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  • Writer's pictureThe 221 Building

Why You Need a Virtual Mailbox with a Commercial Street Address

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

Building a business can be both exciting and boring. It can be thrilling to do the things you want in your way and fulfill your dreams, but it can also be very boresome to do certain administrative stuff, like, say registering a street address. Still, seeing that these administrative things are taken care of is crucial, especially in the early stages.

A business at the beginning of its journey needs to work carefully on its ability to make a very good first impression and, sometimes, even the physical mailing address can make a great difference regarding who is going to work with you and who is not.

So, PO Box, commercial address, or home address?

Which one do you think could help you gather more “first impression points”? If the commercial address is what is going on through your mind, then you might want to think again and this time take into consideration the legal aspects.

We assure you it’s something you don’t want to have to deal with at the beginning of your business: renting an office space, registering that commercial address, and then when you have to move out into a bigger building you have to change the commercial address and the costs are not trifled, neither is the legal struggle. But there is such a thing as a virtual mailbox, which offers you a commercial address without much fuss and papers to worry about. This is what we’re going to talk about later on in this article.

We’ll start with listing the benefits of a commercial street address and why it’s important to have one, go further on with the disadvantages that using a PO Box and residential address can bring, then walk you through the process of getting a commercial street address which can benefit you and your business.

Commercial Street Address. A definition

A commercial street address is the address of a commercial building where a company is doing business. A commercial building is any time of real estate designed for accommodating a work environment and use specifically for this end. A commercial building can be a house used only as office space, can be a huge building including shopping centers, warehouses, retail plazas ad so on and so forth.

The importance of a Commercial Street Address

A commercial street address gives your business a more professional feeling. First impressions are most important in the early stages of your business when attracting customers and potential investors is crucial. The best, most cost-effective, and professional solution is a virtual mailbox.

Now, there are a lot of virtual mailbox services out there and they offer a large variety of services. When choosing one, you should first check if the commercial address is genuine. We recommend a single-standing commercial address instead of one tied to a co-working center. PO Boxes, UPS stores, or virtual offices are to be avoided.

4 Reasons why you need a commercial address

Full compliance with the law. No LLC or corporation can legally function without stating a commercial street address.

A business needs a business bank account. A business bank account needs a commercial address. A PO Box simply won’t do.

Privacy. Setting your home address as your commercial address means having clients, potential investors, or just third-party stakeholders interacting with your business know where you live. Your address will be available online as laws require companies to disclose information about their business. Much of that information can be searched online. This means, even, that angry competitors can show up at your door any time of the day or night.

Commercial street addresses have no imposed limits on couriers. You can receive packages from anyone, from UPS to U.S. Postal Service.

Moreover, your website, business cards, and official documents will also look better with a commercial street address on them, don’t you think so? To give you an even more explicit example, this is what a commercial street address looks like:

Business Name

1400 Mary Street Suite 354

Brentwood, IL 60076

It looks good, doesn’t it?

4 Reasons why you shouldn’t use a Residential Address for your business

Many startup founders started from their bedroom door and went on to find something great. There are a lot of fresh examples like these where you work from home as a lawyer or a real estate agent. Still, we see the success, but we do not see the real struggle of it. The real struggle of having a residential address as the business’s official address looks mostly like this:

Business Restrictions. Banks don’t usually accept residential addresses on business accounts

Lack of Privacy. This is a major downside to residential addresses since almost everyone will know where you live based on your business’s address.

Lack of Security. If the package is bigger than your mailbox, then the carrier will leave it at the front door and it can get damaged by the rain or even stolen.

Poor Business Profile. Customers, vendors, or investors will know that your business address is just residential and could draw negative conclusions from that.

Why not use a PO Box for your business?

A PO Box is a box stored in a post office that you can rent and receive your mail there. It’s efficient and it’s guarded 24/7. Why not use it for your business? Let’s see!

Do you know this young entrepreneur, a friend of yours who started a business using a PO Box? Do you respect this guy and look up to him and are tempted to do the same thing for your startup? Well, don’t! It’s a trap!

It’s safe to assume that startups need not waste money on things they don’t need and young entrepreneurs at the start of their journey might be tempted to minimize the costs by setting a PO Box as a business address. Although at a first glance, might seem like a viable solution, there are a lot of downsides to it and we’ll walk you through them.

A PO Box first came to be because rural areas could not benefit from mail delivery. So, the carrier would just leave the package at the closest PO Box for the people living in rural, remote areas to come and pick it up. Now, PO Boxes have transformed into something more: a safe way of storing mails for ex-pats, digital nomads, or just people who travel a lot.

Still, you can’t use it for business because:

You can’t register an LLC or corporation using a PO Box as the main business address.

You can’t open a bank account using a PO Box address.

Your business won’t appear on Google Maps. PO Boxes do not appear on the Maps, so people won’t know where to find you.

PO Boxes do not offer a professional business image at all. A standard PO Box address looks like this:

PO Box 3424/ Brentwood, IL 60045

A PO Box can also be time and gas-consuming since you’ll have to go back and forth to collect your mailing and packaging from the post office. Let’s say you can check it out twice a week, but a business is a business and there are some documents which need to be received urgently and re-sent urgently, like, say, contracts.

The greatest downside is delivery restrictions. Only USPS deliveries are accepted at your PO Box. So, what would you do? Tell all your clients and stakeholders to send you mail only through USPS? We don’t think so.

The different services Virtual Mailbox providers offer

A virtual mailbox service will provide you with a professional and safe commercial street address to share with your stakeholders, without spending a dime on office space. Still, after you’ve decided to go for a virtual mailbox, there are a few things to consider:

Choose a good location for your commercial address. Make sure it shows on Google Maps and also, make sure it is in a good location, one that is renowned for hosting multiple successful businesses, for example.

Check out the actual building. See what it looks like from the outside, see that it is in good shape, the windows are clean, the façade is well-kept, and the doors are ok.

In choosing your virtual box address you should ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • What would your potential clients think of it?

  • Is the location professional?

  • Is this how I want my business façade to look?

All of these are important to take into consideration because not all virtual mailbox providers offer addresses linked to good-looking, professional-looking buildings. So, you must choose a Virtual Mailbox Provider who can offer you all the following:

  • Dedicated buildings with the utmost security services

  • No third-party personnel handling your mail, but a team of professionals

  • No UPS Stores commercial addresses

  • Commercial addresses are in professional-looking office buildings providing you with a professional business image

Conclusion: Is a Virtual Mailbox with a Commercial Street Address the best solution for your startup business?

A business at its beginning needs to take care of a lot of things, but the one, most important thing on the radar is money. Buying or renting an office space might not be a good idea when you have your old uncle’s garage you can use for free and accommodate 5 work buddies to start with.

A business at its beginning needs to take care of its image, as well. Although image costs a lot usually and businesses start to invest here once they have enough funds, first impressions are important and you should start thinking about your startup's professional image early on.

A home address and a garage door for a commercial building façade might not play well on the whole “first impression” thing. This is why you should consider your business’s official commercial address very carefully and take into consideration all the pros and cons of the numerous solutions on the market. We’ve already done that for you in this article and the conclusion is this: a carefully-chosen virtual mailbox address is the best solution for beginner to middle businesses.

A virtual mailbox will offer you a cost-effective and convenient solution to level up your business image and will also help with all the legal documents and registrations required by the law.

Furthermore, a virtual mailbox with a commercial street address is the best way to protect your privacy, not let your home address be public, and draw a straight line between work and personal life. This balance is fragile and should not be played with, as we all know from experience.

All in all, a virtual mailbox with a commercial street address is the best solution for a business wanting to cut down on expenses and also maintain a professional business image.

Ready to open up your business mailbox with 221 Building? Learn more about our mailbox rental services and mail forwarding.

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