PO boxes have been popular for some time. A PO box provides privacy and a physical address to receive mail. You may even be able to get a real street address with a PO Box these days.
While this may be sufficient for some people, a PO box has some disadvantages if you run a business from home.
Disadvantages of a PO Box
If you want to register your business as an LLC or a C-corp, using a PO box address may not be a good idea. You could use your home address but that exposes you to potential liabilities and you lose your privacy.
Even with real a street address, a PO box address does not give you the professional branding your business might need.
A PO box sits inside a post office in most cases. Your mailbox may get full and you need to empty the mailbox contents periodically.
A virtual business address helps you overcome these limitations. As more people run businesses from home, a virtual business address has become very popular in recent years.
What is a virtual business address?
A virtual business address is an address tied to a prestigious commercial or business building. You can use the address to receive mail not just from USPS but also from FedEx and UPS.
Having a brandable address (eg. 1000 Main Street) gives your business a professional image and confidence to your customers that they are dealing with a reputable company.
You can also use the address on your websites, letterheads, and checks. If you send newsletters and updates to a mailing list by email, you can use the address for CAN-SPAM compliance purposes.
Document management solutions
An added benefit of having a virtual business address is that many companies that offer virtual business address also offer document management solutions. This reduces the amount of paperwork you have to deal with.
If you receive physical mail to your virtual address, the company will scan and upload your physical mail to your virtual mailbox. You can get access to your mail electronically usually in less than a day. It is almost like picking up your mail every day, except you get it electronically.
You don’t have to store tons of mail and paperwork in your home office. Since the documents are saved electronically, you can retrieve them more efficiently.
Plans that include a virtual address and document management solutions cost as little as $10 per month. If you get a lot of business mail, it costs a bit more. For example, ipostal1 has a $10 plan that lets you receive up to 30 mail items per month.
Having a virtual business address gives you many advantages over having a PO box. For a small cost, you get a reputable physical address that lets you add prestige to your business and gives customers and vendors the confidence that they are dealing with a legitimate company. You can even get your physical mail scanned and uploaded to your digital mailbox.