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LEGALZOOM LLC SERVICES: KEY CONSIDERATIONS
Is LegalZoom a Good Deal?
LegalZoom offers an easy to use, full-featured online business formation and legal service. However, there are other more reliable LLC service options out there that save on cost and offer better customer support, such as ZenBusiness.
Here is a quick list of LegalZoom pros:
- Established brand, with plenty of LegalZoom reviews from customers to help you make a decision
- A sometimes relatively pain-free order process
- Access to a wide range of legal services and products (e.g. legal documents and forms) to help owners and managers navigate the legal issues and challenges of starting and maintaining a business
- Ability to form a professional LLC (PLLC)
- Cheaper than hiring a law firm to form an LLC
Here is a quick list of LegalZoom cons:
- The LegalZoom LLC cost is more expensive than business formation alternatives like ZenBusiness
- Some online LegalZoom reviews from customers complain about lack of transparency and higher fees
- Customers are required to pay extra for helpful LLC features, such as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Operating Agreement
Who Uses LegalZoom LLC Services?
LegalZoom’s services are most appealing to first-time entrepreneurs who are worried about making mistakes when forming an LLC.
LegalZoom is more focused on full legal services for business beyond just company formation. For instance, LegalZoom offers a legal plan called the Business Advisory Plan, which provides features like tax advice, attorney help, and access to legal forms.
Here are some verified LegalZoom reviews (from the company's website) by customers who used the LLC service to help launch their business:
"I had never started a business before, so LegalZoom was a perfect place to go. It let me take my vision for the company and make it a reality, legally."
"We've used [LegalZoom] for quite a few things over the years, and overall it's gone very smoothly. They've been easy to work with and very affordable."
Here are some verified LegalZoom reviews (from ConsumerAffairs) by customers who used the LLC services to help start their business:
"Everything is working out well with LegalZoom, for the most part. But they did, most of the time, not verify to me how to get the documents signed correctly to start my business. So, I was prolonged for four months from doing so."
"For a couple of years, they charged me and I didn't know. I called them and asked why they charged me. They said it was not refundable and that I put them as a secretary. I told them I didn't know that they were gonna be my secretary. They charged me $300 for doing nothing and I never got my money back. But LegalZoom was okay. They also do their purpose."
Is There a Better Deal to Start My LLC?
LegalZoom pricing is higher than average compared to other online filing services. Additionally, the LLC service has slow order turn-around with the basic package, and it’s easy to accidentally sign up for expensive subscription services that auto-renew.
Overall, going with an established name like LegalZoom comes at a higher cost. ZenBusiness, for instance, provides a more affordable LLC service that is just as reliable; as a result, you'll save both time and money.
Of course, the most affordable way to form an LLC is to file it yourself using our free guide.
LegalZoom LLC Services: Takeaway
LegalZoom may be a good option to form an LLC if you:
- Want to work with an established brand to start your LLC
- Are willing to pay extra for better premium services and features, such as an EIN and registered agent services
- Are not in a rush to form your LLC or are willing to pay a considerable premium to expedite your order
- Need to form a professional LLC (PLLC)
LEGALZOOM LLC SERVICES: RATING DETAILS
Value - 3/5
Overall, LegalZoom is one of the more expensive online business formation services.
For our own LLC, we ordered the Economy package as we feel it represents the best value out of the three offered service levels. Starting at $79 + state fees, LegalZoom offers services such as:
- Articles of Organization filing
- Name check
- Lifetime customer support
LegalZoom doesn’t offer a free year of registered agent services like other companies.
For example, ZenBusiness provides a year of registered agent services with LLC formation, and $99/year after the first year, plus they include a free Operating Agreement in all their business formation packages.
In contrast, LegalZoom charges $159/year starting at the time you form your LLC and $299 outside of formation services.
Customer Service - 3.5/5
We had a below average experience with LegalZoom customer support.
Some features seem prone to charging customers for subscription services they may not actually want. This can make for an aggravating experience.
According to online LegalZoom reviews, some customers mention a slower process and lack of communication.
If you value customer reviews when choosing an LLC formation service, this may reduce your trust in LegalZoom.
Ease of Use - 3.5/5
The entire order process should take no longer than 15-20 minutes.
In case you are unable to complete an order in one sitting, LegalZoom emails a link to your saved answers, giving you the option of completing your LLC formation order at a later time.
LegalZoom doesn’t have an ongoing user dashboard.
This can make it more difficult for customers to stay organized throughout the LLC formation process. ZenBusiness's online dashboard, for instance, acts as a central repository for important business paperwork and legal documents that the user can access anytime.
Included Features - 3/5
Once your order goes through, LegalZoom mails you a package including all LLC formation documents, paper copies of your personalized Operating Agreement, and the personalized corporate kit if you ordered the Standard or Express Gold package.
The LegalZoom economy kit included the following:
- Welcome letter with next steps
- Articles of Organization filing endorsement
- Personalized operating agreement
- Financial authorization letter
- Help Guide
- Five member certificates
Essential business features like an Operating Agreement and EIN services are no longer offered as part of LegalZoom LLC packages.
Instead, they are offered on top of the package price, which means the cost can add up fast.
LEGALZOOM LLC SERVICES: PRICING
Similar to most other LLC formation services, the LegalZoom pricing plans offer multiple tiers of service: Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. In addition to forming your LLC, LegalZoom offers a broad range of premium and add-on business and legal services that entrepreneurs may find helpful.
LegalZoom LLC Packages: Economy ($79 + State Fees)
LegalZoom doesn’t rush economy orders. The LLC service attempts to ship orders placed at this tier within 30 business days. It's important to note that this timing isn't guaranteed. In some states, such as California, economy orders may take even longer, after factoring in any secretary of state processing delays.
Expect to pay $130 or more for an LLC formation order placed within this tier when adding state filing fees.
Who should purchase LegalZoom Economy?
This package is suitable for customers who just want the LLC essentials such as business filing. Also, time should not be an issue for customers choosing this package as it may take 30 business days or more to arrive.
LegalZoom LLC Packages: Standard ($329 + State Fees)
LegalZoom’s mid-tier package starts at $329 plus state fees.
LegalZoom Standard includes the essentials of the Economy package, plus a corporate kit. The corporate kit consists of:
- A personalized binder for organizing essential company documents
- A company seal to give your LLC’s agreements and documents a more official appearance
- 20 member certificates customized with your company’s information for other owners
LegalZoom Standard orders process ahead of Economy orders. Although not guaranteed, standard LLC orders tend to ship within 15 business days but can take longer in the event of Secretary of State processing delays. Government filing and shipping fees are not included in this tier and are charged separately.
Expect to pay $380 or more to complete a LegalZoom Standard order.
Who should purchase LegalZoom Standard?
LegalZoom Standard includes all the essentials in the Economy package, plus some nice perks like a binder with your company name and a seal for official documents. The main benefit for this price tier is to get the documents faster than the Economy package would provide, but at a lower cost than the Express Gold tier.
LegalZoom LLC Packages: Express Gold ($349 + State Fees)
LegalZoom’s Express Gold package starts at $349, which is $20 more than the Standard package and $270 more than the Economy package.
The real advantage of LegalZoom’s premium package is faster order processing. LegalZoom Express Gold orders process ahead of Standard and Economy tiers. LegalZoom Express Gold orders typically process within 7-10 business days.
Express Gold includes 2-day shipping as the standard for the business documents and materials. Next business day shipping can be purchased at a discounted rate of $7.
State and government agencies also process Express Gold orders on an expedited basis. Expedited government filing fees are not included, and are often $50 to $100 higher than standard state filing fees.
Expect to pay $400 or more to complete an Express Gold order.
Who should purchase LegalZoom Express Gold?
LegalZoom Gold is best suited for the individuals who need to have their LLC formed as soon as possible. From a cost-savings perspective, you’re better off with a lower tier or a different LLC service.
LegalZoom, unlike other LLC formation services, does not include many features bundled into their service packages. You can purchase the following features in addition to the package price for an additional cost:
- Operating Agreement: $99
- Operating Agreement plus EIN: $159
- Operating Agreement, EIN, and a license search: $199
- Registered agent service: $159/year, and unlike other services, this is not included for a free year