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      April 1, 2020

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LegalZoom vs Incorporate

Best LLC Formation Services

To help you find the Best LLC Formation Services, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of LegalZoom and Incorporate.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best LLC Formation Services, please Click Here

Who is the best LLC Creation Company? If you're self-employed, the next step in growing your business while covering your assets is probably forming an LLC. Creating an LLC is often seen as a good move for people who want to limit their liability without the cumbersome paperwork and regulations of a corporation.

No matter where your business is located, you'll typically need to register your company name and file documentation with the state, along with having accurate, complete Articles of Organization. Other requirements depend on the specific legal statutes governing businesses in your state. An online LLC Creation company can greatly help faciliate this process.

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Best Reviews

2020

LLC Formation Reviews

3.5 stars
LegalZoom

LEGAL ZOOM

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Cost:

Packages range from $49 to $349

Since 1999, LegalZoom has helped over 4 million customers to affordably access legal documents through their self-guided services. You can find documents across a wide variety of topics, ranging from business needs like LLC formation and incorporation to personal issues such as wills and trusts.

A strong positive of using LegalZoom to create your LLC is their Satisfaction Guarantee. Within the first 60 days after your purchase, you can request a 100% refund of all fees paid directly to LegalZoom if you're unhappy with any part of your experience. Of course, that refund policy doesn't apply to any fees you paid for government filing or to a third-party service.

However, as you select a service to form your LLC, you're likely going to find that you'll spend more by choosing LegalZoom. Here's what you can expect with their three levels of service:

  • Economy: In this package, you'll get an Operating Agreement, comprehensive state/federal business name availability search, the preparing and filing of your Articles of Association and other required paperwork, an LLC Next Steps Guide and LegalZoom's $50,000 Peace of Mind Guarantee.
  • Standard: In addition to the Economy package features, you'll also get a business newsletter, a deluxe organizer, and official printed certificates/seal. You may not think those features are worth the extra money - possibly as much as $280 more for the Standard vs. the Economy tier.
  • Express Gold: You'll get all of the features of the first two levels, along with help in getting all required federal/state/local permits and licenses, VIP processing/priority filing/express shipping, lifetime customer support, and a financial account authorization letter

For all three packages, you can choose among a number of optional services. One of the most common - and important - is the Registered Agent Service. Many of the company incorporation services we reviewed include it for free during the first year, while others may charge $99 per year. LegalZoom's fees are $159 per year, and they are not included even with the highest package level.

As you set up your LLC, you'll also be offered free trials of other services, such as a 30-day trial of Affordable Tax, Legal Protect, and Total Compliance. These services are billed at $320/year thereafter.

We found the process of selecting an LLC formation package through LegalZoom to be very frustrating, mostly when it came to pricing. On one screen, we were given package prices ranging from $99 to $159. But, as we went through the actual process of creating our LLC, the package prices changed to $49-$349.

Also, on one screen it said that an EIN would be included with the two higher levels of service. But, again, once we went through the steps to form the LLC, we were quoted an additional $199 to get the Operating Agreement, EIN, and Licenses.

In the past, we've seen good things from LegalZoom, with customers saying that their turnaround times were much faster than expected and that their LLC's were formed very quickly. But, with so many issues with pricing, it left us wondering what we were actually paying for and frequently asking "Is this included or isn't it?"

You can expect quality deliverables with LegalZoom. However, we hope LegalZoom will make their pricing clearer and more consistent in the future.

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3 stars
Incorporate

INCORPORATE

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Cost:

From $99 to $349, depending on the selected package

Incorporate - formerly known as The Company Corporation and Corporation Service Company (CSC) - has worked to form more than 750,000 LLC's and corporations over the last 100+ years. They have a well-established history of helping businesses complete all of the required paperwork to take the next step in their growth, while staying fully compliant with all legal statutes and regulations.

You might have to look around for one of Incorporate's most useful tools: the Startup/Business Formation Wizard. It's at the bottom of their main page, as well as in their Learning Center; it can help you figure out if an LLC is the right fit for your business through a series of easy-to-answer questions. If you need more personalized guidance, their customer service department is available through online chat or at Incorporate's toll-free number, 8A-8P ET Monday-Friday.

While you'll probably like what Incorporate has to offer, you'll pay more for it. Compared with most of the LLC formation services we surveyed, their prices are usually higher. Take a look at the three packages Incorporate offers for creating an LLC:

  • The Starter: for $99, you'll get completion and filing of formation documents, $75,000 Corporate Compliance Guarantee and online access to company documents. If you choose Incorporate as your registered agent, it covers your first annual report filing, and you'll also get their access to their CSCNavigator online tool. After the first year, you'll pay $150 for each annual filing.
  • The Essentials: for $249, this package gives you every benefit of the Starter package. Plus, you'll get a Compliance Kit and company seal (shipping is free), and a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Once again, if you want access to the online navigator tool and annual report preparation/filing, that requires you to select Incorporate as your registered agent.
  • The Works: priced at $349, this top-tier package gives you all of the features of The Starter and The Essentials. Added to this service level are a Business License Compliance Package, and the LLC Operating Agreement.

You may already have noticed that Incorporate will cost more money while giving you fewer services, compared with other LLC formation providers. For example, you won't get an LLC Operating Agreement included unless you spend $349 for the most expensive package, but many of their competitors include that with the most basic service plans. Also, in choosing Incorporate as your registered agent, you're looking at spending $150 per year after the first filing - but many LLC formation services charge $100 or less per year for the same service. Those costs add up, as evidenced by the complaints we find from many small business owners who've used LLC formation services (not just through Incorporate, but across the spectrum) and forget that they'll be charged for this on an annual basis.

Working with a service that has more than a century of experience has its benefits: an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a long history of helping companies from all industries to create their LLC's quickly, easily, and legally. However, given that small businesses have to make careful decisions with their money, choosing Incorporate for their reputation alone might not be the best option. There are quite a few LLC formation providers offering the same services for lower fees, and who also have a good reputation with their clients. For this reason, Incorporate comes in at an average of 3 stars; in the future, we hope to see more competitive rates and packages that can better meet the budgets of small business owners.

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Continued from above

In the past, navigating those state-specific obligations to form an LLC was both expensive and time-consuming: finding a local lawyer with expertise in the field and paying hefty fees to get everything done correctly. Fortunately, today's small business owners have access to much more affordable options online. These services offer all of the same benefits, accuracy, and legal standing that you'd expect from working in person with an attorney. You can get as much or as little direction as you need to complete each step required for LLC formation, depending on which service you choose.

Which provider should you choose to help in forming your LLC? Not all services are the same, so when comparing what each one has to offer, keep in mind these important factors:

  • Reputation. How many small businesses have been served by the provider? What do former clients say about their experience in forming an LLC with them? Is the company rated and/or accredited by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Cost. What will you be charged to form your LLC? Are their different packages available? Are there a lot of add-on services that will increase your cost? Do you get a good value for what you pay?
  • Services. Does the company offer a wide range of services, or do they take a one-size-fits-all approach? Will the service give you one-on-one help if you need it? How much are you expected to do on your own?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best LLC Formation Companies available today. We hope this information helps you create your LLC quickly and affordably!

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