Are you deciding between ZenBusiness and IncFile for LLC formation services? We know, it can be confusing. But don’t worry! Read our helpful comparison guide below, to learn which company is 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 ZenBusiness or IncFile, and we called their customer support teams multiple times to help you select the best company to form your LLC.
Both ZenBusiness and IncFile have reputations as business formation companies that offer extra help to their customers, but which is the best fit for your business? We compared ZenBusiness vs IncFile on 10 different features of their business formation services.
Winner: This was a close comparison. ZenBusiness and IncFile both have several strengths, and match each other in several areas. If we had to choose, we’d pick ZenBusinessfor their ease-of-use and higher quality service bundles. However, IncFile offers some unique services for small business owners starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that certain customers may prioritize.
ZenBusiness is a filing company that also offers incorporation and LLC formation service. ZenBusiness can help you set up a Limited Liability Company in any state. In addition to helping you form your business entity, they can also be your Registered Agent service and provide templates of important business documents.
Want to learn more about ZenBusiness?
Read more about their services in our ZenBusiness LLC Review.
IncFile is an LLC formation company and Registered Agent service. They offer compliance services like LLC Annual Report filing, as well as other business filing services like DBAs and trademark applications.
Founded in 2004, IncFile has helped start over 500,000 businesses. Their company focuses on helping small business owners, and primarily offers features for people starting new businesses.
Want to learn more about IncFile?
Read more about these features in our IncFile LLC Review.
LLC Formation Services: ZenBusiness vs. IncFile
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 (called “Starter”) includes:
- an Operating Agreement template
- 1 free year of Registered Agent service
- 1 free year of Worry-free Compliance Service
- an Accounting Consultation, and
- a Google Ads credit match.
The basic package (called “Silver”) includes a free name search, and one free year of Registered Agent service. Nothing else.
Winner: ZenBusiness offers more features in their basic LLC formation services package – but check out the prices below.
Business Formation Pricing
Note: None of the prices below include the state LLC filing fees. ZenBusiness and IncFile both list the state filing fees on their sites so you can see the total cost.
Sometimes the state fees listed on the company site don’t match what you see on the state websites. However, we know from our experience in the LLC formation industry that the price difference between the state fees is due to online processing charges. And some states – like Alabama – require you to reserve your LLC name for a fee before filing. The companies just don’t tell you that – and their customer support doesn’t seem to know, either.
We called ZenBusiness and IncFile to see how much their customer service agents really knew. Neither of their representatives could tell us why the discrepancy exists. But we have that all documented in our free lessons on how to start an LLC in all 50 states.
ZenBusiness offers the Starter package for $49, the Pro package for $199, and the Premium package for $299.
The Starter package is good value for an LLC service. But be careful: it contains an annual compliance service subscription that auto-renews at $119 per year. Plus, it signs you up for ZenBusiness’s Registered Agent service that auto-renews at $99 per year.
The Pro package has expedited filing and a few extras, but it isn’t worth $199. And the only upgrade in the Premium package is web hosting, which we don’t think is worth an extra $100.
To learn all of the details of the ZenBusiness packages, read our ZenBusiness Review.
IncFile also offers 3 LLC formation packages:
- the Silver package for $0 (you only pay state filing fees),
- the Gold package for $149, and
- the Platinum package for $299.
The Silver package is a great deal, since you get your LLC formed and a free year of Registered Agent service, all without having to pay IncFile any service fees. You only pay the state filing fee.
The Gold package is also a pretty good value, since it includes a variety of extra features. We don’t think the Platinum package is worth it, though. The only things you get with Platinum that you don’t get with Gold are the contract templates and a business website domain name.
- Related article: How to Get a Business Domain Name
Winner: IncFile has better package prices.
LLC Service Turnaround Time
- Related article:How long does it take to get an LLC?
Usually it takes 2 business days for ZenBusiness to send your documents to the state. That’s pretty quick compared to their competitors.
Pro and Premium packages include expedited processing times. This means ZenBusiness will get your paperwork sent to the state right away. And, for an extra fee, the state will expedite your LLC’s approval time.
IncFile promises to file your documents with the state within one business day. That’s one of the fastest times in the industry.
However… Several customer reviews online say this claim isn’t accurate and that IncFile took a long time to process their filings.
Winner: This was a tie, because both companies offer quick turnaround times.
Upsells: Neither Distracting, Nor Aggressive
ZenBusiness offers many upsells with their LLC formation services, but not in a distracting way. Although many of these additional services are things you can do yourself at home (and for free), we appreciate that ZenBusiness isn’t aggressive about them.
IncFile offers a variety of additional services that you can select for your new business. Many of them are easy to do yourself, but some business filings are better left to the professionals.
We think IncFile offers good value if you need these items:
- $99 Business License Search
- $99 DBA (Fictitious Name) filing
- $199 Trademark application filing
Winner: This was a close one. Both companies offer quality services, but IncFile offers more features that you can’t easily DIY.
ZenBusiness makes sure every product is clearly explained and easy to understand – even for people new to starting a business. However, some of their service costs aren’t super clear, and it can be confusing trying to figure out which items are annual subscriptions.
IncFile has some misleading language about their refund policy, and isn’t clear about which companies they work with to provide certain features. We like to know whether our information is being sold to other companies.
Winner: This was a tie: both companies generally have clear language except for specific issues (subscription pricing and affiliate programs).
ZenBusiness’s customer service is reliable. And they can be reached by phone or online chat. We were also happy that they didn’t use pushy sales techniques.
However, they didn’t go out of their way to provide additional guidance. They instead just answered what we asked. That isn’t bad, but other companies we’ve reviewed have offered more helpful suggestions.
IncFile offers phone support or email. When we spoke to IncFile’s customer support representatives, they were all helpful and honest. None really went the extra mile to give us advice or suggestions, but they did accurately answer our questions.
Winner: ZenBusiness customer support was better quality and easier to access.
User Experience and Website
ZenBusiness excels at providing a simple, pleasing user experience. Their website uses an automated chat to walk you through the steps. This is helpful because it gives an explanation of each item in the business formation process.
After you form your company, ZenBusiness offers a user-friendly dashboard for your compliance needs. This is useful for filing annual reports and managing your Registered Agent service.
IncFile’s user experience offers a simple, streamlined formation process that lets you get through the order quickly. We like that they show a “live” price based on what add-ons you select.
After formation, IncFile’s user dashboard is well-organized and easy to use when you need to order other filings or find documents.
Winner: ZenBusiness’s helpful website came out on top.
ZenBusiness vs IncFile: Registered Agent Services
- Related article: What’s a Registered Agent for an LLC?
Registered Agent Service Price Per Year
ZenBusiness offers two types of Registered Agent services:
- “Standard Coverage” for $99 per year
- “Complete Coverage” for $149 per year
Note: The difference is that “Complete Coverage” includes the Worry-free Compliance service (where ZenBusiness will file your LLC’s Annual Report).
IncFile charges $119 per year for Registered Agent services, which is about average for the industry. We like that IncFile includes free Registered Agent service for 1 year with any LLC formation package.
Winner: ZenBusiness has a better Registered Agent price, but this was a close one!
Mail Forwarding and Service of Process
ZenBusiness scans and uploads legal mail sent to your LLC (including Service of Process). You can access your mail through the same dashboard ZenBusiness uses for their business formation features.
IncFile scans and uploads any legal mail they receive for your LLC. They send an email notification about any new document, which you can then access in your account dashboard.
Winner: This is a tie: both companies offer the same service.
ZenBusiness vs IncFile: Who’s the winner?
When you compare ZenBusiness vs IncFile, ZenBusiness is the winner, but this was a close one!
While IncFile’s free LLC formation service may be tempting, ZenBusiness has a better basic package with more included features for only $49. We worry that people often select IncFile’s basic (free) package and end up paying for extra upsells.
While both companies offer upsells, neither is pushy about them. IncFile also has some specialized filings at good prices (like DBAs, business license research, and trademark filings), but many small businesses don’t need these.
Both companies offer quick processing times of 1-2 days, so if you need your LLC on a tight turnaround, either can accomplish that for you.
ZenBusiness and IncFile have good websites, but ZenBusiness’ site is more user friendly. Neither company’s website scored top marks in the clear language category. They both have confusing parts. Figuring out which ZenBusiness products are auto-renewing subscriptions can be difficult. And state fees listed in both companies’ packages don’t always exactly match the ones listed on the Secretary of State’s sites.
Lastly, the Registered Agent prices are only $20 different between the two companies, but ZenBusiness’ is in fact cheaper. And this $20 arguably helps offset ZenBusiness’ $49 basic package fee.
Overall, if you’re choosing between ZenBusiness and IncFile, ZenBusiness is the way to go if you’re willing to spend a little more money for more included services.
File yourself with our free LLC guides
If neither ZenBusiness nor IncFile 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 ZenBusiness or IncFile and DIY the little things
And even if you do hire ZenBusiness or IncFile 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.