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Starting a new business will come with a lot of responsibilities. To avoid legal or financial troubles, you’ll need to take care of these responsibilities correctly. Ignorance is no excuse, and failure to comply is not taken lightly by local or federal agencies.
Fortunately, most of these obstacles are things you can take care of yourself. Coming up with a business idea, doing market research, and soft testing your product shouldn’t require much outside help. However, the legal aspects of starting a business can get complicated quickly.
One such legal hurdle is that you have to register your business officially. The process can be tricky to navigate by yourself, especially if you’ve never created a new business or registered a company before. You’ll have to take several steps that can be difficult to understand for newcomers.
For example, the first thing you’ll need to decide is the business structure that best fits your newfound company. There are five choices for business structures: limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. Depending on which option you select, you’ll be affecting how much you pay in taxes, the amount of personal liability you’re responsible for, and your ability to raise money from investors.
The ramifications of choosing the wrong business structure aren’t something to take lightly. You must select the right one when registering your business. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of money to fix your mistake.
It’s best to talk with the experts, such as LLC formation services, and let them handle the legal matters for you. ZenBusiness is one of the best LLC services to help small-business owners correctly register their businesses and avoid non-compliance with local, state, or federal laws.
What is ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness is a public benefit company based out of Austin, Texas. The company is venture funded and was founded by Ross Buhrdord in 2015. The company’s primary function is to provide everyday Americans with the tools they need to become entrepreneurs. ZenBusiness offers various features to help people properly register their startups, assist in the early launching stages, and successfully grow a business.
ZenBusiness headlines in late 2021 announced that recent investments totaled more than $200 million. The latest Series C funding round raised their overall valuation to $1.7 billion. The meteoric rise of ZenBusiness has made them Austin’s fastest-growing business. It’s also attracted the attention of big-time investors such as Mark Cuban, who recently joined as an advocate and spokesperson.
Who should use ZenBusiness?
The services offered by ZenBusiness are specifically designed to help regular people become entrepreneurs. That includes startups, gig workers, online sellers, freelancers, artists, real estate investors, or anyone looking to register a business. The process can often be intimidating for most people, which causes them to give up on their dreams early. ZenBusiness offers legal assistance during these critical, stressful, and confusing times.
It’s worth noting that ZenBusiness specializes in LLC and corporation formations. They might recommend you form a partnership or sole proprietorship during your consultation. In that case, you might be better suited to look elsewhere for help registering your business.
How much does ZenBusiness cost?
ZenBusiness offers three service tiers that include various features. ZenBusiness allows you to create a personalized plan, as you can opt-in for specific features at an extra cost. Doing so is especially beneficial if you only want one or two of the components for the next highest tier.
These are the three tiers and a rough overview of what they include:
The Starter plan is available for $49 plus any state fees or additional government charges. The features provided with this Starter package include:
- Articles of Organization filing
- Unlimited name availability searches
- Virtual business guide
- Registered agent services
- Standard filing speed of about two to three weeks
- Operating agreements and bylaws production
- Phone and email-based customer service support
- Online dashboard access to the ZenBusiness website
- Accounting consultations
- Google Ads credit
- Automatic expense tracking
- Tax deduction tagging
- Worry-Free Compliance for the first year
The Pro plan is available for $199 plus any additional fees. With the Pro package, you’ll have access to all of the features of the Starter plan in addition to add-on features such as:
- Customized and guided operating agreements
- Expediting filing service speed of about four to six days
- Banking resolution template
- Employer ID number creation
- Compliance checks and reminders
- Worry-Free Compliance
The Premium plan is available for $299 plus any additional charges. You’ll have access to all of the features of the Pro plan as well as:
- Online tools, including website creation, domain name, and email address
- Rushed filling speed of about one to two days
- All-inclusive legal services that handle any requirements of starting a business
What are the pros of using ZenBusiness?
The customer reviews for ZenBusiness have primarily been positive. Naturally, a few users have experienced some issues while using ZenBusiness. Here is an overview of the most commonly cited pros of ZenBusiness:
Every dollar counts when your business is still in its infancy. Using ZenBusiness is among the cheapest costs for most services on the market. You’ll likely be paying several times the money for similar features from competitors and ten times as much if you go through a business lawyer.
Creating your first business is a combination of exciting and terrifying. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. However, ZenBusiness provides careful and guided assistance during every step of the process. Meeting your incorporation needs and filing deadlines is simple as a ZenBusiness customer, with ease of use on their online site and excellent customer support. You’ll only need to spend a few minutes on your end, and ZenBusiness can take care of the rest.
There are a ton of specific add-on services that you can include in your plan instead of purchasing a different tier. These are a few of the most commonly sought-after services and their additional costs:
- Standalone registered agent: $99 ($149 when with compliance assistance)
- Expedited filing speed: $50
- Rushed filing speed: $100
- Annual report filing: $75
- Filing amendment: $100
- Certification of good standing: $75
- Business license report: $99
- Business document template library: $99
- Business bank account: $110 annually
- Banking resolution templates: $30
- Employer Identification Number filing: $70
- Worry-Free Compliance services: $119 annually
- Business Website: $100 annually
- Domain name registration: $25 annually
Exceptional turnaround time.
ZenBusiness is available in all 50 U.S. states (plus Washington, D.C.) and is exceptionally fast at forming a business, especially compared to other service providers. The most expensive pricing tier can have your business fully formed within a few days, even in the peak season. The less costly plans won’t get you through as quickly, but they’re still relatively fast compared to other options. At worst, it should only take a few weeks for your business to officially register and form.
The legal responsibilities of owning a business never end. You’ll need to file an annual report on a specific date every year. Failure to comply can result in severe financial penalties and the loss of good standing with the government. It can be easy for something such as this to slip your mind as you settle into being a business owner. ZenBusiness can help to keep you in good standing by sending you reminders, auditing your report, and helping you file on time.
Setting up your accounting and finances is an often overlooked aspect of starting a business. It can be much more complicated than you might think and difficult to navigate independently. ZenBusiness offers various accounting assistance, such as tracking invoices, filing taxes, and setting up your company books.
Establishing an online presence is essential for a modern business. Trying to go on your own when setting up your digital business can be time-consuming and expensive. ZenBusiness offers assistance with building a website for your business, acquiring a domain, and establishing a business email address. These services will help boost your business’s credibility and make it easier for customers to find it online.
What are the cons of using ZenBusiness?
Certain features are expensive.
ZenBusiness offers a large variety of features for new business owners. The problem is that many of these features aren’t beneficial for people only looking for registration help and filing documents. While you can pick and choose the features you want, some common ones are expensive. For example, paying $70 for EIN filing is an expense that can be hard to justify purchasing.
Recurring registered agent fees.
You will need the services of a registered agent during the first year of your business. Unfortunately, you’ll still be paying for their services when you buy another subscription. While you might need their help, it’s improbable and will probably be a waste of money. You’ll have to opt out of their services before incurring a $119 fee for another year of service. Still, renewal is not mandatory, and unlike some competitors, ZenBusiness offers a 60-day refund policy which is very transparent.
Online features are lacking.
The inclusion of online assistance is a feature of using ZenBusiness. However, it shouldn’t be the primary reason you use their services. As a bonus, the ability to build a website, select a domain name, and set up an email is very generous. But you can find much better options if that’s what your business needs.
The bottom line.
ZenBusiness provides excellent service for relatively low prices. Their long list of features that come with a subscription is well worth the cost. While there are a few minor issues with ZenBusiness, it’s a top option for registering your business.
Registering a business can get tricky, with formation documents, state filing fees, formulating a business name, and a host of other things to consider. You may want to shop around and compare business formation services, but you should consider ZenBusiness a leading candidate.
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