ZenBusiness Review

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ZenBusiness is a business services company founded in 2015 by Ross Buhrdorf. ZenBusiness is a public benefit corporation. This means that they are a for-profit company, but they are committed to helping social causes with the money they make.

ZenBusiness can help you set up a Limited Liability Company in any state. In addition to their business formation services, they also offer Registered Agent services and a business document templates library.

ZenBusiness logo

The ZenBusiness logo is a registered trademark of ZenBusiness Inc.

Want a better deal? Hire Northwest instead ($39 + state fee). They have great prices and they don't have any upsells.

(See why Northwest is #1 in our Northwest Registered Agent review)

ZenBusiness Review – Services for LLCs

ZenBusiness vows to not let you down with their business formation services.

Price Points (plus state fees)

Like most LLC services, ZenBusiness offers three LLC service packages at different price points: the Starter, Pro, and Premium packages.

Warning! If you don’t live or do business in the state where ZenBusiness forms your LLC, you’ll need to register your LLC as a Foreign LLC in your home state. This means you need to maintain two LLC filings, pay two state filing fees, and maintain two Registered Agents.

Please see Best state to form an LLC to make sure you’re forming an LLC in the right state.

Starter Package

As the name suggests, the Starter package is the most affordable LLC formation option at $0 + state fee.

The Starter package obviously includes the completion and filing of your business’ Articles of Organization. In addition, ZenBusiness also includes an Operating Agreement template in the Starter package.

However, unlike other business formation companies, this Operating Agreement is not personalized with your business’ information. You must fill it out yourself.

The Starter package includes one free year of ZenBusiness’s compliance report service, which sends you alerts whenever your LLC is due to file a state Annual Report. Note that the compliance services automatically renew at $119 each year.

The Starter package also includes one year of Registered Agent service. Additionally, some extras like an accounting consultation and a $150 Google Ads credit are included. Once they create a business website, small business owners can use the Google Ads credit to advertise.

Pro Package

The Pro package includes all the LLC formation services in the Starter package and several additional services. ZenBusiness will form your LLC, and get an LLC EIN for $199 (plus state fees).

While the Starter package includes one free year of the compliance report service (which reminds you of filing deadlines), the Pro package includes one free year of the upgraded compliance service. With this service, ZenBusiness will actually file your LLC’s Annual Report with the state, and will file up to 2 amendments to your LLC’s Articles of Organization or Annual Report each year.

The Pro package includes expedited filing, which means you can get your LLC approved faster. However, you will have to pay the state expedited fees on top of the state filing fee. You can learn more about expedited filings by reading How long does it take to get an LLC?

If you purchase the Pro package, ZenBusiness will obtain an Employer ID Number (EIN) from the IRS for your LLC. However, you can easily get an EIN for an LLC yourself in just a few minutes – and an EIN is free from the IRS. So this isn’t a huge perk cost-wise.

To form an LLC with ZenBusiness, select your state and choose your package options.

Premium Package

ZenBusiness’ Premium package is priced at $299. It includes all of the services in the Starter and Pro packages. It also includes rush filing. This means that ZenBusiness will process your LLC filing faster, and will use the expedited filing option in your state (if available).

ZenBusiness services in the Premium package include reserving a domain name for your business website, creating a business website, and giving you a business email address. Some people find that helpful.

However, we prefer to do these things ourselves so that we have control over the design and other elements of both the business domain and the business website. We like the freedom to experiment and find the best brand image and name for our companies.

Want a better deal? Hire Northwest instead ($39 + state fee). They have great prices and they don't have any upsells.

(See why Northwest is #1 in our Northwest Registered Agent review)

Turnaround Times

ZenBusiness provides turnaround times that are about average for the industry. Most customer reviews report that ZenBusiness files their documents with their state in two business days or less. ZenBusiness offers an expedited processing option which means they will file your documents with the state more quickly if you pay extra for the Premium package.

And like other business formation services, ZenBusiness allows you to pay extra for the expedited or rush filing option offered by the state where you form your LLC.

ZenBusiness offers expedited processing.

Upsells

ZenBusiness also provides services beyond business formation. And they do promote these optional services when you are going through the order process. However, they do not bombard you with non-stop pop-ups like some of their competitors. Some of these upsells are useful, while others are not a good use of your money.

EIN for your LLC

If you purchase the Pro or Premium package, ZenBusiness will request an EIN for your LLC. Otherwise, the EIN service is a $70 upsell. However, you can quickly and easily file for an EIN for your LLC yourself through the IRS website. And an EIN is free from the IRS. This means that the $70 charge for this service from ZenBusiness is definitely not worth it.

Banking Resolution

If you purchase the Pro or Premium package, ZenBusiness includes a banking resolution template. Otherwise, this is a $30 upsell.

We don’t think a banking resolution from ZenBusiness is a good value for two reasons:

  1. The document itself is unnecessary. You can use your Articles of Organization and your Operating Agreement to open a business bank account for your LLC. No separate document is needed.
  2. The ZenBusiness banking resolution is just a template. That means ZenBusiness doesn’t fill out the resolution with your company’s information. You could just download a free template elsewhere online, and you’ll still do the same amount of work.

Business Document Templates

Many users are curious about the ZenBusiness business documents service. When you start a new business, you might need contracts or invoices, or other more sophisticated business documents.

If you purchase the Pro or Premium package, you get free access to the ZenBusiness business documents templates library. Otherwise, this is a $99 upsell.

The ZenBusiness documents package includes various business contracts like a freelancer agreement and a non-disclosure agreement. Unfortunately, the library is pretty limited compared to some of the other sites that offer both legal and business formation documents.

ZenBusiness offers an Operating Agreement template and other business forms.

Worry Free Compliance Service

If you purchase the Pro or Premium package, you get one free year of the Worry-Free Compliance service.

After that it renews at $119 each year. And you can purchase it separately for $119 if you choose the Starter package.

This is one of ZenBusiness’ more expensive upsells where ZenBusiness files your LLC’s Annual Report and up to two amendments to your Articles of Organization or your Annual Report.

But you can file your Annual Report yourself using our step-by-step LLC Annual Report guides. Most Annual Reports are simple (they just ask you to confirm your LLC’s information and pay a fee). And since you will still have to pay the state fees when you use ZenBusiness’s Worry Free Compliance service, you don’t really save any money.

ZenBusiness offers a worry free guarantee.

Business Insurance and Business Bank Account

ZenBusiness partners with the Commercial Insurance Center to offer you a quote for a business insurance package. The price will vary based on your business.

We recommend that you compare quotes from several insurers.

Finally, ZenBusiness offers a business banking account in partnership with Radius Bank. We don’t recommend this – the bank account has high annual fees, and you should use a bank with local branches where you do business.

Clear, Helpful Language

ZenBusiness clearly explains their products and services.

ZenBusiness’ website makes everything very easy to understand, even if you have never formed a business before. We liked how the ZenBusiness website describes the services’ purposes and importance (even if we sometimes disagree).

However, they do fall short when it comes to presenting the pricing of their services with clarity.

All of ZenBusiness’ service packages that are free for one year, automatically renew each year.

For example, the Starter package renews at a cost of $119 (because of the included compliance service), which is much more than the initial cost of $0 + state fee.

ZenBusiness does not explain their renewal process clearly enough for our liking. Many customers will assume that these packages don’t renew after the business has already been formed.

Also, ZenBusiness may or may not charge you a $25 cancellation fee if you decide to discontinue any of their services. Their website is unclear about when this fee applies.

ZenBusiness boasts fast, simple, and expert business formation service at a low cost.

Customer Service

ZenBusiness provides a solid customer service experience. They offer both chat and phone-based customer support.

ZenBusiness’ chat support is decent. The rep we interacted with answered our questions promptly and correctly. This is better than the copy and paste answers that we’ve seen from some competitors. However, the chat support did not go the extra mile to offer us extra insight or assistance.

ZenBusiness has excellent phone support. The rep we spoke to was friendly and very knowledgeable about the company’s services. Also, they did not upsell additional services, which is something that we’ve experienced from other company’s customer support reps. Instead, we got an honest assessment of what package we needed.

Hate calling customer support? Hire Northwest instead. They have great prices ($39 + state fee) and they do things right the first time, so you don't even have to experience their award-winning customer support. ;)

(Read our Northwest Registered Agent review to see why we're confident that you're in good hands.)

User Experience

The simple user experience offered by ZenBusiness is one of their biggest pros. They take you through the formation process step by step while offering plenty of helpful information.

The step-by-step process offers you explanations of the different formation steps and features. Unfortunately, it also gives ZenBusiness the chance to advertise some additional upsells.

All in all, it is a user-friendly method that will put new business owners at ease. In contrast, many competitors have stuffy, formal websites that only increase the anxiety of starting a new business.

We did note that ZenBusiness asks a lot of questions that aren’t part of the Articles of Organization filed with the state, and suspect that the extra information might be used to match you up to upsells or service offers.

ZenBusiness continues to provide an excellent user experience after you’ve submitted your order. They offer their customers access to a well-designed dashboard. You can check on the progress of your business formation through this dashboard. You will get notifications at each step of the process.

Add-on Services and Features

Like their competitors, ZenBusiness offers services and features that aren’t directly related to forming an LLC. These additional services include website creation, a Google Ads credit, a free accounting consultation, and a virtual business guide.

Business Websites

For $125 a year, ZenBusiness offers a website, business domain name, and business email. If you purchase the Premium package, you get one free year of this service.

However, you can definitely get all of these things more cheaply if you go directly to a web hosting company, so we don’t recommend this upsell. The website ZenBusiness creates is pretty basic, and you don’t get to make many customizations.

LLC University® offers a free step-by-step guide for how to get a business domain name.

Google Ads Credit

ZenBusiness includes a $150 Google Ads credit with all of their formation packages. However, this isn’t just a $150 gift card for free ads. Instead, ZenBusiness will match the money your business spends on advertising, up to the $150 limit. So it’s basically “spend $150, get $150”.

Accounting Assessment

ZenBusiness will connect you with a CPA, who will assess your business and determine what sort of accounting services you will need. These free assessments are often simply sales pitches for the CPA’s services.

You can do your own research or browse through our Accountant for LLC recommendations to get help you with business taxes and other obligations.

ZenBusiness’ Registered Agent Services

ZenBusiness also offers Registered Agent Service.

Price (plus state filing fees)

ZenBusiness has a Registered Agent Service which will receive legal documents sent to your business. There are 2 packages to choose from.

And in 2022, ZenBusiness drastically increased the prices of both of their Registered Agent packages.

ZenBusiness’s Standard Coverage Registered Agent service package costs $199 per year, and the Complete Coverage package is $398 per year. (You do get a discount for the first year, but it renews at those prices.)

The only difference between the two is that Complete Coverage includes the compliance package. This means ZenBusiness will file your LLC’s Annual Report with the state. Meaning, you’ll pay $0 plus state fees for this service if you have an upgraded package.

Be careful – if you purchased the Pro or Premium packages to form your LLC, this worry-free compliance package is already included. Don’t pay for it twice!

These packages are pretty expensive compared to the industry average of between $100 and $300 (plus state fees) per year. And although ZenBusiness’ LLC formation service packages include one year of Registered Agent service, it renews at a high price.

Mail Forwarding

One of the most important aspects of any Registered Agent’s services is how they forward your legal documents. ZenBusiness does this by scanning the legal documents they receive and uploading them to your business dashboard on their site. You will also receive a notification when ZenBusiness has received a new legal document on your business’ behalf.

You could work with Northwest instead.

Northwest Registered Agent is our #1 recommendation for LLC formation. They'll take care of everything for $39 + state fees, and you'll get your first year of Registered Agent service for free.

(See why Northwest is #1 in our Northwest Registered Agent review)

Is ZenBusiness Worth It?

Is ZenBusiness a good choice for LLC services and Registered Agent services? All things considered, yes. Their services offer many pros, and only one real con (the confusing pricing of their auto-renewing subscriptions).

We are concerned that some ZenBusiness customers may accidentally purchase things more than once because of the confusing packages. We especially don’t like the fact that the Starter package auto-renews at a much higher price.

Besides this, however, ZenBusiness is a good choice. ZenBusiness offers three packages with plenty of features at reasonable initial prices. And you can avoid certain upsells by doing some filings yourself.

ZenBusiness offers good customer service, which is more than can be said about some of their competitors. And their Registered Agents make things convenient by uploading scans of any documents they receive to their dashboard.

We especially like the fact that ZenBusiness themselves run their Registered Agent services, which means that you don’t have to deal with a separate company.

If you’re still shopping for LLC Services, you can compare ZenBusiness vs their top competitors in our Zenbusiness Alternatives Review.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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