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 ZenBusiness is more complex than average, and they require new customers to complete a chat interview before showing their pricing. This is good for non-standard LLC and C-Corp setups, since it better accounts for additional fees. The price shown has fewer hidden fees than the industry norm.
Doola and ZenBusiness both use simple chat-based onboarding approaches. ZenBusiness provides much more nuance when it comes to small businesses run by US-based owners. Doola has more consideration for the needs of non-resident founders.
Doola and ZenBusiness both have fast processing times, with the main holdup being the processing times for state paperwork depending on the company type. Overall, formation time is not a competative area since both companies deliver similar results regardless of wether you're in the US or abroad.
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.
ZenBusiness promises a maximum of three days for most standard formations, placing it in the low-mid range for processing times among formation services. ZenBusiness commonly matches one-day services, but doesn't advertise it heavily because state processing systems can delay some formation types.
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.
ZenBusiness is targeted at traditional SMB and Bootstrapped Startups. Their messaging is focused on business owners who have standard SMB businesses that can be started with family and friends funding or personal savings rather than requiring investment from outside sources such as VCs, Private Equity or Wall Street. If your business concept falls into a quintessential SMB that will require a handful of employees but isn't likely to scale, ZenBusiness is targeted at you.
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.
The NanoGlobals editor's rating for ZenBusiness is based on a mix of their strong marks for smooth onboarding and package flexibility. Although pricing trends high compared with similar services, part of this is because they are transparent about add-on costs. They feature fewer hidden fees than the industry norm, and we like that they don't vary the recurring fees.