Something to Consider When Starting Your Biz: Do You Need a Virtual Business Address?
Do you have an LLC that sells products or services in various states? If so, you probably get a ton of mail for your business and might have potential customers asking whether you are actually located in their state and have a presence there or not. A virtual business address can solve some of these problems for you.
Basically, you can consider this virtual business address (also called a virtual mailbox address) as a kind of a mail forwarding service. You won’t be bogged down by endless amounts of junk mail — and you’ll get some amazing perks along with it.
What Is a Virtual Business Address?
A virtual business address is a fee-based mail forwarding service that can have several functions, depending on the provider you sign up with. Almost all of them scan your mail for you and can send virtual copies of items you receive. Some will weed out all of the junk you would generally accumulate in your mailbox, leaving you to decide what you want to do with the mail they save.
For instance, you can have all your junk mail automatically shredded and thrown away. You can have all the important mail sent directly to your office. Or, if you have various offices for different departments of your business, you can have certain pieces of mail go to different places within your company to make the process streamlined.
A virtual business address isn’t just for envelopes; it can accept packages as well. A service like this isn’t necessarily “virtual” like many people would assume. What it does mean is that you get your own street address in the state where you’re looking to establish a mailbox. This gives you the business presence you need in that state along with the credibility your business desires.
Additionally, with remote access to your mail that often comes with a virtual address, you’ll have the convenience to “receive” mail no matter where you’re physically located. This allows you to hop on your computer, tablet or smartphone and view the mail you receive to decide how you need to handle each piece.
With a virtual business address, you’ll have a professionally-staffed location filtering through your mail on your behalf. Most services can accept mail and packages from all major carriers such as USPS, FedEx, UPS and DHL.
Can’t I Just Use My Home Address for Business Purposes?
Solopreneurs who have home-based businesses will find another nice perk to having a virtual business address: privacy. Not many people are keen on giving out their home address for business purposes — you might get customers sending mail or even showing up assuming it’s a physical business location. If you don’t want clients showing up unannounced at your door, having a mail forwarding service or virtual business address can save you headaches. These services provide business owners with professional-looking addresses they can provide to customers, clients, suppliers and vendors.
Privacy is a major concern for those who have home-based businesses or offices. What do you find inside your home? All of your possessions, as well as your most prized possession — your family. If you’re not willing to give your home address to anyone and everyone you do business with, a virtual business mailbox would be ideal.
In addition, many HOAs or lease contracts include restrictions about home-based businesses. It’s not uncommon for HOA’s to deny homes in their neighborhood the right to use their home for business purposes. If that’s the case, a virtual business mailbox or mail forwarding service would be a simple solution.
Additionally, your apartment or condo lease agreement might not allow you to do business in your home at all. Also, if you have a common mail area that’s not staffed, you may not be able to accept large packages without signing for them (which means you’d need to be available and present at all times).
Finally, check the regulations of the municipality you live in. There might be zoning restrictions that would deny the ability to use your home for business purposes.
Benefits of Having a Virtual Mailbox Address
Incfile offers a virtual address service that has many benefits, including the following:
- You’ll have a presence in a state you where you want to do business (even if you aren’t located there)
- Receive all official notices from your secretary of state and related departments
- Keep your personal address confidential from clients and vendors
- Be able to read mails you receive no matter where you are located
- Build your credibility when clients and vendors only want to work with in-state businesses
- Free up time from filtering through your everyday mail
You want your customers and suppliers to trust you and feel comfortable doing business with your company. Having a mailing address that isn’t a home address provides you with a professional presence and peace of mind with your privacy, in addition to the ease of receiving your mail digitally.
What If Customers or Businesses Want a Physical Presence in Their State?
Good news! With a virtual business address or virtual mailbox address, you can have that presence by getting your own in-state mailing address. There’s no need to open up a physical location in any given state just to accept mail and phone calls.
For instance, let’s say your business is in North Carolina, but you need a presence in neighboring South Carolina to cater to customers. You can have mail forwarded using a virtual business address, and let all of your South Carolina customers send and receive mail using your South Carolina address.
Note that depending on the service you sign up with, not every state might be available for getting a virtual mailbox address. Check with the service you are looking to use for specifics (such as the Incfile Virtual Mailbox service).
Do I Need a Virtual Business Address?
Only you can determine the specifics of your own situation, but we definitely recommend not using your home address as your business mailing address. Likewise, having a virtual business address can provide you with many great benefits to add trust and presence in states where you currently do business.
If you’re looking for professional representation for your company, another great service to consider is having a third-party Registered Agent for your business. This is similar to a virtual business address, but it serves as an address where official legal notices and some tax information are sent. For instance, business owners who work from home may use their attorney’s office as their Registered Agent, or sign up for a professional Registered Agent service like the one provided by Incfile.