Best Websites to Start an LLC Reviewed: LegalZoom vs. Nolo vs. Rocketlawyer
Using an online service to source your legal documents when creating a Limited Liability Company can save you on average $601 vs. the cost of seeing a lawyer*, but with a vast number of legal online document services available, how do you choose the right one for your needs?
How easy is it to set up an LLC using an online legal service?
If legal jargon and business laws leave your hands shaking, Legal Zoom is an excellent choice. Providing you with a relatively simple questionnaire, they take you through the LLC paperwork process step-by-step and have a very useful ‘How did most people answer this question’ facility, which can help to act as a useful guide for novices. Their online form is more thorough than most and there is a tab button for converting an existing business or partnership to an LLC in one easy move. Completing their online questionnaire will take approximately 10 – 20 minutes. Your final document package will arrive by mail.
Nolo offers an online LLC package which will interview users and issue step-by-step instructions whilst they take care of the rest. They file your articles of organization for you, which means that your LLC can come into existence the very same day they’re filed. Nolo are upfront with all fees and charges from the very beginning, so if you are looking to price legal forms for your business they are an excellent starting point. The initial online questionnaire can be completed in just less than 10 minutes.
Rocket Lawyer offers a vast array of legal services and will prove a great asset if you have several legal tasks you’d like to complete online. Offering both ‘do-it-yourself legal forms’ or a hand-holding preparation service that will complete and file the forms correctly for you, it offers a comprehensive solution for even the absolute beginner. They will file your articles of organization and email your documents straight to your inbox. The online questionnaire can be completed in around 10 minutes.
Verdict: Whilst Nolo's questionnaire is the quickest to complete of the three, its questions are the most basic and should perhaps be recommended for the formation of a very straightforward LLC. Nolo's limited document range will not suit larger firms who require ongoing legal help in the future. Both LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer offered more options within their questionnaire and could be used in more complex situations.
Advantages and disadvantages of using the companies listed above
Legal Zoom Pros:
- An amazing collection of freebies such as domain names, business credit consultations, Google ad words consultation, initial accountant consultation and a 14 day trial of business advice offered by Business Pro Coach Network™
- They complete and check all documentation/legal forms for you
- Many other added value services are available at competitive prices, such as business logo design and business license compliance packages
- Enables you to add up to 10 or more owners to your LLC
- Business Advantage Plan is available for $7.99 a month which may be useful if a lot of legal work is anticipated for the start up of your new business
- There is a lot of up-selling and while this may be useful to some, it is a lot of additional text to wade through
- If you want to download blank legal forms and complete them yourself you'll need to be part of their Business Advantage Plan
- May prove expensive if you need several legal documents, unless you sign up to their subscription plan
- Upfront with costs from the start and a great way to price your legal needs
- Free legal information section covering everything from accidents and injuries to the making of a will
- Economical for a start-up company
- Up to three owners can be added to your LLC
- Able to pay by checking account
- Up-selling items such as legal/tax manuals from the very beginning of the online process
- Very basic questionnaire process which might not be appropriate for companies whose LLC formation is not straightforward
- Limited number of legal forms available online
Rocket Lawyer Pros:
- Has one of the widest ranges of legal documents that can be found online
- Hand-holding service which makes the process quick and painless
- Pro Legal Plan offered for $39.95 per month which offers access to documents, a corporate minutes service and a free consultation with a local small business attorney
- Up to 4 owners can be added
- Signing up to their basic legal plan will enable an eSign service for documents, free legal help from local attorneys who can review your documents for you and access to a huge library of online legal forms/documents and resources
- More expensive than the two firms above
- If you only have one legal document that needs to be completed, using Rocket Lawyer may not prove cost effective
- Pricing structure means that most people will need to pay a monthly subscription of at least $9.99 per month if they need to complete more than the most basic legal documents
Verdict: LegalZoom stands out because it is a good choice for new business owners, providing advice and helpful guidance on many aspects of the start-up proceedure.
Who offers the most competitive price and payment plans?
Using Texas as my state of choice, these are the results of what the formation of an LLC will cost, without any added extras unless specified:
Legal Zoom’s economy package is priced at $408.95, which included being the LLC’s registered agent and filing costs. A 3 month instalment plan is offered to customers, which can help spread the initial outlay. Both credit and debit cards were acceptable forms of payment.
Nolo’s economy package costs $407 with 6 months as registered agent and filing costs included. Payment is acceptable by credit card or checking account.
Rocket Lawyer’s economy package including 1 year as registered agent and filing costs was priced at $495.95. Payment methods acceptable are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards.
Verdict: Both Nolo and LegalZoom offered very competitive quotes for the formation of an LLC but LegalZoom win this battle as they offered many added value or free services for their customers. If several legal documents are needed, both LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer would work out more economical than using Nolo.
Customer Service Options
- Customer service operatives available to take your call toll free between Monday – Friday from 6.00am to 7.00pm PT and Saturday from 10.00am to 2.00pm PT.
- Also available for contact via email.
- Contactable by toll free number and support is available in over 150 languages
- Live web chat
- Contact via email with a response expected within 1 business day
- Calls are accepted from Monday to Friday 6.00am to 6.00pm PT.
- Email support is available
- Live web chat is also available
Verdict: With support available in over 150 languages, live web chat and a toll free number to call, Nolo provides excellent support for its customers and goes above and beyond that offered by both LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer.
All of the firms above will enable the creation of an LLC online by clients with absolutely no legal knowledge whatsoever. If you’re seeking access to several legal documents or more complex forms, then Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer's monthly pricing packages will ensure you get exceptional value for money.
* Information provided by the LegalZoom website