Are you planning on getting your start-up off the ground?
Hopefully, this post will inspire you.
I am confident that you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur! Now that you’ve turned your idea into a start-up company, I guess you’re ready to plan your long-term strategy to maximise success.
When you’re able to make intelligent decisions from the get-go, you’re much more likely to take your business to the next level and achieve all of your goals.
Choosing between a virtual address and a P.O. box is a big decision that could potentially impact your business’s health in the long term.
Therefore, this post will help you better grasp the difference between a virtual address and a P.O. box and pick the right strategy to make your business thrive.
Table of contents:
- Virtual address vs. P.O. Box: Definition & Information
- 9 reasons why a virtual address is better than a P.O. Box
1. Virtual address Vs. P.O. Box: Definition & Information
Before we dive into details and the reasons as to why a virtual address fits your business better than a P.O. box, I would like to share basic information about these two alternatives to traditional business addresses.
A virtual address is an address that you can legally use to register your business.
Typically, a virtual address is included in a virtual office package (even though you can rent it as a separate service for your business).
The virtual address that you rent on a monthly basis is your reference point for your business, meaning that you will receive your statutory mail, packages, and parcels at that address.
Thus, your virtual address is attached to a real street address in an office building where your virtual office provider is located.
A virtual address is an excellent choice when you and your staff are able to operate remotely from anywhere without a daily commute and a traditional brick-and-mortar office (that is way more expensive and locks you into long-term lease agreements).
A P.O. box, on the other hand, is a locked mailbox located at a post office station.
Typically, post offices rent P.O. boxes on a monthly or annual basis.
The primary purpose of a P.O. box is to keep home addresses private and protect individuals and businesses details.
P.O. boxes help you keep documents confidential and have a secure way of receiving mail.
In Australia, P.O. boxes come in five sizes: small, medium, large, jumbo and A4.
Postal offices also give you the option to get a locked private bag (private mailbag, locked bag, or caller service) to have your mail delivered to your home address.
As you can see, virtual addresses and P.O. boxes are designed to protect the personal address of individuals and business owners who do not want to receive mail at home.
However, a virtual address is not the same as a P.O. box.
Now let’s take an in-depth look into the key differences between them (and the reasons why you should consider a virtual address rather than a P.O. box).
2. 9 Reasons Why A Virtual Address Is Better Than A P.O. Box
- You cannot register your business with a P.O. box
One of the most significant limitations of a P.O. box is that you cannot use it to register your business.
While virtual addresses are legal for a business to use, you cannot use a post office address as a registered office or principal place of business.
According to ASIC, “a registered office does not need to be the same as the company’s principal place of business, but it cannot be a post office box.”
- Virtual addresses enhance your business reputation
In today’s business environment, reputation is everything. An outstanding reputation will open doors to incredible opportunities with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
A virtual address can boost your business image. Your clients, prospects, suppliers, and potential investors will believe that you operate from a prestigious location (as long as you get a top-notch virtual office provider!).
Would you love to put a prestigious address on your business cards? To make your company look more professional and polished, you should consider a virtual address and not a simple post office address.
- Mail handling services make your business run more smoothly
P.O. boxes do not include mail handling services (outside of the locked private bag option).
Mail handling services, such as mail forwarding, scanning, or shredding, can help you free up time for more significant business operations.
Moreover, most post offices do not send you an email notification when your mail or parcels arrive (knowing exactly when you have to collect your mail is another great way to save time on commuting!).
- A virtual address can increase your online visibility
Online businesses depend on web traffic to survive. You can have a fabulous website, but how can users find it if you’re not visible?
To improve online visibility and turn users into buyers (and happy customers), you need to claim your business on popular search engines and platforms (such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and various review platforms).
With a virtual address, you can claim your business on these search engines and platforms and build a rock-solid online presence (while most of them do not accept P.O. boxes to create a business listing).
- Face-to-face meetings are crucial to building strong business relationships
Even though you are running your business remotely, face-to-face meetings with important clients and suppliers allow for more straightforward communication as they are more focused and productive.
Face-to-face business meetings are at the very core of relationship building.
Most of the time, virtual addresses include professional meeting rooms for in-person interactions.
With a P.O. box, you may need to hold your business meetings in a library, a noisy cafe, or even your home office (and make your business appear smaller and less professional).
- Keep your business and family details separate
With a virtual address, you can avoid exposing your personal and private details and risking your family’s safety (but you cannot do this with a P.O. box).
“But you’ve said that P.O. boxes are designed to protect individuals and businesses’ private details!”.
That’s a good remark. But with a P.O. box, you may need to use your home address to register your business (since ASIC does not accept P.O. boxes for business registration).
ASIC’s records are public, and everyone can access them to find out a business’s registered address, meaning that everyone will know where you and your family live.
- A virtual address is more than a barebone service
As I shared previously, a virtual address can include mail handling services and rentable meeting rooms.
And that’s not all. With a virtual address, you can quickly scale up and improve your business.
Maybe you need a local landline plan to appear more professional. Or, you may need a virtual receptionist to ensure seamless customer service.
While a P.O. box will never offer you more than a place to store your mail, a virtual address is a service that you can constantly adjust to meet your business-specific needs.
- With a virtual address, you get more freedom and flexibility
The beauty of a virtual address is that you get a permanent business address while you’re free to travel anywhere in the world (and live the digital nomad lifestyle!).
Consider the following scenario: you work from home, and your virtual address provider forwards your mail to your home address every week.
Then, you say to yourself: “Why work in a cramped apartment when I can work at the beach for a couple of months?”.
In this case, it takes a few minutes to contact your virtual address provider and ask them to forward your mail to a new address. You can also ask them to forward your mail on a fortnightly or monthly basis while you stay away from home.
With a P.O. box or a locked private bag, it is less likely to get quick and flexible services.
- You make sure important documents get signed for
Sometimes, important documents and mail require a signature, and there’s no one around to sign at a P.O. box.
Premium virtual office providers have on-site receptionists available during business hours to accept packages and sign for your documents.
Furthermore, on-site receptionists have a lot on their plates: they make a stellar first impression, greet guests and clients who visit your office and provide support whenever you need it.
Every start-up and small business is in search of alternatives to expensive physical offices.
However, virtual addresses are more convenient than P.O. boxes as they support business growth and meet small companies’ needs.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information about our services and how they can improve your business’s cost-efficiency. We would love to have you join our community!