If you're looking to form a new business entity, you'll have a lot to consider. You can quickly feel lost in a sea of paperwork and regulations. That's why business formation services are so useful - they can help you navigate any confusing areas, and you can focus 100% of your energy on your new business. But there are hundreds of service providers offering thousands of packages. LegalZoom and Nationwide Incorporators are two popular service providers; let's take an in-depth look at what they can offer you and your business.
Nationwide Incorporators vs. LegalZoom: The Verdict
Nationwide Incorporators is an attorney-run and founded business with a history since 1997. Attorney Mike Ross used his industry knowledge to craft an excellent service that can help with every area of business incorporation.
LegalZoom is an online legal service provider with many services offered, including will writing, but they also have a business services section that can help you set up your business. LegalZoom was founded in 1999 but has served over 3 million customers; they're more experienced than Nationwide Incorporators. Nationwide Incorporators can offer you in-depth attorney reviews, and LegalZoom can offer you financial services such as assistance opening a business bank account. Nationwide Incorporators offer a more personalized customer support experience, with the owner taking care of many of the LLC formation services. Overall, both offer excellent services though there are many differences to explore.
Choose LegalZoom if:
- You would want additional legal services
- You want support opening a business bank account
- You want access to a larger customer service team
- You want to save money
Choose Nationwide Incorporators if:
- You want more personalized customer service with a smaller provider
- You want a detailed attorney review
Services Offered & Pricing
In terms of pricing, there is quite a gap in what you'll pay and receive. LegalZoom's formation services are quite a bit cheaper than Nationwide Incorporators. However, this may be a false economy as LegalZoom doesn't provide or charges more for several services that Nationwide Incorporators offer for free. Nationwide Incorporators' basic package ($200) is more expensive than LegalZoom's ($79); however, it includes extras like an attorney review and the operating agreement. What seems like excellent value may not be once you dig deeper.
- You'll need to pay separately for registered agent services
- Several convenient packages are available for your consideration
- LegalZoom is cheaper
- LegalZoom can support partnership formation - Nationwide doesn't
- Nationwide Incorporators offer more personalized customer services, whereas LegalZoom is a much larger business
- More extras are included with Nationwide Incorporators
LegalZoom Packages & Pricing
You can choose from three different packages when you're setting up your new business with LegalZoom.
Economy Package - $79
The cheapest package is $79; for this price, you'll receive business registration, including a business name availability check, though you should keep in mind that this doesn't include state filing fees. You'll be able to create your Articles of Organization and financial account authorization letter, authorizing you to create a business bank account. You'll also get some resources to guide you and document reviews.
Standard Package - $329
You'll get everything in the above package in addition to an organizer embossed with your company name, company membership certificates, and VIP processing.
Express Gold Package - $349
For $349, you'll receive everything above, in addition to rush and express processing. It'll take less time to process any filings made, and you'll receive your documents from LegalZoom faster, too, saving you precious time so you can open your business doors on time.
LegalZoom's services aren't always a package deal; for example, if you need your operating agreement prepared, it'll cost you $99. Many of the services offered for free by other companies will only be available to you on a fee-paying basis if you choose LegalZoom.
Nationwide Incorporators Packages & Pricing
Here are the three package tiers available from Nationwide Incorporators. Remember that none of the prices include any state fees or registered agent service. The registered agent service costs an extra $150 per year.
Basic Package - $200 + state fees
- In the basic package, you'll receive your Articles of Formation, minutes and bylaws, customized action by incorporation (for your first board of directors), and a business name check for your state. While this package is expensive, it has a lot to offer you.
Priority Deluxe Package - $425 + state fees
- In this package, you'll receive everything from the Basic package plus VIP processing, personalized minute book, custom organization minutes, bylaws, stock certificates, and ledger.
Priority Premium Package - $475 + state fees
- The Priority Premium takes the above packages and adds on Federal Tax ID services, EID from the IRS, and two years of the Minute Minder Service for free ($250 usually).
Like LegalZoom, you can choose add-on services, including registered agent services, expedited processing times, and other services. For example:
- Registered agent services for the first year of business: $145
- Assistance with preparing an application for EIN: $100 add on for Basic and Priority Deluxe packages
- Prepare S-Corporation Election and process with IRS: $100
- Tax Payer Identification form: $150
Document Management & Online Experience
While you can manage all of your documents online with both services, the online experience offered by Nationwide Incorporators is a little behind. You cannot complete orders or access services for everything on their website; for example, if you wanted to order the online registered agent service, you'd need to call them to do so. They do offer some great educational resources, though. But LegalZoom is excellent in this section, as you can do absolutely everything you need online and don't need to call anyone.
- The online document management process is secure and straightforward to understand
- LegalZoom allows you to do more online
- Nationwide Incorporators offer an array of educational resources designed to help you with your business
Excellent turnaround times are a shared trait here; LegalZoom's basic plan takes around 30 days, whereas premium packages can get LLC filing done in as little as seven business days. Nationwide Incorporators priority packages can get your filing done in 48 hours. The fees for these services can mount quickly, though, so you should choose a priority package in the first place.
- Industry-leading turnaround times
- Nationwide Incorporators seem to offer a faster turnaround time
Compliance & Track Record
You can trust both service providers to keep you compliant, but Nationwide goes a step further. Nationwide Incorporators are headed by an attorney and offer attorney review guarantees. LegalZoom can help you create legal documents that work for a specified purpose, but they're not held to the same standard as a registered business attorney. LegalZoom and Nationwide Incorporators are both registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- BBB accreditation
- Nationwide Incorporators are more experienced in this area
The customer support offered by these two is quite different, though not necessarily bad. Firstly, LegalZoom offers knowledgeable and friendly customer service with a high level of professionalism. Phone lines are open 10-8 EST or 10-7 EST on the weekend. Nationwide Incorporators offer a more restricted phone service - from 9-5.
However, LegalZoom can be hard to get in touch with unless you're trying to buy something. Existing customers seem to be a lower priority. On the other hand, Nationwide Incorporators provide personalized customer service to all clients, old and new. Nationwide Incorporators have fewer clients, so reviews can be harder to come across. LegalZoom has more customer reviews available online, but business owners aren't always happy with the service they've received. The feedback is quite mixed.
- BBB accreditation
- LegalZoom has millions of customers and more feedback online
- Nationwide Incorporators offers more personalized customer service
Several features could come in handy during the formation process. When choosing incorporation services, you should consider the business structure you're setting up. An entrepreneur or small business will have different needs from a large corporation. Let's look at what these service providers can offer each structure.
If you're setting up a limited liability company, you can't go far wrong with either service provider; however, they offer a different service. It's a little like comparing apples and oranges. If you're looking for a reputable, tried-and-tested solution representing years of experience, LegalZoom is a great idea.
However, if you want a little extra help, additional features, and an attorney-powered provider, then Nationwide Incorporators offer the best for peace of mind. Nationwide Incorporators are very upfront with pricing, but with LegalZoom, it's easy to end up overpaying once you start adding extras.
Nationwide Incorporators' personalized services, reliability, and no-hassle document filing services are a great option. Corporations have a few more rules and regulations than other business types and Nationwide, being run by experienced attorneys is best placed to help you with that.
LegalZoom can also assist you; though you can't hold them to the same standard as a law firm, they do have many great perks that corporations can make use of, including banking resolution and annual reporting.
LegalZoom can help you set up business as a partnership, with many positive reviews citing their partnership services. Nationwide Incorporators don't support partnerships.
Nationwide Incorporators can help you set up a non-profit; their professional services encompass this organization type. However, they have a pretty high price point that may be unaffordable for those running a not-for-profit ($200-$375) with LegalZoom charging just $99 (minus state filing fees) for the basic set up of a non-profit, it's not easy to choose a winner here. With LegalZoom, you should just be mindful of upsells.
The Last Word
Nationwide Incorporators offer a premium service at overall an affordable price. But it's hard to beat LegalZoom's pricing. The tradeoff for this is that LegalZoom's pricing is more unclear; its services tend to revolve around upselling and profit, whereas Nationwide offers a more personalized level of service that leaves you feeling like more than just a number.