Every business needs to start somewhere, whether from your kitchen table, the spare room or even your bedroom. Finding suitable office space can take a while and is a big investment when you’re only just starting up. Whether you are a lawyer, a web or graphic designer, a photographer, freelancer, or any number of other professions, you may have found that renting out a separate brick-and-mortar office space is not an expense that you would like to take on. So what are your options?
Perhaps you’ve found that you are perfectly happy working out of your home office. Then you realize that this may create a conundrum when you are asked for a business address. Do you really want to give out your home address? Or are you considering using a mail service that gives you a more professional image as well as more privacy?
Many start-up businesses and entrepreneurs will use their home address as their business address, but it can be a dangerous. When you use your home address as your business address, it becomes public. Everyone can find out where you live with a few simple clicks of a mouse. With a mail service, they can only find your business address.
With advances in technology, using your home address can also cost you in terms of potential customers or clients. Imagine that you’re making a proposal to a prospective client that is an established business. Perhaps you’ve made contact and sent further information to a prospective client. The first thing many businesses will do is a Google search of your company and check your website. Imagine what they will see with a quick click-through to Google maps and find a street view photo of a home or apartment building, instead of an office building or complex where you have your mail service or office space for rent.
Having a business mailing address is important because without it, your start-up company won’t be able to perform the most basic functions – such as receive mail, open bank accounts,registering domain names and even register for a business license. You also need an official business location to receive written communications and contracts (yes, many contracts still need to be signed and returned on the same day).
There is always something to be said about separating your work life from your home life. The major concern of having your home address as your business address could be your privacy. When you have your home address on your business cards and any other business materials, the wider and wider distribution of your personal contact information could expose you to more opportunities for you to fall victim to fraud and identity theft.
You also have to consider municipal zoning by-laws to see if they allow for your type of business to be run out of your home. Check your local zoning laws to make sure your home business complies with local zoning laws, before you start listing your home address as a business mailing address.
A mail service does not only receive your mail, but it will also receive your courier and messenger packages that require a signature of receipt. Far too often, same-day messengers will not venture into private homes outside a certain radius of the downtown core. Drivers for large courier companies are far too impatient to wait while you get to the front door, so instead will write a “We Missed You” notice and just stick it on your door without even knocking!
Even if you do not frequently meet customers at your business location, using your home address could cause you problems. You might not want clients or business contacts knowing where you live or randomly dropping by without an appointment. Having a separate business address using a mail service, will prevent those people from showing up at your doorstep.
Whether you just need a mail service or a mail/telephone answering service, the best option for growing your business is an office business centre that also offers virtual office services. That way, when you want to take on a physical office, you can rent one from the same provider without having to change your business address.