If you’re an online-only business or you don’t have a brick-and-mortar establishment, listing a real physical address for your business could be extremely useful.
While you might want to use a home address as a business address it doesn’t look professional and exposes your personal information to the public.
That’s why a lot of thought should go into what kind of business address you’re going to have. Don’t worry, you can learn all the options you have for a business address below. Read on for more.
What is a Business Address?
Here’s our definition, it is a separate address to use for your business operations and it can also be where your company can be contacted and receive communication.
The Biggest Problems a Business Address Fixes
Now, why should you use a business address? We won’t keep you guessing. Using a separate physical address as your business address (instead of your home) can make your company look more legitimate and encourage others to do business with you.
A physical business address that’s not the same as your residence can boost your credibility and professionalism and build trust with your customers, suppliers and partners. Here are more reasons you might want a separate business address below.
You Own an LLC or Corporation
If you have a LLC or corporation your mail needs to go to a physical street address in the same state as where your business was formed.
LLCs and corporations must also have a registered agent that maintains regular business hours and can receive official mail from the state. You can act as your own registered agent, but you lose a level of privacy because registered agent information, including their address, is publicly available.
You Run a Remote Business
Even if you do keep an address, accessing your mail could be difficult when you’re trekking cross-country, or living in an entirely different hemisphere.
You’re Relocating or Expanding Your Remote Business
With moving homes or moving a business it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks when updating your change of address.
Getting a separate physical address helps you deal with those problems and provides it as your business correspondence address, and you can be sure of continuity of service.
If you’re expanding into a new region or state, then a business address there can also be very helpful for local presence. Note that you’ll need a registered agent in a new state.
Protecting Your Privacy
If you use your home address for your business, it will be made publicly available. You may prefer that clients, customers, and vendors don’t know your home address.
Having a separate business address will keep your personal information confidential in the following areas:
- Use the address to register as an LLC or corporation on public documents.
- Receive payments and invoices from customers, vendors, and suppliers.
- Get business insurance and loans.
- File for permits, licenses and legal contracts.
As a result, it allows for you to remain anonymous because you are able to use the business address on any public facing documentation. You can learn How to Maintain Privacy Protection with Your Home Address for Your Business.
Maintaining Your Business Image
Using your home address for your business can imply that your business is not legitimate, which can be detrimental when trying to attract clients, customers, and investors.
The image of you operating out of your dining room or from your sofa would make your organization appear unprofessional.
A separate business address will afford you:
- The image of a professional business.
- Larger market presence if you have addresses in multiple locations.
- Easy search ability so customers can find and contact you.
Overall, a separate business address will instill trust and support your credibility to others.
How to Get a Business Address
Choosing a business address is based on your needs and what suits your business. The options will be discussed below.
Virtual mailbox services give you a street address to receive postal mail. The unopened envelopes are scanned and images of your mail are uploaded to your virtual mailbox for easy and fast access. Then, you decide whether to have the mail opened and scanned, mail forwarded, or destroyed.
A virtual mailbox also includes:
- Permanent and real street address. This means you’ll have a physical street address and presence in the state you want to do business in even if you’re located elsewhere
- A single and stable street address you can give to suppliers, customers, and government agencies.
- Receive mail from all couriers such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS.
- Store digital documents for business and tax purposes.
- Real-time mail notifications.
- Online viewing of mail.
- Mail opening and scanning.
- Mail forwarding.
- Package forwarding.
- Mail shredding, mail disposal, or mail recycling.
- Package storage and shipping.
- Check depositing.
- Mail and package security.
A virtual mailbox is an excellent choice for a more sophisticated way of managing mail and packages remotely especially useful if you are home-based business and digital nomad because you’ll have a fixed price regardless of mail volume. For more information you can read The Ultimate Guide to a Virtual Mailbox.
A PO Box is a locked physical mailbox located in a post office. It keeps your home address private while offering confidentiality for your mail. This is a simple solution for business owners who don’t want their home address made public.
Here are some other advantages of having a PO Box:
- A secure place to receive mail.
- Get a permanent street address.
- Quicker delivery of mail as they are located at a post office.
If you have basic needs you might be able to use a PO Box for mail. However, PO Boxes do have disadvantages, such as:
- They do not provide a professional business image.
- You cannot use a PO Box as your business address if you are forming an LLC or corporation, many states will NOT allow you to use a PO Box.
- Mail can only be received from USPS and not other mail providers like UPS or FedEx.
- Under no circumstances will states allow you to use a PO Box for your address of your registered agent.
You will also need to visit your PO Box to pick up mail to avoid overfilling it, or have it forwarded to another address, which having your mail forwarded to you from a PO Box is very costly and adds up!
It will often be more convenient for you to choose another address option, rather than maintaining several addresses for different types of correspondence, but it’ll depend on your reasons to get a PO Box like your mail volume. If a PO Box is the best fit for your needs you can learn the 3 steps to rent a PO Box.
Private mailboxes are located in malls, plazas, or retail centers, for example, the Postal Annex, PostNet or UPS Store. Private mailboxes can receive mail and parcels from any carrier, including FedEx, UPS, and USPS, which is the advantage over PO Boxes because they receive deliveries from USPS only.
Other benefits of having a private mailbox include:
- It provides a physical street address.
- The provider accepts and signs for packages and mail, which minimizes the risk of theft.
- You can travel to your location and access your mailbox anytime.
- You can pick up packages with no additional fees.
The biggest downfall of a private mailbox is that you must physically travel to the location to pick up mail and packages.
A virtual office or business center is a great choice when you want a professional image, but don’t want to manage an office.
It provides the benefits of a real physical address with the added bonus of office services. People like it because you get these benefits without actually taking on a long lease or hiring office staff yourself. It provides a mailing address plus phone answering, meeting room, and videoconferencing facilities. It can give the impression of a larger business, even if your company is quite small.
However, it can be a costly option and it’s best to compare what you need.
If you’re a member of a coworking space, see if you can use the address as your business address. Check what the rules are on receiving mail to the coworking space and any services they offer like mail forwarding.
Coworking spaces provide all the same services and amenities of a traditional office but are much more flexible. You usually don’t need to sign a long term lease and some can even be rented by the hour. The common provisions of coworking spaces are Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and a printer. Most will also provide coffee and snacks to hungry workers.
Coworking spaces might also provide kitchens, hot-desks, conference rooms and more. They also give solo workers a chance to engage in a community. Many entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-up owners, and consultants find it a lonely life. Coworking spaces can offer collaboration and fellowship, even if it’s for different businesses.
Depending on the type of business, a co-working office may not be the most secure place for files. You’ll also need to transport physical files everyday, which can cause lost or forgotten files.
Even if you do not carry around physical paper files, but you keep your clients computer files on a cloud server, most cloud offices do not provide wired access to the internet, but instead only offer WiFi. This can be a serious disadvantage if you need secure access, as wireless internet is the first place that hackers look to access secure files on computers and to gain access to their passwords and security protocols.
Along with compromised security, the privacy of your work and conversations are at a higher risk of being compromised. You'll be in open areas and if you do not pay for a meeting room you'll often have conversations in the common area for others to hear.
Commercial offices are often found in office buildings, shopping malls, and other buildings and are available for rent or sale.
The commercial office option is the traditional way of having a physical business address. It gives a place for customers to visit and a workplace for your employees. Thus if these are essential requirements for your business then it’s best to choose a commercial office.
Whether you decide to rent or buy an office space will depend on many variables, including your financial state, business growth, and tax considerations. It will be a heavy investment and the most expensive option out of this list so that is important to consider your operational and financial position.
After evaluating and comparing all the options available, a virtual mailbox is likely the best solution. Given the cost and services of choice, this is probably the best value for anyone who doesn’t need a physical office space and is working remotely.
A virtual mailbox gives all the benefits of a professional office address without leasing an office, which is cost-effective and allows your home address to remain private.
Get a virtual mailbox today and benefit from a professional business image and peace of mind knowing your personal information will remain private.