Harvard Business Services vs LegalZoom

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Quick Summary

Harvard Business Services and LegalZoom are both highly respected LLC service providers, and either one of them would be a solid choice to form your new company. If you’re forming an LLC in Delaware, Harvard Business Services is a strong choice, but it does not offer services in other states.

Harvard Business Services includes a full year of registered agent service with any LLC formation package, which LegalZoom does not. They’re a good LegalZoom LLC service alternative for Delaware. That said, LegalZoom can form businesses in all 50 states and has extended customer support availability, two advantages HBS can’t match.

If you would like to learn all the relevant details that set these companies apart, we invite you to read on as we cover their most important commonalities and differentiators.

6 Things They Have In Common

1) Affordable: Is saving money a high priority for you? With either Harvard Business Services or LegalZoom, you’ll save loads of cash over hiring a traditional law firm. That means hundreds of dollars that you can pour into your business instead of forking over to an attorney.

2) Customer Support: Even though they’re much less expensive than a lawyer, these providers still have your back. With their easily accessible customer support teams, both of these companies have service reps ready and willing to answer your tough questions.

3) Experience: Experience matters and these companies have plenty of it. Harvard Business Services and LegalZoom have each served thousands (or even millions) of businesses over the years, making them both trustworthy and legitimate LLC formation services.

4) Guaranteed Service: They both offer satisfaction guarantees that cover any services you order from them. If you’re unhappy with your LLC formation, simply inform LegalZoom or Harvard Business Services to receive a refund. It’s as simple as that.

5) Efficiency: If you need your LLC formed in a hurry, they can still help you out. Both of these companies can expedite your service — LegalZoom in as little as a week, while Harvard Business Services can form your company with same-day turnarounds!

6) Additional Services: Do you need other business services in addition to your LLC formation? From registered agent service to business documents to federal tax ID numbers, these companies both have plenty of other services available.

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Side-by-Side Comparisons


LegalZoom: They charge $0 for LLC services, but none of their formation packages include annual reports or registered agent service. You’ll need to spend anywhere from $249 to $299 per year to add registered agent service, depending on the circumstances of your order.

Harvard Business Services: It’s important to make sure everyone understands that Harvard Business Services only forms businesses in the state of Delaware. If you need to form a business in any other state, they cannot help you. Their Green formation package costs $89 and includes a year of registered agent service, which costs just $50 per year after that, the lowest rate in the industry. This package also has a compliance alert dashboard that helps you keep track of important filing deadlines. Unfortunately, their $139 Basic and $239 Standard plans are not good bargains.


LegalZoom: LegalZoom started providing online business services in 2001, and they’ve helped more than 2 million business customers.

Harvard Business Services: Harvard Business Services opened in 1981, and since then they’ve helped form more than 300,000 companies. That’s impressive, but LegalZoom is one of the industry giants, and they exist in a league of their own.

Customer Support

LegalZoom: LegalZoom has customer support available by phone or email, and we’ve tried both of those options. We think their phone support is quite strong, as we’ve always spoken with knowledgeable and friendly representatives, but their email support is definitely lacking. When we’ve emailed them, we’ve waited several days to hear back, and even then they only send a form email that doesn’t address our concerns. Their extended support availability is a pro though, as they’re available from 8 am-10 pm ET on weekdays and 10 am-7 pm ET on Saturdays.

Harvard Business Services: In our opinion, Harvard Business Services provides top-notch customer service. You can access their support team via phone, email, or chat, and they even have Skype support available. No matter which of these choices you go with when contacting them, you’ll receive quick replies from well-trained support reps. We also appreciate the way they list every employee’s direct contact info on their website.

Turnaround Times

LegalZoom: For the vast majority of competitors, formation speeds depend on the capabilities of each state to process formation orders. For LegalZoom, your turnaround times are instead based on which package you purchase from them. Their most affordable package has a turnaround time of 30 business days (six weeks), whereas their most expensive formation plan typically takes between 7-10 business days.

Harvard Business Services: Harvard Business Services’ focus on forming Delaware businesses allows them to process formations in this state faster than most competitors. Even with their standard processing, they can complete the formation process in just 3-5 business days, and if you add expedited processing for a $150 upcharge, they provide same-day service (if purchased before 1 pm ET, or next-day if purchased after that).

Customer Reviews

LegalZoom: LegalZoom has a large volume of customer feedback, as you might expect, considering the fact that they’re a major operation. We found 6,000+ reviews for LegalZoom, and while they do have some negative reviews mixed in, a majority of this feedback is positive. Plenty of their customers are quite satisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of their services.

Harvard Business Services: With around 3,500 reviews and high average rating scores, Harvard Business Services shines in the feedback realm. In general, their clients enjoy how quickly they work and rave about the high quality of their customer support.

Ease of Use

LegalZoom: We’re not crazy about the way LegalZoom structures their ordering process because it feels like they have the entire thing backward. You need to provide them with your personal info and then navigate through a ton of upsells before you even get a chance to select your formation package. Not only is this confusing, but it also results in some surprisingly high price tags by the time you reach the end of their order form.

Harvard Business Services: It took us less than ten minutes to complete their entire order form, which makes them one of the quickest and easiest formation services we’re aware of.

Additional Services

Both of these companies offer many other services that can help you start, maintain, and develop your business. They also provide quite a few of the same services, as you can order things like registered agent service, EIN acquisition, foreign qualification, and operating agreements from either Harvard Business Services or LegalZoom.

However, each of them also has some services that the other company doesn’t offer. For instance, only Harvard Business Services offers mail forwarding service and DUNS number acquisition, but only LegalZoom trademark services and attorney consultations. In addition, LegalZoom also offers some personal services like power of attorney and divorce papers that Harvard Business Services doesn’t offer. It’s also worth mentioning once more that LegalZoom offers LLC formations in all 50 states, while Harvard Business Services only forms businesses in Delaware.

Which Is the Better LLC Service?

Harvard Business Services and LegalZoom are two of the most popular LLC services available online. Still, some of you may remain undecided, so let’s finish by walking through some scenarios that may make you more inclined to use one instead of the other.

Choose Harvard Business Services if You Are:

If you’re forming in Delaware, they’re a strong choice. They also have good customer support, solid feedback, and strong pricing models. Harvard Business Services has a lot going for them.

Choose LegalZoom if You Are:

If you want to form in any state other than Delaware, they’re clearly the choice. Also, if you respect things like brand power and experience, LegalZoom rates strongly in those areas as well.

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LegalZoom, one of the most well-known services online, has formed more than 2 million businesses since 2001. Check out the comparison reviews below if you’d like to see how this giant stacks up to other good LLC websites.

LegalZoom compared to:

Harvard Business Services only forms LLCs in Delaware, which is a state that does not have any significant state-specific LLC formation compliance requirements. For what it’s worth, LegalZoom does not offer publication services either.

For more information on the best New York LLC publication services, including ZenBusiness, check out our full guide on this topic.

LegalZoom has so many upsells that they’re actually the reason we started including this question in our FAQ sections. Before you even get an opportunity to choose which of their three LLC formation packages you want to purchase, LegalZoom attempts an incredible $1,080 in upsells.

On the other hand, Harvard Business Services has very few upsells. While they do have some additional features and services that you can buy with your formation service, they present them in a way that isn’t pushy at all.

Both of these companies have solid refund policies. Harvard Business Services grants refunds as long as they’re requested within 30 days, and they have a reasonable 5% processing fee. If you received any physical products as part of your formation (like an LLC kit), you simply need to return them within seven business days of your refund request.

LegalZoom has one of the best refund policies in the industry. Thanks to their satisfaction guarantee, they give you 60 days from your purchase date to request a refund for any reason. They don’t even charge a processing fee! This is nearly identical to our refund policy at ZenBusiness.

There’s really no one faster than Harvard Business Services when it comes to turnaround times for Delaware formations. With standard processing, they estimate a 1-3 day turnaround, which most competitors can’t match even with an expedited order.

As for LegalZoom, they do things a bit differently in this regard, basing turnaround times on which LLC package you purchase rather than on the capabilities of your formation state. Their Economy package has a 30 business day turnaround, their Standard package takes 15 business days, and their Express Gold package has a 7-10 business day processing speed.

Absolutely! It’s not uncommon at all for entrepreneurs to form their own LLCs. However, because every state has its own rules and regulations for LLC formations, you would need to learn the ins and outs of your state’s requirements, which can be a bit more hassle than you might think.

Also, the DIY route doesn’t provide the same peace of mind we get from having a professional service form our LLC.

LegalZoom has a huge advantage when it comes to experience and client volume. With millions of clients served, it’s clear that LegalZoom is an incredibly popular company with more of a track record than most competitors.

On the other hand, Harvard Business Services has some unique advantages due to its Delaware-only focus. For instance, HBS can form Delaware businesses faster than most companies.

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