As a freelancer, have you ever considered using a virtual office service for your business? Maybe you’re a freelancer running a startup or an established company from home. Of course, working from home has many advantages! But have you ever thought about your home address becoming public? Do you worry about that? Or are you looking for a way to make your business look more professional? If you answered yes to these questions, it might be time to consider a virtual office service for your company.
We’ve put together some information about what a virtual office is and the benefits and disadvantages that may come with a virtual office. In addition, you may learn why a virtual office can be beneficial for your business!
What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office is a physical office location owned by another company. This company allows you to use their physical business address for your company, and they charge you a monthly fee for this service. In other words, your company only uses the physical address. You don’t have an office space at that address. You can enjoy working from home as before, but now you can also enjoy the benefits that come with a virtual office.
While your company is physically based at your home, your business has a professional address. The professional address can be used on marketing materials, social media channels (including your company website), and business cards.
A business centre may provide a virtual office address, flexible office spaces, and even coworking centres. Each facility that offers a virtual address service may also include additional services.
What Services Come with a Virtual Office?
Each facility will differ, but many offer some of the following services in addition to a professional business address:
Legal business address: the physical address may also be used as the address used to register your company legally.
Mail forwarding/pickup: some virtual office providers may offer mail forwarding and pickup services. They will accept your company’s mail, and then you can pick it up later. Some virtual office services may even forward your business mail to your home address.
Phone answering: this service involves a receptionist answering your phone calls and/or forwarding them to your home business number.
Temporary workspaces: if you have a virtual office address, the service may also include access to workspaces offered at the facility. They may provide you with access to meeting rooms, serviced offices, coworking spaces, and more.
Copy & print facilities: access to copy and print facilities may also come included with a virtual office.
When is a Virtual Office Worth It (Benefits of Having a Virtual Office)
A virtual office may be an excellent service for you; however, it depends on your specific needs. In this section, we’ll take a look at the benefits of using a virtual office service.
Home Address Stays Private
When registering a business in many places, it’s necessary to register the company to a physical street address. If you’re like many who run businesses at home, then you probably have used your home address as the company address. However, that can cause problems.
For one thing, your home address becomes public information. Your home address can be found by anyone at any time. That can be a massive security headache.
Freelancers working from home can keep their home addresses private through a virtual office service. While the service will cost a little bit each month, it isn’t nearly as expensive as renting an office space.
Provides Your Business with a Professional Appearance
When your business has a physical address at a business centre, it looks much more professional. You can share the address on the company website, social media channels, and more. Not only does it make your business appear more professional, but it can also help make your company look more trustworthy and credible.
Access Temporary Workspaces
Another great benefit that comes with a virtual office service is access to temporary workspaces. Why would this be a benefit? Well, do you have days when it would be nice to work away from all the distractions of home? Is there construction near your home that’s making it too noisy to focus and get work done? Are you looking to meet a client in person? Are you tired of working in a noisy coffee shop?
There are times when working from home isn’t always the best option. However, with a virtual office service, you may have access to a temporary workspace. Of course, this will cost extra; however, virtual offices usually provide a discounted rate for using their office spaces.
Having a meeting with a client in a meeting room or even a serviced office makes your business look more professional. You also have more privacy to conduct the meeting.
Improvement in Local SEO
Another great advantage of a virtual office is that the physical address helps your business rank higher in the local search engine results. Google uses this type of SEO to rank your company higher in the search results! Who couldn’t use a little boost with their SEO?
What’s more, a physical business address website adds more credibility to the company, too. This may bring increased traffic to the site, which also helps you rank higher in the search results.
And we can’t forget to mention you’ll also get a free Google My Business profile if you have a physical address for your business. Having a physical address is a great way to get more reviews.
If your business is one that relies on local customers, then a physical address can increase your company’s SEO rankings!
Keep Email Marketing CAN-SPAM Compliant
Another great benefit of a virtual office is that you can see the physical address in the footers of your email marketing campaigns.
Some countries require email marketers to add their mail address to the footer section of each email sent.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Office
OK, now, we’ll keep this discussion balanced by taking a look at some of the disadvantages that go with a virtual office.
A Deceptive Appearance
Some people may view your virtual address as a deception. Clients, customers, and others may feel as if you’re trying to deceive them about your company. Maybe you’re trying to make the company look larger than it is, for instance.
What’s more, these people may even come to the physical address of your virtual office. They expect to find you and your business at this location. When you’re not there, they will be disappointed and feel like you’re trying to hide something.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to let people know you’re using a virtual office address. For example, you might include a short note on your site’s contact page that the address is only a mailing address. This is not the physical location you work from or where you can be reached.
Limited Room for Growth
What happens when it’s time for your business to scale? Will you have employees working from your home? That’s usually not a good idea, especially if you don’t have the space for additional desks and more. In this case, a virtual office can be unhelpful. You may want to consider using a coworking space instead.
Coworking spaces make it easy to rent individual desks/workspaces for each member of your team. You can use the desks when needed, every day, or whatever works best for you. Coworking spaces are great for a small business that needs space for a growing team.
It’s true that coworking spaces usually cost more than a virtual office. However, they’re still much more affordable than renting a traditional office. What’s more, they typically include plenty of valuable amenities with their monthly fee.
Summing It Up
A virtual office is worth it for freelancers/solopreneurs who work from home and want to keep their home addresses private. The extra services offered with a virtual office can also be helpful and keep you from having to hire additional employees.
However, on the other hand, a virtual office may not be the best option if your business is ready to scale. In that case, you may want to consider a coworking space for you and your team.
If you are looking into getting yourself a virtual office, be sure to get in touch and see what we have to offer!