In this editorial, we will try and cover a few fundamental topics surrounding virtual addresses. “What is a virtual address? Why would someone need one? How much would a virtual address cost?”
These topics, and more, will be outlined extensively below.
Let’s start from the top;
What Is a Virtual Address
A virtual address is an address you get to register, located in a remote location and at which you can receive postal mail and packages. Sometimes, also known as a virtual business address, this can be a good alternative to renting an office space to register one’s business or LLC.
Virtual addresses have started popping up into existence throughout the last twenty years, when businesses started realizing that a PO Box was probably not going to be the most professional way to display a business’s location. The rise of home based businesses and online enterprises has also driven the growth in the use of virtual addresses. E-bay businesses, Internet marketing ventures and other non brick & mortar services, have opted into virtual addresses to ensure a prestigious location & display of their business.
We often times get the question: “Why can’t we use our own home address as our business address?”
The answer to that will differ depending on who gets to ask that question. But the lion share of people we have responded to our surveys, said they prefer virtual business addresses as a cheaper alternative to office space and a more secure alternative to a home address.
Think about it; if you list your home as the location of your business, you are inviting all sorts of creeps and crooks to your own residence. The Internet can be a scary place at times, and ill intentioned people won’t hesitate to use it to take advantage of you and your family. Privacy is a well worth privilege to want to protect.
Having said that, there are a couple other reasons you would not want to display your home address as a business address:
- HOA Community Regulation. If you are part of a community residence area, often times there are certain restrictions that apply, depending on the terms and conditions you have agreed to adhere to, with regards to the HOA.
- Conflict between residential & commercial zoning laws. If the area you reside in has been zoned as a residence only area, then running a business from that location would get you down a very bad legal rabbit hole.
How Much Does A Virtual Address Cost?
Every service is a little bit different, but typically the cost for a virtual address ranges from $25 to $100 per month.
Keep in mind that a virtual address can come with a series of bells and whistles that beef up the total cost. When doing your due diligence, make sure you understand what the details of your plan include. As an example, some facilities that look more like virtual offices, will have a secretary that can answer your phone calls, or the option to opt in a few times a week to actually utilize the office as well.
For the most part however, that would refer to a virtual office. Virtual addresses are typically used for the purpose of registering a business or more streamlined enterprise mail management. Which means that you would probably be looking for a simpler (and lower cost) package. The typical features you would get pretty much across the board, would include mail scanning, mail forwarding & shredding any mail you don’t wish to keep in your virtual mailbox.
One often overlooked advantage of a virtual address over a virtual office, is the flexibility in the terms. For the most part, when you need to lease a virtual address, you will need to sign a long term contract of some sort. Something like that would not give you enough flexibility to change your address (should you need to,) and could turn out as a more costly option. And if you are looking for a long term solution, then typically speaking a virtual address would be cheaper compared to a virtual office (consider that a virtual office often times requires brokers and has a bunch of intermediaries that all want a piece of the pie, driving up the cost of the service.)
Pros & Cons Of Using A Virtual Address
Professionalism First impressions they say are everything in life. When doing business with someone, the first element that needs to be satisfied is that of trust. If there is any distrust sensed throughout a transaction of a business service, at best it doesn’t help prosper further collaboration and at worst it closes shut the current transaction opportunity.
Getting a real street address at a business location, makes you look more authentic, professional and as someone who is genuine about the service provided. One effect of the devastating 2008-2009 crisis a decade ago other than the obvious, was the increase of illegitimate online businesses, which using some PO box or home address, were able to setup “legitimate” LLCs. Your attention should be focused on doing good for your customers and growing your business, not trying to cover up for a “cheap” image.
Security As mentioned earlier in this article and elsewhere, ensuring that no dissatisfied customer knows where you live, will bring forward peace of mind and security for you & your loved ones. It can also help you avoid telemarketers or people snooping into your tax and financial information.
Organized Documentation Unless you are an individual looking to get an occasional piece of mail forwarded to you overseas or a new location you have recently moved to, virtual addresses are most sought out by businesses. Even in the case that you are an individual and want a more digitized alternative to snail mail, documentation can be important for tax filings and resurfacing important notes from your archive etc. Businesses usually have to do deal with a lot more paperwork and invoicing. Using a virtual address service can help keep everything in one place. Additionally, it can help connect your favorite business tools (cloud storage systems like Dropbox,) to the Virtual Mailbox, so you can extract and analyze your data in a very streamlined manner.
Pricing Although the pricing range is pretty wide, using a virtual address for business would definitely cost a bit more than using your home address. Generally speaking, virtual addresses are not that expensive, however there are many upsells in the process if you don’t do proper due diligence. For example you may have super-charges on shipping (retail shipping + a markup price,) or a limit to how much mail you can receive before it is shredded, forcing you to go ahead and subscribe to some premium features. They are not mandatory of course, but depending on how “on top” you are of things, you may see no other option but to sign up for a extended storage of your mail, or an increase on the cap of mail you can receive etc.
Companies like US Global Mail, make sure you have all associated fees upfront, and there are no hidden costs what so ever. In fact, our pricing model was structured with the mindset of out-beating all of our competition’s pricing and hidden fees. We pride ourselves with offering a top notch service, at the fraction of what you would pay elsewhere.