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 ZenBusiness: Verdict
Though Swyft Filings did well on several of our key metrics, ZenBusiness scored great across the board.
ZenBusiness offers quick turnaround times, has an easily navigable website, and boasts excellent customer support options. And while they make a lot of bold claims, they appear to deliver on them – ZenBusiness’s customer review record is fantastic, with the company holding a 4.8+ out of 5 average with well over five thousand independent reviews recorded.
Perhaps most importantly, though, ZenBusiness has some of the best-priced formation plans we’ve seen. For just $49, you can get a full formation, which includes a free year’s worth of the company’s registered agent service. Add-on services are all very competitively priced, too.
Unlike other business formation services, ZenBusiness charges a recurring, yearly fee for their formation plans (all of which include recurring services) – but they also offer quick and easy cancellations, for those who are just looking for a bare-bones formation without any ongoing services.
|Ease of Use||5/5||5/5|
|Help & Support||4/5||4/5|
ZenBusiness is our top-rated formation company – you can find a more in-depth review of their offerings in our ZenBusiness review. If you’re looking to compare and contrast our other highly-rated companies, you can also check out reviews on Northwest Registered Agents and Active Filings (they hold our #2 and #3 spots, respectively).
Still have some questions about whether forming an LLC is the right choice for your new business? Or maybe you just need more information about the overall process?
Before looking at our individual 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 side-by-side service provider match-up, read on!
Swyft Filings vs ZenBusiness: Pricing
Every dollar counts when you’re starting a new business entity. And whether you’re forming an LLC or incorporation a c-corp or nonprofit, the process is fairly standardized.
Sure, there are slight differences between states, but, for the most part, formations and incorporations look similar across the country.
And yet, the price of online formations ranges tremendously. Depending on the bundle you buy, you could find yourself paying anywhere between $0 and $800!
Unfortunately, straightforward, apples-to-apples comparisons between online LLC formation services’ bundles can be difficult. That’s because not all bundles are created equally.
Some bundles are truly bare-bones, offering business name searches and Articles of Organization (or Incorporation) filing and nothing else.
Others, on the other hand, come with lots of add-ons, such as business license searches, banking resolution drafting, tax id number filing, annual report filing, customized seals and shares, and much, much more.
Some of these add-ons are quite useful, while others… not so much.
In our Swyft Filings vs ZenBusiness comparison, we’ve tried to keep things as straightforward as possible when it comes to price comparisons. Below, we show the prices each company charges for three key services: a “basic” formation, a “full” formation, and annual registered agent service.
The prices listed below do not include state fees. State filing fees can vary considerably, although they usually fall somewhere in the $50 to $150 range.
|Registered Agent||$149 per year||$99 per year|
Not sure what the difference between a “basic” formation and a “full” formation is? 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 costs put them in the middle of the pack when it comes to pricing. By far, the company’s best value offer is its Basic package.
Priced at just $49, Swyft Filings’ the Basic package offers Articles of Organization filing and throws in a few other add-ons too. Among these are a free domain name for your business (though only for one year), a 30-minute business tax consultation, and access to SwyftFilings’ ComplianceGuard system, which generates company alerts and lets you know about key deadlines and filing dates (for annual reports, etc.).
Domain names are better purchased through specialists, and tax consultations are usually just upsell opportunities. So, ComplianceGuard is the only one of these three “bonuses” that adds any sort of value. That’s okay though – given the low price of the Basic package, we’re not complaining.
Notably, though, LLC Operating Agreement drafting is absent from Swyft Filings’ Basic package – Swyft Filings charges $35 for that as an add-on. To get a “basic” formation, then, your total cost will be $84.
And, for a “full” formation, you’ll need a registered agent service too. Unfortunately, Swyft Filings does not provide a free year of its registered agent service with its formation bundles, as many other competitors do. You’ll have to pay $149 (annually) for that service – a price point that is firmly above average.
Swyft Filings has a couple of pricier bundles too. Their Standard and Premium Packages cost $149 and $299, respectively. But we won’t go over these in too much detail here – neither comes with enough value-added services to justify their higher prices, so we don’t recommend purchasing them.
Like Swyft Filing, ZenBusiness’s most basic formation bundle – its Starter Plan – is priced at $49. Unlike Swyft Filings’ Basic bundle, though, the Starter Plan includes Articles of Organization (or Incorporation) filing, and Operating Agreement drafting, and a full free year of ZenBusiness’ registered agent service.
This means that, for just $49, you get all the services necessary for not just a basic but a full formation (after your free registered agent service year ends, the cost becomes $99 annually).
ZenBusiness also has Pro and Premium plans, priced at $199 and $299 respectively. While not offering the same tremendous value as their Starter Plan, both of these bundles do come with some useful add-ons.
With the Pro, you’ll get everything that’s included with the Starter, plus Zen Business will file for an EIN (federal tax id number) for your business, draft a banking resolution template (a document usually required to open a business bank account), and provide you with their Worry-Free Compliance service.
Similar to SwyftFilings’ ComplianceGuard, this service sends you alerts about deadlines so you can retain your good standing with the state. ZenBusiness’ compliance service comes with free annual report filing, too.
ZenBusiness’s Premium plan is a good option if you are looking to build a basic website for your business. Unlike some competitors, which tend to just offer domain names with their premium packages, with ZenBusiness you get a business domain name (URL), a business email address, and your business website set up for you.
We still recommend going directly to website specialists like Wix or Shopify for your business website…but ZenBusiness’ website building service is definitely a stand-out among formation companies.
One last important thing to note is that ZenBusiness’s formation costs recur annually (as all of their bundles include ongoing, rather than just one-time, services). However, you can cancel your service at any time and without incurring any fees.
Pricing Winner: ZenBusiness
Better priced basic formations. Better priced full formations. Better priced registered agent service. It’s not hard to see why ZenBusiness wins in this category.
ZenBusiness’s basic and full formation prices are not just better than Swyft Filings, they’re some of the best we’ve seen anywhere. ZenBusiness’s LLC formation packages are also light on “fluff” services and heavy on useful services that add real value.
Swyft Filings vs ZenBusiness: Turnaround time
New startup owners are usually eager to get their business entity officialized as soon as possible.
Being officially registered with the state is a first and crucial step to expanding your business’ horizons. Forming an LLC or incorporating as a c-corp will allow you to open a business bank account, apply for key permits, and hire employees.
Most business owners turn to online formation services because they want to save themselves some time and hassle. That’s why we consider turnaround time to be such an important factor when reviewing companies – if a company is slow or produces an error-laden filing, they’re probably not worth using at all.
Of course, since your formation documents will be processed by your state’s Secretary of State office, a large chunk of total turnaround time is out of formation companies’ hands.
But companies can, and should, do everything in their power to speed up the process on their end, so your overall turnaround time is as short as possible.
Here’s how Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness did on this key category:
|Paid internal rush option||Yes||No|
|Overall turnaround time||Average||Fast|
You can get same or next-day filing through various express filing services that Swyft Filings offers, although all of these are paid add-ons.
Swyft Filings’ turnarounds are decent, though not as “Swyft” as we’d hope to see. The company does not make any specific promises with regards to their own processing time on basic orders. They do, however, claim an overall processing time of 1-2 weeks for most states, if you don’t go with any expediting options.
Both state expediting and internal expediting are available with Swyft Filings. We encourage the former if you need your business formed quickly. State expediting means you pay an extra fee to the state you’re filing with, and they bump your application to the head of their line.
We do not recommend internal expediting though – this is essentially an extra fee paid just to get a reasonable processing time with a formation company. We believe same or next-day filing should be standard, not something you have to pay extra for.
ZenBusiness also sports solid, though not fantastic, turnaround times. As is the case with Swyft Filings, ZenBusiness does not make guarantees about their own processing time, even with internally expedited orders.
“Expedited filing ” and “rush filing” (the latter being even faster than the former), come with ZenBusiness’s Pro and Premium plans, respectively. You can also pay $50 or $100, respectively, to tack these services on to a normal order.
ZenBusiness provides a handy tool for exploring expedited turnaround times by state and expediting level.
Like with Swyft Filings, we were disappointed to see ZenBusiness charging for internal prioritization of orders. Generally, though, their turnaround times are above-average, even without expediting – they also sport lots of positive reviews mentioning quick formations, which helps boost our confidence in their service.
Turnaround time winner: Tie
ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings aren’t necessarily the best options for those looking for the fastest possible turnaround time at the most reasonable price.
But both businesses still did well in this category – both offer above-average turnaround times and have positive review records that back up their claims.
We would have preferred to see, however, some guaranteed filing times that didn’t require any extra internal expediting fee.
Swyft Filings vs ZenBusiness: Customer satisfaction
We wish we could take everything that formation companies claim at face value. It’d make our jobs and your browsing experience a lot easier!
Unfortunately, formation companies don’t always do what they say they’ll do – business formation filings take longer than expected or have errors, customer service is not as accessible or knowledgeable as claimed… you get the point.
Since we can’t form an LLC, c corp, or nonprofit with every provider we review, we rely, in part, on verified customer reviews. Independent customer reviews give us a better idea of what it’s really like to do business with a formation provider.
When we’re looking at customer feedback, we take a few factors into account. We look at overall averages, of course, but we also look at review volumes. It’s a lot easier to trust the veracity of three thousand reviews than just three reviews.
We also look out for phrases or themes that come up often, whether they’re positive or negative.
Here’s how Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness did on the customer satisfaction front:
|Stand-out mentions||“Excellent customer service”|
“Helpful & knowledgeable”
|“Quick and easy”|
Swyft Filings has amassed an impressive volume of reviews, most of them very positive. On independent review sites Trustpilot and Sitejabber, Swyft Filings has garnered over 36,000 reviews! That’s more than every other formation company we’ve looked at.
The good news for Swyft Filings is that most of these reviewers have nothing but praise for the company. Their review average stands at about 4.5 out of 5 on most sides – a more than respectable rating, especially in this industry.
While we did find an occasional negative review, most comments left for Swyft Filings mentioned the company’s excellent customer service staff, which clients found to be helpful and knowledgeable.
ZenBusiness also boasts an excellent review record. While they don’t have quite the same volume as Swyft Filings, ZenBusiness has over 6,000 reviews on Trustpilot alone.
Across review sites, ZenBusiness also boasts fantastic averages – 4.8+ out of 5 in most cases.
Scanning individual reviews, we found many references to ZenBusiness’s document filing and overall formation speed, as well as the professionalism and accessibility of their customer service staff.
Customer satisfaction winner: ZenBusiness
Both Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness have an excellent customer reviewtrack record. We were pleased to see high review volumes and solid averages across the board.
ZenBusiness edged out Swyft Filings, though, because their overall rating averages were higher, thanks to a higher proportion of five-star ratings.
It’s true that Swyft Filings has more reviews, but ZenBusiness’s 6,000+ reviews are plenty enough to give us confidence in their service.
Swyft Filings vs ZenBusiness: Ease of use
When ordering your formation or corporation online, you should expect a smooth, stress-free process. We like seeing formation companies with well-designed websites that are easy to navigate, even when a ton of different services are provided.
Ordering should not be a hassle. You should not have to call or talk to a rep if you don’t want to, and we expect it to take no longer than ~15 minutes to go from order screen to completed purchase.
And, as context information is so important for formations, we also like to see companies provide well-written articles and FAQs.
Unsure as to whether or not you should elect for “s-corporation” status? Confused about the differences between various business structure types? Need to know if your company will require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS? Or, maybe you need to know what goes into changing a business name?
A good website should answer all these questions and more.
Finally, we look for prices and terms being clearly listed with every service. We really dislike having to click through a shopping cart, or worse, have to call a rep, to get the true price of a service.
We also don’t like it when customers are hit with hidden fees, recurring payments, or constantly upsold on unnecessary add-ons.
Here’s now Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness did with ease of use:
|Clarity of instructions and prices||Great||Great|
Swyft Filings does well on both pricing clarity and the informativeness of their articles.
Whether ordering a formation bundle or an add-on service, we had no trouble at all finding Swyft Filings’ price points – they’re all clearly listed on relevant services’ pages, which is something we cannot say about many of their competitors.
Articles and FAQs throughout Swyft Filings’ websites were very well-written. The language they used was clear and accessible to new small business owners who may be unfamiliar with a lot of the terminology.
We docked Swyft Filings a bit, though, for their excessive upselling of third-party services during checkout. This practice is hardly limited to Swyft Filings – many other formation companies do this too, unfortunately.
ZenBusiness also sports an excellent website. Navigation is easy, and their context articles – whether about formations and formation-related services or business questions at large – are top-notch.
Following their step-by-step instructions, customers can put their formation or incorporation order through in just minutes.
ZenBusiness also does a great job of clearly listing all their prices in all the relevant places.
And when it comes to upselling, ZenBusiness holds back much more than their competitors. Since they do most of their work in-house, they have far fewer third-party offerings (which usually don’t add much value for new business owners); they’re generally less pushy about tacking on non-vital services.
Ease of use winner: ZenBusiness
Again, both competitors had a strong showing in this category. ZenBusiness won out, though, because, in addition to having a great, easily navigable website and clearly-listed prices, they refrained from the heavy upselling that Swyft Filings’ engages in.
Swyft Filings vs ZenBusiness: Help & Support
Thankfully, most online formations go through without a hitch. You enter some basic information about your business, then your application is reviewed by the formation company, sent off to the state, and approved. Done and done.
But, sometimes, problems or questions arise. In those situations, it’s great to work with a company that offers solid help and support options.
Even with dozens of articles at your disposal, you still may be a bit confused about some aspect of the formation process.
Some formations can be more complex and cumbersome than others, too. Having a real human – ideally, a formation expert – to talk to can be tremendously helpful.
When reviewing companies’ help and support options, we look at a few key factors.
First, we look at options – are there lots of quick, hassle-free ways to reach a help rep?
We also look at hours of operation – are businesses open at convenient times for new startup owners? – and website help sections – are FAQs, contact info, and other support material all available on one well-built page?
Here’s how Swyft Filings and ZenBusiness did in this category:
|Live Chat Support||Yes||Yes|
|Extended business hours||No||Yes|
|Website help section||Yes||Yes|
Swyft Filings’ contact info is quite easily accessible. That’s a bigger plus than you may think – many formation companies, unfortunately, bury their contact info at the bottom of Terms of Service pages or other dense blocks of text.
We’ve seen several instances where a contact email is altogether unavailable – instead, companies make you fill out an online form if you have a question or concern.
The phone and email contact info for Swyft Filings, though, are clearly listed on their website. Plus, a live web chat feature is available as well.
Swyft Filings’ website also sports a dedicated help section that’s filled with general FAQs.
One area where Swyft Filings’ support fell a bit short, however, was in their availability. Swyft Filings allows you to get help from a rep 9 am to 6 pm, CST and only on weekdays.
Those are essentially just normal business hours. Since startup owners tend to be busy on business days, we prefer to see some extended hours too.
ZenBusiness also does great when it comes to contact transparency. Their contact section lists an email, a phone number, a live chat option, and even a physical address where you can send snail mail.
The company also promises to respond to all messages within just 24 hours (and their positive customer reviews back up this claim).
And unlike Swyft Filings, ZenBusiness does offer extended support hours – you can give them a call any time between 8 am and 8 pm CT on weekdays and between 10 am and 7 pm on Sundays.
We see that expanded window as a huge plus (only a handful of other companies, such as LegalZoom, offer weekend hours).
Finally, ZenBusiness’s website has an excellent help section with FAQs and access to tons of articles that most new business owners will find relevant.
Help & support winner: ZenBusiness
Both ZenBusiness and Swyft Filings impressed us with their easily accessible contact info and excellent help sections.
ZenBusiness won on help and support, though, in large part to their extended support hours.
With a weekday window that’s much longer than SwyftFilings’, plus Sunday help hours, ZenBusiness offers more options to startup owners whose schedules are probably packed as is.
Do we recommend Swyft Filings or ZenBusiness?
Yes – we recommend ZenBusiness!
ZenBusiness has a well-built website, great help and support options, provides solid turnaround times, and – perhaps most importantly – provides some of the most affordable basic and full formations we’ve seen.
They also have a stellar review record that backs up their claims. We’re confident in recommending ZenBusiness to any new business owner trying to start their limited liability company.
Swyft Filings has a solid website, offers decent prices, and has above-average turnaround times. But other companies offer even faster turnaround times at even lower prices. Plus, Swyft Filings provides a lot of its services through third parties and upsells a lot of unnecessary add-on services.