ZenBusiness vs IncFile

Navigating through the process of setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be tricky. The good news is that scores of companies like ZenBusiness and IncFile offer such services. But how do you know which one is the right fit for you?

There’s no need to worry because our ZenBusiness vs IncFile comparison review goes the extra mile of breaking down every necessary detail to help you make an informed decision.

IncFile vs ZenBusiness Side-by-Side Comparison

Before narrowing it down to the individual companies and their specifics, it makes sense to compare their main features side by side. The idea is to establish why they are among the best online incorporation services.

Which of the two emerges the winner in the most important aspects? Let’s dig in.

ZenBusiness IncFile
Established 2015 2004
BBB Rating A Not accredited
Support Phone, Chatbot, Email Phone, Fax, Website Client Support Request
Free Trial No No
Mobile App iOS None
Satisfaction Guarantee 60-day money-back guarantee Receiving an IncFile refund is only possible before the company forwards your money to the State. Typically 24 hours after placing your order. Even then, you are charged a $30 cancellation fee
Legal Advice Yes Yes

Products and Services

ZenBusiness and IncFile are both reputable online incorporation services.

But as an interested user, you probably want to know what services they provide.

To establish which platform is better and why, we look at the two companies in great detail and compare their best attributes. We also evaluate how the two platforms stack up against the best LLC services.

Business formation

ZenBusiness and IncFile both offer comprehensive business formation services. These range from generating an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to filing documents with the Secretary of State.

They help clients verify business name availability and prepare Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization. The companies also coordinate the filing of all required documents with a client’s Secretary of State.

Besides that, clients can monitor the progress of their document filings on the IncFile or the ZenBusiness dashboards.

Registered agent service

Corporations and LLCs are required to appoint and maintain a registered agent when they form a business. The registered agent acts as the main point of contact between the establishment and the Secretary of State.

Both IncFile and ZenBusiness offer registered agent services to enable clients to meet State requirements.

The difference in the two companies’ offerings is that ZenBusiness secures an RA with all of its LLC formation packages. You can also order the service separately for $99 per year.

With IncFile, you get a free RA for one year after forming an LLC. After that, the service will cost you $119 per year.

Branding

Businesses are all about branding. That is why some can sell their franchises while others can squeeze top dollar from clients interested in a business’s goodwill.

ZenBusiness and IncFile each offer unique branding services.

ZenBusiness assists clients in creating professional websites to help them build their brand. Various template themes are available, with an editor tool for customization on tap. The created websites can be managed from the ZenBusiness dashboard.

On the other hand, IncFile helps register trademarks. Normally, the client tells the company what they need. The registration service delegates the task to an attorney who conducts a search to ensure availability. The attorney then files the trademark with the US patent and Trademark Office. If approved, IncFile delivers the documentation to the client.

Compliance

ZenBusiness and IncFile both help clients stay on the right side of state laws and regulations. While the two LLC formation services offer similar services, they go about it differently.

Employer Identification Number

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID number, is required to open a business bank account, gain financing or hire employees. It acts as a social security number for businesses.

Both IncFile and ZenBusiness help clients get an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The service is included in the companies’ second- and third-tier packages.

The two companies also offer EIN processing as a standalone service. However, they charge different one-off fees. Acquiring an EIN with ZenBusiness will cost you $99, while IncFile will charge you $70.

Annual report filing

Most states require businesses to file annual reports and/or pay taxes to remain compliant or in good standing. Both ZenBusiness and IncFile guide clients through the process. The main IncFile vs ZenBusiness differences regarding this service are pricing, use of technology, and how the service is rendered.

ZenBusiness charges $100+ state filing fees for filing annual reports for its clients. It also combines the use of expert staff and automated technology to help clients meet this obligation. This service is part of ZenBusiness’s second-tier Pro package.

IncFile delegates a representative to help clients with filing annual reports. Once a client places the order, the rep reaches out and requests relevant information. Once this is done, the company helps the business file its annual/biennial report depending on the state and type of business. The service costs $88 + state filing fees, and it’s not included in any of the IncFile LLC formation packages.

Filing amendments

Suppose that the name you started your business with no longer fits the bill. For example, you had a fast food joint that only served burgers and accompaniments five years ago, but you have since expanded and now offer wholesome meals. Besides changing the name, you might want to update documents to reflect changes such as new business owners, etc.

Both ZenBusiness and IncFile help you make changes to information contained in the Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, and other documents filed with the Secretary of State.

The major ZenBusiness vs IncFile variation regarding this service is the price. Filing an amendment with ZenBusiness will cost you $100+ state filing fees.  IncFile charges $119+ state filing fees for the same service.

Certificate of Good Standing

Most financial institutions ask for a Certificate of Good Standing as a requirement for a loan or funding. This is a legal document issued by the State where the business operates.

The certificate acts as evidence that the business exists & is authorized to conduct business in that jurisdiction. It also proves that the business is compliant with state law and statutory requirements.

Both ZenBusiness and IncFile help clients secure a Certificate of Good Standing. To obtain the document, businesses are required to meet certain conditions. These include being up to date in annual and biennial fees to the secretary of state, filing annual and biennial reports, and paying business fees & taxes to state regulators.

That said, securing a Certificate of Good standing with ZenBusiness is a bit more expensive. You will have to pay $100+ state filing fees. The same service on IncFile costs $49 + state filing fees.

Business license services

Both ZenBusiness and IncFile support businesses in securing licenses. But they achieve this by employing different strategies.

ZenBusiness outsources business license report services to Avalara. The software company delivers a report listing licenses and permits required for your company to operate.

Avalara determines the licensing requirements for your business. It also locates and verifies the required licenses. Once that is done, Avalara sends you a report outlining the permits needed for your business to operate. This service costs $99.

IncFile, on the other hand, has automated its business licensing service and uses the Business Search Tool to help you meet this requirement.

The Business Search Tool is an engine that facilitates business owners to find out the licensing requirements for the type of business they want to start. The tool lets them know the registrations, permits, and licenses they will need.

The engine is user-friendly and asks you about the State of Formation of the business and the industry in which the company operates.

Interface

The service is also part of IncFile’s first-tier Silver Package, which is free + state filing charges.

What ZenBusiness Excels at

Although both ZenBusiness and IncFile offer similar services, there are aspects in which they excel individually. The areas that ZenBusiness shines include:

  • Accounting Consultation: Setting up a business and ensuring compliance are vital steps in getting a business up and running. However, in any establishment, numbers are king. ZenBusiness helps LLCs by offering free accounting consultation services, which should help you track the overall health of your books.
  • Templates: What are the chances you would like to avoid going through the tedious process of designing documents and accounting styles. Thanks to an expansive template library with ZenBusiness, you will not have to worry about that.
  • Market Research: Understanding a client base’s demographics, psychographics, tastes, and preferences is key to determining whether a business succeeds. ZenBusiness takes this burden off a client.

ZenBusiness Pros & Cons

Zenbusiness’s pricing is one of the biggest reasons the company has become a staple in the online registration business.

Having learned a great deal about ZenBusiness, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using the platform?

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Variety of packages to suit different clients
  • Documents can be accessed online anytime
  • Affordable registered agent service

Cons

  • Extra payment in case of a turnaround
  • Requires additional fee to expedite filings

What IncFile Excels At

IncFile helps clients acquire operating agreements within a short period. Besides that, there are some other offerings that stand out as well.

  • Free Tax Consultation: Wondering how you can avoid getting into the taxman’s crosshairs when setting up an LLC? IncFile provides free tax consultation to its clients. The benefits of this include using their expertise to ensure you avoid double taxation and pay fewer taxes. These are bonuses on top of IncFile’s low pricing.
  • Foreign Qualification: Suppose that your business is growing at a pace that warrants international expansion or exhausts growth avenues on the local front. IncFile helps clients reconcile the requirements of setting up a business in a foreign country.

IncFile Pros and Cons

Are you wondering why you should choose IncFile over its competitors or the benefits of choosing any other platform over IncFile?

You can start by examining the advantages and disadvantages of using the platform.

Pros

  • IncFile’s LLC set-up cost is affordable.
  • Free Silver package
  • One-year free registered agent service across all packages
  • Transparent about fees & no hidden costs
  • Quick filing service as standard
  • All documents are available online

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • IncFile’s refund policy is not flexible
  • IncFile doesn’t have a mobile app

Customer Reviews

To get a balanced picture of both companies, we scanned through several reviews to assess popular opinion.

ZenBusiness reviews

We combed through a pile of reviews on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Most ZenBusiness reviews on TrustPilot were positive, with the majority citing professional customer service, ease of use, and expertise. However, there were a couple of users who complained of hidden costs.

One of the customers complained about paying more than they anticipated. The user specifically mentioned that they expected to pay $300-$500, but $800 was charged on their credit card.

On BBB, most ZenBusiness reviews were negative, though. Many users complained of still being charged months after communicating they had closed their businesses. The company is, however, quick to respond and resolve the complaints.

ZenBusiness reviews on Reddit were a mixed bag. Some comments contradicted others, making it difficult to map out consensus.

IncFile reviews

Unlike ZenBusiness, a huge number of IncFile’s reviews on Trustpilot were negative.  Users complained of poor IncFile customer support, lost mails, and poor communication.

IncFile reviews on BBB also reflected a similar mood. Most users faulted IncFile for wrong details on their documents despite being furnished with the correct information. On a bright note, the company is quick to offer a resolution. All of the complaints we reviewed had already been resolved.

There weren’t sufficient IncFile registered agent reviews to draw a conclusion about this asked-about service.

Pricing

Pricing plays a huge role in deciding which product or service provider a potential client chooses. We look at the packages offered by ZenBusiness and IncFile and compare the tags.

ZenBusiness pricing

You can access ZenBusiness services by subscribing to any of its three packages. The bundles are:

  • Starter – This plan costs $49 per year plus state filing fees. It is the most affordable offering and comes with five notable benefits. These include name availability search and accounting consultation.
  • Pro – For $199+ state filing fees, you get all starter benefits plus annual report filing, banking resolution, and EIN services.
  • Premium – The premium bundle costs $299 per year plus state filing fees. It comes with all Pro benefits plus additional benefits. They include business website design, LLC email address, domain name, and rush filing speeds.

IncFile LLC packages

As captured before, IncFile stands out for its affordable rates. Just like ZenBusiness, the company categorizes its services into three distinct packages.

  • Silver – This plan is free of charge + state filing fees. It comes with five benefits including preparation and filing of an LLC’s paperwork and unlimited customer service.
  • Gold – For $149 a year + state filing fees, clients can access all Silver benefits plus EIN services, express shipping, business tax consultation, and a personalized operating agreement.
  • Platinum Package – IncFile’s premium bundle costs $299. It includes all Gold benefits plus exclusive offerings such as expedited document filing, access to an expansive template library, and extra business features.

ZenBusiness

Finding inner peace when you’re rushing to submit all your paperwork is easier said than done. But starting an LLC can also be a Zen-like experience. ZenBusiness guarantees an element of calm while facilitating an affordable LLC formation process. What more could an entrepreneur ask for?

  • Very affordable plans
  • Transparent pricing
  • Registered agent included

Finding inner peace when you’re rushing to submit all your paperwork is easier said than done. But starting an LLC can also be a Zen-like experience. ZenBusiness guarantees an element of calm while facilitating an affordable LLC formation process. What more could an entrepreneur ask for?

IncFile

Founded in 2004, IncFile is widely considered a great option for any entrepreneur looking to start their own LLC. With thousands of positive user reviews, incredibly affordable pricing, and an easy-to-use website, this company stands out from the competition.

  • A completely free basic package
  • Fast application filing
  • Great user experience

Founded in 2004, IncFile is widely considered a great option for any entrepreneur looking to start their own LLC. With thousands of positive user reviews, incredibly affordable pricing, and an easy-to-use website, this company stands out from the competition.

Our IncFile vs Zenbusiness Verdict

Having examined Zenbusiness and IncFile, we notice a lot of similarities.

Both of them offer almost the same range of services. They are also cost-effective compared to law firms or online legal services like LegalZoom.

For pricing and experience, IncFile takes the cake. The company is more established, having been in the industry since 2004.

ZenBusiness scores higher points on customer service mainly due to its flexible money-back guarantee policy, which instills confidence. Its customization offering is also a huge plus.

Either way, both are efficient and renowned companies. Choosing between the two boils down to your needs and preferences. We hope that our research has made it easier for you to make a call.

FAQ

What is an LLC?

LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. This is a US-specific legal status of a commercial entity. Its main benefit stems from its hybrid structure, combining the taxation model of a partnership (or sole proprietorship) with the legal liability of a corporation.

An LLC is different from sole-proprietorship in that the business owner’s personal properties are protected from the business’s debts and obligations.

Conversely, the main difference between an LLC vs a corporation is that one or more individuals own an LLC. Shareholders own a corporation, on the other hand.

How do ZenBusiness and IncFile compare to LegalZoom?

Reviews on Reddit and Trustpilot agree that although its services are very good, LegalZoom’s high costs are why users opt for ZenBusiness and IncFile.

Nonetheless, LegalZoom is undisputed in customer service, an area where IncFile needs to work on.

While the two platforms represent extremes, ZenBusiness dangles the middle ground. Learn more about ZenBusiness and LegalZoom in our in-depth review.

Do ZenBusiness and IncFile have a refund policy?

While ZenBusiness has a 60-day money-back guarantee policy, getting your money back from IncFile is more complicated. Users can only get refunds before the company forwards the money to the State. This is typically 24 hours after you place your order.

Can I cancel an IncFile registered agent?

Yes, you can.

Registered agent services with IncFile are free for the first year. The company usually sends an email to its clients reminding them of looming subscriptions.

You can opt to decline the registered agent and appoint a new one. You will only need to notify the state about this change.

How much does filing a DBA with ZenBusiness cost?

The costs of filing a “Doing Business As” legal form vary depending on the state and method of completion. Additional costs also accrue on expiry.

On its website, ZenBusiness observes a DBA attracts different costs, such as registering a DBA with the state, trademarking the DBA, purchasing a domain name, and publishing the DBA name.

How do I know which Zenbusiness/IncFile package to choose?

The package you settle for depends on your budget and the features you would like.

For instance, if you have a budget of $50 and below, your only options will be to go for the Zenbusiness Starter Package at $49 + state filing fees or the IncFile Silver Package, which is free + state filing charges.

Check out our ZenBusiness vs IncFile detailed fee comparison to find the best LLC formation package for you.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I’m a Kenyan journalist and professional writer. I move words around creatively enough to make you reread a piece. In my home office, you will find a quill and a bottle of ink. That’s how seriously I take this craft. Indulge me.

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