Starting a business can be quite a lengthy and complex process. Or at least it was before sites like Incfile and LegalZoom came along. Whether you’re starting a brick-and-mortar business or running your business entirely online, you need to get all your paperwork in order before selling a single product.
But which is better, LegalZoom or Incfile? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to answer without first studying a few variables and situational elements. However, at the end of this comparison guide, you should be armed with enough information to make the right decision for you 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 a variety of legal documents and assistance. While many of these services are focused on setting up companies such as LLCs, LegalZoom also covers many other topics. Founded in 2001, the site has helped millions of businesses and families get the legal help they need in a variety of situations.
In addition to business incorporation, LegalZoom helps with trusts, wills, copyrights and trademarks, and more. Users can also get legal advice from a real lawyer if they need it. Overall, this site is like a one-stop shop for all kinds of legal documents and help, allowing users to access these items without having to pay a deposit.
What is Incfile?
Incfile is a site designed to help entrepreneurs start a business. Since 2004, the site has helped over 800,000 companies file correctly for all types of companies, including C corporations, LLCs, S corporations, and even nonprofits. Incfile offers access to a variety of documents and tools, including employer tax identification details, virtual addresses, registered representatives and even tax consultations.
Another valuable part of Incfile is that it offers a lot of useful information for new businesses. The site’s resource center can help entrepreneurs learn more about how to file a DBA, various state incorporation requirements, and even a business name generator.
Which is better LegalZoom or Incfile?
As you can see, while there is some overlap, the two sites are intended for slightly different audiences. LegalZoom focuses on the legal side of running a business or setting up a will, while Incfile is dedicated solely to helping entrepreneurs. So it’s hard to say if one is “better” than the other. In fact, 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 page depends on what you’re trying to get. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different fees you have to pay for specific features, such as:
- Business formation – LegalZoom charges $79 to file your business documents. This fee is on top of any state fees you may have to pay, which vary from state to state. Incfile does not charge anything except government 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, with the first year free through Incfile. After the first year, you pay just $119 per year.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) registration services. – You can contact the IRS directly to get your EIN for free. However, if you want to avoid this, you can pay LegalZoom $79 for their efforts or Incfile $70 for the same service.
- Operating agreement – LLCs and corporations need operating agreements that outline the structure of the business. Incfile provides an operating agreement for free with your incorporation documentation. However, LegalZoom charges $99 for this document.
As you can see, Incfile costs much less in general. So if you want to save some money when starting your business, choose Incfile.
Ease of use
Both sites are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Each site also offers comprehensive customer support, although you have to submit your inquiry within certain hours. Email is often the best way to get help, but both sites have customer service representatives available by phone.
If you’re strictly trying to start a business, Incfile’s layout is a little easier because the entire website is dedicated to helping you succeed. In comparison, many of the pages on LegalZoom aren’t related to starting a new company, so it’s a little easier to get lost.
A breakdown of the features available on each page
Instead of scrolling through each site to see what they offer, here’s a breakdown of the different services you’ll find on both LegalZoom and Incfile.
- Business establishment services – As we mentioned earlier, with Incfile you can form an LLC, corporation, or non-profit organization. These businesses are also cheaper to set up if you choose a basic membership package.
- Registered agent services – Incfile acts as your registered agent, and since the first year is free, you can also take advantage. You can also use the first year to determine whether you want to use someone else, such as yourself, as your registered agent.
- Trademark filing – Although Incfile doesn’t offer as much intellectual property protection as LegalZoom, you can file a trademark and get legal help. Incfile can also search for prior trademarks to see if yours will infringe on any existing entities.
- EIN registration – If you don’t want to deal with the IRS, it costs a little less to register and get an employer identification number with Incfile.
- Document templates – Like LegalZoom, you can find templates for various business-related documents, such as operating agreements and bank decisions. There are fewer options than on LegalZoom.
- Business Resource Center – This resource center offers valuable information on everything from managing business finances to help with taxes. You can also download eBooks and white papers that outline 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 confused. 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 works as a domain host and website builder, so you can get started right away. However, if you want to create something more complex, we recommend working with a specialized web development platform such as Wix or WordPress.
Who is Incfile best for?
If you’re trying to start a business from scratch and want to do it as cost-effectively as possible, Incfile is one of the most valuable resources. Not only can you take care of the filing and registration, but you can also gain access to a wealth of useful information that will 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 set up a LegalZoom account. Also, if you know you’re going to need help from an actual lawyer, it’s much cheaper and more accessible to use this site than to contact a law firm directly.
Bottom line: Is LegalZoom better than Incfile or vice versa?
When it comes to starting a business, both sites offer very similar features and benefits. However, Incfile has a slight advantage because its unique purpose is to help entrepreneurs build their companies from the ground up. This means LegalZoom is an excellent online resource for a variety of legal documents and advice, meaning you can use both sites at the same time.
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