What is a Virtual Address and should I use one?
When setting up any business, you have to make some big decisions. One of these decisions could be where you're going to be based, from home, rented office, hot desking or something else. There are many options on how you can run your business but it can depend on the image you want to portray and how public you wish to be about things.
Consider someone running a newly started business from home, who does all their meetings in rented business premises. They may give a good image with the jargon and the way they dress when they meet up in these specific business like places, but the registered address of their company still reads as their home address.
Fortunately, this is where a virtual address can come in.
What exactly is a virtual address?
Despite having the word virtual in its name, it is a real address; it does exist, and more often than not accepts mail just like any other address.
The virtual part of it is your business; your business doesn't operate there. The address is designed to be used as a reference point for your business, a bit like a masking tool of sorts.
Let's use the example of someone working from home. What would look and feel more professional - a home address, or an office address? Think of it not just from your own perspective of running a business, but also as a potential client. It's possible that a client is likely to favour a professional looking (and acting) supplier than one run from a study or bedroom at home.
What do I get with a Virtual Address?
This can vary from service to service, but we'll focus on The Company Wizard option for simplicity.
All companies utilising our address will benefit from:
- Free forwarding of statutory mail (such as HMRC or Companies House) to another UK address
- The use our central London address on your company record
- Using it for your company director's service address
- Receiving your mail digitally (optional)
- The option to have mail sent to an overseas address (subject to additional mailing costs)
- Having trading mail forwarded too (subject to additional mailing costs)
Are there any restrictions?
Companies such as The Company Wizard, who offer the virtual addresses are regulated by HMRC to conduct Anti Money Laundering Checks on all customers using the address. We will run a few checks and request a copy of some identification (such as a passport), and we'll sort the rest.
So, should I be using one?
This is a question only you can answer. But there are a few points to consider, such as those mentioned above.
- Would my business benefit from having a virtual address?
- Does my business require a professional look such as the one portrayed by using a virtual address as the registered office?
- Do I mind my home address being displayed on the public record?
- Does my business need the flexibility of not being fixed to one address (e.g. would you run your business by hot desking)?
But there are other situations where you may need a virtual address, for example requiring a presence in a particular location. If you need an address in Scotland, you can rent a virtual address in Edinburgh. If you need an address in Wales, you could rent one in Swansea. You could take advantage of having various addresses without relocating the business.
A virtual address particularly works well if you're based overseas but require a UK address as this gives you a UK based address without the need to move, or purchase any premises.
If you have a question about The Company Wizard's offering of a London based virtual address, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!