If you are running an online business and don’t have a permanent office location or running a home-based business and don’t want to receive your mail there, you are forced with a problem: What to do about mail? Should you get a virtual address? If so, how to get a virtual address?
Well, not to worry, we are here to help.
What’s wrong with a home address?
There are two main issues with using your home address:
- Privacy & Safety
Your home address should never be made public, and that’s just safety 101 right there. Your home is where your family resides, it’s their haven and it should be kept like that. Sure, you can do business from your garage, there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you can avoid putting your home address on your business cards, that’s better for the safety and privacy of you and your family.
If you run a service-oriented business, your goal is to have your clients contact you online or over the phone, but never have to come to your home.
Why get a Private Business Mail Box or PO Box?
- Portray a more professional image with a real street address
- Privacy of your home address
- A Secure location to receive mail (no mail will ever be lost or stolen)
- You are not tied down to your home when expecting an essential package
- Use it as a return address
- You get to choose the location (and are not stuck to the location of your home or office)
Okay, so now you have a basic picture of why you need a business, now to our main dish.
How to get a virtual address for small business
As a business owner, it’s important that now you have to pick one of the following three options:
- Virtual Mailroom
- Virtual Office
- Private Mailbox
Let’s talk about each of these options in more detail, shall we?
1- Virtual Mailroom
A virtual mailroom provides businesses with a business mailing address where the business’s mail will be received, scanned, and then you can decide what is done next with it.
Some of the actions you can choose they take with your mail are:
- Open the mail and scan the contents of it and then email it to you
- Forward the letter to you
- If it’s a check, some services offer to deposit it
- If it’s a bill, you can pay it
- Have the mail shredded, and some service providers offer to recycle it as well.
Some virtual mailrooms also offer “registered agent” services, which is necessary if you plan on using your virtual mailing address as your legal business address.
Is a virtual mailroom for you?
If you don’t have the office space for mail or hate the mess that’s easily created with piles of mail, then this is the best option for you.
A paperless office is a more productive office, not to mention that searching for a specific piece of mail is a million times better when you are seeking an email and not going through thousands of envelopes manually to find the document.
Virtual Mailrooms are the most popular choice among the three thanks to the host of benefits it offers. If you think this is the way for your business too, your first step would be to check out the popular options and what each of them offers.
Luckily, we’ve got this covered for you. You can, right now, check out our picks for the Best Mailroom Management Solutions. We have reviewed the best that market has to offer, and you can make your choice in minutes.
If you like the idea of a paperless office but don’t think that a virtual mailroom is right for your business, you can still have it with the simple use of a document scanner.
There are many mobile applications for Android and iOS now that do it for free, Evernote being one of our favorites, for example. There are no mobile applications to shred your mail afterward, though. You still need a good old-fashioned shredder to do that.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Mailroom
If for one reason or another, you cancel the service, you can’t use USPS to forward your mail to your new address immediately. You will need to notify all your contacts of your change of address.
In general, it’s a good idea to keep a record of all the contact that send you mail at your virtual business address, which is not that hard considering you will have digital scans of all your mail anyway.
2- Virtual Office
A Virtual office is another solution for small businesses that need to get a business address. It’s costlier than the simple mailing address, but they also offer more for the price. Things like conference rooms, executive suites, and receptionist services are among some of the best features provided by a virtual office.
A Virtual office mailbox service will not only accept your mail, but it can accept and sign for packages from all U.S. carriers. Once they receive your mail or package, they’ll immediately notify you that they have it.
With a Virtual Office, changing your business locations becomes much less of a hassle. If you want to move to a bigger office or another town, you can do so easily without worrying about your mail, as they will continue to receive your mail and packages.
Is a Virtual Office for you?
If you are a small business owner who is interested in having the more traditional professional image for your business but don’t have the funds (or just don’t want to waste it) on paying for office space and all the expenses that come with it, then a virtual office is the solution for you.
You can run your virtual business from anywhere, and still be able to receive mail and packages. Some describe this as having the best of both worlds.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Mailroom
A Virtual Office is not cheap (it can cost you from $50 to $300 per month), and the lack of a physical location for the employees to interact can mean a drop in productivity. Running your business as a virtual business also means that some employees will lack the motivation to perform at their best without the social interactions that can only happen a physical office space.
3- Private Mailbox
First off, A Private mailbox is different from a PO box. It’s the cheapest option to get a business mailing address, but, unlike virtual mailrooms, they don’t offer mail scanning services.
So, what do you get with a Private Mailbox? Well, you get a real street address. This is very useful in case you need a physical location for business dealings.
A Private Mailbox service also offers some additional services that the USPS lacks. For example, they can accept packages from all carriers. Once they receive your mail or package, they will notify you via text or email. You can also call them at any time to ask if you have any mail.
A Private Mailbox is also very useful for those that change their business locations often, as it will continue receiving your mail even if you move your business location.
Is a Privat Mailbox for you?
Are your running a business that does a lot of dealings that require a physical location? If so, this is an excellent option for you.
A Private Mailbox is an inexpensive way to get a business mailing address, which is why many online businesses use it. If you think this is the choice for you, too, then it’s time you check the available options and make a decision.
Luckily, we can save you some time; you can check out the Best Virtual Mailbox Service for Business Owners here.
Disadvantages of a Private Mailbox
A Private Mailbox will not serve as your registered agent, which means that for your legal business filings, you still need a different physical address. This is the biggest drawback and the thing that annoys most small businesses that rush into registering for a Private Mailbox service.
Our advice here is, whatever your choice is, to make sure the way you choose out of the three will satisfy your needs in the short and not-so-long term. You don’t want to be changing service providers often, as it can be a significant inconvenience.
We hope this has answered your questions. You now know the three ways that you can get a virtual address for your business, and it’s time to make a choice.
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, and we will do our best to get back to you!