Anyone who has ever started a new business on their own knows what a nightmare the red tape can be. But, a professional LLC formation service can save you time and money.
Recently, I also had to go through the process of starting a new business. I began researching companies in the business formation industry. I've spent countless hours going through different companies and their offers before I decided on Zen Business.
I'm bringing you my review of Zen Business, which includes their pros and cons, packages, and services they offer.
Zen Business offers three business formation packages: starter, pro, and premium. Here’s what you should know about each.
ZenBusiness starter package comes at $49, and it’s the best business formation service option if you're on a budget.
This package covers all the basics of business formation services, including the following:
1. Registered Agent Service
An LLC can’t function without a registered agent, and with this package, you get a registered agent that will represent your business.
A registered agent is a person who receives important legal documents, such as lawsuits and summons, from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on your behalf.
A registered agent is a necessity for your business, as this person files papers. Chances are, you’ll miss documents that have to be filled without a registered agent.
Zen Business offers a free registered agent service, so you don’t have to worry about this.
Note: This service is billed separately, and you get it for free for the first 12 months, after which it’s charged $99 a year.
2. Name Availability Search
Each business wants a name that’ll help establish brand power and be memorable for the customers. However, a problem can happen if another company has the same name. This leads to legal issues, such as copyright infringement.
Zen Business searches your state’s database and checks if the name you selected is available to avoid this from happening.
3. Preparation and Filing Articles of Organization
These are the documents that the state requires to establish an LLC, and they need to be filed with the state government.
Note: Many cities and states have specific requirements, which vary based on the industry you’re in, your place of business, and more.
ZenBusiness takes care of all of this for you. They draft articles of organization and file them with your state.
4. Risk-free Accounting Assessment
One of the things a business owner has to be on top of when they form an LLC is accounting and tax compliance and your obligations regarding this.
ZenBusiness employs Certified Practicing Accountants (CPAs), who can give you free services, which includes:
Unlike other LLC services, which hire third-party CPAs, ZenBusiness’s accounting is done in-house. This is especially great for small business owners because CPAs can show you all the bookkeeping practices and answer questions you may have.
5. LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement outlines how the company will function going forward and the ownership structure.
ZenBusiness provides an operating agreement template which you have to fill up with your company’s details.
This document also outlines the company’s financial and operational structure and sets up a succession plan if, for some reason, you have to step down.
The next LLC formation service package comes at $199 and offers everything the starter package does, plus three more services. It’s a good option if your business is expanding.
Included in the Pro package are the following:
1. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
Federal Tax ID number is also known as an Employer ID Number, and it’s similar to a Social Security Number for the business.
This is a nine-digit unique number you get from the IRS, and it allows you to:
With the pro package, ZenBusiness will provide you with an EIN, so you can easily separate your personal and business bank account.
Note: You can also get this service separately from the pro package, in which case it costs $70.
2. Compliance Guarantee
As an LLC, you have to keep track of your obligations, such as preparing and filing the annual reports.
With ZenBusiness’s worry-free guarantee, you’ll get alerts to remind you that you have to file annual reports, amendments, and others.
Also, if you happen to miss filing an important event, ZenBysiness can help you regain proper standing again.
Apart from the annual report filing, this service also includes two amendments per year, and it’s a good option for small to medium-sized businesses.
Note: ZenBusiness also offers managed annual report service separately, and it costs $119.
3. Banking Resolution
A business can’t function without banking services, such as opening a bank account, getting financing, loans, and more. For all of these, you’ll need tons of documents.
Instead, you can use a banking resolution, which authorizes the third party to open a bank account on behalf of your LLC.
ZenBusiness offers a banking resolution template. A banking resolution template shows who has the authority to open an account for the business.
Note: ZenBusiness charges this service separately for $30.
This package includes everything starter and pro packages do, plus five other services.
It’s billed at $299 and is a good option if you’re looking for faster incorporation time and a website.
Added in the premium package are:
1. Domain Name Registration
It’s a digital world, so every business needs a website.
ZenBusiness can get the name and register the domain for your business website. They also provide a domain management dashboard tool, and you can get other services such as email addresses and more.
Note: You can get this service separately for $25.
2. Domain Name Privacy
Once the domain name is set up, you have to submit the information to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). You have two options here:
Note: ZenBusines offers this service separate from the package, and it costs $10.
3. Business Website
Your business should have an online presence, and for this, you need a website.
A website serves several purposes:
ZenBusiness can create a business website for you, which will be in sync with your domain name.
Note: This service is billed separately at $100 annually.
4. Business Email Service
Once you’ve got the website and the domain name all set up, you need an email address for communication with your employees and customers.
This service will give a business email address to every employee in your company, which is necessary for official communication. In addition, it makes you more professional and can also be used for marketing purposes.
ZenBusiness gives their premium customers an email account with 5GB of storage space.
Note: You can choose this option separately for $25 annually.
5. Rush Filing Speed
ZenBusiness works on the first-come-first-serve principle. However, if you choose a premium package, they’ll give your document filings priority above Starter and Pro customers.
This is helpful if you’re in a rush or there’s a deadline.
With the rush filing service, your information will be processed in three to five days.
I spent hours checking the ZenBusiness LLC service review section on websites such as Better Business Bureau, Trust Pilot, and more.
Here are some of the features that users love about it.
Compared to other LLC services, ZenBusiness gives you more for your money.
In the Pro Package, you get a Worry-free guarantee in which ZenBusiness takes care of annual report filings, and you can focus on growing your business.
It’s easy to contact ZenBusiness. Their customer support can be reached over chat, phone, or email.
You can find thousands of reviews on their website, and the majority of them are positive, which makes them trustworthy.
Approcheable LLC formation process
They make the entire process of company formation easy to understand and don’t try to trick you with additional services.
Registered agent service
Available to everyone, not only high-paying subscriptions.
They’re dedicated to helping people escape poverty.
ZenBusiness is generally positively reviewed, however, some users also noted these limitations.
I’ve mentioned that you can reach ZenBusiness via phone, chat, and email. I’ve tried all three options, and I was satisfied with the speed with which they came back to me.
They answered my email in one business day. It was also easy to reach them by phone between 8 am-8 pm on weekdays, and 10 am-7 pm on Sunday.
The possibility to contact customer support on Sundays was a big plus for me.
As for the chat option, I was able to reach them in minutes.
The customer service agent I talked with was knowledgeable and ready to help.
I’ve already mentioned that this is a very affordable way to form an LLC.
Their starter package is one of the cheapest in the online business services industry. Seeing as how the starter package to form an LLC goes up to $399, ZenBusiness offers a steal, especially considering that they provide LLC services that other companies only offer in high-end packages.
Pro package is also an affordable option, seeing how industry standard goes up to $799 and doesn’t even include LLC services such as banking resolution.
Finally, the premium package is another steal, especially because you get a website for this price. A custom website can cost up to $5,000 if you’re using a web designer.
If you’re thinking about using a service like this, chances are you don’t have much experience founding a business.
One thing you want is to make the process simple and not have to deal with unnecessary hassles.
With ZenBusiness, you’ll get this. You’ll need only a couple of minutes to fill out the form and choose what package is best for you.
Just give them basic information about your company, and ZenBusiness will do the rest.
Where other services base their turnaround time on the processing speed of individual states, ZenBusines bases their turnaround time on the package you chose.
So, if you know you’ll have many rush orders, it’s a good idea to choose the premium package.
In my dealings with them, I was satisfied with how fast they were — as fast or even faster as other services.
Note: While they give you an estimate of how fast you can expect your order to be finished, this may vary based on your state. To get an accurate estimate, specify your state.
If you want quality services at great prices, then you need to get started with ZenBusiness today.
New York is one of the few remaining states that require you to publish a formation announcement in two newspapers once a week for six consecutive weeks.
Failure to comply means that your LLC could be suspended from doing business in that state.
Here’s what to do to avoid this:
Yes, this seems like a lot of work when you could be focusing on other things and developing your business.
You can go to ZenBusiness, and they will take care of this for you for $600 to $1200, depending on the New York county fees, filing fee, and advertising fee.
Certificate of Good Standing is also known as Certificate of Authorization or a Certificate of Existence.
This state-issued document shows that you’re compliant with the law and that all reports and fees have been filed with the Secretary of State office.
The certificate has an expiration date, which could be the end of the calendar year or some other time the laws of a certain state demand renewal or periodic filings.
If you don’t want to worry about this, you can pay $75 to ZenBusiness, and they can help you get a Certificate of Good Standing.
Another of ZenBusiness LLC formation services is business insurance, or Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).
This is a combination of property and liability risks in one insurance package. It combines all basic coverages a business needs in one bundle.
Among others, the property insurance covers:
Liability insurance covers the insured legal responsibility for damages inflicted on others. These damages have to be a result of things done in the course of business operations and can include:
In case you don’t have business insurance, ZenBusiness can get it for you.
What’s the best package depends on your needs.
If you need a registered agent service, go for the Starter package.
But, if you are in a hurry to get your LLC registered, you need worry-free compliance, or you need help obtaining a tax number, go for a pro or a premium package.
My advice is to choose ZenBusines because you’ll get more for your money.
Also, I’ve looked at Legal Zoom’s feedback, and it’s a mix of positive and negative reviews, while ZenBusiness has mostly positive feedback.
Yes, ZenBusiness offers a publication service for states which require it, such as New York, Arizona, and Nebraska.
Yes, ZenBusiness has a refund policy. However, if filing with the State is already done, you can’t get a refund. But, if you let them know before the filing has been submitted, you’ll get a refund minus a $50 cancellation fee.
ZenBusiness has excellent customer reviews for a reason. They offer affordable packages and excellent features such as a free registered agent, federal tax ID number, even a business email account, and a business domain for your website.
However, one thing I noticed is that they don’t provide a seal. For me, this wasn’t a deal-breaker as you can get a seal for less than $12. Moreover, they provide many services that other LLC formation companies don’t, so I was able to overlook this.
Do I recommend ZenBusiness? Yes, I do. In my research and my dealings with them, I found them to be one of the best LLC services out there.