If you’re going to be building a business – of any size – you will need to make some decisions at the beginning that are not so easy. Do you rent an office? Do you run your business online? Or do you run it from home?
Having a professional business address is valuable to any business, but not any business owner can afford it at the beginning. Thankfully, there is a great solution; a virtual address.
What is a Virtual Address?
A Virtual Address is a real business address that you can use while your business isn’t physically located at this address.
You can use a virtual address while operating your business from another location (such as your home) or running it online.
This address can still be used to receive and send mail and be used in paperwork. It does have its limitations, but for most things, it will work just as well as a business address.
According to the service provider you choose, you will get some main services with your virtual business address. These services include a US phone number, a live receptionist to take your phone call, phone calls forwarding, an office space with meeting rooms, and they can also open and scan your mail.
A Virtual Address is used mainly to establish a presence in another country, let’s take the USA, for example. You can use a virtual address to create your presence in the US while running your business from another country.
What is the difference between a Physical Address and a Virtual Address?
So, if a Virtual Address is still a street address that is used as a business address while your business isn’t physically there, what is the difference between a virtual address and a physical address?
You can still use a virtual address on your marketing assets such as your website, social media accounts, and promotional materials. You can also use it to receive mail and packages and have them forwarded to another address.
The only significant difference is that a virtual address in the US can’t be used to obtain a Tax ID Number (FEIN), which is legally required to open a US Bank account.
You also can’t use your virtual address to deposit checks received from clients within the USA, import products to the USA, or protect your company against US tax exposure.
But you can do the same things using your home address if you already live in the United States, so why don’t you use your home address?
Why Use a Virtual Office Address?
- Establish a presence in a new market
- Portray a more professional Image to build credibility and trust
- Protect the privacy of your home address
- Save on costs
Let’s discuss those benefits of a virtual office address in more details;
1.Establishing a Presence in a new market
Penetrating a new market is not easy, yet it’s often a crucial step in the path to growth for businesses. Unfortunately, establishing a business in some places, such as the United States, can be quite complicated and costly.
A virtual address is a great way to put your foot in the country without having to invest so much money and effort into the process. If all goes well and your business starts gaining traction and getting good results in the US market, then you may be able to leap.
Using a virtual address is a safe compromise that enables you to establish your presence without investing thousands of dollars.
2. Portray a more professional Image to build credibility and trust
Even in this day and age, people still expect a business to have a professional business address. A professional business address shows vendors, suppliers, investors, and customers that you are a legitimate business.
3. Protect the privacy of your home address
In today’s super-connected world, the privacy of our homes is more important than ever before. Using your home address for business mail and on business cards is like plastering it on the Internet, it’s not the most safety-conscious decision you can do.
Your home is where your family resides, it’s their haven, and it should be kept like that. You don’t need to deal with angry customers yelling at you while your kids are watching. There’s no need for that, keep your home address private.
4. Save on the Costs
For as low as $150, you can have a virtual business address, a mail handling service, a live receptionist answering your phone calls, and a space for your meetings.
How much would you have to pay to have all these services and facilities traditionally? A lot! You would have to rent a physical space (and business centers aren’t cheap!), pay salaries, pay for desks, chairs, electricity, etc.
By getting a virtual address, you are saving a tremendous amount of money that you can invest in making a better product and doing more marketing. This will accelerate the success and growth of your small business much more quickly than it would have happened had you gone the traditional route.
How does a Virtual Address Work?
A Virtual Address in the USA works quite similarly to a PO Box. When you sign up for a virtual address, you will get a unique physical address in the USA. This address will work like any address in the country.
You can use this address for sending, forwarding, and receiving mail.
The service provider can then do all the mail handling for you. They can receive your packages and place them in your online inventory where you can review it, pay any fees (like the shipping fees), and they will forward it to you wherever you are in the world.
How do I create a Virtual Business Address?
You don’t “create” a virtual business address, but you “get” one through a service provider.
There are plenty of choices out there, and you can choose from those 11 best mailbox services for business.
After getting a virtual address from one of those providers, you can start using it as a mailing address for your business.
How Much is a Virtual Address?
The cost of a virtual address depends on the service provider you choose and the plan you go for. This also depends on what services you need and the location you want.
The cost of a virtual address ranges between $49 per month and can go up to over $100/month for locations in big cities.
Now, it’s worth noting here that the price can change depending on the location. Usually, the base price is for suburban locations. Address locations in big cities often have a premium price tag on them. They can easily cost you twice as much as the local address does.
The price of the services can also add up easily. Depending on the vendor you choose, you can pay for the US phone number, the live receptionist, and the mail handling (scanning, forwarding, and storing mail for an x number of days).
There can also be some hidden fees that are not clear when you first sign up. For example, this can include the cost of storing your mail after a certain number of days or the costs of shipping certain items.
Some services also charge you a basic setup fee, and there can be a cost for the stamps, the paperwork, and the notarization of some documents and forms.
How to get a Virtual Address for your Business?
Steps to Getting a Virtual Business Address in the United States
- Choose a Service Provider
- Choose one of their physical locations
- Customize and Choose the services you need
- Make the purchase/payment
- Do the paperwork
To get a virtual mailing address, you first need to settle on the solution of your choice.
Secondly, you will need to choose a physical location from the options the service providers will give you. You will then need to select the plan and customize it to your specific needs as much as possible.
After deciding on the plan, you will make the payment, provide your passport or national ID card + driver’s license, and fill and complete the US Postal Form 1583. This form must be notarized. Some service providers may ask for additional documents.
After you’re done with the paperwork, it will take 24 to 48 hours to get approval and get your US address.
We hope this has answered your questions. You now know the three ways that you can get a virtual address for your business. It’s time to make a choice based on the knowledge you’ve gained.
Since you are in the process of creating a business mailing address, might we suggest you take a minute to learn What is a Mail Forwarding Service as well? We think it could be quite helpful.
If you are indeed looking for a Mail Forwarding Service, you check out the Best Mail Forwarding Services here, and we think you might find just what you’re looking for.
As usual, if you have any questions or comments, share your thoughts with us in the comments below. I will do my best to get back to you!