Are you deciding between IncAuthority and LegalZoom for LLC formation? We know, it can be confusing. But don’t worry! Read our helpful comparison guide below, to learn which company is the best for you.
LLC service providers all seem to offer the same services, but is price the only thing you should consider? We think user experience, including friendliness of website language and customer support, are really important too. That’s why we tried out their websites to see what it’s like to start your LLC with IncAuthority or LegalZoom, and we called their customer support teams multiple times to help you select the best company to form your LLC.
Is it better to use a big company like LegalZoom, or a specialized LLC formation service like IncAuthority? We compared IncAuthority vs LegalZoom on 10 different features of their business formation services.
Winner: IncAuthority is the clear winner over LegalZoom. With their ease-of-use, better pricing, and higher quality service bundles, IncAuthority works better for small business owners starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Inc Authority is an online business formation service and Registered Agent service. They have been in business for over 30 years and have helped start thousands of companies.
IncAuthority helps you prepare the necessary documents to register a limited liability company in your state, and offers other business and legal features such as Registered Agent services.
LegalZoom is an online legal technology company that offers a wide variety of legal services, including business formation services. According to their website, LegalZoom was founded in 1999 and has launched over 4 million businesses.
LegalZoom offers LLC formation packages that include various documents as well as other legal services like legal forms templates and consultations with attorneys. While LegalZoom is a large company, they don’t always get the best customer reviews.
The Basic LLC Package: What do you get?
We compared the features offered in the basic LLC formation package at each company. What else do you get besides the actual Articles of Organization filing with the state?
The basic package (which is free, you only pay the state filing fees) includes filing your Articles of Organization with the state and one free year of Registered Agent service.
The basic package (called “Economy”) includes a customized Operating Agreement, and a financial account authorization letter. It doesn’t include a year of Registered Agent service. You have to pay $249 for that.
Winner: IncAuthority has better value by offering a year of free Registered Agent service.
IncAuthority’s basic package is $0 (you only pay state fees). Their Starter Business Bundle is $399 and their Executive Business Bundle is $499.
But these extras don’t justify the high prices (since you can do all of those yourself, for free). We recommend you stick to the basic, free package.
Inc Authority’s most expensive bundle, the Tycoon ($799), includes credit bureau registration on top of the other features above. Like the EIN, Operating Agreement, meeting minutes and business license search, you can do that yourself at home.
LegalZoom offers the Economy package for $79, the Standard package for $329, and the Express Gold package for $349.
The Economy package is an okay value for business formation, but we really can’t justify the high prices for the Standard and Express Gold packages. Both get your LLC approved a little bit faster, and offer some extras (read the full description of each package in our LegalZoom review). However, the extras aren’t necessary to start your business, and you can get them cheaper with other companies, or you can do it yourself.
Winner: IncAuthority’s free formation option is the best value.
LLC Service Turnaround Time
- Related article: How long does it take to get an LLC?
IncAuthority takes 5-7 business days to process your order and send your LLC paperwork to the state. That’s why some customer reviews complain about slow turnaround times.
If you pay an extra $49 for express processing, IncAuthority will process your documents within one business day. You still have to pay extra fees for state expedited processing, however.
Despite being a big company, LegalZoom doesn’t offer very fast business formation turnaround time. Your documents will be filed within 1-2 weeks of purchasing LegalZoom’s LLC service.
If you pay extra for the Express Gold package, LegalZoom will process your documents within 2-3 days. You can also pay extra for the state expedited processing, and get your LLC faster.
Winner: This was close, since neither company has fast turnaround times. But IncAuthority offers a more affordable expedited option.
Upsells: Packages and Subscriptions
IncAuthority offers two upsells when you select the free formation package: an EIN filing service ($49) and an Operating Agreement ($89). While these are unnecessary (because you can easily do both of these at home for free), we like that IncAuthority doesn’t pester you with a lot of pop-ups or interruptions.
And if you choose one of IncAuthority’s upgraded packages, they don’t bother you with individual upsells at all. They encourage you to select the more expensive packages, but they present the options in a way that isn’t intrusive.
LegalZoom offers a ton of upsells, but bundles them into packages. This means you end up paying more for the LLC service you want, plus some extras you may not need. We don’t like that LegalZoom’s upsells are intrusive and sometimes need to be declined more than once to make them go away.
You’ll also be bombarded by offers for other subscriptions, like the Legal Protect Plan and Total Compliance package. Overall, LegalZoom has a lot of upsells during their business formation process and most of them aren’t worth the cost.
Winner: IncAuthority has fewer upsells and isn’t pushy about them.
Language: Clarity vs Confusion
Inc Authority has clear, simple language on their website. They have honest descriptions of their services and don’t use fancy legal jargon.
However, it was somewhat difficult to find all the price details we wanted to know, especially since some of them are only found in downloadable PDFs.
LegalZoom’s website has a lot of fancy language to make their services sound like you can’t live without them. They hide a lot of important details about limitations of the services (in particular, the Legal Protect Plan has a lot of exclusions). And LegalZoom isn’t clear about how the pricing really works on their packages.
Winner: IncAuthority wins for website language.
Customer Service: Knowledge vs Sales Pitches
IncAuthority offers customer support by phone or email.
When we called, the IncAuthority customer support reps were knowledgeable and professional. They didn’t go the extra mile to provide advice or suggestions, but they did answer our questions correctly and helpfully.
LegalZoom offers customer support by phone or online chat. But if you’re a new customer or just trying to get information, LegalZoom requires you to give them a lot of details about your business before they will even try to answer your questions.
We were disappointed to find that they were more interested in getting us to start the LLC formation process or to purchase online legal services, rather than helping us with our questions.
Winner: IncAuthority had more user-friendly customer support.
User Experience and Website Design
IncAuthority has an easy-to-use website. If you form an LLC through them, their order process walks you through everything step-by-step.
While their website isn’t the fanciest, it does offer a good amount of information to answer any questions you have about Inc Authority’s services.
LegalZoom offers a sleek, modern website design. However, it sends you through a lot of different pages to get the information you need. Also, the LLC formation process uses confusing layouts that make avoiding the upsells tricky.
Winner: IncAuthority’s website is easier to use.
Additional Features: Consultations and Legal Services
If you purchase their upgraded packages, IncAuthority offers some additional features to help you get your business up and running. These include:
- a business funding analysis (referrals for business loans)
- tax planning consultation (referral to an accounting company)
- and an “Inc Success Advisor” (who can help you find more business resources)
We don’t like that all of these involve selling your information to another company for a sales pitch.
IncAuthority also offers templates for meeting minutes and LLC membership certificates.
LegalZoom offers additional services, but most have a monthly fee (instead of a one-time purchase). For example: the Legal Forms library, the Legal Protect Plan, and the Total Compliance subscriptions. These are expensive add-ons that LegalZoom describes as life-savers, but which actually have a lot of limitations. We don’t recommend spending your money on them.
Winner: LegalZoom’s services and legal forms are more useful.
IncAuthority vs LegalZoom: Registered Agent Services
- Related Article: What’s a Registered Agent for an LLC?
Price Per Year
IncAuthority charges $99 per year for Registered Agent services. That’s about average for the industry. Plus, Inc Authority includes one year of free registered agent service with any business formation package purchase.
LegalZoom charges $299 per year for Registered Agent service, which is one of the most expensive prices in the industry. In some states, LegalZoom discounts this price to $249 per year if you form your LLC with them. That’s still very expensive compared to the competitors.
Winner: IncAuthority has a better Registered Agent service price.
Mail Forwarding and Service of Process
IncAuthority scans and emails you a copy of any legal mail they receive for your LLC. They also send you the physical document by mail. This means you get a notification as soon as they receive something, but you also get the original document for your files.
LegalZoom also scans and uploads legal mail sent to your LLC (including service of process). They also have an online dashboard where you can access your documents.
Winner: IncAuthority provides a more complete mail forwarding service.
IncAuthority vs LegalZoom: Who’s the winner?
When you compare IncAuthority vs LegalZoom, IncAuthority is the clear winner.
IncAuthority has more understandable website language, lower prices, and better customer service than LegalZoom. IncFile’s free LLC formation package also includes a free year of Registered Agent service. With LegalZoom’s basic formation service, their Registered Agent service is a separate add-on priced at $249.
LegalZoom also makes things complicated with lots of fine print, and their services are offered in confusing packages and monthly subscriptions. On the other hand, IncAuthority has a simple, easy-to-use website with clear and friendly language. And they aren’t pushy with upsells.
We don’t like that LegalZoom is focused on selling you their other legal services – especially consultations with their attorneys. So if you’re trying to choose between just these two LLC formation companies to form your LLC, IncAuthority is the much better choice.
File yourself with our free LLC guides
If neither IncAuthority or LegalZoom seems like the right fit, and you want to save money, you can form your LLC yourself. And we can help!
At LLC University®, we offer step-by-step guides that teach you how to form your LLC yourself. You just pay the state filing fee.
Get started here: How to start an LLC in all 50 states
The Hybrid Approach: Hire IncAuthority and DIY the little things
And even if you do hire IncAuthority to file your LLC, you can still save money in other ways. There are several upsells that you can skip and DIY instead:
Instead of paying for an LLC Operating Agreement, you can download our free LLC Operating Agreement template.
If you see an upsell for LLC Membership Certificates, you can skip it. We provide free LLC Membership Certificates here.
If you see an upsell for a Banking Resolution (aka financial account authorization letter), you can ignore it. This document isn’t actually needed to open an LLC business bank account. Banks will provide their own form.
If you’d rather not pay for someone to file your LLC Annual Report, you can do that yourself. Go to our LLC Annual Report page and select your state.
And you don’t have to hire someone to be your LLC’s Registered Agent. Instead, you can be the Registered Agent for your LLC. Check out our Registered Agent page for more details. All you need is a physical address in the state where you form your LLC. Being your own Registered Agent can save you more than $100 per year.