8 Best ZenBusiness Alternatives in 2023 (Compared)
While ZenBusiness used to offer quite a few benefits to entrepreneurs and startups looking to incorporate in the US, over time it became increasingly difficult to overlook its flaws. Many clients of the service have expressed dissatisfaction with the following:
- Additional Costs for Extra Services: There are hidden additional costs associated with certain services and features, which increase the overall price of using ZenBusiness.
- Ongoing Compliance Costs: While ZenBusiness provides an initial year of free registered agent service, there will be ongoing costs to renew this service in subsequent years.
- Limited Customization: Entrepreneurs with complex business needs often find that ZenBusiness's offerings are somewhat limited compared to more premium service providers.
- Customer Support Response Times: Users have reported longer response times during peak periods. If you need quick assistance, this could be a potential issue.
- Complex Legal Issues: While ZenBusiness can help with the initial business formation process, it may not be equipped to handle complex legal issues or provide extensive legal advice.
- Limited International Support: This is a deal-breaker for many users. ZenBusiness primarily serves customers within the United States, so if you are forming a business with international elements or require support for non-U.S. businesses, the service is quite lacking.
- Limited Industry-Specific Guidance: ZenBusiness provides limited industry-specific guidance or compliance services tailored to certain specialized industries. This could be a drawback for businesses with unique regulatory requirements.
These issues are a major challenge for ZenBusiness going forward, but this also creates an opportunity for competitors to take the initiative and seize a larger market share with better offerings.
In this article, we will explore a number of these competing products and services, and see how they stack against ZenBusiness.
Best ZenBusiness alternatives
The 8 best alternatives to ZenBusiness are:
- Rocket Lawyer
- Swyft Filings
- Northwest Registered Agent
Alternative #1: Firstbase
Firstbase specializes in helping startups, entrepreneurs, and remote teams to incorporate in the US by providing a range of services related to business formation and ongoing compliance. We provide all the tools you need to start your business abroad hassle-free. Like you, our flagship products will also help your business grow past the startup stage – we’re in this for the long haul.
We have tailored our service offering to our clients' real needs, not just metrics and data points. We fully commit to swift, transparent, and user-friendly business formation without strings attached. This has allowed us to punch above our weight and disrupt the mainstays of the legal tech market such as ZenBusiness.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of what we offer:
1. Price & Price Transparency
Firstbase is transparent and upfront about all our fees. There are no hidden costs involved, you get charged only for what you signed up for. And since our services are fully modular, you can choose only what you need.
2. Simplicity & Convenience
When you sign up for Firstbase, you can access all of our features from a central hub. This means no chopping and changing providers for different business tasks. This saves time and keeps things simple.
3. Good UX
Our platform is designed to provide the best possible UX. You can start your US business in just a few clicks. There are no complex activation procedures, complex forms to fill, or lengthy conversations with salespeople.
4. Firstbase Mailroom
As a part of our Mailroom service, you get a virtual inbox registered at a physical address, something no other service provider (including ZenBusiness) provides. Having a registered physical address in the US saves you a lot of legal trouble, making it much easier to meet compliance requirements.
5. Document generator
With Firstbase you can easily generate any legal documents you need to run your business successfully. Our document templates cover everything, and the service is completely free.
Firstbase offers a robust partnership for rewards with perks worth over $350,000. Once a customer signs up they have discounts with vendors such as Wix, Zendesk, Mercury, Stripe, Notion, Salesforce, Payoneer, Slack, and others.
7. Pre-EIN Bank Account
One of our unique features is the option to open a business bank account via our partner service Mercury, even before your EIN application is finalized. This lets you establish your financial infrastructure early in business formation, allowing you to seek venture capital immediately.
8. Accrual Accounting
Accrual accounting is a huge boon for startups and other early-stage business ventures, and is a feature seldom offered by ZenBusiness and other services.
9. Insurance Plans
We have several insurance plans available to keep your venture secure from risk. This makes operating in the US much easier and sends a clear trust signal to potential investors.
10. Growth Tools
Firstbase is not content to just help you start a business. We are here to help you grow, and our rewards system gives you access to website-building services, remote work tools, HR platforms, and more.
Each component and service that Firstbase offers is charged separately.
- Firstbase Start (one-time fee of $399) – Incorporate your US-based business in the state of your choice.
- Firstbase Agent ($99/$299/$599 per year, depending on plan) – Registered compliance agent in your state of choice. Three plans are available, Light, Autopilot, and Payroll.
- Firstbase Mailroom ($35/$50 per month, depending on plan) – Premium physical address and virtual mailbox. Two plans available, Basic and Premium.
- Firstbase Insurance (start at $26 per month) – Comprehensive protection for your enterprise.
- Firstbase Payroll ($599 per year) – Payroll registration service for hiring employees from any state regardless of your place of incorporation.
- Firstbase Loop (free) – Free tools to grow your business.
Try our interactive product demo. It’s free!
Alternative #2: Incfile
Incfile is an online business formation service designed to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners in the United States with the process of establishing legal entities such as LLCs and corporations. It offers a range of services aimed at simplifying the complexities often associated with starting a business.
One noteworthy aspect of Incfile is its affordability, featuring a free basic package option that appeals to budget-conscious users. Additionally, they provide user-friendly tools for online order tracking and access to essential business documents. However, it's essential to note that certain extra services come with additional costs, and even the free tier is not completely free (i.e. you still have to pay state fees).
Incfile can be a cost-effective solution for straightforward business formation needs, making it particularly useful for entrepreneurs looking to establish a basic business entity without the need for extensive add-ons or personalized support. However, businesses with more complex requirements or those placing a high value on extensive customer support may find alternative services better suited to their needs. In the end, you get what you paid for, and going for the cheapest route is not always the best option, especially when there are hidden costs.
- Business Document Access: Subscribers gain access to essential business documents and can track orders online, providing convenience.
- Expedited Filing: Incfile offers expedited filing services for those who need to fast-track their business formation, though it comes at an additional cost.
- Comprehensive Compliance Tools: Incfile provides a suite of compliance management tools and resources to help businesses stay on top of filing deadlines, annual reports, and other regulatory requirements.
Incfile offers three pricing packages to get a price estimate you need to specify the type of business and choose a country.
Alternative #3: LegalZoom
LegalZoom is an online service provider offering a wide array of legal services, including business formation, estate planning, and intellectual property protection. It is an established brand in the legal tech industry, serving individuals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses seeking affordable legal solutions.
LegalZoom provides access to a network of attorneys for legal advice and document review, which can benefit clients needing legal consultations. They offer comprehensive document preparation services, assisting with legal documents for various purposes. However, while their services can be convenient, they are often criticized for their higher pricing compared to some competitors.
LegalZoom is a versatile option for individuals and businesses requiring a range of legal services. It's suitable for scenarios where clients value brand recognition and are willing to pay a premium for legal assistance. However, those on a strict budget may need to carefully weigh the cost-benefit ratio of their services against more budget-friendly alternatives.
- Legal Document Library: LegalZoom offers an extensive library of legal forms and templates, allowing users to create custom legal documents for various purposes, from wills and trusts to contracts and patents.
- Attorney Network Access: Clients have the option to connect with licensed attorneys for legal advice, consultations, and document reviews, providing a valuable resource for those seeking professional guidance.
- Business Subscription Plans: LegalZoom offers subscription-based plans for businesses, granting access to a range of legal services, such as business formation, annual reports, and trademark registration, all bundled into a single package.
LegalZoom offers three pricing packages:
- Economy ($149 + filing fees between $50 and $750, depending on state) – standard processing, Wix website.
- Standard ($329 + filing fees between $50 and $750, depending on state) – priority processing, founder’s kit.
- Express Gold ($349 + filing fees between $50 and $750, depending on state) – fastest processing, founder’s kit.
Note that incorporating in another state incurs different filing fees.
Alternative #4: Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyeroffers a range of legal resources and tools for individuals and businesses. It aims to make legal services more accessible and affordable by providing an extensive library of legal documents, access to licensed attorneys, and DIY legal services.
Rocket Lawyer provides a combination of free and paid services, offering a selection of legal documents and forms for free while also providing premium subscription plans for more comprehensive legal assistance. This flexibility can be beneficial for those with basic legal needs but may result in costs for users who require more extensive legal support.
Rocket Lawyer offers a convenient platform for accessing legal documents and obtaining legal advice. It can be particularly useful for individuals and small businesses seeking affordable legal solutions for common legal matters, such as estate planning, contracts, and business formation. However, users should be cautious when exploring the pricing structure, as costs can accumulate, especially for those who rely heavily on premium services.
- On-Call Attorney Access: Rocket Lawyer provides subscribers with access to licensed attorneys for legal advice and document reviews, making it a valuable resource for individuals and businesses seeking professional guidance.
- Document Collaboration: Users can collaborate with others on legal documents in real-time, streamlining the process of document creation, editing, and sharing with colleagues or legal professionals.
- Legal Document Storage: Rocket Lawyer offers secure cloud-based storage for legal documents, ensuring easy access and organization of essential legal paperwork for clients and their businesses.
Rocket Lawyers is a subscription-based service with two payment tiers:
- Monthly ($39.99)
- Yearly ($239.99)
Signing up for the yearly service unlocks additional discounts for specialized services.
Alternative #5: Swyft Filings
Swyft Filings is a business formation service designed to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners in establishing legal entities in the United States. Like other service providers in this industry, it offers a range of services, including LLC formation, corporation formation, and registered agent services, with the goal of simplifying the process of starting a business.
One of Swyft Filings' notable features is its compliance tools suite and resources to help businesses stay up to date with ongoing state requirements. However, compared to some alternatives, their range of additional services is limited, potentially leaving users in need of more specialized assistance.
Swyft Filings can be a cost-effective choice for entrepreneurs seeking basic business formation services with clear pricing. It's particularly useful for those looking for a streamlined and affordable way to establish a legal business entity. However, businesses with more complex needs or those requiring extensive add-ons and support might find alternative services more suitable to meet their specific requirements.
- User-Friendly Platform: Swyft Filings provides clients with an intuitive and easy-to-navigate online platform, simplifying the business formation process for users of all experience levels.
- Compliance Tools: Swyft Filings offers a range of compliance management tools and resources to help businesses stay on top of filing deadlines, annual reports, and other regulatory requirements.
- Document Access: Clients can conveniently access and store important business documents and formation paperwork through Swyft Filings' online platform, streamlining document management and retrieval.
Swyft Filing offers three payment packages:
- Basic ($0 + state filing fees) – comprehensive name check, preparation of articles of incorporation, document filing with the Secretary of State, lifetime customer support (phone & email).
- Standard ($199 + state filing fees) – everything in Basic plus EIN, custom corporate bylaws, custom banking resolution, custom organizational minutes, instant electronic delivery of state documents upon formation.
- Premium ($299 + state filing fees) – everything in Basic plus fast processing speed, document templates, free business website & domain from Squarespace, ComplianceGuard free trial (Annual Report, Amendment, & Meeting Minutes), and more.
Alternative #6: MyCorporation
MyCorporation is an online business formation service that caters to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the United States. With over two decades of experience in the industry, they specialize in assisting clients in the process of establishing legal entities, including LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits.
MyCorporation is focused on personalized service options. They offer customization and support beyond basic business formation, allowing clients to tailor their services to their specific needs. Additionally, MyCorporation provides strong customer support, with experts available to assist clients throughout the process. However, their pricing is often higher compared to budget-friendly alternatives.
MyCorporation can be a valuable choice for clients seeking personalized business formation services and support from an established provider. It's well-suited for those who prioritize a high level of assistance and are willing to pay a premium for a more hands-on approach. However, exploring more budget-friendly options may be more practical for cost-conscious entrepreneurs with straightforward business formation needs.
- Industry Experience: MyCorporation boasts over two decades of experience in the business formation industry, offering clients the benefit of its long-standing expertise and knowledge.
- Personalized Service Options: MyCorporation provides customization and support beyond basic business formation, allowing clients to tailor their services to their specific needs and preferences.
- Strong Customer Support: MyCorporation offers high customer support with experts available to assist clients throughout the process, ensuring a hands-on and supportive approach to business formation.
MyCorporation offers 4 business formation packages with a different price tag:
- Basic ($99 + state fees) – articles of incorporation, name availability search.
- Standard ($124 + state fees) – everything in Basic, plus bylaws, minutes, waivers, annual report service.
- Deluxe ($224 + state fees) – everything in Standard, plus registered agent services.
- Premium ($324 + state fees) – everything in Deluxe, plus MaintainMyBiz services.
Alternative #7: BizFilings
BizFilings is an online business formation and compliance service catering to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Backed by Wolters Kluwer, an established information services company, BizFilings aims to simplify the complexities of starting and managing a business by offering a range of services, including LLC formation, corporation formation, and ongoing compliance support.
BizFilings provides comprehensive educational resources and tools, helping clients navigate the intricate landscape of business regulations. However, while BizFilings offers a robust platform, it is often perceived as pricier compared to some budget-friendly alternatives, potentially deterring cost-conscious users.
BizFilings is a reputable choice for individuals and businesses seeking comprehensive business formation and compliance solutions. It's particularly useful for those who value industry expertise, compliance support, and educational resources. However, due to its relatively higher pricing, it may be better suited for businesses with the budget to invest in a trusted provider or those with complex compliance needs.
- Educational Resources: BizFilings offers comprehensive educational resources and tools to help clients navigate the complex landscape of business regulations, providing valuable guidance for business owners.
- Customized Solutions: BizFilings provides tailored solutions for various industries and business types, ensuring that clients receive services specifically suited to their unique needs and compliance requirements.
- Wolters Kluwer Backing: Backed by Wolters Kluwer, a reputable information services company, BizFilings leverages industry expertise and resources to deliver reliable business formation and compliance services.
BizFilings offers a custom pricing model where clients can select from a long list of services and perks, each charged separately. The system is quite complex, so clients are nudged to go for the Complete package priced at $359 + state fees.
Alternative #8: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is a business services company specializing in registered agent and business formation services in the United States. Unlike other registered agent providers, Northwest takes a strong stance on privacy and security, emphasizing protecting clients' sensitive information.
One unique feature of Northwest Registered Agent is its commitment to privacy. They also offer a unique system for handling legal documents and notifications, ensuring they are processed promptly and securely.
Northwest Registered Agent is an ideal choice for businesses and individuals who prioritize privacy and security in their business operations. It's especially useful for those seeking a reliable registered agent service that goes above and beyond to safeguard sensitive information. However, it's essential to assess whether the added privacy and security benefits align with your business needs, as the service may come at a higher cost than more standard registered agent services.
- Privacy and Security: Northwest Registered Agent prioritizes client privacy and security by providing a physical address (not a P.O. Box) for registered agent services, adding an extra layer of confidentiality.
- Prompt Document Handling: Northwest ensures efficient and secure handling of legal documents and notifications, ensuring they are processed promptly and securely, reducing the risk of missed deadlines or important communications.
- Reputation for Reliability: Northwest Registered Agent has earned a reputation for its reliable registered agent services, making it a trusted choice for clients seeking a secure and professional point of contact for legal documents and state notifications.
Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t provide pricing information up-front. There are sample fees for particular services, but no official pricing guide.
What is the best ZenBusiness alternative?
Let’s summarize the best ZenBusiness alternatives for easy comparison.
Navigating the intricacies of business incorporation in the United States can be a complex endeavor, especially given the multitude of vendors offering seemingly comparable services. This complexity is further exacerbated by the ever-present risk of encountering unscrupulous actors in the process. While we've examined various vendors in this article, it's clear that only a handful aim to tackle these challenges comprehensively, and Firstbase shines as a standout among them.
For those seeking to unlock the myriad advantages of operating on U.S. soil, Firstbase emerges as the ideal partner to kickstart your business journey.