If you’re starting a new business in the UK, chances are you don’t have the budget to rent a physical office premise right away. Or, as so many new startups are now doing, you’re instead opting for a digital workplace, and plan to carry out your business operations from home.
In either case, you’ll still have to provide an official business address when registering your business with Companies House. While many sole traders and new businesses provide their home address as their business address, this can create privacy concerns; with your address public, you might find that your home address is flooded with spam marketing, cold calls, and cold callers even turning up on your doorstep.
One of the simplest and easiest ways around this is to register your business using a virtual business address. But what is a virtual address, and how do you get one? We’re going to cover all that and more in this quick guide, so let’s get started!
What is a virtual business address?
A virtual business address is an address that you effectively rent from a company, without using. Your business will technically be registered at the address, but you won’t have full or comprehensive access to the building itself.
That being said, depending on the package you choose, you may still have access to the building several times a year, where you’ll be able to use meeting rooms to host events or carry out operations. Typically, you’ll also enjoy the use of certain services, such as mail forwarding and telephone answering services.
What are the benefits of a virtual business address?
Aside from providing a budget-friendly way for you to get your business registered in the most expensive and prestigious neighbourhoods in London, a virtual business address also offers the following benefits:
As mentioned above, many new companies or sole traders have to list their home address as their business address when registering their LLC. This can pose significant privacy concerns, as your address will be publicly available to call centres, cold callers, and all other forms of spam marketing. By using a virtual address instead, you’ll preserve privacy in your home and seamlessly seperate your work life from your private life.
Prestige and professionalism
Having your business address registered in London can work wonders when it comes to increasing your visibility amongst potential clientele; when prospective customers research your business online and see that you’re based in the capital, this can offer a significant degree of prestige and professionalism, and help foster trust between your business and all relevant third parties.
Conversely, having your business registered at a residential address can be off putting; customers might not feel comfortable ringing your home phone, or might simply opt for a competitor with an address in a known commercial location. Opting for a virtual address London helps you remain competitive against well-placed rivals.
Perks and benefits
When you register for a virtual business address, you’re not simply getting the postcode. Based on your chosen virtual address provider, you’ll also be able to opt in for certain features, such as a telephone answering service, mail forwarding, and use of the office’s meeting rooms based on an allotted annual quota. For sole traders, a telephone answering service can ensure you don’t miss out on any opportunities while you’re on the job during office hours; for larger companies, telephone answering services can improve your customer service experience.
Mail forwarding also allows you to keep your home address private, while also enabling you to receive all your work correspondence from anywhere in the world.
How to get a virtual business address
So, how do you get a virtual business address and register your new venture with Companies House? Here are all the steps you need to take:
Consider your business needs
Before choosing a virtual address provider, consider what kind of business you’re running, and what you need in order for it to function, scale, and succeed. If you anticipate lots of mail correspondence, look into a virtual address provider that offers mail forwarding services; similarly, if you’re going to be too busy to answer phone calls during working hours, a virtual address with a telephone answering service is a great idea.
Choose an optimal location
Location, location, location – even with a virtual address, where you choose to place your business remains incredibly important. Think about the clientele you’re looking to attract, and think about the possibility of having to commute to these clients – most virtual office providers will allow you to use their meeting rooms when necessary, so don’t hesitate to choose a prime location in the capital. Put simply, choose a location that works best both for your needs, and the clientele that you aspire to land.
Register your business with Companies House
Once you’ve settled on a virtual address, you’ll need to register your business with Companies House. You can register your business online via the government website here, or you can enlist the help of an accountant or other service to complete the set-up for you. Don’t forget that you’ll need to know beforehand what type of business you plan on setting up: a sole trader, partnership, LLC, etc.
Work on a web presence
Once you’ve got your virtual address set up, it’s time to start showing it off! Make use of SEO services to boost your business’ visibility in your chosen area, and update your Google Business profile to show off your new address. Make sure to include the telephone number of your answering service if you plan on using one.
The bottom line
A virtual business address is one of the easiest ways to cut back on a major expense for your new business; without the high costs associated with a rented commercial property, you can invest your resources into the success of your new enterprise. And with telephone answering services, mail forwarding and more, a virtual office will help you run your business even more seamlessly.
To get a virtual business address, simply choose a virtual office provider that works for your needs, and make sure to register your company with HMRC as soon as possible.