As you start your home-based business or online business, one question you may ask is what address you should use for your business. You can either use your home address or there are a number of options available if you want a separate business address. When deciding what address to use, you’ll first want to consider why you need a business address and how it will be used.
Why do you Need a Business Address?
1. To Register your Business
A physical address is legally required to register your business as a LLC, corporation, or partnership with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State does not allow you to use a PO Box. If you do not want to use your home address, then you will need to set up a business address or appoint a registered agent whose address you can list on your filings. A register agent could be another individual, an attorney, or a company that offers registered agent services. Companies such as LegalZoom and Incfile offer registered agent services.
2. To be in Compliance when Sending Marketing Emails
To be compliant with anti-spam laws, you must list an address when sending any marketing emails. It can be a physical address or post office box. In summary, the CAN-SPAM legislation exists to prevent people from sending unsolicited or fraudulent emails. Listing an address is one way to show recipients that the email is coming from a legitimate source. To read more, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
3. To Register your Domain Name
An address is also required when registering your domain name. However, you can purchase private registration which will hide your information from the WHOIS database.
4. To Set-up Bank or Vendor Accounts
A business address is required when setting up bank or vendor accounts.
5. Can Help with your SEO
A local physical business address may also help your local search engine optimization.
6. Can help build Trust and Credibility
A business address can add trust and credibility to your business as well as help you create a professional image.
Business Address Options
If you have decided not to use your home address, below are 5 options for setting up a separate business mailing address.
1. Post Office Box
The most common option is setting up a PO Box at your local US Postal Service. Below are some considerations:
PO Boxes are a low-cost option. Local PO Boxes can range from $70-$96 per year for a small box.
All US mail can be delivered to a PO Box. However, you cannot receive mail from other carriers such as UPS or FedEX.
As mentioned above, you cannot use a PO Box for your state filings or other items that require a physical address.
For more information, please visit the USPS's website.
2. Private Mailbox Services
Places such as the UPS Store and Pakmail offer private mailboxes. Below are some of the typical options offered:
You have a physical address to use instead of just a box number.
You can receive mail from other carriers such as UPS and FedEx.
You can receive text/email notifications when mail arrives.
Additional services such as check depositing, mail forwarding, shredding services, etc can be added to your plan.
Pricing varies by provider and package. The local UPS store offers small boxes for around $264.00 per year.
For more information on UPS Store’s mailboxes, please visit the UPS Store's website.
3. Virtual Mail Services
With a virtual mail service, you will not have a physical box. Everything will be handled virtually which makes it easy to check your mail from anywhere and at any time. Below are some the typical options offered:
A physical address. You can search the virtual mail provider’s website to see if the have a physical address in the city of your choice. Although, they offer a physical address, this is not a good solution for business that need to receive tangible products.
You can view your mail online. Virtual mail providers scan your mail as it arrives.
After viewing the scanned mail, you can then request for them to shred the mail, forward it, or take action such a depositing a check on your behalf. However, there may be an extra charge for taking these actions or a delay in receiving your paper mail if you request for them to forward it to you.
Earth Class Mail is a well-established virtual mail service provider. Their services start around $50.00 per month. Click here for more information.
A couple of other options are Virtual Post Mail (Nevada and California addresses) and Anytime Mailbox. Although these may be cheaper options, you want to consider any add on charges you may incur to figure the potential total cost of the service.
4. Virtual Offices
Virtual offices are great if you need to work outside of the home either for a few hours or full-time. Below are some of the services that might be included with your virtual office:
A physical address and mail handling,
Office space rental, co-working spaces, conference room rentals
A receptionist will answer your call in your company’s name
Regus and office Office Evolution are couple of companies that offer virtual offices.
5. Other Alternatives
As mentioned above, you are required to list an address on any commercial marketing emails. However, according to the CAN-SPAM legislation, the address does not need to be in your name. It just needs to be somewhere where you can receive mail. With that said, you can ask to use another person’s or business’ mailing address to list on your emails.
Below are a couple of articles that give some great examples of alternative addresses you could use:
Click here to read other alternatives from ConvertKit.
Click here to read other alternatives from MailChimp.
*If you are using ConvertKit as your email marketing provider, they allow you to use their address on your email campaigns.
Each option has its own benefits. Review your business plan and budget to determine which option best fits your business. Remember, though, changing an address down the road can be difficult especially if your address is listed on online directories and on printed items such as signs, postcards, or business cards. Choosing the right address up-front will eliminated unneeded hassle in the future.