ZenBusiness Review

June 11, 2021 | By Matthew Dunn | Uncategorized

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Starting a new business can be a daunting process. No matter what type of business you are starting, there are a number of legal requirements that need to be met. With so many requirements and so much paperwork involved, it can be easy to miss a step. You may feel overwhelmed and a bit uncertain as you are confronted by each new state or federal requirement.

To make sure that you get your new business running in compliance with all of the related state and federal regulations, many people will turn to a business incorporation service. These services can help guide you through all the intricacies involved in your start up and continue to help you meet your yearly requirements as well. While starting any new business is stressful, you can gain some significant peace of mind knowing that you are in compliance with state and federal regulations from the beginning.

ZenBusiness Overview

Since entering the business formation services market in 2015, Zen Business (ZB) has helped countless businesses of every type get started. The company offers a wide array of services and professional guidance packaged in affordable options. It is attractive due to the inclusion of services that go beyond the start-up phase and will support you well into the future of your business.

ZenBusiness.com

In Depth Look at the Company

When an aspiring business owner looks for ways to get their business off to its best possible start, they look to online incorporation and formation businesses to ensure that they will meet all of the legal requirements for starting a business. This includes formation planning, licensing, bookkeeping, setting up a business domain, and registering for an EIN number. While many of these services only offer the basics, Zen Business offers services that will help these young businesses well beyond their startup phase.

Services for Every Type of Business

Do you know what the best legal classification is for your business? Many new business owners have trouble deciding whether their business should be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, Corporation or S-Corporation. The differences lie in ownership, taxes and liability. Some classifications are easier to set up while others are more complex. Initial business costs can be substantial for some while others are quite reasonable. ZenBusiness can help you decide which structure is most appropriate for your business. Following is a brief description of each business structure:

Sole Proprietorship

In a sole proprietorship, the business is owned by one individual. The sole proprietor holds full liability if the business is ever sued, and all fees and fines are paid by the individual owner. In the eyes of the law, there is no legal difference between you and your business. Due to this high-risk structure, it is often difficult to find outside funding for this type of business.

Partnerships

In a partnership, the business is owned by two or more individuals. Each of the partners contributes money, labor, skill or property, and shares in both the profits and the losses. While a partnership is required to report all income, losses, deductions, etc., it is not required to pay income tax. Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships in liability and are considered to be of high-risk structure.

Corporation

As a business, a corporation is viewed as a legal entity separate from the individual. The corporation is responsible for all debts and liabilities. Personal assets belonging to the owner(s) cannot be touched as a means to cover any business obligations.

A corporation requires a formal structure of directors, officers and shareholders as part of the initial corporate paperwork. When a business is designated a corporation, it is easer to obtain funding from outside sources.

S-Corporation

Many small businesses will choose to register as an S-Corporation due to the limits in liability, ease of acquiring funding, and the fact that an S-Corporation does not file taxes. Income is reported on the personal taxes of the owner and the shareholders,

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is halfway between a sole proprietorship and a corporation. Personal liability is limited, and the paperwork required to register an LLC is far less than that required of a corporation. There is less formality required in the initial setup of the company and outside funding is easier to obtain than a sole proprietorship.

Setting Up Your Business Plan

An important step to starting a business is developing your business plan. A business plan gives you the opportunity to outline the complete concept and goals of your business so that you can determine if your business ideas are feasible. The business plan is also the first thing that any potential financial backer will ask to see.

Zen Business offers business plan formation services to help you put an effective business plan in place. Its reviews finds this service to be one of the best of its kind within the business formation industry. Their series of articles on the subject can help anyone formulate a perfect business plan for their aspiring business.

Ease of Use

The site is easy to navigate and user friendly. Take the time to explore the many resources available for businesses starting up or those previously established. Their extensive menu of resources can answer many of your questions regarding business formation. An extensive library of helpful articles are also available in their blog.

LLC Formation

Forming an LLC can be a complex process involving several different requirements and a lot of paperwork. ZB can make this process easy through their LLC Formation services. Their experience helps you identify exactly which licenses are required at the local, state and federal levels. This process is outlined in greater detail later in these Zen Business Reviews.

Customer Service

Zen has a very responsive customer service department. They are highly rated, and turnaround times for email questions is known to be quick and easy.

Overall Value for the Money

This could be one of the best financial decisions you can make for your business. The overall value for the money is one of the best among business formation companies. Many businesses will pay more than the package price for a start up just to retain a registered agent service, which is included in some package prices. ZenBusiness services included in each of the package plans will pay for themselves in the long run saving the business owner time and money. It is an important asset that can easily be added into the yearly budget.

Steps to Register an LLC

The formation of an LLC can be handled in just a few steps. It begins with you supplying the ZenBusiness representatives with specific information about your business that will help them make sure that the proper paperwork is completed. Once you have paid your package fee and state filing fee, Zen will complete the following steps to finalize your LLC formation:

  1. Step One: Business Name Availability
    The first step to forming an LLC is to make sure the name you have chosen for your business is available in your state.
  2. Step Two: Prepare Articles of Organization
    The articles of organization are required for every business entity. These need to include your confirmed business name, the names of all members and managers, the address of your principal place of business, the purpose of the LLC and the nature of your business and the contact information for your registered agent.

    The articles of organization will help verify how much your state will require for filing fees of all of your LLC paperwork.
  3. Step Three: Coordination of Documents with Secretary of State
    Zen Business will verify that all documentation is completed correctly and coordinate the filing of all documents with the Secretary of State. At this point, the LLC formation documentation is formally filed, and all required state filing fees are paid.
  4. Step Four: Receive Confirmations on Custom Dashboard
    As your official confirmations come in from the secretary of state or other regulatory entity, they will be posted on your personalized dashboard for you to retrieve and print out. In most cases, the LLC formation is completed within no more than a couple of weeks.

Packages, Pricing and Additional Services

ZB gives you three pre-priced package options that suit the needs of most businesses. As a part of their registered agent services, these affordable options are billed to your company annually. You will never have to worry about expired licenses or being out of compliance with their standard registered agent services included in every package.

Licensing fees vary from state to state and are additional to the quoted package prices. There are three pre-priced packages available:

  • Starter plan
  • Pro plan
  • Premium option

Starter Plan

The Starter Plan is $49 in addition to state filing fees. This plan is conveniently billed to your business annually and includes:

  • LLC Preparation and filing
  • Filing done at standard filing speed
  • Operating Agreement template
  • Registered Agent services
  • Guaranteed 100% accuracy

Pro Plan

The Pro Plan is $199 in addition to state filing fees. This plan is billed annually and includes:

  • LLC Preparation and filing
  • Expedited filing speed
  • Operating Agreement template
  • Registered Agent services
  • 100% accuracy guaranteed
  • Annual worry-free compliance
  • Banking resolution templates
  • Filing for Employment ID Number (EIN)

Premium Plan

The Premium Plan is $299 in addition to state filing fees. This plan is also billed annually, and includes:

  • LLC Preparation and filing
  • Rush filing speed
  • Operating Agreement template
  • Registered Agent services
  • 100% accuracy guaranteed
  • Annual Worry-Free Compliance service
  • Banking resolution templates
  • Filing for Employment ID Number (EIN)
  • Business website
  • Business Domain name
  • Domain name privacy
  • Business email address

Additional Services

If their package deals are not quite the right fit for your business formation requirements, you are a few short questions away from a customized package offering the services you need for your business. Zen offers the following additional services:

  • Annual Reports. To remain in compliance, you are required to file an annual report with your state authorities each year.
  • New York Publication. The state of New York requires you to publish an announcement of the formation of all LLCs in two newspapers for six weeks.
  • Filing an Amendment. If you change your business name, address or ownership, you need to file an amendment with the Secretary of State.
  • Certificate of Good Standing. They will help procure a state-issued certificate of good standing that you have met all the requirements to do business in your state.
  • Free Accounting Consultation and Tax Assessment.
  • Business License Report. Third-party generated report of licenses needed to operate your business in your state.
  • Business Document Templates. Extensive library of business document templates to help you run your business.
  • Business Bank Account. Zen Business partnered with LendingClub to offer discount business accounts to their customers.

Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to any business, especially when there are competitive entities. Research from Zen Business Reviews found the following Pros and Cons for the company:

  • Easy to form an LLC no matter what kind of business it is.
  • Business plan formation services. The ZenBusiness library has business plan templates for every type of business entity. Their library of resources have numerous articles to support the creation of each section in the business plan.
  • All-inclusive service packages. Zen Business offers the customer everything they could need to start their own legal business entity.
  • Guaranteed accuracy in their filings.
  • Most affordable in the LLC business formation industry. Their prices are, on average, at least 30% lower than their competition.
  • Pricing is upfront with no hidden fees.
  • They will not try to upsell you beyond the needs of your business. ZenBusiness offers a seamless, no pressure buying experience.
  • Free Registered Agent services for the first year and beyond. They will be your registered agent for the life of your membership.
  • Quick response from their customer service department
  • Their customer service department is closed on Saturdays.
  • They charge for application for an EIN when the service is actually free to get a number assigned by the IRS.
  • Slightly slower turnaround on LLC formation than the competition.
  • No copyright or trademark services.

Customer Experiences

In comparison to other business formation companies, ZenBusiness is a relatively new company in the industry. They have only been in business since 2015 and they have still amassed over 7,000 reviews on TrustPilot alone that average 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Zen offers a website that is simple to navigate and offers services that cater to customer satisfaction. By offering a seamless LLC formation process, they save their customers a lot of time and money. Most customers describe their experience as an easy path to forming their LLC.

During the LLC filing process, most business formation services will try to upsell you on a number of different factors. You will not find that with ZenBusiness. Their all-inclusive packages do not need any upselling to make them attractive.

Alternatives to ZenBusiness

The other top business formation companies in the industry are IncFile, Northwest Registered Services and LegalZoom. In the following sections we will compare each one to ZenBusiness to help you decide which company is the best fit for helping you form your business.

IncFile

Both IncFile and ZenBusiness are considered to be among the best of the business formation service companies. IncFile, founded in 2004 and ZB, founded in 2015 have outstanding customer service reviews on the internet. The two companies both offer free registered agent services for the first year which is a huge value in itself as every state requires each business to utilize the services of a registered agent.

IncFile boasts the same speedy turnaround time while the turnaround time for ZenBusiness varies according to the plan you choose. Both companies offer three separate service plans at affordable prices. However, ZB’s Premium plan offer services that IncFile charges separately for.

More detailed comparisons include:

  • IncFile is known for their most basic package which will file your LLC for free. You will still have to pay the state filing fees, and their first year of registered agent services are free. ZB’s most basic package includes operating agreements along with their basic LLC formation filing and registered agent services. There is a substantial price difference if you choose to continue registered agent services beyond the first year.
  • ZenBusiness includes annual report services in their upper two packages while IncFile charges an add-on fee for this service. Since this is a state requirement across the country, Zen makes it easier and cheaper for businesses to remain in compliance with their state requirements with this service.
  • IncFile has over 250,000 positive reviews while ZenBusiness is approaching 7,000 on TrustPilot alone. The primary difference in these numbers is the length of time the two companies have been in business.
  • ZenBusiness can help you remain in compliance with their Worry-Free Compliance services. IncFile does not have a comparable service.
  • IncFile’s website is easier to use than ZenBusiness which although it too is easy to use, can present challenges when looking for some features on the site.
  • ZenBusiness’s customer service department boasts a shorter response time than IncFile.
  • As part of their premium package, Zen offers domain names, domain name privacy, website and business email. IncFile offers similar services, but as add-on services.
  • ZenBusiness offers publication services for those states, like New York, that require you publish an announcement of your business formation while IncFile does not. However, IncFile offers a trademark research service where ZenBusiness does not offer this service.

After comparing the merits of both companies, we find that IncFile is a good fit for businesses that need the most basic of services and those who require a quick turnaround time on their business formation. ZenBusiness is a better fit for companies who are looking for the best value in an all-inclusive service package.

See the full range of services offered by IncFile to decide which service is best for your business.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom is considered by many to be the best in the business formation services industry. They have been in business since 1994 and have helped in the formation of thousands of businesses. Business formation is only one of their specialties as they offer a wide array of legal documentation and services, such as estate planning, for the general population as well. LegalZoom is more well-known due to their extensive advertising.

LegalZoom offers basic LLC formation packages that start at $99 in comparison to ZenBusiness’s $49 price tag for basic service. While registered agent services are free with their LLC formation packages, LegalZoom will charge you an additional $299 per year for registered agent services. In further comparing the two companies, we find:

  • LegalZoom’s customer service department receives more critical reviews than the ZenBusiness customer support.
  • LegalZoom offers trademark registration and copyright registration services which ZenBusiness does not offer any copyright or trademark services.
  • ZenBusiness offers publication services for those states that require them. LegalZoom does not offer this service.
  • Both companies have extensive libraries of information available. When looking for informative articles at LegalZoom, one can become confused by the setup while ZenBusiness is more straightforward.
  • ZenBusiness packages are more affordable. LegalZoom’s package plans are priced at $79/$249/$269 while ZB’s more all inclusive packages are priced at $49/$199/$299.

LegalZoom is a good option for those businesses who would think of turning to an attorney for their business formation needs. Check LegalZoom out to see if they are a good fit for your business startup needs.

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent, as the company name suggests, is centered around their registered agent services. Both Northwest and ZenBusiness are affordable and have great customer support services. The ZenBusiness packages offer more features at a more affordable price. Their basic package starts at $49 as opposed to the pricey $299 offered by Northwest for it’s most basic service.

Both companies offer more features in their package plans. ZenBusiness offers an operating agreement template with its most basic plan. Both include registered agent services at every level, and both companies offer more comprehensive add-on options to their package plans. Further comparisons show:

  • Turnaround times are quite similar for both companies. Exact timelines can be found on their site under the individual state requirements.
  • Northwest has served over 2 million customers since their inception in 1998 while the much younger ZenBusiness, having only been founded in 2015, have far fewer customers.
  • When it comes to ease of use, the two companies are similar.
  • Both companies offer registered agent services for free for the first year. After the first year, ZenBusiness prices for the lowest priced subscription package, are $119 a year while Northwest offers registered agent services for $125 a year following the first year.
  • The two services are more closely matched than any of the those of LegalZoom and IncFile. They also offer a similar selection of add-on services to each of their packaged subscriptions.
  • Northwest is better suited for those businesses that are looking for premium customer support across the board. Businesses who are looking for a more affordable all-inclusive package should look to ZenBusiness for their LLC formation services.

Take a moment and check out the Northwest Registered Agent site to see if they are a good fit for your business needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Zen Business Legit?

    Since their inception in 2015, ZenBusiness has successfully formed thousands of businesses. Their current goal is the formation of one million more new businesses within the next five years. Online reviews from satisfied customers show this company to be completely legitimate.

  • Do They Have Good Customer Support?

    The ZenBusiness customer support team is great. They are very professional and most questions are addressed quickly. Other than only being open Sunday through Friday, turnaround

  • What is the Contact Information for Customer Support?

    The ZenBusiness customer service department is open from Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sundays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm central time each week. They can be reached via phone, email or chat.

  • Which is the Best Plan to Purchase?

    For the first time entrepreneur, the starter plan provides all the services they need to form their LLC. For the more seasoned business owner, the premium plan offers all the tools to get their company formed with an immediate online presence that they can build on. Ultimately, with the importance of a digital presence these days, the Premium plan would be our choice.

  • Why Should I Renew my Plan Each Year?

    When you renew your plan each year, you will have the professional service you have come to expect, and you can meet all of your deadlines. Your plan includes the registered agent services so that ZenBusiness can ensure that all renewals, annual reports and other compliance are met by their deadline. If you miss your deadline, your business will be considered to be in negative standing within your state.

  • What Are Registered Agent Services?

    Having a registered agent is a requirement for all businesses. A registered agent is a person or company that designates to receive all of their legal notices and compliance and licensing communications from the government. Registered agent services can be expensive as a stand-alone product. ZenBusiness provides this service for free with all of their annual package plans.

  • Do They Help with Ongoing Compliance Requirements?

    The Worry-Free Compliance service runs an audit each year. This audit can determine any necessary documents or updated licenses necessary to keep your business compliant. Compliance issues include license renewals, taxes and filing your annual report. Worry-Free Compliance services includes two free amendments per year and the audit through the duration of your service.

  • How Long Does EIN Take?

    Getting an EIN number assigned to your new business should not take longer than the formation of your LLC. The easiest way to get an EIN number assigned is as part of the LLC formation process. You can expedite your LLC formation by either upgrading to a package where an expedited turnaround is included, or if you are doing a customized plan, you can expedite your turnaround with an additional fee.

  • What is Their Policy for Refunds?

    The refund policy is straightforward: you will receive a full refund less any monies that have been spent on work that has already been completed. If you request a refund after your business formation has been filed with your state, the state filing fee cannot be refunded.

  • How Do I Cancel My Services?

    Cancelling your ZenBusiness services is straightforward. Call during business hours or send an e-mail and your services will be cancelled with no fees or penalties.

Final Thoughts

When one is starting a business, they might feel overwhelmed when presented with the numerous forms and licenses. Local, state and federal requirements can add to this confusion. Since the business formation industry has competent alternatives available, it takes the right combination of products, pricing and customer service to stand out. For most businesses who are just starting out, especially LLCs, ZenBusiness provides everything you need at affordable pricing.

With the high levels of compliance required of businesses today, it only makes sense for smaller businesses to rely on services such as those offered by ZenBusiness , IncFile, Northwest Registered Agents and LegalZoom can help a company stay in compliance for years to come. This Zen Business Review concludes that ZenBusiness is one of the best all-around choices for business formation services.

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Matthew Dunn

Did you say Funnels, Email Outreach, or Facebook Ads? 🙂 Matt is very much into marketing, he is the go-to guy when you are looking for marketing ideas, whereas it’s for your online store, blog, or local business. Matt’s baseline fundamentals: Be patient, get to know your niche and your customer, log and analyze data to get real results.

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