In this article, you will learn:
It’s quite a challenge to keep the business operational costs at a minimum. This is especially the case if you are a new small business owner.
Every new small business is in search of ways and means to keep the costs related to running the business as minimum as possible. This is ensured without compromising the business reputation.
Also, home-based businesses face challenges like privacy and safety issues while using their home address as a business address. Besides this, there are some home-based business owners who use PO Box Number as their business address. It is because it gives them a formal mailing address without compromising on privacy and safety.
However, your small business needs a physical company address for a variety of reasons if you do not want to invest in renting an office.
A virtual business address is one of the cost-effective ways to run your small business without any geographical or physical limitations.
So, let’s understand what is a virtual business address and the advantages and disadvantages of using a virtual business address. Further, we will also discuss the pros and cons of a PO Box.
What is a PO Box Address for Business?
PO Box Address, also known as PO Box, is a lockable box having a unique address. The PO Box is located at the premises of a post office station. PO boxes are typically used to receive mails or packages on a regular basis when working from home. This facility is a secure or convenient way to collect packages or mails.
The PO Box service is a premium service offered for a fee and can be accessed through lock and key. You can access the PO Box during the lobby hours that may even extend up to 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Furthermore, the PO Box address for your business lends privacy and efficiency. You can even choose the size of your PO box, depending upon the mails and packages you receive for your business.
There are many locations that allow access to your PO Box 27×7. Besides this, your location may also offer free PO Box services like mobile alerts to intimate you about the receipts of your mail.
United States Postal Service or USPS is the only delivery service that reaches 160 million businesses, residences, and post box offices.
Why Reserve a PO Box?
Reserving a PO Box would help you:
- keep your documents confidential
- receive mails at your own convenience
- choose a mailbox size that fits your requirement
- have a safe and secure way of receiving your mail
- as these are relatively affordable
So, you need to reserve a new PO box if you do not have one. However, if you already have a PO Box, you need to renew or manage the same.
How to Apply for a PO Box?
Applying for a PO box is quite simple. You can apply for a PO Box in person at a post office or online at a local post office portal. Also, your identity and current permanent physical address must be verified to get your PO Box completely approved.
To apply for a PO Box online, you need to first access the local PO Box online portal and search for an available PO Box. You also need to select an available PO Box location, PO Box size, and payment period preference. Further, you also need to choose a payment method while filling the online application form for reserving a new PO Box.
To apply for a PO Box, there are certain points that you must remember.
- You must be 18 years of age to apply for a PO Box online as minors cannot apply online for a PO Box. So, if you are a minor, you may apply for a PO Box at the post office.
- You need to have acceptable forms of identification like primary photo ID, a secondary form of ID, etc.
- In case you are an LLC or corporation, you are not allowed to use PO Box as the physical address to be mentioned on your business licence. This is because to get an LLC or corporation registered, you need to have a business address that must be legally valid. A legally valid address can be a physical or virtual address.
What is a Virtual Business Address for LLC?
Virtual Business Address is an alternative to providing your home address for your business in case you do not have a physical office location.
You can give this single street address to your suppliers, banks, suppliers, customers, and government agencies for all the correspondence. Furthermore, you can also review mails at your own convenience as all the paper mails are scanned and uploaded to a secure online portal.
In addition to this, a virtual business address relative to the home address enhances your reputation as it makes your business look professional. However, giving your home address is not ideal as your personal confidentiality is at stake.
You can even go for a PO Box. But it is allowed only for specific locations. So, you need to cross-check with the business registration authority of your local Federal Government
Now, to register an LLC, you need to have a physical address in order to receive mails legally. These mails need to be delivered to the physical street address in the state where your company was formed. Thus, you need to have a registered agent who receives your official mails in case you have an LLC or a corporation.
A registered agent is usually a third party that has the authority to receive notices, mails, and other official documents on your behalf.
Benefits of Having a Virtual Address For LLC
Having a registered agent is required by law in case you are an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation. Thus, the benefits of hiring a registered agent are:
- saving on fees and fines as your mails are managed professionally
- business privacy
- lends credibility to your business
- provides you with the flexibility in case you travel frequently
- helps you to grow your business out of state
- organizes all your documents in one place
Why You May Want a Business Address?
Running your business from home is the ideal way if you’re an online service provider or a small business owner. Home-based businesses and remote lifestyles are becoming popular. This is because more and more small businesses or digital nomads take the place of traditional office workers.
So, having a physical business address is useful to deal with customers, suppliers, banks, etc. Home-based businesses or remote workforce typically give the home address as the business address.
However, there are both safety and privacy issues involved with using the home address as the business address.
Some home-based businesses also use a PO Box as their business address. Remember, that using a PO Box may not put your business privacy of safety at stake. However, there are a number of reasons why you need to have a physical address for your business.
Getting your business registered and developing a website is fundamental to starting your business today. However, the biggest challenge while launching your home-based business is to legitimize your business operations. That is to develop trust and credibility before your target audience.
Building trust and credibility are challenging for home-based businesses as they do not have a separate physical address. In case you do not have a physical business address, you need to work a lot harder in order to build a professional reputation for your business. One of the first steps in that direction is to obtain a PO Box number or a virtual business address.
Professional Meeting Place
As a small business owner or an independent contractor, you would certainly not want to meet your customers or prospective clients at home. Booking meeting rooms in hotels can turn out to be really expensive. Further, meetings at coffee shops may lack a private and confidential environment that is a must for business meetings.
Therefore, you can go for a virtual business address as many virtual office providers also include professional meeting rooms. This gives you a professional setup for your business meetings.
Lack of Privacy
Home-based businesses find it easier to give home addresses as their business address. However, they overlook the fact that they would be sharing their personal address with their customers and suppliers.
Besides this, home-based businesses would also have to display their home address as a business address on their website as well as business cards. Though it is not mandatory for home-based businesses to provide addresses on their website. However, it is extremely important for businesses to use their home address on business documents.
This would lead to compromising on work safety and privacy.
Some cities may have municipality laws that prohibit people from running a commercial activity from their homes. This is because the local authorities do not want to disturb the residential status of an area or region. Therefore, the local authorities have zoning laws in place that prohibit individuals to run home-based businesses.
So, if you are starting a home-based business or do not want to have a physical office space, you need to contact local authorities to know about the zip codes that prohibit running a home-based business.
In addition to the above laws, a specific zone may not allow displaying any sort of advertisement outside their homes. Besides this, even the community members would discourage running a home-based business due to parking or traffic rules.
Rules Regarding Lease
There are many apartment buildings that do not allow you to run your business out of your home. Therefore, you need to go through the covenants, rules, and conditions laid down by the homeowners association. Now, the HOA putting restrictions on running your business from home does not mean that you cannot undertake commercial activities out of your home.
You can undertake business activity out of your home in case it doesn’t become a cause of disturbance from the other residents. Furthermore, you must be able to describe the situation to your landlord or HOA.
How to Get a Business Address?
There are a number of ways in which you can get a physical address for your business. The following are the various options to have a real physical address for your business:
Renting a Mailbox
Renting a private mailbox gives your business a real street address. This is quite beneficial for the home-based businesses as it gives them credibility relative to the PO Box number.
Furthermore, a private mailbox can accept parcels or packages on your behalf and can hold them until you pick up the same. Besides this, you also receive regular text and email notifications regarding the status of the mails that you have received.
Also, there are some added services that a private mailbox goes in for offering. These include mail forwarding, mail tracking, etc.
Obtaining a PO Box
You can use a PO Box which is usually accessed by a lock and key. The PO Box is generally located in the lobby area of the post office.
It’s a premium service that is offered to anyone who requires his business mails to be delivered from or received at a PO Box address or number.
PO Box will only receive postal mails and cannot accept packages for your business. Furthermore, you need to keep a check on your PO Box regularly in order to find out whether you have received a mail or not.
Also, post office boxes receive mails only from traditional carriers like Federal Postal Services. Therefore, it would be challenging to receive the mails from private courier services in case your business uses a PO Box address.
The benefits of using a PO Box service are may. Some of them include:
- convenience to receive mails or packages
- allowing businesses to expand out of state
- faster delivery
Renting a Virtual Office space
Virtual office space provides you with a virtual business address to receive mails, deal with customers and suppliers, open a bank account, apply for credit, and do much more.
Besides providing a professional business address, it offers a host of other features like (i) well-furnished conference rooms for conducting meetings,(ii) forwarding mails to a place of your choice, (iii) using private offices or hot desks for a day, and (iv) getting phone calls answered via receptionists.
Thus, renting a virtual business address offers cost-efficiency, flexibility, and professionalism. It can be used on your business documents, company website, as well as business cards.
What Types of Business Addresses Are There?
A business address lends a professional image to your business. This is because it is your business’s official headquarters. It can be an actual business place where your business is carried out, a mailbox, or a virtual address that lends credibility to your business.
You would certainly not want to use your residential address as a business address. This is regardless of the fact that whether your business address is an actual physical place or a virtual one.
There are various types of business addresses that you can get. These are as follows:
Sole Proprietor Address
Typically, solopreneurs use their home address as their business address. But this is not the ideal option. The best alternative is to rent services from a third-party address provider.
These service providers offer services like virtual office spaces, virtual mailboxes, etc.
Limited Company Address
The legal address requirements of limited companies are separate from those of sole proprietors. The following are the various ways a limited company can consider while using a business address:
This is a place where business trades. A limited company can have a single trading address or multiple trading addresses in the case of multiple branches.
It is an address mostly used by postal or courier services. Thus, a company can rent a professional mailbox from a third-party service provider as it is most beneficial in this case.
SAIL stands for Single Alternative Inspection Location address. A company makes use of SAIL address when it has diversified throughout a state, country, or international borders.
Registered Office Address
This type of address is the one used to register the company while incorporating the same. It is situated in the jurisdiction in which you set up your company.
This type of address is used by all company directors, secretaries, Person Wih Significant Control (PSC), and an LLP member. The purpose behind using such an address is to receive statutory and legal mails from the company house, revenue, and customs department.
Reasons to Get a Physical Business Address
It is quite typical of small business owners to use their home address or PO Box as their business address to save cost.
However, it is important to note that your home address or PO Box will not provide you with the requisite privacy or credibility your business needs.
A formal business address is mandatory to start off with your business in the right way. As mentioned above, a business address is the one that provides a street addressto your principal place of business. It is the place where either your business operations are carried out or is the one that is used to communicate with the customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
Following are the reasons why you need a physical business address:
Your prospective customers would get demotivated to trade with your business if you do not have a proper business address.
It is immensely important to have a physical business address because this helps your potential clients to contact you. Also, it helps your business build trust and credibility.
You’re likely to encounter privacy and security challenges specifically if you’re getting your home address listed online. Furthermore, using your home address as your business address does not lend a professional image to your business.
Also, certain zoning restrictions prohibit tenants to use their rented spaces for commercial purposes. Thus, having a separate physical business address would overcome such privacy and security issues.
Trust, Privacy Ranking
Your business loses the opportunity to be found on serach engines like Google in case your website does not have business address listed. Also, your business would not get listed on Google Maps which is quite mandatory today to rank high on Google for local busines searches.
A separate business address is mandatory to meet your customers or prospective clients for a business meeting.
Can I Use a PO Box For My LLC?
You are not allowed to use a PO Box as the physical business address in case you are an LLC or corporation. Therefore, you need to ask the local postal service for a n actual physical address rather than a PO Box. Furthermore, to get an LLC or a corporation registered, a physical address or virtual address is a legally valid address.
What is a PO Box Address?
A PO Box address is a post office box that provides you with a box number and a key to keep your important documents confidential. PO Box is a lockable box having a unique address located within the premises of a post office station. You can rent a post office box of requisite size and also get access to other services like caller service, get notifications or alerts, etc.
Should I Use My Home Address For My Business?
Listing your home address as business address might be used as an option to cut on costs if you are starting a new business. However, it is not an ideal choice as it may seem unprofessional and unreliable to your customers. Further, it poses security and privacy issues as you give your home address as your business address to your customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Further, you change the place of your business as and when required.
How Does a PO Box Work?
PO Box is a lockable mail box located within the premises of post office station. A PO Box is an ideal alternative in case you have basic needs for a mailbox service. This is because a PO Box will lend you privacy, is affordable, give your business a permanent address, securely manage your mails, and deliver mails and packages faster.
Should I Get a PO Box For My Business?
You should get a PO Box address only when you have basic needs for a mailbox service like having a business address for mailing purposes or for protecting your privacy. However, if you want to get an LLC or corporation registered, then PO Box is not an ideal alternative. This is because to get an LLC or corporation registered, you need a physical or street address to receive legal documents.