Renting A Mail-Forwarding UK Address
Here are 5 basic points to consider when shopping for a mailing address in the UK.
1. How Much Is It?
Virtual offices, like dentistry, are not something you economise on. Cheap clothes will cover your body just fine but a cheap virtual office might cost you a lot more in lost revenue in the long run.
You want a provider that has been around for years and will be around for years to come.
→ Check out our office addresses
2. What Is It For?
Typically, people want an address when they start up a small business and realise they need a correspondence address.
- Their home address won't do - it looks amateur and weirdoes might come 'round the house;
- Companies House won't accept a PO box number;
- PO boxes look suspect anyway;
- Your friend Jerry won't let you use his office address - he's been burnt before!
So you go shopping!
You want an address that looks normal on paper so that no red flags pop up in people's minds when they decide to buy from you or write to you.
3. How Does It Look?
There are basically three types of mail-forwarding address providers.
- Been around for 5 years, amateur-looking, low prices;
- Been around for 10 years, solid-looking, mid-range prices;
- Been around for 20 years, old-school styling, high prices.
Any of these can suit your needs, but don't shop on price alone.
Too often, people choose a service that is ultra-low-cost and then later when they absolutely, positively need that vital HMRC letter they find they can't get it because the provider isn't returning calls and a trip to their office reveals piles of letters in the hallway when they peek through the letterbox of a locked door!
That cheap address you 'just need for your website' can turn out pretty expensive in the long run.
The physical address should suit the niche you're trading in; a rough-looking address is fine if you're a plumber and a glass-fronted sky-scraper would be ideal if you are starting an accountancy firm.
Most people won't bother looking up the address in Google Maps unless they have to do some serious financial transaction with you. Then they will pore over your business with a fine toothcomb.
If your address is a shed in Romford, they'll stop returning your calls!
4. What Do They Do With Your Letters?
- Some companies will forward them via Royal Mail;
- Some companies will let you collect them in person;
- Some companies will scan and email them to you;
- Some companies will do all of the above.
We believe that getting the letters posted or scanned to you is the best.
Collection in person means you might forget about important letters which have deadlines in them. It's possible someone will send you a legal letter with a deadline, like a court case, and you won't know about it if you only collect your letters every three months.
Contrary to what you might think, the court case will go ahead even if you don't turn up to the hearing. This can be disastrous for a small company, as a judgement will still be made in your absence and become part of the public record.
Scanned letters are often the most popular option for several reasons. Namely, being accessible anywhere (with an internet connection), cost-effective, environmentally friendly etc.
Getting the physical letters posted to you is an alternative. They act as tangible reminders of things you've got to do.
5. Is There A Meeting Room?
Very, very rarely you might need or want to meet someone at your 'virtual' office. HMRC might want to discuss your VAT registration with you. A client might be old-fashioned and not want to meet in a Starbucks(!) to discuss important business with you.
You can't invite them to your home and their office is hundreds of miles away, anyway. They want to reassure themselves that the person they're dealing with is organised and substantial. It's quite normal to want to meet at your business address.
It's embarrassing if you have to tell them your address is a 'front', so choose an address with a meeting room for hire.
You can then call ahead to book the room. You turn up there a little early to get the lie of the land and then have your meeting.
You have all the appearance of having an office in a major city with none of the standard financial overheads.
If this is an important consideration for you, feel free to reach out when browsing through our locations, and our staff will advise which offices currently have facilities for meeting room hire.
→ See how much your address would cost
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