If you’re excited to start your business but not sure how to go through the paperwork, you should consider hiring a professional business formation service provider. There are many options on the market, but one will undoubtedly surface whenever you’re researching for an LLC service provider — LegalZoom.
A veteran in the field, LegalZoom is a company with strong brand power. Designed to be a one-stop shop for a business’s legal needs, LegalZoom has already helped over four million entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. In our LegalZoom review, we analyzed hundreds of customer reviews and evaluated the company’s services, pricing, features, and support to help you make an informed decision.
Product/Service Offering — 5/5
Turnaround Time — 4/5
Ease of Ordering— 4/5
Customer Service — 4/5
Value for Money — 4/5
Overall Rating — 4.2/5
Pros & Cons
$79 + state filing fees
*est. completion time is 20 business days
$329 + state filing fees
*est. completion time is 10 business days
*Economy package + Founder’s kit, embosser & certificates
$349 + state filing fees
*est. completion time is 2-5 business days
*Standard package + Expedited processing (within 24 hours*) & express shipping
LegalZoom LLC Review — About the Company
Stemming from the idea to make legal help widely available, LegalZoom was launched in 2001. The company introduced a new way to help entrepreneurs with company formation, estate planning, and intellectual property protection.
LegalZoom is one of the most popular business formation service providers, offering all-around assistance. The experienced team can provide you with a smooth transition through the complicated bureaucracy and help you form your business, including legal protection. As a one-stop solution, the company covers the legal ground better than most competitors.
LegalZoom LLC pricing is on the higher end compared to other similar firms, so let’s find out whether you’d ultimately get what you’re paying for.
Below is the rundown of LegalZoom’s services and features. We’re also detailing the company’s plans and where it stands among the competition.
LegalZoom offers business formation services for LLC, LP, LLP, C-corporation, S-corporation, sole proprietorship, and nonprofits. In addition, the company provides a free name search tool, so you can check whether your desired business name is available directly on their website. This is one of the highly appreciated features in LegalZoom LLC reviews.
The next step is to provide the company with the necessary information. Then, the team prepares and submits the Articles of Organization. This service is available only as part of the LegalZoom plans and can’t be purchased separately. The Basic plan comes at $79 plus state fees, which is higher than the industry standards.
Registered Agent Service
LegalZoom registered agent service is costly compared to most of its competitors. However, during our research for the LegalZoom registered agent review, we learned that the service offers excellent value.
The registered agent service will enable you to get your legal notices and business mail on time. You’ll also have unlimited cloud storage for your documents. Plus, you’ll be alerted whenever important mail is received.
Additionally, you’ll receive emails about events like annual reports or tax deadlines through the LegalZoom Compliance Calendar. On top of it, you’ll have $1 million in identity theft protection and credit monitoring through Experian for both you and your business. The LegalZoom registered agent cost is $299 per year.
To meet your legal obligations, you’re required to file a report within a specific time frame depending on the state and your business time. Filing the reports on schedule is necessary if you want to avoid penalties and stay compliant with the state. For $55 plus state fees, the LegalZoom team will create the report and file it. If you pay $75, the team will also prioritize your order.
LegalZoom will create a personalized Operating Agreement outlining the rules and roles of your organization. First, you need to answer a few questions, after which the team will check for issues and then file the document. The LegalZoom LLC Operating Agreement costs $99, and there’s an expedited service for $199.
If you’re expanding your business outside your state, you need a Foreign Qualification for the states in which you’re planning to operate. LegalZoom can prepare and file it with the Secretary of State for you. The standard version of the service comes at $229 plus state fees, whereas the rush package costs $339 plus state fees. Compared to LegalZoom competitors, both Foreign Qualification packages are on the higher end.
LegalZoom offers to create an amendment document and file it with the state whenever you need to update your name, address, and other information. At $139 plus state fees, the standard version will ensure you meet the state requirements, keep the audience updated, and keep the authorized stock up to date. In addition, there’s a rush option at $239 (excluding state fees) with expedited paperwork processing and delivery within 3 business days.
The Minutes Manager service costs $99 a year. According to LegalZoom customer reviews, it can be quite beneficial, as it provides:
- Unlimited minutes usage for meetings
- Notices/waivers of notice for future meetings
- Actions by written consent
If you are closing your business, you’ll need articles of dissolution to let the state know that you’re stopping your business. LegalZoom can handle the process for $129 (standard option) or $239 (rush service) plus state fees. The team will ensure you’re meeting the state requirements, and once the process is completed, you’ll receive the documents in the mail.
The customized compliance calendar that contains deadlines and other information is a service that isn’t obligatory but still highly appreciated in LegalZoom LLC reviews. You can look back up to six months or forward up to 12 months of your company’s activities. Plus, you’ll receive alerts to remind you of the most important compliance events. The annual fee of this service is $69, which is an affordable price.
For $99 plus state fees, the company can also provide the DBA service while applying for a newspaper publication if the state requires so. Additionally, the team will submit the proof of publication to the appropriate agency.
Additional Filing Services
During the research for our LegalZoom review, we discovered that the company offers some less common types of filings too:
- Federal Tax ID (EIN)
- State tax ID
- Certificates of good standing
- Certified copies
- Business licenses
- Seller’s permit
- 501c3 application
- Corporate supplies
LegalZoom offers a well-rounded suite of services to protect your intellectual property and stands on par with specialized trademark companies. There’s a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process, after which the team will complete and file your application.
The trademark registration service isn’t included in any of LegalZoom’s LLC packages. Instead, you’ll need to purchase it separately for $249 plus state fees.
Additionally, there’s an option to get attorney help for $599 plus federal fees. According to LegalZoom LLC reviews, the benefit of this package is that you get a LegalZoom guarantee. If the first mark gets rejected, this guarantee will ensure the company covers the fee to register a different one. The attorney will research the mark, file it, and deal with any potential roadblocks.
After the research done for this LegalZoom review, we can say this company offers patent and copyright services at affordable prices. The team will help you create and submit intellectual property-related applications, including:
- Patent search
- Design patent
- Utility patent
- Provisional application for patent
- Copyright registration
Some of the services include consultation with a USPTO-registered patent agent or attorney, which is a huge plus.
Last Will and Testament
Using the company’s online maker service, you can easily create a personalized last will that is compliant with the state-specific requirements. According to reviews of LegalZoom for LLC, the process is straightforward and cost-effective.
With the Comprehensive Last Will plan, you’ll also get two-week access to attorneys for legal guidance. On the other hand, the bundled Last Will Estate plan provides one year of attorney assistance for all your questions related to estate planning and legal advice. It also includes the Financial Power of Attorney, a Living Will, and unlimited revisions. LegalZoom LLC pricing information shows that customers can get this bundle for $179.
LegalZoom enables you to personalize your living will with its step-by-step guide. At $279, the plan allows unlimited revisions for up to 30 days. The more advanced package is priced at $299 and ups the basic plan with two weeks of legal assistance and an attorney review of your trust.
The legal assistance service renews monthly at $14.99 but can be canceled at any time. The clients praise the value of the bundle containing Living Trust, Financial Power of Attorney, and Living Will services, as LegalZoom LLC reviews suggest.
Power of Attorney
With LegalZoom, you can create a personalized power of attorney to protect your finances. This service allows you to designate someone who will handle your financial affairs in case you can’t.
The price of the service is reasonable and offers three options. With the first one, you can do it yourself with the company’s online maker for $35. The second option is to add subscription-based assistance for $45. The third option is to bundle with a few essentials like Financial Power of Attorney, a Living Will, and a choice of Last Will or Living Trust.
LegalZoom Customer Service
LegalZoom provides phone and email support. Depending on the package you purchase, you’ll have access to a different support team. For example, the basic plan gives you access to the general customer service team. If you purchase the Fast Track package, you’ll have access to the executive team and an option to get called at a pre-scheduled time. The Attorney Guided plan also grants access to the executive team with an extra perk of scheduling unlimited consultations with lawyers.
However, LegalZoom LLC reviews online are mixed. The waiting time is long, and the response via email is often too generic. The phone support is a bit better. The reps are available Monday through Friday from 10 am to 8 pm EST. They are knowledgeable and give more detailed answers.
However, the support can be very inconsistent. Some representatives are excellent and do everything to elevate the client’s experience, while others barely provide answers.
Launched in 2001, LegalZoom has helped 4 million customers form and manage their businesses as well as receive much-needed legal assistance. Looking closely at our review of business directories, we were surprised to learn that the company doesn’t have a lot of feedback as opposed to its competitors. Moreover, the reviews are mixed, and the ratings lag behind the alternatives.
There are only 1,000 LegalZoom customer reviews on SiteJabber, with an average rating of 3.6 stars. Only about 650 have left five or four stars, whereas 360 have rated their experience with one or two stars. The lack of solid customer experience is cited in the majority of negative reviews.
The company has almost 1400 reviews on Trustpilot, though. The average rating is 4.4 stars, and about 77% of clients have given five or four stars. Another 21% described their experience as bad or poor.
Ease of Ordering
From what we’ve seen, the ordering process on LegalZoom differs from that of its competitors. Upon starting the ordering process, you’ll be asked to provide your personal information first before viewing the available LegalZoom LLC packages.
On the upside, the company offers the possibility of sharing a screen while placing the order. LegalZoom automatically generates an ID that you can send to a customer service representative and get customized assistance throughout the ordering process. Each client also gains access to the LegalZoom dashboard, which is intuitive and helps you stay organized.
There are quite a few upsells, as seen in numerous LegalZoom incorporation reviews. Each service is presented with a detailed explanation. Clients would also love it if they could see each plans’ base price first and then consider if they want to include any add-ons.
LegalZoom Turnaround Time
LegalZoom doesn’t promise filing on the next business day or specify its processing time, and there isn’t an option to pay an additional fee for a faster filing time.
The company provides an estimated turnaround time for each package, though. If you opt for the least expensive one, it might take up to 30 business days to get the job done, while the estimated turnaround time is 10–15 business days with the most expensive package.
LegalZoom LLC Cost of Add-Ons
As we already mentioned, LegalZoom offers numerous add-ons. The company’s pricing is high, even though some of them are very helpful. If you opt for some of these services, the price shown will rapidly increase before you even have the opportunity to choose your basic package.
For example, Legal assistance subscription packages start at $39.99 a month, including employment agreements and other HR documents.
The LegalZoom registered agent fee is $299 a year. The service offers more than just the basics; for example, the system will also notify you about important mails and critical deadlines through the Compliance Calendar. It also includes $1 million in identity theft protection and credit monitoring through Experian and unlimited cloud storage.
The next add-on option is the LegalZoom full-service compliance package which costs $280 a year. It includes the annual report service, helps with keeping the personal and business assets separate, and assists business owners with corporate recordkeeping.
Essential documents are differently priced. For example, the Operating Agreement costs $99, EIN and Federal Tax ID come at $159, whereas a bundle of an Operating Agreement, assistance acquiring permits and licenses, and EIN costs $199.
LegalZoom Incorporation Fees
All LegalZoom plans contain a Peace of Mind review, which includes checking the paperwork for completeness and consistency. In addition, the LLC welcome digital package comes with Articles of Organization and authorization letters for opening a bank account. Other services included in the plans are a 30-minute consultation with a tax professional, a 30-day free trial for an online bookkeeping tool, and a helpful guide on the following steps to take after the business is formed.
The cheapest LegalZoom plan comes at $79 plus state fees. Besides the basics, the package includes name availability search and the filing service. However, it lacks a few essentials like the Operating Agreement and registered agent, which most LegalZoom alternatives offer.
The standard plan comes at $329 plus state filing fees. It ups Economy with a deluxe organizer embossed with your business name, LegalZoom VIP processing, and official certificates and seal.
Express Gold is the package you should go with if you need expedited document delivery. It costs $349 (excluding state fees), and it provides rush processing (7–10 business days) and two-day delivery of the finalized documents.
Business Advisory Plan
Our LegalZoom review showed that the Business Advisory plan is an excellent option for creating personalized legal forms. It’s a prepaid plan you can subscribe to for six months or one year. You’ll pay a flat fee of $31.25 per month when paid annually or $36 a month billed twice a year. The annual business evaluation is included in the one-year subscription only. Both plans include:
- A 30-minute consultation with an attorney
- Reviews of contracts and other legal documents of up to ten pages
- Annual business evaluation
- Unlimited form downloads from the library
- Discounts on certain services
Many third-party websites offer a LegalZoom LLC promo code; however, we can’t guarantee that this would work, as the company doesn’t offer promo codes or coupons through its official site.
On the other hand, the firm offers an option to save by purchasing bundles. You can also get discounts on specific services with the prepaid plans. For example, the Business Advisory Plan includes a 25% discount on additional consultations with an attorney and legal representation.
LegalZoom is one of the few business formation services that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You can request a refund within 60 days of the purchase, and the company will grant you one without any cancellation fees. Keep in mind that the company’s refund policy excludes the fees paid to the state and third-party vendors.
LegalZoom vs. Other LLC Services
Before settling on one legal service, you should weigh how LegalZoom compares to its alternatives. Although Rocket Lawyer is the company’s closest competitor, there are others who offer similar services. We made a head-to-head comparison of LegalZoom and other companies so you can make a more informed decision.
LegalZoom vs. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a budget-friendly business formation option that helps you save on essential services like a registered agent, trademark, legal, and business license. However, if you need ongoing attorney help, LegalZoom might be a better option. Moreover, it offers incredible customer support — an area in which Rocket Lawyer lags.
LegalZoom’s intuitive, template-based services set the company apart from Rocket Lawyer. With a library of 1,600+ templates, you can easily DIY. The company’s team also double-checks legal documents before submission to prevent mistakes. Another one of LegalZoom’s top-selling points is having lawyers do annual business evaluations and confer with tax consultants.
LegalZoom vs. Incfile
Both Incfile and LegalZoom are reputable business formation service providers. Both get the job done and offer a wide range of useful features, so choosing between the two depends on your business needs.
Incfile has more positive feedback online and cheaper plans. Its Basic plan comes at $0 (excluding state fees) and covers all essential services for business formation. Plus, it provides one year of free registered agent service. On the other hand, LegalZoom is a premium-level LLC service provider that offers an all-encompassing experience, including ongoing legal assistance.
LegalZoom vs. Northwest
Both LegalZoom and Northwest Registered Agents have been around for a while, so they have a significant level of experience in business formation. The companies’ packages are very similar, but Northwest offers a year of free registered agent service, renewing at an affordable price of $125 a year.
Northwest also stands apart with its outstanding customer support. The company is also the only one in the industry that locally scans each document received on your behalf, not just the government documents.
LegalZoom is the way to go if you want a more powerful brand name that offers legal assistance.
LegalZoom vs. ZenBusiness
The most significant difference between LegalZoom and ZenBusiness is the price. ZenBusiness is an affordable company that offers a one-year free registered agent service. It’s one of the best firms in the industry in terms of value for money.
LegalZoom is a premium service provider with plans that contain the basics and multiple add-ons. The company has been around since 2001, which is way longer than ZenBusiness. It boasts a powerful brand name that has served over four million customers.
LegalZoom vs. Swyft Filings
Neither of these companies offer registered agent service in their plans. Comparing both service providers, we can say that Swyft Filings is more affordable and a top choice for small businesses. At the same time, LegalZoom specializes in corporate law issues and has more brand power than Swyft Filings, but the latter has better customer support.
Is LegalZoom Worth It?
LegalZoom’s pricing isn’t competitive, and the plans are pretty limited without the add-ons. Nevertheless, the company has strong brand power and it can be an excellent choice if you want to work with an established team and are willing to pay an extra buck for premium services.
Weighing in all LegalZoom pros and cons, the firm is a great option if you need ongoing legal assistance. On top of that, it offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is a nice touch. The company is a great option for small businesses without an in-house legal department as it provides a range of services that can address multiple issues at a fraction of the cost.