With Harvard Business Services and Incfile, we’re discussing two of the most popular LLC formation services available online. They’re both reputable companies, and each has its advantages over the other.
First off, Incfile forms LLCs in all 50 states, whereas Harvard Business Services only forms Delaware LLCs. In addition, Incfile offers free LLC formations (all you’ll pay is your state fee), while HBS charges at least $89. Overall though, HBS is a solid Incfile alternative, especially if you’re looking for cheap registered agent services in Delaware.
1) Affordable: Harvard Business Services and Incfile can both save you hundreds of dollars compared to hiring a lawyer to draft and file your formation documents. Furthermore, LLCs are typically rather simple business structures, so you may not need an attorney’s expertise to begin with.
2) Customer Support: Even though you’re saving so much money by not hiring a lawyer, you still aren’t going it alone. Both of these companies have extensive customer support departments that are only a phone call or email away if you need any assistance.
3) Experience: Incfile and Harvard Business Services have each formed thousands of LLCs, so they have the expertise to get the job done right.
4) Registered Agent: These service providers both include a full year of registered agent service with your LLC formation purchase. Every LLC in America needs to designate a registered agent to receive and forward your important government documents, so this is a valuable bonus.
5) Customer Reviews: Both Harvard Business Services and Incfile have thousands of customer reviews available online, and they also both maintain high average rating scores.
6) Additional Services: Do you need assistance with other popular business services like federal employer ID number (EIN) acquisition, foreign qualifications, or LLC operating agreement templates? Harvard Business Services and Incfile provide many additional services, making them one-stop shops for your LLC.
7) Efficiency: Do you need your LLC formed in a hurry? That’s not a problem for these companies. Both Incfile and Harvard Business Services offer expedited service (for an additional fee, of course) that can speed up your formation from a matter of weeks to mere days.
Identify the LLC package and services that fit your needs and then get started.
Incfile: Incfile will help you form your business for free while also providing a year of registered agent service. Once the first year is over, the registered agent service will renew for $119 per year. In addition, their $199 Gold package and $299 Platinum package both include valuable features that make them options as well, even at their higher price points.
Harvard Business Services: First off, we should mention that Harvard Business Services only operates in the state of Delaware ― they don’t offer any products or services for businesses in any other state. Their pricing starts with the Green package for $89 (plus state fee), and similar to Incfile, this package includes a full year of registered agent service, along with access to their compliance alerts system. Their ongoing Delaware registered agent service is available for $50 per year. However, their $139 Basic and $239 Standard plans don’t add enough value to justify their price points.
Incfile: Incfile’s experience level is high, as they’ve helped form more than 1 million businesses since they opened in 2004.
Harvard Business Services: While Harvard Business Services has been around longer (since 1981), they have a smaller volume of customers, with more than 300,000 clients served.
Incfile: Incfile offers phone and email support, which we tested. Incfile’s phone support is typically responsive and helpful. However, its email support is much less responsive. Some of our emails have gone unanswered, and several of the responses we have received are just form emails that don’t directly address our questions.
Harvard Business Services: Harvard Business Services provides customer support via phone, email, chat, or Skype. Regardless of which option you choose, in our experience, they provide good support, and they never leave you waiting too long to get a response. One aspect of their customer service that we like is the fact that they provide a full list on their website of direct phone extensions and email addresses for all of their employees. Their hours of availability are pretty limited though ― 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Fridays.
Incfile: With Incfile, turnaround times vary based on each individual state’s formation speeds. This can be as quick as a few days in some states or could take several weeks in others. You can also add expedited processing to speed it up, although the price will vary by state.
Harvard Business Services: Because Harvard Business Services only provides services in the state of Delaware, they can process formations in this state more quickly than most competitors. Their standard processing can have your business formed within 3-5 business days, and their expedited processing (while expensive, at $150) gives you a same-day turnaround if purchased before 1 p.m. ET or a next-day turnaround after that.
Incfile: Incfile doesn’t just have hundreds of customer reviews available online, they have 75,000+ of them. Furthermore, their feedback is mostly positive, with critical reviews in short supply.
Harvard Business Services: With roughly 3,600 reviews available on reputable third-party websites and mostly positive ratings, it’s clear that most customers are pleased with the service they receive from HBS.
Incfile: As you walk through the process of signing up for Incfile, your steps are personalized based on the state you live in and the type of business you wish to establish. There are hyperlinks throughout the application to learn more about a specific question or entry on the form. There are a few upsells and third-party offers to navigate through, but if you opt into any of them, your total price is immediately updated on the screen.
Harvard Business Services: We were able to fill out their entire formation service order form in less than ten minutes. They avoid third-party partnerships entirely, and they have just one minor upsell in their ordering process.
With either Incfile or Harvard Business Services, you can access a selection of additional business services. These companies offer many of the same services, including registered agent service, Certificates of Good Standing, EIN acquisition, foreign qualifications, and LLC operating agreements.
There are also some services that are only offered by one company or the other. For instance, only Harvard Business Services provides its clients with DUNS number acquisition, while only Incfile can help you when it comes to trademark protection services. We’ll mention once more that Incfile offers services in all 50 states, whereas Harvard Business Services is a Delaware-only operation.
Harvard Business Services and Incfile are two of the most popular LLC formation services, and they’re both capable of forming your new company. Since they are both solid choices, we would understand if you haven’t quite made up your mind yet. Let’s close this comparison by discussing some factors that lead entrepreneurs to choose one or the other.
If you’re forming an LLC in Delaware and want the fastest service, Harvard Business Services is a solid choice. In addition, their registered agent service is cheaper than Incfile’s.
If you want a free LLC service or if you want to form an LLC in any state other than Delaware, Incfile could be a good fit.
If you’d like to form your LLC with ZenBusiness, we’re here to help. We offer free (+ state fee) LLC formation services and have 12,000+ positive customer reviews available online. Form your LLC quickly and get more tools to start your dream business.
Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes
The most widely recommended LLC formation package offered by Incfile is their Silver plan, which is free if you pay your own state fee. With this option, you’ll receive a year of registered agent service in addition to your formation.
Incfile doesn’t provide assistance with publication requirements. We called their customer support department to make sure, and they told us that state publication requirements “need to be taken care of with the state directly.” Harvard Business Services also doesn’t offer publication service because it isn’t required in Delaware. Check out our New York publication service for more information about your options.
We’re pleased with the lack of upsells from both of these companies. While some of their competitors pile on the additional feature suggestions and package upgrade options, Incfile and Harvard Business Services let their products and services do the talking for themselves.
Harvard Business Services offers refunds within 30 days of your initial purchase date, with a 5% processing fee. In addition, you’ll need to return any physical items (like LLC kits) to them within seven business days.
Incfile will grant refund requests as long as they haven’t yet sent any payments to your state government, which they say is typically within 24 hours. Even then, they will keep $30 as a cancellation fee. Once they’ve transferred money to your state, they will not refund any of your money.
These are both unimpressive refund policies compared to ours at ZenBusiness. We give you a 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee with no service fees.
Harvard Business Services has a unique advantage in Delaware. Their processing times are estimated to fall in the 1-3 day range, which is tough to top. By contrast, Incfile estimates a 15-business-day turnaround in Delaware for standard processing and a five-day turnaround with a $50 expediting fee. In other states, Incfile’s processing speeds vary based on each state’s capabilities.
You sure can, and many entrepreneurs form their own LLCs every day. However, the do-it-yourself route doesn’t provide the same peace of mind that you’ll receive from having professionals form your business. Furthermore, each state sets its own rules and regulations for LLC formations, and it can be a hassle to track down your state’s requirements. Plus, services like us at ZenBusiness can form your LLC for free, as long as you cover the state fee.
Incfile’s major advantage compared to most companies is its offer of a free LLC service package. Only a small handful of companies (including us at ZenBusiness) can match this deal.
As for Harvard Business Services, they have a noteworthy advantage when it comes to the timeliness of your formation ― if you’re in a hurry, they can form your business faster than most competitors can.
Harvard Business Services provides registered agent service for $50 per year. They also offer assistance with Delaware annual reports and franchise taxes, but you’ll need to contact them to get a quote on these services. As for Incfile, they have an annual price point of $119 for registered agent service, but their annual report service is available for $99.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
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