Forming a business can be a relatively long and complex process. Or, at least, he used to before sites like Incfile and LegalZoom came along. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or running your operation entirely online, you need to get all your paperwork in order before you sell a single product.
But which is better, LegalZoom or Incfile? Unfortunately, it is impossible to answer without first reviewing some variables and situational elements. However, at the end of this comparison guide, you should be armed with enough information to make the right choice for yourself and your business. Here’s everything you need to know about LegalZoom vs Incfile.
What is LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is a website designed to help businesses and individuals access various legal documents and assistance. While many of these services are geared toward forming companies like LLCs, LegalZoom covers many other topics as well. The site was founded in 2001 and has helped millions of businesses and families get the legal help they need for a variety of situations.
In addition to business formation, LegalZoom helps with trusts, wills, copyrights and trademarks, and more. Users can also get legal advice from a real lawyer, should they need it. Overall, this site is like a one-stop shop for all kinds of legal documents and assistance, allowing users to access these items without having to pay a down payment.
What is Incfile?
Incfile is a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start their businesses. Since 2004, the site has helped more than 800,000 companies file the correct paperwork for all types of companies, including C corporations, LLCs, S corporations, and even nonprofit organizations. Incfile offers access to various documents and tools, including employer tax IDs, virtual addresses, registered agents, and even tax consulting.
Another important element of Incfile is that it offers a ton of useful information for new businesses. The site’s resource center can help entrepreneurs learn more about how to file a DBA, different state requirements for starting a company, and even a business name generator.
Which is better LegalZoom or Incfile?
As you can see, while there is some overlap, both sites cater to slightly different audiences. LegalZoom focuses on the legal side of running a business or starting a will, while Incfile is solely dedicated to helping entrepreneurs. So, it’s hard to say if one is “better” than the other. Realistically, you can use both sites to achieve different goals. That said, let’s break down the areas where these sites overlap so you can determine which one might work best for your particular situation.
Costs and Fees
The amount you pay for each site depends on what you are trying to find. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different fees you’ll pay for specific features, including:
- Business training – LegalZoom charges $79 to file your business documents. This fee is in addition to any state fees you may have to pay, which vary from state to state. Incfile does not charge anything in addition to state fees.
- Registered agent services -When forming an LLC, you need something called a registered agent to act on behalf of your business. LegalZoom charges $299 per year for these services, while the first year is free through Incfile. After the first year, you pay only $119 per year.
- Employer ID Number (EIN) Enrollment Service. – If you want to get your EIN for free, you can contact the IRS directly. However, if you want to avoid messing with that, you can pay LegalZoom $79 for their efforts or Incfile $70 for the same service.
- Operating Agreement – LLCs and corporations need operating agreements that describe the business structure. Incfile provides a free operating agreement with your training documents. However, LegalZoom charges $99 for this document.
As you can see, Incfile costs much less across the board. So, if you are looking to save some cash when starting your business, choose Incfile.
Ease of use
Both sites are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Also, each site offers full customer support, although you must submit your request within certain hours. Email is often the best way to get help, but both sites have customer service agents available by phone as well.
If you are strictly trying to start a business, Incfile’s layout is a bit simpler because the entire website is dedicated to helping you succeed. In comparison, many pages on LegalZoom are unrelated to starting a new company, so getting lost is a bit easier.
Breakdown of features available on each site
Rather than scroll through each site to see what they have to offer, here is a breakdown of the different services you can find on LegalZoom and Incfile.
Features of LegalZoom
Features of Incfile
- Business training services – As we mentioned, you can start an LLC, corporation, or non-profit with Incfile. Forming these businesses is also cheaper if you choose the basic membership package.
- Registered agent services – Incfile acts as your registered agent, and since the first year is free, you could also benefit. You can also use this first year to determine if you want to use someone else as a registered agent, including yourself.
- Trademark filing – While Incfile doesn’t offer as much intellectual property protection as LegalZoom, you can file a trademark and get legal assistance in doing so. Incfile can also look at previous marks to see if yours is violating any existing entities.
- EIN registration – If you don’t want to deal with the IRS, Incfile costs a bit less to register and get an employer ID number.
- Document templates – Similar to LegalZoom, you can find templates for various business-related documents, such as operating agreements and bank resolutions. There are fewer options here than on LegalZoom.
- Business Resource Center -This resource center offers valuable information on everything from managing your business finances to getting help with taxes. You can also download eBooks and white papers that explain how to start and run a business from scratch.
- Online Business Dashboard – With so many items to keep track of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized. Incfile keeps everything in one place with an easy-to-use dashboard system.
- Website and email setup – All modern businesses need a website to reach new customers. Incfile also acts as a domain host and website builder so you can get started right away. However, if you want to build something more complete, we recommend working with a dedicated web builder platform such as Wix or WordPress.
Who is Incfile best for?
If you’re just trying to start a business from scratch and want to make it as affordable as possible, Incfile is one of the most important resources out there. Not only can you take care of filing and registration, but you can also access tons of useful information to help your new company thrive.
Who is LegalZoom best for?
If you need additional legal services or want to take care of personal legal documents (ie wills and trusts), it makes sense to start a LegalZoom account. Also, if you know you will need assistance from an actual attorney, it is cheaper and more accessible to use this site than to contact a law office directly.
Bottom line: Is LegalZoom better than Incfile, or Vice Versa?
When it comes to forming a business, both sites offer very similar features and benefits. However, Incfile has a slight advantage because its singular goal is to help entrepreneurs build their companies from the ground up. That said, LegalZoom is an excellent online resource for various legal documents and advice, meaning you could use both sites together.
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