Building a business is a long and complicated process. Or, at least, it was before sites like Incfile and LegalZoom came into being. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or running your operations entirely online, you need to get all your documentation in order before you sell a single product.
So, which is better, LegalZoom or InkFile? Unfortunately, that’s impossible to answer without first reviewing some variables and situational elements. However, by the end of this comparison guide, you should have enough information to make the right choice for you and your business. Here’s everything you need to know about LegalZoom vs InkFile.
What is LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is a website designed to help businesses and individuals access various legal documents and assistance. While most 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, if they need it. Overall, the 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 retainer.
What is Incfile?
Incfile is a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Since 2004, the site has helped more than 800,000 companies file the correct documents for all company types, including C corporations, LLCs, S corporations and nonprofits. Incfile provides access to a variety of documents and tools, including employer tax IDs, virtual addresses, registered agents and tax consultations.
Another valuable part of Incfile is that it provides a ton of helpful information for new businesses. The site’s resource center helps entrepreneurs learn more about how to file a DBA, various state requirements for starting a company, and a business name generator.
Which is better LegalZoom or InkFile?
As you can see, while there is some overlap, the two sites serve 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 one is “better” than the other. Realistically, you can use both sites to achieve different goals. Let’s break down the areas where these sites overlap so you can figure out what works best for your specific situation.
Costs and Fees
The amount you pay for each site depends on what you are trying to achieve. Here’s a quick breakdown of the various fees you’ll pay for specific features:
- Business structure – 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 above the state fee.
- Registered Agent Services – When forming an LLC, you need a so-called registered agent to act on behalf of your business. LegalZoom charges $299 a year for these services, but they’re free for the first year through Incfile. After the first year, you pay only $119 per year.
- Employer ID Number (EIN) registration services – If you want to get your EIN for free, you can contact the IRS directly. However, if you want to avoid messing with it, you can pay LegalZoom $79 for their efforts or Incfile $70 for the same service.
- Operating Agreement – LLCs and corporations require operating agreements that outline the structure of the business. Incfile provides a free operating agreement with your formation paperwork. But LegalZoom charges $99 for this document.
As you can see, Inkfile costs a lot less across the board. So, if you are looking to save some cash while starting your business, choose Incfile.
Ease of use
Both sites are very user friendly and easy to navigate. Also, each site offers comprehensive customer support, although you have to submit your query within certain hours. Email is often the best way to get help, but both sites have customer service agents available by phone.
If you’re definitely trying to start a business, Incfile’s layout is a bit more streamlined, as the entire website is dedicated to helping you succeed. In comparison, most of LegalZoom’s pages aren’t related to starting a new company, so it’s a little easier to get lost.
Breakdown of features available on each site
Instead of scrolling through each site to see what they offer, here’s a breakdown of the different services you can find at both LegalZoom and InkFile.
- Business Development Services – As we mentioned, you can start an LLC, corporation or non-profit with Incfile. Setting up these businesses is also cheaper if you opt for a basic membership package.
- Registered Agent Services – Since Incfile acts as your registered agent and the first year is free, you can benefit too. You can also use that first year to determine whether you want to use someone else as your registered agent.
- Trademark Filing – Although Incfile doesn’t offer as many intellectual property protections as LegalZoom, you can file a trademark and get legal help when doing so. Incfile can also look at previous trademarks to see if yours infringes on any existing entities.
- EIN registration – If you don’t want to deal with the IRS, it costs a little less to register with Inkfile and receive an employer ID number.
- Document templates – Like LegalZoom, you can find templates for various business-related documents such as operating agreements and bank resolutions. There are fewer options here than in LegalZoom.
- Business Resource Center – This resource center provides valuable information on everything from managing your business finances to getting tax help. 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 track, 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 works as a domain host and website builder so you can get started right away. However, if you want to build something more comprehensive, we recommend working with a dedicated web builder platform like Wix or WordPress.
Who is Incfile best for?
If you’re just trying to start a business from scratch and want to do it as cheaply as possible, Incfile is one of the most valuable resources out there. Not only will you take care of filing and registration, but you’ll also have access to tons of useful information to help your new company grow.
Who is LegalZoom best for?
If you need additional legal services or want to take care of personal legal documents (ie wills and trusts), opening a LegalZoom account makes sense. Also, if you know you need help from an actual attorney, using this site is much cheaper and more accessible than contacting a law office directly.
Bottom line: Is LegalZoom better than InkFile or vice versa?
When it comes to generating business, both sites offer similar features and benefits. However, Incfile has a slight advantage because its sole purpose is to help entrepreneurs build their companies from the ground up. LegalZoom is an excellent online resource for various legal documents and advice, meaning you may end up using both sites simultaneously.
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