Is It a Good Deal?
LegalZoom offers a reliable, easy to use, and full-featured LLC formation service. However, there are options out there that save on cost and offer better customer support, such as ZenBusiness.
Here is a quick list of LegalZoom’s main advantages:
- Established brand
- A sometimes relatively pain-free order process
- Access to a wide range of products and services to help owners and managers navigate the legal challenges of starting and maintaining a business.
- Ability to form a professional LLC (PLLC)
- Cheaper than hiring a law firm to form your LLC
Who Uses LegalZoom?
LegalZoom’s services are most appealing to first-time entrepreneurs who are worried about making mistakes forming their LLC. One of the main differences is that LegalZoom is more focused on full legal services for business beyond just company formation.
Here are some verified reviews (pulled from the service’s website) by people who used LegalZoom to help launch their businesses:
"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."
Is There a Better Deal to Start My LLC?
LegalZoom has higher than average prices compared to other online filing services, slow order turn-around with the low-cost 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 cheaper service that is just as reliable. Of course, the cheapest way to form your LLC is to file it yourself using our free guide.
LegalZoom may be a good option if you:
- Want to work with an established brand to form your LLC
- Are willing to pay extra for better premium services and features
- 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)
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.
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. In contrast, LegalZoom charges $159/year starting at the time you form your LLC and $299 outside of formation services.
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.
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 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 dashboard, for instance, acts as a central repository for important documents that the user can access anytime.
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 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
LegalZoom no longer offers essential features like an operating agreement and EIN services as part of their packages.
Instead, they are offered on top of the package price, which means the price can add up fast.
Similar to most other LLC formation services, LegalZoom offers 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 services that business owners may find helpful.
LegalZoom doesn’t rush economy orders. LegalZoom 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 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 essentials along with an operating agreement. Also, time should not be an issue for customers choosing this package as it may take 30 business days or more to arrive.
LegalZoom’s mid-tier package starts at $289, which is $140 more than the Economy Package.
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 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’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 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