User experience & onboarding
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.
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.
LegalZoom's onboarding is seemless through a interview chat flow style, similar to the questionnaire chat of ZenBusiness. Both LegalZoom and ZenBusiness aim to provide customized add-ons, dependent on the specific needs of the business owner. The big difference is while LegalZoom integrates transparent pricing for each of its add-ons throughout onboarding, ZenBusiness waits until the questionnaire is complete to display pricing.
ZenBusiness' solid 3 business day processing time for the starter package is very swift by industry standards, although not reaching the fastest times of same day or next day processing. LegalZoom, on the other hand, is substantially slower, with twenty day processing times. These speeds may put LegalZoom faster than an attorney but don't stack up compared to the competition within the business formation space.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.