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When you’re trying to start a business, there’s a lot of formation services you can go to. They make the formation process easy and fast by filing all necessary documents and keeping them updated with the state.
And the easiest way to choose the perfect business formation service is to compare two of them side-to-side, which is exactly what we’re going to do in this Incfile vs LegalZoom review!
Be sure to read it all the way through, so you can make an informed decision on which one will suit you best!
|Trademark or patent registration||no||yes|
|Filing custom forms||no||yes|
|Filing business and personal taxes||yes||no|
Essential Services Comparison
Both Incfile and LegalZoom are business formation services, but they’re focused on slightly different customers:
Legalzoom is a full-circle business formation service and is focused on helping you file all essential documents and provides you with solid tax guidance and legal protection during this process. It also helps with certain personalized services, such as a patent or trademark registration.
Incfile, on the other hand, is for those who seek fast business formation with only the essentials. The company will help you form a business in all 50 states and offers some minimal features to keep it compliant, which is a decent choice if you’re only starting your business journey.
So, let’s start our LegalZoom versus Incfile comparison with the similarities. The following services are available in both providers:
- Business formation. Both services allow you to quickly form an LLC, a non-profit or obtain an S-corporation status.
- Incorporation. If you’re looking for a traditional C-corporation formation, both Incfile and LegalZoom can easily handle all the paperwork and register your business with the state.
- Business name availability check. The business name is the first step towards your goal, so make sure you choose something unique and catchy. Both services can help you with that by checking your business name availability, so you won’t accidentally create a company with an already existing name. Plus, they can file the documents for your ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) name, which adds a layer of privacy.
- Foreign qualification. If you plan to operate in another state, you have to fill the documents with that state’s Secretary of State. This is called ‘foreign qualification’ and both services will gladly obtain it for you.
- Compliance. Once you’ve got your business up and running, it’s your responsibility to keep it in good standing with the state. LegalZoom and Incfile can handle this for you by managing a compliance calendar, so you won’t miss an important annual report or license update.
- Registered agent. Finally, all businesses in the US are required to have a registered agent. And you can count on both Incfile and LegalZoom to offer you this service.
Now, let’s turn to the differences because they often work as the definitive factor when choosing between Incfile vs LegalZoom or other providers.
So, the Incfile, since it’s the company that focuses only on the essentials, can offer you only one unique feature, which is tax filing services.
Incfile connects you with a personal tax accountant that will file all the taxes for you for a fee. Thus, you will minimize the chances of making a mistake and make the whole process quicker.
As for LegalZoom, this provider goes above and beyond and offers you a bunch of different options:
- Business formation. Along with more traditional LLC and corporation filings, LegalZoom can register a sole proprietorship or a limited partnership for you.
- Attorney advises. LegalZoom includes a 30-minute attorney consultation as a part of their Legal Protection plan. Or, you can schedule a consultation with an attorney from their diverse network and address to them all the questions, whether business or personal.
- Personal services. Along with business formation, LegalZoom can also help you with personal matters, such as making the last will & testament, filing divorce docs, or creating a lease agreement.
- Custom legal forms. If you need help filing a non-disclosure agreement, business contracts, licenses, and permits, applying for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, or with any specific legal form, LegalZoom will handle that.
Also, it’s worth to note that Incfile and LegalZoom have different approaches when it comes to a registered agent service:
- Incfile includes a free 12-month trial in all of its business formation packages, and then you pay for it annually if satisfied.
- LegalZoom offers a registered agent as a standalone option, so you’ll have to pay for it anyway when choosing your business formation plan.
|Business formation||LLC, C-corp, S-corp, and nonprofit||LLC, C-corp, S-corp, nonprofit, sole proprietorship, limited partnership|
|Registered agent||Included in all packages; free for the first year||Separate paid service|
|Compliance||Included in Gold and Platinum packages as Lifetime Alerts||Separate paid service|
|Tax returns||Filing business and personal taxes||You can get tax guidance as a part of the Legal Protection plan, but you have to file taxes by yourself|
|Personal services||None||Last will & testament, divorce papers, estate plan bundle, financial power of attorney|
|Filing custom forms||25 templates (paid for Silver and Gold packages and included in the Platinum package)||More than 100 different templates and a questionnaire will help you to tailor them to your business|
Now, let’s compare Incfile vs LegalZoom in terms of their formation speed, or turnaround time.
Here’s the important thing you need to know:
Turnaround time largely depends on the state, but generally, falls within the 2-6 weeks range. However, business formation services can offer you an Expedited and Rush filing speed for a fee, which can cut the filing time to 5-7 working days.
We will be discussing both standard and expedited formation speeds, and let’s begin with Incfile.
So, Incfile is one of the fastest business formation services. Along with the standard processing time, which is 3-4 working weeks, the provider offers you an expedited filing speed as a paid service.
You will have to pay $50-150, depending on the state, and Incfile will process your order within 1-5 business days (for most states).
LegalZoom is significantly slower. However, their filing speed seems to be tied more to the pricing plan you choose and is nearly the same for all states. With the cheapest package you might need to wait for 30 business days (6 weeks), and the most expensive plan will register your business for 2 weeks, or 10 business days.
|Time||Standard speed: 3-4 weeks;|
Expedited speed: 1-5 business days
|Processing time is tied to the package you choose:|
Economy: 30 business days;
Standard: 15 business days;
Express Gold: 10 business days
|Price||$50-150 fee at the checkout||Priced according to your plan|
The most anticipated part of every review is comparing the prices, and there are a lot of factors to consider, so let’s break it into three parts:
- business formation packages;
- registered agent service pricing;
- additional services that aren’t included in the packages.
Business Formation Services
Both Incfile and LegalZoom offer you three pricing plans, depending on the features you look for. So, let’s compare their value for money.
Incfile has the following plans:
- Silver ($0 + state fees). Yes, that’s right — Incfile offers you free business formation and files all the essential paperwork for you. You only need to pay for an operating agreement template ($40) and cover state fees. The company deliberately makes free business formation one of their strongest points because they believe that you will appreciate the quality and decide to stay. And their business history showed that this is true often enough to be considered a working strategy.
- Gold ($149 + state fees). For this price, you’ll get the Silver package along with some important services, mainly the federal tax ID, a compliance calendar, and some legal forms, such as a banking resolution template. Plus, you’ll get a convenient virtual office and can count on a business tax consultation.
- Platinum ($299 + state fees). The most expensive package takes the Gold plan and adds business contract templates, business domain name and e-mail, and expedited shipping.
Now, let’s take a look at LegalZoom:
- Economy ($149 + state fees). Things you need to run your business: all the paperwork, tax savings analysis, highly experienced customer support, and a convenient guide on what to do next.
- Standard ($329 + state fees). Economy pack benefits + twice as fast processing speed and a corporate binder and seal for your business.
- Express Gold ($349 + state fees). The Standard pack with the fastest formation speed and delivery of the final documents to you.
So, what’s our verdict?
Well, LegalZoom seems overpriced at the first sight and offers fewer services compared to the Incfile Gold package, which is claimed as their most popular option. However, if you appreciate the small things such as personal binder and faster formation speed, and are familiar with the history and media presence of LegalZoom, you may choose it over Incfile.
Registered Agent Service
A registered agent (RA) service pricing is another major difference between these business formation providers. Take a look:
- Incfile offers you a 12-month trial of registered agent and includes RA in all its packages, even the cheapest one. By the moment of renewal, you will get an invoice that will allow you to re-subscribe for $119/year or cancel the subscription. Alternatively, you can purchase a registered agent as a standalone feature for the same price.
- LegalZoom doesn’t include their RA service in any subscription plan. You will have to purchase it separately for $249 for the first year (after that you’ll be charged $299 per year). Plus, the trial only lasts to the moment when your documents are filed with the state, which depends on your chosen plan.
Finally, LegalZoom versus Incfile is pretty different when it comes to add-ons.
Incfile only offers you services that you can obtain by yourself and can only delegate them to the provider if you want to, such as:
- federal tax ID number ($70);
- corporate bylaws ($30);
- corporate organizational meeting minutes ($25);
- business contract templates ($150 for more than 25 items).
All of these, except for the contract templates, only come as add-ons for the Silver plan, so you can upgrade for Gold and get them for free.
LegalZoom, on the other hand, bombs you with add-ons and upsells. Aside from a registered agent, here’s what you can purchase:
- compliance management ($280/year);
- essential docs: company bylaws, federal tax ID, and licenses ($99-249, one-time payment);
- Legal Protect service, which is basically attorney advice ($39.99/month, which makes ~$480 per year).
Say you need all those services, and if you’re good at math, you already know that they will cost you $1110-1260 along with the package you choose.
Which is quite a lot, to be honest.
|Business formation packages||Silver ($0 + state fees)|
Gold ($149 + state fees)
Platinum ($299 + state fees)
|Economy ($149 + state fees)|
Standard ($329 + state fees)
Express Gold ($349 + state fees
|Registered Agent||free for the first year, then $119/year||$249 for the first year, then $299/year|
|Add-ons||Business contract template ($150), the rest is included in the Gold package for free||Compliance: $280/year|
Bylaws and licenses: $99-249
Legal Protect service: ~$480/year
Customer Support & User Experience
The next few parts of this comparison will focus on details such as customer support, user experience, and the provider’s reputation on the market.
These services will not necessarily impact your choice, but they are important things to consider, so let’s dive in.
You can get to Incfile representatives via e-mail, live chat, fax, or phone. Phone consultations are available throughout the week from 9 am to 6 pm CST, and users report that the customer service staff is very friendly and gives comprehensive answers to their questions.
LegalZoom is famous for the extended working hours of its customer support representatives. You can reach them via the phone from 5 am to 7 pm PT on weekdays, and from 7 am to 4 pm PT on weekends, which is especially important for those who often travel or have an irregular working schedule. Plus, they have top-notch expertise in the field and can guide you through the legal entanglements with ease.
Live chat on the website
The contact form on the website
Live chat on the website
The contact form on the website
|Working hours||Monday to Friday |
9 am — 6 pm CST
|Monday to Friday|
5 am — 7 pm PT
7 am — 4 pm PT
History on the Market & Reviews
Finally, let’s take a look at what other users have to say about these services. Both Incfile and LegalZoom have been on the market for a while now and have a long track record.
So far, the Incfile seems to have a more positive user experience. According to reviews on the ShopperApproved platform, people value customer support, ease of use, and pricing.
LegalZoom, despite all the presence in the media and awards, has only 335 reviews on Trustpilot, and they’re a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, users seem satisfied with the services and customer support but complain about the price and lots of upsells.
|Track record||Was founded in 2004|
More than 500,000 successful cases
|Was founded in 1999|
Over 4 million businesses have been formed
|Reviews & Average Rating||19,696 reviews on ShopperApproved (4.8)||335 reviews on Trustpilot (3.8)|
When to Choose LegalZoom?
- You want a company with a history. LegalZoom has an impressive track record and a lot of awards that prove its expertise. If these are things that you value in a business formation service, then LegalZoom might be your option.
- You want some room for customization. Despite the fact that LegalZoom offers a lot of essential services as upsells, you can view it as a customization option and pick only those you really need.
- You’re a large business owner. LegalZoom is a full-circle company that can cover every step of your business formation. So if you need someone that covers your back on every stage, they might offer you help.
When to choose Incfile?
- You want to register a business as fast as possible. Incfile’s Expedited filing speed can cut your wait to 1-5 business days for most states, and it’s fairly cheap. So if you’re looking for a fast formation, be sure to check out this provider.
- You don’t need a lot of additional services. The Gold package contains all the services you need to start your business and maintain it in good standing with the state.
- You want to try before you buy. All the Incfile’s packages include a free registered agent for 12 months, and the Silver package doesn’t charge you a formation fee, so you can actually try out their service.
Hours of Research