A vital thing you will learn when starting a business is that looking professional is more important than you think. Getting a business address for your LLC (limited liability company) is a crucial part of drawing this professional image for your business.
Over 627,000 new small businesses are popping up every year! These businesses don’t always have a physical office to operate from. Many of them start at homes and garages.
Starting a business from your home is a great idea, but you probably still need a business address, and this is what we are going to discuss here.
What is a business address?
A business address is simply a physical address that points to your principal place of business. It’s where you should be operating, and I say “should” because this is not always the case.
Why do you even need a business address?
Your business address tells your customers, vendors, and clients where you are, and so it can be used in things like:
- Communicating with your customers via mail
- Receiving your business mail
- Filing for legal papers like your licenses, permits, contracts, etc.
- Getting listed on Google and other search engines as a business, so you appear in searches made by people in your area
- Receive mail from your clients and customers
- Opening bank accounts for your business
- Registering a business domain name
- Opening Accounts with your vendors and suppliers
Can’t you use your home address for your business?
Good question. And the answer is yes, you can, but you really shouldn’t.
There are some positives for having your home and office address be the same. First, you already have it, so it’s free.
You don’t need to buy a service or anything. There are no fees to using your home address as your business address.
Your home is where you live, so there is no need to go to work every day. You can simply wake up and go to work in your pajamas. There is no commute, no time wasted getting ready in the morning, and they’re already is a mailbox right there.
So, it’s a good idea then. No, and this should be your absolute last resort.
Using your home address for your business might seem like a good idea, but if you think about it, it’s not. This is a mistake, so many new businesses do, and it’s a costly one.
The first and most important reason is; privacy.
Most small business owners agree that putting your home address on the internet and documents is not a good idea for obvious privacy concerns.
There are also safety concerns as well, and you don’t want some angry customers yelling at you at your home with your kids upstairs, eavesdropping on the whole situation, do you? Exactly.
The second reason; it’s not professional.
Banks, merchant services, and vendors are generally not willing to accept a home address as the business address of your LLC.
It’s also very likely that your customers will Google you, and when they do and find a home on Google maps instead of an office, some of them might reconsider the transactions.
Third Reason; some states require a business address
Even if the above reasons are not enough to persuade you, the state might. Your state might have laws that stop you or make it extremely difficult to run a business from your home.
Some cities and states require a professional address, and some have laws against offices in urban areas, which is probably where your home is located, so you might not be able to use it all as a business mailing address.
Fourth Reason: Foot traffic and security
This might not even sound this important, but we have to mention it. A business address is used to receive packages, and some of these packages might be expensive and important.
If you use your home address to receive packages, you are risking getting it snapped by package thieves. You also risk getting them ruined by rain or snow if you live in a place where the weather is moody and always-shifting.
Now, I can’t just leave you on the note that it’s a bad idea to use your home address as a business address without making the picture clear.
When is it okay to use your home address as a business address?
If you are working alone, such as if you are a freelancer or a consultant or something of this sort, you can use your home address as a business address.
That’s because, in these cases, you are likely not to be dealing with providers or merchants. Thankfully, freelancing has become very common nowadays, and most businesses have no problem in dealing with freelancers who use their home addresses instead of office addresses.
When MUST I get a physical address for my business?
There is one scenario in which you can not use a virtual address or a PO box for LLC.
If you are starting a limited liability company or a corporation, you have no option but to have a physical address for your LLC. The same is true if you are in a limited partnership or a limited liability partnership.
In these cases, the states require that you get a registered agent address in your state. You should also know that the registered agent address is a matter of public record.
This address must be a place where you conduct your business or services, so you can’t get a PO box instead.
What is a PO Box?
A PO box – also known as a post office box or a Postal Box – is a uniquely addressable locked box that is located in your post office station or in a place that belongs to it. Each PO box has a unique number and is assigned to a specific person or organization. Usually, a PO box looks something like this:
PO Box 1234
State, City 123456
Getting a PO Box for LLC comes with plenty of benefits and mailbox services that make them very appealing to small businesses.
Here are some of the benefits of a PO box:
- Flexibility; you don’t need a physical location, and you can move anywhere without having to change your business address
- Security; You don’t have to deal with package thieves and dangers like that; the post office will take care of security.
- Convenient; You can get all your mail at once if you want to, so you can have a dedicated time to go pick up your mail and go through it. Some post offices even have the PO boxes in lobby locations, so you don’t even to come at business hours and can pick them up 24/7.
- Choice; You can choose the size of the mailbox and the plan according to your needs
However, there are also some disadvantages to PO boxes that you should know about before getting one;
- You actually have to go and pick up your mail.
- It doesn’t carry the same professional image a real business address carries.
- The same state limitations discussed before can apply here
- You can’t receive any packages from third-party couriers like FedEx.
- Banks don’t accept PO boxes as a business address
- Individual government institutions don’t accept PO Boxes in their paperwork as your business address
Okay, this leaves us with one more option to discuss;
What about a virtual business address?
A Virtual business address is a great way to get a virtual address for your LLC without having to rent a physical address or set up an office space.
There are other ways to do that, so make sure to check how to get a virtual address for your business here to learn about all your options and make a decision easily.
Traditionally, to get a commercial business address, you have to, well, have a place, but this not true in the case of virtual business addresses.
A virtual business address is a great solution to most of the problems discussed above.
- It is a real business address and displays a professional image of your business
- You can receive packages from any couriers – something that a PO box can’t.
- You can use it to register for LLCs and corporations
- It can be used to open bank accounts for your LLC
- You don’t have to change it when you change the location where you conduct your business
- It protects your privacy, and no one knows your home address.
- A virtual mailbox is a great time saver
- The mailbox service can be customizable according to your own needs
This is why a virtual business address is a great way to get a business address, now let’s see how you can get one.
Requirements for a virtual business address for LLC
Even though the following conditions may change depending on your location, it’s safe to say that most countries around the world have similar needs.
You may need an extra document or two if you are from other places than the U.S, but the process remains remarkably similar around the world.
- Find out the options for your virtual address for LLC (the mail service you choose should provide these)
- Select one of these addresses
- Contact the mail service and ask to verify if your preferred business can be registered.
- Ask about the fees. Are there fees for setting up the service? Are payments annual or monthly? Is there a cancellation fee?
- Ask about what options and alternatives are available and whether any of them could be better for you
- Find out about the storage options – physical and digital storage.
- Fill out the forms that allow the mail service provider to receive the mail on behalf of your LLC
- You may need to notarize these forms and send out copies of your ID along with the form.
After this, the virtual address for LLC of yours or the PO box should be up and running in a short period.
If you get this out of the way, you might want to consider getting a virtual office to help your business operate smoothly. Virtual offices also make it easy for remote teams to work efficiently.
You can learn what are virtual offices and how they work here.
In my humble opinion, the importance of a CRM is something all new business owners should know about if they don’t want to be one of the +500,000 new businesses that fail every year. Check out why your startup should use CRM software here.
I hope you found this helpful, and if you didn’t, feel free to tell me how I can improve it in the comments below.
I would also love to help you with any questions or concerns you might have about setting up a virtual address for LLC or anything else business-related.