LegalZoom Review – Crazy About Startups

LegalZoom is one of the largest online legal platforms in existence. They provide a wide range of attorney services for businesses and individuals alike.

The company launched in 2001 when the founders recognized a need to make affordable legal help widely available to Americans. Fast-forward to today, and they’ve served more than four million people across the nation.

LegalZoom’s business formation services have been around since the beginning. With nearly two decades of experience in this space, LegalZoom has helped form millions of businesses.

To call LegalZoom an industry leader in the business formation space would be a drastic understatement. This company is by far the most popular option on the market today—and for good reason.

Is LegalZoom right for you? This guide will help you answer that question. If you’re ready to launch a business, continue below to see if LegalZoom can accommodate your needs.

Sign up for LegalZoom today.

LegalZoom Business Formation Services

As previously mentioned, LegalZoom offers an extensive list of legal services. There are hundreds of options on this website, from copyrights and trademarks to real estate contracts and living trusts. But for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to focus on LegalZoom’s business formation packages.

These can be segmented into three main categories—LLC services, incorporation services, and registered agent services. The following reviews take an in-depth look at the plans, pricing, benefits, and customer insights for LegalZoom.

LegalZoom LLC Services

More than 2 million businesses have used LegalZoom to form an LLC. No other online formation service on the market today has come anywhere close to this volume.

It’s no coincidence that LegalZoom’s LLC services are so popular. They really hit the mark in terms of simplicity and affordability—making it easy for anyone to get started.

The LLC formation process is best explained in just three simple steps:

  1. Provide details about your business.
  2. LegalZoom recommends services to fit your needs.
  3. Select your package and let LegalZoom handle the rest.

It really doesn’t get much easier than that. To get started, you can use LegalZoom to check the availability of your business name. If you haven’t decided on a name quite yet, you can skip this step and figure it out later.

Next, select the state you wish to form your LLC (most people pick their home state).

LegalZoom will prompt you to answer a few more questions, like when you want to launch, what your business does (restaurant, consulting, drycleaning, tech, etc.), and if you’ll hire employees in the first year. Once you answer these questions, LegalZoom will start to recommend some services.

If you want LegalZoom to handle your LLC documentation, choose from one of the following packages:

  • Operating agreement — $99
  • Operating agreement and EIN (tax ID) — $159
  • Operating agreement, EIN, and licenses — $199

Every business needs an EIN. So, unless you want to go file for one yourself through the IRS, you’ll want to go with the mid-tier package at a minimum. At that point, it makes sense to pay the extra $40 for their complete coverage package. LegalZoom will handle the documents for all federal, state, and local permits and licenses.

You’ll also have the option to add legal protection and guidance to your LLC formation package. This comes with unlimited 30-minute consultations, tax compliance guidance, and more. The optional service is free for ten days and then renews at $39.99 per month. There’s also a “Total Compliance” legal package that costs $280 per year. Again, you can get this free for ten days to try it out.

Last but not least, you’ll be prompted to select your LLC filing package:

  • Economy — $79 + state fees
  • Standard — $329 + state fees
  • Express Gold — $349 + state fees

All plans come with a business name availability search, certificate of organization, LLC filing, tax savings analysis, and a digital LLC welcome packet. LegalZoom will handle communications with the Secretary of State on your behalf and ensure that your documentation is accurate before final submission.

The most significant difference between the three packages is the filing speed. The exact amount of time will vary from state to state. But generally speaking, Economy is 30 business days, Standard is 15 business days, and Express Gold is 10 business days. The Express Gold package also comes with priority support seven days a week.

LegalZoom’s registered agent services start at $249 per year when bundled with an LLC plan.

Once your order is finalized, you just sit back and relax while LegalZoom handles your LLC filing.

If you want to use the most popular formation service on the planet to start your LLC, look no further than LegalZoom.

LegalZoom Incorporation Services

The incorporation services from LegalZoom are also extremely popular. In fact, 400,000+ companies have used LegalZoom to incorporate.

The platform gives you two incorporation paths to take—C corporation or S corporation. According to LegalZoom, about 70% of their customers go with the S-corp option. But don’t feel like your decision is final, as you can always convert later. Be advised, there’s an additional $60 fee for going the S-corp route.

It’s helpful that the website explains the differences between the two corporation types as well.

The process to incorporate with LegalZoom follows a similar path to the LLC filing. You’ll answer some questions, choose your service options, and LegalZoom will handle the rest.

Here’s a quick overview of the incorporation plans and pricing:

  • Economy — $149 + state fees
  • Standard — $329 + state fees
  • Express Gold — $349 + state fees

All plans come with business name check verification, incorporation paperwork filing, articles of incorporation, and lifetime support. LegalZoom also provides you with a “next steps guide” that explains what you need to do after the corporation is officially formed.

With LegalZoom, you can rest easy knowing that all of the i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed on your paperwork. They call this their “peace of mind review.”

The Standard package comes with a deluxe organizer (a binder with all of your incorporation paperwork), 20 personalized share certificates, an official company seal, and expedited processing. For an extra $20, you can upgrade to Express Gold for rush processing with your Secretary of State and fast delivery.

If you’re starting a professional corporation (law, medicine, dentistry, etc.), there’s an extra $50 charge to incorporate.

The registered agent fee starts at $249 per year when you bundle it with an incorporation formation package, with renewal rates subject to change.

Here’s a quick overview of the pricing for your incorporation documents:

  • Corporate bylaws and resolutions — $99
  • Bylaws, resolutions, and EIN — $159
  • Bylaws, resolutions, EIN, and business licenses — $249

Most corporations go with the third option. You’ll need all of these eventually, so it makes sense to get them from LegalZoom while you’re getting set up.

LegalZoom will offer you some upsells for legal services and compliance before you finalize the order. These are optional and not necessary to add in most cases. All of your incorporation documents will be available for digital download once completed. This convenience is included with all of the packages.

For those of you who need to get your paperwork filed ASAP, make sure you choose the Express Gold package for the fastest possible processing times.

LegalZoom Registered Agent Services

Every business needs a registered agent. So, if you’re using LegalZoom to form your LLC or corporation, it makes sense to use their registered agent service as well.

More than one million businesses nationwide rely on LegalZoom as their registered agent.

Here’s a brief overview of what LegalZoom’s registered agents will handle on behalf of your business:

  • Court documents (if you get served)
  • Official state correspondences
  • State tax notifications
  • Secretary of state notifications
  • Annual report notices
  • Junk mail shredding

LegalZoom also offers business data protection and monitoring, unlimited cloud storage, and a compliance calendar with upcoming filing deadlines. Some of these extras are subject to additional fees.

The registered agent plans start at $299 per year. Your first year is discounted to $249 if you use LegalZoom’s LLC formation or incorporation formation services, as I touched on above.

If you’re using LegalZoom to form your LLC or corporation, adding on the registered agent service is a no-brainer. But if you have an existing business, you can probably find a more affordable registered agent elsewhere.

Overall Pricing and Value

LegalZoom isn’t cheap. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest prices on the market for a business formation service, this probably won’t be the best option for you.

Here’s a look at the starting rates for the most popular services:

  • LLC formation — Starts at $79 + state fees
  • Corporation formation — Starts at $149 + state fees
  • Registered agent — Starts at $299 per year

At first glance, this doesn’t seem too high. But once you start going through the process, you’ll quickly realize that you need more than the bare minimum—things like an EIN, operating agreement, and corporate bylaws all cost extra.

Registered agent services are not included with either of the business formation plans. However, you’ll get a reduced rate of $249 in your first year if you’re signing up for a LegalZoom formation package.

Other providers on the market offer registered agent services starting around $100. Some even include registered agent services for free with business formation packages.

But don’t let these higher rates turn you away from using LegalZoom. They offer trustworthy and reliable services. Plus, you can always add other legal consultation services to your plan. Then LegalZoom can become a one-stop-shop for your business needs.

User Experience

Using LegalZoom to form your business is pretty straightforward. When you land on the homepage, you’ll see an extensive list of legal services, and the business formation section is easy to find.

From there, it’s just a matter of choosing your entity type and following the prompts. Here’s an example from the LLC formation process:

After answering this simple yes or no question, you’ll continue filling out additional form fields.

Again, this is about as straightforward as it gets. It takes less than ten minutes to answer these questions and ultimately finalize your package. You’ll have to navigate through some upsells along the way, but most of you can do without the extra services. It’s easy to add them on later if you change your mind. Just make sure you get your paperwork, filing, EIN, and registered agent, at a minimum.

Once the order is complete, it’s just a matter of waiting.

Some customers complain about slow filing times. You can expedite this process by choosing a different package at checkout. The entry-level plan takes 30 business days to file.

Customer Support

The support level varies based on your business type and package.

For example, all incorporation packages come with lifetime support seven days a week. But if you’re forming an LLC, lifetime support seven days a week is only available in the Express Gold package (the highest tier).

Everyone else will just have standard support for questions related to their business formation.

If you need assistance before signing up, LegalZoom specialists are available by phone, email, and live chat, Monday through Friday from 5 am to 7 pm PT, and weekends from 7 am to 4 pm PT.

LegalZoom offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Of course, this promise comes with some contingencies. But if you’re unhappy with your service, you can request a refund within 60 days of purchase. Any state filing fees or government charges are nonrefundable.

Final Verdict

LegalZoom is an industry leader in the business formation space. They’ve helped form millions of businesses throughout all 50 states.

It’s a viable option to consider for LLC formation, corporation formation, and registered agent services.

Another benefit of using LegalZoom is the legal aspect of their services (hence the name). They are a trusted resource for legal advice and attorney consultations as well. So, if you’re seeking an all-in-one solution for your business, look no further than LegalZoom.

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