ZenBusiness is a business services platform built to help clients start, run, and grow their businesses.
They help you through the filing process to help you start your business sooner and with less costly mistakes.
Once your business is up and running, you’ll also get help to manage and grow your business while maintaining good standing with the state.
ZenBusiness makes this all possible through their easy-to-use member’s dashboard that keeps all your business documents and services all in one place.
We’ll cover the ins and outs in this ZenBusiness LLC service review, so keep reading.
ZenBusiness Pros & Cons
- Affordable pricing: ZenBusiness prides itself on giving you more bang for your buck. It even claims to “cost up to 80% less than their nearest competitor LegalZoom.”
- Customer support: Its FAQ page, help center, as well as chat, phone, and email support give you several ways to find answers to your business questions.
- Customer feedback: ZenBusiness has served over 100,000 businesses. Most of its clients give it an excellent rating with its smooth and easy service.
- Worry-Free Guarantee: You’ll also get access to a Worry-Free Compliance service to stay covered all year. This add-on service lets you focus on growing your business by covering your annual report and up to two yearly amendments.
- Approachable LLC formation process: ZenBusiness makes the LLC formation process simple and easy to understand.
- Socially Conscious: It’s a public benefit corporation that awards grants and loans to small businesses. ZenBussiness also has a long-standing partnership with Kiva, a lending and humanitarian platform, to help bring people out of poverty. The service focuses on lending to women- and minority-owned businesses, helping them start and get their operations off the ground.
- For now, the primary drawback for ZenBusiness is that it’s still new. So, it doesn’t have as much brand recognition as some of its competitors. However, that should change as the service continues to operate over time.
These are some of the reasons why ZenBusiness holds the #1 spot on our ranking of business formation services. However, there’s more, and you can find out below.
ZenBusiness LLC Formation Packages
ZenBusiness offers three pricing packages for you to choose from:
Here is a brief breakdown of each pricing plan:
1. Starter Package
The ZenBusiness Starter plan is the basic pricing plan for the service. It includes just about everything you will need to register your LLC and get it up and running, especially from a fundamental point.
This plan costs a basic $49 fee, as well as state fees that will vary based on your location. Fees are billed annually, so you pay once a year, and you’re good to go.
Some of the unique features in this plan include:
Registered Agent Service
This package gets you a registered agent to represent your business. A registered agent is one of the officials that your LLC just can’t do without. They accept legal notices – including lawsuits and summons from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – on behalf of your company. If you want to ensure that your LLC operates smoothly, a registered agent is a necessity.
In general, a registered agent is a hard requirement for any company looking to become an LLC. Your agent will be the one to file your formation papers, and you will most likely miss essential documents that need filing if you don’t have a registered agent representing you.
With the ZenBusiness Starter package, you get a dedicated registered agent ready to help with your company formation. Note that this service is billed separately and will bump up your renewal fees to $119 a year.
Preparation and Filing Articles of Organization
Articles of Incorporation are a significant part of the formal documents you will need to establish your LLC – especially at the state level. They outline the duties, rights, liabilities, and much more of every member in your LLC.
You will need to file your Articles of Incorporation with your state government. However, many cities and counties have specific zoning and licensing requirements that you will need to keep in mind. These requirements can vary based on your industry, location, and much more.
With ZenBusiness, you get a thorough review of your business and its structure. This way, they draft an appropriate Article of Incorporation. ZenBusiness will also help you with the filing process, taking the stress off your shoulders.
Note that this service is included in all pricing packages.
LLC Operating Agreement
The LLC Operating Agreement is a document that outlines the terms of an LLC according to the business owner. It is similar to the Articles of Incorporation, which explain how companies expect to function moving forward.
With this document, you lay out your operational and financial decision-making process, the company’s operational and governance structure, and everything that has to do with its leadership. It also explains the business’s acceptable actions and creates a succession plan if you have to leave the company for some reason.
While an Operating Agreement isn’t a requirement in most states, it is seen as a mandatory document you must have when setting up your LLC. With ZenBusiness, you get an Operating Agreement template that is up to date and easy to understand. All you would have to do is fill it with your company’s details and ensure that it matches your firm’s information.
Also, keep in mind that YOU have to fill in your operating agreement and keep it up to date over time. Billed separately, this document will cost you $35 with ZenBusiness.
Name Availability Search
New businesses crop up every day. Ideas are born in different fields from different entrepreneurs, and they all choose a name to improve brand visibility and stay memorable in their customers’ minds.
As someone looking to get started with your new venture, the same applies to you – you think up a name that you think will help you stay memorable, and you immediately brand your company in that manner.
However, you could have problems in the future if you find that some other company Around you has been operating with your name for a long time. From copyright infringement to other legal tussles, this can be a bit of a problem. To ensure that you don’t run into such, ZenBusiness will get formation experts to sift through your state’s database and make sure your selected business name is available before filing your paperwork.
Given how critical this service is, ZenBusiness doesn’t offer it separately. it is part of the Starter service at all times.
Worry-free CPA assessment:
One of the areas where your company will need to score top marks and remain ahead of the curve is accounting and tax compliance. You want to know everything there is to know about bookkeeping and tax compliance, as well as your obligations and when you need to make good on them.
To help out, ZenBusiness has several Certified Practicing Accountants (CPAs) who can offer a worry-free accounting and tax assessment. The assessment will include understanding your company’s state, viz a viz taxes, bookkeeping, and compliance. At the same time, the accountants will be available to answer all questions you might have about your tax needs.
The CPA assessment will teach you accounting fundamentals such as tracking and paying invoices, proper bookkeeping practices, tax compliance and conduct, and much more.
Keep in mind that the service is only available in the company’s plan. ZenBusiness doesn’t offer it separately.
Good for: Small business owners.
Summary: This package is best if you’re just starting your small business and lack the funding or the size to choose the pricier options.
2. Pro Package
The Pro package costs $199 + state fees (billed annually) and includes all the services like free registered agent service the Starter package offers but adds three more, which we detail below:
Employer ID Number
Also known as a Tax ID Number, ad Employer ID Number is a nine-digit unique figure you get from the IRS. The agency uses it to identify your business, and it lets your company access several benefits – including a bank account, seamless hiring processes, financing help, and much more.
One of the many unique LLC characteristics is the separation of business funds from your personal holdings. With an EIN, you can do just that. The number ensures that your company’s finances are entirely separate from yours, and you can reduce your personal liability on that end.
The Pro Package on ZenBusienss provides you with an EIN. Note that while ZenBusiness will prepare and digitally file your EIN with the IRS, You’ll have to personally mail or fax in your completed forms to receive your EIN if you do not have a social security number or taxpayer ID number.
Note that you can price this service separately and get it for just $70 on ZenBusiness.
Banking services are critical to the success of any company. You want to be able to open a bank account, access loans, get proper financing, and do much more on your own. However, you will need several documents to get your LLC to that level. one such document is the banking resolution.
With the banking resolution, you can authorize a party to open a bank account and sign on behalf of your business. It makes financial transactions much easier and can significantly help set your business up once and for all.
ZenBusiness can also help you with this service. The company will draft a banking resolution template, allowing you to complete the resolution quickly and set up your financial structure. Priced separately, the service will cost you $30.
As a business, you have significant obligations to your state. Your operations will need to be compliant with several laws and statutes, and you have to make sure that you’re on the right side of the law at all times. Failure to do so could lead to significant fines and penalties, and you could even lose your protection as an LLC.
Considering that you will need to handle many filing and compliance events, you must keep track of all your obligations. ZenBusiness helps you to take care of this process. The service will track your compliance requirements and ensure that you stay abreast of all developments.
With the service’s Worry-Free Compliance service, you get alerts of your compliance and filing events beforehand. This service covers everything from annual filings, amendments, and more. If you miss a filing event by chance, you can also contact ZenBusiness for the right counsel on how to gain proper standing with the law once more.
You can get this service separately, and it will only cost you $119.
Good for: Small to medium-sized businesses.
Summary: This package is best if you’re starting a medium-sized business or your business is beginning to expand.
3. Premium Package
The Premium package is the most value-added pricing package at $299 + state fees (billed annually) and includes all the pro and starter plan features plus five more which we detail below:
Rush Filing Service
ZenBusiness completes the standard business formations on a first-come-first-served basis. So, it always helps if you get in with the company as early as you can to move ahead and get things done. However, there is a rush filing service available with the Premium package that can help out people with urgent needs.
The rush filing service feature lets you skip ahead of this line if you have an emergency or a deadline you have to meet. You can process your information much quicker and ensure that you are up and running as soon as possible by paying for it.
For the rush filing service, ZenBusiness gets your information processed between 3 to 5 days. In some states, you can complete the process in even a day or two.
Domain Name Registration
One of the most significant needs of a business is a website. In an increasingly digital world, you need to have a website that can serve as a central hub and allow people to find you easily. Failure to do so will put you at risk of losing customers and business over the long run.
ZenBusiness can also help you with this. The company provides a domain registration service, where they help you get a proper domain name and register it. From there, you can look into building a website and other online profiles – Email addresses, staff contacts, and more.
You might not want to get a website or anything now, but you will eventually need it. So, it would be much better for you to register your domain name now. This service can be billed separately at the cost of just $25.
Domain Name Privacy
When you set up your domain name, you will need to submit your information to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The corporation operates the WHOIS directory, which allows them to keep track of every domain name and administrator.
With a WHOIS listing, you can display your contact information online. So, your customers will be able to search for and get in touch with you. However, if you want privacy, you can get domain name privacy to protect you and your contact information. The domain name privacy service essentially replaces your personal details with those of your domain registrar. So, you can enjoy optimal privacy while online.
You can bill this service separately on ZenBusiness, and it will only cost you $10.
Business Email Address
You will need several other features to ensure seamless communication between your company officials and your customers when you eventually get your company website and domain name. One such feature is the company Email.
The business email service provides an official email address to everyone in your company. All organization officials can use it for official communications, while you will also be able to use it for relations with partners and customers. Among many other benefits, email offers more credibility and allows you to project professionalism.
You can use official emails for marketing as well. With ZenBusiness, your email will be able to block spam and unnecessary messages, and you will be able to sync it across multiple devices. ZenBusiness will also offer you up to 5 GB of free storage.
Charged separately, the business email will cost you $25 annually.
As you scale your business and cater to even more clients’ needs, you will need a reliable website that can help you accommodate requests and still hold your online presence firmly. You can generally achieve a great deal with a website – it offers social proof, improves your business credibility, and helps you to promote your product.
Instead of paying exorbitant sums to get a fully functional website, ZenBusiness can help you create one instead. All you would need to do is provide the service with the correct information, and they will create a modern, highly responsive site for your customers to reach you through easily. The site will be built to sync your domain name, and it will be responsive on all device platforms.
You can bill it separately for just $100 annually.
Good for: Medium to large businesses.
Summary: This package is more suited to large businesses that can use all the premium features.
One of the many great things about ZenBusiness is that it goes the extra mile to make you comfortable. To wit, you can find the following additional services beyond what is available in the service packages:
Business Bank Account
Finances are critical for any business. In fact, most business experts will recommend that one of the first things you do after registering your business is to open a bank account. A business bank account ensures that your wealth and business resources are separate, and there are no conflicts down the line. It can also come in handy when it’s time to pay taxes or run mandatory audits.
ZenBusiness has now partnered with Radius to offer customers easy access to a bank account and other banking services. With this service, you can get your finances set up in a quick time.
You can pay $100 for the business bank account set up on ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness also offers the opportunity to get a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) – a type of insurance that provides various coverage types and is very cheap to purchase. A BOP combines commercial property insurance and general liability insurance into one package, allowing you to easily get the best of both worlds.
BOPs provide cover for theft, fires, property damage, and personal work-related injuries. Even better is that you can expand your BOP and get additional coverage to meet your business needs. If you don’t have business insurance yet for any number of reasons, ZenBusiness is here to help you out.
New York Publication
New York is seen by many as the world’s business capital. The market is ripe for just about any company to expand and scale significantly. However, the state remains one of the few that will require LLCs to publish formation announcements in newspapers.
Under New York law (s206)(b)(4), newly-created LLCs will need to publish their formation in two separate newspapers once weekly for six weeks. Failure to comply means you might be suspended from doing business in the state.
You must stay in compliance with this law if you want to operate smoothly in New York. Thankfully, ZenBusiness is here for you. With the service, you can get a Certificate of Publication while handling the steps involved in publishing your formation announcements. ZenBusiness will take the hassle off your shoulders so that you can focus on other business aspects.
This service costs $200 annually, but it is definitely worth every penny.
As a business, you can’t do without filing an annual report. This document shows an overview of your activities throughout a period – from operations, finances, sales, philanthropy, and more. You file this report with the appropriate authorities as part of your efforts to remain in compliance with the right laws and regulations.
For most states, you will get a penalty for failing to disclose your annual reports. If you’re a repeat offender, you could even lose your license to operate in the state. Thankfully, ZenBusiness can help you compile your annual report. The service can also send you notifications and reminders to help you with making your filing.
Certificate of Good Standing
Also known as a Certificate of Authorization of a Certificate of Existence, the good-standing certificate provides an overview of all measures you’ve taken to maintain compliance with state laws. The state issues the document, and it shows that you’ve taken all necessary precautions to stay in line with all laid-out rules.
Some of these rules include remitting state fees, making prompt annual report filings, and paying your applicable taxes. While you might not need it at all times, it definitely helps to have the Certificate of Good Standing around with you.
ZenBusiness can help with procuring this certificate and getting you up and running. The service costs just $75, and you can get it almost immediately.
Business Name Reservation
As a company, a lot of work goes into your naming. You want to ensure that you’ve got the right company name that can resonate with your target market and the people whose needs you’re trying to meet. However, it is understandable if you might not want to start your business just yet.
Thankfully, some states allow you to reserve your business with their commerce bureaus before you even begin filing for incorporation. With this service, you can rest assured that your business name is waiting and ready for you whenever you want to take advantage of it. While reservations usually stay valid for 120 days, this duration varies between states.
ZenBusiness can help you reserve your business name for just $50.
DBA Name Registration
The Doing Business As (DBA) registration service will come in handy if your business expects to work under a different name due to some reason. A DBA differs from your personal or business name, and it allows your company to trade and do business under a different alias while staying under the confines of the law.
Obtaining a DBA can be a tad challenging in the United States. However, you can leverage ZenBusiness to overcome the hassle and get things done much quicker. The service can help you register your DBA in compliance with the law’s guidelines and help make the process much easier.
The DBA registration with ZenBusiness costs $100
After much consideration, we can clearly see that ZenBusiness is the best LLC formation service available. The service combines affordability and premium features in a way that no one else does, thus providing optimal value for your money. The fact that you can also take certain services individually makes ZenBusiness even more convenient.
However, there are several other competing services. One such name is LegalZoom – an LLC formation service that is arguably the most popular in the field. While LegalZoom might have better brand recognition, however, we believe that ZenBusiness is much better.
ZenBusiness Customer Reviews
We searched the web for external ZenBusiness reviews, so you have some credible external information as well:
It’s always a good idea to look for customer reviews before you spend your hard-earned money. Often, you’ll find that you shouldn’t always believe the marketing hype.
With ZenBusiness, this is not the case, and we’re happy to say that it delivers exceptional value, expertise, and what they promise. This is based on more than 4800+ reviews on Trustpilot where ZenBusiness is rated EXCELLENT with 4.8 out of 5 stars. And things only get better since ZenBusiness actively monitors the not-so-good reviews and promises to improve their service accordingly.
That’s a trustworthy company in our book.
Should You Start an LLC With ZenBusiness?
Taking all that we’ve discussed above, should you start an LLC with ZenBusiness?
While forming an LLC with ZenBusiness is easy & has many positive aspects, it may not be what every entrepreneur is looking for.
Pros of forming an LLC with ZenBusiness
- ZenBusiness is affordable
- Outstanding overall value
- Excellent customer reviews on Trustpilot
- Free registered agent service for the first year
Cons of starting an LLC with ZenBusiness
- It’s not the fastest LLC formation service. There are other business formation services with shorter turnaround times.
Final Verdict – Is ZenBusiness Good For LLC Formation?
With its affordable packages, additional features like a free registered agent for the first year, excellent customer reviews, and outstanding overall value, ZenBusiness is one of, if not the best, LLC formation services out there.
Yes, there are cheaper and faster LLC formation services, but they usually don’t have the same overall value as ZenBusiness. You don’t even have to take our word for it since ZenBusiness’s customer reviews will speak a lot about it already.
The only other service that comes close to comparing is LegalZoom, but ZenBusiness is better with their more affordable pricing and available features.
Recommended? Yes, ZenBusiness is one of the best LLC services we’ve reviewed so far.
Let us know if you agree with our ZenBusiness LLC Service review by leaving us a message on our contact page or leaving a review at the bottom of this article.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Zenbusiness Starter vs Pro – Is The Pro Package Worth It?
There are 4 key advantages that Zenbusiness Pro has over Zenbusiness Starter:
- Faster Filing Speed
- Employer ID Number (EIN)
- Banking Resolution Template
- Worry-Free Compliance
Here’s a short breakdown:
Faster Filing Of LLC Documents: Express filing is only important if you’re in a hurry to file your LLC. So if you are in a hurry, going for the pro package makes sense. Otherwise, the faster filing speed is not that important – LLC filings are pretty quick these days as it is.
Employer ID Number (EIN): You need an Employer ID Number (EIN) if you want to hire people for your LLC – including paying yourself a salary. With the pro package, Zenbusiness will register your EIN as a part of the package. With the starter package, you’ll have to file for the EIN number yourself (if you need it). This process will take you about 2 hours at most, depending on your state. So it’s up to you to decide – are 2 hours of your time & attention worth more or less than the extra cost of the pro package?
Banking Resolution Template: Banking resolution is a simple document that specifies who can make banking decisions on part of your LLC – signing checks, borrowing money, etc. After drafting the resolution, you’ll provide it to the bank and hold a copy internally within the company. The bottom line is – there are free banking resolution template files available online, and you don’t need to pay extra for the Zenbusiness Pro package to get one.
Worry-Free Compliance: What Zenbusiness “Worry-Free Compliance” means in simple words is that Zenbusiness will (1) send you reminders to start preparing your annual report & send it to them on time and (2) file it for you with your state authorities. Additionally, (3) Zenbusiness will assist you in filing your annual report if you’re late for any reason.
But it’s important to remember that Zenbusiness will not do your accounting for you. So your annual report will have to be prepared by your accountant (or yourself, if you use Quickbooks/Xero or similar). And if you already need to spend some time preparing the annual report anyway, well, why not set a calendar reminder & upload it yourself electronically? The time investment here will be minimal, once you learn the process.
To summarize, you should go for Zenbusiness Pro over Zenbusiness Starter if:
- You need to get your LLC registered ASAP
- You don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting an EIN yourself
- You don’t want to deal with the hassle of remembering to prepare & file your annual reports on time
If the points above don’t apply to you, it might be a better idea to go for Zenbusiness Starter and save some money.
What Are ZenBusiness’s Biggest Pros and Cons?
ZenBusiness offers affordable pricing plans that you can add on with extra services (like rush filing). You get great value with the numerous features it provides. And you can trust it because of all the great customer reviews it gets.
You may be able to find cheaper options out there. Some formation services also have better turnaround times.
Which Features Should I Purchase Once I Sign Up?
If you’re in a hurry, you might want to get the Expedite Filing Speed and even the Rush Filing Speed features.
If you’re worried about keeping compliant with the government, you may want to get the Registered Agent Service as well as the Worry-Free Compliance features.
ZenBusiness also offers a Business Website and Business Domain Name features if you want to start building your business’ online presence.
Note that all of these features are included once you sign up for the PREMIUM PLAN.
Will I Get Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
Yes. ZenBusiness helps you with your ongoing compliance requirements through its Registered Agent Service and Worry-Free Compliance feature.
Does ZenBusiness Have a Refund Policy?
Yes. You can get a refund on any of your purchases minus any expenses incurred to begin your formation.
Note that this refund policy is available only until your payment has been sent to the state. You won’t be able to cancel or change your filing after then.
Why Do I Need to Use a Business Formation Service Anyway?
Forming an LLC can be time-consuming, confusing, and costly — especially if you’re just starting a business. A business formation service saves you from all of these problems (for a price), so you can focus more on growing your business.
What Is the ZenBusiness Customer Support Phone Number and Email?
You can reach ZenBusiness via phone. The service’s number is 1-844-493-6249. ZenBusienss also has a support email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and you can use a web-based chat tool to get across to them.
Customer Support Hours?
ZenBusiness is available via the following channels:
- Chat Service: Monday to Friday (8 AM to 8 PM), Sunday (10 AM to 7 PM)
- Phone Calls: Monday to Friday (8 AM to 8 PM), Sunday (10 AM to 7 PM)
- Email: The team will reply to your email in less than one business day.
Should I Reserve My LLC Name Before Forming an LLC With ZenBusiness?
Most people actually don’t need to do this. However, it is advisable in some situations. If you’re not ready to form your LLC, but you want to keep your desired name, you can reserve it.
You might also want to reserve your name if you’re registering your business in Alabama. The state has a reservation required for all LLC formations, so you need to keep that in mind.
Other than these reasons, there’s no point in receiving your name in advance.
Is ZenBusiness the LLC Website You Recommend to Family and Friends?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. It’s easy to recommend ZenBusiness to anyone, but you should also do your own research before choosing the best LLC formation service for your needs.
If you’re looking for a possible alternative, you could try IncFile or Northwest Registered Agent. These services also combine a robust feature base with affordable pricing, allowing you to save money on both ends. However, we believe that ZenBusiness provides the best service for you in the long run.
For the sake of disclosure, you should know that we get compensated for recommending ZenBusiness. However, we would still recommend the service even if we had no affiliations with it at all.
Can I Form an LLC Without Physically Being in the United States?
Yes, you can. American laws allow anyone to form an LLC in the country. With so few restrictions, you don’t need to be a citizen or even a resident to set one up in the country.
Does ZenBusiness Sell or Share My Information With Third Parties?
LLC services have been known to share customer information with third parties to earn additional revenues. Since they get details like your emails and domain names, they can easily package those and sell them to third-party partners.
If you would like to keep your information private but still work with ZenBusiness, you can try using the Starter package instead. Since you won’t need to share any personal or business information here, the package could work for you.
I’ve Heard LegalZoom Has a Lot of Upsells. Does ZenBusiness?
We’ve tried to see how many upsells are available on the ZenBusiness ordering page. To run our test, we selected the Starter plan and entered some information.
As we progressed, we saw upsell attempts for adding an EIN – Employer Identification Number (costing $70), the Worry-Free Guarantee (costing $119 yearly), a domain name ($25 annually), a business website ($100 annually), and a banking resolution template (30 annually).
All in all, ZenBusiness has some upsells. They might not be as many as LegalZoom, but they are a considerable amount. The primary difference here is that ZenBusiness is a tad more delicate with the upselling. They are much more helpful, while other businesses tend to intimidate you with their presentation.