User experience & onboarding
Doola offers a mix of developer-friendly and user-friendly products, with the centerpiece being their chat-based formation process. Their chat bot follows a strict if/else script to collect basic information about your business, and provides a recomendations along the way about which state to incorporate in based on your inputs. Pricing is up-front, although the renewal fees aren't displayed until the end of the chat. To be fair, these fees can vary based on the state and formation type, which is probably why they info-gate it.
Onboarding for LegalZoom aims to demystify legal services with respect to business formation. Optionality is built-in to the flow with micro-chat questionnaire to help business owners determine the right type of business formation along with options to pick from a set menu with transparent pricing. Add-ons populate throughout the onboarding, but given the transparent pricing up front, it isn't a surprise to any prospective business owner.
Legal Zoom is an a-la-carte service, but in spite of the wide range of offerings, they do a good job of onboarding users with forms that push to the correct packages and add-ons. Doola's onboarding chat is more streamlined in our testing, but this largely comes down to the focus on a specific customer type (non-resident founders) at the company level.
Doola has a big lead on Legal Zoom when it comes to processing times, delivering your company setup more than a week faster in most cases. This is possible because Doola is set up to accomodate a specific type of customer, and has largely automated the process to support their white-labeled API product.
Doola's services are tailored around their API offerings, meaning that it's heavily automated and extremely fast. The only holdup customers will experience is with state processing times; Doola's processing times are effectively instant.
LegalZoom's twenty business day processing time is in the highest range for formation services. When compared to lawyers in general, this speed might seem swift, and indeed their services are indicative of the 'legaltech' market that reduces the cost of traditionally expensive legal advice. However, their formation speed is not up to scratch when compared to Business Formation-specific services that promise processing in a handful of days.
Are they worth the cost?
Doola is heavily focused on non-US residents, and is unique in their product offerings for specific LLC use cases such as DAOs. While their obvious competitors like Stripe Atlas focus on the venture-funded startup crowd, Doola provides tools for more modest e-commerce and software companies. In addition to formation, they offer basic legal and regulatory compliance services in the $1.5–3k range.
LegalZoom is geared towards both the SMB and Solopreneur markets, with a strong emphasis on the individual business owner themselves. Their positioning is indicative of trying to be a one-stop-shop for businesses that have legal needs but are fearful of the costly retainers incurred by an in-house counsel or legal contractor. LegalZoom's products look to cover the breadth of what an SMB or Solopreneur business owner would need - not only professionally such as formation, trademarks, and ongoing contracts, but also personal with products for estate planning, family law, and real estate.
NanoGlobals' editor's rating of Doola is among the highest we've given, and is based on Doola's value matrix of mid-low pricing combined with extremely clear customer segmenting. Rather than trying to serve everybody, Doola provides ultra-tailored tools for non-residents and DAOs. They also lead the market in terms of mixing non-technical onboarding tools with developer-friendly API offerings.
NanoGlobals editor's rating for LegalZoom reflects its comprehensive nature of legal services for an aspiring business owner. LegalZoom earns points for being more cost-efficient than regular attorney services along with ease of onboarding via chat and helpful introductory flows to their products. Unfortunately, they miss the mark on pricing and processing times when compared to the industry average, outweighing any perceived advantage of being legal experts since, like with all services in this formation niche, their recommendations don't constitute legal advice.