Free Inclusions
Compared to other business formation services, ZenBusiness is priced extremely well for what you get per package. The $49 for the first year on the Starter package is what really sets ZenBusiness apart from other services. In addition to this, the free services offered - such as free legal or tax advice, money essentials, and a Bank of America business account - add up to over $200 in value.
Reliable History of Positive Customer Reviews
Over the course of its life, ZenBusiness has had over 10,000 positive customer reviews, which can help ease your mind that the services they offer are indeed beneficial. With an overall rating of 4.6/5 based on those 10,000 reviews, ZenBusiness is an accredited LLC service.
Automation Makes for a Seamless Experience
With all ZenBusiness services being automated, all that is required of a user is the inputting of information. Once all information has been provided, the proprietary software will take over to complete the request, which means the overall requirements from the user are very minimal.
Quick Turnaround Times
Even if you do not opt for the expedited or rush filing speed, the slowest time of two to three weeks is still rapid when put into perspective. Additionally, ZenBusiness has a proven track record of meeting its turnaround times, even during high-demand periods.
Recurring Fees Can Add Up
Should you opt for a package that doesn’t include everything you need, your all-in cost could quickly skyrocket after putting add-ons with the package. While many of the add-ons ZenBusiness offers are a one-time payment, purchasing multiple can make your starting price hundreds of dollars higher than what you were expecting.
Depending on the scope of your business, many of the offerings provided by ZenBusiness may not appeal to your needs or be necessary in the first place. If this is the case, there may be cheaper services available elsewhere that offer what you require as a standalone, rather than grouped up into a package.
Who is ZenBusiness Best For?
With all of the above features outlined, the question of who ZenBusiness is best for remains. In reality, ZenBusiness can be useful for any business owner, whether they own a new startup or a massive organization. ZenBusiness can offer different levels of service to different customers due to the three different package offerings.
With that being said, the bulk of ZenBusiness’s services is centered around the initial filing of your business, without the headache of managing all of the documents. Larger teams that already have logistical support may not see as much benefit from the add-ons that ZenBusiness offers, but smaller startups and small businesses may find use for these.
Regardless of the size of your business, if you choose the ZenBusiness package that provides the most useful services for your specific company, you will see a large number of benefits.
Alternatives to ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness is not the only online LLC filing service available today. Before making the decision to purchase a package from this provider, be sure to look at some of the below options so that you make the best decision for your organization:
LegalZoom is one of the largest competitors for ZenBusiness, so much so that they even do a comparison on their own website. LegalZoom has been around longer than ZenBusiness and maintains a larger brand reputation as a result. The majority of the services you can receive with ZenBusiness are likely also available with LegalZoom – but the costs associated with the services of the latter are far higher than ZenBusiness.
For instance, a Starter package comparison between the two LLC formation companies shows this difference. A Starter package costs $496 with ZenBusiness, but $807 with LegalZoom. Additionally, LegalZoom has a slower turnaround time.
IncFile is another competitor to ZenBusiness that offers similar services. The primary difference between these two organizations is that IncFile does not offer lifetime business support, an annual report filing service, or annual compliance services.
However, if your goal is strictly business filing, IncFile and ZenBusiness come out as tied, considering the cost for basic service is comparable between the two.
But, the offerings of ZenBusiness are difficult to beat due to their low price and the ability to add on more features at your discretion. Due to this, ZenBusiness has rightfully become a leader in the field of online LLC or corporation formation services and will likely stay an industry leader for years to come.
Inc Authority is potentially the biggest competition for ZenBusiness. With 100% free LLC formation services (not including state fees) and 24-hour business processing, their speed and price undercuts ZenBusiness by a fair margin.
However, Inc Authority only offers two packages as opposed to ZenBusiness’s three and doesn’t provide as much long-term support. There are also fewer add-ons available with Inc Authority. For strictly business creation without long-term support, Inc Authority can be a cheaper option. Those seeing ongoing help and more bells and whistles may see greater benefit with ZenBusiness.
Is ZenBusiness Legit?
Yes, ZenBusiness is legit. The company has helped start over 300,000 businesses and has over 10,000 positive customer reviews on Trustpilot. From those 10,000 reviews, an overall satisfaction rating of 4.6/5.0 was calculated, which goes to show just how effective and reliable ZenBusiness is as a service.
With a valuation of over $1.7 billion, you can rest assured knowing that ZenBusiness has adequate experience with a wide variety of organizations. Whether you are a small startup, mid-size company, or larger corporation, the services ZenBusiness offers can be custom tailored to suit your needs.
Is ZenBusiness Good For a Business Website?
In truth, the website provided is barebones and will likely require heavy lifting to make it perform well. With that said, having the stress of creating a website and getting everything set up from scratch taken off your hands can potentially make this drawback well worth it. ZenBusiness’s website service can be purchased as an add-on with lower-tiered plans and it’s included in the Premium package.
ZenBusiness Review: Key Takeaways
Launching your business can be a challenging journey, but the first step is ensuring that you are following all proper regulations.
Using an online LLC formation service, such as ZenBusiness, can help keep the entire process in order, and take your business to the next level today – all while following the legal requirements outlined by your local and state governments.
With features ranging from standard filing services to lifetime business support and tax advice, ZenBusiness can help anybody get their business off the ground quickly.