What do you consider a respectable company? It’s a firm with a distinguishable name, solid online presence, and a company info section featuring not only an email and phone number but also a physical address. While it’s not a problem for bigger and more complex ventures using business offices, smaller organizations often use the home addresses of their owners. This is where a virtual address will come into play. What is it? Do you need it? How will it work for your business? In our article, we’ll provide a detailed breakdown on this subject to show how your enterprise could benefit from this option.
Virtual Address for Business: Definition
In brief, a virtual business address or a virtual mailbox is a true-to-life street address where a company can receive correspondence and deliveries while not being physically present there. It’s a perfect alternative to P.O. boxes that have little trust among customers and clients. Besides, express shipping firms do not deliver to P.O. boxes.
What’s more, the best thing about this type of address is that you can use it to register a legal entity and make it your permanent address for tax filings and formal correspondence. Meanwhile, companies with real street addresses look more credible and reliable for clients since they can find them on the map and all popular directories.
Surely enough, a virtual address is a payable option provided by special services on a per-rate basis. However, a monthly fee is almost ridiculous as compared to the payment for leasing an office. On top of that, providers usually come up with advanced service packages covering administrative support, meeting space, and a phone/fax number. This way, you can get a fully functioning office without spending a fortune on a secretary and renting a space in a brick-and-mortar building.
Why Do I Need a Virtual Office?
Today, many companies shift online and work remotely. Many entrepreneurs choose to operate their ventures from the comfort of their kitchens and dens or living rooms to save on rental costs and other overheads. It’s especially true for smaller business forms, startup projects, and beginner businessmen who are just getting their enterprise off the ground. However, creating a professional company image from the start is very important, and using your home address for that purpose is not a very good idea. Banks won’t accept it, should you decide to take a business loan. More than that, you’ll put your privacy protection at stake since your personal data will become a part of the public record and customers could knock at your door at any time. So, a virtual business address is an optimal alternative for unregistered entrepreneurial firms such as sole proprietorships and partnerships or any home-based firms and small organizations with no permanent offline presence.
However, assumed postal addresses are not only a choice for smaller businesses. Bigger ventures can greatly benefit from virtual mailboxes as well. Thus, registered LLCs and corporations already owning offices in their home states and targeting other markets can easily expand their presence. Instead of opening costly affiliate offices, they can use affordable virtual addresses in other states or even countries to make their products and services recognizable internationally. This way, LLC and corporation owners can build their own extended distribution networks both locally and internationally without investing too much into real estate and administrative support.
Most importantly, once you register a virtual address, you’ll get a dedicated mailbox and will have a full remote control over it via an app. You’ll be able to check and review your correspondence online or choose to receive it in person. Hence, this address can be set up for obtaining legal mail and sensitive or confidential letters as well.
How Does a Virtual Address for Business Work?
First and foremost, you need to find a special service ensuring assumed postal addresses for businesses. Luckily, there is quite a number of such providers today. A reliable service is one that offers physical addresses in multiple locations and has full-scale operating offices there. Besides, a good service usually comes up with different add-on features and service packages to match varying needs. When you sign up for a virtual address, the following algorithm will be applied:
- You can use the chosen address as your current company address by letting it show up on your business cards, letterheads, and your official website;
- All your company mail will be sent to the physical office located under the chosen address. More than that, a “rented” address usually allows accepting all types of packages delivered by shipping companies;
- Service provider specialists that function as your virtual office administrators will receive your mail and deliveries and sign for them, hence, a virtual address could be also used as a legal company address;
- Via a virtual mailbox, you’ll get access to the info about each and every postal piece addressed to you;
- For further mail handling, you can select either to review your mail or have it forwarded to you. If you want to see the letters before you get them in person, select a scanning option to access the document scans via your digital mailbox. You can even ask to discard the letters you don’t need, which is usually done free of charge.
- If you live nearby your virtual address, you are free to withdraw your deliveries on a scheduled date.
Notably, many companies also provide virtual office services covering administrative support. Thus, you can have a business phone with a fax function and a secretary that will answer your phone calls, sort out your incoming letters and parcels, and schedule your meetings.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Virtual Office Address
There is a lot going for assumed addresses for all types of businesses and especially for smaller-scale companies with no permanent office space and home-based firms.
- Professional Company Image: Customers have more trust toward companies with professional profiles, and an appropriate business address will certainly contribute to it. Commonly, virtual addresses are located in commercial and office centers. Such an address looks more professional and respectable than one located in a residential area. In the end, a professional image will work for your business reputation and credibility;
- Privacy Protection: A company address usually becomes publicly available. So, if you use your home address for business, it will be visible to the public one way or another and linger on the Internet. An assumed address will solve that issue and you can rest assured no one will disturb you at home when you least expect it;
- Office Space on Demand: Even when running an online business or operating a service firm from home, you might need to meet with your customers, potential sponsors, or investors from time to time. Many providers will cater to these needs as well. Along with a virtual address, they offer well-furnished meeting spaces and conference rooms where you can hold all your important negotiations. This option could be either included in your service package or come as an add-on;
- Business Expansion Opportunities: Owning a business with a registered office in your home state, you might lack resources to launch affiliate offices in other states. Yet, you can easily do it with virtual offices and quickly bring your company to a new level and scale up your venture;
- Avoiding Legal Limitations: Some localities can set forth restrictions on operating an enterprise from home or from leased residences. Meanwhile, a virtual address ensures a fully eligible and lawful company address you can use as your legal one.
- Pricing: Though the virtual address service is usually quite affordable, you’ll have to pay for it regularly. And certainly, it’s more expensive than the home address you can use for free. However, it might be an issue for startuppers on a budget and is not a big deal for other entrepreneurs. Besides, you can choose a plan with an address-only service and skip add-on options if you don’t need them at the beginning;
- Inconvenience: Using a virtual office address, you’ll have to plan ahead. This relates both to mail retrieval and to business meetings. You’ll have to schedule your work to have enough time to get to the office for a meeting or withdraw the mail. Besides, meeting space might be not available on the desired date, not to mention some added costs you might have to handle.
All in all, the benefits of a virtual business address outweigh the minor disadvantages and make it a great option for sole proprietors working from home and smaller firms seeking expansion.