Clerky vs. Gust: Which service is better for startups?

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How can a startup looking to incorporate a business in the US do it safely? Let us find the ideal formation service in this Clerky vs. Gust comparison.

Lifetime subscription or pay-per-use
$300/yr - $3,000/yr
Best For:
Startups looking for help in legal filing of their C-Corp formation and incorporation documents for compliance
Best For:
Startups and entrepreneurs looking for start-up funding and need to connect with global investors.
Lifetime subscription or pay-per-use
Best For:
Startups looking for help in legal filing of their C-Corp formation and incorporation documents for compliance
$300/yr - $3,000/yr
Best For:
Startups and entrepreneurs looking for start-up funding and need to connect with global investors.

Do you have a startup and want to launch your venture in the US market?

Then, you need an incorporation and business formation service. Here is why.

Forming a business venture in the US involves complex backend processes like filing legal paperwork for compliance.

You can violate US laws without knowing how to do it, which comes with hefty penalties.

However, with a business formation service, as a startup, you can easily find help incorporating your LLC, C-Corp, or partnership.

Now, two emerging platforms are getting positive praise: Clerky and Gust, and they claim to file your documents in just under 3 days.

Clerky is an online legal service that helps startups file their legal paperwork for compliance with US law.

Gust is an equity management service that helps startups incorporate an LLC, C-Corp, and partnership in Delaware.

However, how does each work, and do they offer value for money? Also, how do they compare, and which is ideal for your startup?

Let us find out in this Clerky vs. Gust comparison.

Clerky vs. Gust at a glance

SMB Guide’s Rating7/108.5/10Gust
Business Formation ServicesFocuses on C CorpsLLCs, C-Corp, and partnershipsGust
Processing Time2-3 days turnaround2-3 days turnaroundClerky
Registered Agent Services and Costs1st year free, $125/yr$175/yrClerky
Name Availability SearchOffers suggestionsGust
Online Document AccessFully integrated storageView, edit, update, and download their formation paperworkGust
Money-Back GuaranteesTie
Platform User-FriendlinessEasy to use with simple interfaceComprehensive, but hard to navigateGust
Customization OptionsGust
Compliance AssistanceGust
Industry-Specific ExpertiseEstablished in 2011Established in 2011Clerky
Customer Education and ResourcesGust
Customer SupportPhone, emailLive chatGust
Pricing$427 to $819$300/yr – $3,000/yrClerky
ScalabilityNot scalableProvides tiered plansGust

How we evaluate and test softwares

When testing softwares/apps, SMB Guide employs a dual approach based on free trial availability and demos. For platforms offering free trials, we test their functionalities, usability, navigation, and ease of use. In the case of tools lacking a free version or trial, we rely on in-depth research and user testimonials through software review platforms like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius to gauge their performance and capabilities. Learn more about our ratings criteria for business formation services here.

Clerky: Key Features, Pros and Cons, & Pricing

clerky homepage

Clerky is an online legal service that helps startups file their legal paperwork for compliance with US law.

The service allows for forming one entity, C-Corp, in Delaware state. Now, unlike most formation and incorporation services, Clerky provides post-incorporation services.

Some of these include hiring, maintenance, and fundraising. Once an entrepreneur fills out the formation forms for their startup, the Clerky software sets up the C-Corp.

From there, the service submits the documents to a registered agent who files them with the State.

Pros & Cons


Fundraising support

Option for pay-per-service

Native collaboration features

Legal compliance for startups


Only does C-Corps

No money-back guarantee


Clerky provides a package for startups to pay a one-time fee or pay-per-use.

The one-time payment plan is the universal package. Now, if your startups only need a specific service, such as formation, you can opt for the pay-per-use package.

Company Lifetime Package: It is a one-time fee of $819 and access to all the services.

Gust: Key Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

gust homepage

Gust is an equity management service that helps startups find, launch, and scale their US venture.

The service provides legal and equity support to fund startups and gives access to over 800k network of professionals.

Given that Gust focuses on startups, the service tailors its solutions to help them through their incorporation journey.

Professionals like CPAs who often work with startups will find Gust provides tax compliance and accounting tools.

The availability of these tools eases collaboration with startups.

Pros & Cons


Post-incorporation services

Network of experts

Startups access equity

CPAs get accounting tool


Complex platform

Integration limitations


The packages startups can subscribe to get billed annually. The packages have tiers; startups can upgrade anytime to access extra functionality.

Here are the packages available:

  • Start: It is the entry plan and costs $300 annually that startups can sign up for to get incorporated. The process of incorporation is simple and only takes less than two minutes.
  • Accelerate: It is the mid-level package costing $1000 annually. It offers more than the Start plan. Startups can book a personal demo to explore the service.
  • Raise: It is a premium package priced at $3000 annually. Startups can also book a personal demo to explore the service.

Business Formation Services

Clerky and Gust provide all-inclusive services for incorporation and post-incorporation, like stock certificate issuance, legal guidance, and more.

Not only that, they have support teams that guide startups throughout the journey.

However, there are some differences in how they approach business formation.

Clerky formation services

Clerky focuses on one entity type in business formation: Delaware C-Corp, a popular startup venture.

Unlike Gust, it doesn’t offer LLCs, non-profits, or partnerships. Clerky then employs standard templates that most attorneys and investors accept in business formation.

Now, Clerky doesn’t offer many customization options, but the platform is more accurate in filing the right paperwork on time.

Gust formation services

Gust, on the other hand, offers multiple entity types of formation, like Delaware LLCs, partnerships, and C-Corps.

Startups also get more customization options like board composition, vesting schedule, and more.

One thing that makes Gust stand out is its flexibility, where an entrepreneur can choose an entity that fits their goals.

Winner: Gust

Processing Time

The clerky business formation process takes 1-2 days, depending on the state.

Now, this time doesn’t include the government processing times, which can take up to 4 weeks.

Startups looking for an expedited process won’t find it on Clerky. Gust processing times are similar to Clerky’s, taking 2-3 days, but it also depends on the state.

When you include government processing times and documents, the return can take up to 4 weeks.

Unlike Clerky, Gust has expedited options that come at a fee for your document filing.

Winner: Clerky

Registered Agent Services and Costs

Clerky and Gust offer registered agent services at a cost. However, some factors make each service different.

Clerky charges $125 annually for startups as a registered agent, but the service lacks compliance support.

However, the only additional costs are from state filing fees. The perks that the fee covers include unlimited retrieval and document storage.

The service mainly requires startups to handle compliance and filing on their own, which can’t necessarily give peace of mind.

Gust also charges as a registered agent $175 annually, with compliance support.

Unlike Clerky, the additional fees come from state fees and a $35 service fee.

Gust ensures that the client gets updates on their legal deadlines and obligations, plus ensuring the services are reliable.

It means startups can have peace of mind without worrying about filing returns and compliance.

Winner: Clerky

Name Availability Search

Clerky, and Gust provide a name availability search tool that startups can use to check for available business names.

The difference comes in how effective they are in name searching.

clerky business name search

Clerky’s tool is simple, allowing startups to key in their chosen name and pick the state of operation (incorporation).

After, the tool displays if the name is available. Now, unlike Gust, Clerky doesn’t recommend alternatives if a chosen name has a trademark or is not available.

Gust, on the other hand, provides a more in-depth search tool with better accuracy, allowing startups to key in their chosen name and pick the state of operation.

After, it displays if the name is available. If it’s already taken, the tool recommends alternatives and even checks for domain availability and trademark issues.

Winner: Gust

Online Document Access

Startups will find that the accessibility levels that Clerky and Gust provide for online documents vary.

clerky document access

Clerky limits online document access to the basic download and viewing of formation documents on the platform’s dashboard.

Unlike Gust, Clerky limits editing and updating of documents, plus the platform lacks management and organization tools.

Startups have to depend on their filing and storage approaches to track the paperwork.

Gust provides better and simpler access to documents online. Startups can view, edit, update, and download their formation paperwork on the platform dashboard.

Unlike Clerky, Gust provides management and organizing tools like filters, folders, search, and tags.

It makes it easier for an entrepreneur to find what they need.

Winner: Gust

Money-Back Guarantees

Startups will not find an explicit claim from Clerky that they provide a money-back guarantee.

One thing they say is that they only charge after finalizing the document filing.

It means they don’t offer a money-back guarantee. Similar to Gust, it shows startups will not have peace of mind in case the process fails.

Gust also doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. Not even to the state fees that apply during the formation process.

It means that startups don’t get peace of mind knowing that their money and time can all be in vain if the formation process fails.

Winner: Tie

Platform User-Friendliness

Clerky and Gust each have a website where startups can log in to access the formation services.

Their design and user-friendliness vary, and here is how they look.

Clerky dashboard

Clerky’s website is basic but with easy navigation through the services from compliance, fundraising, hiring, incorporation, and post-incorporation.

You can see the guides for filling out the paperwork, and it even highlights issues that need action.

Startups will also find a helpful help center with FAQs that answer the most common problems.

gust business formation

Gust has a website that is in-depth, unlike Clerky. Startups will find it challenging to find the services on the dashboard.

When filling out the formation forms, it provides custom instructions. Not only that, the platform complements each step with features that match your needs.

Startups will find a comprehensive knowledge base with guides and FAQs that answer common issues.

Winner: Gust

Customization Options

Creating legal entities on Clerky and Gust is easy, but each service’s options vary.

Not only that, the customization options of the services are different.

Startups will find that Clerky provides limited customization options since it offers a Delaware C-Corp as the only entity.

Personalizing the templates it offers also has limitations and no compliance support.

Gust offers more flexibility with customization options since it offers several entities, such as Delaware LLC, C-Corp, and partnerships.

Startups also pick a par value of shares, number of shares, and more. Not only that, the post-incorporation services are extensive, unlike Clerky.

Winner: Gust

Compliance Assistance

Clerky doesn’t provide compliance assistance to startups post-incorporation. Startups only get access to resources and templates that they can use for their compliance duties.

It can be a challenge since entrepreneurs need to know how to file tax returns to be compliant.

Gust, on the other hand, offers proactive compliance support. After post-incorporation, startups get support for tax filing due dates through notifications.

Not only that, the service offers tax forms and other tools to help. The platform also gives access to an extensive network of professionals advising entrepreneurs on compliance.

Winner: Gust

Industry-Specific Expertise

Clerky’s expertise in startups looking to form a business is narrow. It only focuses on C-Corps incorporated into Delaware.

The expertise has an in-depth understanding of the financial and legal frameworks of forming and managing a C-Corp.

The focus on one entity makes it easy for investors and lawyers to prefer it more.

Gust’s extensive expertise focuses on entities like C-Corps, LLC, and partnerships.

Unlike Clerky, Gust’s understanding of financial and legal frameworks for forming and running various entities is general.

However, it offers a larger network of professionals who can provide custom solutions for various businesses.

Winner: Clerky

Customer Education and Resources

The educational resources Clerky and Gust provide offer varied quality of content.

The educational resources startups will find on Clerky are basic. Clerky has a help center with articles on general topics, formation, hiring, maintenance, and fundraising.

The shortfall of the articles is that they’re shallow and don’t discuss incorporation in depth.

Not only that, the platform lacks tutorials digging into the company’s formation processes and daily management.

Gust’s educational resources are in-depth, providing a glossary of articles discussing launch, growth, connect, and raise.

The articles cover every detail of formation and incorporation. Startups also can access an FAQ, Facebook page, and regular webinars to learn more about post-incorporation processes.

Not only that, entrepreneurs can access a network of professionals for guidance.

Winner: Gust

Customer Support

The support that startups can expect from Clerky is average. The main channel for reaching out is through email only; response times can take 5-8 hours, which is not convenient in an emergency.

Not only that, Clerky lacks a dedicated representative to help in the formation process.

Unlike Gust, Clerky can’t offer legal representation. The support channel that Gust provides is through a live chat.

You can send them a message and expect feedback within 3-5 minutes, which is decent.

However, no phone calls or email support can be a drawback for clients looking for one-on-one help. 

Unlike Clerky, Gust provides a dedicated representative to help guide you during the incorporation process.

Not only that, startups can get legal representation through Gust partner law firms.

Winner: Gust


Startups will find that Clerky and Gust provide different pricing packages but with similar services.

Clerky charges a one-time fee of $819 for the Lifetime package. One thing to note is that the fee excludes state fees and any other additional charges.

Gust packages its plans into three tiers: Start, Accelerate, and Raise.

The Start package costs $300 annually, offering basic business formation services.

The fee is not inclusive of state charges and other fees. When a startup upgrades to the higher tiers, they access more premium services like equity management, 409A valuations, and more.

Winner: Clerky


Clerky doesn’t provide scalable plans, so you only have the lifetime plans’ services.

It suits venture-backed startups that only need to form a C-Corp in Delaware and don’t require extensive support.

Gust, on the other hand, has tiered plans that suit scalability. It makes it fit startups of varied sizes, niches, and stages.

The startups that want to form multiple entities (LLC, C-Corp, or partnerships) need support in the incorporation processes.

Winner: Gust

Standout Features of Clerky

During our evaluation of Clerky, two features stood out:

Customizable templates

Startups will find that Clerky provides templates they can customize for varied legal paperwork, unlike Gust.

Through the platform, an entrepreneur can tweak and edit the templates to their liking under the law.

The templates add a layer of flexibility for startups with complex requirements that need more than the basic ones.

Post-incorporation support

Unlike Gust, post-Incorporation Support Startups will find that Clerky offers support after incorporation in legal matters.

The network of lawyers can give guidance on legal issues. The service also helps in financial processes like stock issuance and adding or removing board members.

Standout Features of Gust

Here are the two services that Gust provides that are unique.

Gust launch service

It is a feature that startups can use to incorporate a C-Corp in Delaware and manage the business.

It provides the legal process for incorporation. Unlike Clerky, which focuses on compliance and legal paperwork, Gust’s launch is all-rounded.

All-rounded platform

Gust is a service that offers startup services that go beyond the formation and incorporation of their business.

Not only that, startups get access to financial tools for fundraising, linking with investors, and more where they can collaborate better.

Clerky vs Gust: SMB Guide’s Verdict

After evaluating Clerky vs. Gust, we find out that the services are ideal for incorporating and managing legal paperwork for startups.

Clerky focuses on the legal and compliance of startups looking to form a C-Corp entity in Delaware.

On the other hand, Gust offers more flexibility, forming LLCs, C-Corp, and partnerships.

Gust wins this duel after compiling all the features and services each offers.

However, one clear thing is each suits a different kind of startup. Gust offers more than just business formation, it provides management and growth for startups.

Not only that, the platform offers resources and tools that help collaborate with investors, fundraising, and team building.

Clerky is an excellent alternative that startups can use in business formation and incorporation.

It focuses on compliance and legal paperwork. However, the lack of multiple entities and comprehensive post-incorporation services make it lose to Gust.

Choose Gust if

You are a startup looking for an all-rounded service and need to incorporate your startups as multiple entities (LLC, C-Corp, or partnership). Plus, your startup needs more than formation services and needs compliance support.

Choose Clerky If

Your startup needs basic incorporation services as a C-Corp and needs guidance on legal paperwork.


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Jessica Pereira helps SaaS and digital marketing brands build long-lasting customer relationships with meaningful content. Her favorite topics include career development, productivity, and email marketing.