Starting your own business takes dedication, skill, and no small amount of savvy. But when it comes to handling the legal ins and outs of forming a business, many business owners are at a loss.
That's why so many services exist to help guide business owners through the process. Not all services are created equal, which is why it's valuable to compare competitors before spending your hard-earned money.
Who should you trust with your business’s legal needs? Below you’ll find a head-to-head review of two popular services so that you can make an informed decision.
ZenBusiness vs. IncFile: The Verdict
Both ZenBusiness and IncFile can help you file the documents you need to start a business. Each has extensive online resources like blogs, articles, and how-to guides. IncFile charges less for similar service packages and add-ons.
ZenBusiness works with partnerships while IncFile does not. They also offer a third-tier payment option to expedite your filings above and beyond what IncFile offers. While they both rate well for customer service, IncFile is no longer accredited with the BBB.
Choose ZenBusiness If:
- You want service with consistently high ratings
- You’re forming a Partnership
- You need a website
Choose IncFile If:
- You want a service that's been around a while
- You want a less expensive option
- You need financial services
Services Offered & Pricing
- One year of Registered Agent Service
- Employer ID Number
- Expedited filing options
- IncFile is cheaper
- ZenBusiness includes a website
- IncFile doesn’t have accuracy guarantees
IncFile is less expensive but doesn't have as many bells and whistles as ZenBusiness. With both services, you'll pay their package price on top of your state's filing fees. There are a la carte options for individual services through both IncFile and ZenBusiness.
ZenBusiness Packages & Pricing
Starter Package - $49/year
The starter package gets you standard filing, registered agent, operating agreement template, and accuracy guarantee. This package is reasonably priced but doesn't cover state fees, which vary widely.
You get a registered agent that will be available during business hours. The RA is someone who can receive legal documents on your behalf.
Pro Package - $199/year
At the next tier, ZenBusiness’s pro package includes expedited filing, employer ID number (EIN), banking resolution template, and worry-free compliance. It also includes everything from the starter package.
Worry-free compliance means ZenBusiness will review and file your annual report plus up to two amendments. Compliance with all state requirements is guaranteed. They’ll even help you out of trouble if you miss a deadline.
Premium Package - $299/year
The premium package includes everything above, plus rush filing, business domain name, business website, and business email address. The website is one page and automatically generated. It's up to you to fill in the details.
The business email service has file storage, an address book, calendar, and RSS feed. You should be able to read your messages via any email app on your phone or computer.
IncFile Packages & Pricing
Silver Package - $0 + State Filing Fees
It’s important to note although the silver package is free from IncFile, the price doesn’t include state fees. State fees can run from $40 to $520 for an LLC, $50 to $725 for a C-Corp, $50 to $725 for an S-Corp, and $8 to $270 for a non-profit.
IncFile’s silver package includes business banking account setup, one year of registered agent service, articles of organization, order tracking, online document access, and next business day processing.
Gold Package - $149 + State Filing Fees
The gold package includes everything from the silver package. You also get an EIN, unlimited phone and email support, business tax consultation, operating agreement, lifetime company alerts, and IRS form 2553. The IRS form 2553 is for those filing as an S-Corp.
This package, again, does not include the state fees, which can vary widely from state to state. You can find a list of state fees here. You should check this list before deciding on the package you want to purchase.
Platinum Package - $299 + State Filing Fees
The platinum package offers everything from the two lower-priced packages. It also includes business contract templates, expedited filing, domain name, and business email.
The expedited filing time can make a big difference in how long you’ll have to wait for your documents to be processed. For example, Alabama state filing time averages about three weeks. With expedited service, you’ll only have to wait two business days.
Document Management & Online Experience
- Personalized dashboards
- Online application with document uploads
- Help FAQs and resources
- ZenBusiness has an online document management system
- ZenBusiness sends mail by request
- IncFile sends email notifications
ZenBusiness is the easier of the two to use when organizing your documents. You can keep them all on the site and access them via your dashboard. IncFile requires downloading documents to your computer’s filing system. Both services let you access your Registered Agent via your dashboard.
IncFile has a suite of startup services like IRS tax filing and 150 business contract templates. Their focus leans toward finance management. ZenBusiness lets you set up a business website and manage it directly from your dashboard. Consumer-facing products are more their speed.
Both have attractive user interfaces, but ZenBusiness offers more info upfront. It's also easier to navigate their site to find the information you need quickly. IncFile's site requires a little more digging to get to relevant info.
- Pay more for faster processing times
- All times are based on state filing speeds
- Expedited filing fees range from $50 - $100
- ZenBusiness has 3 speed tiers, IncFile has 2
- ZenBusiness has a time calculator, IncFile lists by state
- ZenBusiness’s Rush service beats IncFile’s expedited speeds
Both services charge the same prices to reduce your filing time. However, ZenBusiness will let you access another degree faster than IncFile. That means you can have your Florida filing done in 15 days at $50 from either one. Pay double and ZenBusiness will have you filed in just 9-12 days. That isn't an option from IncFile.
Compliance & Track Record
- Positive customer reviews
- Automated filing
- 5+ years in business
- ZenBusiness has an A- rating from the BBB, IncFile lost its accreditation
- IncFile has more customer complaints
- ZenBusiness is a newer company
When it comes to reputation, both companies get positive reviews. However, IncFile's standing with the Better Business Bureau is concerning. The BBB removed them from their accredited business list for failing to approach marketplace transactions in good faith.
ZenBusiness's track record is a strong one. They've managed to stay at the top of a very competitive industry during most of their history. The company guarantees 100% accuracy in its work.
- Live Chat options
- M-F business hours
- Blog and FAQ resources available
- 8-star ratings based on 5k+ review for ZenBusiness, 20k+ reviews for IncFile
- ZenBusiness customer support is available on Sundays
- ZenBusiness has longer business hours on weekdays
While both companies boast 4.8-star ratings, IncFile has a lot more customer feedback to base it on. However, BBB customer comments include charging extra to fix typos and errors, no answer from customer service, and having their calls disconnected.
Although they had their BBB accreditation revoked in September 2020, their website still boasts an A+ rating from the Bureau. Whether they haven't updated the site or left the information up deliberately, it's misleading.
ZenBusiness has a stellar customer service record with a solid reputation for responsiveness. A self-described Public Benefit Corporation, they consider social impact a valuable part of their company structure.
Let's cover which types of businesses would be a good fit for either IncFile or ZenBusiness.
A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, helps you avoid double taxation. That means the IRS won't tax through your business and your personal finances. Instead, you pay both taxes through your individual tax return. With an LLC, your personal assets are also protected.
Both IncFile and Zen Business have extensive learning resources if you’re curious about what an LLC is and if it’s right for you. IncFile will let you form your LLC for free, plus state fees. ZenBusiness charges a small fee for their basic package on top of what your state charges. LLCs are only recognized in the United States.
If you're looking to set up a corporation, you'll need to decide between an S-Corp or a C-Corp. They two are similar but with a few distinct differences. An S-Corp shares its income with shareholders and is a little more complicated to set up. A C-Corp is owned by its shareholders.
IncFile and ZenBusiness can help you set up either type of corporation. They can also help you decide which one is better suited to your needs. Both services have an excellent rundown of the difference between S- and C-corporations with full explanations to help you decide.
A business partnership is an agreement between two or more people to share the costs and responsibilities of owning a business. There are many types of partnerships: a general partnership, a limited partnership, and a limited liability partnership. ZenBusiness can walk you through forming any of the three you choose.
ZenBusiness understands small business partnerships and strives to go the extra mile to help you form yours. They offer step-by-step instructions, business formation plans, operating agreement templates, and a virtual business guide. If you can’t find what you need on their website, their expert customer service staff will help you get there.
To start a nonprofit, you first have to file articles of incorporation with your state. Then, you can apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS. You can choose to be a public charity, a social advocacy organization, foundation, or professional organization. It can be difficult to convince the IRS to grant your nonprofit a 501(c)(3) status.
IncFile’s website has a section of resources dedicated to nonprofit business. You can access that through their Business Structures menu. ZenBusiness also has nonprofit forming advice, but it’s not as easy to find. You need to select Corporation (C Corp) first and then scroll down to the nonprofit section.
The Last Word
When it comes to customer service, ZenBusiness stands out as the best choice. Their commitment to public benefit and charitable acts shows they care about what they do. For those on a budget, IncFile is the way to go. Choose them for continuing support after you’ve incorporated your business.