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As a sole trader or freelancer, there will be times when you need to provide an address. This could be on the bottom of invoices, on a Google My Business profile, for mail deliveries, on your email and more.
In these scenarios, you may not want to provide your personal address, or your living arrangements restrict you from using it for the purpose of your company.
The solution is often a virtual office for sole traders and freelancers to use in place of their home addresses. They offer many services such as mail handling, storage and responding, and provide various benefits and solutions to problems sole traders and freelancers frequently face.
What are virtual offices?
A virtual office is a service that helps businesses with their address and mail management needs. Virtual offices do not include physical office space, and all of their features and services are accessed remotely.
Sole traders and freelancers can choose from various address locations to use for their business. They can use their address on communications, stationary, websites and anywhere else needed. Virtual offices can also be used for receiving and managing business mail.
Any mail that arrives at a virtual office can be accessed remotely. Whether you need to read, store, forward, respond to or destroy your letter, this all happens digitally. Virtual offices are intended to serve the need of sole traders and freelancers that cannot or do not want to use their personal addresses for their business.
What features do virtual offices offer to sole traders & freelancers?
- Company address - You’ll be provided with a unique address to use for all of your business needs.
- Receive letters - Send mail to your unique address so that you can access everything virtually.
- Letter forwarding - Forward any letters you receive to another location anywhere across the globe.
- Parcel forwarding - Forward parcels to any other address internationally.
- Mail scanning - View scanned letters online and read the contents of your mail so you can decide what to do next. If you receive parcels, we’ll take a photo for you to view instead.
- Send letters online - Upload a document for any letters you want to send, and they’ll get posted on your behalf.
- Dropshipping & fulfilment - If you’re an e-retailer, Virtual Offices offer the services needed to store, fulfil and handle returns.
- Mail storage - Store physical mail at your virtual office. If you don’t need to keep anything physical, save your post digitally to access online forever.
- Register your business - If you register your business in the future, your virtual office address can be used as the registered office, directors’ service, company trading and business correspondence address.
How do sole traders and freelancers benefit from a virtual office?
A virtual office can benefit sole traders and freelancers in many ways. We’ve listed some of the common benefits we’ve heard from our customers using the service:
- Look professional - Choosing a virtual office in a prestigious location, such as London, can help your image when dealing with customers and other companies.
- Access business mail from anywhere - Online mail management technology means you’ll always have access to your mail across all of your devices.
- Protect your home location - Using a virtual office address in place of your home location protects your real address from being shared publicly.
- One address for the future of your company - If your company changes structure, moves location and goes through any changes, your virtual office address will continue to meet your needs and saves you time needing to update your address information as you progress.
- Save on costs - Virtual offices offer a much more affordable solution compared to physical office space. If you do not need to visit a location in-person, they’ll still offer you everything you need at a much lower cost.
- Access mail management features - Online mail management features mean you’ll always have access to the functionality you need to handle all of your business mail remotely, no matter where you are in the world.
- Integrate with cloud platforms - If you’re using cloud storage solutions such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, integrate your virtual mail and access your post in your existing storage areas.
- Go paperless - Sending mail to your virtual office means that you won’t have to store, manage and shred physical mail yourself.
- Access mail instantly - If you regularly move between different locations, you may experience delays in accessing your mail. Virtual offices help to remove this and help you to access your mail as it arrives.
What alternatives exist for virtual offices for sole traders & freelancers?
To help understand the gap virtual offices fill for sole traders and freelancers, you need to understand what the alternative options are. The right choice for you will depend on the services you need access to, the stage your business is at, and many other personal factors. Here are some of the alternatives:
- Office space - Renting physical office space gives you a location that you can visit in person, work from and use for meetings. This, however, will come at a much higher cost, and they are unlikely to offer online mail management services.
- Home address - Your home address offers everything a virtual address does except online mail management. It is available at no additional cost to you, but it may look less professional, and you might not want your home address to be publicly available.
- Coworking spaces - Coworking spaces are similar to normal offices but offer more flexibility over how you pay and when you use them. They’ll cost more than a virtual office but offer you the benefits of having a physical location to use. It’s unlikely they’ll offer online mail management services, and there may be further limitations on using these spaces for receiving mail.
- Public areas - Such as cafes, pubs or libraries may be available without an additional cost (disregarding any food or drink you may need to purchase to work there). You won’t be able to use them as an address for your business.
How to get a virtual office as a sole trader or freelancer
Getting a virtual office is simple, and you can be up and running within the same day you sign up (depending on identity verification speed). You’ll need to choose an address and mail plan which defines what your virtual office account looks like. Here’s what to consider:
- Choose a virtual address - Select from any virtual address that covers your needs. You’ll be asked to choose a location after selecting your address type, which influences the unique address you receive.
- Choose a mail plan - Mail plans determine how many letters you can receive as part of your account. There are many plans available to suit people who receive 1 to 10,000 letters per month. If you’re unsure, you can start with our pay-as-you-go plan.
If you need help choosing the right account or getting set up, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we’ll help you set up your virtual office. Just choose any option on our contact page.