Why you shouldn’t use your home address as your business address
If you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur or just recently started your own business, you might have thought about registering your business at your home address.
For those without the funds to rent out an office space (or for those who work alone and don’t need one) it might seem like the most logical, hassle-free option.
So, can you use your home address as a business address? Technically, yes. – there’s no law that prohibits you from doing so.
However, it’s not always the best idea. In this guide, we’ve laid out the key reasons why you probably shouldn’t register your business at your home address, and what you should do instead.
Who might register their business at their home address?
There are many reasons why you might want to use your home address to register your business. The most common reasons include:
- You’re a freelancer. Freelancers typically work from home or directly with clients, so there’s not much use for an official office and business address.
- You’ve not got any employees. Self-employed sole-traders don’t employ any staff, and typically don’t work in office environments.
- You’ve already got a WFH office set up. As the pandemic normalised remote working, many employees set up a work-from-home office in their house from which they can run their business.
- You’re still funding. Small or growing businesses might not yet have the funds or profits to rent out an office space.
Why you shouldn’t register your business at your home address
While you can register your company at your home address, doing so can actually be more inconvenient than not having a business address at all. Here’s why:
Your home address will be publicly available
When you create a Limited company, you’ll be obliged to register a company address with Company House. Once your business has been registered, your company’s address will be published online and easily found whenever people search online for your business or services.
This can cause major problems when it comes to protecting your privacy. If you have family and children – or even flatmates – you might want to consider if it’s fair to have your address widely available online.
While you can change your registered business address later on, you should also take into consideration that you still won’t be able to wipe your address from the record. If you own your home and plan to stay there for a long time, this can cause privacy problems.
Customers might consider your business untrustworthy
While your customers won’t be under the impression that you’re running some sort of Breaking Bad operation, they might find your business to be untrustworthy if they see that you’re registered at your home address.
This applies even more to new businesses who haven’t yet established their reputations; you might find it difficult to build trust with new customers or be taken seriously. People are much more likely to feel reassured about buying products or hiring services from a new business when the business is registered in a busy, business-minded city like London or Edinburgh.
Increased spam mail and cold callers
Because your address will be publicly available online, you might find that your home is bombarded with spam advertising, cold snail mail and cold callers.
To make matters worse, the excessive spam might make it difficult for you to keep up with personal mail. With your business mail and personal mail arriving at the same address, it can be easy to misplace important personal letters.
So, where can I register my business?
If you don’t yet have the funds for an office space – or if you simply don’t need one – where can you register your business instead? Here are three alternatives to using your home address:
Use a registered address
If you don’t want to use your home address, you can use what is called a “registered address” for your business instead. A registered address is an address that you can effectively “buy” for a fixed yearly price. Your legal mail and other letters will be sent to this address and redirected to you.
A registered address can be an efficient way to handle all snail mail and provide a legitimate address when registering your company with HMRC and Companies House. However, it can be limited, as you typically won’t be able to use the premises to meet clients.
Benefits of using a registered address:
- It’s affordable. You can find companies offering registered addresses for around £50 per year. If you’re a new business, opting for a registered address instead of renting office premises will help you cut overheads as you try to scale.
- Professionalism. Your customers and clients are more likely to take your business seriously if your premises are registered in a central location.
- You can pick a prime location. Even if you’re living in a remote part of the country, you can register your business in any bustling UK city. You cannot, however, use a registered business address abroad.
Use a virtual office
Another option when registering your business is to use a virtual office, or a virtual address. A virtual address is similar to a registered address, but offers users a lot more options when it comes to handling calls, meeting prospective clients, and holding meetings.
Depending on your subscription, a virtual office typically allows you to:
- Use the office space when needed (usually for a allotted number of hours per year)
- Forward calls to your business phone number to your own phone
- Collect and redirect any snail mail to your address
- Scan to email (aka send emails from your registered address)
- Claim a business address
- Claim a registered address
- Register several businesses at the same address
Benefits of using a virtual office:
- Networking opportunities. Plenty of exciting start-ups and new entrepreneurs use virtual offices, giving you the opportunity to network within your industry.
- Meet clients face-to-face. When you use a virtual office to register your business, you’ll have the opportunity to rent rooms, offices and conference halls within the building (typically for an allotted number of hours.)
- Give your business prestige. Many virtual offices are located in central city centres, giving you the possibility to put your business at the core of the action.
- Redirecting calls. Possibly one of the best things about using a virtual address is being able to redirect calls. Virtual offices employee virtual secretaries who will transfer any calls to your business phone number to your own phone number. This allows you to speak instantly with prospective clients and grow your business fast.
The Bottom Line
So, should you use your home address as your business one? In our view, no. With too much potential for privacy invasion, spam mail and unwanted cold callers, registering your business at your home address invites too much hassle.
To make the best impression on prospective clients and to give your business some extra prestige, it’s best to use a registered address or a virtual address when declaring your business.
Can I use a PO box for my LLC?
No. Per Companies House regulation, you are not allowed to use a P.O. box as your registered business address. Your business address must be a valid UK address.