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Do you need to form an LLC, but you’re not sure where to look for assistance?

Companies like Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom offer LLC services that can be a great help, but which one is the best for you?

This Harbor Compliance vs LegalZoom comparison is structured in a way that makes it easy for you to find the information you need. From their commonalities to their differences, you’ll get the complete picture to help make your LLC formation decision.

 

Quick Summary

Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom are both respected LLC service providers with extensive track records of success, and they’re both strong choices to form your new company. They each have their own advantages that could make one or the other your preference, depending on the needs of your business.

If you’re trying to save money, LegalZoom’s $99 price point is much lower than the $399 base rate offered by Harbor Compliance. However, Harbor Compliance has a much better support department, and they also receive excellent customer feedback.

Would you like to learn more about these two reputable LLC service providers before making your decision? Read on to find out their most important commonalities and differences.

 

Is There a Better Alternative?

While Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom both have plenty of positives, neither of them are among our absolute favorite companies in this industry.

In general, we prefer to use either ZenBusinessIncFile or Northwest Registered Agent.

ZenBusiness is the cheapest LLC formation service. IncFile’s best attribute is their fabulous customer feedback reputation, with thousands of positive reviews all over the web. As for Northwest, they’re the only major national service provider that locally scans every document they receive as your registered agent, whereas most competitors only scan the government docs that they’re legally required to.

 

6 Things They Have In Common

1) Affordable: With either of these providers, you’ll save hundreds of dollars over hiring a business lawyer to draft and file your formation documents. Furthermore, most LLCs are relatively simple business structures, so you may not need an attorney to begin with.

2) Customer Support: The big advantage Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom have over the DIY option is their customer service. Whenever questions or concerns may arise, you can simply call or email them to get a response instead of trying to find the answers on your own.

3) Experience: These are both highly experienced companies that are completely legitimate and trustworthy. With thousands of customers served, Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom have the knowhow and experience to get the job done right.

4) Additional Services: Do you also need registered agent service? How about a federal tax ID number (EIN)? Or perhaps you need to acquire licenses or permits? LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance can both help you with these and many other services. Think of them as one-stop business service shops.

5) Educational: Whether you end up purchasing services from either of these companies or not, they both have lots of free learning tools at your disposal. LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance have all kinds of information available on their websites on topics ranging from formations to ongoing compliance issues and more.

6) Efficiency: If you need your business formed quickly, that’s no problem for these companies. Both Harbor Compliance and LegalZoom have ways to speed up your formation, and while this expediting service obviously costs extra, it can be worth it if you’re in a hurry.

 

Side by Side Comparisons

Pricing

LegalZoom’s base price of $99 (plus state fee) represents a significant savings over Harbor Compliance’s starting rate of $399.

Features

Harbor Compliance does quite a bit to justify that higher rate. They include both a federal tax ID number (EIN) and registered agent service, which are both necessary for most businesses, and they also provide premium customer support (more on this in a moment).

LegalZoom doesn’t include either of these in their base package, although they do provide a banking resolution which can be used to open business checking and savings accounts.

Experience

Harbor Compliance has served over 10,000 customers since they opened in 2012. LegalZoom is on another level though, with over 2 million business customers served since they started offering online business services in 2001. Harbor Compliance is a great mid-sized company for LLC service, whereas LegalZoom is among the industry giants.

Customer Support

Harbor Compliance made their reputation with their premium customer service. A Compliance Specialist is assigned to every customer, and that same specialist will guide you through every step of your formation. You will not wait on hold or talk to random call-center employees who know nothing about your business. Instead, you can call or email this specialist directly anytime you would like.

LegalZoom has a more standard support system, with representatives who can be a bit hit or miss. Some of them are quite good, but as is true with many companies of this size, that isn’t the case with all of them. One thing that is consistently appreciated is their extended support hours. They’re available from 8am to 10pm ET Monday through Friday, and they’re even open from 10am to 7pm ET on weekends.

Turnaround Times

Harbor Compliance has state-by-state turnaround time estimates on their website. LegalZoom does it a bit differently, as their turnarounds are based on what level of LLC formation service you order from them, rather than which state you form in. Express Gold (7-10 business days) is the fastest, followed by Standard (15) and Economy (30).

Order Tracking

Neither of these companies feature advanced real-time order tracking tools, but they both do a good job of keeping you updated regarding the status of your LLC formation.

Registered Agent Service

Every LLC in America is required to designate a registered agent, which is a person or online business service that receives important document deliveries (like service of process) from your state government, informs you of the receipt, then forwards the documents to you. This is so crucial because the state needs to have a reliable means of contacting your business at any time.

Harbor Compliance includes a full year of registered agent with any LLC formation package, and it costs $99 per year after that. LegalZoom does not include registered agent with your formation, and they charge the high rate of $299 annually to add it on. This category is obviously a big advantage for Harbor Compliance.

Customer Reviews

Harbor Compliance is a relatively new company, but out of the 120+ reviews we did find for them, most are positive. Their customers frequently praise their next-level customer service.

LegalZoom has over 1,100 reviews available online, and they’re split relatively evenly between positive and critical feedback. Plenty of people enjoy their services, but they do have their fair share of unsatisfied customers who have problems with inconsistent customer support.

Ease of Use

LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance both make it easy to use their services, and they also both have efficient user-friendly websites.

 

Which Is the Best LLC Website for You?

LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance are both highly capable companies that can efficiently and effectively form an LLC. Still, if you remain undecided, it might help to go over a couple of scenarios that may sway your opinion one way or the other.

Choose LegalZoom if You Are:

They can save you some money over Harbor Compliance, and they also have superior brand power and customer volume. If those things are important to you, LegalZoom is a solid choice for LLC service.

Choose Harbor Compliance if You Are:

Do you place a high value on customer support? Are you seeking a complete formation package that includes everything you’ll need to run a compliant LLC? Harbor Compliance is a great option if these questions apply to you.

Final Verdict

While both of the LLC services in this comparison offer decent overall value and have formed thousands of businesses, we think Harbor Compliance is the better option. However, in the larger picture, neither of these LLC services are our top pick.

We highly recommend checking out our list of the top LLC services to see which is the best option available. Many of which are well-known alternatives to LegalZoom.

Harbor Compliance (Starts at $399)

  • Check out Harbor Compliance up close
  • to see why they’re the winner

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers.

How Does LegalZoom Compare to Other Online LLC Services?

LegalZoom, one of the most well known services online, has formed over 1 million businesses since 2001. Check out the comparison reviews below if you’d like to see how this giant stacks up to other good LLC websites.

LegalZoom Compared to:

If I Decide to Use LegalZoom, Which Package Should I Choose?

Our favorite LegalZoom LLC formation package is their Economy plan for $99 (plus state fee). This package includes everything needed to form your LLC with your state, along with a banking resolution to help you open business checking and savings accounts.

Unfortunately, LegalZoom’s $329 Standard and $349 Express Gold packages have basically zero valuable added features, so they are both non-factors for us.

Does LegalZoom Handle Extra State Requirements Like New York Publication?

LegalZoom does not provide assistance with state-specific compliance requirements like New York’s publication requirement. We called them to find out why, and their answer was very similar to the one we received from IncFile.

They said that because the publication step technically takes place after your formation itself is completed, that you’ll need to take care of it on your own. It’s unfortunate, because there are quite a few competing services that do offer publication service (like Harbor Compliance, for example).

Which Service Has Fewer Upsells?

Harbor Compliance does a good job minimizing their upsells, as we’ve never felt like they’re going overboard to convince us to upgrade our service or purchase additional features.

We wish we could say the same for LegalZoom, but unfortunately they’re the reason we added this question to our FAQs.

Before you even get a chance to select your LLC formation package, LegalZoom has already attempted an incredible $1,080 worth of upsells, which is especially ridiculous because without selecting your package first, you don’t even know what you need to add on.

Do These Services Share My Information With Third Parties?

Too many companies in this industry insist on sharing customer data with third-party partners under the pretense of providing “special offers” or “free extras.”

Thankfully, LegalZoom and Harbor Compliance don’t do this, as they instead focus their energy on providing customers with their own products and services to the best of their ability.

Do Either of These Services Have a Refund Policy?

These companies are polar opposites in this regard, and LegalZoom comes out with a big victory.

Their satisfaction guarantee is one of the best refund policies in the industry, as they give you 60 days from your date of purchase to request a refund. If you do, they’ll provide it with no questions asked and no convenience fee!

On the other hand, Harbor Compliance does not offer refunds at all. If you’re not happy with their service, that’s too bad ― they never provide refunds for any reason.

Which LLC Formation Website Is Faster?

Harbor Compliance bases their turnaround times on the abilities of each state to process LLC formations, which is how the vast majority of companies in this industry estimate their processing speeds.

Their processing times can range from just a few days in some states to several weeks in others. LegalZoom is one of the only exceptions, as their turnarounds are based instead on how much money you spend on their LLC service.

Their cheapest package (Basic) takes 30 business days, while their Standard package takes 15 business days, and the Express Gold package takes 7-10 business days.

Can I Just Form an LLC On My Own, Without a Service?

You certainly can! In fact, quite a few people do form their own LLCs using the DIY method.

Still, we don’t usually recommend this option to our readers, for the simple reason that the rules and regulations for forming LLCs vary from state to state.

Therefore, it can be a hassle to learn all the details of your formation state’s requirements. Additionally, we truly enjoy the peace of mind we get from hiring a professional service like Harbor Compliance or LegalZoom, because we trust their expertise to do a great job when forming our business.


Ready to Create an LLC Online?

Create your LLC with Harbor Compliance or read our comparison of the top 7 best LLC services.

Harbor Compliance (Starts at $399)

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  • to see why they’re the winner

About Aaron Franklin

Frustrated by all the options and aggressive online sales tactics, I created BestLLCServices.com to cut the clutter and bring clarity to entrepreneurs starting an LLC. Our focus is on reviewing and comparing the top LLC formation services while also crafting free resources that help you start a business. We sincerely believe finding the right service and free information should be a simple process so you can get started with minimal friction.