21 March, 2019

Should You Have a Physical Business Address? A Guide for Startups

If your business is just getting off the ground, you might be wondering whether you need a physical address for business. Read here to learn how to get one.

According to a 2015 study, 70% of UK workers believe that working from home or another remote position is important to them. 

With statistics like that, it's no wonder that more and more people are turning to side hustles and other remote work to avoid the grind of a daily office setting. Turning your side hustle or web-based business into a full-time company is hard work that requires a lot of dedication. 

Along the way to a full-fledged remote business, you're bound to hit some bumps (anyone understand trade laws?).  Don't let something simple like the business address be what trips up your success. 

Check out this guide for startups and learn all there is to know about your business. Then get out there and hustle. 

What Is a Business Address?

A business address is the physical location of your business.

Imagine that you own a car dealership. It's pretty easy to figure out the business address. It's where you go each day in order to sell cars. 

Now, imagine you own a web-based company or are self-employed, such as a professional musician. Without a brick and mortar storefront, it's a little bit harder to know what to use as your business address. 

Should you use your residential address for the business? You can. It's free and easy, but not always the best choice (don't worry, we'll get into that late). 

In theory, a business address is where you are operating your business. In reality, it's not always that straight forward. 

Why Do You Need a Separate Business Address?

There are a couple of reasons you need a business address. Here are the big ones:

1. You Need to Open a Business Account

Most banks won't accept a residential address for a business account. Even if you have a home office and work strictly from home, there are some business restrictions that may require a business address for a business account. 

You may also need a non-residential address to register with vendors and supplies; set up your company domain; file for legal contracts, licenses or permits; and get your business listed on Yellow Pages.  

2. You Want to Look Reputable

In the age of Google, it's easy enough to plug in a company's address and realize it's in a residential neighbourhood. 

While that may not be a deterrent for your business, it can make it hard to shake the stereotype of a doddering small-time company that can't take on a bigger project. You don't want your clients imagining you working in sweatpants from the kitchen table.

Depending on your industry, being able to provide a physical address where new clients can contact you can help build trust and credibility for your company. 

3. You Need a Professional Space to Interact with Clients

Whether you run the type of business where clients are used to dropping-in without appointments - think: a barber shop- or you need to host client meetings in a professional setting, having a business address that is separate from your home is a matter of privacy and professionalism. 

Sure, you can meet a client at a local coffee shop when you're an artist, but can you meet a client at a local coffee shop when you're a freelance financial consultant?

4. You Are a Registered Private Limited Company (LLC)

You have to provide a physical address when you register your company. It doesn't have to be a commercial address, but it does become part of the public record when you register with Companies House

This means that anyone can search your home address if you choose to use it for your company business address. This matter of privacy and security leads some people to opt for a business address that doesn't give away their personal location. 

Options for a Business Address (Other Than Your Home Address)

If you've decided that you need a business address (other than your home address) for your home-based company, there are a couple of options for you. These options are all quick and easy. Take a quick read to see which option works best for your business.  

1. Set Up a PO Box 

A PO Box provides you with an alternative mailing address to list on your website and professional correspondence. This will keep unwanted visitors from showing up unexpectedly, and will trick clients into thinking you don't work at home. 

It lends an air of credibility to your online business, but also proves that you don't have a brick-and-mortar building.  

A PO Box won't solve all of your problems.  A PO Box cannot be used as the business address on a bank account or LLC filing. It also doesn't provide office space for client meetings. 

2. Set Up a Mailbox With a Street Address

To get around the issues listed in #1, check out a private company that offers a mailbox service with a physical street address.  

UPS offers a mailbox option that uses the street address of UPS in your mailing address. This means that your mail will be delivered to a business address that is a regular street mailing address, but will still be sorted into your private mailbox.

Again, this does not provide the option of a workspace for meetings or other any other business services. A tech-savvy client will also likely realize it is a mailbox service when they do a web search for the address. 

3. Join a Virtual Office Space

Joining a virtual office provides you with a physical mailing address that you can use to register your company and complete day-to-day business. 

This gives you access to co-working spaces with shared amenities, such as wifi and hot tea. You can rent a desk, a private office or a meeting room. 

A virtual office also provides other business amenities, such as a reception team to greet your clients and show them to the right meeting room, and call answering services for your dedicated phone line. 

A virtual office meets all of the criteria to solve your business address issues without forcing you to buy a storefront. 

Get Out There and Hustle

You've succeeded in setting up a home-based, remote company. That's already huge. And now you know all your options for your company's business address. 

Once you've decided that a virtual office is the fix for your business address issues, take a look at this article to learn how to find the right virtual office service for you! 

Contact us with your questions about other ways we can help you hustle.

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