Luke is the Chief Operating Officer at FinancePond and has been leading small business research since 2019. He has 3+ years of experience working at one of the big 4 accounting firms and is a certified public accountant
Benjamin is our Chief Editor and he has been helping small businesses thrive since 2018. Benjamin is a business owner and prior to joining FinancePond, he worked in M&A at KPMG. Benjamin holds a BA in business and
William is our Content Quality Specialist at FinancePond and he takes pride in ensuring that every post published is BRILLIANT. William owns a nonprofit and has an MA from NYU and a Masters from Columbia University.
Jake is our Research Analyst at FinancePond and has been crunching data and creating case studies since 2015. Jake has over 3 years of experience in real estate funding and holds a BA in business and finance.
We analyzed a few critical points in order to really understand if ZenBusiness is worth it.
Before diving into our research, I set up a list of guidelines:
Does ZenBusiness offer fair LLC formation plans?
What did previous customers of ZenBusiness have to say?
What are other LLC services offering?
We want to keep things as simple as they can be and that those guidelines cut out the fluff and focus on what’s really important for a business owner. After analyzing those points and putting ZenBusiness to the test, they earned an overall score of 4.6/5.
ZenBusiness has quick turnaround times, great customer support, and very competitive prices. If you’re looking to form an LLC without the headache and be let by experts, ZenBusienss is for you.
In our opinion, ZenBusiness is one of the best LLC formation services out there and we rank them accordingly. Keep reading through to learn how ZenBusiness works and the plans that they offer.
ZenBusiness Review Overview
ZenBusiness is a public benefit corporation that was established in Austin Texas. The company was founded in 2015 and stemmed from the idea of empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Whether it’s legal needs, website domains, LLC paperwork, etc, ZenBusiness offers fantastic guidance to business owners. Think of ZenBusiness as a business checklist that you don’t have to worry about.
ZenBusiness offers an in-depth overview of LLC services to any entrepreneur looking to legalize a business properly. Below is a quick overview of their services:
Business formation services
Yearly registered agent services
Business website creation
Legal documents and temples
Further down you’ll find a comprehensive review of the business formation packages as well as additional services offered. Keep reading through and well explain everything you need to know.
ZenBusiness Packages and Pricing
Similar to Incorproate.com, ZenBusiness offers 3 LLC formation packages, each one varying from the next. The three package options are Starter, Pro, and Premium and prices range from $49 to $299.
In order to choose the best business formation plan, below is a ZenBusiness package comparison. Take the time to look this over.
Products & Services
Name availability search
Phone & email support
Online Document Access
Credit card offer
Operating agreement template
Google ads credit
Standard filing speed
Banking resolution template
Domain name privacy
As you can these plans offer slightly different services, but they all provide the following main essential services in LLC formation:
LLC formation – filing of Articles of Organization
Available temples for Operating Agreement and Corporate Bylaws
Appointing a registered agent is a necessity when forming a business. ZenBusiness does offer registered agent service in their business formation packages but it is an added expense.
The registered agent service costs $99 a year and $149 a year with worry-free compliance.
Now that we have a birds-eye view of the different packages let’s dive into the ZenBusiness LLC service review and go over the costs of each plan.
ZenBusiness Starter Plan
The ZenBusiness start plan offers the absolute basics that you need in order to form an LLC with the option of adding a registered agent ($99 or $149 with compliance).
The starter plan costs $49 + state filing fees and offers the following services:
LLC Filing – ZenBusiness will file your Article of Organization in the state that you wish to form your LLC.
Operating Agreement – ZenBusiness will provide an operating agreement temple for your business, whether you form an LLC or a corporation (bylaws). This is the document that outlines the responsibilities in the business, the type of LLC management, how profits are distributed, and more.
Note: If you’re unsure which state to form your LLC ask yourself where you actually conduct business. That is the best state to file your LLC in. For more information check out our article.
Those two services are the foundation of LLC formation and are present in each and every one of the other packages. In addition to those services, there are a few perks below:
Accounting Consultation – If you looking for an accountant for your LLC ZenBusiness can help. They offer a free consultation in order to assess your current state and can assist moving forward.
Annual Reporting – ZenBusiness takes care of all the legal logistics of starting a business and staying compliant. They will remind you when deadlines are approaching and what paperwork needs to be filed.
$150 Worth of Google Ads Credit – ZenBusiness will give you a promotion code that will amount to $150. This is enough money to really get started with your Google ads and start making sales for your business.
The starter plan usually takes 2-3 weeks and is the slowest out of the LLC formation packages so if you’re in a rush, this isn’t the package for you.
Important Note: The ZenBusiness LLC formation packages are all billed annually, but the starter package costs $49 the first year and then costs $119 every year following. If you only want to try out of their services, make sure you cancel.
ZenBusiness Pro Plan
The ZenBusiness Pro Plan is the most popular LLC formation package that upgrades everything you get with the starter plan for an additional $150. The Pro Package costs $199 annually and although it seems like a big jump from the starter package, the cost is very well worth what you get.
The Pro package offers everything in the starter plan plus the following:
Expedited Filing – ZenBusiness will file your LLC quickly, legalizing your business in 1-2 weeks.
Employer Identification Number – The Employer Identification Number (EIN) aka tax id number is a 9 digit identification number handed out by the IRS. It’s like a social security number for your business.
Worry-Free Compliance – The preparation and filing is only half of the battle, the other half is staying compliant. ZenBusiness offers worry-free compliance services which make sure that you are in good standing with the secretary of state.
Expert Tip: The Pro Package is the most popular package because it covers everything that you need when forming an LLC and everything you need in order to stay in good standings.
If you just started your business we recommend the Pro Plan as it allows you to completely focus on your business for a fair price while Zenbusiness takes care of the ongoing paperwork.
ZenBusiness Premium Plan
ZenBusiness Premium Package costs $299 annually and is the fastest business formation plan. In this package, ZenBusiness offers rush filing which gets your LLC filed in 3-4 days, and essential business website services.
If you’re a business owner who is pressed for time and you plan on creating an online presence, this package could be a good option for you. The Premium Plan offers everything in the Pro Plan plus the following:
Rush Filing – ZenBusiness will get your paperwork out and form your LLC in as little as 3-4 days. Some states may take longer, but that isn’t related to the rush filing speed and is more connected to the secretary of state.
Secure a Business Domain Name – If your LLC name is available on the web, ZenBusiness can help you acquire it so that you can get your website up and running.
Website for your Business – ZenBusiness will help create a customizable website for your business. They provide web hosting and customizable temples to get launch your website.
If you already have a vision as to how you want your business website to look, this probably won’t be the best service for you.
Which ZenBusiness package is the best value for money?
We recommend ZenBusiness Pro Plan to new business owners because they take care of everything that you need in order to form your business and keep it compliant.
For $199 annually, the cost to form an LLC with the Pro Plan is fair and will leave you relaxed knowing that there are professionals taking care of everything you need on the legal end of the spectrum. If your looking for the sweet spot between the most essential features (LLC formation, registered agent service, federal tax id, and compliance) and price point, this package is hand down the best value for money.
Does ZenBusiness Have Hidden Fees?
ZenBusiness does not have hidden fees, what you see is what you get!
ZenBusiness provides LLC formation and compliance services meaning business owners will receive an invoice annually for the LLC services based on the package chosen. These expenses are paid yearly and.
If you choose to cancel your package with ZenBusiness you may of course do so.
How to Cancel ZenBusiness Services
If you wish to cancel ZenBusiness LLC services you may do so by contacting their support at [email protected] or calling in (1-844-493-6249).
Looking into their cancellation policy, business owners have the right to stop the ongoing compliance services. Depending on when you hire ZenBusiness, fees may apply. If you decide to change your registered agent, be sure to hire a new one before you cancel the registered agent service offered by ZenBusiness.
Although ZenBusiness is one of the most popular LLC formation services, there are a few ZenBusiness alternatives to keep an eye on before you choose.
LegalZoom compared to competitors is known to be on the more expensive side. This is because they have been in the LLC service industry for years and have a serious reputation. Brand name aside, we hands-down would recommend ZenBusiness over LegalZoom because LegalZooms main value points are:
Serious brand power
Rush filing speed
While ZenBusiness lacks the same magnitude of brand power, they can form an LLC just as quickly for a portion of the price.
Comparing ZenBusiness vs Incfile is no easy task as they are both two of the best LLC formation services hands down! Below we mapped out the most essential decision-making points, and as you can see Incfile offers much cheaper Starter and Pro formation, while ZenBusiness offers cheaper registered agent services.
Choosing the right LLC service can be difficult but if you’re looking for the most affordable options, we recommend Incfile to the majority of new business owners as they offer a highly competitive price point and have a great customer support track record.
ZenBusiness and Incfile pull a draw when it comes to customer satisfaction. We did notice that there are a few Incfile complaints from customers and that is something to be noted.
IncAuthoriy is a very inexpensive formation service and should be on your radar when looking to form a limited liability company.
ZenBusiness offers basic LLC formation for $49 while Inc Authority offers free formation. If your looking to get the most basic filing Inc Authority is a great choice, but if you looking to get the full package (annual reporting, federal tax ID, and more), ZenBusiness is your best bet as they charge $199 where Inc Authority charges $499.
Once you get into the more premium plans, ZenBusiness easily takes the cake. When comparing ZenBusines vs IncAuthority on features and services within the packages ZenBusiness offers a more full package with very necessary services.
When comparing ZenBusiness vs Northwest we recommend ZenBusiness to the majority of the business owners that read our posts. This is because the cost of LLC formation is a major concern point and ZenBusiness is approximately $75 less than Northwest LLC formation.
Many Northwest competitors offer pricing packages while Northwest Registered Agents offers a general LLC formation package plus a registered agent for $225. While the price looks high, an annual regenerated agent is included.
We feel that Northwest has superior customer service, but the price tag that goes along to form an LLC pushes them out of the competition.
Throughout this ZenBusiness review, we’ve broken down the price packages and looked at competitors. Now we’re going to point out the top five advantages that make ZenBusiness one of the leading business formation services.
Very Affordable Pricing
Business formation services can cost $300 and up! ZenBusiness on the other hand is one of the most affordable LLC services, at $49.
Looking at competitors, we can see that ZenBusiness is one of the most inexpensive LLC providers.
Starter LLC Formation
Although they offer a super competitive price, they still stick to grade A customer service and provide professional assistance.
Excellent Customer Support
Despite the fact that ZenBusiness is a fairly young formation service provider, they offer top customer support and have a leading track record. ZenBusiness is reachable by chat phone and email.
ZenBusiness Chat – Head to Zenbusiness.com and use the chat icon to the left of the screen
Address – 5511 Parkcrest Dr., Suite 103 Austin, TX 78731
Hours – ZenBusiness is available Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm Central time or Sunday from 10am – 7pm Central time
When looking at competitors ZenBusiness is a huge leader in customer support. They are available six days a week, they offer three digital access points to make connection. On top of that, they have a worry-free guarantee for all of their clients.
Fast Turnaround Times
While scanning through reviews on Trustpilot, time and time again customers noted how fast ZenBusiness is able to form an LLC. Below we allocated the most recent reviews related to customer support and quick turnaround times.
ZenBusiness does their absolute best to get your LLC up and running fast. Keep in mind that the filing time isn’t solely based on ZenBusiness’ ability to file, it very much depends on the state that you choose to form your business.
Great Customer Reviews
ZenBusiness has over 7,300 reviews on BBB and Trustpilot combined and approximately 95% of them are rated excellent and good.
ZenBusiness is undoubtedly one of the top customer-reviewed companies in the LLC formation services space. Not only do they have thousands of reviews but upwards of 95% of them are positive. ZenBusiness started to do business in 2015 and they have had an enormously beneficial effect on small business owners.
ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation
A Public Benefit Corporation is an entity that believes in “giving back” and that is how ZenBusiness carries itself. They have are a profit-generating business, but they make it a principle to give back and help those in need.
In April 2020 ZenBusiness gave 100 grants of $1,000 to small businesses as an effort to give a helping hand to those in need. Zenbusiness also donates funds to women-owned and minority-owned companies via Kiva.org as a way to help the entrepreneurial community.
Although ZenBusiness is a top LLC formation service, there are of course drawbacks to every business. We highlighted the main drawbacks to be aware of below.
Registered Agent Service Not Included
Most LLC services provide a registered agent as it is a requirement when forming a business. Zenbusiness, unfortunately, adds this service separately for $99 or $149 a year with worry-free compliance.
Most competitors do add this into the LLC service packages but ZenBusiness decided to do things a bit differently. We still highly recommend ZenBusiness but if this is a deal-breaker, there are LLC services that include a registered agent in the overall package.
Poor Business Website Set-Up
ZenBusiness is an LLC formation service and does a great job at that, but when it comes to creating a business website, not as much. The business website services are a part of the premium package and if that’s not the plan that you’re looking into, this is unrelated.
While reading customer reviews we found many frustrated customers having difficulty setting up the website domain and launching their website.
If you’re looking to create a professional-looking website for your business then we highly recommend getting in touch with the professionals. If you’re just looking for a blog try our WordPress and if your looking create an e-commerce store Shopify would be a great choice.
ZenBusiness Main Services
Throughout the ZenBusiness review, we have noted the packages and the services that go along. Below we mapped out the main services that ZenBusiness offers and what will really interest small business owners.
You have the ability to purchase some of the services below as a “stand-alone”, but if you purchase them in a package there are price reductions, so keep that in mind.
The LLC formation services are offered in all of the packages and they are all the same. The main difference in the business formation will be the state that you choose to form a business.
LLC formation is the most common, but ZenBusiness also offers C-Corp and S-Corp incorporation. Forming a business, whether it be an LLC or a corporation, is taken care of at the state level with the security of state.
ZenBusiness will completely take out the hassle of hunting down the security of state and correctly file articles of organization, which is the form necessary to form a business.
ZenBusiness provides operating agreement temples in all of their packages. If you’re not interested in forming an LLC with ZenBusienss and all you want is their temple, you can purchase it for $35.
An operating agreement is an internal legal document that discloses the back end of the business, how it’s run and how profits are distributed. An operating agreement is not required in most states to form an LLC, but it is also asked for when opening a bank account. Having a professional operating agreement is highly recommended.
ZenBusiness Registered Agent Service
A registered agent is not included in the price packages that ZenBusienss offers and therefore is an add-on. The cost is $99 or $149 with worry-free compliance. Registered agent service is a yearly expense.
Appointing a registered agent is a requirement when forming an LLC or a corporation. A registered agent is an individual or a company that acts as a point of contact for your business in the event that the secretary of state needs to get in touch with you. The main objective of a registered agent is to provide correspondence, organization, and protection for your LLC.
You must appoint and maintain a registered agent in your state in order to ensure good standing.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
The employer identification number (EIN) is included in the pro and premium plans, but not in the starter package. If you wish to purchase an EIN separately it costs $70.
This is a 9-digit number also known as a tax ID number. Your EIN is an identification number provided but the IRS which helps them identify your business. IF you do not have an EIN for your business then there is essentially no separation between you and your LLC.
When you form your LLC you’ll need an EIN to hire new employees, open a bank account and do your annual taxes.
Banking Resolution Templates
ZenBusiness provides a bank resolution temple to pro and premium plans. The cost of banking resolution temples alone costs $30.
If you have a multimember LLC a bank resolution is a very important document to have. It is a document that authorizes specific individuals to open, withdraw and deposit funds into the business bank account.
If you are a single-member LLC owner this is less critical, but if there are a few owners in your LLC, the bank will most likely ask you for this document. ZenBusiness will provide a professional temple covering everything you need to show your bank.
Free CPA Assessment
The free CPA assessment is included in all packages and cannot be purchased as a stand-alone service.
Once your business starts pulling in revenues you’ll need to track expenses, pay invoices, manage your companies book, pay taxes, and more. ZenBusiness provides clients with a free accounting assessment in order to review the books and help with tax needs.
This service is available on the online dashboard once the business formation is complete.
ZenBusiness Expedite and Rush Filing
ZenBusiness offers the following expedited filing:
Basic filing which takes 2-3 weeks depending on the state which is free
Expedite filing which takes 7-10 days costs $50
Rush filing takes 2-6 days and costs $100
The overall time it takes to form an LLC really falls on the state, if the state is slow it will take a while. But one thing that you can do to speed things up is file the paperwork quickly!
If you are in a rush to file your business, ZenBusiness will do everything that they can do to ensure that your formation service is filed in a matter of days. If you’re not pressured for time, just go with the basic filing. ZenBusiness is known to get things done quickly anyway.
The worry-free compliance costs $119 with the starter plan and is included with the pro and premium packages.
Almost all states require business owners to file some sort of annual report. Failing to do so can lead to fines and even business dissolution. ZenBusiness keeps an eye out for your business with worry-free compliance.
ZenBusiness sends alters reminding business owners when important filing dates are approaching to ensure that your LLC staying in good standing. They also have expert staff that is on board to help in the event that a filing date is missed or if good standing needs to be reinstated.
Business Website and Domain
The business website and domain are all included in the premium package. You may add them for the following prices:
Business Website – $100
Business Domain – $25
If you haven’t created a website for your business, it’s probably time to do so as a staggering 71% of businesses have websites. No matter what your business offers, having a website is a priceless asset to your company and is highly recommended.
ZenBusiness can help you find the best domain for your business and help you set up your online website. If you are very serious about your website and you have a vision, we recommend using a CMS like WordPress or Webflow.
Online Banking Account
ZenBusiness does not offer online banking, but they have a partnership with Lendingclub banking and offer an account for $110/ year.
Upon opening, ZenBusiness will deposit $100 into your business account. If you don’t have a business bank account, this could be a pretty good option.
Is ZenBusiness Right For You?
ZenBusiness is a great LLC service that provides fast business formation services for a very competitive price. The formation process takes as little as 15 min and is completed online.
Not only are there free added services like CPA assessments and $150 worth of Google ads, but ZenBusiness is a company that is there for you from LLC formation to annual compliance year over year.
ZenBusiness has formed thousands of LLCs since 2015 and they have an enormous body of positive customer reviews that follows them.
We highly recommend ZenBusiness, but we don’t think they are for everyone.
Hire ZenBusiness if you’re a small business owner looking for a very affordable LLC formation service that offers a team of experts to help you from A to Z.
Dont Hire ZenBusiness
If you’re really picky about your registered agent, or you simply want an LLC formation service that offers a registered agent in their packages.
Q: What’s is ZenBusiness processing time to form an LLC with ZenBusiness?
A: The formation team will get started right away, but official formation times vary state-to-state. On average ZenBusiness takes 2 -4 weeks to file your LLC.
Q: Does ZenBusiness have a Refund Policy?
A: Yes. Buy with confidence knowing that purchases are 100% refundable. Minus any expenses incurred to begin your formation. Once payments and formation info go to the state, they cannot accept any cancellations or changes to filings.
Q: Is it true that ZenBusiness does not have hidden fees?
A: When they say no hidden fees, that’s exactly what they mean. Unlike most companies, ZenBusiness will only charge you for the services you select during your formation process. Because they offer “slim” formation packages, you may need to purchase additional services, but they are not hidden.
Benjamin is the Co-Founder and CEO of FinancePond. He worked at a private accounting firm before he created FinancePond. Benjamin is an entrepreneur at heart and firmly believes in strong personal finance and investing education. He has a passion for finance and his goal is to cut out the fluff and make personal finance simple for everyone.