Are you looking to form a limited liability company, corporation, or nonprofit but are stuck trying to settle on the best formation service to use?
Choosing the right service can be difficult. That’s why we’ve evaluated over a dozen of the top services, looking at metrics in a number of categories, such as pricing and turnaround time, in order to give you a clear idea of each services’ strengths and weaknesses.
Here are our results:
Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom: Verdict
Although both LegalZoom and Swyft Filings boast great websites, good track records, and solid help and support options, Swyft Filings was the clear winner in this head-to-head.
Swyft Filings’ services are both faster and more reasonably priced than LegalZoom’s. Though their add-on service costs are comparable, both basic and full formations with Swyft Filings cost less than half as much as they do with LegalZoom, and you can expect a considerably faster turnaround time too.
Swyft Filings is hardly without faults, though – they do too much upselling of unnecessary add-ons and offer too many services through third parties. And there are certainly more affordable options out there for new small business owners.
|Ease of Use||5/5||5/5|
|Help & Support||4/5||5/5|
If you want to learn more about our most highly-rated formation companies, we recommend checking out our reviews of ZenBusiness, Northwest Registered Agents, and Active Filings. All three of these companies scored much better overall than both LegalZoom and Swyft Filings
Still have some questions about whether forming an LLC is the right move for your business? Or maybe you just need some clarification about the process as a whole? Before going over our service provider reviews, you may want to check out our How to Start an LLC article.
If you want to learn more about how we came to our conclusions in this particular service provider match-up, read on!
Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom: Pricing
Price is one of the most important factors new business owners look at when forming their LLCs (that’s why we give it a 2x weight in our rankings).
But comparing sticker prices between formation companies can be tricky. That’s because formation packages can vary considerably in what’s included.
Some bundles are super bare-bones – state filing of your Articles of Organization only – while others include tons of add-ons, such as annual compliance filing, legal document templates, registered agent service, banking resolution drafting, and more.
Many add-ons are useful…but many more are not.
For our Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom comparison, we’ve tried to make things as simple as possible by boiling things down to three main price points:
- the price of a “basic” formation
- the price of a “full” formation
- the annual cost of a registered agent service.
These listed prices do not include state fees (they remain the same for any given state, regardless of the formation service you use). State fees vary considerably, but they usually fall somewhere in the $50 to $150 range.
|Registered Agent||$149 per year||$299 per year|
What’s the difference between a basic and a full formation? Here’s how we define each:
Basic Formation: Covers the essential 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.
Full Formation: Additionally includes – at minimum – a registered agent service, which most LLC owners will find essential.
Swyft Filings formation pricing puts it right around the middle of the pack. Their Basic package is priced at $49 and includes Articles of Organization filing and a few other add-ons (a free domain name for one year, compliance alerts through Swyft Filings’ ComplianceGuard system, and a 30-minute business tax consultation – only the compliance alerts really add any value here).
For a “basic” formation, you’ll need to tack on an LLC Operating Agreement. Swyft Filings charges $35 for this, bringing your total to $84.
To move up to a “full” formation, you’ll need to pay $149 per year for Swyft Filings’ registered agent service. That’s a bit pricier than average – plenty of companies offer registered agent service for about $100 per year. Plus, Swyft Filings’ registered agent service is done through a third party, which we view as a negative for privacy and ease-of-cancellation reasons.
We prefer to see in-house services whenever possible.
With regards to additional services, Swyft Filings prices are average to above average. A business license package with them will run you $99 for instance (about average), while EIN filing is $79 (above average).
LegalZoom has some of the most expensive services we’ve reviewed.
A basic formation with them will require you to purchase both their $79 Economy package (LegalZoom’s bare-bones, standard package for LLC formations) and their $99 Operating Agreement drafting add-on – that’s a total of $178, more than double what a basic formation with Swyft Filings will run you.
And a full formation with LegalZoom is even pricier, thanks to their $299 (wow!) per year registered agent service. The first year isn’t even included for free, as it is with many other companies’ LLC formation packages.
Now, LegalZoom’s registered agent service does offer more than your average registered agent service. It’s done in-house, and it comes with some bonuses: a compliance calendar that provides company alerts, plus unlimited cloud storage for business docs.
Still, LegalZoom’s annual registered agent cost is nearly triple the average.
Its one-off services, like DBA filings, annual report filing, and employer identification number (EIN) filing are also priced way above the norm.
Premium packages, which include expedited filing and other add-ons, can run well into the $600+ range when registered agent service is included.
Pricing Winner: Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is the clear winner on price.
Although there are definitely more affordable options out there, Swyft Filings’ prices on basic formations, full formations, and registered agent service blow LegalZoom out of the water.
Prices for add-on services between the two companies are comparable, although LegalZoom does have a notably larger selection and does far more of its work in-house.
Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom: Turnaround time
New business owners turn to online formation companies to save themselves time and effort. There should be no need to spend time dealing with regulations and red tape if there are experts who can affordably do it for you.
But, if your service provider is slow and your formation ends up taking several weeks or more, you lose out on one of the big benefits of filing online in the first place.
If you’re forming an LLC, a corporation, or even a nonprofit, chances are you want to start doing business in an official capacity as quickly as possible. That’s why, as was the case with pricing, turnaround time gets a 2x weight in our rankings.
Here are a few key stats on Swyft Filings’ and LegalZoom’s formation turnaround times:
|Paid internal rush option||Yes||Yes|
|Overall turnaround time||Average||Slow|
Swyft Filings offers same-day formation filings, but these do not come standard. You must purchase same-day filing as an add-on.
Swyft Filings offers decent turnaround times overall. Although they don’t explicitly mention how quickly they send your documents to the state, they claim standard total filing times of 1-2 business weeks for most states.
Swyft Filings also offers one or two tiers of expedited filing (depending on the state), which typically accelerate the process to just 2-5 business days. Expediting filing comes with some of Swyft Filings’ “premium” bundles, but you can also order it as an add-on.
Same or next-day turnaround times for formations (that means a company sends your documents to the state within a day of your filing them out) are the industry gold standards. Swyft Filing offers them, but only as paid add-ons.
In general, we don’t love to see companies charging extra to internally prioritize applications.
LegalZoom’s turnaround times are decidedly on the slow side. That’s pretty disappointing to see from such a big and well-known company.
With LegalZoom’s Economy package, you may have to wait a full 30 business days for your business to be formed or incorporated. At that point, you might as well send the documents yourself via snail mail!
Expedited processing with LegalZoom isn’t much better – processing time is bumped down to 10-15 business days, but that’s still not great, and it comes with a hefty price tag.
Compared to our top-rated business formation services, LegalZoom’s turnaround times leave a lot to be desired.
Turnaround time winner: Swyft Filings
In a side-by-side comparison, Swyft Filings easily takes it on turnaround time.
Though they don’t offer same or next-day filings, their speeds are notably faster than LegalZoom’s and are at or slightly above the industry average.
If turnaround time is an important factor, but not the most important factor, for you, then Swyft Filings is a reasonable choice.
Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom: Customer satisfaction
We wish we could take all formation companies’ claims at face value. But oftentimes, strong claims (satisfaction guarantees, money-back guarantees, etc.) aren’t backed up by strong services.
Customer reviews help us verify (or disprove ) the company offers that formation companies advertise. More broadly, they can also help us determine whether a service is worth working with at all.
Since we can’t form a new Limited Liability Corporation or C corporation with every company we review, we look to previous customers to give us an idea of what the real-deal user experience is like.
And when we’re looking at ratings, several factors matter to us. High averages are, of course, a great start. But we also like to see significant volumes. We’re much more likely to trust an average of four thousand reviews than we are an average of four reviews.
We also try to look out for specific phrases – whether they are praise points or pain points – that crop up consistently.
Here are just a few quick stats on the review history of both Swyft Filings and LegalZoom.
|Stand-out mentions||“Excellent customer service”|
“Helpful & knowledgeable”
“Made things easy”
“Polite and professional”
Swyft Filings sports an impressive review history. Across sites such as Trustpilot and Sitejabber, they’ve accumulated tens of thousands of reviews. That’s quite the collection, and it dwarfs the review counts of most of the competition.
Those reviews are overwhelmingly positive, too – they’ve got an average in the neighborhood of 4.5 out of 5 on most review sites.
While lots of the praise we saw was general (“great company,” “great job,” etc.), we also saw a considerable number of reviews that praised the helpfulness, availability, and knowledgeability of Swyft Filings’ customer service staff. We love seeing specifics like those – they really help back up Swyft Filings’ service claims.
LegalZoom also has quite a few reviews – over 3,500 between sites such as Trustpilot and The Better Business Bureau. Their averages, while not quite as good as Swyft Filings, are still respectable, sitting at around 4 out of 5 on most sites.
We saw plenty of specifics in LegalZoom reviews as well. Many customers seemed to be very impressed with the professionalism and expertise of LegalZoom’s support staff.
We particularly saw a lot of reviews from first-time business owners, who were very pleased with how easy their formation or incorporation process turned out to be.
Customer satisfaction winner: Swyft Filings
Both Swyft Filings and LegalZoom have solid review histories.
Each company sports thousands of reviews and good – though not sterling – overall averages. These reviews increase our confidence that both companies back up their service claims with positive results.
Given their greater volume of reviews, and their slightly higher averages, though, we have to give the win to Swyft Filings in this category.
Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom: Ease of use
When buying just about any product or service online, customers expect a clean, easy-to-follow process. The formation process is complex enough as is – there’s no excuse for things to be complicated by cumbersome order processes or confusing websites.
With formations, we also like to see companies provide plenty of useful context information.
It’s one thing to list a service and its price. It’s another, better, thing to list a service, its price, and provide a detailed description of what the service is and when and why business owners may need to use it.
Not sure if it makes sense to file as an s-corporation? Need to figure out if you need to file for a federal tax id with the IRS? Or maybe you’re thinking about changing your business name?
A good website should offer well-explained, easily accessible answers to these and similar questions.
So, all in all, there are several factors we consider when looking at ease of use. Here the main questions we ask ourselves:
- Is the order process smooth and intuitive?
- Is there plenty of information available on the various services provided, so customers understand both what they need and what they’re buying?
- Are prices clearly displayed, or is a lot of digging needed to find them?
And here’s how Swyft Filings and LegalZoom did:
|Clarity of instructions and prices||Great||Great|
Overall, we found Swyft Filings to be quite easy to use. The company sports an intuitive, well-organized website and has an easy-to-follow order process.
Plenty of context information, as well as FAQs, accompany just about every service offered. And, just as importantly, prices for those services are always clearly listed. We dislike having to click through a shopping cart – or, even worse, call a representative – to get price info, so this is a definite plus for Swyft Filings.
Unfortunately, during the formation bundle checkout process, Swyft Filings does hit customers with quite a few unnecessary add-ons and third-party upsells. Plenty of other companies do this too – but we’re still not thrilled about it.
LegalZoom’s website makes clear the fact that the company is a large one with lots of resources at its disposal. It’s exceptionally well-built. In spite of the fact that LegalZoom offers a huge range of services, navigation is easy. The order process is also quite intuitive.
Prices are clearly listed alongside services. And, although they don’t do full-length context articles, LegalZoom’s tables and FAQs do a good job of answering just about any service-related questions customers may have.
Ease of use winner: LegalZoom
Though we found both LegalZoom and Swyft Filings to be quite easy to use, we give the win to LegalZoom in this category. Their website is one of the best we’ve seen, and, importantly, their formation bundles come with fewer upsells and unnecessary add-ons than Swift Filings’.
Swyft Filings vs LegalZoom: Help & Support
Most online formations go through without a hitch. You fill out your business’s info, your Articles of Organization are sent to the state, approved, and sent back to you. Done and done.
However, you shouldn’t count on everything always going smoothly. Some formations are bare-bones, but others can get fairly complex. If you’re unsure about any step of the process, or if you think there’s an issue that might delay your filing, it’s tremendously helpful to have a real person – an expert, ideally – to talk to.
When reviewing formation companies’ help and support, we want to see clear and accessible contact info, reasonable support hours, a diversity of support options, and a well-written help section.
Here’s how Swyft Filings and LegalZoom did on some of our quick metrics:
|Live Chat Support||Yes||No|
|Extended business hours||No||Yes|
|Website help section||Yes||Yes|
Swyft Filings’ contact information is refreshingly accessible. Many other formation companies bury their email addresses or make you fill out an online form to send a message.
Swyft Filings, though, has a phone number, email, and live-chat option clearly featured on their contact page. The company’s website also has a full-fledged help section filled with general FAQs.
The one area where Swyft Filings fell short was in its support hours. Normally, we like to see at least some weekend support hours – they offer convenience and flexibility to busy new startup owners.
Most companies don’t provide weekend hours, so Swyft Filings is hardly an outlier here, but we still docked them a bit.
LegalZoom has an easily accessible support phone number, though their customer support email address ([email protected]) does take a bit more digging to find.
The LegalZoom website also boasts a ‘Customer Care’ page that, quite similarly to Swyft Filings’ help center page, has a list of well-written FAQs.
Where LegalZoom really sets itself apart, though, is through its weekend hours. Available from 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Saturdays and Sundays, LegalZoom offers help at times that won’t force you to shift your weekday schedule around.
Help and support winner: LegalZoom
Both LegalZoom and Swyft Filings have solid track records when it comes to help and support. Their websites have dedicated help sections, and they are (relatively) upfront about contact info.
Perhaps most importantly, we found that both companies had lots of independent, positive reviews praising their respective customer service staffs. In the end, though, LegalZoom’s extended support hours helped it clinch this category.
Do We Recommend Swyft Filings or LegalZoom?
No, we do not.
LegalZoom has a long and solid track record, but their service prices are simply too high, and their turnaround times are unacceptably slow.
Swyft Filings, while more affordable, is still far from the best value out there. Their turnaround times are average, they outsource too many of their services to third parties, and they do far too much upselling of unnecessary add-ons.