If your business is based in your home, what should you use as a business
address? You have five options.
1 – Your Home Address
While tempting because it is free and convenient, it is the worst
option. Reasons include privacy concerns, professional image, and inability
to verify a Google My Business account which requires a physical business
2 – The Post Office Box
The next option is the PO Box. While this option solves the privacy problem
it does not solve the professional image and Google problems. It also won’t
be accepted by banks and most government agencies as a business address.
Costs vary by individual post office location and by box size, but they range
from about $20 to $75 for a six-month rental. It is definitely one of the least
expensive options, but there are better alternatives that are perfectly
3 – The Shipping Store
A shipping store (like a UPS store) will rent you a mailbox with a physical
street address and provide some assistance with mail handling, such as
forwarding mail and notifying you when you have packages but still has some
professional image problems and limited service options.
Costs vary by store, box size, and added services but they start at around $30
4 – The Digital Mailbox
The digital mailbox is a physical address that you can rent through a
website. You select from a list of address options, open an account and pay a
subscription fee. You download an app through which the digital mailbox
operator sends you scanned images of your mail pieces and gives you options
like forwarding, scanning, or shredding.
A disadvantage, at least at this time, is that location options are limited, so
the nearest one to you may be in another town or city many miles away. If
your business is local and you want a local address there is a good chance one
won’t be available if you are not in a major urban area. There is also no
pickup option, which means you either need to be comfortable with the
operator opening and scanning your mail, or wait for it to be forwarded.
The subscription fees start very low, some under $10 per month, but
additional fees will likely apply for the forwarding or other handling of your
5 – The Virtual Office in a Coworking Center
The virtual office in a coworking center solves all problems of the other
alternatives, and has added benefits. Coworking centers rent furnished
office space on flexible terms with lots of business services. You pay a
membership fee which can include only the mailing address (or “virtual
office”), or can include access to the co-working center and its other services.
One of the biggest disadvantages of the home-based business is lack of a
professional setting in which to meet with clients. Coworking centers offer
professional meeting space that you can rent by the hour. You can also rent a
desk or an office by the hour for those days when the home environment is
too isolating, or too distracting.
Coworking centers have business services and amenities, like internet,
coffee, copy/print/scan/fax equipment, administrative services, and tech
The biggest advantage, according to surveys, is the community. Members of
coworking centers are people just like you, solopreneurs, freelancers and
remote workers, with whom you can interact and find opportunities for
social and business networking.
Virtual office prices vary depending on center, location, and the services
bundled into your membership. But most offer a variety of membership
packages to fit most budgets. The cost for a prestigious address in a major
city can be over $100 per month. But in other areas they can be comparable
with shipping store prices.
The virtual office is the only option that will solve every business address
problem, offer a package of business amenities, and connect you to a
community of independent professionals. So, while the cost may be a little
more, you are likely to find that the extra cost is worth it for all the added
Contact CapeSpace to learn more about whether a virtual office is right for
Robbin Orbison, President at CapeSpace LLC