ZenBusiness Review 2020 (LLC & Fintech Services)

Emily Stevens
Aug 2 · 12 min read
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Disclosure: Emily Stevens is an independent writer and affiliate. If readers purchase products from affiliate links on this page, the author may earn a commission.
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Pricing and features

ZenBusiness has acquired financial services startup Joust. Joust was launched in 2017 to provide fintech services to self-employed workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who had not yet opened a business bank account but needed a financial tools platform to meet the needs of their growing small business.

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“ZenBusiness Money” Offers Fintech Solutions For Startups

According to the Austin Statesman,

Joust will become ZenBusiness Money and relaunch this fall as a toolkit of solutions including invoice and payment solutions and merchant services. Joust CEO Lamine Zarrad will become head of financial services at ZenBusiness, and Joust’s 10 employees will be retained, the company said.

ZenBusiness automates the business formation process, assisting entrepreneurs with an affordable and orderly way to form an LLC or incorporate online. In addition to formations, registered agent services, and on-going compliance solutions, ZenBusiness is in a unique position to offer startups a variety of services including, websites, email, domains, accounting, taxes, and credit cards, and now an integrated fintech offering.

Fast-growing ZenBusiness has nearly doubled its workforce in recent months and now has more 100 employees, the company said.

Buhrdorf said the coronavirus pandemic has created a wave of people turning to freelancing or becoming self-employed.

“More and more of these people — either out of saying this is the time to take the plunge or out of necessity — are coming to us to get set up,” Buhrdorf said.

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ZenBusiness LLC Services Review

How Does ZenBusiness Compare to Other LLC Formation Companies?

If you are forming an LLC, or have already done so, you will probably be aware of a few LLC formation companies. ZenBusiness is one such company, and it is an incredibly popular choice for providing this type of service.

Plenty of entrepreneurs have built their business with the help of ZenBusiness, and they have become avid fans of this LLC formation specialist. However, have these entrepreneurs really had a good deal, or are there just as good services around from other providers, or even better ones?

In this article, we will review what ZenBusiness has to offer and compare this to other leading LLC formation services.

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Pricing and features
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ZeZenBusiness Features

One of the reasons for the popularity of ZenBusiness is the range of features that it offers. Here are some brief details on what you will get from the ZenBusiness service:

Registered Agent Service

Every one of the ZenBusiness packages, including their starter package, comes with a registered agent service. This feature is one of the big draws for many people, as a registered agent service comes typically at considerable cost. Cheaper LLC formation services do not tend to include a registered agent service because of this cost.

Receiving this service as part of their even most basic package makes ZenBusiness an appealing service for entrepreneurs. It means that they do not have to worry about communication with the Secretary of State’s office and other agencies to ensure the privacy of their documentation.

Operating Agreement

Another feature that is included in all of ZenBusiness’ packages is the Operating Agreement. This agreement is one of the fundamental requirements of an LLC formation, and it details ownership and member responsibilities of the company.

CPA Assessment

One of the most daunting tasks an entrepreneur faces is dealing with their accounts. A popular feature of the ZenBusiness service is its offering of a CPA assessment, evaluating your company’s finances.

ZenBusiness will match your company with an appropriate CPA, free of charge. This CPA service will enable you to keep track of your tax, bookkeeping, and cash flow without any fuss and with no worries.

Compliance Guarantee

ZenBusiness include a free-from-worry compliance guarantee as part of their Premium and Pro packages. Having this guarantee means that you will be assured of receiving deadline alerts to remind you to file your mandatory reports.

Staying on top of your company reports will keep you in good standing with your state regulators. Even if you miss a filing date, ZenBusiness will cover the cost needed to ensure that your company remains in positive standing. This feature seems to be unique to ZenBusiness, making it one of their most celebrated attractions.

Speed of Formation

ZenBusiness offers varying levels of speed for forming your LLC, depending on the service plan you opt for. These filing times do not include the state’s additional filings times. ZenBusiness filing times are as follows:

  • Starter Package. Two to three weeks of processing, which is perfectly adequate if there is no urgency.

These different options for speed of formation allow entrepreneurs to choose the service that best suits their needs. They’ve got options of a routine formation time through to one that is done in a rush.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Your company’s EIN serves a similar purpose as your social security number does for you. Essentially, it is your company’s identification to open a bank account or hire employees.

For subscribers to the ZenBusiness Pro or Premium plans, the EIN will be obtained for you and delivered to you electronically. This process saves you the time and effort of having to get one yourself. It is one more thing that you can cross off your LLC formation checklist.

Real-time Client Support

Entrepreneurs do not generally have time to waste, certainly not when there is an issue that needs to be resolved. ZenBusiness offers its clients real-time support during business hours (9am-8pm ET, Monday to Friday).

They back this real-time support up with a website chat service that is super fast. For those that don’t want to chat online, you can contact ZenBusiness client services by phone or email.

Plan Options

Those are the main features of the ZenBusiness service, now let’s take a closer look at the packages they offer. Please note that the prices quoted below do not include additional state fees that may apply:

ZenBusiness Starter Package

This LLC formation package is available for $49 per year plus applicable state fees.

The Starter Package has everything essential to get your LLC business formed. It includes an operating agreement, standard filing, registered agent service, and real-time client support. For a package that comes with a registered agent service, ZenBusiness’ starter package is one of the best around. The registered agent service is available free for twelve months, after which it is at $119 per year.

ZenBusiness Pro Package

This LLC formation package is available for $179 per year plus applicable state fees.

The ZenBusiness Pro Package comes with an expedited filing service, EIN set-up, compliance guarantee, and a registered agent service. The compliance guarantee offers you an annual report and the option of two new amendments to your business each year, at no cost. Additionally, ZenBusiness provides a resolution template for your banking, and this eases the process of opening a bank account for your business and assigning signatories to your LLC.

ZenBusiness Premium Package

This LLC formation package is available for $299 per year plus applicable state fees.

With their most expensive plan, ZenBusiness offers by far the most value. You get all the Pro Package features, plus you will have your LLC formed with lightning-quick speed. they also give you a full online package including:

  • Business domain.

So, there is no third party you need to go through for setting up your online presence. It is all done for you at the same time as your LLC is being formed. The ZenBusiness Premium package seems to cover everything you need to get your start-up up and running.

Client Reviews & Feedback

When we tried ZenBusiness out, we sailed through the whole process without a hitch. However, our trial just represented a single client. So, how does ZenBusiness fare with the majority of their clients?

Our research proved that ZenBusiness generally fairs exceptionally well in terms of client reviews and feedback, with the vast majority stating that they have had excellent service. Clients seemed keen on the attractive deals that ZenBusiness offers and the smooth process also got a thumbs-up.

Overall ZenBusiness have a positive impression with their clients, and on TrustPilot they receive an average of 4.7 stars from over 1,400 reviews. The comments here were positive about the lack of upselling that ZenBusiness does compared to other LLC formation companies. It seems their low prices do not mean that they are cutting corners on the client service.

Advantages of Using ZenBusiness

  • ZenBusiness is affordable, with LLC formation plans starting at just $49 (not including state fees).

Disadvantages of Using ZenBusiness

Their timeline for LLC formation was not that accurate. For instance, it took only three days to form an LLC based in Colorado, using the starter package. ZenBusiness stated 1–2 weeks.

Using ZenBusiness vs. Using LegalZoom

ZenBusiness is not the only LLC formation service on the market. LegalZoom is another provider, and we thought they would prove to be an excellent company to compare ZenBusiness.

Best Quality of LLC Formation Service?

  • ZenBusiness

Our experience of ZenBusiness was a good one. They have three plans that are packed full of useful features, so they will be a popular choice for people that are looking at value for money. As for the price points, we believe they are just about right, and match the features that are included with the packages.

The price is lower than LegalZoom, and it still offers more features. So, the price alone seems to make it a winner. Throw in features like free registered agent service for one year, and ZenBusiness starts to stand out.

Overall, ZenBusiness is easy to use, it is well priced, and all of the features add value.

  • Legal Zoom

Their brand recognition is LegalZoom’s main advantage over ZenBusiness. They have a range of business services used by a customer base numbered in the millions. They have a powerful marketing strategy, and this has paid dividends, making LegalZoom the number one LLC formation service in terms of popularity.

LegalZoom’s plans are priced at a higher level than ZenBusiness. However, the higher price tag does not mean that you will get any better service than ZenBusiness. We found the LegalZoom plans challenging to understand, not in the same ballpark as ZenBusiness.

Who’s Got The Best Track Record?

  • ZenBusiness

As far as longevity goes, ZenBusiness is the newbie to the LLC formation service world, and it was only relatively recently established in 2015. How important you believe longevity in the market to be, is your choice. We would not be put off using a service simply because it is something new.

  • LegalZoom

LegalZoom is the established player in the LLC formation service market and has been operating since 1999. The level of longevity they have gives them an incredible amount of trust and popularity with the business community. LegalZoom already has millions of clients, and their powerful marketing machine is keeping that number one spot.

Do They Provide a Good Deal For LLC Formation?

  • ZenBusiness

For the price, ZenBusiness leads the rest of the LLC formation service field, starting at a mere $49 per year (not including applicable state fees). The standard package is a fantastic deal because it offers you a free registered agent service for 12 months. This free feature will save you around $119 compared to other providers who charge for this service. ZenBusiness certainly provides a great deal.

  • LegalZoom

It took us some time to get our heads around the plans and pricing structure of LegalZoom. It is undoubtedly a lot more complicated than the ZenBusiness equivalents.

LegalZoom’s offerings open at $79, not including applicable state fees. This economy plan offers you a filing service in your state, and a letter of authorization to help you open a bank account.

To get the same registered agent service provided by ZenBusiness, you need to pay a whopping $299 per year, over double of what ZenBusiness charges after their free 12-month period. For this fee, you get no additional features, so we found this to be incredibly expensive.

However, the price of their registered agent service is reduced to $159 per year if you purchase the LegalZoom business formation plan. Their other plans are the Standard plan at $329 per year, and the Express Gold at $349.

The differences in plans between LegalZoom and ZenBusiness make them challenging to compare. The best comparison we could do was for one LLC formation and one year of registered agent services. ZenBusiness offers this for $49, while the cost with LegalZoom is $238. This cost is a considerable difference and makes a choice based on price alone, quite straightforward.

Is The Service Easy To Use?

We found both of these LLC formation services easy to use. Ordering the services on both platforms was straightforward, with the whole process only taking a matter of minutes.

An excellent feature of the LegalZoom service is that when you accidentally close the browser, they will send you an email with all of your application answers saved. So, your error doesn’t mean that you lose all the saved information.

For ZenBusiness, the best feature is their personalized dashboard, which is an excellent central point for accessing all your documents and information.

Is Client Service High Quality?

  • ZenBusiness

We were initially skeptical about the quality of client service provided by ZenBusiness, as their prices are so reasonable. However, we discover that their client service matches the value of their LLC formation packages, and they respond to every concern that clients present them.

ZenBusiness makes it easy for people to get in touch with their client service department, and they are available via phone, email, or real-time chat, the latter of which we thought provided the best means of contact. Their client service is available during regular business hours, and the request that we submitted was responded to incredibly quickly.

While doing our research on these companies, we discovered an interesting fact regarding ZenBusiness. As well as an LLC formation service, they are also a registered PBC (public benefit corporation). Hence, their activities include acts of charity, such as lending to minority-owned businesses or individuals with low incomes. This level of commitment takes its client service quality to another level.

  • LegalZoom

These folks have been doing client service for so long, and you would expect it to be excellent. We found that the information provided by their client service representatives was top quality. Where LegalZoom fell was in their response time to email inquiries. Maybe, their longevity still leaves them reliant on phone calls as their chosen method of contact.

How were the clients’ experiences?

  • ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness has an incredible record on TrustPilot, with 97% of all their reviews being positive. Some of the features that people are enjoying include price, ease of use, and client service.

Trustpilot provides people with a view of businesses through the reviews of other clients and customers. With its superb ratings on TrustPilot, ZenBusiness is one of the top LLC business formation services.

  • LegalZoom

Despite their longevity and loyal following, LegalZoom’s reputation seems to be a little fragile. Their online ratings sit at around the 50% positive level, which is weak compared to ZenBusiness.

Conclusion

Forming your LLC is a necessary task, and it is one that you want to have as little hassle as possible from doing it. Both of these companies provide easy-to-use services.

In our opinion, ZenBusiness should be the service of choice for entrepreneurs. They offer you everything you need in a range of cost-effective, straightforward packages, with bundles of useful features.

LegalZoom fails to match ZenBusiness on every aspect of performance, apart from ease of use, which is pretty much the same. For these reasons, ZenBusiness is the best LLC formation service provider around.

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