Incfile vs Harvard Business Services
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.
Incfile vs Harvard Business Services: Quick look
Let’s start with the basics: What do these services offer, and why should you consider using one of them?
Similarities between Incfile and Harvard Business Services
- Both provide an easy way to form a new LLC or corporation online
- Both can serve as your Registered Agent (all states require you to assign a Registered Agent, although you may be able to be your own)
- You work directly with Harvard/Incfile; the service corresponds with your state
- Both help you file articles of organization, operating agreement, and various other required documents
- Both help you find the right company name with a business name check
- Both have several different packages to choose from
- Both can help with extras, like obtaining a federal tax ID
- Both offer lifetime customer support
- Both offer one-time-fee packages, with the option to choose ongoing services (like Registered Agent)
Differences between Incfile and Harvard Business Services
- Incfile can help you form a business in any state; Harvard only works for businesses that wish to incorporate in Delaware
- Harvard is designed for entrepreneurs who wish to take advantage of Delaware’s business-friendly rules; Incfile allows for new businesses to be registered in all US states
- Incfile supports the formation of partnerships and nonprofits; Harvard does not
- Incfile charges state filing fees separately; Harvard includes them in plan pricing
- Incfile’s plans start at just $0 + state fees; Harvard’s start at $179 including state fees
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:
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Corporation (C-corp or S-corp)
- Nonprofit corporation
- Partnership (LP or LLP)
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 basics
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:
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Corporation (C-Corp)
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).
Incfile vs Harvard Business Services: Pricing
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.
- Silver Package - $0 + state filing fees - includes the basic business formation documents, with standard filing speed. Includes special offers for business banking account, business website, and more. Comes with 1-year of free Registered Agent services (plan renews at $119 per year unless cancelled)
- Gold Package - $149 + state filing fees - includes everything in silver package, plus express shipping, employer identification number (EIN), banking resolution, and operating agreement.
- Platinum Package - $299 + state filing fees - includes everything in gold package, plus expedited shipping, expedited filing, additional templates, business email, business domain name, and more.
Harvard Business Services pricing
- Green Package - $179 (includes state fees) - basic business formation service with standard filing speed and digital document delivery. Comes with 1-year free Registered Agent services (plan renews at $50/year unless cancelled)
- Basic Package - $229 (includes state fees) - includes all features of green package, plus a hard copy of all documents mailed to you, operating agreement, bylaws, bank resolution form, and more.
- Standard Package - $329 (includes state fees) - includes all features of basic package, with expedited filing speed and shipping. Includes stock certificates/membership ledger, corporate seal embosser, custom logo embossed binder, and more.
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.
Incfile vs HBS: Features
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.
Harvard Business Services vs Incfile: Customer service
Both HBS and Incfile offer good customer support. Both offer lifetime support, whether you keep ongoing services or not.
- Harvard Business Services customer support agents are available via phone, online chat, Skype, and email. Phone reps can be reached Monday - Thursday from 9 AM - 5 PM EDT (GMT-5), and Friday 9 AM - 4:00 PM EDT (GMT-5).
- Incfile customer support agents are available via phone and email. Phone reps can be reached Monday - Friday from 9am to 6pm CST.
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.
Which should you choose?
We’ve gone over all the finer details of these two services. But which should you choose to help form your LLC or startup?
Choose Incfile if…
- You want to form a company in any state besides Delaware. Harvard only supports Delaware, while Incfile has plans for all US states.
- You want the lowest-cost option possible. Incfile’s $0 plan is an industry leader.
- You want more ongoing compliance support. Incfile has more tools to keep you in good standing in the future, such as annual report filing.
- You may alter or convert your business structure in the future. Incfile has more advanced functionality for future business changes.
- You want to form a partnership, or a nonprofit corporation. Harvard does not support these business structures.
Choose Harvard Business Services if…
- You plan to form a company in Delaware. For Delaware LLCs and corporations, Harvard’s offerings are the best value.
- You prefer to use a company with a great reputation. HBS’ customer reviews are superior to Incfile’s.
- You plan to use Registered Agent services past the first year. Harvard’s Registered Agent service renews at just $50/year.