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Running a business

Can you use a PO Box for an LLC address? A Guide for Business Owners

Can my business address be a PO Box?

A PO Box can be an easy way to get a business address for an LLC, but many states don't allow you to use a PO Box to register your business. Check your secretary of state's website for legal requirements

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Many small business owners, sole proprietors, and solo entrepreneurs use their home address for their business. Though it might be the best choice for some, it doesn’t work for everyone. An alternative is to set up a PO Box—or Post Office Box—as your business address. 

Typically, states require that you list a physical address when you register your business. You often still need an address, even if you run a business that doesn't require a physical location for customers, like a digital service-based business or an art studio that ships handcrafted products. What address should you use: Your home? A PO Box? A virtual business address? Something else?

Let’s dig into the reasons you might want to list a business address that isn't your home address, then explore the pros and cons of using a PO Box, plus alternatives such as a virtual address. 

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Working from home: Why you might want a business address

Many businesses start from a home office, workshop, or garage—and that's sometimes where the work will continue to happen. Or you might need a physical location for your restaurant or store, but you haven't reached the point of leasing or buying property. Yet states typically require business owners to have a physical address listed on their business registration paperwork. Should you simply list your home address as your business address? There are some practical reasons why that might not be the best idea.

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Privacy concerns

If you list your home address as your business address, you might need to use your personal address on your business records, website, and business cards as well as with vendors and customers. This can compromise your privacy, as well as the privacy of those you live with. The last thing you might want is for an uninvited visitor to show up on your doorstep.

Zoning restrictions

Local zoning laws and home-based business ordinances may restrict your ability to run a commercial operation out of your home. There may also be restrictions on the percentage of your home that can be used exclusively for your business. Contact your city to ask whether there are any codes or zoning laws that would stop you from using office space in your home for business operations.

Homeowner association and landlord rules

Many apartment complexes, condominiums, and neighborhoods restrict your ability to run a business out of your home. If you live in a condo or house, check the covenants, codes, and restrictions provided by your Homeowners Association (HOA). If you rent, look over the terms of the lease with your landlord.

Liability issues

Limited liability corporations (LLCs) and S- or C-corporations may face liability issues if they list a home address for their small business. Using a personal home address for a business could “pierce the corporate veil,” which would make you personally liable for business debts and obligations.

Professional reputation

Clients and customers are increasingly accepting of entrepreneurs and consultants who work from home. However, there's still a risk that it might undermine your professional status, depending on the industry you work in. It also means clients can search for photos of your house and make judgments based on what they find. If some clients see that your business is run out of your home, they may hesitate to trust that your business is an established, long-term endeavor.

Should you use a PO Box for your business?

So you've decided not to use your home address for your business. What are the alternatives? The next option many business owners consider is setting up a PO Box through the United States Postal Service. A PO Box can be an easy way to get a business address if you run an LLC, S-corp, or C-corp and don't want to use your home address for business—if it's allowed by the state your business operates in. Look up your secretary of state's website to check the legal requirements where you do business.

Some PO Box locations also offer Street Addressing, which provides a mailing address to a PO Box user.

If you're allowed to register an LLC to a PO Box in your state, there are some benefits to listing it as your business address and using it for your business mail.

Benefits of a PO Box include: 

  • Easy and affordable to set up: To find a PO Box near you, go to the USPS website, expand the Receive tab, and select PO Boxes. Search by ZIP code or address to find locations near you. There are a range of mailbox sizes to choose from, priced from $4 to $24 per month, with automatic renewal payments available.

  • Personal privacy and safety: A PO Box for a business helps you keep important documents confidential and your home address private. It allows you to separate your business mail from your personal mail. Your business mail is also safe in the locked box at the post office.

  • Convenient services: You get package notifications, 24-hour access, and the ability to text or call in to check on your mail. If a box or package is too large to fit in your box, the post office sends you a notice to pick up your package at the counter during regular business hours.

Downsides of a PO Box include:

  • Not a physical address. If you own an LLC or a corporation, states typically don't allow you to use a PO Box as the address you list on your business license. However, some USPS locations offer Street Addressing, which creates a real address, rather than a PO Box number.

  • Can't sign for packages. Most USPS offices won’t sign for packages from shippers such as UPS or FedEx. However, if your PO Box is eligible for Street Addressing, packages from any shipper can be held at a Post Office location.

  • Can't switch to personal use. If you already have a PO Box for your personal mail, you can switch to a business account online. However, if you have a business account, you cannot later switch it to a personal account. You’ll need to apply for a new personal PO Box.

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What are alternatives to a PO Box?

Virtual business address or mailbox

A virtual business address is a real street address, often at a mail center or in an office building. You pay for the right to use the address. Depending on the service, you might be able to receive business mail and packages. If you have a home-based business or need an address for your business in another city, a virtual business address can be a good solution.

Coworking space

Employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere can gather to share a workspace, amenities, and community in co-working spaces. Most mid-size and large cities have coworking businesses. Increasingly, coworking spaces offer virtual addresses, mail and package-signing services, and dedicated offices that can be your physical address.

Commercial mail receiving agency

At a commercial mail receiving agency, a professionally trained provider or agency can filter your mail on your behalf. Depending on which service you use, you can arrange for them to do a number of other tasks, such as scanning and sending your mail to you. Be sure to fill out USPS Form 1583 to authorize them to open mail on your behalf.

Registered agent services 

Many states require a registered agent to be listed on your business registration. Some registered agents also offer mail and address services as well. Be sure to fill out USPS Form 1583 to authorize them to open mail on your behalf.

How to set up a business address FAQ

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