If the goal is to set up an LLC in the United States as quickly, cheaply and painlessly as possible, there are plenty of avenues to explore. For entrepreneurs choosing online legal services over the conventional pathway, the whole LegalZoom vs Incfile argument will undoubtedly come into consideration.
Both LegalZoom and Incfile are designed to save time, effort and money on the usual LLC establishment process. Setting up a LegalZoom LLC or Incfile LLC can be exponentially quicker and cheaper than opting for traditional legal representation. You can take a closer look at Incfile here.
The question being - is LegalZoom good enough to rely on as a business establishment service? Is Incfile legit, or are you taking a risk by doing business with an exclusively online service provider?
That’s what we’ll be taking a look at in this detailed Incfile vs LegalZoom comparison. You’ll also find further information on the best LLC formation services on the web in this review, or you can explore more top LLC formation services in this review.
LegalZoom vs Incfile
Covering the basics first, LegalZoom and Incfile were both created to provide new and existing entrepreneurs with quick, convenient and cost-effective access to a wide variety of legal services. Given that the average costs of hiring a lawyer in the traditional sense range from $100 to $1,000 per hour in the United States, opting for an online legal service can bring about enormous savings.
Both LegalZoom and Incfile provide all the services and support required to register and launch a new business. However, LegalZoom takes things a step further by offering additional services such as trademark registration and will writing.
LegalZoom and Incfile have been around for pretty similar periods of time - LegalZoom having been established in 2001, followed shortly afterwards by Incfile in 2004. Though the companies differ significantly in terms of size - LegalZoom having approximately 1,100 employees, compared to the 50 or so people working for Incfile.
Do LegalZoom and Incfile Offer Good Value?
Kicking off the direct Incfile vs LegalZoom LLC comparison, how do the two companies compare in terms of overall value for money? LegalZoom pricing is (at a glance) slightly higher than that of Incfile, but there’s actually very little between them where overall value for money is concerned.
It depends entirely on what you expect to get out of the deal, which is something we will get to a little later. Both services excel in different areas, therefore could be said to offer equally good value for different customers with different objectives in mind.
Things They Have In Common
LegalZoom and Incfile share many similarities, in that they specialize primarily in a select handful of services for new and established entrepreneurs. For example:
- Both companies can help you setup and launch a new LLC
- Incfile and LegalZoom customer support standards are excellent
- Both offer advisory services and registered agents
- Free initial trials (or introductory periods) are available with both
You’ll also find that both services are neck-and-neck when it comes to customer reviews and recommendations - highly impressive and reassuring in both instances.
Side by Side Comparisons
Available at a flat fee of $299 for the first year
Free for 1 year, then $119 annually
Consultations with lawyers available
One free consultation of 1-hour
Order Processing Time
Next business day
1 month free then charged at $320 per year
Free alerts for the lifetime of the membership
Web Domain and Hosting
Website domain and hosting costs $20 per month and is offered via Snapweb
Pricing (The Main Differences)
Taking a closer look at pricing, both services not only offer three different packages to suit most requirements, but are also quite evenly matched in terms of overall costs. Here’s how it looks at LegalZoom and Incfile right now:
The three subscription packages up for grabs at LegalZoom are Economy, Standard, and Express Gold.
This introductory package is charged at $0 plus applicable state filing fees, with an average 30-day turnaround time. According to the LegalZoom website, key features in this package include business filing, business name check, articles of organization, lifetime customer support and access to helpful online resources.
Step things up to the Standard package and turnaround times are reduced to 15 days at a cost of $329 plus applicable state filing fees. All of the services from the Economy package are provided, along with added extras including a deluxe organizer, official seals and certificates, LegalZoom’s VIP Processing Service and more.
The Express Gold package is the most popular choice for most entrepreneurs, charged at $349 plus state filing fees with a turnaround time of 7 to 10 working days. The Express Gold package is largely identical to the Standard package, though guarantees much faster turnaround times and includes express shipping.
Incfile LLC Pricing
Over at Incfile, it’s a pretty similar story with three subscription packages to choose from - Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Opt for the Silver service which is charged at $0 plus applicable state fees and you’ll gain access to a simple yet useful range of services, including preparation and filing of articles of organization, free registered agent for a year and unlimited name search.
The gold package steps things up significantly, at a cost of $149 plus applicable state fees. Additional services offered as part of the gold package include business tax consultation, lifetime company alerts, operating agreement, online access dashboard, IRS form 2553, business banking account and unlimited support.
As is the case with LegalZoom, the Platinum package at Incfile includes all of the services provided in the other two packages, though with expedited filing, express FedEx delivery and prioritized customer support. Business contract arm plates are also available as part of the Platinum package.
LegalZoom’s packages are therefore slightly more expensive than those of Incfile, but the two services are extremely closely matched in terms of service provision and value for money.
Notable Features Compared
Taking a look at the main features of LegalZoom first, this is primarily a business formation service that can assist with the establishment of various different types of businesses. Whether looking to set up an LLC, a sole proprietorship, an S Corp or even a nonprofit organization, LegalZoom will help you choose a name for your business, register your company and obtain the licenses and permits you need to do business.
LegalZoom also offers a wide variety of additional services for its registered customers, including legal forms, certificate of good standing, estate planning documents, preparation of a final will and testament, document preparation for marriage or divorce, preparation of title deeds, trademark registration, intellectual property protection advice and access to direct legal support with qualified and experienced attorneys.
Likewise, Incfile was created primarily as a new business establishment service for new and existing entrepreneurs. Along with assisting with the registration and establishment of new businesses, additional services available at Incfile include company name availability checks, online order status tracking, lifetime company alerts, lifetime company support, one-year free registered agent service, full preparation and filing of articles, business tax consultation and online access to incorporation documents.
In terms of primary features, LegalZoom has the edge as it is the only one of the two to offer intellectual property findings, real-time consultations with experienced solicitors and access to customer legal forms.
Both LegalZoom and Incfile have been optimized and improved continuously over the years, resulting in a streamlined and uncomplicated user experience in both instances. Complex forms and unnecessary extras have been removed from the equation - you simply enter the required information and LegalZoom/Incfile takes care of everything else on your behalf.
If any difficulties are encountered along the way (which is highly unlikely), you can submit questions to the respective customer support team accordingly.
Ease of Use
As outlined above, it really couldn’t be easier to get a new business off the ground using LegalZoom or Incfile. Even if you have no past experience in business ownership or entrepreneurship, you’ll find the process an absolute breeze.
With both companies, it takes no longer than around 30 minutes to enter the required information and submit your order.
Likewise, both companies have stepped up their customer support coverage over the years. LegalZoom and Incfile both offer lifetime customer support for registered users and can be contacted via email or telephone during normal business hours.
It’s too close to call in terms of customer support quality - both companies have knowledgeable, friendly and helpful teams of agents on standby at all times.
LegalZoom Customer Service
- Phone: 1-888-203-7652
- Email: support@legalZoom.com
IncFile Customer Service
- Phone: 844-830-8267
- Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Turnaround times for both LegalZoom and Incfile vary in accordance with the package you choose. With LegalZoom, for example, economy customers can expect an average turnaround time of 30 business days, while those who step up to the Express Gold package will have their orders fulfilled within 10 working days. With Incfile, turnaround times for paying customers vary from 5 to 7 business days.
Options are available with both companies to expedite document processing in urgent situations, though is a service available at an additional cost.
Upon registering with LegalZoom or Incfile, you will gain access to your own personal dashboard and account overview. Upon logging in, this is where you will be able to track the progress of your orders and the status of your LLC registration.
Additional information can be requested from the relevant customer support team if required, though all essential order tracking information is presented clearly on the user’s dashboard.
Registered Agent Service
A registered agent is considered essential for most entrepreneurs setting up a new business. This is the qualified and experienced individual who will provide formal representation of your business, while at the same time ensuring you receive timely notifications, important documents and so on.
Registered agent services are provided for LegalZoom customers at a price of $299 for the first year, while Incfile offers a registered agent service free of charge for one year, followed by a $119 yearly charge. In this instance, therefore, Incfile has the edge over LegalZoom.
Which is the Better LLC Service for You?
Choosing the right LLC service for you means carefully considering which of the services provided are most important, in accordance with your objectives. Incfile is cheaper and offers a free registered agent for the first year, while LegalZoom offers a much broader range of legal services and more comprehensive support.
Again, LegalZoom is the only one of the two to offer real-time consultations with experienced solicitors, trademark registration and intellectual property protection, assistance with filing business tax returns and so on.
➥ Choose Incfile if You Are:
Looking for fast and affordable assistance setting up an LLC, with no requirement for ongoing legal support or the direct input of trained solicitors.
➦ Choose LegalZoom if You Are:
Setting up a business and could benefit from a much broader range of legal services and the ability to consult directly with experienced legal professionals.
If I Decide to Use Incfile, Which Package Should I Choose?
The Gold package is the most popular choice at Incfile, as the only benefits it lacks are those of expedited processing and delivery times. It is a surprisingly affordable package when you consider how many features and services it includes, such as business tax consultation, lifetime company alerts, operating agreement, banking resolution, unlimited support, business banking account, EIN business Tax number and many more besides.
The Silver package is a little limited in terms of scope and you may find the added extras in the Platinum package unnecessary, unless you need to get your business registered and launched in a hurry.
Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?
Additional extras are available with both LegalZoom and Incfile, irrespective of the package you choose. Though in both instances, they are 100% optional. The one exception being that with LegalZoom, no registered agent is included as standard, therefore needs to be paid for at a flat rate of $159 for the first year.
The overall costs of LegalZoom are slightly higher than those of Incfile, though the list of the services provided by LegalZoom is significantly longer.
Do Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?
LegalZoom is definitely the better of the two as far as refund policies are concerned. At any time during the first 60 days, you can cancel your agreement and request a refund, with absolutely no cancellation fees or commissions to worry about. Simply contact the customer support team to submit your request and your account will be closed, no questions asked.
With Incfile, refunds are only available where customers’ requests have not yet been forwarded to the state. After which, no refunds of any monies paid for services are refundable. In addition, Incfile charges a standard $30 cancellation fee plus expenses.
Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?
Incfile has the potential to be the faster of the two services, typically processing orders within 5 to 7 working days. LegalZoom’s fastest Express Gold service has an average turnaround time of 7 to 10 working days.
Where business registration requirements are urgent, Incfile has the edge.
Does IncFile or LegalZoom Handle New York Publication Requirements?
If you are registering in a state such as Georgia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania or New York, it is a legal requirement to publish evidence of business formation in a local newspaper approved by the state.
This is not a service provided by LegalZoom or Incfile and must therefore be handled personally, or with the assistance of a specialist service provider.