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.
Harvard Business Services = 7/10
When it comes to online incorporation services, here’s what matters most:
- Does the company offer good value for what you pay?
- Do they have a track record for providing high-quality service?
- Do they offer good customer support if you need help?
- How easy is it to place and create an order?
- How quickly is your business formed?
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
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.
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.
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 compared to 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.
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 corporation and DE nonprofit.