Best LLC Formation Service: IncFile or ZenBusiness?

Creating a whole new company is incredibly time-consuming regardless of your experience. So it’s only natural that many owners solicit LLC formation services in order to simplify the entire process.

It’s not hard to find such a service in your area, but choosing the right provider to form your new limited liability company is vital for the overall experience, from saving you significant amounts of cash to taking mountains of paperwork off your plate.

Customer favorites such as IncFile and ZenBusiness are, in expert opinion, among the leaders of the trade. And since both are supported by positive testimonials, making a definitive choice can be tricky depending on the type of entity you plan to create.

Other relevant questions will be answered in the following ZenBusiness vs IncFile review, including a closer point-by-point comparison.

Are IncFile and ZenBusiness the best Value for the Money?

The pricing range of this type of services is pretty vast, but so is the diversity of the plans they offer. Not every expensive service will be very useful just as not all low-cost services are guaranteed to save you money long-term.

For instance, best-rated LLC services with millions of customers such as LegalZoom may not work that well for new owners or certain businesses. Their pricing is fairly steep, usually starting at $99, but it’s the expansiveness of services included in the base package that poses a problem.

Comparatively, both services are more accommodating in terms of what they charge. Their cheapest plans include an array of essential services to help you create an LLC, including accounting support, registered agent services, trademark registration, and more.

Shared Benefits

  • Cost-effectiveness: both offer more effective plans for lower prices compared to their peers and are currently among the most affordable options on the market;
  • Reliability: this particular shared aspect is primarily the result of their industry experience, with IncFile having 17 years worth of expertise and ZenBusiness holding an A rating as a BBB-accredited business;
  • Performance: the business of LLC formation and maintenance often implies a certain degree of competency when it comes to managing time, and both IncFile and ZenBusiness have been praised by customers for their speedy service, efficient handling of paperwork, and skilful communication with relevant state authorities;
  • Registered agent: unlike many formation companies, IncFile and ZenBusiness don’t charge for their registered agent services for the first year of your entity’s operation, meaning that even with the most basic of plans you will be able to have the full support of a registered agent for LLC;
  • Positive customer experience: last not least, the consistency of performance of any given service is often reflected in customer reviews, and both IncFile and ZenBusiness have earned plenty of positive feedback from verified customers;
  • Reliable customer support: Both services ensure consistent support for all their customers via phone, email, and online chat, so it’s possible to contact company reps during working hours;

Comparing the Two LLC Formation Service

Both IncFile and ZenBusiness boast positive online ratings, equally from customers and industry experts, but a more detailed review shows that one company brings more value in certain aspects.

Pricing

One of the best pricing plans in the industry is currently on offer at ZenBusiness, starting at only $39, though many newcomers choose to go for IncFile’s base plan instead which is entirely free of charge.

However, convenient pricing is not the only factor that should be taken into account when choosing a formation agency, and this is precisely why ZenBusiness is generally considered to be a better option in many aspects.

Features

The two services are on fairly equal ground when it comes to their base plans: both handle the articles/certificate of organization/formation while also assigning a registered agent to the entity.

And while IncFile comes with a fair share of perks that ZenBusiness lacks, such as third-party assistance in opening a business bank account or creating a website, ZenBusiness is actually more accommodating in their offer of supplying an operating agreement guide, so you can handle this step of entity formation all in one place. 

In this regard, ZenBusiness has a bit of advantage over IncFile, and though it might be only slight, it presents the company as a more accommodating choice with single-source services.

Processing Speed

Filing speed tends to vary depending on the state, with most jurisdictions offering various expedite plans for an extra fee but even the expedite times (as well as fees) between each state differs.

Both services offer helpful tools for determining the processing times for your area, and you can check the potential formation speeds even now at ZenBusiness’ formation speeds page or at IncFile’s order form page.

Customer Support

On average, ZenBusiness showed better response times compared to IncFile, though the latter is also extremely competent with their customer support.

There are three possible ways to contact ZenBusiness:

  • by email, in which case you are likely to receive a response in the course of one business day
  • by phone
  • via online chat

The last two options are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm CST on Mon-Fri and from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm CST on Sunday.

With IncFile you can:

  • call the reps at any time between 9:00 am to 6:00 pm CST on Mon-Fri
  • send questions online in which case the help center is likely to respond as soon as possible.

Experience

Between the two companies, IncFile has more years under their belt, having opened their offices in 2004, while ZenBusiness has started operation in 2017. Still, both companies have conducted thousands of formations, most of which are supported by positive customer feedback in equal measure.

Order Tracking

Both websites support order tracking which can be accessed after you’ve gone through the initial steps of ordering the formation and issuing the payment for their services. The order status can be seen once you log into your IncFile or ZenBusiness account.

Registered Agent Service

All new entities with limited liability are bound by law to appoint a registered agent for handling the communication between the state authorities and company owners. Some states allow LLC owners to act as their own registered agents, though it’s generally advised to hire a professional service to act as agent for service of process and forward other paperwork to your office.

The necessity of appointing an agent lies primarily in the need from your office to respond immediately to any state filings or inquiries, and a professional online service can handle this for you at any time.

Both ZenBusiness and IncFile include registered agent services in their formation plans, with IncFile doing it completely for free, though only for one year, after which the company charges $119 annually. In the case of ZenBusiness, you can purchase such services starting at $99.

Customer Reviews

Since 2017, ZenBusiness has amassed over 4,885 reviews on Trustpilot and earned an A- professional rating at BBB as an accredited business. The company is known for timely customer support given there have been alleged billing issues in the past.

IncFile wins over ZenBusiness by the total number of reviews (partially due to their experience) and holds a satisfactory customer rating on many independent review sites. It should be noted that as of 2021, their accreditation with BBB is revoked. Even so, the company remains to be one of the best business formation services out there.

Accessibility

As far as the ease of use and readability goes, IncFile is notably more user-friendly and its website is much more organized thanks to its more streamlined interface. ZenBusiness could be pretty difficult to navigate when you need fast and clear answers to your questions or want to access a certain sub-category.

Other Services

On most counts, both services are fairly similar in the content of their plans, offering most sought-after services such as EIN applications, registered agent services, operating agreement support, business name search, and other amendments. 

Other tools offered by them individually don’t exactly match, with ZenBusiness providing a publication service which is required by some states like NY to finish the legal establishment of an LLC, and IncFile offering trademark registration.

Which Is the Best LLC Service for You?

Given their many similarities and general reputability, either service will be a good option to form an LLC online and rather promptly too.

Both services hold high rankings among industry specialists, yet there are a few differences that make each service more suitable for specific types of company owners which will be expanded on below.

ServiceAnnual FeeRegistered AgentKey BenefitsRating
IncFileSilver: $0
Gold: $149
Platinum: $299
State fee
1 year free
+ $119 annually
Free Base Plan★★★★★ (4.8/5)
ZenBusinessStarter: $39
Pro: $199
Premium: $299
State fee
1 year free
+ $99 (standard)
or 
$149 (full)
Good Value★★★★★ (4.8/5)

Who is ZenBusiness Suitable For?

  • Anyone preferring good value services over those with additional/hidden billings
  • Small – and medium-sized companies that need full documentation support 
  • Entrepreneurs looking to create a limited company when newspaper publications are needed

Who is IncFile Suitable For?

  • Anyone seeking to avoid unnecessary spending with IncFile’s free services
  • Owners in need of a free business registered agent
  • Those who plan to manage primarily on their own
  • Anyone looking to register a trademark

Frequently Asked Question


Which ZenBusiness Plan is the Best?

As mentioned in the table above, ZenBusiness offers three formation plans, two of which—Starter and Pro—are likely to suit most small and medium-sized businesses. You can see them here if you need more detailed information.
In short, the Starter Plan costs only $39 and covers almost all necessary formation steps with a few minor exceptions. Even though it’s the most basic of their plans, it still covers plenty, such as drafting of agreements and including a registered agent service.
The next most favorable option is the Pro Plan priced at $199 which uses the Starter package as its base and expands on it by including EIN management, drafting of bank resolutions and submitting annual reports.

Which IncFile Plan is the Best?

Notorious for their completely free base plan, IncFile is perhaps one of the most accommodating formation services operating today.
Most new owners choose IncFile’s Silver Plan priced at $0 who offer a free registered agent service in addition to the main package.
For a more substantial package, you may want to try out their Gold Plan for $149 and enjoy additional services such as EIN registration and the drafting of operating agreements. For more information, you can see packages on IncFile’s official website.

Are IncFile and ZenBusiness better than LegalZoom?

As one of the oldest and best-known formation services on the market, LegalZoom is often used as a baseline for service comparison. If you want a comparative overview of both services against LegalZoom, feel free to look through our ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom comparison and IncFile vs LegalZoom comparison guides.

Do They Cover the Certificate of Publication?

Despite the relative similarity between the base and mid-tier packages of IncFile and ZenBuiness, only one of them has full NY publication coverage. ZenBusiness is fully qualified to cover that step, while IncFile only recommends taking direct action with the state.