Doola vs ZenBusiness

Features, pricing, and contract terms compared

Patrick Ward Patrick Ward Follow Published: Dec 08, 2022

Doola and ZenBusiness hold a similar market position: LLC and C-Corp setup for small to mid-size businesses. The key difference is that ZenBusiness is targeted at resident founders, while Doola has a stronger emphasis on non-resident US company setup. Otherwise the services are similar, although ZenBusiness is easier to understand for small consulting and e-commerce users. Doola is more tech-heavy, with an API product and a unique DAO-specific LLC service.

Content on this page does not constitute financial advice. It is intended for general information purposes only. NanoGlobals may be compensated when featuring partner brands.

Note: most of our clients choose ZenBusiness over Doola based on their longer track record and brand familiarity with investors.


3.2/5 stars

Doola has a strong emphasis on serving non-resident founders setting up US companies. For this demographic, they're a unique option unless VC is involved. ZenBusiness has a better overall service quality, especially for very small companies like one-person consulting operations and Etsy sellers.


4.8/5 stars

ZenBusiness primarily serves small to mid-size companies with zero or a handful of employees. They're a good choice for companies that have outgrown Sole Proprietor status and are looking for the next step in liability protection and tax planning.

Summary of key differences

Entry price$297 + state fees$0 + state fees
Standard processing time1–3 business day3 business days
Banking, mail, tax service
View PlansView Plans

Pricing Analysis: Doola vs ZenBusiness

Doola and ZenBusiness have similar pricing; Doola has higher costs and more free add-ons, while ZenBusiness offers more first-year promotions and discounts. ZenBusiness is the cheaper option with a $0 first-year formation offer. The cost of Doola makes more sense for high-growth startup founders and non-residents who will get strong value from the compliance and banking services. Everyone else is better served by ZenBusiness, especially now that they include compliance as a free perk for the first year.

Doola pricing

The base pricing from Doola is more expensive than ZenBusiness. However, note that pricing is impacted by state fees. For example, Doola customers setting up an LLC in Delaware will see an initial cost of $387 (package cost plus the state LLC fee). In Wyoming, the same package would cost $497 because of the higher state fee.

ZenBusiness pricing

ZenBusiness is the less expensive formation service offering compared with Doola. However, note that pricing is impacted by state fees. For example, ZenBusiness customers setting up an LLC in Delaware will see an initial cost of $90 (package cost plus the state LLC fee). In Wyoming, the same package would cost $200 because of the higher state fee.

Doola vs ZenBusiness market value analysis

Market average based on analysis of 10 formation services providers.
MetricMarket AverageDoolaZenBusiness
Lowest package price$124 before state fees$297 + state fees$0 + state fees
Formation processing time8 business days1–3 business day3 business days
Registered agent annual cost$164 Variable $49
Foreign qualification fee $142 Variable $49

User experience & onboarding

Doola offers a mix of developer-friendly and user-friendly products, with the centerpiece being their chat-based formation process. Their chatbot follows a strict if/else script to collect basic information about your business and provides recommendations along the way about which state to incorporate based on your inputs. While we don't agree with their suggestions in many cases, the service is free and helpful for some companies. 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 and nontraditional setups such as DAOs.

Formation speed

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 competitive area since both companies deliver similar results regardless of whether 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 lower ones in our index. It is based on Doola's value matrix for a clear demographic, but offset by issues including high cost of upsold services and low company history. On the plus side, Doola provides ultra-tailored tools for non-residents and DAOs rather than trying to serve every type of business.

The NanoGlobals editor's rating for ZenBusiness is based on a mix of their strong marks for smooth onboarding and package flexibility. Although their pricing trends moderate–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.

Author Credentials

Patrick Ward is an expert on working with startups and new businesses. He has 8 years experience serving tech-enabled companies with staffing and growth.

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