Are you in search of online legal services, but not sure where to start? Finding a service that fits the bill can be challenging, especially since there aren’t many options available in the market. Nearly around 4 million customers served and counting, LegalZoom deserves a look. They are a “household name” in the industry.
In this LegalZoom legal services review, we will provide you insight on some of their pros and cons, pricing, features, customer reviews and much more. LegalZoom has put its best foot forward to be the most well-known LLC formation service available.
There are tons of service providers that will form an LLC for you online are available, but LegalZoom is by far the most recognizable brand, thanks to their millions of customers and their extensive advertising campaigns. Also, there are advantages and disadvantages to using their services. This LegalZoom LLC formation service review will highlight everything you must keep and store in your head before choosing them to form your new LLC.
Through this article, you will know if LegalZoom is the right way to go, or if you should look into other options.
LegalZoom is the pioneer and still trusted business within the disruptive industry of online legal services. In fact, they now have a growing number of competitors grabbing a larger piece of the LLC – low limited corporation formation business. It is one of the first companies that saw the Internet’s potential for online legal services.
The company was founded as early as 1999 during the infancy of the world wide web (WWW) and is an online legal service that is designed to be one shop for all of a small business’s legal needs and requirements. Businesses can pay a low fixed rate for many types of legal work.
LegalZoom has helped over 4 million businesses and consumers resolve their legal problems. At LegalZoom, you can do any of the following:
LegalZoom’s main clientele are small businesses that do not have in-house legal departments or lawyers.
LegalZoom LLC Formation Packages
LegalZoom includes three levels of LLC formation service packages such as Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. To review the full details of each package, let us take a look at the breakdown below.
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$99 + State Fee
$329 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Economy package, plus
(iii) Express Gold
$349 + State Fee
Cost of LegalZoom’s Services for Business Formation
LegalZoom offers a wide range of legal services.
LLC – $79+ and government filing fees.
S-Corp and C-Corp – $149+ and government filing fees.
Non-profit – $99+ and government filing fees.
LP and LLP – $149+ and government filing fees.
Registered Agent Service: $159 for LLC – low liability corporation per year.
Legal Forms: $14.95 for a single form and $7.99 for unlimited access to form library per month or included with Business Advisory Plan.
Business Advisory Plan (for regular access to an attorney): $31.25 per month for a 1-year plan and $36 per month for a 6-month plan, respectively.
Trademark Registration: $199+ and federal filing fees to form an LLC.
Copyright Application: $114+ and federal filing fees to form an LLC.
Initial Patent Application: $199+ and federal filing fees to form an LLC.
Add-ons come at an additional cost. The prices for business formation stated above are only the starting prices. As an example, ordering an official corporate seal and custom stock certificates for a C-Corp or S-Corp (neither of which is legally required) costs an additional $90. Expedited filing (if you are running up against a deadline) costs an additional $220.
There are also extra and additional costs if you have to go beyond what the Business Advisory Plan has included. For example, if you need an attorney to review documents that are over 10 pages long, the extra charge is between $39 and $99. And if your legal issues require more work than a 30-minute phone consultation can resolve, then the attorney will charge their independent hourly rate at a 25% discount for LegalZoom customers.
Fortunately, LegalZoom details their prices very clearly on their website, so there is no doubt about what you are paying for and what you are getting in return.
Merits and Demerits of LegalZoom Business Formation Services
LegalZoom has a couple of pros and cons, which we will study later.
Being the first and the oldest means plenty of experience. After 18 years, LegalZoom should know the trade inside and out. Over 3.6 million customers can’t be wrong.
$31.25 per month for business customers is peanuts compared to ordinary legal fees from law firms, even for the simplest legality.
Even though LegalZoom itself cannot provide binding legal advice, LegalZoom can connect businesses to attorneys through their Prepaid Legal Plan. LegalZoom also has a network of tax professionals to help Especially during that season when the piper comes calling.
This is considered the cheap option for a business legal plan (called the Business Advisory Plan) that offers regular access to an attorney. Just like competitors, the business legal plan includes phone consultations with an attorney and document review.
LegalZoom also includes tax advice and an annual business evaluation (checks to ensure you are in compliance with relevant laws) in their legal plan, which competitors do not offer. It also includes one copyright registration per month, an excellent deal for artists, musicians, and other creative freelancers and businesses.
LegalZoom is one of the oldest and most well-known online legal services, having helped over 4 million businesses and consumers. They offer a 60-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, the longest in the industry. You can also cancel your membership at any time and get a prorated refund.
Apart from its advantages, there are a few disadvantages as well.
Google LegalZoom, and you will surely see that flattery rarely goes there. Plenty of unsatisfied customers out there, but those that were satisfied swear by the service.
LegalZoom’s size and longevity go against them as well when it comes to customer support. Some feel that they are talking to programmed robots that cannot go beyond scripts while others encounter well-trained and courteous professionals; after managing to get a hold of them after many minutes.
Keep your contracts or legal documents down to 15 pages or incur some hefty lawyer fees. 11-15-page documents cost $39. While 16-25 page documents can cost up to $99, any more pages and the attorney will dictate the terms.
LegalZoom is costlier than competitors for business formation. Starting prices will be $79 plus state filing fees for business formation, whereas competitors like IncFile charge as little as $0 plus government filing fees.
Document review is available only if you sign up for the monthly business legal plan. You cannot just access them on a one-time basis.
LegalZoom is not always in best terms with its customers. Many reviews generally call it a hit. Therefore, it is okay to have doubts and look elsewhere for your simple legal needs. If you do not find what you need with LegalZoom or are wondering if there are lower-cost alternatives, view our recommendations below. There are dozens of online legal services, each with its own pros and cons.
Let us take a quick look at some of the best alternatives to LegalZoom services for business formation.
Incfile began shortly after LegalZoom in 2004, giving it almost as much experience as the online legal service pioneer. Unlike LegalZoom, Incfile specializes in company formation and thus tends to be better and faster in helping entrepreneurs form their LLCs, corporations, and non-profit organizations. Incfile has already helped over 250,000 businesses worldwide.
If you are just looking to incorporate a new business, then LegalZoom isn’t the most cost-effective option. That honor belongs to IncFile, a service that is focused only on business formation. LegalZoom’s prices for business formation start at $79 plus government filing fees for LLCs and go up from there for other business types.
IncFile’s entry-level business formation plan costs $0 plus government filing fees for all business entity types. IncFile even includes registered agent service for free during your business’ first year, while LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer charges $150 for a registered agent.
A registered agent is a third party who accepts legal process and official mail on your business’ behalf. Most states require you to name a registered agent when starting your business. In comparison to LegalZoom, IncFile also gets better online reviews for customer service and for filing things correctly and on time.
Incfile is much quicker than LegalZoom when it comes to business formation. The company gets to work the very next day after receiving all the requirements. LegalZoom meanwhile starts to process in as early as ten days for its most expensive business formation package.
Unlike LegalZoom, Incfile includes a business tax service that assists business owners in filing their taxes. Their tax packages also include consultations with tax professionals. LegalZoom has not a tax filing service but able to facilitate contact with its network of tax professionals.
While LegalZoom’s business formation package starts at $79, Incfile begins at $0.00 for their Silver Package which is very basic and includes name search, LLC filing and has add-ons available for purchase. Next is the Gold Package for $149 and then next is their top plan, the Platinum Package.
The Platinum includes expedited filing. The amount of time for filing depends on your state, but for many states, this can be done in 2 days. Both the Gold and Platinum have express mail delivery.
If you want to form your company as fast as possible within reasonable price and quality, Incfile is the best alternative to LegalZoom.
Northwest Registered Agent is also one of many online legal service alternatives to LegalZoom. More importantly, it differentiates itself from LegalZoom and Incfile by focusing on its Registered Agent Services which has done so for over 20 years.
The Northwest slogan is “We just aren’t annoying” which means they take care of things like the correspondence duties of being a registered agent without continually contacting the LLC owner every day when junk mail arrives, or little things happen.
If it’s essential, Northwest R.A. will surely let you know. Northwest also contains the full spectrum of services needed to start an LLC or Corporation. Much like Incfile, Northwest charges a little more than LegalZoom for $100 for the basic business formation package and $125 added for one-year registered agent services.
All their packages include a one-year free registered agent service just like Incfile. The premium LLC package costs $199. Moreover, it provides lifetime customer support, operating agreement, EIN – tax id number and same-day processing.
There is a lot of information and content to be seen on their website so those who cannot understand the language around the business formation and registered agents become well-informed.
Less Expensive than LegalZoom
Northwest’s basic package for business formation starts at $100 while LegalZoom begins at 79. LegalZoom’s registered agent service is also pricey at $249 versus Northwest’s $125. There are also no hidden fees or up-sells.
I have much more experienced in the business of registered agents as well as responsive and knowledgeable customer support.
Why use Northwest Registered Agent?
Privacy (they don’t sell account holder’s information) and they have a proven history of being expert registered agents while not being annoying.
LLC plus 1-year registered agent amounts to $225.
If you think your small business will need legal help on multiple issues or on multiple occasions over several months, then you should consider Rocket Lawyer, another big player in the online legal service space. Rocket Lawyer is the closest competitor to LegalZoom.
They provide a variety of the same services, such as business formation and a legal form library. Rocket Lawyer is slightly costlier (by $20) than LegalZoom to form an LLC, the same cost to form a non-profit and less expensive (by $50) to form a corporation. Like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer also has a business legal plan that is charged monthly. At $39.99 per month, it is more expensive than LegalZoom.
Being a part of the legal plan, you get your first business incorporation for free. So, that can save you hundreds of dollars if you need to form your business entity. With the Rocket Lawyer plan, you also get unlimited phone consultations with an attorney, unlimited access to legal forms and something unique called Document Defence. This may help you enforce legal contracts.
For example, if you create a supplier agreement on Rocket Lawyer and the supplier does not send you the agreed-upon merchandise, a Rocket Lawyer attorney will draft and send the supplier a demand letter on your behalf. The Rocket Lawyer legal plan does not have tax advice, document review, or copyright registration. If you are looking for those things, it is best to opt for LegalZoom instead.
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Founded in 2012, UpCounsel is a newer legal website that’s designed to match you up with an experienced business lawyer. Unlike LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, UpCounsel’s business model does not include low-cost business formation services or monthly memberships.
They focus on more complicated situations, such as patents, securities, immigration, and general counsel services. UpCounsel has a network of 5,000 business attorneys hailing from top law firms, Google, Apple, and other leading companies.
Given their background and level of experience, UpCounsel attorneys charge more for their services. The price range is around $125-$350 per hour, though there are some fixed fee arrangements.
ZenBusiness is a business formation organization that started in 2015. It may not have much experience yet, but it is making quite a headway when it comes to quality service. Its reviews are mostly excellent. Additionally, the basic business formation package with ZenBusiness is free, except for the state fee. Of course, nothing is truly free as you may need to sign up for some support service for the filing and afterward.
Their first package level is called the Starter Plan for $49. which includes a registered agent service, which is quite a bargain. The Starter Plan gets your LLC formed in about 1-2 weeks. Their Pro Plan costs a meager $149 but includes compliance services, EIN, operating agreement and by-laws, as well as free consultations with accounting professionals and formations, are done in about 4-6 business days.
Finally, they have their Premium Plan at $249 and forms in a rapid 1-3 business days. This is their quickest plan and includes everything in the Starter and Pro plus a website domain, business email and business webpage.
If you want to form your business at the least possible cost and you are not in a hurry, ZenBusiness can help. Need it done extra fast? They can get it done, just a little additional cost involved nothing big. If you are also on the lookout for financial services like bookkeeping, then ZenBusiness is the one for you.
LegalZoom’s pricing is average compared to others yet affordable. LLC formation only costs $79 plus state fees. Trademark registration is $199 plus federal filing fee. Their Prepaid Business Legal Plan is an affordable way to talk with lawyers for 30 minutes a day at $31.25 a month. Other services provide more for less such as Incfile and ZenBusiness where you can form your business for much less.
Legalzoom is best for starting your company while anticipating many legal transactions. But there are other options out there which might be better if you are not expecting any legal hurdles and obstacles.