For entrepreneurs, forming a new LLC or corporation can feel complex and overwhelming. Each state’s requirements are different, and there are many key steps to take - each of which must be done with 100% accuracy. Thankfully, services like Incfile and Harvard Business Services make the process much easier.
These two services help guide you through the entire process of forming a new corporation, LLC, or other business entity. They are basically a middleman between you and your state’s business agency (often the Secretary of State). These services can help save you a ton of time and hassle in forming your new business.
In this guide, we’ll compare Incfile vs Harvard Business Services in full detail, to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Let’s start with the basics: What do these services offer, and why should you consider using one of them?
Check out our roundup of Best LLC Services
Incfile is a business formation service for entrepreneurs in all US states. Their tagline is “Where Business Begins”, which is quite fitting, as they specialize in the initial business formation process. Since 2004, they have helped form more than 250,000 new businesses. With Incfile, you can form:
With Incfile, you can form a business in any state in the United States. You will pay Incfile’s fees ($0-$299 depending on the package), and your state’s filing fees ($50-$250+ depending on the state).
Incfile is best-known for their $0 plan, called the “Silver Package”. There is no service fee for this plan - you simply pay state filing fees, which go directly to the state you are forming the business in. This plan from Incfile is the cheapest way to start an LLC online - it will cost you the same amount as starting a company on your own, without help.
Incfile is able to offer such low-cost packages through their unique business model. They recommend various services and products to their customers, such as business banking products and website hosting. Because they have financial relationships with these providers, they are able to offer low-cost and no-cost LLC formation services.
See the full review of Incfile here.
Harvard Business Services, Inc is an incorporation service that’s specifically for forming a company in the state of Delaware. Delaware has some of the most business-friendly regulations and laws in the country, so millions of businesses are incorporated there. Harvard Business Services makes it easy to take advantage, whether you live in Delaware or somewhere else. With Harvard, you can form:
Again, Harvard only supports business formations in Delaware. With that said, you don’t need to live in the state of Delaware, as Delaware business rules allow residents of other states (and countries) to incorporate there.
Delaware offers many benefits for small business owners. It’s easy and low-cost to incorporate there. You don’t need to live in the state. And, Delaware has business-friendly courts and tax laws, making it easier - and more affordable - for companies to navigate business disputes and taxation concerns.
Harvard Business Services (HBS) makes it easy to take advantage of Delaware’s business-friendly rules, by helping you incorporate in Delaware. Their plans start at just $179, including all Delaware state fees. They also offer the cheapest registered agent fee in the industry (included in plan for 1 year, then $50/year).
At first glance, Incfile looks like a much better value, with it’s unique $0 service fee. However, keep in mind that HBS includes state fees in their pricing, while Incfile charges this separately.
Ongoing costs also vary significantly. For instance, if you plan to keep Registered Agent services, you’ll pay $50/year to Harvard Business Services, or $119/year to Incfile.
Note that pricing below refers to LLC formation packages; pricing for corporations and other business structures may vary.
At a glance, pricing can be a bit misleading. Incfile looks cheaper, particularly for their basic plan (which is $0). However, when you include state fees, there’s less of a difference. For example, to form an LLC in Delaware, there’s a $110 state fee. HBS costs $179 for their basic plan, which includes state fees.
When it comes to the upper-tier packages, the value offered by each service is similar. It’s a matter of picking which option better suits your needs. Each service also has add-ons and additional services that are priced individually, and additional fees may apply in some cases. Overall, pricing on these two services is in line with industry standards, and competitors like LegalZoom, My LLC, ZenBusiness, Northwest, and other service providers.
Comparing features between these two services is only relevant if you plan on incorporating or forming an LLC in Delaware. Because HBS only offers business formation in Delaware, Incfile is the only option if you want to incorporate elsewhere. If you do choose Delaware, the functionality of the services is relatively similar.
HBS offers more templates and resources than Incfile, at least in lower-tier plans.
On the other hand, Incfile supports partnership and nonprofits, while HBS does not.
As for turnaround time, Harvard Business Services is typically faster than Incfile. They offer same-day filing on all their plans, and Delaware is known for fast application processing. With HBS, you’ll typically have the whole process done in around 3-7 business days.
Both HBS and Incfile offer good customer support. Both offer lifetime support, whether you keep ongoing services or not.
In this category, HBS wins out slightly. Harvard is known for great customer service; with Incfile, customer feedback is mixed. Third-party rating sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, etc. display reviews from customers, and Incfile’s ratings are definitely mixed when it comes to customer service.
We’ve gone over all the finer details of these two services. But which should you choose to help form your LLC or startup?