This article will explore why a virtual business address is valuable for your LLC. From enhancing your professional image and complying with legal requirements to safeguarding your personal privacy and expanding your market reach, we’ll explore how this versatile solution can elevate your business to new heights.
What is a Virtual Business Address?
A virtual business address, also known as a virtual mailbox, is a real street address that serves as a physical mailing address for your business without being your actual office space. You do not have to work from your virtual business address physically.
Virtual address providers offer a secure location where your business mail and packages will be sent. This address is usually where the provider is located, often in a well-known part of the city where other businesses are situated. The provider receives your mail and then forwards it to you.
Your virtual address can be anywhere worldwide if a company provides virtual business address services there.
Why You Should Consider a Virtual Address for Your LLC
Whether your business is home-based or operates in a physical office space, there are several reasons why you may need a virtual address for your business LLC.
Here are the key reasons for considering a virtual address for your LLC:
- Privacy: As a home-based business, using a virtual address when filing your LLC is advisable to keep your personal address out of public records.
- An acceptable address for official documents: Most jurisdictions require a commercial address in your business bank account and federal agency documents. PO box and home address are generally not allowed.
- Cost savings: as a remote business, you can use a virtual address to save costs instead of renting and running a physical office space.
- A digital record of business mail: Since your address provider receives and forwards your mail to you electronically, there’s always a digital footprint.
- Professionalism: Unlike a home address, having a business address in a recognized commercial location influences prospects to take you more seriously.
- Multiple business locations: If you’re considering opening branches in multiple markets but cannot work physically from all locations, consider using multiple virtual business addresses.
- Security: Virtual address providers store your mail in secure facilities. This prevents the issue of stolen packages and identity theft.
- Convenience: if you wish to go paperless and receive mail electronically, a virtual business address is worth considering.
How to Get a Virtual Business Address for Your LLC
Step #1: Sign up
The first step to getting a virtual business address is to sign up with a service provider. Most of these companies offer different price points, so choose the virtual business address plan that meets your business needs.
Step #2: Choose an address
Choose an address for your business closest to your location or zip code. This will help prospects know you’re a local business, and it will also be easier if you wish to pick up your mail and packages. If you’re opening office branches in other states, you may want to choose an address that’s in a reputable commercial hub in that region.
Step #3: File Form 1583
When you want to use a private mailbox service through a commercial mail-receiving agency (the company providing virtual address service), you must file Form 1583. This form is required by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to ensure that the company can legally handle postal mail on your behalf.
Form 1583 typically includes your name and business name, physical and mailing addresses, ID, and the service provider’s name and address.
Completing Form 1583 permits the virtual business address service to receive mail on your behalf and act as an intermediary between the USPS and the customer. This allows you to use their physical address as your mailing address.
Step #4: Redirect your mailing address.
If you have used another mailing address on your website, you’ll want to update that immediately. This way, you won’t miss important business mail or legal documents.
Step #5: Update your LLC document.
If you used your home address when you filed your business formation documents, it’s time to update that to your new virtual address.
Also, be sure to inform business contacts of your new mailing address.
Best Virtual Business Address Services
The best virtual business address services include:
- Northwest Registered Agent
- Traveling Mailbox
- PostScan Mail
- Virtual Post Mail
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is a virtual business address service provider in the US. In addition to filing your LLC, Northwest can be your registered agent and virtual office address. They can offer you a virtual address for your business in these 12 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
- Individual and business accounts
- Can deliver your mail physically or by digital scan
- It can serve as a comprehensive virtual office address or only as a business address for mail forwarding
- View and manage documents online, a great way to go paperless
- You receive a unique suite number for your company
- Get a business phone number at no extra cost
- Physical address in a real commercial street, boosting your reputation
- Northwest Registered Agent provides comprehensive business services, including business formation, registered agent, virtual office, and mail forwarding.
- Virtual addresses are only available in California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Northwest Registered Agent virtual office address costs $29 monthly.
With over a million businesses served, Incfile is one of the best virtual business address services. Moreover, you can get your LLC formation from Incfile for $0. Incfile also provides registered agent services.
- Incfile provides virtual business addresses in 49 states (excluding Arkansas and Oregon)
- Scans and uploads mail online so you can view it from anywhere
- View documents on any device, whether mobile or desktop.
- You receive email notifications whenever Incfile scans and uploads your mail.
- Everything is done online, helping you stay paperless.
- Access your mail wherever you are
- It is easy to get your virtual business address; sign up to Incfile, and your address is sent instantly.
- All correspondence is encrypted, solidifying security.
- With notifications, you never miss time-sensitive mail.
- Bank checks, credit cards, and debit cards will also be forwarded.
- Packages are not allowed, just traditional mail, letters, and checks
- You don’t have physical access to the mail center in person.
Virtual address service from Incfile costs $29 monthly with unlimited mail scanning.
iPostal1 is arguably the best virtual mailbox service as you get more features for less price, starting at only $9.99/mo. You also get phone and fax services. iPostal1 has 2,750 virtual addresses to choose from.
- Accessible online or in-person
- You see the outside of every package or mail item scanned
- Accessible via desktop or mobile app
- Locations in several countries and continents
- iPostal1 offers addresses in prestigious locations and even coworking spaces
- Scanned mail content is delivered as high-quality PDF
- You can use the iPostal1 virtual address as your shipping address when shopping online overseas
- Find real-time shipping prices on your digital mailbox dashboard so you can choose the best time to ship
- One of the most affordable virtual business address services, starting at only $9.99
- View mail online, shred unimportant, forward important ones, or pick them up yourself.
- Receive postal mail and packages, no matter the size or carrier
- With addresses in several countries, iPostal1 is best if you wish to have a business presence in international markets
- The toll-free phone service and fax provide you with a full office presence
- Free mail storage for 30 days.
- Customer support is available only during business hours
- International addresses cost more than US addresses.
iPostal1 offers various packages, costing from $9.99 to $39.99 monthly.
Traveling Mailbox is a virtual business address service with a touch of difference. They offer a special feature called ScanPak. With ScanPak, you can send Traveling Mailbox all the relevant paper mail lying in your office, papers that you don’t want to lose. On receiving the package, the virtual mailbox service will scan and upload each document to your digital mailbox so you can access it digitally anytime and anywhere.
- View your mail online and choose whether to have it scanned, shredded, or forwarded.
- Digital signature service that allows you to sign documents conveniently
- Traveling Mailbox offers a check deposit service that scans your checks with the mobile app. The company then deposits it into your bank account.
- Shred junk mail at no extra cost
- They store your mail and packages securely, giving you peace of mind
- Unlimited cloud storage of your mail
- Free mail and package consolidation
- Check deposit, a feature you won’t find in most other virtual address providers
- Fewer addresses and locations
Traveling Mailbox virtual address services cost $15-$55 monthly.
PostScan Mail is one of our most preferred virtual address providers for their affordability and free phone and fax services. They also have locations in Canada and the UK, among others. The company opened for business in 2012 but only began using real street addresses in 2020.
- Mobile app
- You can use PostScan Mail virtual mailbox as a shipping address when shopping internationally
- Package consolidation
- 400 mail recipient locations
- Plans are priced based on how much mail can be received monthly
- Individual and business accounts
- Real-time shipping rates
- Email notifications for new mail
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Very affordable for small business owners
- Package consolidation helps reduce shipping costs if you’re shopping online internationally.
- Unlimited recycling of junk mail
- You can access your mail anytime and anywhere from your dashboard
- Some of their addresses are USPS PO Boxes, which cannot receive mail and packages from UPS and cannot be used for business registration.
- No virtual office
- Additional fees for more packages received
PostScan Mail costs $10 for the Starter plan, $20 for Standard, and $30 monthly for Premium.
Virtual Post Mail
Virtual Post Mail provides you with a permanent business address that you can use for your business entity documents, bank account, and mail forwarding. Virtual Post Mail can stand for you if you need a registered agent for your LLC.
- Check deposit
- Mail and package forwarding
- Mail scanning
- Mail shredding
- Great for handling returns for e-commerce businesses
- Your mail is fully secured and handled with SOC2 and HIPAA-compliant servers on Amazon Web Services
- Free Mail shredding
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Only a few US addresses to choose from
- No mobile app for easy accessibility
Virtual Post Mail costs $20-$90 monthly.
Services That Offer LLC Formation but Don’t Provide a Business Address
If you’re trying to choose a good LLC formation service that offers many add-ons, be mindful of the following as they do not provide virtual mailbox services:
Advantages of Using a Virtual Address Service for Your LLC
- Startup small business owners can use a virtual address to form their LLC while keeping their home addresses private.
- Allows small business owners to work remotely while having a specific mailing address
- Since all mail, packages, and legal notices are sent to a secure physical address, you never miss important mail, even when you’re away on travels.
- Virtual business address services usually have robust security measures like encryption.
- Virtual address services are usually in busy commercial areas, strengthening your credibility and professional image.
- In addition to a virtual address, some providers also provide an on-demand office space so you can meet with clients when needed. This gives you a more professional appearance than meeting at a coffee shop.
- You can file a Permanent Change of Address form with your local post office to receive postal mail at your new business address.
- A virtual mailbox is great if you’re looking for a place to send personal mail.
Disadvantages of Using a Virtual Address Service for Your LLC
- Virtual address services are expensive compared to using your home as your official business address
- You may not always receive forwarded mail on time.
Can I use a PO box as a business address?
No! Although you can use a PO Box for your sole proprietorship, it’s generally not accepted for LLC and Corp official business documents. That’s because a PO box isn’t a real street address. Also, a PO box can only receive postal mail from USPS.
Can I use my home address for LLC?
You can use your home address as the legal address of your LLC. But the question is, should you? If you work from home, it may appear the logical thing to do, but there are many disadvantages to that. Having your home address in public records takes away your privacy. Also, you may not want prospects to see you as the guy who works from a basement.
If you want clients to take you more seriously, a business address in a well-known commercial location is preferred over a home address for your LLC.
Does the IRS accept virtual addresses?
The IRS needs to verify your business location and ensure you have a physical presence in the US. As long as your virtual address is a physical location in a real street where mail can be sent, it will be accepted by the IRS, banks, and even your Secretary of State.
Can I open a business bank account with a virtual address?
You can use a virtual address to open a business bank account if the address is a verifiable physical location. The virtual business address you get from providers will usually be a real physical business address, so you should be fine.
Is a Virtual Business Address the Same as a Registered Agent?
The answer is no. Your Registered Agent is the one who receives legal and official notices from the government on your behalf. Their address differs from where you do business, and regular business mail from customers will not be sent there. However, some Registered Agent Services also offer virtual business addresses. Hence, you can use the same address when filling in both fields in your LLC filing.
If you need your Registered Agent to also serve as your regular mailing address, opt for a provider that offers both registered agent and virtual mail service.
In summary, using a virtual business address is worth considering if you’re remote or need to establish a physical presence in other locations where you’re not present. It’s a real street address and can be used to form your business entity. But if you’re a sole proprietorship or partnership business, you can use a PO Box, which is usually more affordable.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Services
As a review service, we have put a ton of research into many virtual business address service providers. We found the ones discussed above to be superior based on the following metrics:
- Features: These services are the best for their impressive features, like mobile accessibility, addresses in multiple locations, unlimited cloud storage, mail scanning, and robust security.
- Value for money: We have chosen these for the great value they offer at low price points
- Customer service: We noticed their customer service agents were responsive when we contacted them.
- Usability: Some of the services reviewed here come with mobile apps for iOS and Android, and we saw that sign-up was pretty easy.
- Customer satisfaction: Customers have many good things to say about the services, like the speed of their mail delivery, accessibility, etc. In short, most of them have ratings of over four stars on Google.
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