Starting a business can be overwhelmingly stressful, especially when you plan to adopt a Limited Liability Company (LLC) structure. While the DIY route is an option, you might not be ready for the time, effort, and more stress that the process will entail.
Good thing there are services that will save you from a terrible headache right at the beginning of your business venture. I personally tested and compared Legalzoom vs Incfile, two of the best cheap LLC formation services, to give you an idea which one will be great for your business.
Incfile or Legalzoom?
- Company Background
- User Experience
- Customer Support
- Registered Agent Service
- Customer Reviews
Legalzoom was built in 2001, by Edward R. Hartman, Brian P.Y. Liu, Robert Shapiro, and Brian S. Lee. This online LLC formation service is situated in California, United States, and has over 1,000 employees.
Incfile, an LLC formation service company that holds around 11–50 employees, was founded in 2004 and is based in Houston TX. It mainly focuses on the formation service of LLC corp, S corp, and C corp.
Features of Incfile
- Business tax service. A tax professional will be linked to prepare and file your business tax for a flat fee.
- Free Business Tax Consultation. Prospect Incfile customers get access to a free 1-hour tax consultation advisory service.
- Fast process. Incfile guarantees processing on the next business day, regardless of plan one avails.
- Free one-year agent service. Regardless of the plan, the operating agreement automatically includes a free full year of registered agent service. After the free first year, it costs $119 per year.
Features of Legalzoom
- Provides businesses with vetted attorneys. Legal zoom has a legal plan included and gets you help from a real attorney.
- Personal products. Personal products in this LLC formation service include help in estate planning documents, last will and testament, marriage and divorce papers, residential lease, and even title deeds.
- Intellectual property filing services. With additional fees, Legalzoom provides help in trademark registration, and copyright or patent application.
- Custom legal forms. A helpful service made for small business owners that includes drafting of contracts, and customized legal needs that you would otherwise get from a separate attorney.
When it comes to performance, the two LLC formation service companies offer superb legal services and entity formation for small business entities.
Here’s a review on LegalZoom and Incfile based on each company’s performance on different aspects.
Incfile vs LegalZoom on User experience
Incfile and Legalzoom both provide website features for a streamlined process and experience, like a dashboard that gives you one place to see and manage your documents. One of the things I like is they guarantee a 20–30 minute order time.
Incfile, however, provides a comprehensible business formation and compliance services — free for a certain period of time.
On the other hand, LegalZoom makes it easy to file online business formation as it automatically fills out some needed data on your behalf. If you want to return later, LegalZoom saves your answers.
Both perform greatly on this aspect, unlike some of their competitors with negative feedback from customers like Incorp, which I reviewed and found not that satisfactory.
Incfile vs Legalzoom on Speed
Another comparison point one should really consider between LegalZoom and Incfile is the process speed.
Incfile provides a next business day LLC formation filing regardless of the tier you purchased. The days it will take to form an LLC may still depend on your state and may range from 5 business days to 1 week.
Legalzoom, on the other hand, charges businesses with extra fees for expedited service. Even the most expensive Legalzoom plan, the Express gold, entails a processing time of about 7–10 business days. Other plans mainly Economy takes 30 days while the Standard plan is 15 days. Regular processing however takes around 20–35 business days.
It’s important to note that these average times exclude the state processing time as well. If you’re curious about how other companies perform, read my assessment of ZenBusiness services and evaluation of Northwest Registered Agent.
Incfile vs Legalzoom on Customer support
Whichever service you want, one thing you need is a top-notch customer service. Fortunately, a variety of customer service support channels are available for both Incfile and Legalzoom.
Incfile expanded its service channels with the following features included:
- Live chat: A fully-featured chat service that directly connects you with the customer service team during business hours.
- Interactive help service: A comprehensive guide that reviews topics and resources.
- Phone: Available from Monday to Friday 9 am — 6pm CST
- Client support question form
Legalzoom, in comparison, accommodates weekend customer support which other services don’t offer (see Nolo.com review) and the following features:
- Email response-based question form
- Phone: Available from Monday to Friday 7 am to 5pm PT, Weekends 7 am to 4pm, PT
- FAQ’s section and Knowledge center: A wide array of frequently asked questions and answers and a bank of useful information.
Incfile vs Legalzoom on Registered Agent Service
Incfile and Legalzoom have their respective registered agent service that ensures your business doesn’t pay extra fines and charges. Such services stay on top of receiving documents and representing your business as well.
While LegalZoom charges a year of registered agent services, $159 per year, Incfile offers a cheaper price and a free full year of registered agent service. Even after that, the price of the registered agent services Incfile offers is still lower at $119 per year.
Incfile vs Legal zoom on Pricing
Pricing of Plan packages
An important comparison point between the two is company pricing. A quick Incfile review reveals that it has a cheaper cost system than that of LegalZoom’s.
Both companies offer three plans. Of course, each LLC formation service package is exclusive of state fees.
Incfile plan packages
Incfile has three package plans for LLC formation services: silver, gold and platinum. The catch with Incfile is the silver tier, where you only pay for the state fees, while the rest of the service is offered for free. This is an amazing deal, as most services I reviewed, like Bizfilings, offer their basic package for under a hundred dollars.
Incfile’s gold tier provides business owners with service that includes a Limited Liability Company (LLC) operating agreement, meeting minutes preparation, and Form 2553 filing (which only applies if you want the business to be taxed as an S-corp).
This package also includes the formation of corporate by-laws and the following features:
In securing a business website and domain name, Incfile offers the most expensive on its plan packages, which is the platinum tier. The Incfile platinum tier features combined gold package and silver package plus business contract templates and expedited filing.
Meanwhile, all packages in Incfile guarantees next-day processing.
Here’s a more detailed comparison of the three Incfile packages.
Legalzoom also offers three different tiers, mainly economy, standard, and express gold. Each of the three plans is premium and only vary in speed and delivery. The speed of processing LLC formation papers with Legalzoom takes seven to 35 days depending on the plan availed and the state.
Note that like Incfile, Legalzoom packages also exclude state fees.
- Business filing and name check
- LLC next steps guide
- Articles of organization
- Lifetime customer support
Standard package features:
- Official certificates and seals
- Legalzoom VIP Processing
- Deluxe organizer
Express Gold features:
- Rush processing
- Express Shipping
Pricing of filing annual report
Incfile charges a higher fee for filing an annual report than Legalzoom. Both legal service providers charge a certain cost plus corresponding state fee.
Incfile vs Legalzoom (Customer reviews)
Incfile reviews are mostly positive and customers commonly assume they are excellent in business formation and compliance. Most clients are also satisfied with its affordable and transparent prices, considering its A+ Inc File reviews rating in the Business Bureau.
Shopper Approved, a syndication tool that collects customer reviews from actual verified clients, graded Incfile a 4.8 satisfaction rating. One review, by Anthony of NY, says he and jumped right over to Incfile because of its cheap rates and straightforward checkout.
Meanwhile, according to Legalzoom reviews, customers usually complain about different issues with their LegalZoom experience. Most times, it’s about charges for services they did not avail from the company. Legalzoom however, assured its openness in improving its service value and makes time to resolve such issues right away.
Jared Linzmeier, founder and CEO of Ruby Coffee Roasters, found genuine happiness forming his LLC with Legalzoom. He built Ruby Coffee Roasters and realized his value that’s tucked away working for someone else.
Incfile vs Legalzoom (Which legal service provider to avail)
In choosing between the two online legal services, it is better to determine first what you really need to form an LLC. However, it is guaranteed that both service providers will ease your LLC formation and bring you a step ahead of the business game.
Incfile is perfect for new business owners who need assistance in setting up an llc, small business formation, and compliance. They make sure you get the best help as they provide efficient service, and what’s better is that they let you avail initial services for free, plus the state fee, of course. The cost for the included features and the overall experience just gives more value than many other companies out there.
In comparison, Legalzoom is a good option for LLC businesses who need long-term assistance in terms of legal matters, contract drafting, and legal forms. With a Legalzoom package, LLCs will find compliance easy in any legal aspect of the business through a real attorney.
If you want a different perspective and another option, you may refer to my LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer comparison.
Price worthy (Which is cheaper and more worth it to avail?)
If you are opting for an online legal service to cater for your business formation needs and operating agreement, it’s better to use Incfile given the affordable cost, free registered agent service, operating agreement inclusion, and quicker turnaround time. Incfile does offer free business formation plans and charges less expensive than LegalZoom as well.
But if you want legal services on a regular basis, it’s better with Legalzoom as it can provide both business formation needs and attorney service all in one plan. Legalzoom, in comparison to Incfile, charges all services that take into account. These are great deals, but I have discussed other service options with good prices in my Harvard Business Services review.
On a final point, top-notch companies and registered agent services like Incfile and Legalzoom aren’t new to the game. They do their job well, they have top-notch teams, and they’re backed with thousands of reviews. Better yet, they are legal LLC formation platforms that help provide some services for free. That’s the best way to lift the financial burden of new entrepreneurs.
Overall, Incfile is the better option to use, considering its free service and positive reviews. Their plans exclude the state fees, but still cheaper than others, like Incorporate.com.