Are you looking for a breakdown of Incfile vs legalzoom to help get your business up and running? If you’re a small business owner, it may be tempting to just skip the legalese and focus on growing and running your business. However, you’ll inevitably encounter some legal situations over the course of doing business, such as launching your entity or establishing a contract with a potential client.Start LLC for $0 at IncFileIn such cases, it’s best to be prepared than blindly face legal problems that may hinder the flow of business. Luckily, you don’t have to hire an attorney who’ll charge you several hundreds of dollars per hour to get the job done. Most small business owners can’t afford the rates of in-house lawyers anyway.

A more efficient and cost-effective solution is opting for a specialized online legal service to help you form an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or set up DBA (Doing Business As), and kick start your company legal-wise.

Two of the top providers in this domain are Incfile and LegalZoom, offering to prepare and file your formation documents, as well as resolve some legal issues for your business along the way. Both options are quite reliable, but the question is: which one is right for you?

In today’s article, we’ll be giving you the breakdown of the Incfile vs LegalZoom comparison and walking you through all the features and factors you need to consider when choosing one of these services.

Background and Experience

For many people, the first thing they may get skeptical about when dealing with any sort of online service is whether or not this company is legit. This is especially true when the company is going to gain access to the insides of your business, be it legally or financially.

So, it’s only fitting that we kick off our Incfile vs LegalZoom comparison with a background check for both services:

Incfile History

Incfile was found in 2004 in Houston, Texas, USA. The company has successfully helped more than 250,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs start their businesses. Incfile was given a 360 Best Company award by Entrepreneur magazine.

LegalZoom History

In 1999, LegalZoom was founded by 3 friends from law school: Brian Liu, Brian Lee, and Eddie Hartman. Their goal was to aid people to gain easy access to affordable legal services. The company has serviced more than 2 million clients with their legal needs, including launching a business, LLCs (successfully formed over 1 million), DBA, INC, patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

  • This information brings about another comparison related to the level of experience of both companies. LegalZoom has been in the industry for over 20 years, serving millions of customers with LLC formation and various legal situations. On the other hand, Incfile has spent a shorter time in the industry (about 16 years) and is still several hundreds of thousands short when it comes to client volume.

Types of Services

As we mentioned before, both Incfile and LegalZoom provide online legal services to business owners and entrepreneurs. However, each one focuses on somewhat different areas of the practice.

Incfile is more involved in helping with the initial formation of a business, as well as business taxes and compliance once you’re set up.

LegalZoom, on the other hand, offers a more extensive range of legal aid. Similar to Incfile, they can help you with initial business formation and compliance. But LegalZoom can also cover other legal needs for establishments, such as drafting a contract or filing a trademark application.

Let’s dive deeper into the types of services you can access through each or one of the two companies.

Both Incfile and LegalZoom

Whether you go for Incfile or LegalZoom, the company will provide you with the following service categories:

  • Business Formation

Utilizing both Incfile and LegalZoom, you can file formation papers for a corporation, a partnership, an LLC, or a nonprofit organization. You can also verify whether or not a certain company name is available and file a fictitious business name if you’re working under a trading name.

When you’re setting up an LLC or corporation, it’s required that you name a registered agent (this is someone who can accept legal documents on the behalf of your company). Both Incfile and LegalZoom provide registered agent service.

  • Compliance

Once you get your company started, you can count on both Incfile or LegalZoom to help you maintain a good legal position for the business. Through either service, you can file annual reports, collect a certificate of good standing, or change the business name.

Incfile Only

Tax filing services are only available via Incfile. As part of LegalZoom’s monthly plan, you can connect to a tax professional who’ll give you a brief of your taxing options. But only Incfile will actually help you prepare and file your business tax return.

  • Business tax filing services

Incfile will connect you to a tax professional to help you get your papers in order and file your personal or business tax return for a fixed fee. Such professional service gives you the chance to maximize your tax deductions while keeping errors in your tax return to a minimum.

LegalZoom Only

As we mentioned before, LegalZoom provides a full spectrum of legal aids for your business when compared to Incfile. The following services are available only via LegalZoom:

  • Intellectual property filings

LegalZoom can help you file an application for intellectual property. The company will connect you with an attorney to help you prepare the necessary papers and file a patent, trademark, or copyright application.

  • Customized legal forms

Through the services of LegalZoom, you can create a customized legal form that better fulfills your business’s legal needs and also enforceable in court. LegalZoom has more than 100 legal forms, so you just need to fill out a questionnaire and you’ll receive the required form. This service is particularly helpful for small business owners in need of drafting contracts.

  • Speak with a lawyer

Your business may need regular access to legal aid. If so, LegalZoom offers a legal plan service where lawyers will review your legal documents, give you 30-minute phone consultations, and perform an annual legal check-up for your business. This service will cost you a monthly fee.

Customer Service

Both Incfile and LegalZoom offer customer support via phone and email.

For Incfile, the help center is quite extensive. You can submit your question online via email or contact representatives by phone. They’re available from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. You can’t reach Incfile phone support on weekends.

LegalZoom also offers phone support from Monday to Friday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT. It’s also available on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. The company has an FAQ page on their website, and you can always send them questions via email.

Focusing on their performance, we can pretty much say that both services are reliable but sometimes show inconsistent results. With companies this large, it’s to be expected that some representatives might be more helpful than others and that delayed responses aren’t off the table.

That being said, it seems that LegalZoom has the upper hand when it comes to customer service. The support is available for more hours, on more days, and has ratings on more platforms than Incfile.

However, Incfile will process your order in way less time than LegalZoom, next business day to be exact. This is a standard feature in all of the company’s packages, and it’s a huge plus to reduce turn-around times when launching a business.

Processing Speed and Order Tracking

At certain times, speed can be a major concern when you’re officially starting a new business. It’s possible that you’re trying to land some investors or enroll in a business accelerator, and so, processing speed becomes all the more crucial.

The better option in this aspect has got to be Incfile because it doesn’t matter which plan tier you subscribe to. In any package, Incfile will process all your business formation filings by the next business day. Here, the turnaround times vary according to your state, but it should still be faster than LegalZoom’s.

On LegalZoom, the processing speed is based on the level of your service package: Economy is 30 days, Standard is 15 days, and Express Gold is 7 to 10 days.

As for order tracking, both services offer this feature where you get to view status updates for your order in real-time. Incfile uses a tool that’s a bit flashier, but there’s no actual difference in performance as both function properly.

Pricing and Plans

Value and pricing critical aspects to consider for any business owner, especially small and start-up businesses.

LegalZoom is one of the most popular online legal services available, but you should know that it doesn’t come cheap. While still more affordable compared to hiring in-house lawyers, LegalZoom will charge up to $159 per year starting from the date of your business formation.

The number of upsells can get quite expensive, considering that the company doesn’t include registered agent service with any of the formations packages – you’ll pay extra for it.

On the other hand, Incfile will give you a full year of registered agent service, free of charge. After this, you’ll need to pay $119 to renew your registration to the service. The company also offers a basic plan that’ll help you form your business at no cost, just the state filing fees.

Although not packed with features as LegalZoom, Incfile proposes a price point that’s pretty competitive and particularly attractive to start-up business owners. Even their more advanced, higher-priced plans include valuable features that deem them strong options.

The following tables are side-by-side comparisons of  LLC formation service packages (basic, middle, top) provided by Incfile and LegalZoom, so you can get a better insight and decide which company offers the best plan for your business.

 

  • Please note that the state filing fees aren’t included in the service costs for each plan.

LLC Formation Basic Plan

Feature Incfile LegalZoom
Order Processing Time Next business day 15 days
Registered Agent Service Free for one full year/renewal costs $119 per year Additional $159 per year
Operating Agreement Included Additional $99
Annual Compliance Free company alerts for lifetime One month free, then $320 per year to renew
EIN Registration Included Additional $60, but must be bought in a bundle with Operating Agreement for a total cost of $159
Web Domain and Hosting $20 per month for hosting via Snapweb None
Advisory Services Tax – free consultation for 1 hour Non
Feature Incfile LegalZoom
Order Processing Time Next business day 30 days
Registered Agent Service Free for one full year/renewal costs $119 per year Additional $159 per year
Operating Agreement $40 Additional $99
Annual Compliance Free company alerts for lifetime One month free, then $320 per year to renew
EIN Registration Additional $70 Additional $60, but must be bought in a bundle with Operating Agreement for a total cost of $159
Web Domain and Hosting $20 per month for hosting via Snapweb None
Advisory Services Tax – free consultation for 1 hour None

Highlights

Charging just the state fee, Incfile offers fast one-day processing time and provides registered agent services for one whole year with no extra cost. The company also enables you to access a comprehensive platform with free lifetime alerts, Snapweb hosting, and free 1-hour tax consultation.

LegalZoom, on the other hand, offers a 30-day order processing time guarantee, and also requires an annual fee of $159 to grant you registered agent services.

LLC Formation Middle Plan

 

Feature Incfile LegalZoom
Order Processing Time Next business day 15 days
Registered Agent Service Free for one full year/renewal costs $119 per year Additional $159 per year
Operating Agreement Included Additional $99
Annual Compliance Free company alerts for lifetime One month free, then $320 per year to renew
EIN Registration Included Additional $60, but must be bought in a bundle with Operating Agreement for a total cost of $159
Web Domain and Hosting $20 per month for hosting via Snapweb None
Advisory Services Tax – free consultation for 1 hour None

Highlights

Included in their Silver package, Incfile provides an Operating Agreement and EIN Registration at no additional fees. These two services will cost you an extra $159 fee on LegalZoom at any package level.

Compared to their basic plan, LegalZoom reduced order processing times to 15 days in the Standard package for an extra $280.

Costing about $100 less than LegalZoom’s middle-tier plan, Incfile offers a customized LLC kit with its mid-level package, topping regular corporate essentials with a template library for contracts as well as 20 personalized stock certificates.

Incfile VS Legalzoom LLC Formation Top Plan

 

Feature Incfile LegalZoom
Order Processing Time Next business day 7 to 10 days
Registered Agent Service Free for one full year/renewal costs $119 per year Additional $159 per year
Operating Agreement $40 Additional $99
Annual Compliance Free company alerts for lifetime One month free, then $320 per year to renew
EIN Registration Additional $70 Additional $60, but must be bought in a bundle with Operating Agreement for a total cost of $159
Web Domain and Hosting $20 per month for hosting via Snapweb None
Advisory Services Tax – free consultation for 1 hour None

Highlights

Basically, LegalZoom’s Express Gold package just offers faster processing and shipping times, as well as access to a customer support line that’s available 7 days per week.

As for Incfile, it continues to give you next-day processing at every level. Additionally, the Platinum package includes expedited shipping to return your filings.

However, the major advantage of this plan is offering business contract templates as well as a free website and domain name for your business. If your type of business requires website help, this feature definitely adds a lot of value.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, Incfile and LegalZoom are almost tied, but not quite. Both services have user-friendly interfaces with sites that are well-explained to save you time and hassle.

Incfile – walking through the process of signing up for Incfile, the steps are personalized according to the state where you’re forming your business and the type of business you’re looking to start. You can also find hyperlinks and little question marks throughout the form, so you can learn more about a certain entry or question on the application.

You’ll encounter a few add-ons and third-party offers to browse through, but don’t worry, there’ll never be any surprises with your total price. If you decide to opt for one of these offers, the price gets instantly updated on the screen.

LegalZoom – most providers of online legal services present their package options at the beginning of the application process, but not LegalZoom. Instead, this company gets you to enter your personal information first, then it slowly runs you through a ton of expensive add-ons before you can choose your preferred formation package.

These offers are pretty overwhelming and aggressive. So much so that by the time you reach the package selection screen, you can see a drastic increase in the overall costs.

Incfile vs LegalZoom – Which Online Legal Service is the Best for You?

There’s no denying that Incfile vs LegalZoom are two of the biggest names in the online legal services industry, which means you’ll receive reliable help either way since both are high-quality companies.

As you can probably see,Incfile vs Legalzoom plenty of similarities, but several differences that may be game-changing. So, which one should you choose?

Well, we believe the answer depends on your specific situation. What type of business are you starting? What kind of legal help does it require? What’s your budget?

By answering these questions and going through our Incfile vs LegalZoom comparison, you’re set to make the right decision. However, if you’re still having a hard time choosing which service to use, here’s a quick tip:

Choose Incfile if:

  • You’re starting a new business that requires help with formation and compliance.
  • You’re interested in tax filling.
  • You’re looking for lower prices.
  • You need registered agent services without having to pay extra fees.
  • Your business won’t require legal aid on a regular basis.

Choose LegalZoom if:

  • Your business needs regular legal help.
  • You’re looking to draft contracts and custom legal forms.
  • You want to file intellectual property applications.
  • You need to speak with an attorney.
  • You prioritize experience over price.

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