Jun 20, 2017
The Business Address Service is what you buy when you need an address to put on your website and stationery.
Startups traditionally have this problem: what to use as their mailing address?
Entrepreneurs tend to not want to use their home address for two reasons:
In the digital era people are sniffing around businesses from the comfort of their bedrooms. They want to get an idea of who’s behind the business. They might want to buy a product, or, they might want to do the business harm.
Putting a director’s home address on the website means that it’s much more likely that any problems the business attracts will find their way to his door. It exposes his family to potential harm.
Even if his business is distributing food to the poor, at the back of his mind is the thought that one of his more bonkers clients might come knocking on his door at 2am.
Having ’23 Acacia Avenue, Walthamstow, London E17′ as the mailing address of your digital startup sends a message. The message is, you are small fry. It could work, in the wacky world of digital media, but it definitely won’t work for a business that wants to attract investment from the get-go.
Clients are wary of being ripped off. They read the horror stories in sensational media. They or their family may have experienced being cheated by an internet-based company. There is a reason an estate agent rolls up to your house in a smart little town car, and not a 2007 Nissan Micra.
Your client will be looking for signs of quality and signs of scamming. A mailing address which fits your niche is a sign of quality.
A mail forwarding address can be quickly activated and in use the same day. A good mail forwarder offers prestigious, impressive addresses in swanky areas, with access to meeting rooms. You route your business and/or personal mail through the virtual address provider and have have it forwarded worldwide. The service should be discreet.
The provider shouldn’t list their addresses on their website so your business will come up in searches on the address and not theirs. Your clients will be then unaware that you are using a virtual office service.
Your address should be in a real building, which houses other businesses besides the mail forwarder’s.
Q: Is this legal? What does the law say?
Mail forwarders have to abide by certain regulations. This is because criminals can use virtual addresses to ‘hide’ behind.
Since 1 October 2007, borough councils in London are empowered to require local private mail forwarding services to register with them, under the London Local Authority Act 2007, section 75. Registered services must obtain evidence of identity from their customers and retain copies of those documents. They also have to keep records of the customer’s name and address/registered office and addresses to which mail is sent. It is a criminal offence for a person to fail to comply with section 75, to provide false information when making an application, or to make false entries in records.
Companies operating in the UK outside London are required either to be licensed by HMRC or supervised by an authorised body, such as the Financial Conduct Authority. They also must keep records under the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations.
Q: What are the benefits?
Security: if you live in a multi-occupancy building and you think your mail might not be safe, you can use a virtual office address.
Confidentiality: RegisteredAddress.co.uk posts your letters in tamper-proof, poly-vinyl envelopes, which has the effect of obscuring who the original sender of the letter is, from anyone who handles your mail at the other end.
Speed: Letters received at our Holborn Viaduct address will be posted within 4-48 hours of receipt.
– Privacy and confidentiality;
– Quick online sign-up;
– Mail scanned and emailed or posted;
– Services for individuals or companies;
– Post sent daily, Monday to Friday;
– Unbranded, modern meeting rooms;
– Central London addresses;
– Enhancement of your company’s image;
– Make your company’s existence more tangible.
Q: Who buys a virtual address?
– Someone who operates a business from home;
– Someone who lives abroad and needs a UK presence;
– Someone whose business may be moving office and who wants to keep the mailing address constant;
– Someone who operates within a small digital company, where staffers mainly work from home, and who meet clients in cafes and hotels, for convenience;
– Someone who wants to protect their family from ‘trolls’ or bothersome clients*.
*Action Fraud (the UK police force’s national cyber-crime and fraud prevention and reporting centre) recommends the use of Royal Mail’s redirection service for at least one year after you have moved address to prevent identity fraud.
Q: Is it the same as a P.O. box?
No. A P.O. box is merely a designation in a building which acts as an identifier of a particular recipient’s mail. It’s usually a number. It can be offered by Royal Mail, the main UK mail carrier, or any other leaseholder of a commercial premises. A P.O. box number just means that any mail received bearing that number goes to client X of the company offering the service. P.O. boxes are great for mail of secondary importance e.g. to collate mail from surveys and competitions. P.O. boxes do not suit the receipt of mail from entities you want to impress, like substantial clients, other businesses and the government.
RegisteredAddress.co.uk does not give PO Box numbers or made-up ‘Suite’ numbers. You get a regular street address; a professional address that looks the same as any other so you don’t reveal that your mail is being forwarded.
Q: How quickly can I get one?
The same day you apply. In the 21st century the internet has made applications much easier and faster. Reputable mail-forwarders will ask you for proof of ID and forwarding address, to comply with local legislation. The idea is to weed out problem clients. This helps the local authority, called ‘Boroughs’ or ‘Councils’ in England, to cut down on scams in their districts.
Once you upload or email the required documents, you should get the complete address quickly so you can get on with using it. The norm is to pay a small deposit to cover postage of letters.
Q: Will you forward mail which arrives in my personal name only?
Yes. RegisteredAddress.co.uk staff search on personal names as well as business names when processing your mail.