ZenBusiness Review 2021: The Best Formation Service for Your Business?

In this review, we will cut to the chase and go over what you really need to know:

  • ZenBusiness’ true costs and pricing
  • The turnaround time you can expect for LLC formation or incorporation
  • Zenbusiness’ reliability, customer reviews, support and much more

Plus, we’ll provide clear explanations of the many other relevant, formation-related services that ZenBusiness offers.

Below is a quick summary of our findings. Further down, you’ll find our more comprehensive review, which details our conclusions and also explains everything you need to know about ZenBusiness.

Is ZenBusiness the Right Choice for You?​

ZenBusiness Logo 2021

Pricing: 5/5

Help & Support: 4/5

Turnaround Time: 4/5

Customer Satisfaction: 5/5

Ease of Use: 5/5

Overall: 4.6/5
4.6/5

ZenBusiness Pros

ZenBusiness Cons

Scoring Weights: Pricing (2x), Turnaround Time (2x) and Customer Satisfaction (1.5x) have been given additional weights in our scoring.

ZenBusiness boasts quick turnaround times, excellent customer support, and great prices compared to its competitors. ZenBusiness is the best choice for most business owners looking to form an LLC or a corporation.

Visit ZenBusiness.com or continue reading our review to learn how we arrived at our ratings.

Table of Contents

ZenBusiness Quick Overview

ZenBusiness Review 2021

Zenbusiness is a venture-funded public benefit company based in Austin, Texas. The company was founded in 2015 by Ross Buhrdorf, who was previously the Chief Technology Officer at HomeAway.

The company’s mission is to help everyday Americans fulfill their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. ZenBusiness offers affordable LLC formations and incorporation plus several other services necessary for a successful startup launch.

According to their About Us, new business owners working with ZenBusiness will enjoy:

Worry-free services, world-class support, and an all-inclusive platform that provides everything they need to be successful throughout their business lifecycle.

www.ZenBusiness.com

ZenBusiness states that their core values are:

  • Transparency: Operating with honesty and integrity, and with zero hidden charges.
  • Protection: Helping you remain in good standing with the government.
  • Paying it forward: In 2020, the company has awarded over $100,000 in small business grants.

ZenBusiness Pricing

ZenBusiness Pricing Packages 2021

ZenBusiness offers three different formation plans. All three include the essentials:

  • Business Formation service (Limited Liability Company or Corporation)
  • Registered Agent service
  • Operating Agreement

Pro and Premium plans come with various add-ons.

Below, in our pricing review section, we go over the details and costs of each individual service. You can mix and match to create the best plan for you.

ZenBusiness Starter Plan: $49 + State Fees

ZenBusiness’s bare-bones starter plan serves your basic formation needs. If you are protecting real estate or intellectual property, or divvying assets, this plan is perfect for you. We don’t recommend this plan for businesses that are generating revenue.

Here’s what you get:

  • Standard Business Filing Service: Filing articles of organization with the Secretary of State. Includes unlimited name searches for your desired business name.
  • Registered Agent Service: Required by law, your registered agent is your business’s primary point of contact for government agencies and legal paperwork. We’ll expand on this later.
  • Operating Agreement: The single most important document for your LLC. It protects all your personal assets (e.g., houses, money, investments) and establishes your business’s nature, operation, and rules.

Check out a ZenBusiness Starter Plan Sample (PDF).

This plan renews at $119/year and includes the Registered Agent Service.

ZenBusiness Pro Plan: $199 + State Fees

We recommend the Pro plan for the majority of new business owners. With this plan, you save more than $150 when compared to purchasing each service individually. Every Pro plan item is necessary for new LLCs and for corporations selling products or services.

With ZenBusiness Pro, you get everything that comes with the standard plan, plus:

  • Expedited Filing Service: Allows you to skip the line. Reduces your filing time from 1-4 weeks to 1-2 weeks.
  • Employer ID Number (EIN): Your business’s tax ID. Think of it as a social security number for your business. Necessary for opening a business bank account, hiring employees, and filing tax returns.
  • Banking Resolution Template: Document required to open a business bank account with most banks.
  • Worry-Free Compliance: You will receive alerts and notifications for important compliance and filing deadlines. ZenBusiness will also cover your annual report filing plus two amendments.

Check out a ZenBusiness Pro Plan Sample (PDF).

This plan renews at $199/year, which covers the registered agent service and compliance monitoring and filing.

ZenBusiness Premium Plan: $299 + State Fees

We recommend the Premium plan for business owners who also need a basic website. ZenBusiness websites are convenient for businesses that do not sell online.

Website Tip:
If your business involves e-commerce or requires a more customizable website, we recommend looking into website builders such as Wix or Shopify.

With ZenBusiness Premium, you get everything included with Pro, plus:

  • Rush Filing Service:Skip straight to the front of the line. Get your business formed in as little as three business days.
  • Business Domain Name:Think of a domain name as your online address. Our domain name is “incandgo.com”. Domain names generally cost about $10/yr.
  • Business Website:ZenBusiness will set you up with a professional-looking website. They’ll generate your site with the information you provide during filing. It’s a solid way to display your story, contact info, and links to your social media profiles.
  • Business Email Address: Email address branded with your domain. “[email protected]”.

Most business owners can safely ignore this upsell and tackle website creation later on. We generally recommend using other services when building your website.

Check out a ZenBusiness Premium Plan Sample (PDF).

This plan renews at $299/year, which covers the Registered Agent Service, Compliance monitoring, Business Website, Business Domain Name, Domain Privacy and Business Email Address.

ZenBusiness vs. Competitors Pricing

Below, you’ll find our table that compares ZenBusiness’ formation prices with those of its main competitors.

Prices quoted in this table are independent of ZenBusiness’s package pricings. They are standardized for comparison with competitors.

We define Basic Formation, Full Formation, and Full Formation + Website below the table.

Service Basic Formation Full Formation Full Formation + Website
ZenBusiness $49 $49 $299
LegalZoom $178 $477 -
Rocket Lawyer $140 $290 -
Incfile $149 $149 -
Northwest Registered Agent $225 $225 -

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 owners will find essential.

Full Formation + Website: In addition to full formation services, includes a website, domain, security certificate, and other services necessary to securing your company’s online presence.

Which plan is the best value for money?

Both the Starter and Pro plans offer great value. The services provided with the Pro plan tend to cost at least $50 more with other providers.

If you do not plan on running a business through your LLC, the Starter plan is likely all you will need to protect your assets.

We recommend the Pro plan for most businesses. This package fulfills all essential administrative requirements so you can get going immediately.

If you are in a hurry and need a company ASAP, go with the Premium plan, as rush filing will run you an extra $100 anyway. The Premium plan will guarantee the fastest possible registration for your LLC.

Premium also offers good value if you need a simple business website and would like to reserve your business domain immediately. For more complex websites, such as e-commerce and service websites, we recommend using Shopify or Wix instead.

ZenBusiness Additional Costs and Hidden Fees

There are no hidden fees with ZenBusiness’s services. You pay the amount you see at checkout – and nothing more.

Some customers are confused as to why ZenBusiness charges them every year. We don’t consider this a hidden fee, as it’s clearly stated on their pricing page. We go into detail about this below.

Cancelling ZenBusiness services

ZenBusiness doesn’t lock you into contracts. You can cancel one or all of your services at any time by contacting their support team.

ZenBusiness Pros

Here’s what makes ZenBusiness stand out from competitors such as LegalZoom, IncFile, and RocketLawyer.

1. Great Value + $240 in Freebies

Starting a new LLC and business is never cheap, but overspending on the basics will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth. The last thing a startup needs is to waste money on administrative and legal necessities.

ZenBusiness provides everything your business needs with their Pro package, and at some of the lowest prices on the market.

  1. ZenBusiness: $199
  2. Competitors: $150-$350
  3. Lawyer: $300+

There’s not much more to it; ZenBusiness is the best deal on the market.

However!

Low prices alone are not what makes ZenBusiness a value great – it’s the bonus freebies that make them stand out from the competition.

Google Ads Credit: $150 Value

ZenBusiness $150 Ads Credit

This is the perfect way to validate your business, find your customers online, and/or hone your acquisition costs. After formation, you will receive a coupon that will match every dollar you spend on Google ads, up to $150.

Free CPA assessment: $40 Value

ZenBusiness Free Accountant Assessment

Licensed CPAs will help you determine your unique bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs. You will receive helpful resources and advice to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey. CPA assessments are never free, so this is a huge plus!

Virtual Business Guide: $50 value

The guide includes a basic checklist with everything you need to run your new business online. The recommendations for productivity, online communication, and marketing tools will save you hours of research time.

2. Quick Turnaround Times

Many customers report that their business entity’s formation took only a few business days, even during peak season!

Check out these customer reviews from Trustpilot:

ZenBusiness Fast Filing Customer Review One
ZenBusiness Fast Filing Customer Review Two
ZenBusiness Fast Filing Customer Review Three
ZenBusiness Fast Filing Customer Review Four
To check out more recent reviews related to turnaround times, just go to the ZenBusiness Trustpilot page and type in “days” in the search field. That’s how we found the reviews above.
PS: Turnaround times are generally tough to predict. Factors including the state in which you’re filing, the time of year, and pure luck all impact how long it’ll take you to register your LLC. Please don't consider these reviews bomb-proof guarantees.

3. A Seamless Experience for First Time Business Owners

Creating your first LLC is both exciting and a little bit overwhelming. ZenBusiness has made it all so much easier. They carefully guide you through the whole process, step-by-step.

A well-made dashboard will let you follow the progress of your LLC’s formation in real-time. You will receive notifications and updates throughout the entire formation process.

At no point will you feel confused about what’s going on, not know what to do, or be left to fend for yourself. We love that!

4. Professionals Through and Through

ZenBusiness has filed documents for thousands of LLCs, Corporations, DBAs, and business name registrations. They are the #1 specialized filing service in the US.

Many people – Lawyers, CPAs, and Advisors among them – offer LLC filing (almost always at a much greater cost), but nobody besides ZenBusiness focuses solely on LLC filing. We always recommend working with folks who specialize in just one area.

You will be hard-pressed to find professionals more specialized in business formation than the pros at ZenBusiness.

5. Great Customer Reviews

We read over a hundred ZenBusiness customer reviews on Trustpilot. The majority of LLC owners speak highly of them.

Check out some of their 4,300+ Trustpilot reviews for yourself.

ZenBusiness Trustpilot Reviews 2021

We also appreciate how they proactively contact customers who had less than perfect experiences to fix whatever their issue seems to be.

6. Extended Phone and Chat Customer Support Hours

Once you enter the business world, you realize that 24 hour + weekend services are practically nonexistent.

However, ZenBusiness provides extended customer support hours:

ZenBusiness Extended Customer Support Phone Email Chat

Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm central time + Sunday, 10am – 7pm central time.

Chat: You can chat online at zenbusiness.com during their extended support hours.

Phone: Call ZenBusiness at 1-844-493-6249 during their extended support hours.

Email: Get in touch at [email protected] and expect a reply within one business day.

Extended customer support hours are especially convenient when you are processing your legal documents and need to contact the registered agent department.

7. They are a Public Benefit Company

Public Benefit Corporations merge the goals of traditional for-profit businesses with non-profit companies’ emphasis on doing social, economic, and/or environmental good. PBCs must include public good causes in their statement of purpose.

To help businesses get through 2020, ZenBusiness awarded over $100,000 in grants to small businesses. Their statement of purpose includes helping launch over one million businesses by 2025.

As passionate entrepreneurs ourselves, we support this mission!

ZenBusiness Cons

ZenBusiness has it almost all figured out. But they’re not perfect.

Here are the areas where we think ZenBusiness can improve. We don’t think they will be of significant concern to most people.

1. Business Website functionality is limited

We always recommend choosing providers that are specialists in the services they provide.

As a business formation service, ZenBusiness is near perfect. As a website builder and domain provider, they cannot compete with more popular providers.

If you are creating an online business, we strongly recommend checking out Shopify for e-commerce sites or Wix for any other service website. You will have access to proprietary and proven website builders, tools, and services.

We will say, ZenBusiness’s all-in website cost (Website, Domain, Privacy, and Email) is only $110. This is very competitive compared to other popular website builders.

2. Subscription messaging

One of the most frequently asked questions about ZenBusiness is: “Why does ZenBusiness need to bill me annually?”

They could probably do a better job of communicating which services are subscription-based and which only have one-time fees.

Let us clear up the confusion.

With their Starter plan, a yearly subscription covers:

  • The Registered Agent Service

First-year costs are discounted heavily with the Starter plan. These renew at $119. All other formation packages renew at their first-year price.

Registered agents are required and will always cost about $100/year, no matter who you chose to be your RA.

With their Pro plan, a yearly subscription covers:

  • Registered Agent Service
  • Worry-Free Compliance

You can learn more about both of those in greater depth in our service section. Most people are very likely to need both these services.

With a Premium plan, a yearly subscription also covers:

  • Website Hosting
  • Domain Name Registration
  • Domain Privacy
  • Business Email

ZenBusiness Services

Below we have listed all of the ZenBusiness services you may be interested in, along with some additional details.

We have provided individual service pricing information for your reference. Keep in mind that ZenBusiness discounts most services when you buy any of their packaged business formation plans.

Business Formation

Included with all plans.

ZenBusiness Business Formation

Business formation is the primary service ZenBusiness provides to future business owners. State websites tend to be poorly built, hard to use, and slow. ZenBusiness will save you the hassle of dealing with those websites and ensure everything is filed properly.

ZenBusiness sends your documents to the Secretary of State on your behalf, completely free of charge. Every state, however, charges a fee for filing and processing your documents.

ZenBusiness collects the state fees on your behalf and forwards them to the Secretary of State. There are no hidden fees for this service.

Operating Agreement Template

Included with Starter, Pro and Premium. $35 otherwise.

ZenBusiness Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is an essential document for your LLC. In simple terms, it’s a contract signed by all LLC members outlining the nature, structure, and operation of your business.

Without an operating agreement, your limited liability as an owner/member can and will be disputed. If someone files a lawsuit against your LLC, your own money, real estate, 401k, and other assets will be at risk.

Without an operating agreement, your LLC will function more like a sole proprietorship, defeating its entire purpose.

ZenBusiness can immediately address this risk by providing you with an operating agreement that thousands of LLCs use today.

Among other things, operating agreements formalize via contract:

  • Who the LLC members are, and how much of the LLC they own
  • Who runs the LLC
  • How major business decisions are made
  • How the LLC will be funded
  • How profits will be distributed

LLCs created in California, Delaware, Maine, Missouri, and New York are legally required to have an operating agreement. Other states highly recommend, but do not require, new business owners to have an operating agreement.

Registered Agent Service

Included with Starter, Pro and Premium. $129/yr otherwise.

ZenBusiness Registered Agent Service

States require LLCs and corporations to appoint and maintain a registered agent. Your company’s registered agent serves as your business’s official point of contact.

The Secretary of State, IRS, other government agencies, and law offices will always send official correspondence to your registered agent. The registered agent is obligated to receive and process these legal documents.

Your registered agents must be available during regular business hours. Acting as your LLC’s registered agent yourself is discouraged. If you miss a legal notice because you were sick, on vacation, or otherwise out of your office, it’s your fault.

Registered agents must also maintain a physical address in the state where your business operates. Should you wish to work in several states, a registered agent service is a must.

LLC formation companies, including ZenBusiness, offer a registered agent service. When you use this service you:

  • Ensure your business remains compliant with state and federal agencies
  • Receive all critical documents online, organized and ready to download
  • Protect your storefront (if you have one) from embarrassing legal or tax notices
  • Avoid the massive amount of spam mail all newly registered businesses deal receive
Tip:
People often wonder how they can contact their registered agent after forming with ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness is your registered agent; you can contact them directly.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Included with Pro and Premium. $75 otherwise.

ZenBusiness EIN Filing Service

Your Employer Identification Number, also known as an EIN Number, is your LLC’s nine-digit federal tax ID. Think of it as your business’ social security number.

You need an EIN to open a business bank account, hire employees, and file your business’ tax returns.

ZenBusiness will prepare and digitally file your EIN with the IRS after your LLC is registered.

Banking Resolution Template

Included with Pro and Premium. $30 otherwise.

ZenBusiness Banking Resolution Template Service

The banking resolution is a document that determines who has the authority to open a bank account and sign banking documents within an LLC or corporation.

Many banks require you to present this document when opening a business bank account.

ZenBusiness will save you time and legal fees by providing a template with their Pro and Premium plans.

Business Document Templates Library

Included with Pro and Premium. $50 otherwise.

ZenBusiness Business Document Template Library

With Pro and Premium, you receive access to a growing library of 25+ business documents, including:

Contractor and Service Related

  • Individual liability waiver
  • Company liability waiver
  • Waiver – release of liability
  • Waiver – release of liability (minor)
  • Website maintenance agreement
  • Freelancer agreement
  • Service agreement
  • Marketing agreement
  • Consulting agreement
  • Graphic design agreement

Business and Intellectual Property

  • Non-compete agreement
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Employment offer letter
  • Employment termination
  • Employment agreement
  • Employee compensation agreement
  • Non-compete agreement
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Loan agreement
  • Purchase order agreement
  • Employment agreement
  • Termination of agreement and release
  • Breach of contract notice
  • Partnership dissolution agreement
  • Amendment to agreement
  • Letter of intent (transaction)
  • Purchase agreement
  • Business purchase agreement
  • Joint venture agreement

Your access includes unlimited uses, prints, and endless customizability.

Free CPA Assessment

Included with Starter, Pro and Premium. Not sold separately.

Every business has unique accounting needs. ZenBusiness will assess your new startup’s bookkeeping obligation by:

  • Tracking and paying invoices
  • Managing your books
  • Filing Taxes and more

As a new business owner, this service will buy you time to focus on what’s truly important to growing your business. Plus you’ll save on at least an hour’s worth of accounting consultation fees.

Expedited and Rush Filing

Standard: Usually up to three weeks, Free
Expedite: Usually up to two weeks, $50
Rush: Usually 1-3 days, $100

ZenBusiness Expedited Rush Filing California

ZenBusiness operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Paying for expedited or rush filing lets you skip the line. This can come in handy during busy times of the year (e.g., tax season).

Unless you need to guarantee the quickest possible filing, we don’t recommend upgrading. ZenBusiness is generally efficient enough, usually filing documents within a couple of days anyway.

Worry-Free Compliance

Included with Pro and Premium. $129 per year otherwise.

ZenBusiness Worry Free Compliance Service

Most US states require you to submit an annual report with penalties for missed deadlines. For a fee, ZenBusiness will perform an audit and file all necessary documents on your behalf. You also get two free amendment filings per year.

They will also watch your status with the state and notify you when you need to take action.

If you miss these deadlines still, you will receive help free of charge. You will receive a detailed action plan to fix the issue. They will also cover any penalty fees.

The worry-free guarantee helps you focus on your business without having to keep an eye out for deadlines, changes in laws, or regulations.

Website, Domain and Branded Email

Included with Premium. $150 per year otherwise.

ZenBusiness Business Website Service

Most businesses can’t go without a website these days. Whether it’s being used to sell products or services, offer up contact information, create a platform for communication, or simply boost credibility, a website can be invaluable.

ZenBusiness can help you register a domain, protect your sensitive data, and create a website for your business. You will also receive an email that’s branded with your domain name – e.g., [email protected].

You will be able to choose from their six business site templates, which you can then customize to fit your needs.

ZenBusiness Add-ons and Offers

In addition to the services we have already gone over, ZenBusiness can help you out with many of the tasks that become immediately necessary after your LLC is formed.

Here are some offers you can take advantage off:

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) insurance quote

ZenBusines Business Owner Policy Free Insurance Quote

In partnership with Commercial Insurance Center, you can receive a free quote for an insurance bundle, which will include general liability insurance and commercial property insurance.

Small Business online banking account

$110 per year.

ZenBusines Business Checking Account Online Bank Radius

In partnership with Radius Bank, you can apply for a discounted bank account that includes:

  • Unlimited Transactions
  • Online Banking
  • Debit card and  more
 

Do We Recommend ZenBusiness?

Yes, we do.

ZenBusiness will provide you with hassle-free LLC formation and incorporation at a very reasonable price – and it offers quick turnaround times to boot.

The formation process is entirely online. It’s quick and easy from start to finish. ZenBusiness’s CPAs will assess your accounting needs, and you will have access to a library of business documents immediately.

After formation, ZenBusiness helps you remain compliant and in good standing with the government. They will answer any questions you may have, free of charge, six days a week.

Having filed and formed thousands of LLCs since 2015, we believe that ZenBusiness will continue to improve on its already fantastic track record for years to come.

Have you used ZenBusiness before? Please consider leaving a review below — good or bad — as long it’s helpful to our visitors. Thank you!

ZenBusiness FAQs

We rank ZenBusiness as our #1 LLC formation service. They provide everything you'll need to create your LLC – and at the lowest price you’ll find anywhere.

ZenBusiness is an LLC and Corporation formation service. They handle all the filing and administrative requirements for your LLC or Corporation, so you can focus on growing your business.

LLC formation costs as little as $39. We recommend the $149 plan for most business owners. ZenBusiness undoubtedly offers the best prices in the LLC formation industry.

We recommend the ZenBusiness Pro plan to most founders. It covers almost everything you will need to kickstart your business immediately.

ZenBusiness charges an annual fee for their registered agent service. Companies are required by law to appoint and maintain a registered agent in order to receive legal correspondence. You can always switch your registered agent to someone else.

Zenbusiness offices are located at 5900 Balcones Dr Suite #5000, Austin, Texas.

ZenBusiness will request your EIN from the IRS as soon as your business entity is successfully registered. Most people receive their EIN within hours after registering.

ZenBusiness is the registered agent. Call them at 1-844-493-6249 or contact them via email at [email protected].

ZenBusiness offers a refund, minus expenses. If you made an error, contact them immediately, as state fees are not refundable if they have already been forwarded.

Yes, ZenBusiness has excellent customer support. They are one of the few services offering extended support hours on top of live chat, phone and email support.

ZenBusiness's Worry-Free Guarantee covers your annual report and up to two amendments. They will handle your filings so you won't have to worry about compliance deadlines or making errors.

No, you are not required to use a formation service. ZenBusiness offer all their services with standalone pricing. You can pick and chose to create the best service package for your business.

ZenBusiness offers the best value. Their formation service packages are some of the best on the market, starting from as little as $49 + state fees.

ZenBusiness average 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot. They have excellent and consistent reviews on all review sites. Customers praise their filing turnaround time, excellent prices and helpful customer support.

ZenBusiness provides more, for less. Prices start at $49 + state fees for LLC formation, which are some of the best on the market. Turnaround times for formation/incorporation are very quick and their customer support is excellent.

Yes, alternatives exist. We recommend Northwest Registered Agent and Incfile as alternative LLC formation services to ZenBusiness.

Yes, Zenbusiness is legit. The company was founded in 2015 and has since created hundreds of thousands of LLC's, corporations and non-profits.

Disclaimer: We try educate our readers the best we can, but we do not provide legal or tax advice and our content is for general information only. If you require legal or tax advice, please reach out to a qualified professional. Our work is supported by affiliate commissions.

ZenBusiness Pros
  • Great Value + $240 in Freebies
  • Quick turnaround time
  • Very easy to use
  • Rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot
  • Reliable track record
  • Extended support hours
ZenBusiness Cons
  • Limited Website Templates
  • Confusing subscription messaging
Andrey Doichev

Andrey Doichev

I launched my first small business in 2015. I loved airsoft, so I created a small website where I would go on to educate parents about the sport and help them buy the safest gear for their kids. Since then, I have started many similar ventures, educating millions of people on topics including entrepreneurship, marketing, website development and online privacy.

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