When it comes to setting up the mailing address for your business, we recommend two primary options, a virtual mailing address from a provider such as Traveling Mailbox, or a virtual office from services such as Davinci. Which you pick will primarily be driven by whether convenience is your priority (virtual mailroom) or projecting a more professional image with access to an assistant and office space when you need it (virtual office).
For most entrepreneurs, when you first start out and need an address for your business, chances are it’s either just you and couple other people working out of a residence. Therefore, the temptation to use your home address or rent a nearby P.O. Box at the United States Postal Service sounds easy and is the path of least resistance.
You should resist this urge. Residential and P.O. Box addresses are not good options. Here’s why:
Residential Business Addresses
Many small businesses and startups, especially if they are sole proprietorships, use the owner’s home as their business address. Certainly there are advantages to the residential address option. For one, it’s free since you already live there. You will also save money on gasoline and other consumables without the need to travel to the post office or some other location to pick up mail. However, the downside is significant. Some of the problems include:
- Your home address will be publicized on marketing materials and online.
- Your residential address must be properly zoned for your business.
- Someone must be at home most of the time during business hours to sign for packages.
- If you move, you will have to change all of your basic business collateral.
- Since you will both work and live at home, you might feel quite isolated.
P.O. Box (United States Postal Service)
Renting a P.O. Box from the United States Postal Service is another popular option, but it’s definitely the one that will give you the most headaches. While it might sound appealing in terms of being able to separate your personal and private mail, as well as the easy 24-hour access, a P.O. Box is probably the worst option for a business. Some reasons:
- A great many of the most basic business transactions, such as registering your business with your Secretary of State, simply will not accept a P.O. Box as an official business address. Obtaining certain types of licenses (real estate, for instance) also require a regular mailing address.
- Unlike UPS or other private mailbox services, the USPS will not sign for packages from its competitors, significantly limiting the type of mail your business can receive.
When you are ready to set up your business mailing address, be sure to read our guide on how to do it.