If you plan to form a new LLC but would rather not resort to DIY methods, you always have the option of hiring an LLC formation company. Service providers like Harbor Compliance and IncFile are not only competent but also more affordable compared to the rates of many business lawyers.
But how do you choose between the two? It mostly depends on your startup capital as well as the nature of your business that directly affects the demands, i.e. what features your LLC may require upon formation and for the long-term maintenance.
This Harbor Compliance vs IncFile LLC service comparison will elaborate more on the similarities and differences between the companies, including their strong points and a few drawbacks.
In terms of consistency, Harbor Compliance and IncFile show excellent track records as far as quality of service and feature selection go. Either of the two will technically work just fine for your formation purposes, given that they’re among the best LLC formation services online.
Still, IncFile is a more popular option. Such a stark preference can be explained by their low prices, specifically their $0 base package. Compare that to the $399 formation rate of Harbor Compliance and the choice seems pretty clear.
There’s also the question of feedback: IncFile’s effectiveness can be ascertained through thousands of positive customer reviews, while Harbor Compliance’s reviews are somewhere in the hundreds.
Aside from that, Harbor Compliance is more than competent and is often chosen as an alternative LLC service to IncFile out of dozens of substitutes.
It’s natural to want to have a fuller picture before making the final decision, so let’s delve a little deeper into the key aspects of the two LLC service providers and what makes either of them a worthy choice.
Both IncFile and Harbor Compliance provide LLC service of the highest quality, albeit with varying levels of feature inclusivity, but what immediately becomes apparent is the difference in their rates.
While IncFile offers a free LLC service with their base Silver package, Harbor Compliance sets their full formation rate at $399. See details regarding IncFile rates on their website. Harbor Compliance also offers more information about individual state fees.
The first point of divergence between the two is the list of services included with their packages. Although IncFile adds a year of registered agent service even with their Silver plan (which is the company’s base formation package) and Harbor Compliance includes this service at the annual rate of $99 in their main formation package, IncFile’s plans also have business tax consultation, whereas Harbor Compliance omit this feature.
A point in favor of Harbor Compliance is the inclusion of the federal tax ID number (EIN) acquisition—one of the key steps in an LLC formation. Plus their premium customer service is aimed at complete client satisfaction. The company assigns a Compliance Specialist to tend to the needs of every customer, so you will be able to get immediate assistance from a highly trained specialist throughout your LLC formation.
IncFile is the more experienced of the two, having registered their business way back in 2003, though they started operations in 2004.
In the past 17 years, the company has conducted over 500,000 formations, including LLCs, nonprofits, and corporations.
Harbor Compliance is significantly younger—their launch dates to 2013—but this hasn’t stopped them from helping over 10,000 customers with various business and nonprofit solutions.
Harbor Compliance is known primarily for their highly personalized customer support system that appoints a compliance specialist for each individual customer at the start of the LLC formation process.
Keep in mind that this service is not available with their $399 Formation package. If you truly think your business will benefit from the all-access customer service and long-term maintenance help, you will need to select the company’s Compliance package. The annual rate of this plan is $799.
If this seems too pricey for your business, you can always rely on IncFile and their strong customer service. Even though their representatives are not as particular as Harbor Compliance’s agents, they will still be helpful and suitably thorough.
Support is available via phone Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm CST, but you can also send your questions through their online forms which are reviewed in real-time.
Turnaround times generally depend on the state of formation as each governing body has different processing procedures. IncFile is able to file your paperwork within one business day and estimates the average processing time to be less than two weeks, but be sure to check their turnaround estimates for your state.
Harbor Compliance approximate their average processing time between two and four weeks depending on the state and entity type. Both companies also offer expedite service for filing your formation documentation at varying rates, again in accordance with local state fees.
State-by-state expedite rates and other fees can be found on their official website. Other information about filing times is also available there.
IncFile is considerably more thorough when it comes to organizing customer profiles. After you complete your purchase, you will be automatically registered and redirected to your IncFile Dashboard where you can access your order history and order status supported by an order tracking tool with real-time updates.
Even though Harbor Compliance is fairly competent in this regard, their order tracking system is not as extensive and easily accessible.
Although it’s possible to use a third-party registered agent provider, it’s much more sensible to get this service in one place and one neat package. Remember that all states legally require you to designate a registered agent in order to maintain your LLC, so this step cannot be skipped.
The duties of the agent can be carried out by an individual or online service and include receiving and forwarding your correspondence and other paperwork. Without a mediator, there is a risk of missing court dates and filing deadlines.
IncFile and Harbor Compliance both include a full year of registered agent service, though their separate rates somewhat vary. IncFile throws in the year of this service for free in your LLC formation package, but their subsequent annual rate is set at $119. Harbor Compliance’s formation plan also includes this feature but they charge only $99 after the first year.
In nearly two decades of industry experience, IncFile has amassed a large volume of feedback with over 22,500 online reviews available on Shopper Approved. There it holds a total rating of 4.8 out of 5 and 4.6 out of 5 for product satisfaction.
Harbor Compliance has only been active since 2013 but shows excellent feedback, albeit lesser in volume. Their reviews are almost overwhelmingly positive, and the company holds an A+ rating and valid accreditation on BBB as determined by industry professionals.
Both services are quite capable and can make your LLC formation much easier by covering a huge part of your duties. IncFile is a bit more user-friendly, though, and their website is generally more accessible.
Harbor Compliance can be somewhat confusing to navigate. They don’t have a comprehensive pricing page or straightforward formation service page, so it could be a bit confusing to figure out without having a representative on the phone.
Harbor Compliance and IncFile have plenty in common and are both accomplished formation services with varying degrees of applicability when it comes to smaller companies and startups.
Despite Harbor Compliance being significantly younger, they are more than capable of holding their own against LLC services industry veterans by forming your compliant LLC in record time. It should be noted that their main focus falls on compliance, incorporation, and nonprofits.
IncFile, on the other hand, remains to be one of the most popular options to date, offering free formation and providing a free registered agent service.
Whether one or the other suits you better depends solely on your individual needs and the nature of your business, so let’s see how their applicability actually works.
|Harbor Compliance||Formation: $399|
If your main point of interest is securing better customer support and a more comprehensive list of features, then Harbor Compliance could be the right choice for you, with their personalized customer care and broad-scale compliance package.
Entrepreneurs working with a restricted budget are likely to find their best choice with IncFile. The company offers free formation and moderate plan renewal rates once your first year is up. Plus their registered agent is also free for up to a year.
Yes. Unlike some competitors, InCorp has its own professional team. They don’t send clients to a large call center, so you don’t have to wait very long for a response.
Other advantages of InCorp Customer Support are:
– The opportunity to have service in Spanish;
– They offer extended support hours (9 am-9 pm ET M-F).
To consult with InCorp Customer Support by phone, call 1–800–2INCORP.
If you prefer email, use the Contact Us page on the company’s website. Note that on the same page you can find web chat to ask your question to an InCorp specialist.
Timelines vary from state to state, so processing times can range from a few days to a couple of weeks.