Want to setup an LLC without navigating through a half-dozen confusing upsells and unexpected fees while you file? I’m happy to report that Harvard Business Services provides a simple way to form an LLC with clear and upfront pricing options.
While the filing cost to file an LLC appears higher at first glance than alternatives, the packages come with benefits that other companies will charge extra for. As an example, a registered agent comes free for a full year even with the lowest price package. Go elsewhere and you’ll find this extra charge will cost another $150 – $200 per year.
In this Harvard Business Services review, I outline the advantages and disadvantages of the company, including the costs, customer service, pricing and an audit of recent reviews. I’ve also included an FAQ section to answer some other common questions about Harvard Business Services. Read my full review below and find out if this is the right service provider for your business. By the way, my top pick for LLC formation is ZenBusiness that allows to structure a company for $39 + State Fees.
- Price: 8 out of 10
- Customer Support & Refund Policy: 8 out of 10
- Customer Reviews / Reputation: 9 out of 10
- Ease of Use / Customer Experience: 9 out of 10
- Total Score: 34 out of 40 (Very Good!)
Advantages | Disadvantages | Cost | Alternative LLC Services | FAQs
Advantages of Harvard Business Services
- Their business offers guaranteed pricing that is among the most affordable in the industry. Their company formation fees start at $179 and their registered agent is guaranteed to not increase during the lifetime of your company.
- Customer reviews for Harvard Business Services are outstanding. Clients rave about their customer service and attentiveness and praise the company for its transparency and service options.
- The company gives back to the profession. One example: the company has a scholarship program for undergraduates in U.S. colleges and universities majoring in entrepreneurship or another business program.
- Need your LLC formation in a hurry? The company offers an expedited service that can have your formation documents approved the same business day for an additional $150.
Disadvantages of Harvard Business Services
- There is a Delaware-centric focus to the Harvard Business Services offerings. That can be a challenge if you want the same company to help you incorporate in multiple jurisdictions.
- Take a close look at the upper-level packages. The extra benefits in the Standard package, for example, are a pretty weak in my humble opinion: a gold-embossed binder, meeting minutes book and membership certificates may not be worth the extra cost. Yawn.
How Much Does It Cost to File an LLC with Fees?
Harvard Business Services offers three packages for LLC formation. Here’s a look at each package and the highlights of each.
- All Delaware Fees. Covers the fees to file and incorporate in Delaware with a turnaround time of three to five business days via email.
- Registered Agent Fee. Each incorporated company is required to name a registered agent, which receives documents on your behalf and forwards them to your LLC. The fee covers 12 months of Delaware registered agent services. In subsequent years, the price is guaranteed at $50 per year.
- Name Check & Clearance. This service searches a database of existing registered LLCs to ensure that the name you want for your company is available or already claimed by another business.
- Document Preparation. Harvard Business Services will ensure that all necessary documents are completed accurately and that your filing is complete.
- Same-Day Electronic Filing. This service speeds up the process and ensures that your company is incorporated quickly.
- Certificate of Formation/Incorporation. This legal certificate certifies that your business has been formed and incorporated.
- Digital Copy of Documents and Digital Corporate Seal. Have all of your formal paperwork sent to you in an organized and secure process that provides you with the necessary documentation for other business matters, usually within two to three business days. Includes a digital copy of your corporate seal with your new company’s name.
- All Delaware Compliance Notices to keep you informed about annual requirements to ensure your company remains in good standing.
- Free Lifetime Customer Support
The Basic package includes all the benefits and services of the Green package, with delivery in four to six business days, plus the following:
- Hard Copy of All Documents. Receive a printed set all documents for your records.
- All Shipping Fees. Priority mailing costs are covered in full.
- Operating Agreements and Bylaws. Document and record any legal operating agreements and bylaws that govern how the new business operates.
- LLC/Corporation Essential Documents. These documents include templates to help you record the inner operational workings of your business.
- Digital Membership and Stock Certificates. Use these tools to issue stock and membership information to owners and members.
- Bank Resolution Form. This form is required to legally open a corporate bank account.
The Standard package includes all the services and features of both the Green and Basic packages, plus a deluxe kit that features:
- Gold Embossed Binder
- Company Guidebook
- Meeting Minute Book
- Organizational Resolutions
- 10 Membership or Stock Certificates
- Membership or Stock Ledger
- A fold-up embosser of your corporate seal with lead-cast lettering
Total Score: 34 out of 40
How does Harvard Business Services stack up? Let’s take a closer look into the ratings. I gave Harvard Business Services high marks due to the fact that they are easy to use and extremely straight forward on pricing. Alternative companies will show a low filing fee upfront, only to ding you with charges throughout the LLC filing process. This company strikes the balance between low-price while still offering solid customer support.
Price: 8 out of 10
We want you to get the best deal possible on an LLC formation. We rate LLC formation services on the lowest price so you can be confident you’re getting a great deal based on the value and features offered.
- Price: 8. Harvard Business Services recently dropped its prices for each of the three packages by $100. Their prices are among the most competitive in the industry.
- Value: 8. Guarantees are a good thing. Harvard Business Services guarantees that its registered agent fee of $50 annually will never increase for the lifetime of your company.
We’d like to see some more robust services included in their more expensive packages, but the price and value are very competitive. It would also be good for Harvard Business Services to include obtaining an Employee Identification Number (EIN) as part of its packages instead of charging a separate $65-$95 fee.
Customer Support and Refund Policy: 8 out of 10
We believe LLC formation companies should offer hassle-free refunds and easy to get a hold of customer support if you have questions.
- Refund Policy: 7. Refunds are allowed if requested within 30 days. The company charges a reasonable 5% service processing fee. You’ll also need to return within seven days any physical products related to the incorporation of your business.
- Customer Support: 9. Harvard Business Services offers multiple ways to connect with them to support your needs.
- Phone Number: 1-855-337-4941
- Chat: Available at the top right corner of each company web page at https://www.delawareinc.com/
- Email: [email protected]
- Skype: Like with the other customer service options, you can connect with Harvard Business Services on Skype by going to the top right of their web pages. The company’s Skype name is DelawareInc.
User Reviews / Company Reputation: 9 out of 10
We evaluate reviews published across the web to help determine if this is a company you can trust for your LLC formation. We give their reviews a 9. The company demonstrates a commitment to their customers and the reviews illustrate that clearly. The vast majority of reviews give the company high praise.
- From the Better Business Bureau: I have worked exclusively with HBS for more than 25 years, which alone already shows the high quality of its services and its exquisite customer service. But in any case, I want to highlight its efficiency and the very reasonable prices of its services, without competition in the market. It was and it is really lucky to work with people like those who work at HBS. Thank you, thank you very much, for how easy and pleasant it was and continues to be working with you during all this time.
- From the Better Business Bureau: A great, easy to work with service that can handle everything or just a few things in setting up your business. I’ve had 7 LLCs set up by them, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t consider going anywhere else — or into the maze of DE forms and the endless time trying to talk to someone in the DE state government to clarify a point.
- From Trustpilot: The best online service to form corporations and do all the required paperwork in Delaware. Period. Don’t look any further.
- From Trustpilot. I am extremely sad to write this review. Especially since I noticed they have a lot of good reviews and have treated fairly and very well several customers. Unfortunately, we happen not to be on the lucky list. We incorporated with them and paid for the full package, one in which they claim to offer lifetime support. Well, the support ceased after less than a year. We expected far better service of them. The customer service representatives were not helpful and dismissive. This is our honest opinion
Ease of Use / Customer Experience: 9 out of 10
According to the sales copy on the website, you can file a Delaware LLC in a matter of minutes. I’ll be the judge of that! Here’s what each step of the filing process looks like.
You start the process by filling out basic information into their DIY wizard. In the first step, you’ll enter your full name including middle initial, email address, telephone number, company type (in this case an LLC), and company name. Then click on the “Save and Continue” button at the bottom of the page.
Next, assign a communications contact for the company, a shipping address, and address for annual notices. These can all be distinct locations located anywhere in the world. Click “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page when you’re ready to move on.
Next, select your LLC formation package: Green ($179), Basic ($229), or Standard ($329). You may also select to get expedited filing for an additional $150.
Next, you’ll be asked to enter the number of members or owners for the LLC. After selecting the number of members, you’ll enter basic contact information and percentage of ownership. Click Save and Continue to move forward.
On the following section of the form, you’ll be asked if you want an EIN or federal tax identification number for an additional $65. Every business entity needs one of these numbers to pay taxes, hire employees, or open a bank account in the United States.
Next, you’ll double check all the business information you provided. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for blog updates from the company and tell the company how you found out about their services using a drop down menu. Click the “Continue to the Next Page” button when you’re ready.
Finally, you’ll enter payment information using a credit card, debit, or PayPal. You’ll also enter billing information and click the “Place Order” button when you’re ready.
This concludes the entire process of filing for an LLC using Harvard Business Services. I have to admit the checkout process using this service is extremely fast. Additionally, you don’t find the upsell offers for bank accounts or sales calls with accounting firms. This saves time trying to figure out what you actually need to buy like other companies.
From a user experience standpoint, this is a simple and fast way to file for an LLC. The pricing options are straight forward and you aren’t hit up with unexpected expenses at the end of the checkout process. What you see really is what you get with their pricing.
Harvard Business Services Alternatives
You have options when it comes to LLC incorporation services. Here are some of the other options for these services.
- ZenBusiness: Out of all our LLC service reviews this is the top ranked provider with a score of 37 out of 40. Founded in 2015, ZenBusiness is one of the most affordable LLC incorporation services, with a Starter package of $39 (not including state filing fees). Its more expansive packages include EIN registration and the company has a focus on social justice, including a partnership with Kiva.org to lending for women- and minority-owned businesses.
- IncFile LLC: Started in 2004, IncFile will file your incorporation paperwork for free (not including state filing fees) and also offers a free year of registered agent service, unlimited phone and email support, and a 30-minute, no-obligation business tax consultation service. The business also offers lifetime alerts about upcoming business filing deadlines, annual reports, licenses, statements of information and other necessary filing requirements. IncFile got a score of 24 out of 40 in our review.
- Swyft Filings: Another new player in the industry, Swyft Filings started in 2014. Its LLC formation services options start at $49 and include a no-obligation, 30-minute business tax consultation, lifetime customer support and company compliance alerts about pending deadlines. One unique feature: The company also offers a business web domain service free for the first year. Normally, you’ll only pay $15 – $20 to register a domain name anyway so this isn’t a groundbreaking benefit. Swyft Filings got a final review score of 30 out of 40.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Harvard Business Services Good for LLC Formation?
Yes. Harvard Business Services has been in business since 1981 and has decades of experience helping hundreds of thousands of companies with their LLC incorporation needs.
Is Harvard Business Services Legit?
Yes, Harvard Business Services is a legit enterprise. Although the name may imply otherwise, the company is not affiliated with Harvard University. It has sterling reviews and a reputation for excellent customer service.
Is Harvard Business Services Free?
No. Harvard Business Services, like other LLC formation companies, charges fees to manage the paperwork processing and completion, filing and conformation processes. Harvard Business Services has three packages available for these services, starting at $179 for their Green package.
Is Harvard Business Services a Registered Agent?
Each registered company in Delaware must also have a registered agent, who receives documents on behalf of the company and forwards them to you. Harvard Business Services acts as a registered agent and has a guaranteed fee of $50 per year for this service.
Do you need to pay for an LLC every year?
Yes. While each state has different guidelines for how it handles LLC annual fees, in Delaware the annual fee is $300 and is due annually on June 1, payable to the Delaware Department of State. These fees must be paid whether or not the company is active.
How to contact Harvard Business Services customer support?
There are several options for connecting with Harvard Business Services customer support. The company offers support via phone (1-855-337-4941), Skype (DelawareInc), email ([email protected]) and online chat at their website (www.delawareinc.com).
Is there a refund policy?
Yes, you can request a refund within 30 days minus a 5% service processing fee.
Can you form an LLC on your own?
Yes, you can file an LLC on your own. However, the steps required and paperwork are considerable. To create an LLC, you need to choose a name, file a certificate of organization, choose a registered agent, decide whether the company will be managed directly by its members or an appointed outsider, create an LLC operating agreement, obtain an EIN, obtain business licenses, cover state and employer taxes, file annual reports and register as an out-of-state LLC if applicable. It’s an extensive process, which leads many businesses to work with a company like Harvard Business Services instead.
What do online reviews say about this business?
The company gets high praise online with a 5 out of 5 rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Where is Harvard Business Services Located?
Harvard Business Services is located in Lewes, Delaware. Harvard Business Services started in a basement in 1981. Now, 40 years later, they offer a wide array of services and packages designed to provide you with the tools to incorporate a business.
The company employs 40 people and recently hit two impressive milestones: Harvard Business Services has formed more than 250,000 companies and became the Delaware registered agent for 100,000 businesses.