A limited liability company is a relatively new business structure that has been getting up steam within the recent years and for a good reason. Smartly combining solid personal asset protection with flexible taxation options, it hits a sweet spot between corporations and private proprietorships bringing the best of both worlds. As a result, an LLC is a prime choice for multiple new entrepreneurs planning to legalize their business. To create an LLC, you need to pass through the filing process with the state. While it’s quite feasible, filling in state forms and interacting with government authorities might be simply not your cup of tea, in which case, a business formation service is a good alternative. Most providers available offer turnkey solutions covering filing routines, registered agent services, and post-registration maintenance. Yet, choosing your best legal partner is not easy. In our Harbor Compliance vs LegalZoom comparison, we’ll make an overview of two decent options to give you a clue on your future choice.
To make it clear from the start, though not similar, LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance are strong market players backed by the firms’ reputation and reliable experience in the industry. As such, both of them are helpful and professional legal advisors with several aces down their sleeves. With a number of commonalities and differences between them and pretty different pricing models, each company is a great choice for a certain business scenario. Thus, if you are on a stringent budget, yet still want a reputed assistant, LegalZoom is a more affordable option. Meanwhile, Harbor Compliance stands out for excellent ongoing support vital for newbies.
By and large, nearly all formation services share common benefits that make them attractive for the customers. Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom are not an exception in this concern and also have several major commonalities they intersect in.
Before you make up your mind on which company to proceed with, you need to dig deeper and consider all the strengths and weaknesses of each legal provider in more detail.
Established in 2012, Harbor Compliance is a relatively young market player as compared to LegalZoom that appeared on the industry horizon in 1999. Yet, it by no way means lack of experience. Initially created by a group of government specialists who already had professional business experience, the company has helped thousands of business customers since then.
Backed by decades of experience, LegalZoom has carved a solid place among the industry’s top-liners. Today, it is one of the biggest companies and most recognizable names in this legal sector distinguished by strong brand power.
A price-to-service ratio is what defines the online LLC service choice for many businessmen. In the end, everyone seeks a value-for-money solution. In this aspect of the Harbor Compliance vs LegalZoom battle, the latter has a noticeable advantage, with price points starting at $99 for the economy package against $399 in Harbor Compliance. Yet, don’t rush up with conclusions since companies have a bit different approach to pricing.
LegalZoom comes up with three formation packages ranging from an already mentioned economy ($99) to the standard ($329), and express gold ($349). However, none of them covers a registered agent service and the main difference is in filing speed. While they offer a banking resolution as a part of their filing plans, most other add-ons come at a cost including the registered agent service provided at $159 for the first year and at $249 for each year onwards.
With their formation package ($399) and compliance package ($799), Harbor Compliance is obviously at the higher end of the price range. But it’s worth noting that these pricing plans already include an LLC registered agent service, EIN registration, and an operating agreement. Besides, a compliance package also contains such valuable features as a publishing service (you’ll hardly find it anywhere else), taxation support, annual reports filing, and ongoing business aid.
This is an aspect where LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance differ the most. To start with LegalZoom, they have quite a common support department providing phone, email, and online support. Their main plus is extended support hours, with the help reps being available up to 10 pm on weekdays and up to 7 pm on the weekends. In the meantime, get ready that some of the call-center employees will be better than others, which is a normal thing for large-scale companies like LegalZoom.
In Harbor Compliance, on the other hand, they deliver premium customer service. Once you sign in, you’ll be appointed a personal compliance manager to lead you through all steps of the LLC formation process. You can get in touch with your personal helper via phone, email, or an online contact form and always get an informative and detailed response.
As a mid-size service present on the market for less than a decade, Harbor Compliance has just a bit more than 100 reviews online. Yet, this is mostly feedback from satisfied clients who highly appreciate their top-notch client service. LegalZoom, on the other hand, boasts over 1400 reviews on different platforms. Overall positive, they do have quite a bit of negative ones from customers claiming inconsistency of their client support.
Turnaround times vary by state and this is what Harbor Compliance aligns with when estimating the time they need to complete your business formation process. With LegalZoom, it is different and totally depends on the chosen formation package. Thus, within an economy package, you’ll have to wait for a whole month to have your company formed while the standard and express gold offer 15 and 7 days accordingly, which is also not that fast, given the package price and that some services provide single-day filings.
In contrast to many of their competitors, neither LegalZoom nor Harbor Compliance have any tracking tools for you to check your LLC formation status online. To do that, you’ll have to contact them directly. Harbor Compliance, with their individually appointed assistance managers, has some edge over LegalZoom in this regard.
Whether you choose LegalZoom or Harbor Compliance, you’ll enjoy an easy-to-navigate web platform with a comprehensible menu, user-friendly interface, and smart structure. Creating a user account and applying an order won’t be a problem at all as well as finding any added info.
If you want a reputed legal partner with a solid professional background, you can’t go wrong with either of these services. Pick Harbor Compliance or LegalZoom, and your LLC registration will be handled by experienced specialists who know their onions. In the meantime, though, they implement somewhat different service approaches in practice. While LegalZoom mostly provides basics and targets upsells, Harbor Compliance is more about complex solutions embracing a number of advanced features. With that, LegalZoom gives more flexibility on the individual level and more situational solutions while Harbor Compliance puts two comprehensive plans on your plate covering both formation and compliance issues for all types of businesses. Though pricier, Harbor Compliance formation packages are more transparent and complete, we must admit.