When setting up a new business, you already have a lot to do. One way to simplify the process is by leaning on a professional incorporation service. In doing so, you can gain peace of mind and streamline your business formation and management processes.

Today, Harvard Business Services and LegalZoom will be compared side by side to help business owners like you decide which best meets your business needs.

Harvard Business Services vs. LegalZoom: The Verdict

Harvard Business Services has a wealth of experience in business formation in Delaware. Harvard Business Services, Inc was established over 40 years ago. They're one of the longest-running service providers. LegalZoom is also well established with around 20 years in the business. If you want a cheaper option, LegalZoom is ideal.

However, if you rank experience above affordability, then Harvard Business Services is probably ideal for you. With that said, LegalZoom gives you the freedom to start your business anywhere.

Choose LegalZoom if:

  • You want to start a business registered anywhere that isn't Delaware
  • You want a more affordable option
  • You want access to legal advice

Choose Harvard Business Services If:

  • You want to start a Delaware-based business
  • You value long-standing reputations (40+ years in business)
  • You want a premium service

Services Offered & Pricing

Key Similarities

  • Access to professional, knowledgeable assistance
  • Startup any business type with either company, LLC, corporation, partnership, or nonprofit
  • Expedited filing times
  • Efficient online document management

Key Differences

  • Harvard Business Services, Inc can only help you set up a Delaware-based business
  • LegalZoom can provide a level of legal knowledge that will prevent you from hiring a law firm

Harvard Business Services & Pricing

Green Package - $179

The Green Package, at $179, is the most economical. It includes:

  • Entity name check - to ensure your business name is available to form a business entity in Delaware
  • All state filing fees
  • Preparation of all documents and requirements to file for the company formation
  • Same day electronic filing
  • Approved official documents emailed within 2-3 business days
  • Updates of annual Delaware state requirements and notices
  • Free digital corporate seal
  • The free registered agent for the first year and a low guaranteed price of only $50 per year for the lifetime of your company
  • Free customer support for the lifetime of your company

This Package is suitable for all business entities and includes everything you need to file for a new business in Delaware.

Basic Package - $329

The Basic Package, at $329, is currently discounted to $229. It includes all the benefits of the Green Package plus:

  • Digital document templates for LLC or Corporation documents
  • Priority Mailing for all formation documents

This Package is significantly more expensive than the Green Package without offering many more benefits. It is helpful if you need a hard copy of your documents and a sample of document templates to adjust to your needs.

Standard Domestic Package - $429

The Standard Domestic Package, at $429, is currently discounted to $329. It includes all of the features of the Basic Package plus:

  • Digital Member Certificates
  • A Meeting Minute Book
  • A Delaware Company Guidebook
  • Additional Forms
  • A Gold Embossed Company Binder

This Package is the most expensive of the three options offered, but with just the added benefit of a binder and additional form samples. The Green or Basic Package will usually suit most company's needs.

Harvard Business Services also offers International Packages for companies outside of the United States filing with Delaware if they do not have a local address, a mail-forwarding service to their preferred address.

Harvard Business Services offers additional services for a fee.

LegalZoom Packages & Pricing

Economy Package - $79

The lowest-priced package is the economy package at $79; for this, you'll receive state business registration (filing fees aren't included) guides to assist you with document reviews, detailed step-by-step assistance, and a personal assessment of your documents.

You have access to create your Articles of Organization and a financial account authorization letter, which will provide permission from the business to a person to open bank accounts. Finally, you receive access to customer support.

Standard Package - $329

The Standard Package costs $329. You get everything from the Economy package, along with an organizer embossed with your company name, company membership certificates with your company seal for ownership recording, and VIP processing.

Express Gold Package - $349

The Express Gold package is $349. At this level, you receive everything from the other two packages and rush processing with the state and express shipping.

The advanced processing options with the Standard and Express Gold packages mean it takes less time to process any filings you make with the state.

In addition, the express shipping included in the Gold package will grant you faster shipping times from LegalZoom to your door, so it's well worth considering this when you're choosing your package.

Document Management & Online Experience

All documents in Delaware are filed electronically, and Harvard Business Services uses an imaging system that further expedites their document filings.

LegalZoom comprises a simple, easy-to-understand interface; however, there are constant attempts to upsell and hook you into extra expenses that may not be so easy to cancel.

Key Similarities

  • Easy-to-use document management is offered

Key Differences

  • LegalZoom appears to put profit above providing exemplary service to existing customers

Processing Time

Depending on the Package you choose, processing times with LegalZoom can take anywhere from 10-30+ business days.

Harvard Business Services has one of the fastest processing times of its competitors. As they are connected electronically to the Delaware Division of Corporations, they can file the company formation forms on the day they are submitted and guarantee the approved documents within 24-48 hours.

They offer expedited same-day processing time for company formation within 24 days for an additional fee.

Key Similarities

  • Similar expedited times

Key Differences

  • Harvard Business Services is electronically connected to the Delaware Division of Corporations
  • LegalZoom offers a cheaper expedited service

Compliance & Track Record

LegalZoom has a decent track record for compliance; they can design legal documents that work well for the intended purposes. Harvard Business Services has scores of positive reviews - it's challenging to find a negative review on them anywhere. They have an excellent record for compliance.

Key Similarities

  • Both are BBB accredited
  • Reliable service
  • Excellent compliance record

Key Differences

  • Harvard Business Services has a long-standing reputation compared to LegalZoom

Customer Service

Both LegalZoom and Harvard Business services offer excellent customer service. LegalZoom provides access to a customer support team seven days a week. LegalZoom can be difficult to get ahold of despite this seemingly dedicated approach unless you're a new customer, which is a bad look.

Harvard Business Services offer comprehensive support via phone, email, live chat, skype, and WhatsApp. They also offer Spanish-speaking customer support.

Customer reviews for both were overall positive.

Key Similarities

  • Comprehensive customer support is offered
  • Each service provider is registered with the better business bureau
  • Good customer feedback

Key Differences

  • Harvard Business Services offers bilingual support and more options for customers to contact them
  • Harvard Business Services is only available five days a week, compared to LegalZoom's 7

Structure Breakdown

LLCs: Harvard Business Services

Both companies can offer you an attractive LLC formation service; however, using Harvard Business Services to start a Delaware business entity has unique advantages.

Delaware allows LLCs to define their terms when forming an LLC in an LLC operating agreement. The operating agreement is usually a written document where the owners address the LLC's interests, management responsibilities, financial distributions, ownership percentages, and the procedure if the company dissolves.

Some advantages to using Harvard Business Services to form your LLC include:

  • A registered agent for the first year and at a fixed fee after the first year
  • The quick turn-around time to processing your LLC
  • Three tiers of LLC formation packages: Green, Basic, and Standard

Corporations: Harvard Business Services

Starting a corporation in the State of Delaware has unique advantages.

Delaware attracts many corporations due to its business laws - close to one million to date. Corporations in Delaware are business entities formed under the state's General Corporation Law, a specific type of business filing.

Harvard Business Services can help you form:

  • Delaware General Corporation (C or S corp)
  • Delaware Close Corporation (C or S corp)
  • Delaware Public Benefit Corporation (C or S corp)
  • Delaware Nonprofit Corporation

Partnerships: LegalZoom

You don't have to file paperwork to start a general partnership, but it helps to have a written agreement that specifies rights, responsibilities, and profit shares. You'll also need the required business licenses, permits, and a federal tax ID. Both Harvard Business Services and LegalZoom can help with those things, but you may benefit from LegalZoom's legal advice services.

Non-Profits: Harvard Business Services

Nonprofits are corporations that the IRS has granted a tax exemption, referred to as 501(c). To qualify for this status, your corporation must fall under a specific category such as a charitable, educational, religious, scientific, or literary organization or institution.

Harvard Business Services can help you form a Delaware non-stock corporation and then apply for a 501(c) status with the IRS. Legal Zoom could also help you with this. However, Harvard's Business formation services have more experience in this area.

The Last Word

Harvard Business Services and LegalZoom can provide invaluable support during the formation process and support after lifetime customer support and annual reports. Both service providers offer coverage for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and big corporations alike.

If you're looking for a company with an excellent compliance record, a long-standing reputation, and good customer support, you can't go wrong with Harvard Business Services. You have to be willing to set up a Delaware-based business. If you want a lower price option or to set up business anywhere else, you can take a chance on LegalZoom.

Filed under: Head-to-Head

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