Help and Support
Ease of Use
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If you’re starting a business, the business entity formation process is one of the first hurdles to cross. This step can be terribly complex and time-consuming, which is why many entrepreneurs turn to a professional formation service.
One of the top options is ZenBusiness. But is it the best service? And is it the right choice for you? This review takes a closer look — putting ourselves in the shoes of an entrepreneur — to help you make this crucial business decision.
Help and Support
Ease of Use
ZenBusiness 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, ZenBusiness takes care of all the red tape so you don’t have to.
ZenBusiness offers several packages of services and a la carte products and services. We explored all of the options and have broken down the primary offerings and benefits below.
|Starter Plan||Pro Plan||Premium Plan|
|Price||$49 annually||$199 annually||$299 annually|
|Name Availability Search||√||√||√|
|Phone and Email Support||√||√||√|
|Online Document Access||√||√||√|
|Statement of Organizer||√||√||√|
|Free Accounting Consultation||√||√||√|
|Virtual Business Guide||√||√||√|
|Customized Operating Agreement||√||√|
|Annual Compliance Service||√||√|
|Business Domain Name||√|
|Business Email Address||√|
|Business Domain Name Privacy||√|
Note that state filing fees still apply with all these plans. Fees vary by state, which we have listed in a section below.
The $49 Starter Plan includes a business name availability search and the business formation service. It also includes full customer support, making it a great value.
The Starter Plan includes a business name availability search through your state 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.
This plan is a great value and appropriate for entrepreneurs with a limited budget who just want help getting their business up and running and plan to handle annual reporting and the operating agreement themselves. They can choose to add additional services at the time of purchase or later.
This plan also may be appropriate for established businesses forming a new business structure or changing their business structure.
The fee is less than the cost of a similar plan from LegalZoom, which is $79. However, the renewal fee for the second year of the starter plan with ZenBusiness is $119, which is expensive considering that you’ll have already received the main service.
The $199 Pro Plan has the additional benefits of an operating agreement template and the annual compliance service. It has a few other benefits as well, so it’s an overall good value.
The Pro Plan includes 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 your state’s requirements.
They will provide two document addendums if you need to update your formation documents. The plan also includes expedited filing so that your LLC is approved and ready to go faster.
This plan is appropriate for businesses that want a little more help with the operating agreement, which is a critical document, and the state’s annual compliance requirements, such as annual reports and document addendums. The price offers good value considering the extra services, particularly if you renew every year.
The $299 Premium Plan has the additional benefit of rush filing, as well as website services. This plan is a bit expensive compared to the pro plan, considering how little the additional benefits offer.
The Premium Plan includes everything in the Pro Plan with the advantage of rush filing, as well as a business domain name, website, and email.
Rush filing means your LLC will be formed in 1 to 3 business days, as opposed to 10 to 14 days with standard filing and 4 to 9 days for expedited filing.
The advantages of this plan are the rush filing and the business website services. However, you can handle website services for less by using a web hosting site such as GoDaddy.
This plan, however, would be beneficial for a business owner that wants a one-stop-shop for their business services. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem worth the added costs.
Note that none of these plans feature registered agent services. You can add those services for an additional fee of $99.
Many of the ZenBusienss review articles online state that registered agent services come with the starter plan for free for the first year, but we verified that registered agent services are NOT included by contacting customer support both by phone and by email.
|Service||One time payment||Annual Subscription|
|Registered agent service**||$99|
|Operating agreement template||$49|
|Worry free compliance (annual reporting reminders, up to 2 document amendments)||$199|
|Employer Identification Number (EIN)||$99|
|Annual report filing||$100|
|New York publication||$200|
|Certificate of good standing||$100|
|Bank resolution template||$30|
|Domain name registration||$25|
|Domain name privacy||$10|
|Business email address||$25|
|Business license report||$99|
|Business documents template library||$99|
|Business name reservation||$50|
|Business bank account||$110|
*Business formation, Expedited filing and Rush filing have additional state fee costs.
**Registered agent service price may vary depending on your state
If you purchase products a la carte, you’ll need to be careful as the cost can add up fast.
Your LLC must be formed with your state by filing articles of organization, sometimes called a certificate of organization or a certificate of formation. This can be done online or by mail. ZenBusiness handles the filing for you online, and the LLC approval time varies by state.
This can be a time-consuming and difficult process for an entrepreneur and getting customer support from your state government office is often a challenge. With ZenBusiness, you have access to customer support during normal business hours, and on Sundays.
Once your LLC is approved and official, you can access your formation documents on the ZenBusiness website at any time.
When you form your LLC, depending on the state where you want to register your business there will be a state fee that you have to pay. Below we have listed the fees for each state so you can calculate the overall expenses for opening your LLC.
Please note that the state fees are costs that you will pay in addition to the ZenBusiness formation service costs, or any other formation service you choose.
Use our dropdown calculator to check how much your LLC formation service will cost using ZenBusiness. Just choose a plan, a la carte services, and the state where you want to form an LLC to calculate the cost based on your needs and preferences.
In most states, when you form an LLC you need a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business that is authorized to accept legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business.
For $99 per year, ZenBusiness can act as your registered agent and handle official correspondence and documents for your business. They will ensure that all correspondence is handled on time and keep copies of documents for you. They will keep track of deadlines for you and send reminders of necessary filings, such as tax forms or annual reports.
A registered agent service will help keep you in compliance with the law and save you time by keeping track of key documents and filing deadlines. This frees you up to focus on growing your business. ZenBusiness will also offer support if any issues arise.
Using ZenBusiness registered agent services enables you to have flexible hours. If you’re your own registered agent, you must be available from 8 AM to 5 PM at your registered agent address. If you use an agency like ZenBusiness, they are available during those hours so you are able to focus on growing your business.
If you use a national agency like ZenBusiness, you can also form an LLC or corporation in another state or multiple states where you do not have residency.
Using ZenBusiness also offers you a level of privacy, as you would never be served with a summons at your business in front of customers or employees.
ZenBusiness offers an operating agreement template customized for your state. An operating agreement for an LLC is an important legal document that details who owns the business and also provides essential information pertaining to member duties.
An LLC operating agreement establishes the financial relationship between business owners (“members”) and the basics of the working relationships between those owners and the managers who oversee daily operations.
By using the ZenBusiness template, you can just fill in the blanks, rather than having an attorney draw up the agreement for you from scratch. At an a la carte price of $49 with the starter plan, it’s a good value compared to the attorney fees you would otherwise pay.
It’s included in the pro and premium plans. Only a handful of states require an operating agreement, but having one is highly recommended.
ZenBusiness offers many guides and templates to help you with documents and other business tasks. Free guides include:
You can also choose to purchase access to a business documents library for $99 annually.
Below see the full list of the document templates that you would have at your disposal if you decide to purchase the service.
These document templates can be very valuable for a business and save a lot in attorney fees. Other sites also provide document templates, but ZenBusiness’ documents library is comprehensive and offers excellent value.
We tested the ZenBusiness customer service experience from every angle. In fact, to write this review we formed an LLC using ZenBusiness’s service.
When you first go to the ZenBusiness site, you’re prompted to begin entering information, starting with your proposed company name. There is a menu at the top that you can explore to find some free tools, products and pricing, and more about the company.
However, you can only find a la carte product prices. You cannot immediately see the packages of services and their pricing.
When you enter your company name, you’re then asked a series of automated questions, and the chatbot then makes product and package recommendations, allowing the user to see the service packages and prices.
The questions were simple and quick, but most visitors might prefer to see packages and prices right away before starting the process.
Once the product recommendations are made — and they are not described in great detail — you can choose which you prefer and the site takes you immediately to payment. Keep in mind that if you do not pay right away, but instead want to come back to it later, you will have to go through all the questions again.
When we went through this process the first time, we received an email within an hour with an offer to assist. We then went a step further and actually formed an LLC. We chose the starter plan and added registered agent services, the EIN service, and the rush filing service.
The entire process took about 15 minutes and was very simple. Throughout the process, the chatbot recommended other products, and with a simple click, we could purchase or reject. Even though we were clearly being sold to, it did not feel intrusive.
Once the signup process and payment were complete, we had immediate access to our dashboard. The dashboard shows everything you have to do, and what ZenBusiness is working on for you. It’s also where you can access your formation documents once the formation process is complete.
The dashboard also shows all the products that are still available to purchase.
Shortly after forming the LLC, we received a welcome email about what would happen next.
We asked customer service about filing turnaround times and received an almost immediate response.
Our business was formed, as promised, in two days. We received an email when the documents were ready. We could immediately access our business documents online on the dashboard.
There was a small issue with the business address, but it was resolved almost immediately.
Overall, the site is easy to use if you’re ready to go, and just want to complete the process. Otherwise, information can be difficult to find. You have the option to sign up for a free account on the site, though we had difficulty finding that option. However, signing up for the account doesn’t seem to give you access to anything you can’t access without an account.
With ZenBusiness, you can cancel your plan or services at any time by emailing [email protected] or calling customer support at 1-844-493-6249 Monday through Friday from 8 am – 8 pm Central time or Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm Central time.
There are no fees or penalties to cancel. But some reviews of ZenBusiness highlight difficulties with cancellation, such as:
I have instructed them multiple times to cancel the account and they refuse. They want dissolution documents from the state where the company is registered, but that requires further, unnecessary payment of more fees to the state.
We tested all three forms of ZenBusiness’s customer support.
When we tested the customer service response time through the online chat option, we received a response within five minutes.
The question we asked was about the annual compliance a la carte service, which costs $199, compared to the registered agent service with annual compliance included, which is $149.
We asked if those two annual compliance services are different, considering the price discrepancy. The customer service agent was polite but could not explain the discrepancy.
**The registered agent + annual compliance service for $149 has since been removed from their a la carte products page.
Chat Support Rating:
We called ZenBusiness to ask a question about registered agent services. Our call was answered almost immediately, and the question was answered promptly. The question was whether registered agent services are included in any of the plans, and the answer was no.
The customer service representative was very professional and polite and did not try to make any sales pitches.
Phone Support Rating:
We asked the same question via email about registered agent services and received the same response in 45 minutes. Our question was answered thoroughly and politely. The person who responded did not try to make a sales pitch.
Email Support Rating:
We wanted to know what customers of ZenBusiness are saying, so we thoroughly explored customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau and Trust Pilot.
Due to the intense competition in online LLC formation services, fake customer reviews are a persistent problem that review sites need to constantly monitor. Please keep this in mind.
We’ve summarized our findings here.
ZenBusiness has an A- rating on BBB.
ZenBusiness has an A- rating from the BBB with 4.35/5 stars in customer reviews. They have been an accredited BBB business since 2019. They have received 56 complaints in three years, all of which have a closed status.
Many positive reviews at BBB revolve around exceptional customer service. Customers mentioned phone support being very helpful and cordial, as well as proactive in identifying potential problems. Customers also discussed the chat support being excellent at resolving issues.
Another person said they received their formation paperwork in “record time”, and one said they were “blown away” by how easy it was to set up their LLC and get questions answered. They also said that customer service agents went “above and beyond” to provide helpful details.
Some of the negative reviews concern errors made in processing and issues canceling accounts. One person said they waited 6 weeks and their LLC still had not been formed; another said they waited over a year for their EIN. But it should be noted that EIN is an add-on service that is not included in the packages, so it may have been a misunderstanding on the customer’s part.
Some reviewers pointed out that ZenBusiness would not cancel their account unless they first dissolved their LLC with the state or filed a change of agent form.
You can read reviews on the BBB website.
ZenBusiness has a high trust score rating on Trustpilot.
The Trustpilot score for ZenBusiness is 4.7/5 stars.
The ZenBusiness reviews from Trustpilot have the following range:
Many positive Trustpilot reviews, again, revolve around great customer service. One person said they were “shocked” at how easy it was to form their LLC, and that it was finalized within days. Another person liked the ease of answering the questions asked by the chatbot that guided them through the process of formation. Others mentioned the quick and friendly responses from customer service.
Some of the less favorable reviews revolve around fee disclosures and the fees themselves. One person complained that all fees for the products they ordered were not charged immediately so they received surprise charges on their credit card.
Others complained that the site consistently uses “upselling strategies” to get users to buy more products and that $49 for an operating agreement template is “disgustingly absurd”. Another customer complained that there seem to be hidden fees and that they ended up paying double what they expected.
You can read reviews on the Trustpilot website.
We wanted to take our review one step further, so we found a real customer starting a business who needed to form an LLC. Gwendolyn, a nurse, was interested in forming an LLC in Virginia for her new home health care businesses. Here we summarize her thoughts.
Gwendolyn had some difficulty going through the formation process. She filled in her business information but did not complete the purchase process, and her information was not saved in the ZenBusiness system. She went through the process, entering the information several times, before she was able to complete it.
When she was having trouble getting through the process, she attempted to call customer service several times, and her calls were not answered. We’re not sure if she was calling during customer service hours since we utilized customer service ourselves several times and never had a problem.
She finally was able to reach Mark, a customer service representative, that helped her complete the formation process. She was pleased with his support.
Gwendolyn’s LLC formation was completed in five days, and her documents were made available to her online at that time. Considering that she did not purchase expedited or rush filing, five days is quite speedy.
Gwendolyn purchased the Starter Plan for $49 plus the state filing fee, which in Virginia is $100, and she was quite happy with this price.
She did, however, mention that she did not like the prices for other services that she could handle herself, such as obtaining an EIN number. We agree with her on that one – paying $99 for ZenBusiness to get an EIN number for you is not worth it, when you can apply for free on the IRS website and it only takes a few minutes.
While Gwendolyn had some difficulties with the site usability and getting through to customer service, she was able to get her LLC formed quickly and was happy with the price. Overall, she was satisfied with the value she received and was impressed with how quickly her LLC was formed.
We’ve put together some benefits and drawbacks of ZenBusiness.
ZenBusiness was founded in 2015 by a group of entrepreneurs with a mission to help others launch and run businesses while avoiding common pitfalls. ZenBusiness has helped more than 300,000 businesses get started, and, according to the BBB, has 342 employees and is managed by:
Based in Austin, Texas, they are structured as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). A PBC is formed with a goal to benefit the public, as well as to make money. The official benefit they offer as a PBC is “to promote entrepreneurship by providing accessible products and responsive support.”
In addition to providing services to entrepreneurs, they have awarded loans and grants to small business owners and supported organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.
We explored similar services to ZenBusiness to see how they stack up to the competition.
ZenBusiness generally offers a better value for your money than competitors. Package prices are mostly lower and more services are offered.
LegalZoom has three packages of services as well:
None of the LegalZoom plans come with an operating agreement service. It costs $99 extra for the service. Annual compliance services are also not included in LegalZoom plans. Turnaround times with LegalZoom are longer.
Swyft Filings is not a subscription service like ZenBusiness. They charge a one-time fee for business formation services of $49, and other ongoing services can be added. The differentiating factor for Swyft Filings is their speed. Their signup process is quick and they have faster turnaround times.
Incfile has very competitive pricing. Their basic package, called the Silver Package, is free and includes registered agent services for a year. Their Gold Package is only $149 and includes the operating agreement as well as a banking resolution. Their Platinum Package is $299 and includes some services that ZenBusiness does not.
We highly recommend ZenBusiness for best value of services
Overall, ZenBusiness 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, reading countless customer reviews and forming our own LLC.
ZenBusiness 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 ZenBusiness.
As a leading 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 this case, we:
Thanks to this full immersion in the actual customer experience, our reviewer and team are able to provide the most complete and insightful review of ZenBusiness’ LLC formation services.
A service like ZenBusiness can make the business formation process easy for you and ensure that it’s done correctly. They provide customer support and additional services to support your business.
ZenBusiness offers business formation services to handle the paperwork and cut through the red tape with your state, so you don’t have to. They also offer additional services, including registered agent services and annual compliance.
The Starter Plan from ZenBusiness offers a name availability search, LLC formation filing with your state, unlimited phone and email support, and a free accounting consultation. You’ll also be able to access your LLC documents online at any time.
The Pro Plan from ZenBusiness offers the same business formation services as their Starter Plan, with the added benefits of expedited LLC filing, an operating agreement template, and annual compliance services.
With the Premium Plan from ZenBusiness, you get premium LLC filing with rush filing, as well as an operating agreement, annual compliance services, and business domain name, website, and email services.
The ZenBusiness Starter Plan is $49 annually. The renewal fee, however, for the second year is $119. The plan offers a name availability search, filing your LLC formation paperwork with your state, unlimited phone and email support, and a free accounting consultation. You’ll also be able to access your LLC documents online at any time.
Yes, you can purchase their business formation service a la carte without signing up for a subscription. The fee is $49.
The ZenBusiness registered agent service is a professional service that will handle official correspondence and documents for your business. They will ensure that all correspondence is handled on time and keep copies of documents for you. They will keep track of deadlines for you and send you reminders of things you may have to file, such as tax forms or annual reports.
Registered agent services from ZenBusiness cost $99 annually. Alternatively, you can get registered agent services plus the benefit of annual compliance services for $149 annually.
ZenBusiness has an A- rating from the BBB with 4.35/5 stars in customer reviews. They have been an accredited BBB business since 2019.
With ZenBusiness, you can cancel your plan or services at any time by emailing [email protected] or calling customer support at 1-844-493-6249 Monday through Friday from 8 am – 8 pm Central time or Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm Central time. But note that several ZenBusiness customers have complained of facing difficulties when attempting to cancel.
There are no fees or penalties to cancel your subscription with ZenBusiness. See previous response for cancellation details.
Turnaround times for business formation with the starter plan are 10 to 14 days, according to ZenBusiness. You can pay an additional fee for expedited filing.
Yes, overall ZenBusiness offers great value and excellent support for business owners. Their pricing is very competitive, and they offer many supplementary services that can make life much easier for new business owners.