Working from home, but don't want your clients to know that? Many freelancers find that a virtual office is the perfect solution while they get their business up and running.
As well as providing a place to meet clients and collaborators, a virtual office means you'll have a professional-sounding address for business correspondence and deliveries.
But a virtual office can become more than that, too. Pick the right one, and your virtual office can one day become your real office, giving you a cost-effective working environment and the day-to-day social contact that many people miss when working from home.
However, with so many options available, how do you to choose between them?
Our Top 7 Virtual Office Tips:
- Don't have the same address as another thousand businesses. Do they provide a selection of central London addresses and don't allocate too many businesses to the same address? When you use their address you don't really want it used by thousands of other companies, so Google the address and see what is shows - you want to find a discrete address that doesn't scream 'virtual office'.
- Make sure there's room to grow. If your business grows does the Virtual Office service provide options to grow with you? Features like shared office space or desk space at the same address so that you don't need to change your address when you grow?
- Make sure they provide a both a Trading and Registered address. Can they provide both a Trading Address and a Registered Address for your business? A Trading Address is one where you can use the address on your business cards and website and have letters/goods delivered, whereas a Registered Address is one where you can use the address for statutory mail, ie. mail from Companies House and HMRC. This is how Companies House defines a Registered Address:
"All companies must have a registered office, which must be situated at a physical location in their country of registration. It can be your business address, the address of your accountant or any other address you choose. However, it must be an address at which you will be able to deal with all official letters and notices that you receive."
- Companies House
- Large package delivery. Do they allow delivery of large packages or only letters? Make sure that you can have larger items delivered and cared for as well as small letters.
- Same day mail forwarding. How quickly can they forward mail? Is it forwarded on the same day as received or the next day? Do they tell you when mail is received/forwarded? How do they ensure that mail sent has been received by you?
- Bespoke Telephone Answering. What telephone answering services do they provide? Is it 24/7? Can their telephone assistants answer questions about your company according to your supplied information or do they simply take messages?
- Meeting rooms and Hot Desks. Can you use the address as a physical base? Are you able to visit your trading or registered address and meet your clients there? If you need to work for a few hours in-between meetings do they have a hot desking service that you can use?
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