Virtual office address: what is it and do you need one?

What is a virtual office?

A virtual office is a service that you can pay for, typically on a monthly basis, to get a real address that you can use as your own.

The virtual office address is actually a very real office space. You just don’t happen to work there. But you definitely can with some providers as they offer great flexibility in renting desks and meeting rooms per hour, days or longer term.

So it’s a real office address that you can display on your website, use to receive post (or mail if you’re American), and use for official purposes, including your company registration.

When you start a company with Tide, you can select a virtual office address during the registration process and set it all up in one go. Easy.

How does a virtual office work?

Like any business service, the exact features of the service depend on the provider, but most virtual office addresses share a few aspects.

You’ll probably pay a monthly fee to use the virtual office address as your official correspondence address. Some providers offer flexibility with month-on-month contracts and may apply discounts on 12 month or longer-term contracts.

You may also be able to receive post (letters and parcels) at the address, which you can then either collect in person, or have forwarded to your home. Some providers may include mail scanning and emailing your post as part of their standard mail handling service free of charge or may offer mail forwarding at additional cost to you. Make sure to check beforehand if this is a service important to your business.

Who can use a virtual office?

Anyone can use a virtual office.

It doesn’t matter if you are a sole trader or a limited company. These services are open to anyone who needs a fixed address away from their home. More about Virtual Office

What are the benefits of using a virtual office?

We’ll discuss these benefits in a little more detail, but here’s the short version.

Benefits of using a virtual office address as your registered office address:

A permanent address that doesn’t move, even if you do

Shield your home address from public view

Adhere to your tenancy agreement

Credibility, status and branding

Affordable alternative to renting in a desirable location

Flexible agreements and a low level of commitment

Start a UK company from abroad

A virtual office gives you a permanent address

Do you know where you’ll be living or working next year?

If you move around regularly, you’ll know that one of the greatest hassles of moving is updating your banks, insurance companies, lenders, energy providers, phone companies and membership organisations with your latest address.

This effect is only magnified if you run a growing business with multiple partners, clients, customers, accountants and service providers – not to mention the tax correspondence.

And if you fail to receive letters from Companies House, for example, your company could get dissolved without you ever knowing there was a problem.

Clearly, you need to get your post wherever you may move.

Virtual office addresses remain the same wherever you may travel. You can work from a beach in Bermuda and your post will continue to stack up at the same desk in the same city (unless you have it forwarded to your current location).