If you are starting a new business, you may consider using your home address as your business address. This might seem like a good idea to save money when in reality it can remove your privacy and make your company look extremely unprofessional. Another option is to use a PO Box address to set up your business. Although this is a bit better than a home address used as your business address, it will not provide you with a professional look. Another option is to use a virtual address.
What is a PO Box?
The PO Box, known as Post Office Box, is a location at a post office where you can receive mail. You will be given a Post Office Box number in your closest office location. Although similar to a virtual mailbox, you have access to basic mail functions without a physical location.
It is common to use a PO Box when starting a business because it can create some sense of privacy between yourself and the business. Especially because you do not want the general public knowing where you live.
Having a PO Box is also helpful if you are not often at your place of business, or if you like to travel. This can provide you with the opportunity to keep your mailing address without changing it often.
One disadvantage of a post office box is that you will need to go physically into the post office to retrieve your mail. In some cases, you will also need a physical street address to register your LLC or Corporation. In this case, PO Boxes would not be accepted.
You also cannot receive packages from UPS, FedEx, or similar carriers at a PO Box. You would only be able to receive mail from the U.S Post Office which really limits what you can receive. Bank institutions will not accept a PO Box as a business address, so you would not be able to open a business bank account using a PO Box.
What is Virtual Address?
If you do not have a physical commercial business address, then a virtual address is the next best thing. Your virtual address would offer a real street address that provides a professional image. This would also protect your privacy as it would be completely unrelated to your business.
Virtual addresses allow you to receive mail and packages from anywhere and will allow you to preview the mail virtually online. They can forward the mail and packages to the address of your choice.
One of the more important positive parts of a virtual address is that you can register for an LLC or corporation with them. This allows you to open business bank accounts, and be a professional entity. Eventually, this will lead to credibility for your startup as a whole.
The best part about a virtual address is that you will not need to commit to a long lease of physical space, so you will be saving money in the long run.
What is the Difference Between a PO Box and a Virtual Address?
There are a few major differences between a virtual address and a PO Box. First off, a PO Box is a location that you will need to drive to or get to in some way, in order to pick up your mail. Packages are not able to be sent to PO Boxes, which makes them incredibly limiting. Virtual addresses have a more professional appearance. They read well on business cards, a add instant credibility to your brand.
Virtual addresses also provide a host of services. For example, you can expect your mail to be checked, scanned, and uploaded to your virtual space online. You can also have your mail forwarded, and have checks deposited for you.
PO Boxes are really just a box at a post office where you can have paper mail dropped off. Banks will not accept PO Boxes, and you may struggle to pick up your mail if you move further away from your PO Box location.
Why You Need a Business Address
Regardless of the address that you set for your business, you will need an address for the following duties:
- Opening business bank accounts
- Registering for a business domain name
- Opening accounts with vendors or suppliers
- Sending invoices
- Receiving payments of any kind
- Filing for legal contracts or licenses
- Business correspondence
- Having your business listed in search engines
Factors to Consider Before Making Your Decision
When deciding which type of mailbox you want to have, there are a few main factors that should influence your decision. For startups, you might consider a PO Box because you have limited use and only need an address for mail. Despite this, if you care about a professional image, then you are definitely going to want to go with a virtual address. This will prove helpful when looking for funding, speaking to investors, or sending invoices to clients. The same can be said if you would like to open a business bank account and accept packages. PO Boxes are extremely limiting.
PO Box vs Virtual Address: Which is Best for You?
Choosing between a PO Box vs Virtual address is not always an easy choice. If you are a single person doing business that needs a mailbox other than your home address, a PO Box may be a good option for you. The same can be said for a freelancer. Using a PO Box is a smart and affordable decision, and perfect if you get minimal mail. It is also important that you do not mind going physically in to pick up your mail.
For businesses looking to create a professional appearance, a virtual address may be a better option. This is because it can provide a place that has a legitimate and permanent address. Additionally, someone who is unable to walk into a PO Box to collect mail might benefit from a virtual address. This can allow you to travel and go about your life while viewing your mail from a digital device.