Operating a small business start-up is never a walk in the park. Start-up entrepreneurs typically have to commit all their time and resources to make the business successful. But, of course, the last thing they should be worrying about amid all that is missing important business mail.
This makes mail forwarding services worth considering. A mail forwarding service can help start-ups by ensuring they receive and respond to all critical mail promptly without disrupting their other commitments.
This article presents valid reasons why it makes sense for start-ups to leverage mail forwarding services.
But first, what is mail forwarding, and how does it work?
What is Mail Forwarding?
Most start-ups today are not restricted to physical office space. Not surprisingly, 50% of small businesses in the US begin at home, and 16% of companies globally are fully remote.
Now here’s the problem; From IRS tax notices, business proposals, and bills, to mail from clients and those relating to business licenses, the mail that a start-up receives is voluminous and frequent. If you are remote, you might not have a specific business address to receive mail. Therefore, it wouldn’t be uncommon to miss some important ones, especially when traveling.
Receiving mail at home makes it difficult to sift through personal and business correspondence. Besides, using your home address for receiving mail doesn’t show a professional image to your clients. A mail forwarding service can be a lifesaver in such cases.
Mail forwarding is a service by which you obtain a virtual mailbox to receive mail, from where you can then have it forwarded to your location. The virtual mailbox, or digital mailbox, is provided by a mail forwarding company. This virtual mailbox is an actual street address in a known physical location.
How Does Mail Forwarding Work?
The mail forwarding company offers you a virtual mailbox, which is actually a commercial physical address where mail is received. This becomes your forwarding address. Instead of your home address, you can give this virtual address to clients, vendors, or investors and receive your mail in that commercial location.
There is usually a mobile app where you can create an online account with your service provider. Log on to your account to assess the mail and forward it to your location. A virtual mailbox service acts more or less like a digital mailbox.
Mail forwarding services ensure that wherever you are, all your business packages will have a central location where they’ll go. Since it’s a commercial physical address, a virtual mailbox gives your start-up business a professional image, something a home address cannot do.
The company alerts you when your mail arrives at the facility via their mobile app. You can log in and decide whether to have it forwarded to your location.
The best mail forwarding companies typically offer additional mailbox concierge services. Such services allow you to manage your mail online by scanning, storing, shredding, or forwarding the mail according to your needs. For example, if the mail isn’t important, you can decide to shred it rather than forward it.
Now that you understand how mail forwarding works, let’s get you up to speed on why you should consider it as a start-up business owner.
9 Benefits of Mail Forwarding for Your Start-up Business
#1) It Offers Your Business a Professional Appearance
How would you feel if you were to do business with a company and the mailing address they give you happens to be a home address? You might get wary. At the very least, you’d feel, “oh, this is merely a start-up, and they might not know what they’re doing yet.
But it’s different when you come across a business address in a reputable commercial location. You subconsciously perceive the company as professional and standard enough, and you won’t get instantly discouraged from transacting with them.
Arguably the most significant benefit of mail forwarding to home-based businesses is the professional appearance the virtual mailbox promotes.
#2) Keeps Your Home Address Private
Privacy is often a challenge for home-based businesses. When you attempt to save money by using your home as your office space, using the home address for business correspondence outweighs the cost-benefit as it opens you up to security challenges.
When you subscribe to a mail forwarding service, all correspondence from clients, business associates, vendors, and government offices can come in while keeping where you live secret.
Moreover, it wouldn’t be nice to have a client or government official arriving at your doorstep because they thought it was your office. If you have a family, this wouldn’t be pleasant at all. Your business should be separate from home and family.
#3) Mail Convenience
As a start-up/small business owner, you already have A LOT on your plate. There’s paperwork to be filed, a product or service to market, funding to seek, and a business to manage. So, driving to the local United States Postal Service (USPS) post office wouldn’t always be convenient to pick up every mail.
Moreover, having your personal packages and business mail in the same place can be an unnecessary hassle as you’d often need to sort them yourself. That’s what happens when you use PO Box as your mailing address. The truth is any extra stressor in addition to what you already face as a start-up entrepreneur can be a disaster.
By subscribing to a mail forwarding service, you avoid all that hassle. A mail forwarding service helps you receive and keep your official mail in one place. You can then give instructions to send it to you at your convenience.
#4) Mail Security
Leaving your business mail unattended in your home’s mailbox for a long time can be a disaster. It’s right outside your home, meaning anyone can take it away. You know what losing sensitive documents like an IRS notice or a business deal can mean.
What about shipments and packages lying in the open outside your house? Losing them can be quite costly. Whether you have insurance or not, repurchasing the product will often be your last resort. But, then, these are avoidable business expenses.
What if you knew you could avoid all that trouble by utilizing a package forwarding service? With mail forwarding, mail management becomes safer as the company keeps your packages in a secure facility until you call for them.
#5) Avoids Identity Theft
Mail forwarding companies will typically have security procedures to safeguard sensitive information about you and your company, thereby eliminating your safety concerns, including identity theft.
A stolen identity is something no business owner ever dreams of having, and it could happen when just about anyone has access to your official mail. When your mail remains in your home’s name mailbox unattended to, that becomes a possibility.
It can take several weeks, if not months, to restore a compromised identity — not to mention the cost.
Only qualified and experienced staff will manage your mail and parcels at a mail forwarding facility. They will also ensure all packages are delivered directly to your hands.
#6) Eliminates the Hassle of an Address Change
Not all companies remain in a fixed address throughout their existence. Many new businesses move to a new location after a while, sometimes due to business growth. For some, they go on to offer services in several other areas.
Here’s the problem. If you’re receiving mail at one location, what happens when you relocate, and clients keep sending it to your former address? It’s simple: you might lose a truckload of important mail!
The hassle of changing addresses can be a burden you don’t want to shoulder, especially when you change addresses often. In addition, it can get pretty confusing for your customers when you give them a different mailing address each time.
With a mail forwarding service, the hassle of changing a business address is eliminated as you have a fixed virtual address where you receive all incoming mail. So, your mailing address remains the same even when you relocate or change your office address.
#7) Facilitates an Organized, Paperless Office
How often do you forget to shred or dispose of junk mail? Unfortunately, that can often happen when things get very busy at the office. Imagine if you could make that a thing of the past by leveraging mail forwarding services.
Utilizing a mail forwarding service helps you create a paperless environment as you can assess and manage your mail via your online account. You can decide to shred or recycle junk mail right from the mobile app so that only relevant ones come into your office space. The challenge of storage space is also minimized.
In addition, a tremendous amount of trouble would be avoided when you handle your mail online. For instance, you’ll never again misplace crucial legal documents. That’s because record keeping is so far more efficient online.
#8) Respond to Customers on the Go
With virtual mailbox services, your customer response time can greatly increase. You get notified of received mail, and you can have it scanned to view the content in a digital format so you can attend to it instantly.
Your chances of losing a customer or investor because you didn’t receive/reply to their mail on time also drop dramatically. This is a matter of concern to every start-up business owner. You don’t want to be replying late and losing customers at the early stage of your business, as that can cripple your reputation right off the bat. However, that might become a problem when you rely on receiving all your mail at a PO Box address.
#9) Save Money
You must pay a mail forwarding service provider to get a virtual mailbox. So how does a virtual mailbox service save money?
This is it: the cost of postal mail can be a heavy financial burden for start-ups. In addition to the postal fees, you must pay for stamps, shipping fees, delivery charges, and equipment like scanners, shredders, and printers.
While the costs may look small initially, they can quickly add up and become difficult for a start-up to keep up with. Not to mention an additional mailing room you’ll need to set up if you must use such equipment to handle your mail.
Imagine how much burden you’d be freeing up when subscribing to a mailbox forwarding service. Your virtual mailbox acts as a virtual mailroom, so all that physical mailing stress is eliminated, from scanning to shredding and recycling. It’s more or less like managing your postal mail online.
Why Not Use PO Boxes for Your Start-Up?
PO boxes are offered at any local post office and can be great for personal and business use. They also come very cheaply. However, using postal mail can get costly when you’re a business owner handling a ton of mail. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to drive to the post office occasionally to pick up mail. This isn’t an additional hassle most start-up business owners want to take on.
PO Box Pros
- A PO box is a secure way to receive mail while away from the office.
- Packages wouldn’t sit on your doorstep like when you’re using your home address as your mailing address.
- Security is nothing to worry about, as private information is safe with the USPS.
PO Box Cons
- You always have to drive to the post office to pick up mail
- If you don’t have a permanent address, you’ll need a new PO Box whenever you move far away from your previous location.
- Your PO Box isn’t as secure as virtual mailboxes since it’s next to everybody else’s box.
- A PO Box is not exactly a street address. A street address, like a virtual mailbox, contributes to your professional image.
Why Not Use a Virtual Office Instead of a Virtual Mailbox?
A virtual office is an incredible option to gain a professional image for your home-based business. That’s because a virtual office offers a virtual business address, a real street address where you can conduct meetings with clients and staff, among other office-related services. You also get to avoid paying rent as you would have if you had set up your own physical office space.
However, if you only need a virtual address to receive all your mail securely, a virtual mailbox is more cost-effective than a virtual office. That’s because a virtual office is much more expensive due to its office-related services.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Mail Forwarding Service
A reliable mail forwarding service will give you peace of mind that your mail will come on time and securely. But with so many service providers out there, how do you figure out which one works best for you?
Here are questions to ask to make an informed decision.
- Is the company trustworthy? Check their reviews and ratings to know
- How easy is it to manage your postal mail online on the platform?
- What does it cost to forward your mail? Is it expensive?
- Does the company allow you to use their billing address?
- What items are restricted?
- Are there items you can’t send internationally via the service?
- Are most clients satisfied with the mail forwarding company?
When searching for a mail forwarding service, never hesitate to ask questions regarding your concerns. Ensure you’re clear with all that the service offers before subscribing.
A mail forwarding service can incredibly benefit your start-up as it facilitates efficient mail handling, gives you a more professional image, and saves time while keeping your home address private.
Ensure you weigh your options when choosing a provider, as their service quality will factor into your overall experience.
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