Starting a new company can feel like an intimidating process. There are new terms to learn, complex forms to fill out, and various regulations to follow.
To add to this, requirements are different in each state – and for each business structure.
Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in helping entrepreneurs form new businesses. These business formation services can help make a complex process much more manageable.
One popular option in this category is ZenBusiness.
This detailed ZenBusiness review will cover everything about the service, including pricing, features, customer support, and more.
What Is ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness is an online incorporation service and LLC formation service. It helps expedite and simplify the process of registering a new business entity.
With ZenBusiness, entrepreneurs can form new limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and sole proprietorships. They can also register additional Doing Business As (DBA) names.
ZenBusiness works for companies in all US states. They cooperate with the Secretary of State’s office in each state to help get new companies formed.
In essence, ZenBusiness is a middle-man between you and the state you are forming a business in. They take a complex, often outdated system, and make it simpler using modern technology.
The usefulness of ZenBusiness goes beyond the initial business formation, however.
The service also offers ongoing features. They can serve as your company’s Registered Agent. They can help companies obtain an employer identification number (EIN). They can even help entrepreneurs build a business website and manage marketing efforts.
Basically, ZenBusiness aims to help get your company started, and help it grow over time.
ZenBusiness plans are all subscription-based and billed annually. Ongoing tools include Registered Agent services, compliance support, marketing resources, and more.
Advantages of ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness is a useful service, but it’s far from the only option out there. What sets ZenBusiness apart?
- An easy way to start a new business
- 100% online process
- Compatible with rules in every state
- Choice of corporation, LLC, or sole proprietorship
- One of the very few services to support sole proprietorships
- Competitive pricing
- Business formation plans starting at just $49
- Valuable perks, like business website builder
- Customizable plans
- Useful ongoing services
Disadvantages of ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness isn’t perfect. What are some downsides that business owners should be aware of?
- Annual pricing structure, rather than a one-time fee
- State filing fees are charged separately (this is standard in the industry)
- Processing speeds are slower than some competitors
What Services Does ZenBusiness Offer?
ZenBusiness offers two categories of services: Business formation, and business growth. Their plans help you form a new company, and also provide valuable ongoing services.
Starting a Business with ZenBusiness
The focus of ZenBusiness is on forming new companies. They help simplify the process of starting a business, using powerful online tools.
- Form a new corporation, sole proprietorship, or LLC
- Complete all necessary documentation – all online
- Compliant with rules in all US states
- Templates for use – Operating agreement, banking resolution and more
- Business name availability search to help find an available company name
- Registered Agent services to handle legal correspondence
- Obtain an EIN tax ID number to hire employees
- Online document access 24/7
- Guaranteed 100% accuracy
Growing a Business with ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness plans are ongoing and help customers grow their businesses. They provide many services and resources, and can also help connect entrepreneurs to other relevant services.
- Ongoing Registered Agent service for legal correspondence
- Worry-Free CPA Assessment to help set up bookkeeping
- Business email address
- Business domain name
- Detailed virtual business guide
- Annual report filing
- Worry-Free Guarantee keeps you on top of compliance requirements
- Free Google Ads advertising credit
- Digital versions of your documents
- Ongoing support
- Much more
How Much Does ZenBusiness Cost?
ZenBusiness has several formation packages to choose from. All plans are annual plans, meaning the plan renews each year at the same rate. You can cancel at any time. ZenBusiness is somewhat unique in this pricing structure – many competing services, like Incfile, LegalZoom, etc. use a flat-fee structure.
Starter Package – $49 + State Fees
The Starter plan covers the basics, helping entrepreneurs form new companies at a budget-friendly rate.
- Basic business formation features
- Start an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship
- Standard filing speed
- Includes Registered Agent service for one year
- Renews at $119 per year (the first year has a $49 promotional rate)
Pro Package – $199 + State Fees
The Pro plan offers faster filing speed, plus extras like an EIN.
- All features of previous plans
- Expedited filing speed
- Corporate bylaws
- Banking resolution template
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Worry-Free Compliance
Premium Package – $299 + State Fees
The Premium plan adds bonus features like a business website, plus rush filing speed.
- All features of previous plans
- Rush filing speed
- Business domain name
- Business email
- Business website
ZenBusiness Ongoing Costs
With ZenBusiness, it’s important to keep in mind that all plans renew each year. This is a subscription service, not a one-time fee service.
The Pro package and Premium package renew at their stated annual costs – $199, and $299, respectively. The Basic plan renews at $119, after the first-year promotional price of $49.
The bulk of the costs of these ongoing plans is to cover the Registered Agent service. Registered Agents handle legal correspondence for businesses, and their use is required in many states.
Registered Agent is not available as a standalone product, but for reference, most competitors charge $100-$150+ per year for Registered Agent. With this in mind, ZenBusiness’s subscription plans offer great value.
With that said, plans can be canceled at any time. Companies are never locked into plans.
It may be worth keeping ZenBusiness long-term, however. Their ongoing Registered Agent service is priced competitively, and their compliance tools can help keep companies in good standing.
What About State Filing Fees?
ZenBusiness charges state filing fees separately, on top of their package pricing. This is the standard practice in the industry.
What are state filing fees? They are the standard costs that all states charge in order to process business applications. You will pay these fees whether you use a company like ZenBusiness, or go directly through your state.
If you use ZenBusiness, they will charge the fees during the signup process – but the funds go directly to the state you file in.
State fees vary in each state, as well as for each business structure. For example, California residents will pay around $70 to form an LLC, while New York residents pay $200, and Texas residents $300.
When you sign up for ZenBusiness, you will find detailed pricing breakdowns – including the expected state filing fees.
Does ZenBusiness Have Good Customer Service?
ZenBusiness has quality customer support. Agents can be reached during normal business hours, via both email and phone.
Customer feedback is largely positive, and there are many reports of good experiences with the ZenBusiness support team.
One unique aspect of ZenBusiness’s customer support approach is that they aim to connect entrepreneurs with experts that can help their businesses. For example, ZenBusiness can connect you with licensed CPAs to help set up an accounting solution. This kind of specialized advice adds substantial value to a ZenBusiness subscription.
ZenBusiness has an excellent reputation. Customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot are overwhelmingly positive, and the company has earned an A- rating at the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Is ZenBusiness a Good Choice for Your Business?
ZenBusiness is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Its services greatly simplify the formation process, making it easy to start a business.
ZenBusiness can eliminate a lot of the hassle associated with starting a new company. In turn, this gives owners more time to actually run their companies and grow their business. They also guarantee 100% accuracy, giving entrepreneurs peace of mind that all paperwork is processed correctly.
How does ZenBusiness stack up against other service providers? Their offerings are fairly similar to many competitors, but a few things make them stand out.
For one, ZenBusiness’s base plan is just $49 + state fees, making it one of the cheapest options for new business formation.
Two, ZenBusiness is a subscription service, which offers value long past the initial formation experience.
And three, ZenBusiness is known for great customer support and has earned a good reputation in the industry.
If you want an easy way to start a new company, with clear and transparent pricing and valuable ongoing services, ZenBusiness is an excellent option.
If you would prefer to not have ongoing expenses, some ZenBusiness competitors offer flat-fee packages. With that said, you can always cancel ZenBusiness plans, so you’re not locked in.