California is a great state to start a small business. The combination of a vibrant economy, beautiful locations, top employee talent and technological strength make it a natural choice for setting up or expanding your company. There are more than 4 million businesses in the state, with California being the fifth-largest economy in the world — by itself!
One way to take advantage of California’s business environment is to use a virtual business address. This gives you an address in the state, even if you don’t physically live there. Even if you do reside in California, you might choose to use a virtual office address for privacy or other reasons.
We’ll talk you through your options for getting a virtual business location in California. We’ll cover why you might choose to have one, how to get a virtual mailing address and answer your questions.
Why You Might Choose a Virtual Business Address in California
There are a few reasons that you might want a virtual office in California, including:
You’re starting an LLC or corporation in CA and you want to keep your real office or home address private.
You’re expanding into CA and you don’t have a physical location there.
You want your California business mail scanned so you can access it wherever you are in the world.
You’re relocating your business or changing your address and don’t want to miss anything.
Benefits of a Virtual California Mailing Address
Virtual business addresses provide several helpful services for business owners, which include:
Street Address in California to Receive Correspondence
A virtual mailing service provides a California street address that you can use to receive correspondence from customers, suppliers, partners, agencies and others. Use this when you need to provide a business address in California.
Office Presence in California
A virtual office address can build credibility by showing a real address in the state. This can be helpful for building trust with business partners or if you don’t want the expense of opening an office within the state.
Secure Scanning and Notification of Received Mail
Any mail that’s received to your virtual address is scanned and uploaded to a secure web portal. You can then log in to read and review any scanned correspondence.
Privacy for Your Real Home or Office Address
You can provide your virtual office address to maintain security and privacy for your real location.
How to Set Up a Virtual Business Address in California
Here’s how to get a virtual office address and use it for your California business.
3. Decide If You Want to Use Your Virtual Address as Your Primary California Business Address
As part of creating a California business, you will need to file “Articles of Organization” (for an LLC) or “Articles of Incorporation” for a corporation. Part of these official forms asks you to provide an address for your business in California. When you do, you can choose to use the virtual street address or another address.
4. Understand that You Cannot Use the Virtual Street Address as Your Registered Agent Address
All legal business entities in California are required to have a “Registered Agent,” known in the state as “Agents for Service of Process.” It’s important to note that you cannot use your virtual office address as the address of your Registered Agent — that’s because if your business gets served legal documentation, there needs to be someone at the address to receive the legal documents. That's not something provided by a virtual office address.
You can either be your own Registered Agent and provide your California address or use Incfile’s Registered Agent service, which is free for the first year when you form through us.
5. Start Using Your Virtual California Address
That’s it! Once your business has been formed, you can start using your virtual mailing address with customers, suppliers and others. As we receive your mail, we’ll scan and upload it, so you can stay up to date wherever you are.
You California Virtual Address Questions, Answered
Can I Use a P.O. Box as My Business Address in California?
No, you cannot use a P.O. Box as either your business address or Registered Agent address in CA.
Can I Use a Virtual Address for an LLC in California?
Yes, you can use your virtual address as your business address in CA, but not as an address for your Registered Agent.
Can I Use My Virtual Office Address as My Registered Agent Address in California?
No, you need to provide an address where someone can accept legal documents, which isn’t available from a virtual address. Incfile provides a low-cost Registered Agent service that will take care of this need.
Who Can See My California Business Address?
The address that you use to create a CA LLC or corporation is part of the public record. This means people can find the address of your business by searching for it on the Secretary of State website.
How Do I Change My California Business Address?
You can change your address by filing a Statement of Information with the CA Secretary of State. Here’s how to do that.
It's time! Take advantage of the excellent California business climate, and get your CA virtual address today.
Paul is a freelance writer, small business owner, and British expat exploring the U.S. When he’s not politely apologizing, he enjoys hats, hockey, Earl Grey Tea, mountains, and dogs.