Do you need to form an LLC or corporation, and you prefer to have a professional service handle the paperwork for you? Harvard Business Services is one of several companies that can get the job done.
In this review, we’ll talk about the important details you need to know before choosing their service. Alternatively, you can check out our comparison guide of the top online incorporation services or top LLC services.
Harvard Business Services = 7/10
When it comes to online incorporation services, here’s what matters most:
- Is it a good deal?
- Is it a reliable company?
- Is there good customer support?
- Is the incorporation website easy to use?
- How quickly do they incorporate your business?
Based on these criteria, Harvard Business Services gets an 7/10. We were impressed with their customer service, their fantastic customer reviews, and their well-constructed formation packages that are packed with value. Their registered agent service is also an excellent bargain, with one of the lowest price points available in the entire industry.
The only significant downfall to Harvard Business Services is that they are only available to businesses being established in the state of Delaware.
Quick Note: If you’re on the hunt for the best value possible in an incorporation service, we recommend ZenBusiness. This service is $50 less than Harvard Business Services, has comparable features and hundreds of positive online reviews.
In Depth Review of HBS
Overall Pricing and Value – 5/10
Compared to other incorporation services, Harvard Business Services has competitive price points. The features you receive for their pricing are pretty good for the lower-level package, but the higher-tier packages aren’t worth buying.
Compared to the $89 Green package, their $139 Basic package mostly just adds unnecessary fluff, and the $239 Standard package adds nothing of value.
Track Record – 10/10
Harvard Business Services was established in 1981 and has since formed over 170,000 Delaware businesses. For the first ten years, the founder and his wife ran the business out of their home, before expanding their company to an actual office.
By 1994, they expanded to reach a global market, and Harvard Business Services now serves businesses based in nearly a dozen countries. Their founding CEO is still leading the company, and even has his email address listed on the website.
They have thousands of positive reviews online across a handful of sites, and very few negative reviews. We were also impressed to see that they have five stars with the Better Business Bureau, with 136 reviews and just one customer complaint, which has since been resolved.
Customer Support – 9/10
Harvard Business Services offers phone, email, chat, and even Skype support. We reached out via all except Skype, and were impressed by their customer service and response times. This came as no surprise since many of their customer reviews mentioned these points, but it was nice to confirm it for ourselves.
Our chat question was answered almost immediately. The representative offered to call and talk us through the process, but we declined, wanting to call in on our own. Similarly, our email was answered by midday the following day.
The direct extensions of their staff are listed on the website, but we just called the main number to make a selection. Our call was answered in less than two minutes and we were greeted by a very courteous agent who answered and even expanded upon our question.
Ease of Placing an Order – 9/10
You want to start a business, but you have no idea where to begin. You don’t know how much goes into forming and running a business behind the scenes, and you shouldn’t lose sleep over figuring it out. The point of using an incorporation service is to save time and make the formation process simple.
Overall, the ordering process with Harvard Business Services is very straightforward. We were able to complete the process of forming a company in less than ten minutes.
After selecting a package, you put in your personal and business information. Before reaching the end of the order, you’ll receive an upsell to include a federal tax ID number (also known as an EIN) for $65. If you want to save some hassle, adding an EIN isn’t a bad idea, although you should know that you can acquire one from the IRS for free if you’re willing to do the legwork yourself.
Overall Turnaround Time – 9/10
Harvard Business Services includes the total turnaround time for each of their packages, which is 3-5 business days (4-6 business days for the hard copy included in the Basic package). They guarantee same-day electronic filing of all documents as long as everything is in order. For an additional $150 fee, they also offer expedited same-day formations if filed by 1 p.m. ET, or by the next business day if filed later in the day.
Pricing & Features of Each Package
Harvard Business Services offers three packages, which are almost exactly the same whether you’re forming an LLC or a corporation. Thankfully, each package is clear and concise, with no add-on options (except the EIN mentioned earlier) that can be confusing or overwhelming for a new business owner.
Green ($89 + State Fee)
Best for: Entrepreneurs who simply want to form an LLC or corporation without any bells or whistles.
The Green package costs $179, which includes the $90 state fee for Delaware. After filing, you’ll receive your final paperwork via email in 3-5 business days. The idea behind the setup of this package is that everything is electronic, hence the term “Green.” This package includes:
- Business name availability check – Before you form your company, Harvard Business Services will search the Delaware state business database to ensure that your desired company name isn’t already claimed by someone else.
- Preparation and filing of all documents – They will create your articles of organization or incorporation, then file them with the state to officially form your new company. They also provide you with a digital copy of your formation docs.
- 12 months of registered agent service – For one full year, Harvard Business Services will receive your important government documents, scanning them and forwarding them to you. This prevents you from having to use your own address as a matter of public record, and also ensures that you don’t miss an important delivery. After the first year, you can renew this service for just $50, the lowest rate in the industry.
- Compliance notifications – They will keep track of any annual requirements Delaware has for your LLC or corporation, helping you keep your good standing with the state.
Basic ($139 + State Fee)
Best for: Entrepreneurs who want to add a variety of customizable documents to your LLC or corporation formation.
The Basic package includes everything from the Green package, plus:
- Document templates – You will receive a selection of commonly used sample documents that you can customize to help you operate your LLC or corporation.
- Hard copy of your completed formation documents (includes priority shipping)
Standard ($239 + State Fee)
Best for: Entrepreneurs who want to form an LLC or corporation, and also want a symbolic corporate kit to hold company documents.
The Standard package includes all features from the Basic package, and adds:
- Business formation kit and seal – A binder with your company name embossed on it, along with some more sample documents, and a custom lead-cast seal personalized for your company.
How Does Harvard Business Services Work?
Harvard Business Services is fairly easy to use. To get started, you’ll head to their “Form an LLC” page. Once there, you can expect to complete the following steps:
- Enter personal contact information: To file your paperwork (and notify you about your business in the future), Harvard Business Services needs some more information about you, including your email, your full name, your phone number, and if you want, your Skype.
- Information about your business: Here, you’ll tell HBS what type of business you want to form, your business name, and other information, such as the business owners, how the company will be managed, and more. This is the nitty-gritty stuff, but it helps make your business a reality.
- Choose any add-ons: Harvard Business Services doesn’t nag you with a lot of additional services, but they do offer you the option to expedite your filings. They’ll also get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for you, if you want them to.
- Payment information: Of course, you’ll have to give Harvard Business Services the money they deserve for all their help. To that end, you’ll need to provide your credit card information.
Who is Harvard Business Services Best for?
Harvard Business Services is best for new businesses who are looking to create an LLC or corporation in the state of Delaware.
Unfortunately, they’re limited to Delaware alone. (Granted, that is an advantage to the businesses they can help because they know all the ins and outs of Delaware laws).
Harvard Business Services is also a good option for entrepreneurs who want an affordable package with no extra bells and whistles. And their registered agent service is the best price in the industry–$50 per year.
But if you want a fuller package with lots of upper-tier features, another service may be better. Harvard’s upper packages aren’t as packed as their competitors (more on that below).
What are Their Customers Saying?
Harvard Business Services boasts excellent reviews on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. In fact, they have some of the best reviews of any service we’ve seen.
We’ll give you our own opinion below, but here are some of the things customers say they love about Harvard Business Services:
- Annual cost to maintain the company with HBS is one of the lowest in the industry
- Friendly, professional, responsive staff that looks to help the client, not upsell
- Easy to use
- Quick turnaround for filings
Usually, we’d include a summary of some negative reviews here, but to be perfectly honest, we couldn’t find many! Negative thoughts about Harvard Business Services are few and far between. The one bad review we did find complained that hiring HBS wasn’t worth the money because you can complete the process yourself for less.
Technically, this complaint is true; you don’t have to hire any formation service. You can do it all on your own. But the whole point of hiring a service is to pass that work to someone else, so you can take that negative with a grain of salt.
Final Thoughts on Harvard Business Services
Overall, Harvard Business Services offers good value to their customers for the features they include in their entry-level package.
Their customer service is fantastic, and our opinion in this regard was backed up by the thousands of positive reviews available online.
Plus, with a focus on one single state, their representatives are able to know your options inside and out, instead of trying to learn the different factors for all 50 states. Harvard Business Services also has the lowest rate for registered agent service that we’re aware of anywhere.
The only real downside is that if you are establishing a business in any other state than Delaware, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Also, there are many competing services that can beat their pricing – for example, ZenBusiness.
They Scored 7/10
- ✔ Good Overall Value
- ✔ Great Customer Reviews
- ✔ No Free Registered Agent
They Scored 9/10
- ✔ Lowest Pricing Available
- ✔ Socially Conscious Company
- ✔ Free Registered Agent
What is Harvard Business Services?
Harvard Business Services first appeared on the scenes in 1981, founded by Richard H. Bell. Richard—or Rick, as his friends call him—originally operated the business out of his home.
He and his wife wanted to make it as easy as possible to form a business in Delaware. So they created their own business formation service and made it a team effort. They personally answered every phone call.
This personal touch persists in the business model of HBS; customer service is everything to them. Since then, they’ve moved into an office and added members to their team, enabling them to form more than 175,000 businesses.
Two things stand out about Harvard Business Services: their excellent customer service and their specialization to the state of Delaware. They serve Delaware alone, making them an authoritative source for Delaware business law (at least, as authoritative as they can be without being actual lawyers).
How Does Harvard Business Services Compare to LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is the biggest name in this industry, largely because they have the biggest advertising budget. We strongly prefer Harvard Business Services vs LegalZoom for anyone forming a business in Delaware.
First off, Harvard Business Services will form your company for much less than LegalZoom, while also supplying a year of registered agent, which LegalZoom charges extra for. Secondly, Harvard Business Services receives tremendous customer feedback, especially compared to the lukewarm reviews for LegalZoom.
What Are Harvard Business Service’s Biggest Advantage and Disadvantage?
The biggest advantage for Harvard Business Service is that they receive spectacular feedback from their clients. Reading through their reviews, it becomes quite clear that their customers truly appreciate the services they provide.
As for disadvantages, their Delaware-only focus is obviously a major issue if you’re trying to form a business elsewhere, and we’re honestly not impressed by the value in their upper-tier formation packages either.
What is Harvard Business Services’s Order Process Like?
The order process with Harvard Business Services is fairly easy to use. When we tested it ourselves, it took us about ten minutes to complete. Their form was easy to understand, too.
Another big merit of the order process is that Harvard Business Services doesn’t have a lot of up-sells throughout the order process (unlike many of their competitors). They offer the EIN and their expedited services, but that’s pretty much the limit of their up-sells. We appreciate this because it keeps the form uncluttered.
If I Use Harvard Business Services, Which Features Should I Buy?
We love their entry-level Green package for $89 plus state fee, and we would recommend it to any reader who wants to form a business in Delaware. With the entire formation process and a year of registered agent service included, this package truly has everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Do They Offer Publication Service?
Delaware does not require publication service, so this question does not apply to Harvard Business Services.
Does Harvard Business Services Help With Ongoing Compliance Requirements?
Even with their most affordable formation package, Harvard Business Services includes a great combination of features to help your business stay compliant into the future.
They include registered agent with every one of their formation packages, along with their compliance alert system that lets you know when you have filing deadlines coming up. They also offer assistance with your annual report and franchise tax.
What Is Their Refund Policy?
Harvard Business Services will grant any refund request as long as you make it within 30 days of your original purchase date. They do have a nominal 5% service fee for refunds, but overall their refund policy is pretty good.
Do I Need to Use a Formation Service?
No, you are not required to use a formation service. In fact, plenty of people do form their own corporations every day in America. If you’d like to see what the process looks like, see our guides for creating a DE LLC, DE corporation and DE nonprofit.