ZenBusiness vs Harvard Business Services

Last updated: March 13th, 2024
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Looking to form a new LLC or corporation? You may want some help navigating the often-complex process. Fortunately, there are two great options to help you: ZenBusiness, and Harvard Business Services. This article will compare the two, to help you choose the best option for your small business dreams.

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ZenBusiness vs Harvard Business Services: Quick look

These business formation services both serve as middlemen between you and your state. They help you navigate the document filing process, ensuring you complete every step required to form a new business entity. The result is a faster, easier, and more accurate process than filing everything on your own.

Similarities between ZenBusiness and Harvard Business Services

  • Both make it easier to start a LLC or corporation
  • Both allow you to complete all necessary steps online
  • Both provide a good way to start a new company in Delaware
  • Both can be your Registered Agent
  • Both can help keep your company in good standing
  • Both can help with ongoing filing and compliance requirements, such as annual report filing
  • Both can help you find a business name with a name check feature
  • Both offer a variety of service packages to fit different needs
  • Both offer lifetime customer support from friendly, US-based agents

Differences between ZenBusiness and Harvard Business Services

  • Harvard only helps with business formation in the state of Delaware; ZenBusiness supports formations in all US states
  • Harvard Business Services includes state fees in their pricing structure; ZenBusiness charges these fees separately
  • ZenBusiness is an ongoing subscription service; HBS is a one-time fee, with the option to keep ongoing services

ZenBusiness basics

ZenBusiness is a subscription-based service provider that makes it easy to start a new company online. With the service, you can form a new:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation

With ZenBusiness, you can form a new company in any state, as their plans are compatible with state-level requirements throughout the country. Keep in mind that state fees will vary depending on your location, but ZenBusiness’ own pricing is the same regardless of state.

ZenBusiness is a relatively young company, but they have built a great reputation for quality services and responsive customer service. They help with business formation, but also provide a lot of value with ongoing services, including Registered Agent, ongoing business compliance, business website builders, and more.

Harvard Business Services basics

Harvard Business Services is a business formation service that specializes in companies formed in the state of Delaware. With the service, you can form a new:

  • Delaware limited liability company (LLC)
  • Delaware corporation

It’s important to understand that HBS can only help with forming a new business in the state of Delaware. Unlike competitors like ZenBusiness, Bizee, LegalZoom, etc, HBS focuses exclusively on Delaware-based startups and companies.

Why Delaware? The state has some of the most business-friendly rules, courts, and tax laws in the nation. HBS aims to help entrepreneurs take advantage of these rules by incorporating in Delaware. You don’t need to live in Delaware in order to form a company there, so HBS can help with your Delaware LLC regardless of where you live.

ZenBusiness vs Harvard Business Services: Pricing

Because HBS only supports Delaware companies, comparing these two services is only relevant if you plan to form a business in Delaware. HBS also includes state fees in its pricing structure, so this is important to note.

ZenBusiness pricing

  • Starter Package – $129/year + state fees ($90 in Delaware) – Basic business formation services, including the first year of Registered Agent service. Standard filing speed.
  • Pro Package – $249/year + state fees ($90 in Delaware) – Everything in the Starter package, plus EIN, banking resolution, bylaws, and templates. Expedited filing speed.
  • Premium Package – $349/year + state fees ($90 in Delaware) – Everything in the Starter and Pro packages, plus free domain name, business website, and email address. Rush filing speed.

Harvard Business Services pricing

  • Green Package – $179 (including state fees) – The Green package covers the basics of getting your company formed in Delaware. The turnaround time is 3-5 days, via electronic document delivery. It also comes with one year of Registered Agent services, which renews at $50/year if you keep it.
  • Basic Package – $229 (including state fees) – The Basic package takes everything in the Green package, and adds physical copies of your business documents, delivered in 4-6 business days. It also includes extras like corporate bylaws, banking resolution form, and LLC operating agreement.
  • Standard Package – $329 (including state fees) – The Standard package includes everything in the previous plans, and adds stock certificates, a membership ledger, custom corporate seal embosser, and more. You’ll also get expedited shipping of business documents.

Harvard Business Services has more streamlined LLC formation packages, while ZenBusiness bundles in more bonus features. At first glance, ZenBusiness may look cheaper – but that’s only because they charge state fees separately. When you add in state fees, HBS is cheaper for all three packages. It’s also the cheapest Delaware Registered Agent, at just $50 a year.

That said, it could be argued that ZenBusiness adds substantial value for business owners, with perks like a business website, EIN application, etc. It’s worth keeping in mind that ZenBusiness has an annual fee, while HBS is a one-time fee (with the option to keep certain services, like Registered Agent). In the end, HBS appears to offer better value for Delaware businesses.

ZenBusiness vs Harvard Business Services: Features

Comparing these two services is difficult, simply because HBS specializes solely in Delaware companies, whereas ZenBusiness forms new business entities in all US states. For this reason, it’s really only worthwhile to compare them if you plan to form a company in Delaware. If you want to form a company outside Delaware, ZenBusiness is your only option here.

For the sake of comparison, let’s look at what these companies offer an entrepreneur who does want to form a company in Delaware. Both can help with LLC and corporations, so no major difference there. Both help you file all necessary paperwork, and both can serve as your Registered Agent.

The difference is in the details. For instance, HBS offers a mail forwarding service, and more options for stock and membership distributions. ZenBusiness, on the other hand, offers more in the marketing department, including a business website, email address, and domain name.

Overall, both offer great ease-of-use. Turnaround time is faster with HBS, but again – it only works in Delaware. But because they specialize in a single state, they have mastered the process of working with Delaware state officials to make things as efficient as possible.

ZenBusiness vs Harvard Business Services: Customer service

Customer service is important to consider. Both companies offer lifetime customer support, and both have earned good reputations with customers for quality support.

  • ZenBusiness customer support can be reached via phone, online chat, and email. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 8 am – 8 pm Central time, and Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm Central time.
  • Harvard Business Services customer support can be reached via phone, email, and Skype. You can reach them from Monday through Thursday at 9 am – 5 pm EDT, and Friday from 9 am – 4 pm EDT.

Overall, the approach to customer support at these two companies is similar – as are their available business hours.

Looking at customer reviews and feedback, both have earned an excellent track record on TrustPilot. At the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Harvard has better ratings overall. In fact, both of these companies are among the best-rated in the industry, beating out competitors like Bizee, LegalZoom, and many others.

Which should you choose?

We’ve gone over the finer details of these two services. If you’re looking for a quick summary, here are our recommendations for which provider might make the most sense for you.

Choose ZenBusiness if…

  • You plan to form a company outside of Delaware. ZenBusiness can help you form a company in any US state.
  • You want useful bonus features. ZenBusiness has some unique perks included, like tools to help you with a business website and marketing.

Choose Harvard Business Services if…

  • You plan to form a company in Delaware. HBS specializes in Delaware incorporations, and offers excellent value.
  • You want cheap Registered Agent services in Delaware. HBS charges just $50 a year for their Registered Agent service, which is substantially less than competing LLC formation services.

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