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Despite ranking pricier than many other popular US company formation services, BetterLegal is still a worthy contender. The features bundled into BetterLegal’s LLC formation package are a step up. It combines the best of both worlds: professional legal and accounting support with the convenience of online LLC formation services. However, sole traders and corporations may fail to see the value.
Get An All-in-One New Business Formation Package – At a Price
As one of the pricier options out there, I think BetterLegal is the best fit for small businesses – especially partnerships. The additional legal documentation provided will ensure you and your business partners understand your legal rights and obligations.
The company offers a single LLC formation package for a set fee, which includes everything you need to not only create a business, but to run it compliantly and to manage your finances. This includes optional business checking account setup, EIN registration, and even a free website! Yes, it’s one of the costlier LLC formation services – so it is questionable whether all of these extras are “free.”
That said, you can certainly save with BetterLegal – both time and money-wise – as you’ll be paying considerably less than you would to a law or accounting firm. Its online registration process promises to be fast – apply in under 10 minutes online and wait for only 1-2 days for your documents – in addition to your state’s current processing times, of course.
The only issue you may encounter with BetterLegal is not having personalized, one-on-one professional legal and accounting support. You’ll likely want to seek this out if your business expands, but for the time being, this all-in-one solution can take a lot of the administrative hassles out of starting up your own company.
Lots of Features & Freebies – Plus, Some Useful Paid Add-ons
BetterLegal offers LLC formation and other business incorporation services, both of which include similar features and freebies. As the company mentions on its site, it really is a “one-stop-shop” for all your new business needs. Yes, even support and tools for your additional concerns like banking, taxes, compliance, and payroll.
Overall, think of BetterLegal’s company formation service as more of an all-in-one new business package instead of a bare-bones LLC registration service.
Complimentary Legal Documentation
In the case of LLC formation, the most important deliverables include the company filing and Articles of Incorporation. BetterLegal handles all of this for you, from filing to sending your incorporation documents and certificates to you.
However, BetterLegal will also draft a number of other legal documents for you – such as the Operating Agreement, ownership amendment, and officer designation documents and forms – all included.
With your BetterLegal LLC formation package, you also get a free website. Ideal for hosting a basic promotional site or e-commerce store, it may be a handy extra. When I contacted support, however, they informed me that the third-party platform providing the service is Square’s already-free starter plan.
So, technically, you’re not really getting it for free, as it already is free if you were simply to sign up on Square’s website. In any case, you get access to the website builder, 500 MB storage, and a free SSL certificate to protect data transfer to and from your site. You can also upgrade it to a paid Square builder plan later on when (or if) your website traffic and performance demands grow.
The free site plan also comes with tons of social media marketing tools and – if you happen to be selling products – its own order fulfillment services, which incurs a small commission on your sales.
HR, Accounting & Compliance Assistance
When you file your LLC registration with BetterLegal, it will also apply for and retrieve your EIN from the IRS for free if you need it. Plus, the company offers a number of other included services and optional paid add-ons to help you manage your finances.
Included in both BetterLegal’s LLC and corporation formation packages are the following:
A business checking account with no setup fees, overdraft fees, or minimum deposit.
Tax analysis from a third-party virtual tax service.
Banking resolution documents to assist with managing access to business bank accounts.
An optional payroll software add-on if you have employees to help manage your HR, compensation, benefits, and more.
Optional Paid Subscriptions – Including a Registered Agent
You may find some of the additional paid subscriptions BetterLegal offers to be handy. For example, if you don’t have time to handle this yourself, you can get a Registered Agent service, which will receive all state communications during business hours – a mandatory aspect of owning an LLC.
There are also permit and license research services, which could especially be handy for a new business – these can vary greatly from state to state.
There is also a subscription-based state compliance service, that ensures you don’t miss any regular required filings – this can be especially helpful as there may be multiple ongoing filing events in your state. Missing any of these can lead to fines, and eventually, poor standing or termination for your company.
One-Off Customer Support Services
BetterLegal offers a range of one-off services to implement various administrative changes to your company. Adding or removing members or managers, changing your LLC’s principal office address, or registering your existing LLC in another state are a few of these extra services.
Some of these are included with your existing plan, and some of these incur both state fees and/or administrative fees. However, unlike many similar service providers, BetterLegal offers a complete list of the associated costs, if any, for each of these services.
Ease of use
Streamlined Website UI – But With Some Limitations
One of the benefits of online services is convenience, which is why usability shouldn’t stop at “online.” In the case of BetterLegal, the company has made a concerted effort to optimize its website’s user-friendliness. As such, the BetterLegal site is non-confusing, concise, and easy to navigate, featuring only a handful of pages.
However, another website feature you’ll probably appreciate are the sign-up forms and processes in place. You can click to be guided through signing up for your chosen service step-by-step.
As far as I could tell, BetterLegal doesn’t allow anyone without a US postal address to register their LLC or corporation on the platform. However, I was informed by BetterLegal support that this issue could be circumvented by signing up for their Registered Agent service, as doing so would provide a US address.
Getting Started With BetterLegal
Getting started is as simple as pressing one of the buttons located around the site. BetterLegal claims submitting an application for LLC formation takes around 10 minutes or less, and I found this to be true when testing it out.
However, if you happen to have a lot of LLC members to add, or if you have to retrieve any details, this may take additional time. And I didn’t see anywhere to save your progress on the submission form, so you should try to have all your information handy before you begin.
Turnaround times also vary if you opt for extra services. For example, if you sign up for a business bank account at the same time, the expected turnaround time is 7 days. Naturally, registration and actually receiving your LLC incorporation documents can and will often take longer. Average turnaround time for document delivery is 2 days, with 1 day possible but not guaranteed.
This quick turnaround time is why no “expedited” delivery is offered by BetterLegal. But note that the IRS and state departments may withhold documents – or ask for additional details from you to process your application. If this does happen to you, your company formation could take much longer.
After clicking the button on the BetterLegal website to form your LLC, you’ll be taken to the company formation form. You’ll just need to fill in your desired company name, state of registry, and industry. Then, the particulars of the owners, and your Registered Agent. Pretty straightforward.
The BetterLegal site itself doesn’t check for company name availability, which is a bit disappointing. However, you can click the Name Search Page link to find a registry for various state name-checking sites. Of course, any name you want may already be taken, so it’s a good idea to take this step prior to submitting your application.
During the sign-up process, you can opt-in for Registered Agent and State Compliance services. Both are billed monthly or annually but will cost you a fair amount extra. So, it’s worth considering and being sure to de-select these options before clicking through if you don’t want them – otherwise, they’re added automatically.
After you’ve completed the form, you’ll be taken to the payment page where you can pay with a debit or credit card. You can also sign up for or remove Registered Agent or State Compliance subscriptions at this point, so there’s no need to go back (and risk losing your info) should you change your mind about going ahead with either.
If you need something done or changed after your LLC formation is finalized, BetterLegal has you covered. Select from name, manager, contact info, and more business changes or a variety of document generation services. Directly from the BetterLegal Services page, you can start the process to activate or apply for each listed filing service.
Simply click Get Started next to the applicable item, and you’ll be led through. A real bonus is that the application process is entirely digital and done via a web form – no need to call in or contact support. Some follow-up may be required via email and invoices paid before a filing service is performed.
BetterLegal Customer Portal & Web App
After signing up with BetterLegal, you can do pretty much everything you need to do more quickly once you’re logged into the site.
Unfortunately, BetterHelp doesn’t have a dedicated smartphone app for iOS or Android. However, it does offer mobile device users a web app, which you can access online via your mobile device’s browser.
Decent Value for Money – But Undoubtedly Pricier
As mentioned before, BetterLegal is on the pricier side, and doesn’t offer a free or bare-bones LLC formation plan option. The fact that BetterLegal only offers a single package for a relatively high flat fee doesn’t leave much wiggle room, but there is an abundance of very useful features included with the package.
That said, sole traders and solopreneurs may fail to see the value, as many of the freebies are arguably unnecessary. If this is you, you may be better off using a free or bare-bones formation service if you want to save money for other more pertinent new business costs.
This sentiment is especially true if you or another are the sole owner of the business, as many of the complementary legal documents provided are mainly helpful for businesses with multiple owners.
Though conversely, solopreneurs with limited knowledge of LLC formation and tax and business law could still benefit from BetterLegal’s packages – especially the Registered Agent, compliance, and permit research subscriptions. But again, they cost extra.
Convenient Online Support – But Inconsistent Availability & Follow-Up
There’s a big difference between being available 24/7 and being responsive 24/7. Having your contact form, ticket support, and live chat channels open 24/7 doesn’t count if response times are slow. Unfortunately, I found inconsistent availability and follow-up to be an issue with BetterLegal’s support.
In the case of its phone support hours, you can only contact its team from Monday to Friday – 9 a.m to 7 p.m EST. So don’t expect to get any urgent issues sorted quickly with BetterLegal – especially over the weekend or public holidays.
Live Chat Support
Though there’s no exact mention of the live chat hours, I wasn’t able to get through to an agent when I first contacted BetterLegal via live chat at 15:33 p.m on a Sunday. Confusingly, I was greeted by what was actually a bot-generated greeting pretending to be a support agent called Helen.
Not knowing this, I sent in my inquiry. However, instead of a reply, a bot-generated message popped up informing me that there were no support agents currently available. So I had to leave my contact details and expect a follow-up in a few hours. Unfortunately, no one ever got back to me.
However, on contacting BetterLegal support again via live chat on the following Monday at 2:41 p.m, I had more luck. The same chatbot was online to connect me to a real agent, who was online immediately, and very helpful. She answered all my questions (I had a lot of them) and was super friendly.
Aside from phone and live chat support, BetterLegal also has a contact form on its website. After asking for more details about the free website included with all BetterLegal company formation packages, I got no notification of my contact form inquiry having been sent successfully in spite of having added my email address to the contact form.
With no means to track my contact form inquiry, I waited to see if a reply would land in my inbox.
Unfortunately, I never got a response to my contact form inquiry from BetterLegal.
Overall, my support experience was mixed – if you get in touch via live chat on a weekday, you can expect very good support. If you’re the type of person who works weekends, not so much.
BetterLegal is a one-stop shop with a streamlined online LLC formation process. It handles not only filing but a number of other new business admin tasks for you. However – as one of the more expensive options, especially if you need the Registered Agent subscription add-on – BetterLegal may be slightly out of reach for small business owners with minimal capital to burn.
Its hands-off approach and minimal support options may also put it at a disadvantage when it comes to servicing enterprise clients used to a one-on-one approach. But, without a doubt, if you’re a medium-sized business or partnership, BetterLegal has a lot to offer.
To summarize, there are both pros and cons to going with BetterLegal:
Seamless online sign-up and filing process
Many useful features and freebies
Access to additional value-for-money legal and accounting services
Convenient 100% online service
Just one LLC service plan option, which doesn’t include Registered Agent service in the substantial price
Support not really 24/7
Does BetterLegal offer LLC formation services for non-US residents?
Currently, BetterLegal only allows those with a US postal address to register an LLC. If you’re a non-US citizen, you can still file, but you must list a US address when filling in the BetterLegal LLC application form. However, you can apply for Registered Agent services or rent US premises to circumnavigate this stipulation.
Does BetterLegal offer a Registered Agent service?
Yes, BetterLegal offers a Registered Agent service for an extra fee, among other optional subscriptions and add-ons – tax and legal advice and support, for example. Expect to pay an additional monthly or yearly fee for these services as they aren’t covered in the LLC formation package.
What are BetterLegal’s support hours?
BetterLegal offers phone support Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 7 PM (EST). Its contact form and live chat line are open all the time, but the company doesn’t claim to offer 24/7 support. So you may have to follow up on your query if there are no support agents online late or on public holidays.
BetterLegal vs LegalZoom – which is a better service?
BetterLegal and LegalZoom offer similar LLC formation services, but while BetterLegal offers one set-rate package, LegalZoom’s packages are more customizable with more paid add-ons available. LegalZoom also offers a free tier. To find out more, have a look at our current list of the top LLC formation services.
A freelance author, graphic designer, and photographer, Caitlin Greyling writes about web hosting, web builder software, graphic design, tech, and electronics, and has published hundreds of product reviews and comparisons for Website Planet, The Daily Mail, and Durability Matters. Her creative and technical knowledge has been showcased at PictureCorrect, Photutorial, and others. She is currently studying for an NCTJ diploma in journalism. When Caitlin’s not working, she’s exploring nature with her son and dog or relaxing at home with her cat.