Since opening in 1999, LegalZoom has built their brand to be the most well-known LLC formation service available.
There are dozens of service providers that will form an LLC for you online, but LegalZoom is by far the most recognizable brand, thanks to their millions of customers and their extensive advertising campaigns.
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to using their services. This LegalZoom LLC formation service review will outline everything you should keep in mind before choosing them to form your new LLC.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of LegalZoom:
✔ When it comes to experience, LegalZoom is second to none in this industry. They have millions of business customers, they have more brand power than any other LLC service provider, and they’ve been well-established for nearly 20 years.
✔ LegalZoom offers a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee that you can leverage at any time within 60 days of your purchase. Not all competitors have such a guarantee, and nearly none of them give you two full months to make your decision.
✔ You can do a business name availability search on LegalZoom’s website for free, whether you’re a customer or not.
✔ We appreciate LegalZoom’s extended customer service hours that run until 10pm ET on weekdays and 7pm ET on weekends. Not many online incorporation services can beat that availability.
✔ Beyond your LLC formation, LegalZoom has some other business services that we really like. For example, their annual report filing service is among the best value in the industry.
Disadvantages of LegalZoom:
✖ LegalZoom’s pricing is more expensive than alternative services that charge far less to form an LLC. LegalZoom’s cheapest “Economy” LLC formation package costs $99 plus state fee, but they don’t include any advanced features. (See Top 7 Services)
✖ LegalZoom’s ordering process includes a seemingly never-ending and frustrating series of up-sells. Before you even reach their package selection screen, they’ll force you through up-sells for their registered agent service, federal tax ID (EIN) acquisition, a business license research package, business tax software, a legal services subscription service, and compliance assistance. If you accepted all of these up-sells, you would be on the hook for an absurd $1,080 over the course of your LLC’s first year ― and that doesn’t even include the cost of your actual state formation fee.
LegalZoom LLC Formation Prices & Packages
Is LegalZoom Good Value? Before we look at the pricing and packages for LegalZoom, let’s outline what good value in an LLC service looks like.
While $99 to form an LLC is decent and less than the cost of hiring an attorney, LegalZoom doesn’t offer nearly as much value compared to other LLC services. For example, with ZenBusiness and IncFile you get 3x more features and end up saving roughly $60 that can be put to good use while starting your business.
LegalZoom offers three levels of LLC formation service packages: Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. To review the full details of each package yourself, take a look at the breakdown below.
Economy = $99 + State Fee
➢ Business Name Availability Check: LegalZoom searches through the business database of the state you’re forming an LLC in to determine whether the business name you want is available, or if it’s claimed by another entity.
➢ Preparation and Filing of Your Articles of Organization: These documents are the forms required by the state to create your new LLC. LegalZoom will draft your articles of organization, then file them with your state of formation.
➢ Lifetime Customer Support: LegalZoom’s customer service team is available seven days a week, with extended support hours that run until 10pm ET Monday through Friday, and 7pm ET on weekends.
➢ Banking Resolution: This financial account authorization letter indicates who is eligible to open a checking or savings account on your LLC’s behalf, and can help you acquire a business bank account.
Standard = $329 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Economy package, plus…
➢ Deluxe Organizer: A box embossed with your company name.
➢ Membership Certificates and Seal: They include 20 personalized membership certificates for your LLC’s owners, along with a decorative seal.
➢ VIP Processing: LegalZoom prioritizes your order above those of customers from the Economy tier.
Express Gold = $349 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Standard package, plus…
➢ Expedited Processing With Secretary of State: If your state of formation offers expedited processing, LegalZoom will pursue that option. This can cut your turnaround times from weeks down to days. If you’re in a rush to start an LLC, this is worthwhile.
➢ Express Shipping: They’ll ship your completed documents via Express Mail with a tracking number.
LegalZoom Customer Reviews
There’s certainly no shortage of customer feedback available online for LegalZoom, as they have hundreds of reviews all across the web.
Customers are split rather evenly between having positive and negative impressions of forming an LLC through LegalZoom. To get a closer look at their feedback, below we listed their rating on the top 3rd party customer feedback sites online.
In general though, customers are impressed with their quick turnaround times, although some have issues with inconsistent customer service representatives.
- SiteJabber: 3.3 out of 5 stars (696 reviews)
- Consumer Affairs: 1.2 out of 5 stars (339 reviews)
- Better Business Bureau: 1.3 out of 5 stars (135 reviews)
LegalZoom LLC Alternatives
If LegalZoom doesn’t feel like the best LLC formation service for you, let’s talk about a few alternatives. While there are dozens of options available, these are the top three in our opinion.
ZenBusiness – $39: If you’re looking for the best overall value, we recommend ZenBusiness. What’s also unique is that ZenBusiness is a socially conscious organization, focused on doing good while growing as a company through their partnership with Kiva.org to help lift people out of poverty through financial lending.
IncFile – $0: If you’re looking for the LLC service that offers the best starting prices, we recommend IncFile. Their $0 base rate is far less than LegalZoom’s most affordable package at $99. Plus, IncFile offers more features with their LLC packages, as they include a full year of registered agent service, a business tax consultation, and more with every package.
Northwest – $79: If you’re looking for the best overall experience that offers extremely helpful customer support, look into Northwest Registered Agent. While they have primarily focused on offering registered agent services, over the last 20 years they have refined their system to build a team of extremely knowledgable customer support time and LLC filers.
Should You Form an LLC with LegalZoom?
At the end of the day, LegalZoom has some meaningful positives, but they also have some serious disadvantages that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s when you should and shouldn’t form an LLC with LegalZoom.
✔ When To Use LegalZoom:
If you place a high value on working with a massive online legal service, LegalZoom is your best bet.
✖ When NOT To Use LegalZoom:
If you want to save some money and add valuable features at the same time, there are many competing service providers that can beat what LegalZoom has to offer.
Their pricing just isn’t competitive with many other LLC service providers, and their service packages lack some features that you can find rather easily elsewhere. On the other hand, they have a ton of experience, and their 100% satisfaction guarantee is a nice safety net. Overall, we prefer other services, but we can certainly understand if you’d rather go with the track record of LegalZoom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
Does LegalZoom Offer Any Discounts?
No. We haven’t been able to find LegalZoom LLC discounts online unless it was a special occasion like Veterans day or the Holidays.
How Does LegalZoom Compare to Other LLC Services?
As you probably know, there are a lot of online LLC formation services. If you’d like a better idea of how LegalZoom stacks up to the most popular and top rated services, check out our comparison reviews:
Does LegalZoom Have More Up-sells Than Other Services?
To be perfectly honest, LegalZoom goes way overboard with the attempted upsells — much more than other LLC formation services.
Before you even select which LLC formation package you’d like to purchase, LegalZoom attempts six up-sells totaling $1,080 over the course of your LLC’s first year in business.
There are many aspects to LegalZoom’s products and services that we like quite a bit, but this is a significant negative. If this is something you’d like to avoid, form your LLC through an alternative incorporation service.
Does LegalZoom Have Good Customer Support?
We really like LegalZoom’s extended customer support availability, as they have longer hours than most competitors.
They do get some complaints about the quality and consistency of that support though, and sometimes you’ll need to wait a while during peak times, but these are both characteristics that are quite normal for companies as large as LegalZoom.
Do They Have a Refund Policy?
LegalZoom has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you request a refund within 60 days of your purchase date, they’ll provide it with no questions asked.
Can I Form an LLC on My Own?
You certainly do have this option and plenty of entrepreneurs do choose to form their own LLCs. The DIY option is really only a good idea if you’re willing to do the research and file with the state yourself.
You’ll need to look into your specific state’s compliance requirements, and it’ll definitely take more time than starting an LLC with a service like LegalZoom.
Should I Reserve My LLC Name Before Forming an LLC With LegalZoom?
It depends. Each state (minus Florida) has a way to reserve a business name before forming your entity itself. In general, this is only necessary if you aren’t yet ready to enter the LLC formation process.
If you’re ready to start your business, there’s no reason to reserve your name before forming your LLC with LegalZoom. We will note that certain states (like Alabama) require you to reserve a name before you form your business.
Does LegalZoom Handle Additional State-Specific Requirements?
We contacted LegalZoom’s customer support via phone, and they told us that while they do handle each step of the actual LLC formation process, they don’t offer assistance with publication requirements because that step technically occurs after the business entity itself is formed.
They do, however, take care of steps that occur during the formation process, like Alabama’s name reservation.
What Is the LegalZoom Customer Support Phone Number and Email?
You can contact LegalZoom via phone by calling 1-800-773-0888. Instead of listing an email address on their website, they have a form you can fill out on their “Contact Us” page to initiate their email support function.
How Quickly Does LegalZoom Process LLC Formations?
LegalZoom’s processing times are based on which formation package you purchase rather than on the actual requirements of your state.
Their basic Economy package is the slowest (30 business days), while the mid-tier Standard package is a bit faster (15 days), and the top-shelf Express Gold is the fastest (7-10).
Can I Form an LLC Without Physically Being in the United States?
Yes, there is no requirement that you be present in the U.S. to form an LLC. In fact, you don’t need to be an American citizen or resident to form an LLC either, as foreign nationals are allowed to own and operate LLCs just like American citizens are.
My LLC Needs an EIN but it's an Extra $79. Is It Worth the Money?
This is a tough question to answer without knowing the specific needs of your unique business. Some entrepreneurs enjoy getting an EIN included with their LLC formation, even if it means spending extra to add it on.
The convenience of not having to get one themselves through the IRS is worth it, and they like to have articles of organization and EIN confirmation in the same place – the LLC services’ dashboard.
However, we completely understand if you’d rather save some money and acquire your own EIN from the IRS directly, which is totally free.
Ready to Start Your LLC?
Start your LLC with LegalZoom or read our comparison of the top 7 LLC services.