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Saturday, September 30th
LegalZoom has been assisting individuals since 1999 by offering cost-effective self-guided services for legal documents. With over four million customers served, this company gives you access to forms covering an extensive range of topics, including business requirements like LLC formation and incorporation, as well as personal matters such as living trusts and estate plans.
Pay attention to registered agent options
Form your LLC for no cost other than state filing fees? That's what LegalZoom hopes will get you through the door, so to speak. To find out if you're eligible, start by entering your business name and industry type. During the process, you'll be given the opportunity to use LegalZoom's registered agent service for $249/year, which will renew automatically every year - but you can also select "Appoint a different registered agent" when you realize that there are other ways to get that service for less (and, in fact, some of the LLC formation services in our review give you the first few months to a year for free as part of your package).
Possible to create your LLC for nothing but state fees
Still trying to get your LegalZoom services at no cost? You'll have to navigate through several more screens of offerings, like essential documents (operating agreement, EIN + licenses) priced from $99-$199, $280/year for compliance monitoring, tax returns and advisory services ($49-$119 per month), legal protection services ($49/month), and then a whole page of special offers of related services like banking. Exhausted yet? Oh, and don't forget the options for expedited processing and a founder's kit. But, yes, as long as you keep clicking "no thanks" or "I'll do this myself" , you'll eventually get to the checkout page where your LegalZoom fees are $0 and all you're paying is the filing fee for your state. You'll get the articles of organization, name check service, a digital welcome packet to follow after your LLC is registered officially, and even a Wix-powered website you can use to make an online presence right away.
Choose a bundle to save money
But, you're going to get a better deal if you just start out with one of LegalZoom's other bundles instead of adding here-and-there during the checkout process. Their Pro package is priced at $249 and it comes with most of those items we mentioned previously: all of the features of Basic, plus an operating agreement, an EIN, a comprehensive guide regarding business licenses in your industry and area, and initial phone consultations with experts in the areas of business taxes and insurance.
Legal advice available from attorney network
However, if you want a lot of hands-on help with creating your LLC, you'll want LegalZoom's Premium package. It costs $299 and gives you all the benefits of Basic and Pro, but also the ability to choose which business attorney you'd like to get guidance from and unlimited 30-minute consultations. Just be aware that that last service is a subscription and your LLC formation package only gives you the first 90 days for free.
60-day satisfaction guarantee
LegalZoom wants you to have no qualms about signing up for any of their services. To that end, they have a 60-day satisfaction guarantee within the first 60 days of signing up. Of course, that won't apply to any third-party fees they've paid on your behalf (like the state filing fees required to create an LLC) or after they've already submitted your paperwork.
Solid reputation, but dig deeper
LegalZoom's reputation overall is solid, with an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars across thousands of reviews on Trustpilot. We could even overlook the 400+ complaints filed against LegalZoom with the Better Business Bureau: after all, this company helps millions of people, so they're bound to get a few complaints, right? However, when we started looking through client complaints about LegalZoom on the BBB and Trustpilot, an alarming percentage of them specifically mentioned issues with the LLC formation service.
LLC clients have lots of complaints
Excessive delays, trouble getting help over the phone when clients notice problems, and even representatives hanging up on customers are just a few of the issues described - and those were just from the month leading up to this evaluation. So much for that 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Business owners using LegalZoom to form an LLC seem to either love it or hate it, and even the positive reviews left us wondering if maybe those clients just hadn't experienced a problem - yet.
Use a different service to create your LLC
All of that combined to earn LegalZoom a big drop in our rankings. It seems like they reel people in with the promise of free LLC creation services, but clients wind up paying for it in the end - literally and figuratively. We strongly recommend that you use a rival service that gets consistently positive feedback from clients, specifically regarding LLC formation, and stay away from LegalZoom.
LLC formation is a common way for small business owners to limit their personal liability while operating their company. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a hybrid business entity that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the liability protection of a corporation. LLCs are a popular structure for many small businesses because they offer many of the benefits of a corporation without the same level of complexity and formality.
Forming an LLC typically involves filing articles of organization with the state in which the business will operate. Your specific process and requirements for forming an LLC may vary depending on the state where you're doing business, but it generally requires selecting a unique business name, designating a registered agent, and paying a fee. Some states may have additional requirements such as issuing an operating agreement or publishing a notice of formation in a local newspaper.
There are many services that can help with LLC formation for small businesses. Many of these services offer a range of options for businesses at various price points, from basic do-it-yourself kits to more comprehensive packages that may include assistance with obtaining tax identification numbers, preparing and filing annual reports, and ongoing compliance support.
Which of these services should you choose? You want to get it right the first time, and forming an LLC can be complicated. Here are some of the most important criteria you should keep in mind as you choose how to take that next step for your business:
Because forming an LLC can be an important step to protect your personal assets and limit your liability as a business owner, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's most popular services. We're confident that our comprehensive reviews will help you choose the right provider to help you navigate the process.
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