Starting a new business as a limited liability company (LLC) brings with it all sorts of questions you need to answer like choosing a business name, your website address, branding, social media presence — and not to mention where you’ll do the work and how people will find you.
Many LLCs start out entirely digital, with the owner working out of their home rather than in a conventional office workspace. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but it does create a problem: “375 Mulberry Lane” or “35 Heatherbrooke Drive” doesn’t have the most professional ring to it.
If your business entity doesn’t have a physical business address and you don’t want to use your home address, there’s another way: a virtual business address.
Here’s everything you need to know about this approach.
A virtual address for business is an address you can use on paperwork and for receiving mail, even though your business is not physically located at that address.
It provides a way for small businesses and LLCs to present a professional address located in a business district, even if you’re really doing work from your home or a coworking space (or a coffee shop — we don’t judge!).
A virtual address can also be useful for certain tax, banking, and regulatory situations where you need a physical address and may not want to use your home address.
The short answer is yes, you can use a virtual address for LLCs as an official business address, and there are a number of reasons why you may want to do so.
Wondering if a virtual office address is right for your LLC? Consider five of the reasons other business owners have chosen a virtual address.
In today’s digital economy, many small businesses deal in digital goods or services and have no need for physical office space. There’s no real reason to pay rent for meeting rooms you’re not using, and keeping specific business hours (think a receptionist at the front desk) just doesn’t make sense for many types of businesses.
This is all just fine… to a point.
But eventually, you run into a situation where you need to receive physical mail or otherwise prove the legitimacy of your business — but you don’t have a physical office space to point people to.
A virtual office address solves this problem.
Many small businesses without a physical office will use their home address (See: Can I use my home address as a business address?), but this can lead to privacy issues. Registering a virtual physical address as their business address keeps home and work separate and tends to look much more professional.
Often, small businesses (especially home and online businesses) will choose a virtual address because of privacy, zoning laws, professional appearance, and the convenience of managing their business mail outside of their home address.
Most states will not allow you to use a P.O. Box as your official business address, since these are not real street addresses.
Post office boxes cannot accept certain types of mail and packages from non-USPS carriers. They also don’t function as proof of residence, which causes problems with certain legal documents or when trying to open a business bank account.
A virtual business address with digitized mailroom services solves these problems, giving you a real address where you can receive postal mail and fulfill your other business needs.
Also, a virtual address is permanent. If you move your business to another location within the same state, you don’t need to go through the process of changing it with the state, IRS, and other regulatory agencies.
If you have business cards, people will expect to see a physical address on it — even if your business has no physical location or is a home-based business. Getting a permanent business address improves your professional image and simplifies your life (since you won’t have to change your business location with the IRS, state, and your bank(s) every time you change locations).
Sometimes it’s beneficial for your business to present a presence in more than one location — even if you don’t actually have staff in all of those locations.
A virtual address enables your business to have a (virtual) presence in multiple locations. This can create an impression of a larger footprint and provide a sales edge.
Another important aspect to consider is whether you can use your virtual address for registered agent purposes. Some virtual address services (including Stable) offer this, while others don’t.
Why would a business need a registered agent? Simply put, a registered agent is a person or business that you designate to receive official state papers for your business (e.g., court notices, business registration renewal reminders, and tax notices). This is a legal requirement for businesses with employees in multiple states, so it’s important that you have a reliable forwarding business address for your LLC to properly receive this correspondence.
Especially if your business is remote, distributed, online, or the officers don't want to maintain a full-time location in a particular place, having a registered agent address for your LLC can solve this problem. You’ll be able to have a set virtual office address that doesn’t change and, since most virtual addresses also offer virtual mailbox services, you’ll ensure that your important mail isn’t missed.
It depends on the service you choose as well as your bank, as some banks have differing requirements here. Some providers offer a:
A virtual address from Stable can be used for many business bank accounts, but check with your specific bank first.
We’ve covered the basic reasons why LLCs and small businesses often choose a virtual office address. In addition, you’ll encounter these benefits when you make the switch.
Since virtual addresses usually offer virtual mailbox services, all mail that your address receives will get digitized and stored online so you can access it from anywhere in the world. Plus you’ll also have the option to forward any physical mail or securely dispose of it.
Not exactly sure what a virtual mailbox is? That’s OK! It’s a tricky concept if you haven’t encountered it before. A virtual mailbox is the mail handling component of a virtual address. For all the same reasons you don’t want your home address listed as your business address, you may not want all your business mail showing up on your doorstep.
A digital mailroom allows businesses to send mail to a single (often prestigious-sounding) physical mailing address. Then the virtual mailbox provider takes care of:
Many virtual mailboxes also handle check depositing. Some also allow you to pick up your mail in person, but this isn’t always included.
Many virtual addresses have a check deposit feature so you can offload check deposits. This is a secure, safe way to deposit checks, and it’s recognized by all major banks. No more manual deposits, driving to the bank, or wrestling with mobile deposits; with a virtual mailbox that includes check depositing, it all happens automatically.
Beyond ease of use, you’ll also want to check into how well a service integrates with the other digital tools you’re already using. Some tools, like Stable, are extremely well-integrated. Others are designed as standalone services and don’t play well with others.
A virtual office service like Stable offers the best of both: a user-friendly platform to access and manage mail from anywhere (complete with notifications and alerts), plus powerful integrations with dozens of popular productivity tools.
Here’s just a sample list of the tools and platforms Stable integrates with:
In addition, Stable offers innovative features in its user-friendly platform like Stable Reminders, which automatically reminds you ahead of tax deadlines in supported jurisdictions. For even greater customization and flexibility, Stable offers an API that allows you to build your own workflows.
Physical office space isn’t cheap. If you don’t really need it for any other reason, it rarely makes any financial sense to keep it just to have a business address and a place to receive mail.
A virtual office reduces overhead costs significantly compared to what you’re otherwise paying for physical office space every month. Reduced overhead means more cash flow to reinvest in other, more strategic areas of your business.
Setting up a virtual registered office address for your LLC, small business, or corporation can be incredibly useful. It can deliver a wealth of benefits, from permanence to privacy and professionalism.
Stable offers a virtual mailbox service with every plan. Gaining access to a virtual mailbox unlocks even more valuable benefits, like the ability to deposit checks automatically and deal with your mail in a user-friendly online portal.
At Stable, we provide permanent virtual addresses and mailboxes so you never have to worry about mail or changing addresses again. We’ll digitize all mail that you receive here, and you’ll be able to scan, forward, shred, (and even deposit checks!) from anywhere in the world.
Ready to take control of your LLC’s address and mail needs? Get started with Stable today.
Disclaimer: Stable is not a legal or accounting firm, therefore we cannot provide legal or tax advice. You should consult legal and tax professionals for advice on how to meet ongoing obligations that apply to you and your company.