Starting a new business can be an intimidating process. At the same time, it’s vital that entrepreneurs complete the process accurately and efficiently.
Steps like obtaining a business license, incorporating or forming an LLC may seem like relatively small achievements, but in reality, these documents serve as the very foundation of any future business.
Although there are many forms to fill out and various steps to take, fortunately, there are business services that can help make the process easier. One popular option is LegalZoom, an online legal services provider.
This LegalZoom review will cover everything you need to know about the popular service, from pricing to features to customer service ratings.
What Is LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is an online legal services provider. They operate online, giving entrepreneurs and individuals access to helpful legal services from the comfort of their own homes.
LegalZoom offers dozens of useful services, but one key focus is on new business formation. The service helps entrepreneurs form limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, nonprofits and other business entities.
LegalZoom works with state officials in each US state to help business owners get licensed in their home states. Essentially, they are a middleman between the business owner and the state.
So, why use LegalZoom?
Using LegalZoom can help speed up the business registration process. Instead of relying on outdated state-run systems, entrepreneurs can use LegalZoom’s advanced online tools.
By forming a business with a company like LegalZoom, entrepreneurs can focus on what matters most: Actually running and growing their new businesses!
Plus, LegalZoom offers dozens of other useful services. Here are just a few of their most popular services:
- Help preparing wills, trusts, and estates
- Help with intellectual property protections (copyrights, patents, etc.)
- Business legal consultations
- Personal legal consultations
- Much more
Basically, LegalZoom aims to be a one-stop-shop for any legal needs you may have. They offer both business and personal legal services.
Advantages of LegalZoom
LegalZoom is a useful service, but there are many companies offering similar packages. What sets LegalZoom apart?
- A quick way to start a business online
- Simplifies the often outdated state systems
- Fully online application process
- Options for LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, and more
- Registered Agent services and more
- Can assist with ongoing filing requirements
- Wide range of business legal services
- Wide range of personal legal services
- A very cost-effective way to access legal help
Disadvantages of LegalZoom
Of course, LegalZoom is not perfect. What are some of the drawbacks that business owners should be aware of?
- Pricing on some services are higher than average
- Does not offer representation in court (although LegalZoom can connect you with local lawyers)
What Services Does LegalZoom Offer?
LegalZoom offers an extensive range of legal services. Their offerings can generally be broken down into three categories: Business formation, business growth, and personal legal services. They have flagship product offerings, as well as a variety of customizable add-ons.
Starting a Business with LegalZoom
One of LegalZoom’s core offerings is business formation. This means that they can help entrepreneurs form new companies – LLCs, corporations, nonprofits, and more. All of this can be done in any state.
- Form a new corporation, partnership, LLC, or nonprofit entity
- Select from S-corp, C-corp, and B-corp
- Help obtaining tax IDs, business licenses, permits, and more
- Help choosing an available company name or business name
- Help obtaining a DBA (Doing Business As) name
- Obtaining tax-exempt status – 501 (c)(3) status for nonprofits
- Filing Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, LLC Operating Agreement, etc.
- Forming a new LLC, corporation, nonprofit, or partnership
- Registered Agent services
- Much more
Growing a Business with LegalZoom
Once your business is formed, LegalZoom can still be quite helpful. They offer a variety of ongoing services that can help you grow, change, or even sell your company.
- Intellectual property protections (copyrights, patents, etc.)
- Contracts & agreements (NDAs, invoices, independent contractor agreements, etc.)
- Prepaid business advisory plan for personalized legal advice
- Legal document review
- Help with changes to business structure, business sale, etc.
- Much more
Personal Legal Services from LegalZoom
While this article focuses on LegalZoom’s business offerings, they also offer a wide range of personal legal services.
- Last Will and Testament
- Estate planning
- Advanced Healthcare Directive
- Power of Attorney
- Prepaid personal legal advisory services
- Much more
How Much Does LegalZoom Cost?
LegalZoom has dozens of different services, each priced individually. Here are some highlights of pricing for their most popular services.
Business Formation – From $79 + State Fees
- Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) – starting at $79 + state filing fees
- Corporations – starting at $149 + state filing fees
- Nonprofit – starting at $99 + state fees
- Limited Partnership – starting at $149 + filing fees
- Limited Liability Partnership – starting at $149 + filing fees
Legal Consultation – From $9.99 per month
- Business legal advisory services – starting at $31.25 per month (prepay for 6-12 months)
- Personal legal advisory services – starting at $9.99 per month (prepay for 6-12 months)
- Will and Testament – from $89
- Healthcare Power of Attorney – from $39
- Financial Power of Attorney – from $35
LegalZoom Ongoing Costs
The pricing above refers to the upfront costs of using LegalZoom.However, in some cases, there are ongoing costs to be aware of after the first year.
For example, if you want to keep using LegalZoom as your Registered Agent, you will pay $299/year.
LegalZoom’s advisory services are also based on a monthly fee, rather than flat-fee services.
Most ongoing costs are optional. And fortunately, LegalZoom makes pricing clear upfront, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
Keep in mind that the state you form a business in may also have ongoing fees. For example, entrepreneurs will need to renew business licenses and other permits, usually on a yearly basis.
What About State Filing Fees?
In pricing for business formation services, you will likely notice that state fees are charged separately. For instance, LegalZoom’s LLC formation packages start at $79 + state filing fees.
What are these fees all about? Where does the money go?
These are the fees charged directly by the state you are forming the business in. The payment will be processed by LegalZoom, but the money goes to the state (usually the Secretary of State’s department).
These fees are different in each state. They will also be different for each business structure (LLC, corporation, etc.) Some states may charge as little as $50, while others are several hundred dollars.
During the signup process, you’ll see a preview of total costs from LegalZoom. You can also check with your state directly to see how much is charged to form each business structure.
Does LegalZoom Have Good Customer Service?
LegalZoom offers dedicated customer support through both phone and email, as well as online chat. In general, LegalZoom agents are very professional and helpful.
Some LegalZoom products actually include one-on-one access to a licensed attorney, which is quite unique.
When choosing a legal services provider to work with, reputation is important. How does LegalZoom stack up in customer reviews and feedback?
LegalZoom has good ratings on websites like TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Consumer Affairs, and others. In general, most customers have had positive experiences with LegalZoom.
And remember – LegalZoom has served more than 4 million customers, including more than 2 million businesses. Suffice it to say, they are very experienced at what they do.
Is LegalZoom a Good Choice for Your Business?
Small businesses have a variety of choices when it comes to getting legal help. Whether an entrepreneur needs help with incorporation, filling out legal forms, or dealing with pressing legal matters, LegalZoom can help.
Overall, LegalZoom is a good choice for those looking to start their own business, grow an existing company, or even get help with personal legal issues.
Compared to competitors like Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom’s pricing is similar – but they also offer a wider range of services.
Compared to other LLC formation services, like Incfile, ZenBusiness or My LLC, LegalZoom offers a far greater selection of legal services. LegalZoom’s pricing for business formation is not the lowest, but they make up for it with an impressive suite of services.
And compared to a traditional law firm, LegalZoom’s prices are a fraction of the normal cost.
If you want the widest range of legal services and a quick and easy way to start a new company, LegalZoom is a great option.
If you want the lowest possible pricing on new business formation packages, there are some cheaper options out there – but none that offer the service selection of LegalZoom.