When you are just starting out your small business, or when your business begins to grow, you will probably need to change your business address once, twice or even more times – depending on the type of business, the type of location, or what your future office space needs and requirements are. If you choose to have Canada Post or the U.S. Postal Service forward your mail each time you move, it will:
- Cost you hundreds of dollars.
- Last for only 12 months.
- Provide no in-person presence or alternate “forwarding methods.”
- Require government-issued photo ID and authorization to act on behalf of the business.
Mail forwarding with Canada Post or with the U.S. Postal Service may not be the best for your business because:
- Many of your present, past and potential customers may not try to contact you within a year.
- If a customer “drops by” after referencing an out-of-date address they will be annoyed.
- After the year is up, customers may still send mail to the only address they have – and that mail will be returned with no alternative but to move business to your competitors.
- Some mail services are not flexible in terms, forwarding method or pickup locations.
Considering the negative benefits of national postal services, what are the alternatives? Well, a business centre provides many services that are a excellent solutions for a small business to manage their address now and in the future. These include:
- Lower expenses for managing their address.
- Greater flexibility in terms, level of service and forwarding options.
- A business centre will have a reception area, so if anyone just “drops by” and you are out of your office, receptionists will look after your customer – which results in no lost sales due to customers having the wrong address.
Smart small business owners will sign up with a mail forwarding service (especially those working from a home office), so that they have a permanent business address as long as they need it. When you relocate your office or business address, all you need to do is make a simple phone call or email to the mail forwarding (or virtual office) provider, and let them know the new address to forward your mail to. Canada Post and the U.S. Postal Service require 30 days’ notice to change your address.
When a small business owner needs to receive mail that must be signed for, the Post Office will not forward those types of mail. This means having to give a shipper an alternative address to ship important documents or letters. Yes, they can hold that mail that requires a signature, but that means the hassle of having to go to the Post Office to pick them up.
The above highlights another problem that a mail service can improve greatly. For many of us who do our business on the road, from our home or other less traditional workplace, accepting and signing for parcels and documents is often a problem. Not to mention that sometimes you may have hundreds or even thousands of dollars in payments with nothing but an unsupervised mail box between your money and a common thief!
Waiting for an important package? The post office is not going to forward it like they would your letter mail; they may hold it for pick-up. With a mail forwarding service at a virtual office provider, you can choose to have it sent to you quickly – or you can choose to pick it up 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This means you are not at the mercy of the post office and their hours of business.
Beyond the convenience, ability to set the term, and ease of changing your address to forward your mail, there is also a prestigious business address that you get. Your customers believe that you are in a professional office environment, instead of wherever your work space happens to be physically located.
Unlike the post office, a mail forwarding service can also offer junk mail removal. The people at your mail forwarding service can also spot other obvious junk mail and discard that for you too. Yes, that means you do not have to sort through those “Act Now And Save” or “Important News for Your Business” types of mail that come from a generic mailing list.
Other reasons to use a mail forwarding service rather than the Post Office is that business centres that offer this service may also offer other services – such as scanning mail, to email forwarding and accepting incoming courier deliveries. Some mail forwarding services will (for a small administrative fee) open your mail to see what they contain, especially if you are waiting for a cheque from a client. Now, with deposit by photo technology, a photo can be taken of your cheque and sent to you so you can deposit it the same day it is received – and not have to wait until it is forwarded to you.