When you set up a new business, you have a lot to contend with. One of the things you should consider is a business formation service. A professional incorporation service can save you hours and even offer additional accounting, legal, and annual report services. Let's look at two popular options, ZenBusiness and Rocket Lawyer.
ZenBusiness vs. Rocket Lawyer: The Verdict
ZenBusiness is a reasonably new service provider, opening its doors in 2015 and pledging to form more than 1 million new businesses by 2025. They are well on the way to this goal, with thousands of customers leaving positive feedback online. They are an affordable service provider and often rated the best LLC formation company.
Rocket Lawyer was formed in 2008 and has helped millions of people; they are handy for those looking for access to legal help. They are more expensive than ZenBusiness, with a different pricing model. Rocket Lawyer offers expedited processing as an add-on, whereas ZenBusiness will require you to purchase a more expensive package.
Choose Rocket Lawyer if:
- You require access to a licensed attorney
- You want to purchase expedited filing on an individual basis
Choose ZenBusiness if:
- You want to save money
- You want a more straightforward service
- You want a traditional (non-subscription-based) package
Services Offered & Pricing
ZenBusiness and Rocket Lawyer can help you form a company, but they offer different services beyond the basic formation.
Rocket Lawyer's registered agent services are more costly than ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness offers streamlined formation packages, whereas Rocket Lawyer offers only one package with additional services available on an a la carte basis. Rocket Lawyer also offers services on a monthly subscription basis, which gives you access to extras such as a qualified attorney.
- You can form any business entity
- Rocket Lawyer offers attorney services
- ZenBusiness offers several packages
Rocket Lawyer Packages & Pricing
Instead of providing several packages, Rocket Lawyer offers just one and a monthly subscription service.
Monthly Subscription - $39.99/month
Rocket Lawyer allows you to sign up for a 7-day free trial; after 7 days, you'll pay a monthly fee of $39.99, but you can always cancel. While the formation services offered are the same, the monthly subscription service provides extras such as access to an attorney when you begin a new project and an attorney reviewal of documents.
Services included in the monthly subscription package include:
- Access to create documents of all kinds
- Ask an attorney any legal questions you may have
- Receive a 30-minute consultation on any new project
- Free incorporation filing
- Attorney reviewal of documents
One-Time Incorporation Service - $99.99 + state fees
This one-time service includes company formation, and if you need additional assistance, you'll need to purchase them on an a la carte basis.
- Preparation and filing of the articles of organization
- Business name availability search
- 24/7 access to copies of your filed formation papers using Rocket Lawyer's online platform
- You will also receive hard copies of your completed articles of organization in addition to online access
Registered Agent Service - $149.99
For non-members, you'll need to pay $149.99 for registered agent service. This is an annual fee. If you're a monthly subscriber, you'll receive 25% off.
ZenBusiness Packages & Pricing
ZenBusiness offers three distinct packages for you to use, depending on the incorporation services and features that you want. Let's take a look at a detailed breakdown:
Starter package - $49/year
ZenBusiness' cheapest package includes essential incorporation services and registered agent services. A registered agent is required to maintain compliance with the state government. The starter package consists of all of the essentials to start your business, plus a few extras such as in-house accountant services:
- Free operating agreement
- Customer support through phone and email
- Filing articles for companies
- Complete access to necessary paperwork and document for your LLC
- One-year registered agent services with LLC formation (only $119 for subsequent years)
- Worry-free CPA assessment with an in-house accountant - includes recommendations for accounting software and licensed CPAs
Pro package - $199/year
The Pro package is for business owners who need extra assistance, and the worry-free guarantee includes compliance services guaranteed to keep you in good standing. You'll also receive additional services such as domain assistance.
- Acquisition of Employer Identification Number (EIN) needed to file your LLC taxes and open a bank account (the service costs $70 extra if purchased separately)
- Domain name registration ($25)
- Excellent filing speed (formation documents completed within one week)
- Worry-free guarantee, which includes insurance on document filings to keep them in good standing if they're not submitted in time
Premium package - $299/year
The ZenBusiness Premium package includes all the Starter and Pro package features and extra perks.
- Expedited filing speed
- Business email address
- Domain name registration and name privacy
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- A business website allows customers to establish an online presence at a very reasonable price
Document Management & Online Experience
ZenBusiness offers an easy-to-use, streamlined online experience. Customer feedback often praises the simple, fast website. Rocket Lawyer's website is easy to navigate but offers additional legal document storage for monthly subscribers.
Both websites rate well for ease of use, though Rocket Lawyer offers a little more.
- Easy to use websites
- You can manage your documents online
- Rocket Lawyer only offers legal document storage to subscribers
ZenBusiness has pretty good turnaround times, with reviews on Trustpilot praising the speed and efficiency of their LLC filings. But you can't buy individual expedited services; you'll need to purchase a more expensive package. Rocket Lawyer allows you to purchase rush filing individually, meaning that business owners can enjoy a three-business-day processing time.
- Fast, reliable processing
- Speedy individual expedited services are available with Rocket Lawyer
Compliance & Track Record
ZenBusiness has an excellent compliance record with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau despite being relatively new. Rocket Lawyer also has BBB accreditation, and they both have excellent online customer reviews. There have been no compliance issues, and they only have perfect records.
- No compliance issues
- BBB is accredited with an A+ rating
- ZenBusiness is newer than Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer offers excellent online legal services without unnecessary upsells. Both ZenBusiness and Rocket Lawyer offer user-friendly customer service with phone, email, and live chat support. Though Rocket Lawyer's webchat isn't great, wasting time by forcing you to go through an FAQ before you're connected to a person.
- You can access excellent customer support during the formation process
- Rocket Lawyer's webchat isn't great, but they offer legal advice
Your exact experience of a formation service will vary based on what business entity you're setting up; lawyers operating a partnership agreement will have a different experience than a small business owner starting a limited liability company. Let's break down each service side-by-side.
ZenBusiness is considered the best LLC service for a reason, excellent overall value, free registered agent service (for the first year), and great online reviews. Rocket Lawyer's selling point is the legal services offered, but this isn't necessary for someone opening an LLC.
You should choose Rocket Lawyer for your business filing if you're opening a corporation; they can assist you with your filing paperwork and provide templates and other assistance. In addition to this, their legal assistance is priceless to those starting a corporation, as corporations are more complex legal entities.
ZenBusiness can help you start a partnership using a partnership agreement or DBA for just $49; partnerships are legal entities, so Rocket Lawyer's expensive monthly subscription can be put to one side for a more straightforward formation plan.
ZenBusiness offers a competitive price, which is crucial for non-profits, but achieving non-profit tax status can be legally complex. You'll want to have Rocket Lawyer by your side helping you read the fine print when it comes to applying for this special status.
The Last Word
Rocket Lawyer's pricing is unique, with a monthly subscription model rarely seen in the formation industry. While they may be more expensive long term, it's worth it if you need access to legal services. For those who need a more straightforward service, you should look at ZenBusiness as they provide cheap (but excellent) formation services.