In the USA, every single state has different licensing and regulatory requirements for businesses. For multi-state firms, this creates a lot of headache in trying to stay compliant. Not only are the requirements different, but the due dates will also differ. For a business with operations in several states, this could mean that someone on your staff would need to constantly be checking in on things to ensure compliance.
That is, of course, unless you use Harbor Compliance.
Harbor Compliance provides business compliance solutions, including business licensing, registration, renewals and more. They serve over 25,000 clients, helping them handle compliance requirements so that entrepreneurs can focus on what they do best: Actually running their business!
While Harbor Compliance can help any business owner, they specialize in companies with operations in multiple states. For simpler businesses, another LLC formation service will likely be a more cost-effective way to get help with the formation process.
In this Harbor Compliance review, we will go over all the details that you need to know about this service, including cost, customer service, features, and more.
Check out our roundup of the Best LLC Services
There are many companies that can help manage your firm’s business compliance needs, so why choose Harbor Compliance? Here are some key aspects that set Harbor apart from the competition:
Advanced software - Harbor offers a compliance Software as a Service (SaaS) product to manage multi-state compliance. This advanced software solution lets you monitor licenses and registrations nationwide, keep track of due dates, assign tasks to employees, access your corporate records, receive registered agent documents, and more, all from one interface.
Comprehensive data - Harbor maintains an extensive database of data for state and local business requirements, nationwide. This can save business owners many hours of digging through government websites to find forms and requirements. Everything is stored in one place, cutting down on wasted time.
Expert services - Harbor Compliance has a team of skilled compliance professionals that can handle your business paperwork for you. Filing is fast, cost-effective, and accurate, offering a great return on investment for your business.
Specialized licensing - While most competitors simply help businesses obtain general business licenses, Harbor Compliance can help with applications for higher regulated industries, such as architecture, construction, insurance, security and more.
Harbor Compliance can help many different types of businesses stay on top of regulatory requirements, but is it right for you? There are a few specific types of businesses that will benefit most:
Multi-state businesses - Harbor’s specialty is in helping businesses with operations in several states. Their innovative software makes it easy to monitor and search requirements nationwide, all in one place. A firm with gas stations in 15 states, for example, could track due dates, monitor changes in regulatory requirements, and much more, in each state they operate in.
Large businesses - Harbor’s unique software and expert staff have what it takes to manage the needs of mid-sized to large companies. They specialize in complex licensing and entity management for nationwide companies.
Firms in regulated industries - Some industries and activities face far more regulatory hurdles than others. For example, industries like construction, engineering, energy, and transportation often face huge regulatory challenges when entering new markets. Harbor Compliance specializes in these tightly regulated industries.
Growing businesses - If your company has plans to grow - particularly by expanding into new states - then Harbor Compliance is a great partner to have. Their advanced software and expert service allow companies to move fast, jumping on opportunities for expansion.
Large nonprofit organizations - The same tools that make Harbor Compliance useful for large multi-state businesses also make it very helpful for larger nonprofits. Harbor offers custom services for nonprofits, helping them handle licensing and compliance requirements efficiently.
Before choosing a service, it’s wise to consider both the advantages and disadvantages. Here are some things to keep in mind with Harbor Compliance:
Harbor Compliance offers a suite of features and services to keep your firm on top of compliance requirements. Some highlights include:
Compliance software - Harbor’s advanced compliance software lets you monitor licenses, registrations, records and more, all from one intuitive portal. Plus, you can automate repeated tasks, assign employees to handle specific items, and much more. This software is particularly powerful for multi-state businesses, as everything nationwide is displayed in the same portal.
Entity manager - This feature maintains a list of databases from the Secretary of State’s office in each state. Using this tool, you can monitor where your business entities are registered, and help maintain your good standing. There is even an interactive map to monitor entities on a nationwide scale.
License manager - This feature lets you monitor and maintain licenses in all states, and efficiently obtain new ones as needed. It includes a nationwide database of all the various requirements for licensing in each state.
Tax manager - This feature streamlines tax registration on a federal, state and local level. You can view where your organization is registered, monitor due dates, and much more.
Records manager - This feature provides a simple organization structure for your corporate records. You can upload and store key documents, track ownership and leadership, and more.
Annual reports - Harbor can help manage your business’ ongoing compliance needs, including the requirement to file annual reports, operating agreements, filing your articles of organization, and more.
Business licensing - Harbor has various business formation and licensing services available. Obtain new business licenses, monitor renewal dates, and be alerted to overdue licenses, all from one portal.
Registered agent service - Harbor Compliance has Registered Agents in all US states, which are available to clients. Registered Agents are a requirement in many states, and are tasked with handling legal correspondence for businesses. Registered Agent comes bundled in some custom plans from Harbor Compliance, and is available as a standalone service for $99 per year.
Nonprofit formation - Harbor Compliance can help you form a nonprofit entity with ease. They can help you obtain the necessary state and federal licenses, as well as 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. This service starts at $1,699 + state filing fees.
Fundraising compliance - For nonprofits, getting formed is just the first step. Ongoing compliance requirements are extremely important, including ensuring that you are licensed to solicit donations and raise funds. Harbor’s nonprofit experts can ensure that you’re covered every step of the way, so you can focus on the cause you are passionate about.
Foreign qualification - When expanding into new states and territories, your business must register to transact in each new state. Harbor Compliance offers full service management of the entire foreign qualification process, ensuring that it’s done accurately and efficiently. You will get 1-on-1 support with a compliance expert, and Harbor offers this service in all US states.
Information center - Harbor also has an extensive online information center that is very useful. They have detailed guides on business compliance, fundraising compliance, how to start a nonprofit, and much more. There are webinars, white papers, email series and more, many of which are available for free (whether you’re a Harbor client or not).
Most services from Harbor Compliance require a custom quote. They do not publicly list pricing for most services. Because they specialize in larger businesses with complex needs, this makes sense - but it does make it difficult to compare Harbor’s pricing to competitors.
Keep in mind that for many services, state fees will be charged separately. For instance, if Harbor charges you for a service, there may also be a separate charge to cover the required state fees.
Because of their specialty in large firms, Harbor will likely be more expensive than some of the best LLC services and other service providers, like LegalZoom, ZenBusiness, Incfile and Northwest Registered Agent. If you’re looking for the cheapest LLC formation packages, it might be best to look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a comprehensive compliance package, Harbor is a great option - particularly for multi-state firms.
The only service that has a publicly listed price is Registered Agent, which costs $89 to $99 per year, depending on the state. There is also a small discount after the first year if you pay for several years at once. This is actually quite competitive, as many competitors charge a bit more.
Nonprofit formation at Harbor Compliance starts at $1,699 plus state filing fees. This is substantially more than many competitors, but Harbor’s level of service is also well above average.
To get a true feel for what Harbor Compliance will cost your business, you will need to contact them for a quote.
Harbor Compliance has quality customer service, available via phone or email. Looking at customer reviews, most clients who have reported feedback have had a good experience with Harbor Compliance’s customer support team and compliance specialists.
Harbor Compliance also has a good rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and other key rating websites.