Every UK company needs a registered address based in the UK, and individual company directors must each also provide a service address to Companies House. However, many people will not have an address they can – or want to – use for these purposes, particularly as the address is displayed on the public record.
Here are the top benefits of using a virtual office address due to which companies buy a virtual address in the UK:
1 Avoid public disclosure of your residential address
If you’re operating your business from home, it allows you to avoid public disclosure of your residential address. As the registered office address of a company (and the service address of directors) is shown on the public register, you’d have to publicly disclose your personal address unless you purchase a registered address service – or have another address you can use for this purpose. Most people would prefer to keep their personal address private.
2 Prevent unwanted visitors
A special case is where the company undertakes sensitive work or individual directors are involved in sensitive occupations. A company involved in political work or controversial activities – such as animal testing – may be the subject of protests. In that case, the directors will be particularly keen not to disclose their home address on the public record.
Even for an uncontroversial business, it helps to protect you and your family from intrusion. Nobody wants unwanted visitors – be they disgruntled clients or business creditors – arriving at their home.
3 Reducing junk mail
Because the company’s registered address and each director’s service address is on the public register, these addresses will typically receive a lot of unsolicited marketing mail. Marketers will often target the addresses of new and existing companies with advertising. While they might see this as promoting useful services, to those receiving this mail – particularly when there’s a lot of it to wade through to find genuine business mail – it will usually be an unwanted distraction. A business address service, especially one where only official mail and not “spam” is forwarded on, can therefore help those running a company save time and avoid the frustration of handling junk mail.
A prestigious address – often a central London address – can lend your business a sense of status. To some customers and suppliers, a London address could increase confidence in your brand and therefore help boost your business.
5 Non-UK resident business owners
A company’s registered office address must be in the UK. For those who live outside the UK but are looking to form a UK company, they’ll need to have an address in the UK for this purpose. Again, a London address is a particularly popular option.
6 To present an office presence if you don’t have one
You might not be able to afford an office of your own – or just not want the extra hassle of maintaining somewhere. But you still may want it to appear to your customers that you have a physical presence, somewhere physically dedicated to the business. A virtual office address, particularly coupled with a telephone answering service, can help to support this impression.
Even if you have a business address, you might not want your own personal mail – addressed to you as a director of the company – being sent there, especially if all post is opened centrally. If you prefer to keep your official correspondence private from others in the business, you may prefer to have it sent to an alternative address.
8 If you’re often away from home
If you spend a lot of time away from where you live, it may be easier to use a business address service so you can be confident official mail will be dealt with promptly rather than sitting at an address you won’t immediately access. Depending on your needs, you could arrange for mail to be forwarded to you at another address or scanned and emailed to you.
9 Avoiding disruption if you plan to move
If you know you’ll be changing your address in the near future, a business address service can provide some continuity. Otherwise, you’ll have more work to do to tell the people you do business with about the change of address, arrange for mail to be forwarded and company stationery to be updated.
10 Restrictive rental contracts
Many rental contracts don’t allow the property to be used as a company’s registered office or service address, let alone for a business to trade from. In that case, you’ll need to find another address to use for the business.