Kent Batman, Contributor on the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Richard H. Bell
About the interviewee
Richard H. Bell II is the founder and CEO of Harvard Business Services, Inc. He founded the company in 1981 and has taken it from a startup to a recognized leader in the business of forming and maintaining Delaware companies.
In 1969, he dropped out of college and went to work for Rolling Stone magazine in its infancy and became their first National Circulation Director. Later Rick formed several publishing companies and eventually became a consultant to publishers. He moved from California to Delaware in 1980 to become Business Manager of The Company Corporation, a do-it-yourself incorporation service and later branched out on his own to form Harvard Business Services.
Rick has also served Delaware as a member of the Governor’s High Tech Task force, the Governor’s International Marketing Committee and as an elected official: Recorder of Deeds, from 1998 – 2002.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Harvard Business Services forms Delaware corporations and LLCs and offers services to help maintain those companies, including a registered agent service. In a nutshell, we’re in the incorporating business. We’re located in Lewes, Del. and work with companies ranging from small startups to big companies to individuals. We have 27 employees.
Tell us about why it is important to offer innovative benefits and programs to your employees?/ Why is this important to your company?
Finding and keeping good people is important to any business. But it is doubly important in a service business because the customer bases their entire customer experience on how one person talks to them. When that one person is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful you have a customer that will recommend your company to others, by word of mouth as well as on social media. The force of a personal recommendation is powerful. It’s free advertising but it’s worth millions in unneeded ad expense.
How is your company different than others in the benefits and programs it offers?
Hiring good people is competitive. The baseline salary is important but people will often choose a job on benefits offered. Our benefit package is designed to offer single parents the whole package of their dreams. We start with a salary expected to be the only one in the family, higher than most places offer. We also provide free health care with very low deductibles and up to $10,000 per year in childcare reimbursement. Add to that a $1,000 Christmas bonus and lots of paid time off for Christmas and Thanksgiving and you’re already ahead of what other companies offer. We also offer “time-outs” when a person wants or needs to take only two hours off to tend to their children, go on a doctor’s appointment, or run an errand during work hours. All these together usually get us the best candidates for our business.