Last updated June 29, 2021

My thoughts on forming an LLC with LegalZoom

Founded in 2001, California-based LegalZoom bills itself as an online legal technology company seeking to reshape the legal industry by offering convenient, affordable, high quality legal solutions. According to the LegalZoom website, over the past 15 years LegalZoom has provided services to close to 4 million families and small businesses, making it one of the leading companies of its kind on the web.

For those looking to start a new business, like a Limited Liability Company (LLC), LegalZoom’s reasonable pricing options and simple sign-up and filing processes make using the service seem like a no-brainer.

However, there are some important factors that aspiring business owners should take into account before choosing LegalZoom to help launch their business.

Looking for a LegalZoom alternative? LegalZoom charges $149. Check out Northwest Registered Agent ($39 + state fee) instead.

How does LegalZoom work?

According to the LegalZoom website, filing the paperwork to start a LLC is as simple as:

  1. Answer a few easy questions in as little as 15 minutes
  2. Wait for LegalZoom staff to assemble all necessary documents and file them directly
  3. Receive a complete LLC package by mail

Though all customers follow these 3 basic steps, the final product each customer receives depends on the type of package purchased. The most popular package is called the Economy package. It costs $149+fees and includes:

  • Filing of LLC state documents
  • Drafting of a personalized operating agreement
  • Verifying the chosen business name is available
  • Providing a financial account authorization letter
  • Receiving LLC within approximately 30 business days

The upgraded Standard ($289+fees) and Express Gold ($359+fees) packages provide everything in the Economy package, plus additions such as a customized company seal and binder, customized membership certificates, and a Federal tax identification number (EIN). The Express Gold package provides the quickest turnaround time in as little as 7 business days.

As great as LegalZoom’s offerings are, the truth is that for most people, filing for LLC formation on your own isn’t very difficult. If the company you are trying to create is so complicated that you couldn’t complete the paperwork yourself, LegalZoom’s template documents are likely too cookie-cutter to do the job well, anyway.

Instead, when it comes to the online legal document templates and services provided by LegalZoom, there is a sweet spot based on a person’s timeline, budget, and paperwork comfort level that will determine if LegalZoom is the right choice.

What kinds of questions do you have?

Though the LegalZoom website has an extensive area dedicated to “Common Questions,” the answers provided are from the general public and are neither drafted, supported, nor vetted by LegalZoom.

This might be okay for those who just want to know more about the costs of LegalZoom, or if there are specific additional services that LegalZoom offers to businesses.

However, for aspiring entrepreneurs with tougher questions like, “Is an LLC the best business structure option for my needs?” or “How do I minimize my risks as an employer?” LegalZoom suggests seeking a licensed and independent attorney.

How much are you willing to pay?

LegalZoom’s fees for forming your LLC can get quite (especially with the upsells).

As an alternative, we recommend checking out Northwest Registered Agent ($39 + state fee).

They are more affordable, have better customer support, and don’t try to nickel and dime you with upsells.

Speaking of fees, one of the top complaints surrounding services like LegalZoom is the use of upselling. Beyond the features included in the Economy, Standard, or Express Gold packages, LegalZoom gives users multiple opportunities to sign up for additional services.

One such service is a $79 fee for obtaining a Federal tax ID, which can actually be obtained for free online via the IRS EIN Assistant. Others include fees for a registered agent for $159, a compliance calendar for $69, or consultation services for $37.50 per month. This might be a small bother for some but a deal-breaker for others.

Tip: For a free Operating Agreement and EIN check out the guides on LLCUniversity.com. We cover all 50 states.

How quickly do you need your LLC?

Processing times for paperwork at state offices can vary from a day to a few months. Most states offer a “rush filing” option that usually requires walk-in, hand delivery. This is no problem for those who live close to their State Secretary’s office.

For those in a hurry to get their LLC up and running but not living close to the State Secretary’s office, LegalZoom has a courier located nearby that is able to submit the rush filing and have the forms processed more quickly.

Are you worried about the fine print?

LegalZoom’s Disclaimer and Terms of Use include the following clause:
“The LegalZoom™ Services also include a review of your answers for completeness, spelling, and for internal consistency of names, addresses and the like. At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice, opinions or recommendations about your legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies, or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. LegalZoom™ is not a law firm and may not perform services performed by an attorney.”

In other words, when a person files their LLC paperwork through LegalZoom, the individual filing – and only that individual – is legally responsible for the entire contents of the paperwork. LegalZoom cannot provide any legally-binding information specific to a person’s situation, and cannot guarantee that customers have completed paperwork correctly or in a manner that would be defensible in court.

The bottom line

Using LegalZoom will probably save aspiring business owners lots of time and could potentially save them money. As a company, LegalZoom has a stellar 15 year history of success with clients. The website is extremely user friendly, and customer service reviews are generally very positive. However, LegalZoom is not an adequate substitute for legal representation and cannot offer the same protections provided by an authorized business attorney.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.

22 comments on “My thoughts on forming an LLC with LegalZoom”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. My name is Wayne Davis how much is a LLC for Missoula Montana 59802 with the EIN number and do yr take payments at all

    • Hi Wayne, we have instructions here on how to form an LLC in Montana. Currently, the state filing fee is $70. Hope that helps.

  2. Does legalzoom, as well as its competitors automatically put you in google search and other engines?

    • Hi Carl, it’s not the filing company that puts you in google searches, but instead when you form an LLC, that information goes on public record with the Secretary of State’s office. Then certain websites – not google – “scrape” (usage of software to grab information in bulk) the records and put them on their website. And there are many of these websites. Google indexes content on the web. So if someone googles “Bob’s LLC + {state name}” google returns the web search results which were listed on those websites that scrape the data… which originally came from the Secretary of State website… which is the information that you list on your LLC filing document (Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation). One solution around all of this is to hire a Commercial Registered Agent that allows you to use their address throughout your LLC filing form. This will keep your address off of public records. And depending on the state where you form your LLC, they may not ask for owner (Member) information, so that’s a plus. Hope that helps!

  3. Ty for the infi n advice. Om so excited to start this process. By spring I’ll be ready to go.Ty Matt!!

    • You’re very welcome Jennifer! So happy to hear we could help :)

  4. Hi Matt I’m Fernando Martinez and I want sell on Amazon FBA and I need a LLC with EIN Number I live in California can you help me with that and i want to know how much it costs? And what services is more fast and the price thank you

    • Hi Fernando, a California LLC costs $70 to form and then is $800 per year. The EIN is free from the IRS. If you want to file yourself, our instructions will walk you through the process: forming a California LLC. Just follow the “detailed lessons” in order. If you want to hire someone to form your LLC for you, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent LLC. Hope that helps.

  5. Does legal zoom file with the registry of deeds? If so, what is the process and is the fee part of the legal zoom fee? Or is it additional?

    • Hi Kimberly, we’re not sure if they file with the Registry of Deeds. You’ll need to reach out to their support. Feel free to leave an update after you find out. Thank you.

  6. Hi… I want to start a LLC in CT legal zoom seems exorbitant… However I want to make sure it’s all done properly… Can you help direct me to other options? Thank you

  7. I want to have LLC in Colorado. How much it will cost and how long it will take to register LLC?

    • Hi Kainat, the Colorado state filing fee is $50 (see Colorado LLC Articles of Organization). The Articles of Organization is approved instantly via the Colorado LLC online filing. If you hire someone to form your LLC, it may take a few days before you get your LLC approval. Your Colorado LLC also needs to file a Periodic Report every year and pay $10 (please see Colorado LLC Periodic Report). Hope that helps.

  8. Hello Matt,

    I’m interested in filing an LLC in Pennsylvania. Based on your website, I can simply file the Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement myself online. What would be the advantages of having Legal Zoom file these documents for me if I can submit these forms to the state myself? If I’m simply trying to create/file the LLC, is there a reason I should consider paying Legal Zoom’s fee in addition to the state filing fee? I understand that I’d have to eventually apply for an EIN myself if I go the DIY route, but from what I understand, that’s easy enough and free as well. I also understand that I will need to create a Keystone Login and a PENN File account, but you outline the steps to do that. Am I missing something here? I’m not seeking additional legal help, I simply want to get the LLC filed. Is the Keystone Login/Penn File account set up so difficult that I should consider paying Legal Zoom to do this for me? I’m not certain I’m understanding what the benefit of using Legal Zoom would be if I can do all of this myself. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Melanie, no, you are not missing anything at all! In fact, you sound very educated and have gathered all the information about forming an LLC in Pennsylvania. Some people just want someone else to do it for them and others don’t spend the time learning about the steps. But we have all the steps listed on our website. Just follow the “Detailed Lessons” in order and you’ll be fine :) You’re very welcome.

  9. Hey quick question. I have an EIN number can you help me get a llc

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