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ZenBusiness Review: The Best LLC Formation Service?

Caitlin Greyling Caitlin Greyling Finance Specialist

ZenBusiness packs everything you need in one LLC formation service – including filing, accounting, web design, and compliance tools and subscriptions. Applying online is easy1 – you can either choose a plan or select only the features you want.

ZenBusiness’ services are competitively priced, but most of them – including the plan that includes LLC formation – are subscription-based. So this is probably an ideal service for you if you’re looking for ongoing business support.

Overview

Free plan (plus state fees)?
LLC filing time on entry-level plan 2-3 weeks
Expedited option?
One-off fees, annual subscription-based, or both? Mainly subscription-based
Customer support Live chat, phone, and email.

A Comprehensive LLC Formation Service With Tons of Extra Support

ZenBusiness website LLC formation landing page
ZenBusiness’ business services have your formation needs covered
1

Backed by Mark Cuban, Forbes, Investopedia, NerdWallet, Bizreport, and more, ZenBusiness seems impressive. But you may be wondering if this popular LLC formation service truly delivers on its claims. We found that it does – it scored high in each of our review categories. Why? Besides the sleek website and LLC formation application process, ZenBusiness’ subscription-based services are worth a mention.

From the free ZenBusiness LLC formation package to the valuable extras packed into paid plans, you’re always getting your money’s worth. The company can also support you in various other ways, from keeping your business legally compliant to tracking and filing your taxes and annual reports – all for a fee, of course.

It’s the exact same price to file for an LLC, S-corp, or C-corp – making ZenBusiness a terrific choice for anything from a side hustle to the most ambitious dream enterprise.

Though ZenBusiness’ Starter LLC package is free (not including the mandatory state filing fees), its slow 2-3 week turnaround time is a drag. That said, you can either opt for standalone expedited processing or a premium paid package to ensure a faster turnaround.

Otherwise, those annual or monthly subscriptions can add up. And the ZenBusiness website, live chat, CTA buttons, and LLC formation form can be a tiny bit glitchy at times, necessitating the occasional reload. Though, thanks to the site’s built-in caching, I never lost any of my inputted data, such as form answers or chat messages, when these issues occurred.

Unsure? Read our full ZenBusiness review below, where I break down the pros and cons of this provider’s service.

4.9

Features

Useful Features – But Only a Handful Are Truly Free

ZenBusiness brief plans description
ZenBusiness’ three tiers of plans are packed with services and well worth the price

With ZenBusiness, all your business needs are accommodated, but you may have to pay extra for a given service, depending on your chosen package. ZenBusiness offers many add-ons, including some notable freebies that are bundled with its free LLC formation package.

Free Tax Savings Consultation

With each and every ZenBusiness package – from free LLC formation to premium – you can take advantage of a free tax savings consultation. A tax professional from its partner, 1-800Accountant, will outline your tax expectations in a complimentary 30-minute call.

Hands-Off Finance, Tax, and Compliance Tracking

Automated expense, deduction, and tax deduction tagging and tracking come with all plans – including the free ZenBusiness Starter LLC package1. Called ZenBusiness Money Essential, it features pretty basic – but sufficient – tools to help you easily keep track of your accounting and taxes owed. You can activate this complimentary service directly via your ZenBusiness dashboard after you set up your LLC.

Automatic expense tracking with to ZenBusiness Money Essential
Keep track of your income, deductions, and taxes automatically with ZenBusiness

However, for more in-depth accounting, you’ll need to upgrade. Luckily, you can also claim a 1-month free trial of ZenBusiness Money Pro. This premium accounting software lets you do a whole lot more, including handling invoicing, taxes, and online payments. Simply hook up your business bank account, and you’re good to go.

ZenBusiness Money Pro benefits and features
Use ZenBusiness Money accounting tools for free for a month to test it

All of ZenBusiness’ LLC formation packages also come with the Worry-Free Compliance add-on, which conveniently covers your annual filing reminders. The Starter package only includes the service for a year, however. As this service costs $199/year alone, getting it as part of any package for even a year is a pretty good deal in every respect.

Website, Domain Name, and Email Address

ZenBusiness is one of the few top-rated LLC formation companies that can provide you with a website and email accounts. Its proprietary ZenBusiness website builder, in particular, is a unique selling point, as many formation services refer their customers to third-party website builders instead.

Overall, the builder is very similar in look and functionality to Wix or Elementor, with drag-and-drop elements and a clean interface. You cannot use the ZenBusiness website builder or plan to create or host a full e-commerce website, though you can set up PayPal or another third-party payment solution. ZenBusiness also doesn’t offer custom website design services at present.

ZenBusiness website builder dashboard
Navigate the ZenBusiness website builder with no coding, programming, or design experience.

Also, it’s only “free” (it comes bundled-in for slightly less) to use the ZenBusiness website builder with a Premium LLC formation plan. Otherwise, you need to pay $129/year for the service. Nevertheless, it comes with over 200 GB of storage, access to tons of free modern website templates, and built-in backups, security, and SEO.

You can register a domain name with ZenBusiness, but at 2.5 times the price of your average domain registration provider, we suggest skipping this overpriced service. Speaking of which, ZenBusiness partners with Tucows for domain name registration and hosting – all of which (along with a free email account) are included in the ZenBusiness Premium LLC package.

Registered Agent Service & More Optional Add-Ons

Add ZenBusiness Registered Agent service during your order
You can select useful extras, including a Registered Agent, during the order process

ZenBusiness offers a whole lot more optional paid add-ons and subscriptions to complement your free LLC formation package.

For example:

  • A Registered Agent service
  • Expedited filing (1-2 business days)
  • EIN registration and retrieval
  • Operating Agreement documents
  • Business license report and annual report filing

You may choose to be your own Registered Agent or file for an EIN yourself, but you always have the option to pay ZenBusiness for other services to save time.

4.9

Ease of use

Rookie-Proof, But With Some Minor Glitches

Overall, applying to get your LLC filed with ZenBusiness1 is straightforward and fast, taking just under 15 minutes. That said, I did notice a few unusual glitches throughout the process – and even in the live chat interface.

Getting Started With ZenBusiness

To get started with ZenBusiness, all you need to do is navigate to the Formation Services page, click Start Now under your LLC package, and fill in a form.

A lot of upsells are offered in the ZenBusiness LLC formation application process – which is not necessarily a bad thing, as you may very well need some of these extra paid services.

ZenBusiness clearly lays out the uses, terms, and pricing for each add-on. Most importantly, you can take advantage of select bundle deals on multiple services during this stage. For example, you can bundle the EIN application and Business Documents add-ons together for discount rates on each.

ZenBusiness Premium LLC
You can upgrade or downgrade your package during the LLC application process

Though I did start off applying for the free ZenBusiness Starter LLC package, I was also given the opportunity to upgrade to a paid option in the process, along with information about the perks of each plan and what they included.

A few glitches marred my experience with ZenBusiness – particularly when trying to send replies or messages in the form or to the agent via live chat. At one point, the form froze, refusing to continue with the questionnaire after I filled in a question.

I also experienced occasional issues when clicking on certain CTA and website navigation buttons – no action was set in motion. Luckily, in all cases, reloading the page or live chat box fixed the issue – and with no loss of connection or inputted data.

Automatic Name Availability Check

Before you get started with your ZenBusiness LLC formation order, the form will prompt you to check your name availability1. Simply type it in and choose your formation state to find out whether your chosen name is available, instantly.

Preferred company name availability checker in the LLC formation order process
Quickly check your business name availability before continuing

While ZenBusiness’ built-in name checker allows you to avoid choosing a name that is already taken, this is no guarantee of name reservation while you complete your order. So you might want to reserve your ideal name with ZenBusiness in advance to ensure it stays available while you iron out any details.

Chatbot-Style Webforms With Autosave

ZenBusiness has implemented chatbot-style forms into its LLC formation application process, so you feel more like you’re having a conversation with a chat agent than filling in a tedious form.

Beginning of the ZenBusiness LLC formation application process
Start your LLC formation via ZenBusiness’ chatbot-style application process

During the ZenBusiness LLC formation application process, you handily have the option to save your progress, so that it “remembers” info you’ve already entered. You’ll need to provide your full name and email address to do so, though.

And, yes, this info will be used to send reminders directly to your inbox thereafter (until you opt out). However, one of those emails happened to include an offer for a free $10 Amazon gift card if I finished my LLC formation application. So, no hard feelings there.

LLC Formation Order Total & Review

Forms can streamline the LLC formation application – except when you accidentally fill in incorrect information. Luckily, you can review your entire ZenBusiness order at the end of the process, including adding or removing additional paid services.

Screenshot of ZenBusiness order process price total
ZenBusiness calculates your total order cost according to your selected services

Throughout the process, you can also check in the top right-hand corner for your ZenBusiness order total. So you can keep track of your expenses – many of which ZenBusiness kindly reminds you that you may be able to claim off your tax liability.

Once finalized, you can pay for your ZenBusiness order with your debit or credit card – but not any other option, like PayPal – at least for now.

4.9

Pricing

Competitively Priced – But Those Subscriptions Do Add Up!

ZenBusiness is competitively priced compared to both other top-rated paid and free LLC formation services. As ZenBusiness’ free LLC formation plan includes Worry-Free Compliance, ZenBusiness Money Essential and a free tax consultation, it’s actually already a step up from the competition. Most of whom only offer a bare-bones filing service.

However, you’ll note that ZenBusiness’ paid LLC formation packages1 are billed annually. This is mainly due to the paid ZenBusiness LLC formation packages, including high-value add-ons such as Worry-Free Compliance, and a free website, domain name, and email.

Though competitively priced, these annual renewals can end up being costly – if not pricier than opting in for these standalone services themselves. Essentially, you’ll only save on a paid ZenBusiness LLC formation package if you truly need all of the extra discounted services included. So do consider wisely before you make your purchase.

Remember – you can always add just what you need to a free package to control your costs. For example, if all you’re looking for is a quicker turnaround time on your ZenBusiness Starter LLC package, you can just pay for Expedited Processing once instead of upgrading to a full plan.

4.9

Support

Friendly & Responsive – With A Little Room for Improvement

You can contact the ZenBusiness support team via a number of channels, including:

  • Live chat: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Central Time) Monday to Friday, or 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Phone: from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (CT) Monday to Friday, or 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Email: 24/7 – though don’t expect an immediate response

You can also take advantage of the FAQ and tons of free tools and resources on the ZenBusiness site. For one, informative business planning, formation, and management articles and guides. But also interactive tools like its state filing fee checker – and a name checker, which uses any inputted keywords to suggest relevant names and domain names for yours.

ZenBusiness’ live chat support is definitely one of the better options for contacting its support team. After answering a couple of bot-generated fielding questions, I was connected with a ZenBusiness agent straight away. Though a bit slower to respond, this was because they did take time to fully research the answers to my questions.

They inaccurately provided information once about the possibility of upgrading the ZenBusiness website specs (which is not feasible), but they quickly rectified this mistake. Apart from that, they displayed both friendliness and a willingness to go beyond expectations in finding accurate answers to all my questions. Nonetheless, there were a few noteworthy issues, outlined below.

ZenBusiness Chat box
The ZenBusiness live chat box is optimized for ease of use

Though easy to use and navigate, there were a few glitches with the ZenBusiness live chat box itself. Mainly, neither clicking Enter nor the Send widget worked to send my message once or twice during the live chat. Instead, I had to close and reopen the chat window to get these functions to operate properly again. Sometimes clicking Enter sends your message, but clicking the send widget does, too – which can lead to confusion if you accidentally send an incomplete message too soon.

My one experience with the ZenBusiness email support channel was underwhelming. Though I did get a confirmation email with a case number immediately after I sent a message, I had to wait until the next day – even though I had sent the email quite early in the morning.

ZenBusiness REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

ZenBusiness is an excellent choice if you want customizability – it lets you select the add-ons and subscriptions you need. But, ZenBusiness has its own unique freebies and extras to offer – both with its free and paid plans1.

If you want to save on subscriptions, opting for a paid LLC formation tier package will see you through. That is, as long as the included services are what you’re looking for. That said, you can also take advantage of bundle deals to register your EIN, get business documents, and set up your website for less.

To summarize, here are some of the upsides and downsides of going with ZenBusiness:
Pros Cons
  • Free LLC formation is available
  • Paid plans are value-packed
  • Expedited Processing is available for free and paid plan tiers
  • A comprehensive range of plans and add-ons suit side hustles and corporations alike
  • Paid formation packages are subscription-only
  • A few glitches when using interactive elements

FAQ

Is ZenBusiness Money free?

ZenBusiness Money is available in two versions – the free ZenBusiness Money Essential package and the paid ZenBusiness Money Pro version. You can activate ZenBusiness Money Essential on any LLC formation plan for free. However, you need to pay an annual or monthly subscription to use the more advanced ZenBusiness Money Pro accounting and invoicing software.

How many customers does ZenBusiness have?

According to ZenBusiness, it’s helped over 400,000 people start their own businesses. Since its company formation services include LLC, S-corp, and C-corp formation, as well as three package tiers (1 free and 2 paid), ZenBusiness can appeal to a wide range of customers. Its comprehensive range of accounting, tax compliance, and website creation add-ons and subscriptions are another draw.

Does ZenBusiness have an app or online member login?

Yes, ZenBusiness has both Android and iOS smartphone apps. You can also log in to your ZenBusiness account online via a computer or mobile device. An account is created when you pay for your ZenBusiness order.

ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Which is the better LLC formation service?

While similar, there are a few key differences between ZenBusiness and LegalZoom. Firstly, ZenBusiness’ free Starter LLC formation package includes extras that LegalZoom’s doesn’t – like a free tax savings consultation, Worry-Free Compliance and access to ZenBusiness Money Essential. Also, ZenBusiness’ paid LLC formation packages are charged on subscription, not once-off like LegalZoom, but they tend to include more perks.
Caitlin Greyling Caitlin Greyling
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.
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Best Overall LLC Service

Complete LLC filling starting at $0 + state fees