- Speedy turnaround times
- Transparent prices & fees
- Centralized dashboard
- Responsive customer service
- Affordable registered agent service
- No refund policy or free trial
- Minimalist yet lagging website
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20% of businesses fail within the first two years. The reasons vary between not having the right business plan, a lack of online presence or strong marketing, or even failing to be tax compliant, leading to a flood of state fines. Therefore, it’s clear many business owners need guidance when setting up and running their businesses. That’s where formation services – such as BetterLegal – come in, protecting your business and taking care of its legitimacy, as well as informing you of any potential tax benefits. Operating since 2017, Texas-based BetterLegal has been offering staggering turnaround speeds and transparent fees, along with a centralized dashboard for intuitive management – three features that make this service stand out from its competitors. In other words, choosing BetterLegal means getting all the business-related bureaucracy quickly out of the way without having upsells or unnecessary advertisements thrown at you, which fits with the company’s motto: “only what you need, nothing you don’t.”
Anyone wishing to set up a new business must start by filing an application form through BetterLegal’s website. Although clean looking, the site lacks some general information, such as an ‘About Us’ page, and also surprisingly lags at times, especially in the pricing section. However, the sign-up process is straightforward and takes less than ten minutes to complete, in line with the company’s time-saving policy. Here, the first step is to choose the type of entity you want (corporation or LLC), followed by some basic information about your business, such as the name of the company and manager, plus email address, phone number, and the type of registered agent service desired.
After completing the payment, customers are taken to a centralized dashboard, where all information is just a click away. Truthfully, this dashboard’s intuitiveness and flexibility make it one of BetterLegal’s standout features, as it allows owners to easily change and add new details in real time. The information is immediately uploaded to BetterLegal’s documentation folder, reachable through the dashboard’s sidebar. Lastly, the software helps business owners remain engaged with the formation process by adding new members and managers as the business grows.
The main goal of a business formation company is to make the journey of starting and running a new business simpler, providing protection, security, legitimacy, and potential tax benefits along the way. However, it’s important to note that BetterLegal is not a law or accounting firm and therefore cannot advise on legal strategies or rights. Still, the company provides many services that make being a business owner easier.
First things first, BetterLegal’s website contains a page dedicated to finding the perfect name for your business, splitting the search by chosen state. Here, you simply write your desired name to check if it’s available. Next, when it comes to the actual business formation, both the LLC and corporation plans are comprehensive. As well as the standard articles of organization that officially establish your company as a legal entity, BetterLegal also provides an operating agreement – or bylaws if you’re setting up a corporation – to create rules for management, profits, and voting rights. To set up a bank account, business owners can file an employer identification number (EIN), which is also necessary if the business has any W-2 employees. Additionally, you get banking resolution documents, allowing you to choose who can open and access the business’s bank accounts.
That’s not all, as more services are included in the formation package, although they are provided by third-party partners. In addition to a basic website and domain tool, customers can make the most of a virtual service for business tax analysis and the evaluation of potential insurance requirements, as well as a business checking service that offers an online banking alternative, allowing for virtual debit cards and check handling. Lastly, BetterLegal recommends using a payroll and HR platform to better manage your company’s money flow, at an additional cost.
Owners can further improve their business formation experience with BetterLegal’s optional services. The all-important registered agent service hasn’t been forgotten, since many businesses need an official representative to deal with critical mail and potential lawsuits relating to tax and compliance. When signing up, you can choose who will serve as your registered agent – someone either appointed by you or provided by BetterLegal. The latter proves to be an excellent choice, given how effortlessly you get your documents scanned and uploaded to the online account.
Similarly – and with the same affordable price – the company also offers to take on the task of keeping your business compliant with state laws. This is particularly helpful in meeting important deadlines, to avoid being subject to fines and extra fees.
One of the most important factors for those forming new businesses is, without a doubt, how quickly they receive the organization documents to make it official. While many other competitors usually take weeks or even months to complete filing procedures, BetterLegal does it in just a few days. It submits your articles of organization on the same day you complete your sign-up process and sends them back to you within two business days. Of course, you also have to consider the state’s processing times, which can bump the overall time to a couple of weeks. However, BetterLegal does everything possible on their end to move things along as quickly as possible. This same day filing process applies to every order the company receives. There are also no upsells for internal prioritization, something many other services charge a hefty amount for.
Despite not being the cheapest solution on the market, BetterLegal does follow through on its promises: prices are clear from the get-go and there’s only a couple of optional services, considerably lowering the amount of upsells other similar services have. Instead of a variety of plans and costs, the company’s pricing structure is simple, offering only two options with the same flat fee. Thus, no matter the type of entity you pick, the starting one-off payment is $299, with additional state fees that can cost anything from $40 to $545.
Both options offer an EIN and essential business-establishing documents, which include an operating agreement – or bylaws if you choose to form a corporation – and a banking resolution. Additionally, customers also get a free website, business checking, and virtual tax service, albeit provided by third-party partners. Although the registered agent and state compliance services are separate from these pricing plans, their cost is affordable, coming in at $10 per month or $90 per year for each service when opting for annual billing.
Unfortunately, there are no free trials, money-back guarantees, or refund policies available. However, considering the impressive filing and turnaround times, we understand why BetterLegal makes all sales final.
BetterLegal provides various ways for customers to get professional assistance. The live chat pops up on every page of the website and is undoubtedly the fastest option for getting in touch with the company: in a matter of minutes, we got assigned an expert that answered our questions quickly and courteously. Additionally, you also get the standard contact form and two phone numbers – available Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST – one for general support and one for tax and accounting help. Although it’s well concealed within its privacy protection page, BetterLegal provides a direct email option and also encourages customers to contact its head office by postal mail.
When it comes to static assistance, the FAQ pages fall short. However, the info center – brimming with helpful articles and resources – makes up for it. Lastly, the company is present on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, although only the latter is regularly updated with handy guides and tutorials.
All things considered, BetterLegal is more than capable of helping business owners in the early stages of their corporate journey. The company follows through on its promises, clearly standing out from most of its competitors in some key features. With its transparent fees and outstanding turnaround times, aspiring business owners can choose their entity type and establish it in the blink of an eye. Despite the minimalistic website and lack of refund policies or money-back guarantees – which we can understand given how quickly it sets businesses up – the intuitive centralized dashboard and attentive customer support positively tip the balance. Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll regret committing to BetterLegal, as it provides all necessary corporation and LLC formation services you’ll need, including qualified registered agents at a lower-than-average price.