Direct Incorporation vs. ZenBusiness key differences

ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation are two popular companies in the LLC services industry, and we’re quite confident in either company’s abilities to form your compliant business entity efficiently.

We offer LLC formation service for free (just pay your state’s fee), which is $170+ cheaper than Direct Incorporation’s entry-level LLC package. In addition, we have thousands of positive customer reviews available online, whereas Direct Incorporation has a few dozen.

Would you like to learn the details that set these service providers apart, as well as the common characteristics both share? Read on as we discuss all the information you need to make a decision between these two respected companies.

7 Things They Have in Common

1) Affordable: With either ZenBusiness or Direct Incorporation, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your LLC formation compared to hiring a business attorney to handle your formation process.

2) Valuable Features: Both of these companies have feature-rich LLC formation service packages.

3) Efficiency: Whether you choose ZenBusiness or Direct Incorporation, you’re getting a service provider that’s capable of processing an LLC formation quickly. If you’re in a hurry, both have options available that can speed up your formation (for an additional fee, of course).

4) Experience: Both Direct Incorporation and ZenBusiness have helped form thousands of businesses over the years, and both have plenty of expertise. You can definitely trust these companies to have the experience necessary to form your compliant LLC.

5) Trustworthy: These are both legitimate operations with strong track records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies, but well-respected entities that know how to get the job done right.

6) Additional Services: LLC formation is far from the only service offered by ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation. Both have tons of other services available, from registered agent service to foreign qualifications and much more. These are one-stop shops for business services.

7) Customer Support: These two services both have customer support networks that can answer your tough questions. Why go it alone when you can get help from ZenBusiness or Direct Incorporation?

Direct Incorporation vs. ZenBusiness Comparisons


ZenBusiness: We offer LLC service for free (just pay your state’s fee). If you’re looking for some advanced features, our $199 Pro package adds ongoing compliance assistance, an operating agreement template, an employer identification number (EIN), and faster processing. You also might like our $299 Premium plan, as it adds a business website builder, a domain name, a business email address, and 25+ business document templates.

Direct Incorporation: Their starting price point for business formation is $174 plus the state’s fee. However, this package does include six months of registered agent service, and they’ll also obtain your EIN. Their higher-cost plans are intriguing for the right entrepreneur, as they include advanced features that some competitors don’t offer. So, if you’re in the market for features like custom logos, web design, trademark protections, and more, Direct Incorporation could be worth a look.


ZenBusiness: We were founded in 2017 in Austin, Texas. Since then, we’ve served 500,000+ customers. We’re a public benefit corporation that provides $5,000 grants to help our customers kickstart their businesses.

Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation opened in 2003, and as a mid-sized company, they’ve served more than 80,000 customers since then.

Customer Support

ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness provides access to our customer service team by phone, email, or web chat. We have expanded availability that even includes Sundays — very few competitors have any weekend availability. We pride ourselves in continuously improving the quality and responsiveness of our customer support, and we believe we compare favorably to the vast majority of competitors in this area.

Direct Incorporation: One of the things we appreciate about Direct Incorporation is the fact that they provide a full list of every employee’s direct contact information on their website. If you need specialized support, it’s easy to look through the list and find the right person to talk to about your questions or concerns. If you would rather contact their general support line, you can also do that via phone or email.

Turnaround Times

ZenBusiness: With ZenBusiness, all formation speeds vary based on state capabilities. Also, if you’re in a hurry, you can choose one of our premium packages to speed things up a bit. When compared to other formation services, we are usually either just as fast or slightly faster. To find out your turnaround time, simply plug in your state and immediately see your estimated processing speed.

Direct Incorporation: Their processing speeds are also based on state turnarounds, so they can be as quick as a few days or as slow as several weeks, depending on the requirements of your specific state. They also usually file your paperwork with the state by the next business day, and you can find all of their state-by-state formation speeds listed conveniently on one page on their website.

Customer Reviews

ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness excels when it comes to customer feedback, as we have more than 12,000 reviews available online, and nearly all of them are positive. Our clients are clearly satisfied with our services, and they frequently praise our efficiency, along with the general ease of use provided by our platform.

Direct Incorporation: Direct Incorporation has a few dozen reviews across the web. While a slight majority of their reviews are positive in nature, they also have more than just a small handful of negative reviews, and they clearly don’t have nearly the volume of feedback that some competitors have.

Ease of Use

ZenBusiness: Forming a new business entity is simple with ZenBusiness. You’ll start by selecting your formation package, then you’ll provide us with some basic information about yourself and your business. After that, we’ll take care of the rest. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Direct Incorporation: In our experience, you can fill out their order form in under 15 minutes, and the entire process is streamlined and easily understood. Recently, they also redesigned their package selection screen, improving it from a somewhat convoluted setup to a much simpler presentation.

Additional Services

With either Direct Incorporation or ZenBusiness, you can access a variety of additional business services. There are several services that you can purchase from either of these companies, like registered agent service, annual reports, operating agreement templates, amendments, and more. However, each company has some exclusive services as well.

For instance, only ZenBusiness offers publication service in states that require it for LLC formations (like New York), while Direct Incorporation provides access to a selection of advanced services, including trademark monitoring, as well as compliance assistance and tax advice through their Executive Club service.

Which is the best LLC service for you?

ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation have plenty of common characteristics that make these companies two of the most popular LLC formation services available, but there are also some major differences. If you haven’t yet made up your mind between these options, let’s finish this comparison by quickly describing some scenarios that may sway your opinion one way or the other.

🎉 Choose ZenBusiness if:

Our free (+ state fee) LLC formation service package is a great bargain that’s tough to top. We also have thousands of positive customer reviews available online. If these attributes appeal to you, we should be an excellent choice for your LLC service.

➦ Choose Direct Incorporation if:

If your company can take advantage of its advanced features, Direct Incorporation’s LLC service can be worth the money. On the other hand, many businesses don’t need these features.

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Top Features

More InfoWe do everything needed to file your application with the state and make your business official. Standard LLC Filing
More InfoWe’ll file your paperwork quickly and accurately. If there are any errors with your filing, our team will do what’s needed to make it right. 100% Accuracy Guarantee
More InfoKeeps you compliant with all state-required annual report and amendment filings to maintain LLC protections and avoid fines. Worry-Free Compliance
More InfoThis essential document is like the constitution for your business. Operating Agreement
More InfoOur fastest service puts you to the front of our line of filings. Our Fastest Filing Speed
More InfoOur team will secure your EIN from the IRS so you can open a business bank account, hire employees, and pay taxes. EIN
More InfoIncludes over 25 templates for contracts, service agreements, waivers, and more. Business Documents
More InfoGet online with a website builder tool optimized for traffic and customers. Business Website Builder
More InfoBuild and protect your brand by registering a private domain name that matches your business name. Domain Name with Privacy
More InfoStay organized and give your business more credibility with a business email. Business Email Address

File in 2 to 3 weeks **

1 year free, then $199/yr*

File in 1 to 5 days **

*SPECIAL OFFER – Get Starter for $0 plus state fees. Includes one optional free year of Worry-Free Compliance that renews at $199/yr.
**These filing times are averages and include our processing times and Secretary of State turnaround times which vary by state.

Frequently Asked Questions About ZenBusiness and Direct Incorporation

  • It’s hard to not be a fan of our Starter plan because it’s free as long as you pay your state’s required fee. If you’re looking for some more advanced features, our Pro package ($199 + state fee) adds ongoing compliance assistance, EIN acquisition, an operating agreement template, and faster filing. Meanwhile, our Premium package ($299 + state fee) adds a business website builder, a business email address, a domain name, and 25+ business document templates to the Pro package.

  • While some competitors won’t handle state-specific compliance requirements on your behalf, we provide a truly comprehensive LLC formation service. This means that if you’re forming a business in a state that requires publication service to form a compliant LLC, we’ll offer to take care of it for you. For example, here’s our description of our New York publication service. Direct Incorporation doesn’t offer assistance with publication services in any state.

  • Direct Incorporation’s refund policy is pretty strict. At best, you’ll get a refund less a $40 processing fee, but “any order that has been partially processed and has had formation documents sent to the state’s office for filing, and/or trademark documents sent to the USPTO is nonrefundable.”

    Meanwhile, our refund policy is one of the most reasonable in the industry. While many competitors have vague refund policies or even refuse refunds outright, we offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.

  • Quite a few people do choose to form their own LLCs using the do-it-yourself option. We don’t typically recommend that our readers try the DIY route though, because every state has different rules and regulations for LLC formations, and it can be a hassle to figure out exactly what your state requires.

    Additionally, there’s no substitute for the peace of mind we receive from professional services. These companies have so much experience that you can sit back and relax, knowing the entire process is being handled by professionals.

  • We have a significant advantage over most other companies in this industry, Direct Incorporation included. That, of course, is our outstanding offer of a free (+ state fee) business formation package. Our thousands of positive customer reviews are another nice advantage for us.

    Direct Incorporation has a few of its own advantages, with the biggest one being advanced features. If your company wants branding or marketing tools, Direct Incorporation’s higher-priced packages can be appealing.

  • You can get assistance with ongoing compliance issues by using either of these services, as both have several features that can help you maintain your good standing with the state. With ZenBusiness, registered agent service costs $199 per year, and we also have annual report service available for a rate of $100. Direct Incorporation offers these features as well, with annual reports costing $97 and registered agent service costing $159.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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