ZenBusiness vs Harbor Compliance

Last updated on: February 4, 2022

The limited liability company is one of the most versatile and popular small business structure options out there. New LLCs are popping up every day across the US, in part due to their ease of creation thanks to online LLC formation service providers. 

With the ever-increasing popularity of this form of business entity, over the years, more and more formation companies have emerged to help thousands of people when starting an LLC, ensuring the new business is in full legal compliance with its member state. 

With so many of these LLC formation services now available, it can be hard to choose, which one is best and will be the best fit for your intended business activity. Here, we will compare two of the more popular options available, Harbor Compliance and ZenBusiness. We’ll make a price comparison and importantly, will discuss the essential registered agent services on offer, and look at other details to see how each company fares against the other when it comes to opening a new limited liability company.

Quick Overview of Harbor Compliance vs ZenBusiness

Harbor Compliance are based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and were established in 2012 by a group of government licensing specialists. They have currently helped the ongoing licensing maintenance of over a quarter of a million business owners across a wide spectrum of industries. 

ZenBusiness are based in Austin, Texas, and are marginally newer to the scene, having been founded in 2015. They promise simplicity with their various formation packages, as well as transparency throughout the creation process. They themselves began as a small business, something which is addressed on their website to assure prospective new clients that they know what they are doing. 

ZenBusiness and Harbor Compliance: What Features Do They Have In Common?

  • Efficiency: ZenBusiness, though a comparatively young company, have firmly established themselves as one of the best LLC formation providers around. Creating an LLC can be a complex procedure, but ZenBusiness already has an impressive track record right across the board and has earned itself a solid reputation as one of the most efficient LLC startup providers on the market. Harbor Compliance also rates well for efficiency. Though they don’t do actual formation packages, the fact that they do business as licensing and registered agent specialists means that their wheels are well oiled for their purpose. 
  • Customer Service: Despite differences in the set-up of their customer service, both Harbor Compliance and ZenBusiness have decent reputations for their customer service. ZenBusiness even goes the extra mile with extended service support, and Harbor Compliance’s customer support has long been regarded as superior – plus, the support is all handled ‘in-house’ and not by third-party organizations. Both have their support availability clearly seen on their LLC websites.
  • Experience: As has been said, both companies are virtual kids on the block compared to other veteran businesses offering the same services. However, being relatively new is no reason to be put off either of these companies as they both have better reps than some of the more established competition. 
  • Affordable Prices: Costs can soon stack up with an LLC startup, however, ZenBusiness offers three very affordable formation packages, which are among the most competitively priced. Harbor Compliance offers just one lone formation bundle, and its pricing is arguably objective depending on an individual’s needs for their startup.
  • Registered Agent Service: This is a legal requirement in all states when creating an LLC. ZenBusiness will charge $75 for the first year of service. After this, it goes up to $99 per annum. Which is the same base price tag Harbor Compliance have attached to their registered agent service – though is offered free for the first twelve months of business.
  • Additional Business Features: Both companies offer additional separate services should they be required. For example, you’ll need an EIN (Employer Identification Number): this is included with only ZenBusiness’s Pro and Premium formation bundles, but the service is available by itself for around $70. Harbor Compliance, specializing in the registered agent angle, also offer additional services, which are required for small business maintenance throughout each year. 

ZenBusiness vs Harbor Compliance: What Are Their Differences?

Pricing and Additional Features

Launching a new business comes with a ton of to-dos including checking LLC name availability and finding a registered agent service for your LLC operation. Starting a small business won’t come cheap, and most new entrepreneurs will be on a budget. It pays to shop around for the prices of business formation services, and to check up on the quality of the services these businesses provide, so how do Harbor Compliance and ZenBusiness face off against each other? 


  • Starter – $49 + state fees;
  • Pro – $199 + state fees; 
  • Premium – $299 + state fees.

Harbor Compliance:

  • Formation: $399;
  • Compliance: $799.

Track Record

To register an LLC, ZenBusiness and Harbor Compliance are both solid, establishing very decent reputations for themselves for online LLC formation, and both have done so in under a decade of doing business. 

Turnaround Times

The speed for setting up an LLC with Harbor Compliance varies. LLC registration can take weeks or just days in some cases dependent on which state your business entity will be located in. ZenBusiness have been applauded for their speedy turnaround times with many customers reporting that the process was completed in just a matter of days. 

Customer Service

The LLC cost and legal requirements per state are one thing but another essential factor to consider when you are ready to apply for LLC formation is the customer service of the llc specialists you have opted to hire. Harbor Compliance is widely reported to have the industry’s best set-up for their customer support services. Unlike many other companies in the same business, Harbor Compliance doesn’t use a third party to assist their customers with any problems or questions. The Better Business Bureau gives them an A+ for customer support, and they routinely acquire above 4.5 from 5 elsewhere. 

ZenBusiness have the usual phone and email options for their customers in need of assistance but have also deployed a chat service via their website. They also offer extended customer support, which is now available on Sundays, albeit being available later in the day and for a shorter period of time. 

Customer Reviews

Having established decent – and even top-level – customer support, you’ll also want to know whether or not it’s Harbor Compliance or ZenBusiness who have the best customer satisfaction. ZenBusiness have an impressive trust score of 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot.com – and that score average is from over 7000 reviews. Professionalism, speed, and ease of service feature prominently in the accolades and are all factors as to why ZenBusiness is one of the most popular and regularly applauded LLC formation services out there today. 

Harbor Compliance are, generally, less reviewed, but this is more to do with the spread of brand name, or lack of, (such as Legal Zoom) rather than any particular issues with the company. Trustpilot only has one review for Harbor Compliance and an average one at that, whereas they have over one hundred on Google and have averaged a score of 4.4 from 5. Again, like ZenBusiness, Harbor Compliance are applauded for professionalism and efficiency and also for their superior know-how due to their legal business roots. 

Ease of Use

The opening of an LLC can be stressful, and no matter how well-conceived and thought out, it’s more than possible that there will be a few unexpected surprises along the way. Both companies do well with easing anxiety here. ZenBusiness are transparent, with no hidden fees, and the packages they offer pretty much cover all you will need, such as articles of organization and operational agreements, and they have sufficient positive customer feedback to reassure potential clients that ZenBusiness will keep things as simple as possible.

Harbor Compliance, on the other hand, are arguably not as straightforward due to the fact that they do only offer the single formation package and at a fixed price. This means there is less room for maneuver with them to cater to specific criteria if needs be – though it could be something, which can be resolved with one of their additional services, and they are already an expensive company to hire. 

Which Online LLC Service Will You Choose?

The formation process of an LLC can be a complicated one, and it’s natural that first-time entrepreneurs would want their setting up of an LLC to be as affordable to their budget and as convenient as possible. When it comes to a match-up between ZenBusiness and Harbor Compliance, both companies have some serious strengths. ZenBusiness reviews – almost unanimously positive – are hard to ignore when there are so many of them. Coupled with speedy turnaround times and such affordable bundle options, ZenBusiness are already leaders of the pack and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future if they continue the success rate they have already established. The biggest pitfall for Harbor Compliance is the high price and the fact that there is just one formation package available. Add to this the fact that anything else will cost even more money, as professional, knowledgeable, and successful as they are, there is no question that they are one of the more expensive options available.

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

Entrepreneur, investor, financial commentator

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