Incfile vs ZenBusiness LLC Service: Who is The Better Formation Service Provider?

    by Benjamin Aronson
Updated May 4, 2021
With all the different LLC formation services out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the different services to choose from.
 
While you can still use a traditional method such as hiring a lawyer to form your LLC, it’s much cheaper and easier to use online incorporation services.
 
To save you the hassle of having to look into the many online incorporation services out there we researched the market and wrote up this review.
 
We have compared two of the top LLC formation services, Incfile and Zenbusiness.
 
At Finance Pond, our staff has had the opportunity to form LLCs in the past. Therefore, you can trust us to bring you the most important information that you need to know about both Incfile and Zenbusiness.
 
We’ve tested Zenbusiness and Incfile’s online services, and in this article, we’re going to compare the services that these companies are offering, head-to-head.
 
That way, you can feel confident in choosing the best incorporation service that suits your needs.
 
It’s time to look at ZenBusiness vs Incfile head-to-head!

Top Business Formation Services

Incfile logo

Incfile

• Form an LLC for $0 + State Fees
• FREE Registered Agent Service for a Year
• Trusted by over 500,000+ Businesses
• 100% Transparency

ZenBuisness

• Form an LLC for $49 + State Fees
• FREE Registered Agent Service for a Year
• Launched over 80,000+ Businesses
• 100% Accuracy Guarantee

Northwest logo

Northwest

• Form an LLC for $225 + state fees
• Registered Agent Service included ($125)
• Forming Businesses Since 1998
• 100% Error-Free Guarantee

Why is LLC Formation Important for Your Business?

According to a study by Decision Analyst, “Nearly 60% of small businesses experienced significant legal events in the past two years”.
 
Generally speaking, these issues can range from consumer lawsuits and tax audits to document and contract reviews.
 
By incorporating as an LLC, your business becomes a separate entity from yourself. That way, you have no personal liability in the event that your business encounters any legal problems.
 
This means that, to some degree, all your personal assets are protected if your business goes bankrupt (or some problems arise out of negligence).
 
Forming an LLC can also provide your business with many other benefits. For example, LLCs receive tax advantages and ownership/management flexibility.
 
While LLCs gain the many benefits that corporations more commonly receive, LLCs don’t have the same strict legal requirements as they do.

Who are Incfile and Zenbusiness?

If this is the first time you are hearing about Incfile and Zenbusiness, you’ll want to really pay attention to this section.

Below, we will provide you with a quick introduction to both companies, and we will also highlight their respective Pros and Cons.

Incfile

Incfile started doing business in 2004 and has helped over 500,000 clients to date. Their focus is on giving customers the best start-up services to get their business off the ground.

Here’s a quick summary of the Pros and Cons of Incfile.

Pros

  • $0 start-up, plus state fee
  • Incfile has a lot of experience with LLCs and formation services
  • Incfile provides an entire year’s worth of Registered Agent services included in your first year working with them
  • Incfile will take care of organizing and explaining all of your important (and confusing) business filing documents
  • Incfile has an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau and over 16,000 verified ratings from Shopper Approved

Cons

  • Occasionally, reaching Incfile’s customer support is difficult, but they do hold standard CST business hours
  • Incfile might be providing too many upsell services for your liking

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness is a newer company than Incfile, but they have quickly established themselves and gained a reputation for providing high-quality services.

ZenBusiness’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to start, run and grow your business.

Before we get into comparisons, here are the major Pros and Cons of ZenBusiness.

Pros

  • One year of Registered Agent services included
  • ZenBusiness’s basic plan is $49, which is cheap in comparison to other services
  • Worry-free CPA assessment – ZenBusiness will assess your finances and recommend the right CPA for you
  • A rating with the Better Business Bureau and an excellent rating on Trustpilot with over 4,000 reviews

Cons

  • Still a new company, only starting in 2015
  • ZenBusiness does not provide Customer Support on Saturdays

If you need some more in-depth information, check out our ZenBusiness review.

If you need some more in-depth information, check out our Zenbusiness review.

Looking to form your business? Have a professional formation service file for you:
Incfile ($0 + state fees) or Zenbusiness ($39 + state fees) 
 

What are my Options for Incorporating?

Someone who is looking to incorporate their business has three options:

  1. Hire a professional
  2. Do it by yourself
  3. Use an online business formation service

#1 – Using Professionals

Paying for an attorney or tax agent to set up your business can be quite expensive.

This is a major drawback for most people. But, with this option, you get the most personalized service.

Depending on how complex the situation is, having this personalized service can really help.

#2 – Incorporating Yourself

Incorporating your own business is always going to be the cheapest option but, how familiar are you with incorporation law?

A lack of familiarity with the rules and regulations of incorporating a business can cause a major problem to someone looking to do everything on their own.

Forming a business is not the kind of information that you can learn over an afternoon.

Professionals study these subjects for years, and with frequent changes in the law, someone incorporating their own business can easily make mistakes.

So, unless you have a background in this type of work, it’s best to seek some form of professional help.

#3 – Using Online Incorporation Services

Your last (and in my opinion, best) option is using online incorporation services.

Using an online incorporation service provides the perfect balance for those business owners who are on a tight budget and don’t plan on having complex structures for their business.

Using these online services can save you time, money, and a headache of legal issues.

Online services are much cheaper than traditional attorneys or tax agents. But this doesn’t mean they sacrifice quality.

When using an online incorporation service, your documents will still be completed properly and filed with the right authorities.

Plus, by doing it from home, you save yourself the trouble of having to book appointments and visit law-professionals in person or via Zoom.

What do Incfile and ZenBusiness Have in Common?

  1. Affordability – Compared to their counterparts, online business formation services are much more affordable for the average business owner. But even among the numerous online business formation agencies, both Incfile and ZenBusiness are some of the most affordable, especially when using their basic services.
  2. Good Feedback – Both Incfile and ZenBusiness have many satisfied customers. Incfile boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau while ZenBusiness has an A.
  3. Customer Support – Both services have Customer Support representatives available when you need help. Both companies cover standard business hours, but ZenBusiness goes a bit further, offering assistance on extended hours.
  4. Registered Agents – When forming LLCs it’s required that you have a Registered Agent. Both Incfile and ZenBusiness provide this for the first year at no extra charge. This helps you keep your expenses down in the beginning of your formation process.
  5. Speed –  Both Incfile and ZenBusiness will get you started quickly.

 

Incfile vs ZenBusiness: Plan Comparison

Incfile and Zenbusiness offer much more than online LLC formation. Both incorporation services offer three unique packages to choose from.

Let’s go over the similarities and differences in the packages below, so you can better understand which services best fit your formation needs.

Note: Some of these services can be purchased independently.

Side by Side: Basic Plan Comparison

Incfile – Silver ZenBusiness – Starter
Package Fee (Without State Fee)

$0

$49

Processing Time

Next business day

6 – 7 business days

Registered Agent

1 full year then $199 each year after

1 full year then $199 each year after

Operating Agreement

$40

EIN Registration

$70

$70

Annual Compliance

Free (lifetime company alerts)

Worry-Free Compliance – $119

Counseling Services

X

Free Accounting consultation

Highlights

Incfile

  • $0 company fee to get started.
  • Registered Agent included for one year.
  • Free lifetime company alerts for compliance.

ZenBusiness

  • $49 company fee to get started.
  • Included Operating Agreement.
  • 6 – 7 business day processing time.

Side by Side: Standard Plan Comparison

Incfile – Gold ZenBusiness – Pro
Package Fee (Without State Fee)

$149

$199

Processing Time

Next business day

4 – 5 business days

Registered Agent

1 full year then $199 each year after.

1 full year then $199 each year after

Operating Agreement

EIN Registration

Annual Compliance

Free (lifetime company alerts)

Free Worry-Free Compliance

Counseling Services

X

Free Accounting consultation

Highlights

Incfile

  • Next business day processing.
  • Included Operating Agreement.
  • EIN registration included.

ZenBusiness

  • 4 – 5 business day processing time.
  • Free Worry-Free Compliance.
  • Free Accounting consultation.

Side by Side: Premium Plan Comparison

Incfile – Platinum ZenBusiness – Premium
Package Fee (Without State Fee)

$299

$299

Processing Time

Next business day

1 – 3 business days

Registered Agent

1 full year then $199 each year after.

1 full year then $199 each year after

Operating Agreement

EIN Registration

Annual Compliance

Free (lifetime company alerts)

Free Worry-Free Compliance

Counseling Services

X

Free Accounting consultation

Highlights

Incfile

  • Free business contract templates.
  • Free domain name & email service.
  • Expedited state filing time.

ZenBusiness

  • 1 – 3 business day processing time.
  • Free business website and domain.
  • Rush filing speed.

Diving Deeper Into the Differences Between Incfile and ZenBusiness

Now that we have presented a basic overview of the services offered by Incfile and ZenBusiness, let’s take a more in-depth look at what it is that they’re offering.

Pricing

Incfile’s service is free for their Silver Package, you just have to cover the state fee (each state has a different fee). On the other hand, ZenBusiness’s starter plan comes in at $49 plus your state fee.

Incfile’s premium packages cost $149 and $299, while ZenBusiness’s cost $199 and $299.

Features

Both ZenBusiness and Incfile provide similar features in their basic packages. However, it is important for us to note that there are a few differences between these packages.

One of the major differences between both packages is that ZenBusiness includes a customizable operating agreement, while Incfile has third-party offers for a business bank account and website creation.

Experience

Incfile has over 15 years of experience and they have served over 500,000 customers. Although ZenBusiness is still a very new company, they’ve built up a steady stream of happy customers.

Incfile has over 20,000 reviews with Shopper Approved at a 4.8/5 rating.

While ZenBusiness isn’t too popular on Shopper Approved, they do have over 4,700 reviews with Trust Pilot and a 4.8/5 rating.

Customer Support

When it comes to Customer Support, ZenBusiness has been more successful than Incfile.

ZenBusiness’s representatives are available via phone, email, and chat between Monday to Friday, from 8 am – 8 pm CST (Central Time).

But they’ve also begun offering Customer Support on Sundays from 10 am – 7 pm.

Incfile, on the other hand, has phone support available Monday – Friday from 9 am – 6 pm CST. It’s also possible to email them, but they provide hours of operation for responding to emails.

Speed

The overall speed that an online incorporation service can incorporate your business depends on your state. Regardless, Incfile provides fast and efficient services, processing your order the next business day, no matter what plan you’re on.

ZenBusiness takes a little longer to incorporate your business, with 6-7 business days on the starter plan.

However, you can speed up the process to 1-3 business days on their premium plan.

Compliance

Incfile has Lifetime Company Alerts to make sure you never miss an important filing date. They’ll track all your official document deadlines including your Annual Reports and Business Licenses.

ZenBusiness provides a similar service with their Worry-Free Compliance service.

It is important to note, if you want ZenBusiness to provide you with this service, it will cost extra.

Registered Agent Service

Registered Agent services are an integral part of your LLC formation.

Both Incfile and ZenBusiness include free Registered Agent services for the first year. However, they will charge $119 in the following years.

Worry-Free CPA Assessment

Worry-Free CPA Assessment is an extra service from ZenBusiness. This is essentially all 3 of the packages offered by ZenBusiness brought together.

A Worry-Free CPA Assessment is simply an assessment of your company finances.

ZenBusiness will also suggest the best CPA to fit your business. This could be an important bonus if you’re business’s accounting is out of order.

Additional Services

Both ZenBusiness and Incfile provide similar services like EIN acquisition and amendments. But there are two key differences to consider.

ZenBusiness will provide a publication service if they’re required in your state. On the other hand, Incfile can help you out with trademark name searches.

Which One Should You Choose?

Whether to incorporate your business with ZenBusiness or Incfile depends on the specific needs of your company.

Both of these online incorporation services provide excellent and affordable options, so you can’t go wrong with either.

We recommend that you consider what you value most in an LLC formation service.

If you’re looking for the cheapest option, your best choice would be to go with Incfile’s Silver Plan. However, if you are looking for a few extra features like the Worry-Free CPA Assessment, ZenBusiness will be the better option.

The Bottom Line

ZenBusiness and Incfile are some of our favorite LLC formation services.

Regardless of the company you decide to conduct business with, we are confident that you will be satisfied with your experience.

When starting a new business, it’s possible that you won’t know the specific services you will need. The best way to learn about the specific services that will most benefit your business is to read up on the subject and become as informed as possible.

That way you can find the right formation service for your needs.

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