Virtual offices for small businesses: Advantages and benefits

Virtual offices offer a cost-effective, flexible and highly beneficial way for smaller companies to handle their address and mail needs. We've covered the advantages, alternatives and most commonly asked questions to help you understand if it’s the right choice for your business.

What is a virtual office?

Virtual offices are an alternative option for small businesses that need an official address for their company. They meet many of the same needs, without the additional cost of renting a physical office space. Virtual offices offer many benefits and advantages in their own right, and we’ve covered why they should be a consideration for any small business operating in the UK. You can also watch our dedicated explainer video below.

What are the advantages to small businesses?

Virtual offices offer many advantages to small businesses, but how you benefit will depend on your current set-up and what’s most important to you. Here are some common examples and reasons why small businesses are choosing virtual offices:

  1. Ease - Virtual offices give you an address you can use for your business now and in the future. Your virtual office address will stay the same whether you move, change business status or anything else. This means you won’t have to worry about updating address details or needing a new address as you progress.

  2. Security - A virtual office provides additional protection for you and your business by protecting your real location. This is often a benefit for small businesses that start from home and do not want to provide their residential address, but it also applies to companies that want to keep their office addresses private.

  3. Remote mail access -  Our virtual office accounts come with access to our online mail management platform. Here you can view and manage all of your received mail, meaning you’ll have access to business post wherever you are, at any time.

  4. Save on costs -  Virtual offices offer a more cost-effective solution compared to physical office spaces while still offering many of the same benefits. 
  5. Choice of location - Choose from a variety of locations for your virtual office that may otherwise be unavailable if you were renting physical space, such as prestigious London locations.
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What are the alternatives to a virtual office for a small business?

To help compare the options available to a small company, we’ve listed some of the alternative means to meet your businesses address needs:

  1. Use your home address - If you’re permitted to do so, your home address can be used for your business needs. However, if you register your company or publish your company address anywhere, this will be publicly available. You’ll also need to manage your personal and business mail at a single location, and if you move homes, your business address information will need updating too.

  2. Rent a physical office space - Office spaces offer one key advantage over virtual offices: the physical building you can visit. However, this comes at a premium, and if you have no intention of using the office space, you’ll be paying more for no additional benefit.

  3. Use your accountants address - Your accountant may allow you to use their office as your registered office address, but this may not always be possible, or you may be handling the accounts yourself. You’ll also rely on your accountant to receive your business mail and miss out on benefits such as online mail management.

Small business virtual office FAQs

We’ve covered some of the most commonly asked questions by small businesses about virtual offices. If you have any other questions that need to be answered, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Do virtual offices include physical space?

Some virtual offices are sold with a physical space that you can visit and work from. However, these may be much more expensive and limit your available locations.

Our virtual offices are available without physical space. You’ll get all of the benefits of having an address and delivery address for your business without the expense of a location.

Can I use a virtual office to register my small business?

Our virtual offices can be used for all manner of business address needs, such as:

  1. Registered office address
  2. Directors’ service address
  3. Business trading address
  4. Correspondence address

When registering your business or updating your registered office address, you just need to provide your allocated virtual office address when asked.

Do I have to be a registered business to use a virtual office?

No, any business can use a virtual office if needed. If and when your business reaches a stage where you’d like to register, you’ll benefit from having an address ready to use.

What happens when my business receives mail?

If any letters or parcels are sent to your virtual address, we’ll receive them on your behalf. You’ll receive a notification in your account that something has arrived, where you can take further actions, such as:

  1. Requesting letters to be opened and scanned
  2. Forwarding mail to another location
  3. Storing a digital and/or the physical copy
  4. Shredding and disposing of your mail

How much does a virtual office cost?

Virtual office accounts are made up of two parts. You have several options available to you depending on your address preferences and expected mail usage. When you create your account, we’ll take you through the steps where you’ll need to choose the following:

  1. Virtual address - This is the location your virtual address will be based on. Each option gives you a different address, from Dorset to prestigious London locations. Some addresses included additional features and functionality.

  2. Mail plan - Your mail plan relates to how much mail you receive, and our plans are structured to be easily scaled up if and when you receive higher mail volumes. Plans start from a pay-as-you-go option where you only pay for the mail you receive.

How much a virtual office will cost your small business depends on the options you choose during sign up. For more information and to start comparing account plans, please visit our pricing page.

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Allan Chester
March 30, 2023