If you think starting and running a business is daunting, you’re right. The business formation process is not a simple one and it can be stressful if you’re not sure what the steps are. But companies like ZenBusiness were created to help small businesses get started and continue to grow.
In this ZenBusiness review, we’ll show you how the company works, its pros and cons, and what kind of reviews it has. This will help you decide whether ZenBusiness and its services would be a good fit for your business.
What is ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness was founded in 2015 by Ross Buhrdorf, Shanaz Hemmati, JC Glancy, Rafael Lopez, and Ryan Pitylak. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and Ross Buhrdorf is CEO as of publication date.
The company was founded to help support entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers as they learn how to start a business and then keep it growing, potentially with no prior business experience. As a small business itself, ZenBusiness is dedicated to providing services and support to future and current business owners who may need some guidance during their journey. It is also a Public Benefit Corporation, which is a for-profit organization with a public benefit purpose.
ZenBusiness has nearly 150 employees and has worked with more than 70,000 customers. It was recently ranked as one of the best LLC services of 2021 by Forbes. It’s a legitimate resource if you’re focused on learning how to make money with a new business idea, but aren’t quite sure how to get started.
What does ZenBusiness offer?
ZenBusiness offers a variety of features and services both for starting a business and helping to keep existing businesses running and growing. Many of these services are available only in the different plans ZenBusiness provides, but some are available on their own as well.
ZenBusiness offers these services to help you form a new business:
- Business formation service, including LLCs and corporations
- Registered agent service
- An operating agreement template
- Expedited filing speeds
ZenBusiness offers these services to help you run your business and stay compliant with your state’s requirements:
- Employer identification number (EIN): Helps you obtain an EIN, or tax ID, which is like a Social Security number for your business. This can help you separate personal and business finances by allowing you the opportunity to open a business bank account.
- Annual report filing and worry-free compliance: Stay compliant with state requirements by getting your annual reports filed correctly and on time.
- New York publication: The state of New York has certain requirements about forming an LLC, which includes publishing a formation announcement in two newspapers once per week for six consecutive weeks.
- Filing amendments: If you need to change specific information about your business, such as your business name or business address, you’ll need to file an amendment with your secretary of state.
- Certificate of good standing: This isn’t required for all businesses, but it can be helpful in certain situations, such as securing financing, opening a business bank account, or buying business insurance. This shows your business is real and complies with state laws.
- Banking resolution template: This paperwork authorizes someone to open a bank account and provide a signature for the business.
- Free CPA accounting consultation: This free service gives you access to a professional who can help you assess your potential accounting and bookkeeping needs.
- Domain name registration: This is the name of your website and how your company is viewed online. Registering a domain name secures your website name so someone else can’t take it.
- Domain name privacy: This keeps the personal information connected to your domain name private. This information could include your name, phone number, and address.
- Business email address: Creates an email address using your domain name, which is often more professional than using a personal email address.
- Business website: Creates a website for your business so you can start to establish your online presence.
- Business license report: Finds the required business licenses you need to legally operate.
- Business document templates library: Offers access to a library of documents that can help your business run smoothly. This includes non-compete agreements, employment agreements, freelancer agreements, and more.
ZenBusiness also offers these additional services and options:
- Business bank account: Apply to open a business bank account to keep your personal and business finances separate.
- $150 Google Ads credit: Receive a match of up to $150 in Google Ads spend for promoting your business products and services online.
- Business name reservation: Reserve a business name even if you aren’t ready to form an LLC or corporation.
Here’s a breakdown of the different plans ZenBusiness offers:
|Starter Plan||Pro Plan||Premium Plan|
|Time to form business||Nine to 12 business days||Five to eight business days||Two to five business days|
|Price||$49 per year plus state fees||$199 per year plus state fees||$299 per year plus state fees|
The services listed above are what’s included in each plan, but you have the option to select additional services as well, which might include a one-time fee or an annual fee.
For example, a Starter Plan with the rush filing speed add-on would incur an additional one-time fee of $100. Adding worry-free compliance to a Starter package would cost an additional $119 per year. You'll need to evaluate each formation package and your desired turnaround time to decide which features and plan makes the most sense for you.
How to contact ZenBusines customer support
If you need to contact the ZenBusiness customer support team, you have three available options:
- Chat: Available on the ZenBusiness website Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT.
- Call: Available at 1-844-493-6249 Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT.
- Email: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll typically receive a response within one business day.
Who can sign up with ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness’ services are available for anyone 18 years or older, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or not. However, since ZenBusiness can help you form a business within a state of the U.S., its services are intended for use only in the U.S.
ZenBusiness offers a wide range of services, which can be useful for different types of businesses and situations. The ideal client, though, is likely someone who needs guidance on setting up and running a business. You might need help preparing and filing to form an LLC, staying compliant with state laws, or setting up a business website.
These aren’t necessarily the operations of your business, such as providing goods or services to your customers, but going through paperwork or knowing which documents you need to regularly submit can be confusing if you’re inexperienced. This is where ZenBusiness can help.
Even if you’re an experienced business owner, it might make sense to pay for these kinds of services so you can keep your focus on other parts of your business.
Pros and cons of ZenBusiness
Here are some of the pros of ZenBusiness:
- Ease of use: ZenBusiness does its best to provide you with a seamless and all-inclusive experience with forming your new business. And if its customer reviews are anything to go by, it succeeds.
- No hidden fees: One of ZenBusiness’ core values is transparency, which is apparent in its pricing models. What you see is what you pay, including any applicable state fees depending on where you form your business.
- Add-on flexibility: ZenBusiness provides different plan options that include certain services. But you also have the option to select add-on services as well. This makes it easy to customize a plan to your business or bypass the plans altogether and only get the services you need.
- Free accounting consultation: ZenBusiness provides a free accounting consultation with a certified accountant (CPA) to assess your accounting needs. This isn’t included with every business formation service and can be helpful for new business owners to get their accounting in order immediately.
- Customer service options: Not everyone wants to talk over the phone, so having options for chat and email is useful.
- Refund policy: You have a 60-day money-back guarantee if you want to cancel your ZenBusiness subscription or add-on product. You can still cancel your subscription after 60 days, but you won’t receive a refund. ZenBusiness can’t refund any state or third-party fees that have already been paid.
Here are some of the cons of ZenBusiness:
- Plan-based services: Some of ZenBusiness’ services are available only if you choose one of their structured plans. This reduces your flexibility if you only need certain services, but have to pay for a plan that includes additional unneeded services.
- Customer service availability: The ZenBusiness customer service team generally has a large amount of availability, including normal business hours and certain hours on Sunday as well. But there’s no availability on Saturdays, which isn’t helpful if that’s when you need assistance.
- Registered agent services not included: You’re required to provide a registered agent when you form a business in every state. You can choose to serve as your own agent and use your home or office address, but many businesses prefer to hire a registered agent service to receive legal paperwork and notices on their behalf. If you use a P.O. box, you will need to hire an agent as well. ZenBusiness offers a 25% discount for this service for your first year, but it’s unfortunately not included for free in any of their plans.
What customers are saying about ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and an average rating of 3.66 out of 5.0 from customer reviews. The company has closed 38 complaints in the past three years. Much of the customer feedback mentions issues with billing and charges, primarily with a focus on not knowing where certain charges came from. The complaints all seem to have been resolved or answered in some manner.
ZenBusiness also has over 6,400 reviews on TrustPilot, with a TrustScore of 4.8 out of 5.0. Of these reviews, over 95% of them are for “Excellent” or “Great” ratings.
FAQs about ZenBusiness
Is ZenBusiness legit?
ZenBusiness is a legit company focused on helping people through their LLC formation services and incorporation services. They also help businesses continue to run and grow. It was founded in 2015 and has worked with over 70,000 customers. ZenBusiness has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 4.8 out of 5.0 rating on TrustPilot.
Does ZenBusiness give you a business address?
ZenBusiness offers registered agent services, which sets up a registered agent with a legal business address in the state in which your business was formed. Your registered agent also accepts important legal documents for you and stores them in your online dashboard where you can access them anytime.
Does ZenBusiness handle New York publication requirements?
Yes, ZenBusiness can handle New York publication requirements for your New-York-based LLC. ZenBusiness has relationships with counties and newspapers to make sure your business meets all publication requirements and your costs are kept low.
Is ZenBusiness worry-free compliance worth it?
ZenBusiness worry-free compliance is worth it if you’re worried about staying compliant with state requirements and annual business filings. You may not be experienced with this side of running a business, so it could make sense to pay experts to do it for you. In addition, it could free up yours or your team’s time to focus on other important business matters.
How to sign up for ZenBusiness
Getting started with ZenBusiness can be done online at the ZenBusiness website. You’ll need to select your business entity type (an LLC, corporation, or S-corp) and the state in which you’re forming your new business. Then it’s a matter of selecting your plan or individual services and inputting required information.
You’ll need to enter your full name, email address, phone number, and business name. You’ll also have the option to include the ZenBusiness registered agent service and other add-ons, though they’ll cost extra money.
The sign-up process can be completed in a few minutes or less if you already have the required information on hand and know what services you want from ZenBusiness. You’ll see how much you owe at the end of the process, including any applicable state fees. You’ll then be prompted to make a credit card payment and create a password for your account, which will give you access to your ZenBusiness dashboard.
Other services to consider
If ZenBusiness doesn’t sound like the right fit for your business ventures, LegalZoom is another service provider that helps with the business formations, including LLCs and corporations. However, it can also help you form a nonprofit organization, which ZenBusiness doesn’t offer. Also, both companies offer DBA (doing business as) services, but ZenBusiness files only in certain states whereas LegalZoom covers all states.
In addition, LegalZoom also provides services pertaining to wills, trusts, and intellectual property. These aren’t areas where ZenBusiness operates, so LegalZoom could make more sense for you if you need help in these areas of expertise.
It’s important to note that ZenBusiness may also offer certain services that LegalZoom doesn’t provide, such as business bank accounts and setting up a business website. Both companies are legitimate, but LegalZoom has worked with millions of businesses compared to over 70,000 with ZenBusiness.