Owners of small businesses, startups, or home-based businesses often struggle with controlling the cost of operation and maintaining a steady workflow before they’re able to get any return of investment.

Adding paying expensive office rent to the mix is out of the question. And so, the logical solution would be using your home address as a registered business address, right? This is where we disagree.

Even though it’s an easy route, there are many downsides to using your home address or a PO Box address for business. We’ll discuss all of your options,

including a cost-effective alternative that won’t make your business look unprofessional. When setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you will need a business address and a registered agent address.

What is the difference between a business address and a registered agent address?

A business address is you’re the address used to register your business and where your business is operating but the registered agent address or the statutory address must be a physical street address that represents your LLC. It can be the address of one of the owners or a third-party address.

Your business address is used with customers, partners, or investors and can be used for advertising purposes however your registered agent address is filed in articles of organization with the government as primary contact with the secretary of state.

This address will receive official government documents like tax forms or to accept service of processes like lawsuits, summons, or subpoenas. The registered agent address needs to be in the same state as the business address.

Check: How to rent a mailbox with a street address?

Can you use a PO Box for LLC?

With a PO Box address, it varies if you can register your LLC to a PO Box address or not. Some states allow it but many states encourage using your residential address or another physical street address instead.

You’ll need to check with the business registration authority of your local federal government if it’s permitted. Then there are states, like California, for example where it isn’t allowed to register a business with a PO Box; it needs to be a real street address.

The reason it is discouraged is that PO Box addresses aren’t supposed to be used as a business address, it is a PO Box in a Post Office and should only be used for receiving mail.

You cannot use this address with your customers as it’ll lessen your credibility when they look up your address and a Post Office shows up. A Post Office also controls when you can access your mail and packages and who you can get mail from.

For example, you can only receive mail from USPS, not DHL, UPS, or FedEx. You’ll also be tied to the official post office working hours, which means you may not be able to access your mail on holidays or weekends. It is also illegal to use a PO Box address as a registered agent because there always needs to be someone available to accept and sign for mail.

Can You Use a Private Mailbox for Your LLC?

With a private mailbox, you get some more flexibility as you have a real street address that you can use for business instead of a PO Box number.

You’d be able to call in and check on your mail there are also more advanced features like mail forwarding and mail tracking. You can accept packages from all shipping carriers, unlike at the Post Office.

However, it isn’t a professional address because a mail center or The UPS Store will show up when customers try to find your business.

You can use this address as your business address, especially if you’re a shipping company or expect a lot of packages. But similar to a PO Box, you cannot use a private mailbox as your registered agent.

Can You Use My Home Address For LLC Registration?

Home-based and online businesses are growing rapidly popular; working from home is a great idea and can save you a lot of expenses on renting space, hardware, and office services.

But using your residential address as a registered agent or as a business address with customers and partners jeopardizes your safety and privacy. Other downsides of using a home address are:

  • Building a reputation for a home-based or online business is difficult if you don’t have a physical address for your business. You’ll need to gain the trust of your customers, banks, and investors. Using your home address will not increase your business’s credibility, but may keep your business in the amateur stage.
  • Using your home address can only be sustainable for so long. When your business starts to grow, you’ll need a commercial business address to compete with the bigger competitors in your industry.
  • You’ll need to market your business address and use it on your website or give it to your customers; this is a security threat to your home and family. This address would be on the public record and you don’t want a customer showing up on your doorstep during dinner.
  • Working from home isn’t easy and you need to set boundaries to make it work but since this is also your business address, you’ll be receiving personal and business mail and packages at your home.

Check: Needed Services to efficiently handle your home-based business

What is a Virtual Address? 

A virtual address is a real street address with a physical mailbox, where you can receive mail and packages. PostScan Mail has over 400 street addresses nationwide and internationally, in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. You can use this virtual address for both, your business address and registered agent address.

 Why is it a better alternative?

These addresses are located in commercial areas that’ll boost your business’s professional image and put you in the league with bigger competitors.

The envelopes of your mail are scanned and uploaded to an online mailbox that you can access online through your phone or computer. You can send out handling requests like open & scan, forward, shred & recycle, or archive. There will always be someone available to sign and accept your mail and packages.

You can handle any important business mail in real-time and use this address on your website, social accounts, and other marketing platforms. Get a business address in a major city for as low as $15 per month.

How to Set Up a Virtual Business Address For Your LLC?

Setting up a virtual address for your LLC is simple and can be done in three quick steps.

Step #1: Pick a real street address in your preferred location and a plan that works for you. Contact PostScan Mail to ensure your chosen address can be used for registering a business.

Step #2: Fill out the USPS Form 1583 which allows a third-party CMRA to receive your mail and packages. You’ll need to notarize the form with two forms of ID and send the form to PostScan Mail.

Step #3: Start getting mail! Once your virtual address is set, you can start receiving mail at your new address and using it as your business address. Apply for a change of address and let your contacts know your new address.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

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