You might have heard the term “virtual mailbox” in the past. But, what exactly does it mean? And is it something that could be useful to you and your business? In a nutshell, a virtual mailbox is a physical address that you can use for commercial purposes.
If you visit the premises in real life, you’ll notice it is a real commercial building. But, if you don’t have an office or workshop there, how can you say that’s where you’re based? This is where the “virtual” bit comes in handy!
Why a virtual mailbox can be handy for your business
For a small fee, you can pay to use a commercial address as if you had a physical presence there. It’s an address you can use for official correspondence for your business. That means you can put it on your invoices to clients. And you can use that as your firm’s registered address for government and tax purposes.
So, what happens when you receive any mail at your virtual mailbox address? The answer is simple: it gets put aside for you! If you live near to your virtual mailbox, you can collect your mail on a periodic basis. Many virtual mailbox providers are happy to receive packages on your behalf and keep them for you too.
Some providers will let you know when you’ve received new mail. But, others won’t do so unless you ask them to check. Most virtual mailbox providers also offer a variety of add-on services for your convenience.
For example, if you look at physicaladdress.com, they can scan and email letters to you. And if you receive packages, they can forward them to your home address. Or any other location!
Why would you want a virtual mailbox address?
You might not think it, but a significant amount of self-employed people work from home. They don’t lease office space in commercial buildings. Nor do they operate from any other non-residential premises.
When you work from home, privacy is always a big concern. Let’s face it; you don’t want clients knowing where you live! Entrepreneur.com has an interesting article on that very subject. I recommend checking it out after reading this blog post!
A virtual mailbox address allows you to maintain some privacy. And it leads to less confusion when you get mail or packages delivered.
Another reason might be if you work away from home a lot. Perhaps you are someone that spends much of their time traveling the country or even the world. If you don’t have a permanent base, you need an address to use for official correspondence. A virtual mailbox is a cheap and effective solution to that problem.
One final reason is to do with perceived image. It doesn’t look professional if you use your home address to offer enterprise services!
How to choose the right virtual mailbox provider
Okay, so let’s assume you have a need to rent a virtual mailbox. How do you know which provider will best meet your needs? The first thing to do is list down your specific requirements. Decide whether you need a prestigious office address location or not. Finally, compare the different providers around.
Some virtual mailbox services offer 24/7 access to your secure mailbox. If that’s important to you, be sure to only research providers who offer such that service.