IncFile vs. LegalZoom (Save $378 Instantly)For this IncFile vs LegalZoom review, our legal team used both services for LLC formation and compared the features. Both are excellent, but each serve completely different types of businesses. Many entrepreneurs waste hundreds of dollars or MORE by making the wrong choice. You don’t want to spend money on services you don’t need. We’ll cover:
- Who should use LegalZoom and who should use IncFile
- Incfile pricing and LegalZoom pricing
- The pros and cons of each
- What each service offers
- IncFile vs LegalZoom. Which is the best LLC formation and incorporation service?
IncFile vs. LegalZoom: OverviewLegalZoom and IncFile are two of the most popular online business formation websites. Both offer reliable business and LLC formation at a fraction of the price of an attorney. The main difference is that IncFile specializes in fast, simple, and affordable business formation and compliance help. LegalZoom, on the other hand, offers complete legal solutions. Think of it this way: IncFile launches your business and keeps you compliant. LegalZoom launches your business, keeps you compliant, AND offers common attorney-level services like contracts, intellectual property rights, family law, and legal planning. LegalZoom offers far more options and has much higher brand recognition. But this all comes at a price.
IncFile vs. LegalZoom: Types of ServicesBoth websites focus on one core service: forming a business. IncFile.com and LegalZoom.com both offer:
- Business Formation: You can start these types of companies with both: LLC, S Corp, C Corp, NonProfit
- Registered Agent Service: Each state requires an LLC to have a registered agent to act as an intermediary between the state and the business. Both companies offer registered agent service, but one is FREE, and the other is very expensive.
- Corporate bylaws or an LLC operating agreement
- Compliance: Both companies offer company changes, tax filings, annual reporting, and name search services.
- Business Formation: LegalZoom goes above and beyond IncFile, giving you the ability to form a:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Partnership (LP)
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Intellectual Property: Search, register, and monitor trademarks as well as patent services.
- Legal Forms and Agreements: Invoices, bills of sale, NDA, plus many more legal forms. Small businesses can create enforceable legal documents very quickly – an extremely valuable service.
- Family Law: Will and trust, power of attorney, divorce, and real estate law.
- Attorney Advice: LegalZoom connects you to a vast network of qualified attorneys ready to help with any legal issue from lawsuits to tax planning.
- Business Tax Returns: IncFile connects you to professionals that file your business taxes for a flat fee. This eliminates the hassle of personally filing, including eliminating the possibility of mistakes (very common with business taxes).
PricingPricing is extremely complex and varies based on your location, level of service, and whether you need add-ons, or tax filings. In general, IncFile is more affordable. Incfile’s operating agreement and Employer Identification Number (EIN) services cost less a la carte and are included in their more premium business packages. LegalZoom no longer offers these necessary features as part of any of their business formation packages. Instead, they are offered on top of the LLC formation costs, which means the price can add up fast. So if you were to order their Standard with an EIN, Operating Agreement, and registered agent services, you would pay almost an additional $500.
IncFile PricingIncFile is the web’s most affordable LLC formation service. You cannot find anything cheaper. They’ll form your LLC and provide 1 year of registered agent service FOR FREE. Yes, you read that correctly. You only pay the mandatory state fee (this fee goes to the state, NOT to IncFile). IncFile will file your Articles of Organization for $0 in fees. Even if you incorporate on your own, you will have to pay the state fee. So, why not use professional services? It costs nothing extra. IncFile offers 3 pricing packages ranging from $0 – $299: Silver includes:
- Articles of Organization
- Name Search
- 1 Year of Registered Agent Service
- Bank of America Business Account
- Phone and Email Support
- 30-Minute Business Tax Consultation
- Employee Identification Number (EIN)
- IRS Tax Form 2553 (S Corp)
- Business Operating Agreement
- Banking Resolution
- Expedited Service
- Domain and Email
- Business Contract Templates
They make registering a company as easy as possible, so you can focus on the important things. Beyond that, they have a full suite of startup services (like banking and bookkeeping), which means IncFile not only helps you get started, but supports you in your continued success.
LegalZoom PricingLegalZoom is the world’s most popular online legal service, and that name comes at a price. Using LegalZoom takes $79 out of your pocket instantly (compared to $0 at IncFile). And, the upgrades come with even fewer tools than IncFile offers. Standard includes VIP processing, and deluxe offers rush processing. That’s about it. For additional compliance, such as an Operating Agreement for LLC formation, it’s going to cost you extra. The express Gold tier gets you rush processing with Secretary of State and express shipping. Unless you are desperate to file your LLC, the express Gold tier is NOT worth it. In our opinion, LegalZoom is severely overcharging for its brand name and reputation. NOTE: All IncFile packages include next business day processing times. LegalZoom can take up to 35 business days if you don’t upgrade. That’s an unfair business practice in our opinion. 35 business days? Crazy. Why we can’t recommend LegalZoom for business formation Not only does LegalZoom cost more for LLC formation, but you also must pay for registered agent services. Remember, this is mandatory. $299 for the first year. Using IncFile saves you $378 instantly in your first year!
IncFile vs. LegalZoom: Advantages of EachAfter using both services, it’s clear that IncFile and LegalZoom both cater to different audiences. IncFile is:
- More Affordable: Prices starting from $0 with one year of registered agent fees included. Operating agreements and other options included in the packages.
- More Convenient: Everything you need to get off the ground is included in your package, including the registered agent service.
- Faster: IncFile processes your paperwork far more quickly than LegalZoom, and you don’t have to upgrade to get fast service.
- More Comprehensive: LegalZoom offers nearly every legal service you could need, and if it doesn’t provide it, they connect you to an attorney who does.
- Designed for Ongoing Services: If you’re a large company with complex legal needs, then LegalZoom is better for you. If you foresee needing constant advice, choose them.
- Incorporation and compliance services only
- A few annoying upsells
- No EIN in the Silver package (You can pay $70 for one or file on your own)
- Poor UX
Head-to-Head ComparisonDuring our tests, we made a note of a few key factors. Here’s how both services compare head-to-head.
User Experience (UX)This one is not even close. IncFile wins in a landslide. IncFile offers a simple, smooth, and seamless user experience complete with a modern interface, clean dashboard, and eye-pleasing colors. LegalZoom’s site, on the other hand, looks like it hasn’t been updated since the law was invented. Now, compare that to this: Choose your entity and your state. Next, click LAUNCH MY BUSINESS. From there, you’re taken to a simple form generator: LegalZoom makes you enter your LLC’s name first: Then it makes you enter your email. The process is everything but smooth. Winner: IncFile.
ExperienceLegalZoom is far more experienced. They claim to have formed over 1 MILLION LLCs and helped over 2 MILLION customers. IncFile has helped about 250,000+ businesses. This is one reason why LegalZoom charges such high prices. You pay for the name. Winner: LegalZoom.
ReviewsIncFile has stellar reviews across the web and with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). LegalZoom not so much. Both have an A+ rating with the BBB, but there’s a vast difference: IncFile is popular with customers. Here’s LegalZoom’s profile: Average rating of just above 1 star. Here’s IncFile’s: Nearly 4.5 stars. If you want to read more on what makes IncFile a great option, check our article on IncFile. There are dozens of complaints about LegalZoom’s customer service, and even more about unfair fees and improper use of credit cards. We did not have any of these issues, but many customers aren’t so lucky. Winner: IncFile.
ComplianceBoth companies offer compliance services such as tax filings, reporting, and company changes. LegalZoom’s annual reporting is cheaper than IncFile’s, but the quality of service is about the same throughout. The only advantage we give IncFile is that their services are a bit faster and easier to access. Everything else is a wash. Winner: Tie.
FeaturesLastly, we want to touch on features included in each package quickly. LegalZoom has far more services than IncFile. However, IncFile offers more VALUE in each package. For example, IncFile costs less but includes more services such as registered agent, a business bank account, and free tax consultation. None of these are included in any LegalZoom package. The only tangible value from LegalZoom’s upgrades is the speed. Winner: IncFile.
ContractsLegalZoom is the more comprehensive service of the two. IncFile specializes in launching your business. LegalZoom is a complete legal solution. LegalZoom’s documents/forms/contracts support is excellent. Their library has hundreds of documents including everything from Employee Written Warnings to Non-Disclosure Agreements. This is one reason why we recommend LegalZoom to large, complex businesses. Creating a custom document for every legal situation imaginable is as easy as clicking a few buttons. Who Should Use IncFile?
- Entrepreneurs on a budget who need the most affordable service
- Small and mid-sized businesses who only need to incorporate
- Anyone who wants the fastest, most straightforward incorporation service
- Those who don’t need regular legal services and don’t need family, real estate, or intellectual property law assistance
- Large businesses with complex legal needs
- Entrepreneurs who foresee needing regular help
- Those who need help with forms or contracts