Businesses and individuals alike, will oftentimes contemplate if getting a virtual mailbox, is the right choice for them. Ever since the early 2000’s and the boom of the Internet, there has been an increase in demand for virtual addresses; platforms that will upload postal mail in a digital format.
Some of the primary reasons why someone would want to sign up for a virtual mailbox service, differ depending on the size of the company and nature of operations.
For small businesses, one of the primary reasons they want to leverage the use of virtual mailboxes, is due to the associated virtual address that comes with it. For larger companies & corporations however, registering a virtual mailbox is more than just about getting a fancy looking address or registering a new LLC with the State. For larger companies, it’s all about outsourcing mail & digitizing the mail room.
Here are 5 reasons why your organization needs a virtual mailbox for business.
You Own A Small Business
When you decide to start a new company you will be required to not only file with the secretary of state, but also receive government mail pieces from that point on. What happens, especially in the case of startup online businesses, is the owner usually wants to run their business from home, without exposing that residential address online.
Using your home address for the sake of a business registration, in addition to security risks, will create a wave of incoming mail (in addition to what you’re getting already.) Depending on the complexity of your operations, it will always be something getting in your way that takes your attention & time away from your job of running operations.
Another reason to consider a virtual mailbox for your small business, is that showcasing a home address as the address of your business, will reflect negatively on you as a business owner. Everyone knows it’s more convenient and cheaper to use their home address for business purposes; but it does not look professional. If maintaining a professional look to your brand matters, then you should consider distancing home from business.
You Need Streamlined Mail Management
As mentioned earlier, larger corporations tend to lean on virtual mailboxes for the sake of a more streamlined mail management system. When you consider payroll, maintaining physical storage and the headache of dealing with paper mail, you quickly realize why companies such as Shell & Netflix, look for a virtual mail processing experience. At the time of writing this blog, Covid-19 has also set in as a reality, with several areas of “offline” life going virtual, with the flip of a switch.
Handing mail online is more than just avoiding to deal with paper however; a virtual mailbox platform will typically allow for several users to manage mail from a single account. Think of it as “seats.” Depending on the size of the company and the amount of mail you receive, you can have 1 or more people manage all mail virtually. And it can be some assistant remotely located from your corporate offices (if you have hired from abroad.) Finally, taking mail virtual from a corporate perspective, allows for business management & cloud storage tools to document important files and keep everything in one place.
You Want To Complete Check Deposits Virtually
An often overlooked perk of using a virtual mailbox, is the added feature of an in-account check deposit. What that means is, you get to request some bank check be deposited to your bank of choice, from your desktop or smartphone device. Examples of companies that benefit from a feature like this, are property management companies. The amount of mail they need to deal with as well as checks, can sometimes become overwhelming for office staff to handle. Or simply, these firms would like to have their staff focus on activities such as showing units & maintaining high occupancy rates.
Being able to deposit bank checks remotely, comes very handy if the person in charge is in an out of state location and it saves that employee several trips & time to the bank.
You Want One Virtual Address For Life
Registering a virtual address, means that regardless of where you decide to relocate, your mailing address stays the same. Think about it; if you decided to move to some other office location, would you change your phone number?
Registering a virtual mailing address is similar to getting a phone line; you are not location dependent and can move anywhere without leaving your mail behind. The alternative is keeping track of all mail correspondence and contacts that will need to be updated on your address switch (that includes online directories, your website, Google etc.)
Maintaining a permanent address shows consistency as well; if the nature of your business is such that you need to move occasionally, then being able to show that you are staying put in one location will only help the image of your brand.
You Need A Physical Address For Marketing & Google Verification Purposes
When you have an online business or a business that does not require a physical location, it is very tempting to use a home address. However, as mentioned before, doing so puts you into so many liability and privacy risks that really do not make it worth it at all. Another reason you may want to distance your home from your online business, is for the purpose of marketing and getting the Google postcard. If you are trying to rank on Google Maps, as your marketing advisors probably recommend, getting a Google Postcard sent and verifying your Google My Business listing is an essential part to ranking on Google Maps.
You do not need to actively operate out of that address location, since you have the option of selecting Google’s “phone driven business” option. It’s basically one of the ways of setting up your Google My Business account, so that customers do not actually drive to your location (which would be virtual) but still get to see that you are local to their city. After completing a Google Map verification, most likely you will also be picked up by a bunch of other directories online in their effort to push your brand forward into a larger audience. Using a home address in cases like that, means that your location (residence) will be seen by a lot more people than you would like, online. Therefore using a virtual address for your business, can come in handy with protecting your home while marketing your business online effectively.
Complying To Address Zoning Laws
Zoning is a process via which land is divided into zones in which certain land uses are allowed or prohibited. Other factors like the sizes & placement of buildings may also be regulated. Essentially, areas of land are divided into zones as a technique of land-use planning which is a tool for urban planning.
One of the biggest problems a local business will run into, in using a personal home address as their business address, is the zoning laws that are in effect for your county. There are certain parts of your county that are designated as residential or business. What that means is, you cannot operate a business within a residential district and vice versa. Therefore, if you happen to be located in a “residence only” area and you are trying to register a business with that address, it probably won’t be as easy as you’d think.
Something to keep in mind, is that zoning laws change all the time. And especially if you live in a city with no current zoning in place (e.g Houston) this could be subject to change. So you may find yourself a few years down the road, where it wasn’t a problem having a business in a particular side of town, but then due to a change in zoning laws you have to deal with a series of legal battles.
It’s Faster To Get A Virtual Address Than A PO Box
When you consider your alternative options in dealing with the registration of your business and the address requirements that follow, you are only left with a PO Box. But signing up for a PO Box is not exactly an instantaneous type of process. First you will need to fill out paperwork, as well as select the people that are authorized to access your box and of course pick up your keys. Getting a PO Box also means you need to stay on top of mail, so it does not reach the box capacity.
When you get a virtual mailbox instead, you are able to receive mail, pretty much right after sign up has occurred. And then you have mail clerks who work on your behalf to sort through the junk mail and only deliver mail that is important to you. Additional perks of course include the fact that you do not need to head to the post office every week, but you can rather check all your mail online with the click of a button.
Virtual Mailboxes Are Cheaper Than Physical Mailboxes
Think about it; all your mail is stored in the cloud which means that the postal center does not need to save all your files physically nor have that many physical mailboxes. That results in lower lease expenses which extend to lower prices for you as a consumer. In short, getting a virtual mailbox is a cheaper alternative to a physical mailbox (usually half the price) and the cancellation terms are usually more favorable to you as well without any cancellation penalties or fees.
Depending on what company you decide to work with, you can select from a variety of virtual mailbox terms and extend the subscription once your term is up. A typical physical mailbox will ask you to sign a contract on a longer term agreement; something that you cannot opt out of as easily. The other advantage of course, is that everything can be done virtually from anywhere in the world and you do not need to walk into any physical office to sign these agreements. You will be sent an electronic agreement (think docu-sign) and you’re good to go. Some companies do not even require an agreement. You just sign up from their website and that’s it!
Networking Opportunities With Virtual Mailboxes & Virtual Offices
Many companies that decide to sign up for a virtual mailbox for their mail, can easily opt in for a virtual office. These are co-working (or private) spaces that you can physically attend and book throughout the week, with an on site secretary to handle your calls while you’re away (and much more.) If you are in a particular industry that requires ongoing expansion of your network, getting a PO Box with the Post Office will only give you some life long friends with the clerks there. But when it comes to growing your business and interacting with other people, it won’t do much for it.
Some companies, have virtual offices and virtual mailboxes integrated as one. Although a virtual office may be a bit more expensive, it’s something you can easily upgrade or downgrade from at any time. This can be very helpful for people that are on the fence as to what type of a structure they want to their business (online versus in person or a combination of both.) You can sign up for a virtual mailbox, and if you see you want the in-person benefits, moving over to a virtual office is a piece of cake. But you would never be able to transfer from a physical mailbox to an in person office. And completing a change of address when you come to that realization to switch from physical mailbox to virtual office, can be quite the hassle (not to mention confusing to clients.)
The common point that connects all 5+ reasons for getting a virtual mailbox, is convenience. Being able to handle check deposits from your desktop or mobile device, having someone virtually manage mail on your behalf & the sense of 24/7 on demand access, just allows you to focus on things that matter to your organization.
The larger your company is, the more moving pieces and pressing issues that you need to focus your attention on. Mail should not be making your top 20 list of things that you need to look out for.