Remote Operations

How to get a virtual business address

April 17, 2024
Minh Mai

The U.S. saw a stunning 5.5 million new business applications in 2023, with new businesses and entrepreneurs surging in nearly every state. And for many of these new businesses, a physical location or storefront isn’t a part of the plan. 

Digital-first and home-based businesses are increasingly common, but there are still some hurdles to overcome — like how to handle physical business mail. Even if you never see customers in person, mail is inevitable. And some legal documents and processes require a real physical address.

That’s why many businesses are turning to virtual mailbox and address services for business-friendly professional addresses (and a host of other benefits).

Here’s what you need to know about getting a virtual business address — complete with step-by-step instructions.

What are the benefits of a virtual address for your business?

A virtual business address is a real street address that a business can use to receive postal mail, ensure regulatory compliance, and create a professional image for the brand. The business doesn’t actually need to be present at that physical street address or pay for real estate at the listed location. 

It’s different from a P.O. Box with the U.S. Postal Service, which doesn’t suggest actual residency or physical presence. It’s also different from using your home address for your small business. 

While many LLCs and solopreneurs certainly can and do use a residential address as their business address, there are plenty of reasons you might not want to. 

For example, privacy is a big concern, since your business address is public information. Professionalism is another, as some customers or potential partners may not take a home-based business as seriously.

Other reasons to use a virtual office address include: 

  • Better business mobility
  • More affordable than renting office space
  • Can be authorized as a business address (unlike P.O. Boxes)
  • Can be permanent (even if your business relocates)
  • Allows you to create a business presence in multiple locations
  • Digitized mailroom (depending on provider)
  • Check depositing (depending on provider)

A step-by-step guide on how to get a virtual business address

Getting a virtual business address is something just about any business owner can do, but it’s important to work through the process in the right order.

Follow these six steps to get set up with a virtual address so you can keep your business moving in the right direction.

1. Think about what your business needs

The first step is to consider what you want to get out of your virtual business address. What features, benefits, and services does your business actually need? Which nonessential elements would be nice to have? What options would you never use? What is your budget for a virtual address?

Also consider whether the address location is important. For example, is local business a major income stream? Then you probably need to look at virtual business address services that offer addresses in your area.

Conversely, do you work with high-end businesses that would care if your address is (or isn’t) on Wall Street or in the central business district of a major city? Those addresses usually cost more, but they’re also more widely available through virtual address providers.

Other services you may or may not need include things like:

  • Mail handling
  • An online mailroom
  • Registered agent services
  • Check depositing
  • Front desk reception
  • Client meeting rooms
  • The ability to visit in person to pick up your mail

So before you go any further, take some time to write down a list of your specific needs to help guide your decision-making process.

2. Research different address service providers

Next in your search for the best virtual business address for your company, you’ll need to look into what various providers offer, as not every company has the same services.

Stable, for example, offers premium business addresses in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Austin, and Dover (Delaware). Those cities cover an extremely wide range of business use cases — but you’ll need another service if you require a local virtual address in Atlanta or San Diego or Juneau.

Pricing and plan structures can vary widely as well, with some companies offering flat rates and others offering piecemeal, build-your-own plans. As you narrow down your search, take the time to make sure you have an apples-to-apples pricing comparison.

Finally, look at each provider’s specific features and services and compare their offerings to your list of requirements. For example, some of Stable’s most popular features include:

  • Permanent street addresses
  • Mail scanning
  • Mail forwarding
  • Mail shredding
  • Unlimited digital storage
  • Junk mail filtering
  • High-volume mailroom
  • Registered agent services
  • Automated compliance
  • Hands-on change of address guidance
  • Check depositing 

3. Make your choice and sign up

Next, it’s time to choose a provider and start the enrollment process. As you narrow down your choices, remember to choose a provider with a strong reputation for customer support, reliability, and security. 

How your business handles mail can have a big impact on how your customers view you. So it makes sense to choose a provider that will treat you (and, by extension, your customers) right.

So think twice before signing up with a bargain virtual address service. A provider that prioritizes quality and consistency may not have the cheapest prices, but the cost will be well worth the additional security, reliability, and peace of mind.

With premium addresses and a proven track record of excellence, Stable is a partner you can trust for your virtual address and mail-handling needs.

4. Select your address and plan

Next up is choosing your address and the service plan that makes sense for your business needs. We’ve already touched on the location element, so we won’t rehash that in detail here. But in your research, you’re also going to find that various providers have multiple service tiers or payment structures.

Location, cost, and available services all affect which company you choose and which plan or tier you select.

Here are a few common scenarios:

  • The most basic local address services are typically in existing shipping storefronts or generically branded businesses. These don’t provide any prestige and can create confusion if foot traffic is a possibility, but they can be a great fit for local online businesses.
  • A tech-focused startup might choose to pay a little more for an address in Austin or San Francisco, one that passes the “Google Maps” test and situates the brand in a tech-focused location. 
  • A startup with compliance requirements and modest mail needs might choose Stable’s SOC 2 certified Grow plan, while an enterprise with higher document volume and automated workflows might opt for the Scale plan.

5. Start using the new virtual mailing address

Once you’ve selected your provider, plan, and address, you’re ready to start incorporating your new virtual mailing address into your business routines!

Getting formally switched over to your new virtual address can be a little daunting, and some providers leave you on your own to figure it out. But not Stable — our team of customer support specialists will walk you through the process step by step, including helping you get through USPS Form 1583.

Once your new virtual address is active and fully established, you’re ready to start using it. Update your address on your website, business cards, and any marketing materials you produce or provide. Set up your online mailroom using your provider’s portal and decide how you want your mail handled. 

For example:

  • Should your provider bulk forward all of your mail to your actual address? 
  • Should they open and process the mail first? 
  • Should they deposit checks for you?
  • Should they securely shred unwanted mail?

6. Make the most of your virtual business address

Finally, leverage your virtual business address to realize benefits beyond basic mail handling. For example, some small business owners use multiple virtual business addresses to build local presences in several cities within a region. 

A digital marketing firm with a (real) office in Richmond, Virginia, for instance, might want to establish a digital presence in Washington D.C., Fredericksburg, Raleigh, and Dover. All of these markets are within easy driving distance if a client needs a local meeting.

Having a virtual address in your city’s business district can also be a boon for search engine optimization (SEO) and local search. Think about the typical customer and what they’d be more likely to trust: a business at a house in a suburban cul-de-sac or a business in a downtown office tower? 

Even if you’ll never interact with customers face to face, the increase in search presence and authority matter.

Take some time to think creatively about ways your business can leverage your new virtual address to promote business growth in ways that make sense for your industry and clientele.

Launch your business forward with a virtual business address from Stable

Setting up a virtual business address is a smart move for many modern businesses, especially startups, LLCs, and remote or digital-first businesses. And for most, Stable is the ideal provider. 

Stable offers a comprehensive mix of features, convenience, business prestige, and hands-on help. Transitioning to a virtual business address has never been easier, and the quality of service you’ll get with Stable is unparalleled.

Ready for a virtual business address that delivers real results for your business? Get started with Stable today!

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