Are you looking to form a limited liability company, a corporation, or a nonprofit, but you’re stuck trying to settle on the best formation service to use?
Choosing the right service for your business and legal needs can be difficult. That’s why we’ve carefully evaluated over a dozen of the top formation service providers, looking at and comparing metrics across several key categories, such as pricing and turnaround time.
LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer: Verdict
In this particular online legal services match up, we believe that Rocket Lawyer comes out on top.
Rocket Lawyer offers decent turnaround times and makes it easier than LegalZoom to expedite an LLC formation or incorporation with state government agencies. Rocket Lawyer has also established a strong track record and a high degree of customer satisfaction, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 on independent review sites.
Their service is simple to use, and their monthly membership includes several services, such as legal advice through online consultations with attorneys and a legal forms library, that many new business owners may find useful. However, we dislike monthly fee setups in general. And, unfortunately, Rocket Lawyer’s non-member costs for individual services add up very quickly.
Compared to Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom’s main weakness is their pricing. LegalZoom is one of the most expensive services we have reviewed. It is also unsuitable for those wanting quick turnaround times.
We recommend Rocket Lawyer mainly to those entrepreneurs who are also interested in the additional services included with Rocket Lawyer’s monthly membership.
For everyone else, we recommend checking out some of our other top-rated formation services, such as ZenBusiness.
If you are looking for more general information on the first steps of forming a business, we recommend taking a look at our How to start an LLC article as well.
|Ease of Use||4/5||5/5|
|Help & Support||4/5||5/5|
Read on to find out more about how we arrived at our verdict in this head-to-head comparison.
LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer: Pricing
For most entrepreneurs, pricing is the main factor in choosing a formation service. And we agree that pricing is important.
Most formation services offer a fairly similar set of products, yet they charge vastly different prices. Taking the time to find an affordable option means avoiding unnecessary expenses while still getting your formation done.
Unfortunately, comparing the costs of a business formation across different formation providers can be a challenge. Many providers sell their offerings through fixed bundles or use different pricing structures, making an apples-to-apples comparison difficult.
Judging the real value of a bundle can also be tough – especially for first-time business owners. Not all of the products and services on offer are practically or legally necessary, especially if you’re trying to keep your costs down.
This is why we look at both the sticker price and the contents of packages when evaluating companies’ pricing. The table below shows our findings at a glance – we’ll go more in-depth below.
Both LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer include registered agent services with their business formation plans, but if you would like to compare some other options, be sure to have a look at our Best Registered Agent services article as well.
Note that the costs of the services do not include state filing fees, which are usually paid to the formation service (in addition to overall the service cost) and then forwarded to the state.
|Registered Agent (standalone)||$150/yr|
($112 with membership)
Not sure what these terms mean? Here’s how we define each:
Basic Formation: Covers the essentials of business entity creation. Includes – at minimum – filing of Articles of Organization and the drafting of an Operating Agreement for an LLC or corporate bylaws for a corporation.
Registered Agent (standalone): Price if you’re only looking for a registered agent service (i.e., not trying to buy it as part of a larger bundle).
Full Formation: Additionally includes – at minimum – a registered agent service, which most owners will find essential. Price includes one year of registered agent service.
Most business formation services offer their services through packages that contain fixed sets of products and services. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing method is a bit different.
Rocket Lawyer’s customers have two choices: they can either pick and choose separate services and pay for them individually and up-front, or they can sign up for Rocket Lawyer’s monthly subscription – priced at $39.99 per month – in order to access Rocket Lawyer’s catalog of services for free or at reduced costs.
The formation of a customer’s first business entity is included for free with Rocket Lawyer’s membership – any subsequent ones will receive a 25% discount off the regular price.
Membership also includes a 25% discount on Rocket Lawyer’s registered agent service.
Members enjoy unlimited access to Rocket Lawyer’s legal documents library, through which you can obtain and draft an Operating Agreement or a Corporate Bylaw document.
Rocket Lawyer’s membership will cover the most important elements of an LLC formation or incorporation. It also includes a handful of services that, while not directly related to formations, may still be useful to new business owners.
For example, Rocket Lawyer membership includes access to a free, 30-minute online attorney consultation on legal matters.
It is also possible to make use of Rocket Lawyer’s services without buying into their subscription membership. Unfortunately, the individual costs of services tend to add up very quickly, resulting in an excessive overall formation cost.
For example, individual document templates are priced at $39.99 each, while a basic formation service is priced at $99.99, and registered agent service costs $149.99 per year.
LegalZoom sells its formation services in three formation packages. They offer an Economy package – priced at $79 for LLC formations or $149 for incorporations – a Standard package, priced at $329, and an Express Gold package, priced at $349.
One issue with LegalZoom’s packages is that all of them are missing two important elements – a registered agent service and an Operating Agreement (or Corporate Bylaws, for corporations).
You can purchase these services individually from LegalZoom, however, their costs are rather high: $99 for an Operating Agreement/Corporate Bylaws and $299 per year to sign up for annual registered agent service.
LegalZoom’s Economy package is the most affordable and basic of the three. It includes only the preparation and filing of your Articles of Organization with your state’s Secretary of State (plus a business name availability check).
LegalZoom also promises to review and check your filings for errors to ensure it is processed without delays. They promise lifetime customer support as well. But we would expect this from any service.
LegalZoom’s Standard package mainly improves the service’s turnaround time – from 30 business days to 15. The Standard package also includes a few physical products, such as a personalized business embosser, membership certificates, and a personalized organizer for documents. But none of these items are required or legally necessary.
The Express Gold package offers LegalZoom’s fastest possible turnaround time s – 10 business days, based on their estimates. The Express Gold package also includes express shipping of the final approval documents.
Pricing winner: Rocket Lawyer
Neither Rocket Lawyer nor LegalZoom offers good pricing, though for different reasons. Rocket Lawyer requires customers to sign up for a monthly membership, which offers many services unrelated to business formations, in order to form a business at an acceptable price point.
People who would rather pay a flat fee will face excessive costs. Even essentials, like an Operating Agreement and a registered agent service, will increase your formation price significantly.
LegalZoom’s pricing, on the other hand, is simply too expensive across the board. A full formation (as defined in our table above) will cost you $477 – that’s several times more than what some other services demand.
LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer: Turnaround Time
Letting the experts handle your business formation can save you both hassle and time. Formation services have expertise in dealing with each state’s bureaucracy and are well versed in the common causes of rejected filings. That’s one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs choose to get filing and legal help, letting the professionals handle the paperwork.
Unfortunately, not all formation services are made equal. Some can get the job done faster than others. Going with a prompt service provider can potentially save you weeks of waiting.
We ask several questions when considering services’ turnaround times.
Do they internally process filings promptly? Do they offer or use every possible expediting option with state governments? Do they have good quality control and do they avoid filing errors? What do previous customers have to say about formation speeds?
Here is how Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom did in this category.
|Paid internal rush option||No||Yes|
|Overall turnaround time||Average||Slow|
Rocket Lawyer provides estimates of average turnaround times for all states in a processing time article, although these estimates may not include Rocket Lawyer’s internal processing times. Rocket Lawyer also displays a turnaround time estimate during the checkout process (which can sometimes differ from the times listed in their article – perhaps due to the seasonality of filings).
As a couple of quick examples, a standard LLC formation in California is estimated to take 15-20 business days to complete, while an expedited New York LLC is estimated to take three to five business days.
We did note that Rocket Lawyer does not explicitly promise to file documents on the same or next day (same or next-day filings are our turnaround time gold standard).
Depending on which state a customer is forming their business in, they may be given the option to opt for a rush filing as an add-on. This will generally increase the state filing fee and result in a faster overall processing time.
Customers who opt into rush filing will receive electronic copies of their final formation documents as soon as the filing is fully processed.
LegalZoom’s turnaround times are well below average. How long it takes to form a business with them depends on the formation package you choose.
Their Economy package comes with a 30 business day expected turnaround time. The Standard package reduces this to 15 business days, and the Express Gold package offers the best turnaround time, at 10 business days.
Notably, LegalZoom’s estimates don’t differ based on the state in which the business is being formed. LegalZoom also makes no mention of same or next-day filing.
LegalZoom’s package listing for LLC formations and incorporations explicitly states that they will prioritize their more expensive package orders over the less expensive packages. This effectively means that basic formations (those that use the most affordable package) will be internally delayed. The better formation services we reviewed treat all orders the same, filing all documents promptly after receiving and reviewing them.
Turnaround time winner: Rocket Lawyer
In most cases, Rocket Lawyer’s advertised turnaround times beat those of LegalZoom. Rocket Lawyer also allows customers to flexibly opt into rush filing, whereas LegalZoom requires customers to buy their (significantly) more expensive formation bundles to get faster service.
In addition, Rocket Lawyer takes into account your state of formation when providing turnaround time estimates – LegalZoom does not.
LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer: Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction allows us to compare the claims and promises of formation services with the experiences of their previous customers. These experiences can give us important insights into what a service is like and how they perform in the real world.
We mainly use independent customer reviews to evaluate the level of customer satisfaction of a service provider. We look not only at the average rating and number of reviews but also at the stand-out mentions and patterns in reviews, to give you a better understanding of how other entrepreneurs feel about providers’ formation services.
|Stand-out mentions||“Easy and quick”||“Very knowledgeable”|
“Made things easy”
“Some difficulties canceling”
Rocket Lawyer scores highly on customer satisfaction. They are currently rated 4.6 out of 5, with more than 3,250 individual reviews, on Trustpilot. More than 80% of customers rated the service with 5 stars, with only a few percent rating the service negatively.
Something to keep in mind when looking at Rocket Lawyer’s average score is that business formations make up only a small portion of their total service catalog. Still, many of their reviews relate directly to LLC formations and provide relevant information about the service.
Reviewers who used Rocket Lawyer’s formation service were overwhelmingly pleased with their experience; they praised the service's ease of use and appreciated the personal attention they received from Rocket Lawyer’s customer service staff.
LegalZoom performs decently in the customer satisfaction category. On Trustpilot, they have a rating of 4.1 out of 5, with more than 700 reviews. LegalZoom is also rated 4.1 out of 5 with the Better Business Bureau, where they have received over 2,000 reviews.
While most reviewers were happy with the formation service, there were also some who were not satisfied. One-star reviews accounted for 28% of LegalZoom’s total reviews. The negative reviews we saw tended to mention unexplained delays and troubles getting in touch with customer service.
Still, LegalZoom has a decent overall rating, and the majority of reviewers were happy with the services they received.
Customer satisfaction winner: Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is the clear winner of this category. They are consistently praised by online reviewers and have achieved a high average rating of 4.6 out of 5 with thousands of reviews. Only a small handful of customers mention any issues, while the vast majority were pleased with the service’s simplicity and quality of customer service.
LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer: Ease of Use
Avoiding the hassle of dealing with government agencies and reducing the risk of making a filing error are two main reasons why many entrepreneurs opt to entrust their business formation to the professionals.
That’s why good formation services do everything in their power to provide small business owners with an easy and straightforward online experience. Ideally, it should be possible to set up your new business in just a few minutes – service staff should be able to take it from there, handling things on their end without requiring any further input from you.
In addition to an easy order process, we also like to see companies be clear and upfront about their prices and offerings. Good services will ensure that terms and conditions, exact pricing (including recurring charges), and service descriptions are easily available and understandable.
Finally, when considering ease of use, we also look at how good services are at educating their customers and answering legal questions on formation-related topics.
|Clarity of instructions and prices||Great||Great|
Forming a business with Rocket Lawyer is quick and straightforward. Rocket Lawyer’s website guides entrepreneurs through the entire process step-by-step and only requires some basic information about your future business and its owners.
We liked that Rocket Lawyer does minimal upselling during check out and that they don’t advertise unnecessary third-party party services.
We also appreciate that Rocket Lawyer provides exact turnaround time estimates based on your state of formation and whether or not your formation is being expedited.
Rocket Lawyer’s website includes plenty of articles and resources to explain the formation process. Their library is more comprehensive than most competitors and contains articles on legal topics that go beyond business formations.
One area where Rocket Lawyer could do better is their service explanation pages. Some of Rocket Lawyer’s pages, such as the one dedicated to their registered agent service, include too little information about the service and omit basic information such as pricing.
People have to either contact them or search for prices on their own to learn more. Other services do better by gathering all relevant information in one place.
Like Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom does not specialize exclusively in business formations. Nevertheless, they present entrepreneurs with a clean and simple website and make it easy to start a business.
Unlike Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom does not provide state-specific turnaround time estimates. The times they list depend only on the selected package and are the same for all states.
All of LegalZoom’s formation-related services have their own dedicated pages. Important information about services and their prices are clearly displayed, along with frequently asked questions.
LegalZoom has a large and well-developed library of legal explanations articles on a wide range of topics. They offer a greater variety of articles than most other competitors, as they don’t exclusively specialize in business formations.
But that doesn’t mean that their formation resources are sub-par – LegalZoom provides more than 450 articles covering most aspects of starting a business.
Ease of use winner: LegalZoom
Both Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom have put in a lot of effort to make your online business formation as painless as possible. Both services offer large libraries of easy-to-understand articles explaining the legal ins and outs of starting a business. And both services allow you to place an order easily and in a matter of minutes.
We think, however, that LegalZoom did slightly better than RocketLawyer by offering more informative service pages, with pricing information being much more clearly displayed.
LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer: Help & Support
If all goes well, your formation provider will handle everything related to your business filing and you will receive your final approval documents without ever needing to talk to any support staff.
But if this is your first business, or if your LLC formation or incorporation is particularly complex, you might need to contact a customer service department for assistance or to clarify some finer details.
Having a quick, knowledgeable, and accessible customer service staff can help take much of the burden off your shoulders and ensure that any issues are resolved quickly.
And while formation companies are not law firms and cannot give legal advice, they can still answer many of the questions about starting a business that you might have.
You might also need to contact the formation company in case you use them for ongoing services. You may, for example, need a signature from your registered agent, or you might have a question about amending an annual report.
To evaluate a service's help and support options, we look for things such as extended business hours, multiple flexible contact methods, a well-developed online help section, and positive experiences of past customers.
|Live Chat Support||No||No|
|Extended business hours||No||Yes|
|Website help section||Yes||Yes|
Rocket Lawyer provides two contact methods – you can call them or leave a message through their website. Unfortunately, their message form only allows messages of up to 250 characters. We would have preferred it if they simply listed an email address instead.
Unlike LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer does not offer weekend hours. You can get in touch with them on weekdays between 6 am and 6 pm PT.
Rocket Lawyer also provides a tool on their website that lets people search for answers to many common questions. This tool is somewhat misleadingly labeled as a “customer service chat”… but you don’t get to “chat” with a real person at all.
LegalZoom’s contact page is easy to find and lists a variety of contact methods. You can call their customer service during their business hours, or you can leave a message through an online form. They also have an email address – [email protected] – however, they may not be able to help you through that address if you are not already one of their customers.
LegalZoom is one of the very few services we reviewed that offers extended and weekend hours with their customer support. LegalZoom’s customer service operates seven days a week, between 5 am and 7 pm PT on weekdays and between 7 am and 4 pm PT on weekends. We consider this especially beneficial if you decide to go with LegalZoom’s registered agent service.
LegalZoom sports a well-developed help section, with FAQs covering many common issues. They also include order tracking with all formations, making it easy to see what stage your order currently is in.
Help & support winner: LegalZoom
LegalZoom’s help and support offerings provide most of what we would like to see. LegalZoom’s seven-day-a-week customer service availability places the company ahead of much of the competition. Their help section is well-organized, and they offer both phone and email support.
Rocket Lawyer’s customer service is by no means bad, but their work hours are more restricted and their online chat tool is really just an automated system.
Do we recommend LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer?
No, we do not.
LegalZoom has a decent track record and is easy to use, but their prices are simply too high compared to the alternatives. Their turnaround times aren’t that impressive either.
Rocket Lawyer did better than LegalZoom in terms of pricing and turnaround time, however, they still fall short compared to some other competitors in the field. Rocket Lawyer’s costs for non-members are expensive and add up quickly. Their turnaround times, while better than LegalZoom’s, are not the best we have seen.
To find out more about some of the services that we do recommend, check out our Best LLC Services or Best Incorporation Services articles, as well as our individual reviews of some of our top choices, such as our ZenBusiness review.