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4 Best LLC Services in California

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Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Updated on January 18, 2023

4 Best LLC Services in California

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4 Best LLC Services in California

If you’re starting an LLC, the business entity formation process is one of the first and most important hurdles. This step can be terribly complex and time-consuming, which is why many entrepreneurs turn to professional formation services. 

But which are the best LLC formation services in California? This article takes a closer look, stepping into an entrepreneur’s shoes, to help you choose the service that puts you on the road to success.

Why Use a Business Formation Service for your LLC in California?

A business formation service handles the business formation process for you, making it nearly seamless while offering additional services that can make life easier for a new business owner. Whether you’re forming a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, a business formation service takes care of all the red tape, freeing you up to focus on growing your business. 

What to Look for When Purchasing an LLC Service in California?

With so many business formation services to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is best for you. There are four essential elements that can help you make your decision.

Features

Each service offers various products and services and their plans are all designed differently. You may need some services but not others, so you need to choose the service that offers everything you need. For example, only some of the providers offer annual report filing. 

If it’s important to you to get that task off your plate, you’ll want a service that offers that feature. Another feature you might need is a digital dashboard where you can always access your business formation documents. 

You’ll want to choose a service that has everything you need to make starting and running your business as easy as possible. 

Customer Service and Reviews

One good way to learn about the quality of anything you’re buying is to listen to what people are saying about it. When we review services we look at Better Business Bureau ratings and reviews, as well as TrustPilot reviews. You should look at both positive and negative reviews to find out what people love about the service, and about issues customers have encountered.

Remember that fake reviews are common, so you’ll have to take some of the reviews with a grain of salt.

Pricing

Of course, you’ll want to get the best value for your money! 

Compare the cost of each service for everything you need. The price can really add up when you start adding extras, so be careful not to go too far. You also want to get good value and great customer service, so if you’re considering the cheapest service, check the reviews to see how people felt about it.

Turnaround time

Business formation turnaround times vary with each service, so if you’re in a hurry to get your business up and running, you’ll want to look for the quickest service. You don’t want your order to sit in an office for too long before your paperwork gets filed with the state. Some services differentiate themselves with fast turnaround times, so if they also offer good value, that might be your best choice. 

Here we summarize our top four picks of business formation services in California.

Best LLC Formation Services in California

ZenBusiness

4.6/5

ZenBusiness has three business formation plans to choose from, with annual fees ranging from $0 to $299. They have a solid rating with the BBB and a quick and easy purchase process.

Better Legal

4.2/5

BetterLegal offers one comprehensive LLC formation package and a handful of a la carte options. Their signature LLC formation service costs a one-time fee of $299 plus any state filing fees.

BizFilings

4/5

The BizFilings Basic Plan and Standard plan both offer good value, and the site is easy to use.

Rocket Lawyer

4/5

Rocket Lawyer doesn’t offer any business formation packages, but instead offers a la carte services or a membership subscription for $39.99/month.

1. ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness has three business formation plans to choose from, with annual fees ranging from $0 to $299. They have a great track record with BBB, competitive pricing, and a seamless formation process.

Pricing and features

Including California state fees, the Starter Plan costs $75 and provides you with a business name availability search in California’s state database and the business formation service, with full customer support. It also offers a few extras, including an accounting consultation to help you get started with your finances. You’ll also have access to your formation documents online at any time.

The Pro Plan costs $274 in California (includes state fees) and offers all the services included in the starter plan with the addition of an operating agreement template and their annual compliance service. The annual compliance service means that ZenBusiness will remind you of any reporting due dates based on California’s requirements. The plan also includes expedited filing so that your LLC is approved and ready to go faster.

The $374 Premium Plan includes California state fees, and contains everything within the Pro Plan but with the added advantage of rush filing, as well as a business domain name, website, and email.

Note that none of these plans include registered agent services. They are available for an additional $99 fee. ZenBusiness also has a document library that customers can access for $99.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Competitively-priced packages offer good value
  • Reliable customer service
  • Quick and easy purchase process
  • Good rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Company is socially responsible and active

Cons

  • Some information is difficult to find
  • Some a la carte services are not a good value
  • Some customers claim surprise charges
  • Cancellation can be a lengthy process

Each of the ZenBusiness plans includes a robust list of services. The Pro and Premium plans come with extras like an operating agreement and expedited and rush filing, making them a great value. However, registered agent services are not included in their packages and are offered at an additional cost.

Explore ZenBusiness

2. BetterLegal

BetterLegal offers one comprehensive LLC formation package and a handful of a la carte options. Their signature LLC formation service costs a one-time fee of $299 plus any state filing fees.

Pricing and features

BetterLegal offers one comprehensive LLC formation package and a handful of a la carte options. Their signature LLC formation service costs a one-time fee of $299 plus any state filing fees. 

The BetterLegal LLC Formation Plan also includes a federal tax identification number. You’ll need this number to open a business bank account to pay your employees as well as your taxes when they become due. The plan also comes with free website services, insurance evaluation, and tax analysis. BetterLegal is known for being a leading tax services provider, so you can rest assured that you’ll receive expert tax advice.

You’ll also receive amendment or document research services, minute templates, officer designation, banking resolution, and S corp tax election tools.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Quick turnaround times
  • Responsive customer service
  • Affordable registered agent services
  • User-friendly website and formation process

Cons

  • Only one LLC formation package available
  • LLC formation package more costly than competition
  • Customer service only available M-F business hours

Overall, BetterLegal provides extremely valuable services for aspiring business owners. They can ensure that your new business gets off on the right foot. Their service is easy to use and offers a great customer experience, which we learned from testing their support services and reading countless customer reviews. 

BetterLegal can take the time and hassle out of starting your business and the ongoing process of staying in compliance with your state’s laws. Their pricing is very competitive, so you’ll get outstanding value for what you pay. We highly recommend BetterLegal.

Explore BetterLegal

3. BizFilings

The BizFilings Basic Plan offers good value compared to others, since they offer a few extras with the plan, including registered agent services for six months. You can purchase extra services with all their plans, including an operating agreement and other forms, and a business license research package. 

They don’t offer as many services as some competitors, but if you’re just interested in forming your business, this is a good option.

Pricing and features

BizFilings’ Basic Plan costs $99, plus state fees, and includes a business name availability search through your state and the business formation service. The Basic Plan provides registered agent services for six months, which is something most competitors do not offer. It also offers a 24/7 business monitoring tool and a library of common business documents.

You can purchase BizFilings’ Standard Plan for $229 plus state fees. You will receive all services included in the Basic Plan with the addition of an LLC kit and seal, an operating agreement and other form templates, and expedited processing. 

For $359 plus state fees, BizFilings’ offers a Complete Plan that includes everything in the Standard Plan with several added benefits, such as:

  • EIN number
  • Compliance DVD
  • Certified copies of LLC documents (state fees apply)
  • Overnight shipping

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • All plans offer fair value for the price
  • Quick and easy purchase process
  • Good rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Good website usability

Cons

  • Some a la carte services are not good value
  • Some customers had issues cancelling recurring services
  • Only one customer review exists — difficult to fully evaluate

Most of the BizFilings plans and services are a good value. Their site is easy to use, and they offer a great customer service experience. They don’t offer as many services as some competitors, but if you’re just looking for a business formation service, they are a good option. If you’re looking for more services, LegalZoom might be a better choice.

Explore BizFilings

4. Rocket Lawyer

Unlike most other LLC formation services, Rocket Lawyer does not offer packages of services, just a la carte service options. They also offer a $39.99 per month subscription service on their site, with which you can get legal services, documents, and advice. The subscription has a seven-day free trial.

Pricing and features

With a $39.99 per month Rocket Lawyer subscription, the business formation service only charges state filing fees, and you can get a 25% discount on registered agent services. The subscription gives you access to a host of business document templates, including an operating agreement. 

Without a subscription, the business formation service costs $99 plus state fees. In California, the cost is $174. You can also purchase other services, including expedited business filing for $100 and an EIN for $59. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Quick and easy purchase process
  • Good rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Membership option is a good value if you need ongoing legal help

Cons

  • Some information is difficult to find
  • Offers fewer services than some competitors
  • No chat support

Rocket Lawyer is a unique option, not offering packages of business formation services, but a subscription service instead that allows you to form your business for free and get access to a host of business form templates. We feel that the best value they offer is their subscription membership, as you’ll be able to get assistance for any ongoing legal concerns.

Explore Rocket Lawyer

Our Approach

As an entrepreneurial advisory site, we take our responsibilities seriously. We understand that countless entrepreneurs, and potential entrepreneurs, rely on our judgments and insights, particularly when it comes to creating their business.

As a result, our writers do their utmost to gain a comprehensive understanding of the services offered and the actual customer experience. In nearly every case, we:

  • Examined every page of the service’s website
  • Reviewed all of their offerings, from a la carte products to packages
  • Put ourselves in the customer’s shoes, creating an account
  • Communicated with customer service via chat, email and phone
  • Used the service to actually form an LLC 
  • Gained a full understanding of the customer experience and service value

Thanks to this full immersion in the actual customer experience, our reviewers are able to provide the most complete and insightful analysis of various LLC formation services.

FAQs

What should I take into consideration when choosing the right business formation service for my LLC?

When assessing whether or not a business formation service is right for you, it’s important to dive into the following four categories: included features, customer service, pricing, and turnaround time.

Why should I use Better Legal?

BetterLegal can take the time and hassle out of starting your business and the ongoing process of staying in compliance with your state’s laws. Their pricing is very competitive, so you’ll get outstanding value for what you pay. We highly recommend BetterLegal.

Where can I learn more about what real customers think of the various business formation services?

To learn more about the customer experience at a particular business formation service, check out the reviews and ratings on the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot websites.