Even before business owners needed to work from home, many were already working in a remote model.
Setting up your business so that you may productively work from home doesn’t have to be an enormous stressor; however, there are details to be aware of before closing out your “to do” list.
Since many businesses do most of their communication online via email, shared drives, vendor portals, and yes, some still fax (mostly in the healthcare industry), many business owners don’t put much thought into their physical mailing address.
But, there are still legitimate reasons to have the appropriate permanent mailing address.
- Government Communication (aren’t fully set up for virtual activity)
- Business Registration
Why Do I Need a Permanent Address?
This location is where you receive the bulk of your mail and use it to register your business, which can vary based on your business type. If you’re changing your address, make sure you do that through the United Postal Service to alert them of the change. And, many times, there are “moving” special third-party offers they include with the change. You can tackle all of this online at USPS Online.
Should I Use My Home Address?
If you go this route, please keep in mind that your address will be a matter of public record, which means everyone will see where you live. And, you may risk someone innocently showing up at your home, thinking it’s a “real” business location. Even more awkward, if you have an upset customer/client, you don’t want them coming to your home to settle a dispute.
No matter your business’s size, it’s good to begin the right way with a more professional address. Especially since you’ll want to include it on your business card, website, email signature, etc.
What Are My Options?
You’ve decided to go the professional route and unsure of the best alternative to using your home address. To follow are some of the choices you have to receive physical mail and look great to the public.
Using a P.O. Box
The P.O. is usually the first thing people think of when considering to have their mail delivered outside of their home. You can receive mail and packages. However, you cannot use this address for registering your business as they want a legitimate physical address.
You can use it on your website, business cards, etc. It may reduce your business credibility as the public will automatically assume you work from home or that your business isn’t legitimate.
And don’t forget the need to receive packages from other mail service providers potentially. USPS only accepts USPS mail.
Renting a Private Mailbox
It’s a similar setup to the USPS box, but this option allows you to use their street address and add your mailbox as “Suite 204.” It’s a real physical address and looks better than a P.O. Box. And, you can receive packages and mail from all carriers.
You’ll need to, as you will with a P.O. Box, continuously check the box for mail. This additional step can become time-consuming as you’ll need to stop work to check the box. If you travel a great deal or don’t live close by, this can become a burden as you cannot let your mail pile up, unless you want to upgrade to a larger box.
Are There Any Other Alternatives?
There is another option—a Virtual Business Address.
With this option, there are many advantages as you will have a location that exudes professionalism and is much more convenient for you as a business owner. And if you’re a big traveler, you won’t have to worry about mail piling up in a mailbox.
Plus, there is a “live” person at the location to manage your incoming mail at the physical location. Depending on the service you choose, they can notify you about mail as it arrives, so you never miss that needed payment check or critical government notification. Even more of a bonus, they can deposit your payment checks, so you’re not dependent on when it’s convenient for you to stop by. You can also have your mail scanned directly to you.
There are so many opportunities for the Virtual Office staff to help. If this is the route you want to consider, reach out to a reliable company that will make your life easier, keep things moving forward, and makes you look the best to customers and clients.
Yes, you can manage an “at home” business without a professional address, but as the adage says: “You never have a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.”