Read the LegalZoom vs. Active Filings LLC review below or choose ZenBusiness today.
Are you looking to form a new limited liability company (LLC), but you’re not sure which of the many formation services can best assist you? Companies like Active Filings and LegalZoom can do the heavy lifting for you, but how do you know which one you should use? In this Active Filings vs. LegalZoom LLC service comparison, we’ll walk through their main commonalities and differences.
LegalZoom and Active Filings are both good LLC formation services, and either one of them can form a compliant entity. However, LegalZoom has a few advantages, starting with its strong customer feedback reputation. LegalZoom has thousands of mostly positive customer reviews available online, whereas Active Filings has very few reviews at all.
Another important point to note is that Active Filings’ pricing model can be hard to understand. For example, its top-tier LLC formation package (The Finisher) costs $150 more than its mid-tier package (The Sprinter) but adds no valuable features. If you would like to learn more about these two service providers, read on to discover all the relevant details.
Identify the LLC package and services that fit your needs and then get started.
1) Affordable: Active Filings and LegalZoom can save you hundreds of dollars over hiring a traditional business attorney to draft and file your Articles of Organization. Furthermore, given the relatively basic nature of the LLC as a business structure, you may not need a lawyer’s expertise in the first place.
2) Customer Support: Even though you’ll be saving a considerable amount of money, you still won’t be going it alone. With LegalZoom and Active Filings, you have access to their helpful customer service reps who can answer your questions. No need to waste time trying to find the answers for yourself.
3) Experience: Both companies have considerable experience. Active Filings and LegalZoom have each formed thousands of businesses over the years. They’re legitimate operations that know how to get the job done right.
4) Additional Services: If you want other business services like ongoing compliance assistance, registered agent service, or an operating agreement template, Active Filings and LegalZoom can help you with more than just your formation itself. There’s no need to shop around at multiple companies when you can get everything you need under one roof.
5) Educational: Looking for more info about business services before you buy? Still thinking about the do-it-yourself route? Whether or not you end up using Active Filings or LegalZoom for LLC service, their online blogs and learning centers are packed with free information about tons of business topics.
LegalZoom: While LegalZoom does offer a $0 (+ state fee) LLC package, the number of upsells can get overwhelming — and expensive. Its $249 Pro package adds an operating agreement template, EIN acquisition, and a business licensing guide, while its Premium package for $299 adds attorney guidance with your LLC formation. It costs $199 per year to add a registered agent service.
Active Filings: With Active Filings, The Starter package costs $0 (+ state fee) and includes one year each of registered agent service and ongoing compliance assistance. For $100, The Sprinter package adds an employer ID number (EIN) and business address, along with faster processing. However, the $250 Finisher package only adds a three-ring binder and decorative seal, making it hard to justify at this price point.
LegalZoom: LegalZoom has formed more than 2 million businesses and served 4+ million customers since it was launched in 2001.
Active Filings: Active Filings was founded in Miami, Florida, in 2001. On its website, Active Filings says that it has served more than 100,000 customers with business services over the years.
LegalZoom: LegalZoom offers phone and email support. We reached out twice via the email form on their site, but it took them a full week to respond. The response we received was generic, thanking us for reaching out but not answering our question.
When we contacted them via phone, our question was answered thoroughly. The representative went into detail about our different options and then sent us an email with their direct extension so that we could reach out directly with questions. Overall, while their customer service via phone is good, their online support could be improved.
Active Filings: Overall, we have no complaints about the quality of Active Filings’ phone or email support, as we’ve received prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable assistance from their reps. However, their hours of operation are very short (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays).
LegalZoom: Their turnarounds are based on which package you order rather than which state you’re forming in. With their most expensive package, you could receive your finalized business formation documents in 7-10 business days, but their cheaper packages take as long as 30 business days (six weeks).
Active Filings: With Active Filings, turnaround times depend on two things. First, each state has its own timelines for processing LLC formation paperwork. Secondly, Active Filings processes LLC formations a bit quicker if you order one of their premium packages as opposed to the free version.
LegalZoom: We found 6,000+ reviews for LegalZoom, and while they do have some negative reviews mixed in, a majority of this feedback is positive. Their satisfied customers often talk about how convenient and easy it is to use LegalZoom’s services.
Active Filings: We were unable to find many reviews of Active Filings’ services, as we only dug up a few dozen reviews on any given site.
LegalZoom: First, you’ll pick your business entity type (LLC, corporation, nonprofit) and which of LegalZoom’s three packages you’d like to purchase. From there, you fill out your business information and payment details over a series of screens that also include upsells for registered agent service, an operating agreement, an EIN, a license research package, ongoing compliance assistance, a tax consultation, ongoing legal guidance, standard or complex tax returns, a legal protection plan, two options for business bank accounts, expedited processing, and an LLC kit and seal.
Active Filings: The process of ordering LLC formation services from Active Filings is pretty simple. You’ll start by selecting your state and your business entity type (LLC, corporation, or nonprofit). Then, you choose which of Active Filings’ three LLC formation packages you’d like to purchase. From there, you only have one screen left to complete, where you’ll enter some basic information about yourself and your business and pay for the order.
With either Active Filings or LegalZoom, you have access to a selection of additional services that can help you grow and maintain your business. As you might expect, these companies offer many of the same services, as either can help you with ongoing compliance assistance, operating agreement templates, registered agent service, and more.
However, there are also some services that are only available from one company or the other. For instance, LegalZoom offers many personal services (including wills and estate plans), which Active Filings lacks. Meanwhile, Active Filings provides its customers with buy-sell agreements, a feature LegalZoom doesn’t offer.
Active Filings and LegalZoom have many similarities in the way they provide LLC service, but they also differ in a few key ways. Furthermore, depending on your specific needs and priorities, your preference may vary.
If you’re not yet decided between Active Filings and LegalZoom, let’s review a couple of scenarios that may sway you in one direction or the other.
If you want a free LLC formation service package that includes ongoing compliance assistance, Active Filings could be worth a look. In general, they’re a good LegalZoom alternative.
If you’re looking for low prices from a company with lots of positive reviews, LegalZoom might be a good choice for LLC service.
If you’d like to form your LLC for free (+ state fees), we’re here to help. ZenBusiness also has a much higher volume of positive customer feedback than either Active Filings or LegalZoom. Form your LLC quickly and get more tools to start your dream business.
Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions About LegalZoom and Active Filings
We think LegalZoom’s Basic plan for $0 (+ state fee) is a n excellent LLC formation service package. While it doesn’t include any advanced features other than a website package through a third-party partnership with Wix, it’s still hard to complain about getting your LLC formed for free.
LegalZoom doesn’t provide assistance with publication requirements. Active Filings does offer New York publication service, but you’ll need to contact them for a pricing quote. For more information on your options, check out our New York publication service.
In our opinion, Active Filings does a good job of avoiding annoying upsells throughout the ordering process. LegalZoom has quite a few upsells, potentially amounting to well over $1,000 if you opt into all of them.
With Active Filings or LegalZoom, you’ll have access to refund policies that are quite similar to ours at ZenBusiness. Active Filings has a 100% satisfaction guarantee that lasts for 90 days — you can request a refund anytime in those 90 days, and they’ll grant it. Meanwhile, LegalZoom has a similar policy that has a 60-day window.
Active FIlings’ turnaround times are primarily based on each state’s formation speeds. In addition, Active Filings offers faster internal processing for customers who purchase their premium packages rather than the free options. Meanwhile, LegalZoom bases its turnaround times on which package you purchase:
You can. In fact, plenty of people do form their own LLCs without assistance every day. However, we simply like to caution our readers that because every state has its own requirements to form an LLC, it can be a hassle to familiarize yourself with the details of your state’s specific rules and regulations.
In addition, we appreciate the peace of mind we get from hiring a professional service because we trust their expertise. Services like ours at ZenBusiness can form your LLC for free as long as you cover the state fee.
In our opinion, Active Filings’ offering of ongoing compliance assistance in every LLC formation package is an advantage over many competitors. As for LegalZoom, its biggest advantage is its customer feedback reputation, with thousands of positive reviews available online.
Active Filings offers a year of registered agent service and annual reports in each LLC formation package, and it also sells registered agent service separately for $99 per year. With LegalZoom, you can get registered agent service for $199 per year, and their annual report service is available for $99.
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.